Friday, December 31, 2010

It's a Christmas Miracle!

Yes, that is all three cats on the sofa. No fighting. Edgar was giving Parker the stink-eye for a bit, but then he pretended to go to sleep.

In fact, Parker sat on the end table for quite some looking quite longingly at the little tableau that Scout, Edgar and I presented. Then, Parker sneaked on to my lap and hunkered down for a bit.

Sadly, we didn't last long. My wine glass was empty, and since I do not have the ability to open the fridge and pour a glass with my mind, I got up.

Happy Oo Near, from Chez Peepee to you and yours.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

7,497 stitches

Just for fun, I did a quick and dirty calculation of how many stitches are called for in this shawl. The chart part, anyway.

Since I started about four yesterday and finished just now, that's a whole lot of knitting.

But I like it. I think it looks good.

It's meant to be a donation for a silent auction, but once again, I'm going to have a hard time parting with it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Home sweet home

I went home for Christmas yesterday. Since the roads were crap, and I am recovering from some sort of terrible plague, it was probably not a good idea.

However, having knit eight pairs of socks, I was going to deliver them, dammit.

Plus, I had to pick up these:

The background wheel belonged to my grandmother, the foreground wheel, my dad purchased at an auction sale. Neither of them are operational, but the one in the front has potential.

Not Christmas gifts, because we don't do that, but, a very good Christmas nonetheless.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My new netbook cover

One of the things I like best about new electronic toys is making covers. Why buy when I can make?

So yesterday, Christmas day, once the Christmas sock knitting was finished (nothing like leaving it until the last minute), I cast on. With Season 6 of Stargate SG1 playing in the background (I love me some MacGuyver in space), and a glass of wine on the table beside me, I did the following:

Felted netbook case

Materials: One skein of Cascade 220 or approximately 200 meters of yarn that will felt.

Needles: 6 mm circular (I used a 16").

Gauge before felting: 17 sts and 21 rows to 4 inches.

Cast on 100 sts and join in the round. Circumference is approximately 22.5 inches. Knit for approximately 10 inches.

Next round: cast off 50 sts.

On remaining 50 stitches, knit flap as follows:

6 rows stockinette, beginning with a knit row.

Next row: k2, ssk, k to last 4 sts, k2 tog, k2.

Purl next row.

Repeat last 2 rows until 30 sts remain.

Cast off remaining stitches.

Sew bottom closed and weave in ends. Felt to dimensions of netbook. One round through the washing machine (hot wash, cold rise) with the lowest water level and two pairs of jeans did the trick for me.

Sew on buttons or clasps. To make a button hole, pierce the fabric with increasingly large needles until the desired size is reached.

84 g of yarn used.

I'll post a photo with the clasps, as soon as it's finished drying.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Posting from the living room

I am sitting here, in the living room of Chez Peepee, playing with my new netbook and my new camera, while watching teevee and drinking wine.

Life is good.

MacGuyver in space. AKA, Stargate SG1. My nerdiness is large.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ten Days to Go

I loathe Christmas and everything about it, except the food, the booze, and the time off work. The visiting with friends and family is kind of cool, too. And the music is all right. If it's good (meaning, written prior to about, oh, 1950 and not performed by anyone that was born after me. Generally speaking).

In short, I hate the commercialism, the need to give great, grand gifts to everyone, as if some stupid snow village encased in a globe tells my veterinary assistant how much I care. Or that a hokey tree ornament was thoughtfully chosen for me by my bartender(s), when every one else shining the bar with their sleeves that night got one as well.

Cynical much? Not me.

Thankfully, my parents and siblings opted out of this nonsense years ago, and I've managed to convince my girly pals that I'd rather spend time with them instead of shopping for stuff. It's a huge relief.

But, now there are the small people. And, small people love Christmas. I do hate disappointing them, when they are so easily pleased and are so generous with their smiles and hugs. There's something about the phrase, "Auntie Misstea, I love you" that makes me want to make sure that the universe farts rainbows just for them.

So, I sucked it up last night, and went to a book shop. You'd think that 11 days before Christmas, it would be a gong show, but apparently not at 5:30 on a Tuesday. Good planning on my part, for a change. And, I must admit, the 40 minutes I spent playing around in the children's section was rather fun. There's some cool stuff out there. From now on, I will be the Auntie that gives books and knitted things.

So, with that in mind, I got home from work tonight and spread out all the unallocated knitted things on the sofa:

I need eight kid-sized somethings. I have them. Problem is, I have no idea if the sock to foot size is at all reasonable. I'll ask LSG (because LSG knows everything) and then, it might be a little insane around here. I can't believe I'm doing this.

My heart is still two sizes too small, just for the record. And Santa is creepy. He breaks into your house, FFS.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sooper Saturday

I loathe winter, with every fibre of my being. It makes every choice I've made for my life (i.e. not having a car, living in the buttfucknowhere of this city) truly intolerable.

But at at the same time, every once in a while, winter allows me to blow off everything, and just sit at home to knit.

I've done this while sitting at home when I should have been doing other things:

Finished it, and am well started on the next, all while watching Stargate, SG1, season 2. (We will talk about my inability to actually read ALL the instructions another day). Then there was some wine, and dancing, while listening to Vinyl Tap. Life is good.

The hunt for Season 3 starts tomorrow. I'm desperate to find out what happens. And the second gauntlet needs finishing. Since I've called them Stargate Gauntlets on Ravelry, season 3 appears to be a requirement.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Paint ALL the things

Before I get started, have you seen this blog? It's delightful.

And that reminds me that I should update my blog list on the right. My interests have changed radically over the past three years, and I now read very few knitting blogs, because I can get that stuff on Ravelry. However, Google Reader (I migrated there a couple of months ago, when Bloglines announced it was shutting down, a migration that was long overdue) has brought to my attention many wonderful things that are outside the knitting world. Run-on sentence, much?

Anyway, I've been feeling, in the best possible way, rather at loose ends since I sat the exam. I won't be taking another course until summer, 2011, at the earliest, though fall is more likely. It's going to be about three months until the show moves into super-high gear, at which time I will be swamped, manic, cranky and loving every minute of it.

So, it's time to find a project. It's got to be cheap, only moderately time-consuming, and I need another hobby like I need another hole in the head. Also, deadlines and I don't get along. I thought about volunteering for something. I thought about knitting for charity (but then remembered I have many friends and loved ones to knit for - I don't need to knit for strangers who will likely not love what I make). There are, naturally, many books I want to read, and many television programs to catch up on, but that can only be done so much before my ass grows as wide as my sofa.

I was in the bedroom tonight, changing the sheets, when I glanced at the window. Or more accurately, the blinds. Which are nicotine stained, cheap and generally ugly. It occurred to me that I should get off my butt and make those curtains I've been talking about.

And then something else occurred to me.

Cue the trumpets.

I stripped (or rather, my good friend D stripped) most of the wallpaper in my study before I moved into Chez PeePee. My intention was to finish stripping the wallpaper and paint, but somehow (ha!) time has gotten away from me.

It's been four years, and it's time to have a proper study / spare bedroom.

Now, don't get me wrong, this is not the first time this thought has occurred to me. Some months ago, I borrowed a wallpaper steamer from my good friend M (it's good to have good friends) and it has been sitting in the dining room since I brought it home in August. Enough.

I am taking holidays between Giftmas and Oo Near. That would be a good time to putter around and finish stripping the wallpaper and give the walls a good wash. There may even be time to do the patching, or at least make an attempt at patching, because I suck at that sort of thing.

In my wildest fantasies (the wildest fantasies of the past hour, anyway) I can get it painted as well. Painted a bright lime green that screams cheer, good energy and inspiration.

We'll see about that.

Anyway, before pics:

This is the view behind my desk. I can't believe, now that I think about it, that I have been looking at this for four years. Clearly, I only see what I want to see.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

After the exam is over

How does the world keep turning?
How does the free time grow?
How does a knit stay burning?
After procrastination's glow?

OK, that's all I've got, and it's pretty lame.

The exam was 8 days ago, and since then, I feel ten years younger, 40 pounds lighter and just generally good about things.

Which is a long way to say that the exam was... not bad.

While there is no doubt that I didn't do enough studying, because it is impossible to do too much studying for these things, I don't think I completely buggered it up. I didn't have that shaking feeling of anxiety during the 20 minutes between the reading of the instructions and being allowed to touch the paper. I turned the paper over and wrote solidly for 3 hours and 55 minutes. The MC questions seemed to be clear, the case studies drew on content that I was comfortable with, enough that I could issue an opinion without grasping for straws. There wasn't a consolidation question with foreign currency translation, thank FSM. Looking back, I should have tackled the big case question first. The exam suggested 1 hour, 55 minutes for that question alone. I had 1 hr, 45 minutes left when I got to it.
I know, from reading the exam blueprint, that I did not go into enough detail to get an extraordinary number of points, but all I need is 50. It's pass/fail, and there is no feedback unless the candidate royally messes up. So, I'm letting it go until February 5, when the results are released.

I did realize, however, that taking this course now was a really good move - it's a course that tests breadth, not depth, and it draws on courses that I took as long as ten years ago. Much has changed (IFRS/GAAP, I'm looking at you!), much has been forgotten. I can only imagine how much harder it would have been if I had waited even longer, not taking any accounting courses in the mean-time.
So, the next order of business is to get through the second one, and then return to my degree studies. And if I never get around to that degree, well, then I will have accomplished the goal I set for myself in 1996 - to complete the CGA program of study. I could be satisfied with that. Maybe.

So, what I have been doing for the past week? Well, I cleaned my house, because things had been sorely neglected during the run-up to the exam, I listened to Harry Potter 5 and 6, and watched the movies. And on Sunday... I saw The Deathly Hallows Part 1.

It was good. As always, the books are better (though I kind of agree with people who have said that the months of roughing it could have been considerably shortened). What I like (and I need to do more reading about the changes in writers/directors/producers) is that like the books, the movies have grown with Harry - grown darker, addressed more mature issues. The animation of the story of The Deathly Hallows was particularly well done. Part 1 finished in a good spot - about 2/3 of the way through the book, but right before the final action begins. I can't wait for July.

And speaking of Harry Potter, I was at the watering hole on Friday, and convinced another reader to pick them up. She, like me, had been reluctant to jump on the bandwagon. I think I may have convinced her by talking about how it was a metaphor for Germany from 1936 to 1945, with flashes of Anne of Green Gables.
But there has also been knitting! I knitted a hat. It's alpaca, details on Ravelry. I've even blocked it, and hope to give it to the recipient tomorrow. It's a wee bit big for me, so it should fit her perfectly. If not, I'll make her another. She bought me more than enough yarn to do so, after all.
I don't know what the hell is going on with the jog on the right side. Bad photography staging, for sure.

That's better.

A hat.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Second post

OK, two posts in a day is not something I like to do, but this is too funny.

I got home at 5:30, and my normal practice when I don't have plans is to jump in the shower and then put on my jammies.

However, my lawn care guy was supposed to come at six to pick up his payment, so I didn't do that. Call me old-fashioned, but I like to be dressed when tradespeople come to call.

He phoned at 6:45. I told him, "I've been waiting for you to come, so I can get in the shower."

Cue the long silence.

I nattered something about not meaning it like that.

He came and got his money, still pissing himself with laughter.

I'm getting into the shower, now. Alone. Which is how I like it.

I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque

On Monday night, after posting about wanting to knit a vest, I sat down to knit a swatch.

I grabbed some yarn that had been sitting in the stash for a while (I can't believe I just ganked my own photo; it was just easier) and some needles.

I got 22 stitches and 28 rows to 4 inches. Perfect... for something.

During the next commercial break, I grabbed the binder where I keep all the patterns I've printed/photocopied (legally, of course) and found...

A sweater.

Basic Black

Yes, I know. I was all about the vests. But, I have a sweater's worth of yarn, I need a new cardigan, and the gauge was perfect. Really, I cannot stress that enough. THE GAUGE WAS PERFECT.

So, I'm making a Basic Black (pdf link), but mine will be Basic Pink (Ravelry link).

It's a deliciously easy knit. I cast on last night at Knit Night, and blasted on through an inch of ribbing while visiting. Got the other three inches done on the bus and at work today (I felt like slacking. So what?).

It's good that it's an easy knit. I found out an hour ago that I qualified for my exam. It's in 10 days. I have not started studying. I will knit while I am reading. I promise. About the reading. Harry Potter is on hold.

Monday, November 15, 2010

See my vest! See my vest!

Made from real gorilla chest....

A while ago, a friend gave me a vest she'd made but wasn't wearing.

Pattern from Chic Knits.

Mine is in heathered greys and has lovely shiny buttons. It just slid into my work wardrobe. So much so that I wear it at least once a week in fall/winter/early spring.

That's got me thinking that I need more vests. Vests, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about this, are the perfect article of clothing for me.
  • I layer things, and a vest, by its very nature, is meant to be layered.
  • There are no pesky too-short sleeves that make my extra-long arms look freakishly long.
  • I have lots of yarn in the stash that isn't quite enough for a sweater, but is just right for a vest.
  • Vests are probably fast to knit. See again: no sleeves.
I'm at the point where I am ready to choose a new project, and I am dithering between these:

photo from here

Of course, my favourite is in German. I don't speak German, and I really doubt that Google translate speaks knitting.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Me and Malls = Shoes

I had 15 minutes to kill today while I was waiting for a bus. So, I wandered into a shoe store.

I got these. On sale (it's hard to find stock in my size on sale).

Perfect for showing off hand-knitted socks. I didn't even know I needed these until the salesperson pointed that out.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


In preparation for this:

I am listening to all of the Harry Potter audiobooks. Not coincidentally, I am also a knitting machine these days.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A first sweater (but not really)

Up until a few days ago, it has been gorgeous, I think we all can agree.

But now that it's cold, I need sweaters. You see, I promised myself a couple of years ago that I would never buy myself a sweater again, and for the most part, I have held to that promise.

Therefore, in order to wear sweaters, I need to knit them.

Enter the Debbie Bliss Cotton Angora.

My friend Jodijill bought this several years ago for her first sweater. Naturally, I was the one who recommended pink (Jodijill freely admits that she's only wearing black until something darker is invented).

Well, the pink sweater never worked out, so Jodijill gave it to me in exchange for a pair of socks. I totally scored on that deal.

A couple of weeks ago, while suffering an epic hangover, I cast on. Two days later, this is what I had:
I did put it aside for a shawl and a hat, while I thought about how to not knit the sleeves just yet. That didn't take me long, so I've carried on and I'm just about done the body:

If I take it everywhere with me this weekend, I just might finish it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Books! Squee! More books!

If someone isn't depending on me to show up to something, I rarely leave the house on weekends.

My home is my castle and all that stuff.

However, I visited the public library website the other day, and noticed that a used book sale is coming up.

I immediately put it in my calendar. I was going, because I haven't bought a book since sometime in 2009 (sadly, that is not an exaggeration).

I spent $25 and got many, many books. I am a happy woman right now (not that I have time to read, but whatev).

The first thing I found was A Jest of God by Margaret Laurence. For fifty cents. Sold.

I did a book report on it in Grade 10. It was the first Laurence novel I ever read, and it started a lifelong love affair with her work.

Then I headed to the mystery and thriller section. I spied several David Baldacci books - I've been listening to many audio books by this author this summer, and I just finished Divine Justice. However, I mistakenly downloaded an abridged version, and it was... clunky. I'm looking forward to finding out what parts were left out.

And I found another Baldacci, Hour Game. It's in the middle of a series, but I'm pretty sure the first two are available via the library's audio download (have I mentioned how much I love that service? If not, I really love that service).

Mysteries also found me picking up two Ian Rankin books. I read the first Inspector Rebus novel years ago, and I fully intend to read them all. In order.

I'll make a note of the titles and pick them up here and there.
I checked out the science fiction and fantasy, then. Not much there, and certainly not what I was looking for. I love the epic sagas that stretch over many books and thousands of pages. It's been my experience that those are not often found used. Nerds tend to hang on to their books (not that I blame us). I'm mostly looking for hard copies of books I've listened to, and now have to keep my eyes peeled. Of course, once I've started buying a series, I like to have the same format, whether hardcover, trade or paperback. It really bothers me when my series don't match.

However, I did pick up the hard-cover copy of Emily Giffin's Love the One You're With. It won't match my trades, but it is at least the same cover style. One has to compromise when paying $3.00 for a fairly new hard cover novel.

I cruised over to the young adult table, then. Specifically, I was looking for the first two Harry Potter novels, which strangely disappeared from my apartment, years ago, after my roommate had a party. HP is another one that is hard to find used. I spied a copy of Twilight for a buck.

I have sworn to never read this novel, because Bella is an annoying twat and VAMPIRES DO NOT SPARKLE.
But for a dollar? I suppose I'll give it a try, just so that I can be condescending with some authority.

From there, I spied the craft section. Always on the hunt for knitting books, I made a beeline for that table. There were two knitting books, one really shitty, and the other one I all ready own. But, for $1.50, I bought Big Girl Knits anyway. I'll give it to someone, because it deserves to be loved.

Also, why so much needlepoint and crewel embroidery? It's cool stuff, don't get me wrong, but those two crafts are really over-represented in used-book sales and shops.

Sadly, my dreams of finding a first edition Starmore remain unfulfilled.

After that, it was a cruise down more fiction and literature. I picked up The Blind Assassin, but my other Margaret (Atwood). That is amusing, because I woke up this morning thinking about The Handmaid's Tale, a novel that truly freaked me out, and made me sign up for my Feminist with a capital F membership.

At this point, my arms were full, so I made my way to the till. When I said to the fellow that I had to leave because I couldn't carry any more, he kindly offered to let me leave my stack there so I could continue shopping. How nice, eh? I wandered through the cookbooks (on the lookout for The Joy of Cooking and anything by Julia Child, just for fun). On a table earmarked for hobbies, I spied a one-volume set of the first four Hitchiker's novels.

For a dollar.

I nearly shouted with joy. I've been looking for these, off and on, for years. I read them in high school and think of them often. The recent movie was a tragedy, by the way.

Then, it was a quick cruise through the cds (Alanis Morrisette and Boyz to Men were seriously over-represented) and then back to the till. Time to come home and find shelf space for all these treasures.

I think I will try leaving the house more often on weekends. Long bus rides across town are also very productive when knitting socks.

Friday, October 22, 2010

If you could read my mind

You tube + Friday night + drinking = walk down memory lane

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Happy, Happy Times

I don't know about other folks... but sometimes, I screw up my friendships.

I get busy... I am usually drunk... I do stupid things.

And then people disappear off the face of the earth. Fair enough. It's probably my fault.

But sometimes, thing re-align themselves, and the world is perfect again.

As in, I just spent six hours with a dear, dear friend I have missed greatly. The world is a happy place right now.

Will, I will be your Grace any time. Always and forever.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I'm still fighting with the pink wrap. I've screwed up royally (about 20 rows to rip back) and therefore, it's in time out. Really, every time I think I've got things under control, I pour a glass of wine or six, and then things go pear-shaped.

Coincidence? I think not? Will I stop drinking wine? Not bloody likely.

However, I wanted to move on to a quick, easy project that would give me a sense that I have accomplished something. I thought I would make some socks for my newest nephew. These will be too small for him, but I'm sure there will be another baby in my circle of friends and family eventually (cough, January, cough).

They are adorable, and only took me about four hours.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Paddling upstream. Or not.

I am... not tactful. In certain situations, I can be downright blunt. And in commemoration of a particularly memorable phrase shouted in a bar during a meeting I was chairing, one of my dearest friends made this for me:

I think it's awesome, and as soon as I can figure out where to hang it, it will proudly be the first piece of art on these walls (it's only been four years).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Eight rows forward, four rows back

I have been on a knitting marathon this summer, and I'm rocking the complicated stuff.

Different gauge? I own it.

Tricky shaping? Let me do the math.

Finishing? You are my bitch.
However, the knitting god (must be a man) has to smack a knitter down, every once in a while.
This is what it should be:

This is what I did:

Yup, I ripped. And I had wondered why I only had 29 stitches when putting my row markers back on the purl row after the double decrease.
Perhaps listening to extremely compelling audio novels is not a good idea while knitting a lace pattern.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A recipe

I'm not much of a cook. I like food, there's no doubt about that, but I'm not really that interested in cooking for myself. I mean, I cook, quite a bit, but it's not my favourite thing to do.

That said, I love gardening. And, I grow tomatoes and basil for just one reason.

And, that reason is something I only know in Spanish. Tomates salades

It's stupidly simple. I don't know why I didn't think of this before I went to Spain.

Slice some provolone or goat cheese, and layer slices of tomato and red onion. Top with a fresh basil leaf. Drizzle with olive oil, the best you can afford.

Nom, nom, nom.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Don't worry, I'm still alive

My house is currently 28 degrees C. It is only 25 degrees outside (at nearly midnight).

Since it's been like this for the better part of the past two months, I've pretty much been living outside (one of these days, I will get a laptop and wifi).

Here's a little snapshot of some of what I have been doing:

Want a closer look?

Plus, there's this:

And a few odd things that are shaped like feet:

It's not all about the sticks and string, though. There's a mountain of greenery. Most of which is producing food:

There's been the occasional quick trip out of town. Mostly involving babies. Some two-legged babies, as always, but a particularly memorable trip was one involving four-legged babies:

In summary, I just haven't felt like writing. Not sure if I am depressed, not sure if I am just not into it. Lots of good things are happening in my life.

Some not so good stuff, either. I just registered for a course, and that is indeed a sign that summer is over. :(