Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Have you ever had a Digging Party??

We're several days later & the drive still isn't dug. It seems to just lay there & look smug. So I started digging it out. Bloody awful job. 10 minutes & I'm out of breath. So I pour myself a cup of tea, sit outside, rest & dig some more. I did this for a couple of days until my right shoulder started to really give me hell. Both days I came in & took a couple of aspirin & a nap after all that work. Yesterday, my techie buddies Steve & Kelly called to see if I wanted to go for coffee at Starbucks. Yessiree I wanted to go - haven't been out in almost two weeks except the Tuesday before Christmas to go to work. But, the boys can't come & get me - they're in Kelly's Smart Car - 600 lbs in the 500 lb car!! Steve's truck is broken down & I can't get out. SOB. So I suggested we have a digging party the next day. They said SURE!! Gawd I love those boys!!!!
Yesterday, Kelly arrives with the shovel. Apparently there's only room in the Smart Car for Steve or the shovel. Kelly brought the shovel. Not much of a Smart Car in MY humble opinion . . . . .
So we dug out the remainder of the drive. And then we chipped away at the frozen ruts in the alley to free up the flood water forming the lake at the end of my drive. While resting with a hot tea after our exertions - the last of the Baileys in mine, a gale-force wind blew up with swirling, blinding snow!! Kelly grabbed his shovel & got his Smart Car out of here before he got stuck.

This morning I decided to check out the lake at the foot of the drive. It's now a frozen lake. And I still can't get out!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After

To whom it may concern in the weather department, Christmas is OVER! Cut the white stuff already!!

There was no point in shoveling my drive other than to get the Van back in the other day because there's now 14 & a bit inches on it again. This time, instead of being light & fluffy, it's heavy & wet! And it's been snowing on & off for three days now. The neighbors across the alley keep shoveling their driveway but they can't get out of the alley!! And then they keep digging out their portion of the alley to get back in the drive again. Our side streets are so bad that no one's getting out tomorrow unless it rains a whole bunch tonite.

The cat is furious with me. She whines at the door to go out, finds the same white crap & whines to get back in. She sits in the window flipping the venetian blinds until I open it up & then refuses to go out when the first paw sinks into it. We repeat this performance several times a day till she curls up in my handspun, hand dyed, hand knit shawl for another nap. I really don't blame her. I'm getting a little stir-crazy myself.

Me?? Well, I've been cursing the Carpenter Wallaby again. I found another error in the garter trim for the neck opening. You can tell I'm slightly crazed by the stupid errors I'm making! Anyway, I decided I was NOT going to Frog that part of the yoke AGAIN. I mean it's only 10 crummy stitches after all, right??? So I picked out the stitches down many rows to change a knit into a purl & then alternate my way back up. Took an hour or so to correct & it crossed both my eyes in the process. The guy who's getting this thing would never have known there was a mistake. But I would. My eyes would go straight to that place every time I saw him in that sweater. And it would drive me nutz. So I fixed it.

So, I'm working on a year end & corporate tax return today & I find I've run out of paper!!! I can't believe it. I buy paper by the box!! I have two boxes of tractor paper for the old printer but no ribbons & extra cartridges for the Laser but no damned paper . . . so what's with this??? Am I getting a kick in the a** for fighting at Christmas???

Thursday, December 25, 2008

So this is Christmas . .

There's nothing like starting out with a big knock em down, drag em out, teeth & bare knuckles fight with your long term bud for Christmas! We did & I did. And the ugly elephant has been acknowledged & flayed alive with even uglier words. This time I crossed the line & said things that can't be taken back. So how come I feel so rotten?? My gut's in a knot & I feel like hell. I suppose you have to go thru withdrawl before you cure the addiction. And it seems I've given the BT the boot . . . .

So, after everything else had turned to sh*t, I discovered I'd made a mistake in the yoke of the Carpenter sweater that I finished yesterday! I forgot I made the size medium sleeves on the size large body & the whole thing looked really short when I got to the end of the yoke decreases. I tossed it on the couch
in disgust last nite & went to bed! And woke up in the middle of the nite with a possible solution!! Amazing what your brain does while you sleep, isn't it?? This morning, I worked out the mistake - I needed another 20 decrease stitches which would make the yoke at least 10 rows bigger!!! So I ripped out the whole yoke first thing & have spent most of the afternoon redoing the thing, adjusting for the missing 20 stitches. It's already looking a whole lot better & I'm just about ready to start the hood. Whew!! At least something worked out today. I didn't feel like being nice to anyone today so I watched the Star Trekalong on the Science Fiction Channel while more snow fell & knit instead.

I did hear from my favorite niece today, miracle of miracles, so I'm very glad I stayed home!! She's in the RCMP & last summer passed both her Corporal & Sergeant's exams in one week!! I was thrilled. After passing the exams, she figured she'd have to take a wilderness posting for a couple of years in order to get promoted but didn't want to leave her current project. She called to tell me she just had her 40th birthday & had been promoted to Corporal without the move! OMG - I can't believe it!! Good news!!! I still remember her as all knees & elbows, long hair & rollerskates!! I just can't believe the time went by so fast . . . .

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

More Snow

So I had to get out of my driveway to do payroll yesterday. I had a good look out there & it wasn't pretty.
I had 15" in the driveway & two blocks down the alley & out to the main road which is clear, apparently. I rummaged around & found some old lace-up hiking boots & blew the cobwebs off the snow shovel & headed out to get it done. There was so much snow I had to shovel it twice! After about a third of it I thought it was too much damned work, so I just got in the van & drove out. I managed to get my work done, some groceries bought & head back home around 4:00. Well, none of the snow had melted at all, it was snowing again already & I couldn't get into the drive. I couldn't back up either so I headed farther down into the abyss figuring I'd just circle the block & DRIVE into the drive instead of backing in like I usually do. NOPE. Two nice men from warmer climes came to stand behind me & wave while I tried to rock the damned van back & forth to get it unstuck & up the slope out of the alley. The van don't rock. Older cars rock nicely. Trucks rock. Whats' with this van??? Eventually, I got it out, up the slight slope & around the block to find the guy I'd done the payroll for standing in my driveway with a snowshovel & a Christmas card. He parked the van in a pile of snow, cleared the drive & backed it into it's original spot. Whew . . . don'tja just love a guy from Nova Scotia???
When I looked out this morning, it's snowing like hell & you can't even tell the driveway was shoveled at a
ll yesterday! I'm not coming out till its GONE!

Now Vancouver is a pretty large city that shuts down when it
snows. The main streets get plowed mostly but the suburban streets get nothing unless they're on the bus route. And if the bus route is on a large hill - the bus doesn't run! Simon Fraser University closes down because the bus can't get up or down. I remember working close to UBC one year when we got a huge dump of snow so quickly that the buses just stopped running - too dangerous! I couldn't leave work for two hours because the main road, in front of where I worked, wasn't moving at all. UBC students were hiking miles to find rides. And people were abandoned at bus stops. Cars were picking up as many passengers as they could stuff in & somehow we all got home that day. A couple of other times, it took me over 7 hours to get from Vancouver to New Westminster down the Lougheed Hwy only to find the Patullo Bridge to Surrey had been closed! Lucky for me, I had a friend on the other side!! New Westminster doesn't even have snow removal equipment!! I don't think Surrey has much. So, a big dump of snow is pretty devastating around here. Mind you, it sure is pretty for Christmas & it may keep most of the drunks off the road for a change! And I sure hope it melts away quickly afterwards!!

So, since I'm stuck indoors for the duration, I'm knitting. I have the Carpenter Wallaby almost finished. The body & arms are attached & the yoke is almost finished - I'm a couple of rows from casting on more stitches for the hood. And I've downloaded & printed off the Winter06 ski mask for him as well. I hope to have both of them finished tomorrow. Then I'm onto another pair of Knitty's Spirogyra mitts for myself - I really need them right now!!! Oh, and Arvik is back in the bag - why?? It's too damned cold out there to wear it!! I need to finish GINNY. Or knit MYSELF a wool Wallaby . . . . .
I opened the Christmas Card after the Guy from Nova Scotia left & it was full of money!! Wooohooo . . . . and an invite for Christmas dinner!!
I just got off the phone with another invite for Christmas dinner!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

And it snowed some more

A nice dump of snow was had by all last nite!! I got another 11" of snow on top of the snow already in the drive this morning. Now, it's been the light, dry & kind of fun type of snow so I didn't shovel the 5" I already had on the drive . . . . I swept
a path instead with my outdoor broom to the van & drove away the other day. I have a van, who needs to shovel??? Well, I guess I do now - I have to do a payroll tomorrow down in Langley. Oooops.

The cat whined & flipped the venetian blinds until I wanted to choke her this morning because she wanted ooooooooooooout!! So I let her out. She ran outside, jumped after a bird & got buried up to her neck & tail. And froze. The only thing sticking out was a head & tail!! I didn't have my camera handy darnit but I sure did laugh!! She came back thru the door twice as fast as she flew out. I just know She blames me for the situation - after all, I'm in charge of the weather. This is the view outside her window where she lays.

So what have I been doing
whilst stuck inside?? Why, knitting of course! I finished the toes on the
purple socks. They look great. You'd never know that they came from different balls of yarn unless you look for all the tucked in ends inside . . . .

And I've got the Carpenter Wallaby all on one circ now & decreasing towards the neckline. The first few rows after the arms & body are joined are a
wkward & stiff but once you knit a few rows, it all gets better! This fella has really long arms & body so I've got a lot more sweater on the needles than I would have normally but I'm thinking this will look great on the kid. He's also asked for an earflap hat to go with it & I may just make it a balaclava while I'm at it. I saw one on Knitty that covers all but the eyes - made for skiing - & it should make a Carpenter's life a little better outside!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Flu Season is Officially Here!

I'm sure glad I read the Yarn Harlot! With all the truly hilarious goin
gs-on in HER house, it somehow makes mine feel normal.

The BT is really sick with this dreadful flu & is now hooked up to an oxygen tank. Although he's feeling a little better for the first time in a wee
k & actually able to talk tonite, even he agreed that it's a GOOD thing he's in the hospital right now!! There's also no more debate about going home for Christmas, he'll be celebrating in hospital this year!! Apparently FIVE other patients are also down with this flu & it isn't pretty on the ward! Some of them, the BT included, are flirting with pneumonia. So,if you haven't had the time to get your flu shot - get it NOW. This one is nasty.

I started the week with sneezes
, an occasional cough & runny eyes. I am now getting the headache, aching bones & sore throat, dammit! I thought I'd avoid all this & stayed away from everyone, including the hospital on purpose - but I guess it's now MY Turn. And NO, I didn't bother with a flu shot either!!

I did manage to get out yesterday fill up the car with Winter window washer, topped up the rad & swept the snow off the drive. I don't know why the neighbors bothered to SHOVEL - I swept mine with the stiff bristle broom that stays outside! It's hilarious to see the trail of white footsteps leading to the garbage can where I walked before I swept. I hope they freeze & stay all winter!!!

So, I'm getting lots of knitting done! I'm finishing off the toes to my purple Frankensocks. I found four little balls of purple patterned yarn in the leftover box & one of solid purple Sisu so I thought I'd knit it all up for fun. I like the purple socks so much that I've decided to knit some purple fingerless gloves!! I used the Knitty pattern, Spirogyra, to knit up some grey handspun fingerless gloves which I really liked. My EX is now wearing them!! He bought me breakfast one morning & complained about how cold it is doing things outside even when he wears gloves. So I had him try on the fingerless ones & he wore them home. Gives me the excuse to knit some new ones in that purple Merino & silk blend from Aurelia that I spun up a couple of years ago. There wasn't enough to make anything big & I'm not a scarf person but there certainly is enough to knit LONG fingerless Spirogyras!!!

Time to find the Bailey's & add it to a big, steaming mug of Tea & kick this bug into hell!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Did I SAY that???

I think I cursed all the celebrations for Wednesday nite! I was supposed to go to a company Christmas dinner tonite & take the BT with me. He's sick as a dog with a flu bug & can barely breathe. I'm getting something nasty that's making me cough, wheeze
& sneeze & we've had enough snow in 8 hours to create havoc all over the Lower Mainland!! Between the deep freeze temperatures & the dump of snow, even the cat won't go outside. Did I say Let it Snow??? Oooops.

One thing about being stuck inside all day is that I'm finishing off my purple Frankensocks. They're not for anyone in particular & may even wind up in MY sock drawer but it's always smart to have a couple of extra gifts on hand - Just in Case!

I took a couple of pictures around noon - my car was already covered in snow & it was just starting to really come down in very large flakes & the wind was starting to blow again. I'm so glad to be indoors with the cat, with a pot of chicken soup on the simmer & a big mug of tea in my hand. Now where did I leave the Bailey's . . . . .

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

I woke up yesterday to dinner plate sized snow flakes & that puffy grey sky that lets you know WINTER has arrived. And it was payroll day. Drat! I now had to spend my day running thru the snow flakes, frozen rain, slush puddles & roofline drips with papers in my hands. And I have no winter tires on my car . . . Now, last summer, the BT & I both bought new-to-us cars. We ended up swapping said
cars but I kept the new winter mud & snow tires that were in the trunk of my original car. Lovely tires. I stashed them out at the mechanic's place & really didn't think another thing about them. Last Saturday I went out to change the thermostat & put on the tires. WRONG. Neither of us had bothered to check them . . . . . I needed 14" tires & they, sadly, are 15". And won't fit. How stupid can you get?? Pretty basic eh?? And I can't find a winter or snow tire in this town to fit my car. Apparently Quebec changed it's laws to make snow tires mandatory & the Province sucked up every snow tire that could be found in the country! My only compensation is that I know people with tow trucks & tire stores. They're all looking for some good used tires for me - hopefully I'll find some before spring. But, I'll take them anyway.

I've actually done some knitting on Arvik. Both arms are done to the elbow. I was going to make them three quarter sleeves but now I'm not sure. I'll knit them both to about three quarter sleeves, put the sleeves on the holders & finish the body before I decid
e. I do need a sweater for work & Arvik would sure fit the bill for a light throw on. Ginny, on the other hand, is a heavier sweater in a worsted weight washable wool. It's actually the one I SHOULD be finishing since it's all done but the trim! But first things first. I mostly need a light sweater that's not too warm for indoors or running to & from the car. So, I'm finishing Arvik first. I intend to spend my Christmas knitting, spinning & finishing up work that's been on the desk for months.

Speaking of all things Christmas - my Christmas cactus & the Crab cactus are blooming their little hearts out - see above - have been for two weeks now since I took pity on them & brought them indoors! Hint - they spend all late spring to late fall outside under the patio table!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

And Back to Knitting . . .

I've finished the Christmas knitting - well, I've finished the Christmas SOCK knitting! The GIFT socks I'm mailing away are on the r
ight. I enjoyed making Frankensocks for my Giftee this year. Frankensocks is a term created by Gail - one of the Wednesday Sock Knitters - to describe socks made up of all the leftovers from other socks!! I try to group my leftovers in 'color themes' so that they relate somehow. My Giftee loves bright colors & her fav is PINK so I took all the leftover yarns with pink in them & found a couple that went well with the solid Sisu pink & black I bought. Aren't they wild?? I hope she'll love them.

The BT's DAD's socks are also finished. He gets socks three times a year & has come to really appreciate them since his ankles started to swell. He's bothered by the elastic in regular socks now. I make sure to knit them on the 2.5mm needles so they're just a little bit looser than my regular ones on the 2.25mm needles to give him a little more room. These have that Norwegian flavor to them which will delight his heart.

And, I'll continue to knit washcloths for my male buddies - they get new ones every year & whine if they don't!! I make them extra large for the guys, you see. They're about twice the s
ize of most knitted washcloths, I like them that way and so do the Boys apparently. Last year I made them in a nice thick cotton in a white & fresh green with just a touch of purple in it. Sounds girly?? Wasn't!! The combo was surprisingly fresh & attractive. This year, the color choices were dismal. I couldn't find any of the big balls of cotton in any colors that didn't knock your eyes out. And, of course, they always have the usual light oatmeal or white - very unappealing to me! So, I dug in the stash & found a couple of Big Balls in 'Jewels' - a purple & pink combo that I've used before. One of my Guys reported that the color runs enough to produce pink bubbles in the shower but doesn't dye underwear when washed . . . . Well, thank goodness for that!!

This week I have time to shop for my Annual Bum Bags. The BT & I got to know 5 or 6 people who band together with a shifting group of other homeless wanderers in an old shack at the back of a grubby industrial area. Ronn felt really sorry for them because they fall thru the cracks in our society. They're a sad little group with mental, physical & ad
diction problems who choose to live "in the rough" as the Brits say. And they ARE rough. They work hard to survive by picking cans, collecting junk, dumpster diving for food & working when they can for a few bucks. It's cold, wet & miserable in the winter where they are so I buy Mcdonald's coupons & socks, ponchos, tarps, gloves, candy, oranges & tea bags at the dollar store to fill the Christmas bags. They expect nothing so it's a hoot to see the surprise on their faces when they get a bag with their name on the tag!!

So, I've dug out Arvik. The cat's worn it more than I have si
nce I started it!! Every chance she gets, she lays on it or curls up in it so I'll have to make sure I put it out of her reach when it's done!!! If she gets really lucky, I'll knit her a small blanket to cuddle up in . . . . So, I've opened the bag & pulled it out. Poor Arvik. I intend to get back to finishing it this week so I have a warm sweater to wear. I love the color & the softness of this yarn. I really must get back to spinning the rest of Arvik's fleeces. This is the year I intend to wear WOOL. For a change.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Pissing Contest in Ottawa

Oh how the Boys can squabble & argue in Ottawa. We pay them those big salaries with all those perks for this??? I hope our talented & intelligent GG can make them all take a Time Out & stand in the corner until they agree to work together on an Economic Strategy.
But WHO do we get to be Leader??? I don't like ANY of them!!! To say we're becoming the laughing stock of the world is an understatement . . .

Terrific job Harlot, for explaining the Rules of Engagement to this Canadian!!! Go to the Yarn Harlot (http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/) for the explanation.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Wool Weather

Prince Rupert weather came calling the past couple of days. We've had that cold misty rain that doesn't look like much but soaks you thru to your skin quickly while you load groceries or stand outside to chat with a neighbor for a moment or two. It's the stuff that keeps the Rain Forest alive & well on the Pacific West Coast but it's hell for the creatures who don't grow a warm waterproof coat. It's definitely WOOL weather.

I picked up the BT at the new Surrey Rehab Unit on
Saturday after lunch & spent the rest of the afternoon getting soaked. In the time it took to unload the wheelchair, wheel it to his door, let him transfer & wheel him indoors, I got soaked. After three ins & outs, he decided to stay in the van while I got take-out to eat in the van to save me another soaking . . . . He likes the new Unit although he's the youngest person there again. Very high tech with all the conveniences built right in. And they have Specialists on call for everything. Within 24 hours of finding a problem, they have a Specialist in to check things out & order tests. Rehab patients get priority testing & fixing. WOW.

So I came home tired & wet after being out for the afternoon. It takes a lot of energy to haul that wheelchair in & out & push a 240lb
man uphill most of the time!! He was also tired from his first three days in the new unit & was blessing the Gods who give Rehab patients the weekend off to rest! It's times like these that I really miss the old wood stove, but I managed to get warm with the fish chowder I'd made the day before. And I got thinking about the three WOOL sweaters I have, partially finished, for MOI. Yeah, polar fleece works but it sure doesn't keep you warm when it's wet. Wool sure does. I have half a livingroom full of wool & no sweaters for me. Sort of like the Mechanic who drives the worst car in the neighborhood???? So, my Christmas socks are almost finished - toes to do for the BT's dad & toes to do on my Secret Santa project . . . . . . .

emember Ginny??? And Arvik?? Well, Ginny's actually finished except for the edging. I have to pick up stitches down the fronts, across the bottom & back up around the neck & knit some sort of finish stitch. And then I can wear it. I just looked at all those stitches I had to pick up & cast-on for another sock . . . . And Arvik? Well, it's in the top photo & I haven't progressed beyond what you see. Arvik is next on the agenda - probably my Christmas knitting, so there! How do you spell procrastinate???

The Secret Santa socks have their heels turned & are on the home stretch to the toes. I've ended up with only two patterned yarns with the pink & the black somehow. Not sure if I should add a third color or not at this time but I'll knit a little more & then decide what to do. One thing's sure, these are plenty bright & wild just as they are so my Giftee should love them. Just a second shot of them from the heel - don't you love the way the patterned yarn turned out??