Saturday, February 28, 2009

Travelling Scarf, Part 2

I had so much fun, stalking my team-mate's profile, choosing a complimentary yarn (Paton's SWS in Natural Blue), poring through the stitch dictionary to find the perfect pattern (mock cable rib from the Knitting Stitch Bible).

I didn't even mind the queue at the postal outlet. Much. It would be nice, though, if the employees of said postal outlet actually knew what they were doing. And that Great Britain and United Kingdom are the same place!

Friday, February 27, 2009

BBC's Book List

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.

How do your reading habits stack up?

Instructions: Copy the list into a Note and put an ‘x‘ after those you have read, count ‘em up, compare tallies. This should be easy. Strutting and preening is optional.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (gah, I can’t get into it, but I own a copy)

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (x times 3)

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (x)

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (x times 7)

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (x – my cat’s name is Scout, FFS. I loved this book)

6 The Bible (does 25 years of worshipping in a Christan church help? I've read most of it. I expect I skipped over all the begats, though)

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (I know I should read it, and I own a copy, but I always think of the Monty Python skit, and then the idea is ruined)

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (I just joined a book club, and this is the first selection. I’m very excited)

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (x times 3)

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott (x)

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy (the movie made me ball my eyes out. I’m never reading this book)

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (x - took me 20 years, but I read it)

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (x)

19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (I am desperate to read this)

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell (x)

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (x)

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams (x times 4 Why don't I own these? Also, there's a fifth?)

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (x)

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (x sort of. I’ve been about half-way through for about 15 years)

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma - Jane Austen (ugh)

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen (again, ugh)

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (x – I loved this book, until I figured out it was a metaphor for Christianity)

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell (x)

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (x - I am not insisting on getting my $40 back because I have the illustrated version, and it's gorgeous, even though the story is stupid)

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins (I've never even heard of this book)

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (x What Canadian girl has not read this?)

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood (x)

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel (on the shelf)

52 Dune - Frank Herbert (I haven't read this because I know I will love it, and there aren't enough hours in the day)

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (what is it with Austen?)

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon (x This was a delightful little book)

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (I want to read this, just because of the name)

61 Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck (x)

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac (x)

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens (x)

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Inferno – Dante (I own this. I don’t remember why I bought it)

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray (on the shelf)

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (x)

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker (x Alice Walker’s novels are among the most horrifying I’ve ever read. But, her novels need to be read)

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert (on the shelf)

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry (now added to the book-shopping list)

87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White (x)

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole (I started it a long time ago, and then I divorced the person who owned the copy on the shelf. I need to replace it)

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare (x)

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Hmmm. 25. If had actually read the books I eventually mean to, the count would have been 40.

This is a strange and eclectic list. I can’t really sense a theme. Using my googlefu, it appears to be
a survey. That makes more sense, even though the list in the link is not the same as what is posted here.

Thanks to Purpleniko and Knitting Daisies for the inspiration. I always like to think about books.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hey! I still knit.

Meetings, when I am not chairing or busy taking notes, are an excellent opportunity to work on socks.

Also, there was that three-hour power outage at Construction Inc. yesterday. Ha! All you non-knitters, I had something to do!

I started a tiny, tiny little sock, so that I could have something ready to show my hairstylist how to turn a heel, and then I was hooked on little socks:

2.5 mm needles, 36 sts, basic twisted, broken rib sock pattern. Would fit the average six-month old niece.

Those socks were so cute, that I immediately cast on socks for her big sister:

2.5 mm needles, 48 sts, basic twisted, broken rib sock pattern. Shooting for a kid's size nine.

And for a comparison, here is one of each together:

Oh my! These are too cute! Because I am dorky, I weighed the socks. The wee socks are 15 g, and the big sister socks are 28 g. I'm using Wisdom Yarns, Marathon - Los Angeles (gah! This has been in the stash for a while - too lazy to find a good link).

I've cast on, in the same yarn, a pair with 44 sts. Those will be for the cousin.

After that, looms the big question. What do I do for the boy? Purple and lime green are too girly, otherwise this yarn would be perfect.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Me? A writer?

So, I'm in this little political satire sketch comedy show.

Over a year ago, our parent organization died, so those of us who cared rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

We are a bona fide not-for-profit corporation now, with a GST number and everything.

As VP Finance, I often have to drop into meetings to talk to people, pick up documents, collect money, etc.

I've become hooked on the writing committee. Now, I'm planning on sitting in on these meetings. It's a fascinating process, and the stories have depth that I never imagined.

I was tickled pink a few weeks ago, when my suggestion for a character was accepted and written into the script. I was further chuffed when my support for someone else's joke was acknowledged as a good use of "foreshadowing."

I was beyond thrilled, when talking about another sketch that wasn't really working, I threw out a sketch idea, saying, "I'm not a writer, so I don't really know, but shouldn't this story really be about.... a cool idea."

There were satisfied looks, nods of approval. Others chimed in, riffing on the theme. The head writer looked straight at me and said, "You're here. You are a writer, now."

And then I left early to catch my bus, but the last I heard was that they were building a sketch based on my idea! Holy shit!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Some wine sucks

When I buy wine, I like to buy it by the box. It's less packaging, and therefore my almost 100% recovered back doesn't relapse from the burden (slipped disk, and recovered without surgery, woot! I must add that there are others far, far worse off than I was. I just have excellent insurance and a doctor who listens to me).

I know that some people sneer at wine in a box, but it works for me. A box is around here for only a couple days, anyway. There's no opportunity for it to aerate and be oxidized.

Anyway, I was cruising down the aisles of my former liquor store (in the old hood for knit night!), and I saw 4 litres of California burgundy for $29.99.

That's a really, really good price for plonk.

Being no fool, however, I purchased a magnum. I didn't want 4 litres of something I didn't like.

Well, I've learned something. If the smallest size available is a magnum, there is a high probability that the wine will suck. (DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!)

Based on my oh-not-so-random sample of one. Scientific testing, I'm doin' it rong.

Definitely an inexpensive wine, and therefore I didn't expect much; it was harsh and completely unfinished. The aroma was of vine, not grape.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Landmark Day

This is the first morning in quite some time where I've left the house and not needed to turn on the back light for when I arrive home.

Look at the bunneh footprints!

Mr. Sun? I've missed you.

Yay for tilting of the earth!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Presents? I get presents?

I have had the greatest pleasure, over the past few weeks, of teaching my hair stylist to knit socks.

It's been a real treat, indoctrinating another into the fold, and all for the pleasure of his company and a free cut-and-colour.

I wasn't sure it would stick, though. He told me he wanted to do this because he can't stand not knowing stuff, and of all the knitters that patronize his shop, I'm clearly the expert.

So, I dragged him down to the LYS, introduced him to the girls, and we picked out some nice Malabrigo sock yarn. A week or so later, I introduced him to the dreaded horrors of The Swatch and Algebra.

Things have been going along tickety-boo. His tension is remarkably even.

We got together yesterday, where he showed off what he purchased in yarn shop in Calgary - more sock yarn, more needles, and a new sock just about ready for the heel flap. I guess I needn't worry about it sticking. He's all ready talking about a third pair.

The big surprise was that some of the yarn was for me! Holy shit!

  • 51% silk, 49% merino,

  • 50 g, 137m

  • #473 Arlene's Purples

My stinker of a hair stylist just got himself a pair of socks knitted by me. But not in this yarn. I'm going to tuck this stuff down my shirt and pretend I have cleavage. It's that soft.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I'm funny

I got a lift to a meeting tonight, and as we left the car, my driver, the president of the committee, asked me if I was busy this weekend, you know, having a hot-and-heavy affair and all.

I said no... not unless you count Bob.

"Who's Bob?", he says.

"Well, "I reply, "it's my 'battery operated boyfriend'."

We were jaywalking, and the poor man doubled-over with laughter in the middle of the street.

Note to self: save the punchlines for the sidewalk.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I've got carbs on my mind

I just got back from a little walk. It's a beautiful sunny day.

I stopped in at the local grocery store, mostly to get milk and some snacks for my oh-so-romantic VDay of staying at home and watching movies.

Couldn't help but get a good look at the contents of my basket when I put them on the belt:

  • frozen hash browns
  • 3 lb bag of red potatoes
  • 2 Yukon gold potatoes
  • Lipton's Sidekicks - potatoes with cheddar and bacon
  • potato chips

And I wonder why all my clothes are tight....

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm more than what I appear to be

I walked into the lunch room today, to wash my dishes.

While there, I couldn't help but listen to the conversation.

Three people were gossiping about someone, about said person's back injury, and how that person can't get a good job because of a criminal record.

I chose not to listen to all the garbage about how back injuries are fake, and if someone wants to work, they'll find a way (look at all the immigrants!).

Yuck. Not going there.

Anyway, I was washing my dishes, and one fellow says that the guy should get a pardon. It's not that expensive, after all. Only $500.

So, I chimed in, and said that it wasn't that difficult or expensive to get a pardon. And the expense is well worth it, because it improves chances of oh, say, getting a passport, and... hmmm... let me think... passing a criminal record check. Possibly even having a meaningful career.

Well. You could have heard a pin drop in the room. For about half a second.

I explained. My wasband had a criminal record. I knew that, when I married him. At the time of our marriage, it was not an impediment, but it was when we started talking about our goals as a couple.

I did not sucessfully avoid the question of what he did. Trust me, what he didn't isn't relevant. Nineteen, addicted and stupid explains a lot.

He got a pardon, at my insistence. That was one good thing I did for him.

Anyway, I think my street cred went up a whole lot in that room. Even though I am not any way near responsible for the events that necessitated the need for a pardon.

My marriage ended eight years ago. When will it stop being relevant to my life? I'm sick of dragging up these stories, but I can't help it. I know things, because of a ten-year relationship with a complicated person. Shit, I'm tired of this. I have, truly, moved on.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Monster Misstea

Notice to all readers: this rant may not make sense.

I'm a lucky girl. I have a good job, a pleasing home and family and friends that adore me. That adoration is mutual.

Really, I've got it going on.

But every once in a while, something sends me around the bend. That something has happened recently, so I'm compelled to speak about it.

The event:

I'm sitting with my dad, in one of the city's finer restaurants, and he says, "Oh, there's a group coming in, and it's your Uncle D's friends"... My dad is very smart, but he's not quick on the uptake.

I immediately sit up straight. I'm going to play defense for my dad, no matter what.

Sure enough, it was a group of people, one of which is a big bull-shitter. Always bellicose. He decided to mock my fine, always serious, well-spoken father. He was teasing my father about having dinner with a cute young woman.

Meaning, me. And insinuating that was there was something fishy going on.

My dad was polite and bashful, talking about "the daughter".

I sat there and smiled. I made some small talk about the weather. I made appropriate comments about the motions being discussed at the annual meeting.

Uncle D, came in, with his wife. We had hugs, a big reunion. Not only was I "The Daughter", I was "The Niece."

Oh. Dear. This isn't fun any more.

I looked over at the fat over-blown fucking bastard that was mocking my dad and told him that he was jealous. Jealous of who? Me?

No, you are jealous of Barry.

Because Barry gets to have dinner with me.

And that bugger was all, "Wait, thought this was fun... I don't get it..."

Fuck you asshole, for making fun of my dad. I will stomp on you with my tiny kitten heel and make mincemeat of you with my intellect. You do not mock my dad and get away with it. Never.

Fuck you (I feel so strongly I have to say it again). And when my dad retires, guess who will be the new representative.

That's right. My brother. I bet the same lame joke won't fly so well as I'm sitting there with my brother, his wife, and their two children.

I look forward to seeing you eat your words, asshole.

Fly Away Home

That's the title of a pretty crappy Canadian movie. It's about the guy who raised a bunch of orphan Canada geese.

Pretty lame, but an uncle of mine was the producer.

Anyway, I flew away home yesterday, and just got back now. I was gone 25 hours. Too much to do.

The occasion was Mini B's third birthday. I cannot believe that it's been three years since my world exploded and all these little people to love started arriving.

Mini B is a talker, like the rest of us, and there were some choice moments:

The minute I walked in the door (I was two and a half hours late), she grabbed my parcel and said "For me." It was not a question. She knew it was all about the presents.

After the cake was done at about 8 pm last night, she announced that the party was over. However, she didn't seem too bothered that none of us left.

She received a microphone that played tunes. She kept giving it to me, saying "Sing, Auntie!" (possibly because I know more than one verse to "You are my Sunshine." I'm not sure).

She looked at my feet at one point and said, "You have socks like Mom!" Not quite, but close, because Auntie made Mom's socks.

Other niephew™ news:

Mini J is starting to talk. Mom is "Mom" and Grandma is "Mommom". I think that's hysterical.

Junior J can be cranky. I didn't know. I thought he was the mellowest little boy that ever lived. Nope, I was wrong. He freaking hates his car seat, and the whole world knew it, when it was time to go home. When that little guy is angry, he's not afraid to tell us.

Junior B is two months old, now. She only weighs 11 lbs, 4 oz, two pounds up from her birth weight. She's tiny, by Misstea standards. But, all that new weight is in her cheeks and chin. I've never seen such a skinny baby with such a double chin. It's hysterical. She's pretty gassy, though. So, she's small, but she definitely belongs to us.

One other small note: Dad and I stopped at the Timmy's drive-thru this morning.

Drive-thru speaker: Welcome to Tim Hortons. May I interest you in a breakfast sandwich?

Me: No, you may not.

Drive thru speaker: ....

Me: I'll have a large coffee with milk.

Got the coffee, and Dad and I had an excellent discussion of how kids these days don't know the proper use of "may" and "can."

Gawd, I love my family. Especially the breakfast my brother made for me. It was excellent.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I can haz innernets!

I was mucking around with the Palm last night (it had stopped talking to my computer, and that was driving me crazy), and screwed up my internet connection.

But, I had stuff to do, so wasn't fired up about getting it fixed.

Tonight, though, I got home, poured myself a glass of wine and prepared for a phone conversation consisting of "Did you reboot?"

Happily, that was not the case. Though my computer is old and slow, we got my ethernet card talking to the modem and all is well. We also talked about wine, and illegally downloading music and how I'm not a boring accountant.

When I saw my beloved Ravelry sign-in page pop up, I proposed to the dear boy on the other end.

Sadly, he said that I wouldn't want to date him.

Damn it, he had a nice voice (also, if I am flirting with tech support, I need to get out more).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mother-f***ing pets!

Early, early Monday morning, 3:37 AM, I wake up, and I immediately roll over, saying to myself "I am not going to do this! Nothing is accomplished by worrying!"

And remarkably, the flounce works and I fall asleep.

4:30AM: A cat is scrabbling at something somewhere, and no matter how much I shout, it doesn't stop. Get up, find Scout (he was clawing at the door trim in the bathroom).

5:00AM: Shout at the cats, again. Get up, and find Scout, clawing at the door trim in the study.

5:30AM: Feed the cats, because clearly, I'm doing something wrong, and food might fix it.

5:37AM: Leap out of bed, cursing a blue streak that hasn't been heard since the Titanic sank and find the mother-fucking god-forsaken cat (again, Scout) clawing at the wall between the bookcase and the kitchen divider cupboard.

5:38AM: Realize that my cat is experiencing some sort of diabetic / insulin shock. It's too early for his shot.

5:39AM: Crawl back into bed, holding my dear, 16-year-old Scout and swearing to every deity out there that I will be a better cat mom if he will only be OK and purr for another hour-and-a-half, until it is shot time.

6:45AM: Haul my sorry ass out of bed and go to work. Only 15 minutes late.

Fast forward to Wednesday: I stop in at the local pet supply store and pick up some kitty nail clippers. Later that evening, Scout crawls into my lap. I clip his insanely long nails. He hates it.

Later Wednesday evening: I reconsider having outside cats.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Something new

So, I've been reading knitting blogs for a while now. Lots of people talk about swaps. Chocolate swaps, Harry Potter swaps, toys-for-your-pets swaps (it's crazy out there, I tell you). People are always swooning about all the treats, and how thoughtful (or not) the other side of the agreement is. I read tons of posts about how people agonize about getting the perfect coaster, greeting card or stitch marker to put in the package.

I always thought it sounded like a whole lot of work. Kind of like the consumer frenzy of Christmas, and we all know how I've removed myself from that particular madness.

Well, then I was reading about the upcoming one-year anniversary of my favourite Ravelry forum. A travelling scarf project was suggested.
Now, a scarf is something I can get behind. I wear one every day between October and April. Clearly, a little variety is nice.

So, I checked out the stash, and while there are some very nice things there, there wasn't anything that said: Send me around the world, have 10 other people add their bits and have it come back to me in about 10 months.

Luckily, I have a local yarn shop that carries lots of suitable things. My scarf shall start with Noro Yuzen. This is a yarn I admire shamelessly, but it is expensive, so I couldn't really justify buying a boatload worth, just to have.

This will be a wonderful experience. I will knit good karma into all the scarves coming my way.