Thursday, May 29, 2008

Went to the doctor today

So, I hate to complain (believe it or not). And I hate to ask for help (believe it or not). But, ever since my epic walk, I've been hurting. Cry-for-my-mommy kind of hurting. Limping-on-my-way-to-the-photocopier kind of hurting. Six weeks of relentless, wake-up-in-the-night, hurts-to-stand-up, hurts-to-sit-down, hurts-to move, hurts-to-stand-still sort of pain.

The extra-large bottle of Advil I've chewed through in the last month has not helped.

Even N, when she was over, after I admitted I needed some help with the hooch, noted that she had never seen me wince with pain. Oh, I'd talked about it, but never actually shown it.

Of course, if I had stopped doing stuff, that might have helped, but it is spring, and there is yard work to do. The house might be a dump, and there is studying and knitting to do, but I will garden, dammit!

After this past weekend, when my mommy was clucking and fawning over me (she who doesn't give sympathy to anyone) I knew it was bad. I was going "ow, ow, ow!" as I eased myself down into the passenger seat of her car. Hanging onto the roof of the car as if my one arm could ease the pain of my 180-pound, five-foot-eleven inch body slowly drifting into a seat that is only about eight inches off the ground.

I made a doctor's appointment, and explained why I was there.

I didn't even finish explaining the symptoms, and the always-kind-and-delightful Dr. W was telling me that I have sciatica.

I suspected as much. Google is my friend, after all.

I now have a killer prescription for anti-inflammatories, a referral to a physiotherapist, a recommendation for a chiropractor (a former schoolmate of my doctor's) and a strong suggestion to visit my friend the massage therapist.

Apparently, this is serious shit, and it's going to take me six weeks to get better. No matter what.

That takes me to the middle of July. Man, I am pissed at my own stupidity right now. Forty minutes, waiting for the bus, would have saved me all this. Twelve weeks of pain and torture for forty minutes. That'll show me. I could have been knitting for that forty minutes.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Crazy phone conversations.

Me and Mom are sitting in the office. I'm adding stuff to her computer, and the phone rings:

Mom: Hello?

Other person: blah, blah, blah,

Mom: Well, I'm in the office with my daughter. She's doing some computer stuff for me.

Other person: ...

Mom: I only have one daughter, and she's home. I need to pay attention to her.

Other person: ...

Mom: Yes, I know.

Other person: ...

Mom: Yes, I know I am computer illiterate, but my daughter is helping me with that right now.

Me: ::leans over and speaks directly into the mouthpiece:: She knows just enough to be dangerous.

Mom: My daughter is doing that part for me right now. I will look later. I promise. ::hangs up::

Me: Who was that?

Mom: Your Uncle Screws-up-a-lot-but-has-good-intentions.

Me: Oh, that's nice. He's kind of creepy, eh?

Mom: Yeah, but he remembers everyone's birthday.

Me: That's nice. He's not a bad man, he's just made some seriously bad choices.

Mom: Yup. But he's paid me back every penny I loaned him.

Me: That's nice. ::thinks to herself: thank FSM I haven't borrowed money from my mother since I started earning more than she does. About ten years ago. Whew!"::

Next day:

Me: :: Phone rings, I pick it up:: Hello?

Other person: Hello? Is this Aunt Misstea's Mom's place"

Me: Yes, this is her daughter, Misstea. How are you, Grandma?

Other person / Grandma: Oh, you can tell it's me? I've been trying to phone your mom, and she's never home. And I love you. It was so good to see you last week.

Me: I love you too, Grandma. It was a real treat to see you too.

Grandma: You know, your mom is never home, and I can't remember anything so I worry.

Me: Well, you know that mom is busy, and that no news is good news.

Grandma: That's true, but I still get scared. I can't remember much anymore.

Me: That's OK. I'm home this weekend for mom's birthday. We had a barbecue at Big B's campsite up at (redacted) and we had pie and well, we're busy playing with the babies, and you know how time just scoots away...

Grandma: Yes, I know... but there's a new baby coming, right?

Me: :: knowing there are two babies coming:: That's right, and we are very excited about that. Would you like to talk to Mom?

Grandma: Yes.

Mom and Grandma have the exact same conversation. Except it extends to dead people that I don't know.

Math problem

Big J: How many miles is 623 km?

Me: About 400.

Dad: Let me figure it out... you need to divide by 1.61 ::gets out pen and paper::

Big J: Never mind, I'll find a calculator.

Dad: 387 or so.

Mom: Misstea said "about 400!"

Big J: :: playing with the calculator on his phone:: So I got 18 miles to the gallon. Good to know.

Me: Is that kettle going to be boiling any time soon?

It was my mom's birthday, but I got the presents

This was my kitchen at 11 pm on Friday night:

This was my kitchen at midnight:

These were the pies at 8 am Saturday morning:

The pies made it to Nodnarb via public transit and Greyhound successfully.

And were a big hit, I tell you. I had a piece (I normally don't eat baked goods) and it tasted pretty good, if I say so myself. Next time (if there is one), I'm going to add peaches.

And mom decided to drive me home. There was no arguing with her, because with me as an excuse, she got out of playing "supportive spouse" at my dad's favourite cause. We stopped at a greenhouse on the way (owned by a fellow congregant at my parent's church, don't ya know). Just to "look."
You see, last spring, while I was taking long walks exploring my neighbourhood, I saw all these amazing trees with pink and white flowers. Gorgeous. I found out that those trees were ornamental crab trees. I could talk of nothing except how much I loved those trees.
Mom bought me one. I didn't want her to, but she tells me that they spend money on my brothers, and I need to have my turn too. Fair play, equal treatment and all that. Hearing that, I let my inner twelve-year-old out and got a little greedy - eight perennial plants somehow wound up in my arms as well.

I can't wait for the weather to clear up so I can get busy planting.

Oh, and Mom bought me a spade as well. The only shovels I have are for pushing snow.
When we got back to Chez Peepee, mom inspected my garden boxes, checked out my eight (yes, 8) rosebushes and pronounced that I do indeed need a fence, but it's a pretty good house, meant just for me. She's seen it before, but wanted to reassure herself (and also me) that I'm in a pretty good spot.
In other news, my brother is participating in a quad rally that is donating the proceeds to the education trust fund established for the kids of my classmate that died. I'm going to send as big a cheque as I can afford. After this past couple days spent with my family, I'm even more aware of how lucky I really am.

Friday, May 23, 2008

This is how much I love my mom

I'm baking pies to celebrate her 60th birthday.

Wish me luck. I haven't baked anything except banana bread for ten years.

Saturn is not a planet...

it's my seventh tattoo.

When I purchased the yagon, I thought I was being clever. And efficient.

When I think I am being clever and efficient, I know something stupid and annoying is going to happen.

Back story...

About a 30 minute walk from my house is a shopping centre and several huge stores. Every once in a while (meaning, about four times a year) I walk over, stock up, and then take a taxi home. That was last weekend's plan. I was going to get stuff to build a garden box and my bedding plants.

I stopped in at Ukrainian Tire to look at "outdoor dryers" aka clotheslines to us ordinary folk, and right where all the old lady shopping carts were, and the out-of-stock clothes dryers should be, was the wagon.

I picked it up, found the resident surly, pimply-faced, sixteen-year-old to give me a price check. The price was suitable, and the lines at the checkout weren't too long, so I bought it. I tucked it under my arm, walked across the street to the liquor store (because all major stock-ups include wine) and then carried on to Lesbian Heaven, aka Home Depot. When I picked the box up after paying for the wine, I lost my balance (I'm not very steady on my feet, believe it or not) and the corner of the box scraped the inside of my arm.

Part of the office is taking up a collection to buy me a tricycle so I can pull around my yagon, and the rest are wondering what the hell I got up to on the weekend to have such a reminder.

I don't know which group makes me laugh harder.

Can we talk about how much I love my yagon? Really, it's the best $70 I've ever spent. I can't wait for the bouncer, oops I mean greeter at Supervalu tries to give me a hard time.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Baby steps

I have a sticky note on my bathroom mirror.

It says: "If it's only going to take five minutes, just do it, all ready!"

You see, I have a motivation problem. When it comes to chores, anyway. I need sticky notes to remind me to clean up after myself (though it's amazing what one can do in the hour before company comes over. Just sayin').

Today, I read that sticky note, and I was out and about doing a bunch of stuff in the yard, and really, what was more thing?

So I changed the burned-out light bulb over my front door. It burned out in... oh... December? I'm really not sure.

And I washed the glass too. It was pretty gross.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My brothers creep me out

But I love them. I really do.

At Costco, the other day, I was told that I'm going to be an auntie again.

The newest baby is due six weeks after the last one.

I'm thrilled. Really chuffed. No sarcasm here. I want to shout this news from the rooftops.

But it's sort of creeping me out that my two brothers married within five weeks of each other. Then had babies, four months (to the day) apart. Now, the next set of babies are six weeks apart, according to the doctor's math.

Makes me wonder if there is something strange in the water out there.

But the absolute best, most important part is... as of this writing, my mom doesn't know. I know something before she does. Woot!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

One more assignment

I'm slogging through my last assignment.

Qualifying marks are close; it could go either way. The marker is on vacation, so I can't even make a calculated gamble.

I really miss knit night. This is the third week in a row I've missed.

Sucks to be me.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Little red wagon

When I was a little girl, my baby brother got a wagon for Christmas. It was so cute. J couldn't say "w", so he loved his yagon.

I loved his yagon too, and played with it as much as I could. But I was a girly girl, so I had to make do with my Barbie motorhome (really, those were hard times. Sigh).

Today, I got my own yagon. It's no Radio Flyer, but I'm fond of the wood sides. Makes it somehow more practical, for a thirty-five year-old girl, off to get her geraniums.

I especially loved all the "help" I got to assemble it.

Am I a super-extraordinary dork if I admit that after successful assembly, I pulled it around the yard? Several times?

P.S. The turkey burgers were fan-diddely-tastic. Gotta get me some of those.

Edited to add: I phoned my mom to tell her about the yagon, and she squealed with happiness. She also said that it would be good for me, in that I would no long carry heavy stuff.

Then I called J, and the little (well, not so little anymore, since he started outweighing me about fifteen years ago) stinker says he's doesn't remember having a yagon. But the wood sides are "stockracks." Argh. Suddenly, revenge is not so sweet. When Mini J comes to visit, I'm going to pull her in the yagon forever, if she so chooses.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Paradigm Shift

The week I moved into Chez Peepee, I rented a car. As I was running around moving my valuables (i.e. the plants and the cats) from point A to point B, it occurred to me that now that I no longer had to haul my purchases up three flights of stairs, I could stock up on things.

So before I returned the rental, I wandered by Supervalu, to get a few things.

I left with a bulk pack of microwave popcorn. Which sounds really stupid. The fact is, I was overwhelmed by choice and didn’t know where to begin. Would I ever use a case of tomato soup in a reasonable amount of time? I didn’t know, but suspected not.

Fast forward a few months to Christmas. Again, I had a rental, and I went grocery shopping, having figured out that carrying canned goods on my back for any length of time was not good for me (this is a lesson I have to learn repeatedly, apparently).

I spent a whopping $90. I got that case of tomato soup. And I must admit, I felt like a real grown up. Checking prices, thinking about value for money. So very exciting, especially on Boxing Day.

Now, a year and a half later, I can bulk shop with the best of them. My brother and sister-in-law were in town the other day, and we went to Costco.

Between the three of us (four, including Mini B) we filled two of those ginormous carts and spent $640. I now have enough toilet paper to last me a year. Good times.

P. S. How sad is my life that I am posting about grocery shopping?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Drunk with power

It was the Friday afternoon before a long weekend. All of senior management had left for the day, and those of us left were hanging out in the lunch room eating birthday cake (except me. I had extra strong coffee). I was joking about going out for beers, since the bosses were away and we could play.

Then our credit clerk informed me that I was in charge, and to stop being so silly.

And she was right. I was in charge of the office (mind you, not dispatch, the plants, the shop or the lab).

I guess refraining from swearing at work has really paid off. Who knew that I would be pseudo-management?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm an idiot

Over the last week, I have knit the same six rounds on the lacy socks about eight times.

I now understand why dark yarn is not the best. Especially in dim light.

In a fit of inspiration, and a new audio lecture, I cast on a new sock:

Do you see? First sock, 2x2 twisted rib. Second sock, 1x1 twisted rib.


What little I have knitted, is gone. That's OK. This way, I get to knit more.

I am alive

After a very concerned and thoughtful phone call last night, I thought I had better post - after all, it has been a whole week.

It's been a little bit crazy, around Chez Peepee. Last Thursday, I got an email message from my sister-in-law with a link to a news story about an accidental death in my hometown, and that it wasn't my brother (her husband). I sent back a saucy reply and moved on.

The next morning, the phone rang at 7 AM.

Those kinds of phone calls are never good news.

Especially when I have a pregnant sister-in-law (the other one) and the baby's not due until October.

It was my mom.

She was calling to tell me that my brother wasn't dead. The dead guy was my classmate. A man that I saw Monday to Friday, every day, from Kindergarten to Grade 12. I hadn't seen him for about six years. When I last saw him, he and his wife were expecting their first baby. The newspaper tells me he has two children and is divorced.

My brother tells me the funeral was very well attended, and Facebook tells me that lots of my classmates are reeling with shock.

Me? I'm shocked too. And supremely pissed off at god, or fate, or karma, or the universe or whateverthefuckyouwanttocallit. NOBODY deserves to die this way. Ever.

So, yeah. I am alive. And suddenly I'm grateful for that.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Resistance is Futile

On January 2, 2008, a new receptionist joined Construction Inc.

Lovely woman. Sweet, kind, engaging, cheerful. Organized, methodical. All the good things a receptionist needs to be.

She was also a lapsed knitter.

Not anymore though.

Our receptionist noticed all my hand-knits, and could not fail to see me knitting in the lunch room or at my desk. She told me that what I make is beautiful, and that she used to really enjoy knitting. I smiled and thanked her for the compliments.

A while later, she came to me and said that a friend was having a baby (or a grand-baby, I can't remember) and wouldn't it be nice to knit something? I said sure! Google for patterns.

Later that day, she came to me with a pattern for booties off a website (that I hate, so I'm not linking it) that she thought was adorable. Could I help her?

Absolutely! I said. Then she suggested going to Wal-Mart to buy yarn.

Oops. I didn't handle that well. She was subjected to yarn lecture 4b, which states, briefly, that Wal-Mart yarn is crap, ack!rylic sucks and well, the product can only be the result of the materials, so use good ones, dammit!

I can only say, in my defense, that I was trying to prevent years of squeaky knitting. I've been there.

She, like any good receptionist, listened to me, and then ignored me, doing what was best for her.

The following Monday morning, she came into the office wearing a gorgeous fun-fur ack!rylic cowl that she'd knit over the weekend.

The joy on her face was something to behold, I tell you.

Then she told me that she made another cowl for her friend. And had another one on the needles... and wouldn't it be cool to knit socks?

I took my spare set of sock needles out of my bag, threw them at her and asked when we were going yarn shopping. I even offered something from my stash (I must admit, saying that hurt).

Later that evening at knit night, I was relating the part about how I couldn't give away my own damn yarn. The World's Greatest Yarn Shop Owner (TM) told me to just pick out something and give it to her, all ready (I think my story was getting tiresome).

So I did.

That was months ago.

After several knit-and-rip sessions, I am pleased to announce that, today, our receptionist completed her first sock.

It fits.

It has a few errors.

But it fits.

I'm so proud that I could burst. She's all ready talking about making a pair for her daughter.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Yesterday, my boss asked me if I had my exam results yet. And I realized the release date was pretty close.

Then I got a knot in my stomach. And even though the results aren't supposed to be released until tomorrow, I checked a couple times throughout the day.

And again when I got home from work. It took forever for the page to load. That did not help.


That's a fail. 65% is the pass mark.

To admit I failed is a very big deal. I never failed at anything until I started taking these courses (well, I had failed at studying the arts, and at being married. But that's different). I'm one of those crazy high-achiever people who hardly had to do anything to be successful (that was years ago, really, I should move on). The work itself comes naturally. I chose this field because I'm good at it (supposedly).

I'm a little bit numb right now. I really thought that I had worked hard enough, planned my time sensibly and tried not to panic.

Tonight, I'm going to pet some yarn, read the new Interweave Knits (got it before it was released on newsstands, yay!) and have a glass (or several) of w(h)ine.

The good news: I can re-write. I'll check the schedule and sign up tomorrow. I will also save comparing my mark breakdown to the exam tomorrow. I've had enough disappointment for today.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Disaster averted

I've been working at attempting to control my rising panic about this course.

I've not come anywhere close to actually learning anything.

I skim the readings, listen to the audio lectures, and then cherry-pick through all the stuff, and so far (touch wood) have, somehow (I think the marker is exceedingly generous) managed to get sufficient marks.

And even though it seems like I'm doing a lot of studying, I don't think I'm actually absorbing anything.

I haven't submitted last week's assignment (for a fee of $20, plus GST, I can submit the first three assignments up to a week late. Yes, I will be writing a cheque for $63 shortly. Just like I do every time I take a course).

I thought that I had an assignment due this Wednesday (without the grace period) and that meant that somehow, in two evenings, I had to complete 40 multiple choice questions, two computer questions and several memos/case studies. In other words, two assignments.

Never mind that I haven't done the computer illustrations actually showing me how to use the software (but I've installed it. Small victories, people).

Just for kicks, I checked my calendar. Then confirmed on the web-site. Assignment four isn't due until May 14.

Whew! I'm going to do those illustrations now. With a glass of w(h)ine in my hand.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The fun never stops

It was an exciting day, here at Chez Peepee. All studying and knitting.

Punctuated by a trip to the grocery store, expressly to get cat food, but instead I came home with laundry soap and dryer sheets and these:

Oh, my. These are my new favourite snack.

I forgot the damn cat food. The boys are enjoying some fine dining tonight, on canned stuff (which I hate giving them - makes their breath stinky(er)).

Anyway, without anything complicated on my needles, and no desire to pick up any of the many unfinished projects around here (knitting and otherwise), I started a new sock.

J - these are yours, as requested. If I don't decide to keep them. I'm loving the plain back and patterned front. I read a couple lines during the stockingette part, pay attention to the 32 patterned stitches, get back to the stockingette and read some more. It's making all this internal auditing garbage a little bit more tolerable. Not entirely, though.

Pattern: Anniversary Socks by Ann Budd, in Favourite Socks (watch for errata - my copy must be a later edition, it seems OK. So far.)

Yarn: SandnesGarn Sisu, navy blue, two balls. Purchased at Ram Wools.

Pattern modifications so far: Leg is seven inches, not nine as instructed. I am playing with fire when it comes to the yardage.
And guess what! I didn't swatch. I have to do something to generate some excitement around here.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Be careful what you ask for

because you just might freaking get it.

In ways I never imagined.

I did get a pedicure this afternoon. I made the appointment for 5:15, thinking that the yard work would be done by then, and I would be settling back with a beer (Alexander Keith's, as domestic as it gets, hbacmama), some barbecue, and looking forward to an evening of knitting.

Well, no yard work was done, no wine stuff was done, and certainly no housework was done. The intended barbecue was stuffed into the oven for an hour and the veggies were microwaved.

I spent the entire day deeply and intensely involved in some serious "suggested readings" Oi. I understand, now, why people think being an accountant is boring. It's because accountants are bad writers.

Anyway, earlier in the week, I threatened to get a massage (which is a huge deal for me. I hate the idea of sitting there, while someone else touches me, and I can't knit!).

The featured special, at the shop close to my house was a "spa pedicure" for $20. I made my appointment, saying that I only wanted a "basic, garden variety" pedicure. Well, I placed my feet in the tub, settled down with my reading and... the seat began to vibrate.

So, I thought I would roll with it. Let the seat have its way with me, so to speak.

I could hardly walk, when I got out of the chair. Four hours later, and my back and left leg hurt even more.

What I was thinking of doing, when I suggested a massage, was going to see one of my many friends whose first initial is "D" and happens to be a registered massage therapist. D always has told me to not see her when I'm in pain. I should go when I am feeling good.

I am waiting to feel good. It's not happening. Now, where's that insurance card?

But it wasn't a complete waste of time. My toenails are a shocking shade of pink now. Did you expect anything less?

Big mistake. Huge!

On Tuesday, I was exhausted and knew that if I went home after work, I wouldn't leave. At the same time, I didn't want to miss knit night.

So, I went downtown and to kill some time, popped into a book shop.

That was a seriously bad move.

You see, the one thing I like to do more than knitting is read. I haven't read a novel since Christmas, and it's killing me. There are sooooo many new books that I am just desperate to get my hands on, and going into that shop was like eating a burger in front of a starving person. And this wasn't even a particularly good book shop, just the only new book shop that remains open downtown.

I managed to leave with just one book, and I read it, in its entirety, in the next hour and a half:

Things I Learned from Knitting...whether I wanted to or not, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.*

It barely satisfied my craving. I cannot wait until this course is done, and I can read for fun again.

*Photo shamelessly swiped from

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sir Pukey McBarfsalot and his evil minion

This morning, running late, as usual, I ran into my bedroom to make the bed, and there was a present for me.


I left it and ran out the door. I ran to catch the bus (I don't want to break my streak - on time every day, three weeks and counting).
I'm washing all my bedding right now. Including the wool blankets. I hope there is no inadvertent felting.

Breaking out of my comfort zone

I've stated, many times, that I am no cook.

But, I really enjoy eating.

With a limited budget, can you see the conflict here?

I tend to eat out rarely, and when I do, it's either something super-cheap, or a real splurge.

At home, I have the same thing for breakfast, every day. Lunch is a salad and left-overs from the Sunday night casserole. Dinners are... grilled chicken and veggies, meatloaf and veggies, or pork chops and veggies.

I eat well, but it's rather limited.

I've gotten tired of tuna casserole, chicken and veggie stir-fry and spaghetti.

So, when a recipe appeared on a Ravelry group (what can't Ravelry provide?) that looked easy and interesting, I printed it out and took the bus to the shop.

It was the best meal I'd had in months, and I enjoyed it more with each container of left-overs. That was a week ago, and I made it again last night.

I present to you:

Enchiladas. Really damn good, even though I used flour tortillas instead of corn. And way less cheese than the recipe called for.

I'm going to try cooking new things more often. And maybe, if you are lucky, I will bring more than booze to the next potluck.