Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Back to Work

No one quite knows what to do with the few days between Christmas & New Years, including me. I sat in my favorite chair most of yesterday watching the Home & Garden Channel marathons & knitting on the Marble sweater. I watched my favorite, Peter Fallico, buy, reno & flip a house! I think my favorite Fallico series is still Home to Go, where he made simple renos & lots of design changes for renters which could go with them when they moved. Some of the best were the apartments with the smallest budgets - the man is a marvel of makeover!! Sarah Richardson is my second favorite. She favors the simple pallet with expensive elegance but I remember when she made her own slip covers & installed her own light fixtures in Room Service. My favortite episode was the one where she took the old leaky shed & turned it into a simple Beach Cottage for kiddie sleepovers . . . that girl's amazing. I enjoyed watching her do her 2008 flip all over again. And ate turkey soup.

Got into the big discussion of Stat Holidays with a friend over a cup of java at 'Bucks yesterday too. He told me all the Government & Bank offices were closed because they got Monday in leiu of the Boxing Day stat which fell on the weekend. I told him Boxing Day is NOT a statutory holiday - unless negotiated for in a contract. There are only 10 stats & Boxing Day is NOT one of them as most people think. I have this arguement every year with somebody on one of the payrolls I do so I've actually bookmarked the Labor Standards page on the subject! And why did this topic come up anyway??? Well, we were trying to figure out if we should put out the garbage Monday nite for pickup on Tuesday morning. I put mine out last nite because the City may be on an extended holiday but I was sure the contractors who pick up the garbage are not! I'm at the beginning of the route these days - by the time you hear them, it's too late - they come barrelling down the alley just after 7AM & don't stop for anything but a can - on the curb, not in arms . . . . And sure enough, just after 7, they roared down the alley . . .

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sushi & Starbucks

I knew both would be open today in Newton. And as a regular customer, it was my Duty to show my support by showing up. Since the house is feeling a little empty - I think I actually miss that damned cat m
ore than I missed the BT - I packed up my knitting, bought some California Rolls & encamped in the comfy corner chair at Starbucks with Sushi & a mug of coffee. As I sat, two little girls ran over & jumped in the other chair. I told them they'd have to share since the one behind the Sushi was MINE. We had a nice visit, talked about clothes, colors & all our favorite things before their mom took them back to Gramma's house for dinner. And then the crowd came in . . . . I tried to get a refill but the line just kept getting longer until one of the Barristas had to turn people away. The store was supposed to close at 4 but had a full house & a line to the door . . .

I'm knitting another version of Kyler's Kardigan - a simple garter stitch, top down cardi - in the purple Marble yarn I bought last year at Knitopia. I was going to knit a Wonderful Wallaby but de
cided I would prefer the cozyness of garter stitch to the stockinette of the Wallaby. And I like knitting from the top down since I need a bigger front & back with smaller sleeves to fit my Apple shape. I can try it on occasionally to make sure it'll fit this way too!! I find I tend to wear my recycled yarn Kardigan to work constantly & I throw it on to work in my home office in the mornings too - so I thought something machine washable & dryable would be a better option for work. The Marble goes a long way even in garter stitch so it may become my yarn of choice for other simple sweaters that need washing often. Yes, Virginia, there are times that acrylic is the fibre of choice even when you spin your own yarn.

I know it's a blessing not to be tripping over the cat, cleaning up barf or picking up all the half eaten chicken on the kitchen floor, but it doesn't feel natural to go to the bathroom alone anymore. It didn't matter when I headed in that direction, the cat would have to be in front & get there first. Sometimes I'd fool her by going into the Office or the bedroom on the other side but it wasn't often. She liked playing in the dripping water in the tub & bitched at me till I made it drip. She used to use the litter box & then head for the water to play & leave dirty paw prints . . .
The tub & toilet are actually CLEAN for the first time in a couple of years! It just ain't natural!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Its been a rather busy couple of weeks since the last post. And, I just haven't felt like posting for most of it. I know, I know, I get cranky when my favorite posters haven't posted in a while but sometimes, well, you just don't feel like letting anyone know how crappy your life is. My cat had a stroke last week & died. She got a little peculiar when I took a short term job & was away all day for a couple of months & took to peeing in the corner of my office! Then she started throwing up on everything. That behavior stopped & things were almost back to normal when she had the stroke. She died several hours later cuddled up in her favorite blanket.

I finally paid off my new spinning wheel!! It's a Majacraft Suzie Pro. I had great fun trying out two models at Knitopia last week. I've had mine on Lay-away for almost TWO years! I had no money for most of the time & put little dribbles on it as I had them. He, who will not be mentioned, sucked up most of my income until last Christmas when I had my melt down & gave him the boot. I was finally able to pay it off this year when I got some birthday money that didn't have to go to some bill!! Whoooopie!! The top picture is Suzie set up to full height & the second shows Suzie folded for transport. She takes up much less space than my Indian Spinner & comes with a handle!! She should travel well to Spin-Ins & Retreats. My only complaint is the size of the bobbins - my old Indian Spinner has magnificently HUGE bobbins while Suzie needs a half dozen to even approach the capacity of one of the old ones . . .

That being said, Suzie is sleek, shiny & new. With double treadles!! Now I won't get cramps in my right shin when I spin for long hours!! Suzie travels a whole lot better than my Indian & takes up less space in the car. I just have to design a padded bag for her.

I finished the socks for the Hairdresser's Boyfriend. I have the horrible feeling I'm going to be the Official Socknitter for a while . . . . He suffers from cold, swo
llen feet & managed to snag HER pair of socks which he's worn out in the heels. He says they're the only socks he can wear & have warm feet. I suppose I can swap for perms for a while. Or she can bring me Bailey's when she crosses the Border.

I've also been knitting tuques for some of the Bum Bags. I usually fill the bags with Dollar Store goodies but I have another box of Buffalo wool -
I should never open strange boxes - I thought I might as well use it up & knit warm head coverings. Knitting Buffalo wool is really hard on my sore hands but it's such a good way to use it up. It keeps the head warm even when wet & the wind can't blow through it like the finer wools so it's a good choice for people who live outdoors. I can't imagine sleeping outside or in a unheated place in this weather!! Hopefully, these will make life a little warmer for a couple of people.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Oh, I fell into SIN today

Yes, I sinned today. I promised my bent & broken credit card I would use it no more until the balance was severely reduced. Today I wrestled with Temptation & Temptation won. I had the card out to pay for my old Douglas College transcripts - it seems after 15 years of taking part-time courses at the Open University, I'm required to submit a really old transcript so they can check to see if I actually completed the courses they checked 15 years ago when they let me in. They even have the courses on the computer but they aren't "Official" for Graduation. So I had the card out to pay for the Transcript to be sent by "Snail Mail" - they mustn't be touched by human hands between being sealed by one Institution & opened by the next & only a physical copy will do.
And then this email came in from Amazon . . . And I took a look. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger! It was already too late. I got a deal X3. And free shipping, too! And what did I get?? Well, EZ's Knitters Almanac which I've been wanting but it was too expensive when I saw it - do you know that a couple of On-line shops are selling USED copies for up to $86!!! I got it new for under $9. I got Arctic Lace - Knitting Projects & Stories Inspired by Alaska's Native Knitters - I've read about this one but hadn't seen it anywhere local - got it on sale at 40% off!! And I got Jane Slicer-Smith's new book, Swing, Swagger, Drape - Knit the Colors of Australia - I love her designs & wanted to see how she does it.

This is my present to myself this year! When I'm snowed in this time around, I'll be happily reading, listening to the latest audio books & spinning. I almost can't wait!!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Blue Skies over the cold Streets of Vancouver

I love this weather! The sky is blue, there's just enough wind to blow the leaves around & give you hypothermia if you don't watch out. It's good weather to wear your Cowichan sweater or handspun bulky knit with thick socks, mitts & a hat while you race your dog across the park. It makes you appreciate the hot toddy when you come in to a nice warm house!! As a kid I loved to be outside in this weather & still do, if I'm warmly wrapped. And that's the secret. Be warmly wrapped. It's too cold, when the sun goes down, to be out there without wool or good fleece, if you must. Time to donate blankets, good used coats, heavy wool sweaters, mitts, socks & hats to those who have not, folks.

I finished the red & pink socks last evening. And I've cast on for the Hairdresser's boyfriend socks. I found some blues, white & black Confetti yarn in the bottom of the sock yarn pile which should be good enough for him. I am ensuring good perms for the next year by doing this - I really don't give a damn about the boyfriend, who is another aging bum. Amazing how independent women attract the helpless men of this world . . . Maybe independent women need weak men, at least they stay out of the way when we're doing things.

My mother also made some "cold feet" comments the last time I called her so I guess I should get off my butt & knit some more socks for her too. I have one pair in the basket & should get another knit up quickly - maybe Santa will arrive this year for a change!!! hahahaha

Have you ever had an oil sprayer explode??? I got one for myself several years ago because I wanted to just spritz a little oil on things. Fewer calories that way! I bought the most expensive one with the classy brushed aluminum finish that you pump up every time you use it . . . So, I decided to spray just a light bit of oil into my pan to cook some fish. I pumped it up but it only drizzled so I gave it another two pumps & it exploded. Everywhere. I only hope I can get all that oil out of the front of my favorite purple shirt!! And I'm still cleaning up little blobs of oil after a week! The kitchen floor has never been so clean. Thank gawd for Watkins Degreaser.

I've been puttering away on the Wonderful Wallaby in the purple Marble yarn but my fingers have been so sore in all the damp weather, especially since I'm a Thrower - this year's extremely sore fingers appear to be my thumbs & right index finger. Hooray, lets have all the useful fingers messed up at once!!! I have to finish two sweaters for me before the old hands give out!!
I still have my heavy jacket-in-progress in the Anniversary Blue Briggs & Little yarn to finish. It's done to the armholes in the back & the shoulders in the front. If you remember, I knit it in one piece to the armholes & intend on picking up the sleeves from the deep armhole & short rowing the shoulder a la EZ's Tomten while knitting them to the cuff. I'll pay for that operation since the jacket is quite heavy. I had to quit working on it in the early spring when it was so damp because my hands just couldn't handle the weight. Nice project for the cold & dry days we have right now though - the old fingers are not as sore when it's dry!

So, maybe I'll just finish the sock projects & the pooch cowl for Christmas. I'd like to wear the heavy blue sweater but it's something to work on if I get snowed in again - if the Ice & Snow tires I just got installed don't get me out. The Famous Farmer's Almanac is making nasty, cold predictions for us this winter - apparently we're going to be 6 degrees colder than normal this winter & should get another big dump of snow.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

Since I spent the rent money fixing up the Van, I'm pounding on the computer trying to finish off a client's project so I can get the money before the Landlord notices that I haven't slid a cheque under the door - again!! I'm not a bad tenant & usually pay on time, except December thru February, when money is short in the Contracting world & no one pays the bookkeeper. One thing about half finished & stockpiled projects, you can finish them & finally get paid. Usually. It also usually means long days & working into the wee hours, if not all nite, occassionally. Good thing I have Audio Books. I just downloaded three more from Nevada Barr. They're thrillers set in the National Parks in the US. The heroine is, a middle-aged Park Ranger, Anna Pidgeon. Anna's the curious type who's usually prepared for sleeping outside, falling into ravines, being chased by murderous types, swimming in the dark & getting whacked, clobbered, knocked about & generally left for dead in the wilderness. An awesome independent woman!

So, while I'm pounding on the computer till all hours, I'm not knitting or producing any wooly projects! My hairdresser wants a pair of socks for her boyfriend who's suffering with swollen ankles & cold feet. I just know what's gonna happen there . . . And I have 6 touques to make for the Tire Shop guys. And my hoodie to finish. I've managed to turn the second heel in the red/pnk Regia socks I'm knitting for myself & gather together all the "goodies" for the Secret Santa Swap so I can mail the box tomorrow. Wish we had the standard boxes the US has for parcels!! I'd like to just have the box that I can afford & then just stuff it full of goodies instead of finding something & hoping it won't cost a fortune to mail . . .

Sometime this weekend I plan on carding the pooch hair & shetland with handcarders so I can spin it up for the surprise for Mary. I decided NOT to even try to spin pure pooch - I can just see the stuff flying all over the place as I try to spin it!!! I'm hoping to get it done fairly quickly - I'll be spinning between computer sessions - so I can knit a lace cowl before Christmas. The Plan is to make a fairly large cowl that can be pulled over the hair but still cover the neck AND I'm hoping I can get the 'doggie' smell out of it. It HAS been sitting in the plastic bag for at least a couple of years . . . .