Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I really cleaned up

For a person who tried to ignore Christmas, I've done quite well this year! Since I meet most of my clients at Starbucks, they've all contributed to my habit!! I have a wallet full of Starbucks cards! I think there's one of every kind they have.

The Techie Boys have been laughing at me since I bought a Creative MP3 player instead of one of the iPods they have. They also had iPhones while I stayed with my Motorola. I told them I refused to pay for the brand name. Th
ey got even with me! On Christmas Eve, my tech buddy Steve arrived at my door bearing a cute little box with a surprise inside - an iPod mini!! I like the mini's size - I think it weighs TWO GRAMS - but that damned Apple wants to convert all my books & what music I have to iPod only data!! I still have other devices I want to use. And the mini doesn't hold as much as my Creative device, that's for sure. So, if you get one, beware! It will attempt to take over everything. But, it sure is cute!

I made a big pile of washcloths! I think it's good therapy for my wrist. I even managed to keep 4 for myself in the end. On Christmas Day, I went to Starbucks for tea & Sushi Line for Sushi. I gave out washcloths to everyone who was working!
I missed one person who came in later but saved one for her. After giving out washcloths to all my buddies, I actually have 4 left in both colors for myself!! I thought the second ball was cocoa/tan/cream when I bought it but when I got it out of the bag & into daylight, it turned out to be a pale mauve instead of cocoa! Either I'm getting old or florescent lights do strange things to color!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

So this is Christmas

Here we are again. No parking at the Mall if you should need to go there - thank gawd I don't!! Everyone's begging for Money! Some have enough toys to run a Third World Country & still want more. Some aren't paying their bills this month but are out there buying electronics. Some can't buy enough groceries to feed their kids but the liquor cabinet is full. Some of us pander to our family's every want to get some peace on that one day a year. And some of us will still be paying off the bills from This Year at this time Next Year. I know people who work a second job to pay for all the STUFF they buy at Christmas & others who take their Holiday Pay early to buy for offspring who think money grows on trees. What is it about Social, Media & Commercial pressure to buy, buy, buy that creates the Mob Mentality to go into debt at this time of year???

Thanksgiving is a family holiday too but we don't go into spending frenzy mode. Has Television created this Monster? TV talks about Christmas & all the things we should be doing to Make it Bright even though the Politically Correct Police won't actually let us SAY Christmas in print fer gawd's sake !! Christmas Holiday is now Winter Holiday or Season's Holiday or Winter Break. Why aren't we calling it RED HOLIDAY?? Tis the Season to go deep, deeper, deepest into debt! No payments for 16 months!! Get it TODAY, Pay Later. Take it home, we'll work it out Next Year! No Money Down! Boxing WEEK Sales!!

Have you
SEEN the oldie, It's a Wonderful Life?? Remember the tree?? And the decorations?? The Bonhomie?? I remember Christmas almost like that. We looked forward to it. We made a lot of the decorations, some were made in school - gasp, the horror of it!!! Mom made the wreath on the front door out of cedar branches. Dad put lights in the trees in the front yard. We got out decorations my mother inherited from HER mother & grandmother. We made snow decorations if we had snow. We made a lot of the gifts & we stuffed stockings with little things, special candy & toys. We baked. We packed tins with cookies, sausage rolls & tarts as gifts. We even made root beer. Families didn't go broke trying to satisfy every kid's wishes - although they tried hard to give us one special gift in with all the socks & pajamas. We looked forward to a week off, visiting family or friends & had a huge turkey dinner. It was a social time for whole neighborhoods. If we had enough snow & it was cold enough, our whole neighborhood would block off the steep hill & spend Christmas & Boxing Day sledding. One year, we had a huge dump of snow so we built IGLOOs. One of the parents sprinkled them inside & out with water so they'd freeze solid overnight. We played in them till spring!

The Silly Season has become an obligation to some. Loneliness & depression to others. Some people dread it. And it's Out of Control spending to still others. Instead of a Family, Community & Religious celebration - hey, no one said Santa is religious & we aren't even going into that - Christmas has become a Commercial Feeding Frenzy. The Media rules our desires, our wants & our needs right now & most of us don't even realize it. I say DOWN with MEDIA. Let's go back to a simple celebration. A simple celebration of all things good & giving for a change. Simple Human-ness. In the last 4000 years, we've morphed from celebrating the return of the Sun God out of the dark, the Winter Solstice to the Roman god Saturn in Saturnalia to Christianity to the New Gods of Desire & Debt. We never lost the green boughs, burning log, food & gifts from the earliest days but somehow they've taken over the celebration. It seems to me that Shopping has become the Celebration.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

So much better . . .

Splints are a pain in the Ass. Even removable ones. Especially removable ones because they have Velcro to which everything sticks - especially my favorite purple house sweater which I wear constantly indoors all winter!! I've had to roll the sleeve up beyond the elbow - so much for keeping me warm - to keep it from sticking to the splint. I now have a fuzzy edge to the sleeve! But this splint keeps me relatively pain free as long as I don't try to do something too heavy. And it totally gets in the way when I want to type, make left hand turns or knit. I have to take it off to knit. Then my arm & wrist hurt. And now I've developed a sore left shoulder from using my forearm to lift things that my wrist & hand can't yet - hahaha - like I said, you just can't win!!

And speaking of all things Purple, my Secret Santa sent me a Purple Christmas gift. You can see Him smirking at me from the photo at the top of this page! A face only a mother could love & he's still got straw in his hair . . . The contents of my 'Purple' box can be seen in the photo - a Purple Llama, a Purple Angel, a felted Teddy & even a Topknot to make a scarf or pair of socks - in Purple, of course!!

I've increased my pile of colorful washcloths & hopefully, will make it to the cocoa, white & beige ball before Christmas too. When I can knit, it's pathetically slow - I'll have to make up for it next year!! But, there's still a small pile growing even though a couple have gone to new homes already. Before I fell, I'd managed to knit another pair of Mitts in the Spirogyra pattern from Knitty. I'd made three pairs in this pattern & love them all. The pattern is extremely stretchy so you almost need to make them a little small if you want a snug fit! Unfortunately for me, this pair is way too big & may be going to a new home. I have half of another mitt made in a smaller size but can't manage to work with DPs yet so it remains unfinished. And that's also why the Ex's third pair of socks aren't finished. I got both heels turned & am halfway down the foot but there they remain until I can handle DPs again with my left hand. I suppose it gives me an excuse to knit something else on circs instead??? LOL I guess I have no choice but to wait until the left wing co-operates fully with the right one to make any new socks or finish the old.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Knitting Night

I finally went to Knitting Night after missing two weeks. I was working on something viral the first week & didn't want to share. The second week, I'd fallen on the ice, was too damned sore to drive & couldn't knit anyhow. So, this week, well, I had to go. The Girls ganged up on me when they found out I hadn't seen the doctor & was still really sore. I was ordered to show up at the Hospital the next day for an x-ray of my wrist. This is the problem when you knit with people who are used to bossing other people around in their OTHER lives. This is also what happens when you hang out with the same people all the time, they become Family & TAKE LIBERTIES. So, as ordered, I showed up at the hospital. I was escorted to Emergency, ID'd, Temp'd, BP'd & told to wait. 5 x-rays later it turned out I'm only bruised - probably jammed small bones against large bones in the fall - & then encased in a removable splint. No fractures, no breaks! Lucky?? Maybe. But maybe I just have good bones from all that yogurt, milk, cheese, green veggies - did you say chicken & broccoli??? - & salmon that I've eaten all my life. I supplement with calcium citrate a couple times a week too. It still hurts but a hellova lot less when I wear the splint. So, hopefully, I'll be back knitting in a couple of weeks or so . . .

In the meantime, I've been working on washcloths. I can hear the laughter from here!! Hey, I found a couple of really NICE color ways in the Crafter Cotton, the Yellow below & a Beige in the same style. This is number 5 of a series . . They're so use
ful!! I love them in the shower with my home made soap. They lather up beautifully & are just rough enough to scrub your face & neck without taking off more than the dead cells on the surface. I make mine about twice a big as most patterns call for so they're nice for the guys in my life too. Most of them LOVE the big washcloth! And they're almost all I can manage to knit right now anyway.

Can't spin & working anything heavy is out but I am going to make ELEANOR, the lacy cowl in the Deep Fall issue of knitty. It's a lovely little funnel shaped cowl that should look good on a friend. Since it's made with only 200 yards of yarn, it's so worth it to buy something scrumptious & airy so I can ENJOY the slow knit!!! And while I was there, I also fell in love with the
Ringwood gloves. I'm not sure if I can knit them with the splint on but I'm gonna try really really hard!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

On the Mend

Turns out that something always hurts the most when it's starting to get better. The bruising on my knees is still faint but they're VERY tender to the touch - maybe the frozen veggies stopped most of it!! My hand is a little swollen across the knuckles & the first two fingers. The wrist is a little swollen at the base of the thumb but everything is working. I can type, I can knit a little on small projects, I can turn my wrist in all directions. I just can't pick up anything heavier than a fork without pain. But I'm moving my wrist, fingers & knees as much as I can to keep them limber but without straining them. Since us Old Farts don't heal as quickly as the young ones do, I figure it'll bother me for a week or so & then be just fine. Maybe it's all the calcium-rich foods I eat!! Next time, I'll look before I step in front of a vehicle on a cold morning . . . I had no idea how fast black ice can lay you out on your ass or knees.

I can't spin but I can knit a little. I've been able to cast on the second fingerless glove & I'm just about ready to do the thumb. I need them for these frosty mornings!! I have a thick cover for my steering wheel but my hands still freeze until the heater starts pumping out heat & the wheel warms up!! I've used Knitty's 'Spirogyra' pattern again but made them a little bigger by going up one size in needle & adding 3 inches of ribbing on the bottom. Can't wait to wear them. I see the thermostat is reading -2 at 4:00PM. That's a little warmer than the -7 we had at this time yesterday. I sure hope it stays cold & clear like this for a while longer!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's all gone

Sunday morning I'm usually out the door by 6:15AM to head for the Mcdonald's drive thru for coffee & then on up the road to open the UBrew for a 7:00AM customer. He bottles his brew & I hang around & work for a few hours. This week end, I canceled due to the cold I've been nursing. But, since the sun was out, the snow was almost gone & I was feeling a lot perkier, I decided to head out about 11:00 to get a paper & coffee. Since I'd parked at the bottom of my drive, the snow had melted off the drive & mostly off the Van except for a patch on the north side of the windshield. So, I turned on the Van, cranked up the defrost & hiked around the front to sweep off the bulk of the snow. And hit a patch of ice. The next thing I knew, I'm face down on the concrete! I don't even remember slipping. The whole front of the drive where the snow melted off the Van is a solid sheet of ice. I fell hard on both knees & saved whacking my nose with my left hand. Eventually, I slid off the ice, got back on my feet, backed the Van up the drive so the ice melts & got myself back inside. An hour later after spending time with bags of frozen veggies, it appears I have gotten away with bruised & grazed knees & a badly sprained left wrist. At least I think it's just sprained. All the fingers work but I don't remember sprains hurting this much or being this painful. I guess if it isn't a lot better tomorrow, I'll be getting it checked for a fracture. So much for my knitting projects!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

There's nothing like a little snow . . .

The first snow of the year fell on a Friday nite - good thing - it didn't close down the town like it usually does!! We had plenty of warning - hey, I got good snow tires once again - and most people slept in on Saturday morning. I planned for this snowfall by parking my car down near the END of my drive, both to minimize shoveling - I could slide right out & to maximize sun exposure - to avoid shoveling! The neighbors hate me when I park at the end of my drive since they can't use my drive to get in an out of their drive. They built a big fence & moved 3 mini-vans & 5 cars into the space inside! Normally, I park way over to the side at the top of my drive but the sun doesn't melt anything until late in the day if I do that & I knew I didn't want to shovel 4 inches of snow from my very large drive if I had to go out in the morning. So I planned. As you can see from the second photo, the snow has almost melted by 1:00 except at the side where I normally park. I'll take pity on the neighbors a little later & move Van to the side.

I was looking forwa
rd to a little snow, the world gets so quiet & some of those flakes must've been 3 inches across!! It was lovely at 3 AM & I thought seriously about sitting outside with a hot drink & watching it fall. But, I've been sniffling, sneezing, working up a cough & thought that might be a little stupid so I ended up in bed instead. A totally unglamorous way to spend a cozy Friday nite!!!

There's been precious little production going on around here but I have been working on some fingerless gloves for myself. I spun a nice singles yarn, dyed it & knit up a Danish Working Shawl that I wore maybe three times. I am NOT a shawl person - which I did know but I thought I might change my mind once I made one for myself. I didn't! So, I pulled it apart to knit fingerless gloves instead - something I will use constantly! One glove down except for the thumb - finally - after 5 attempts!! I have no idea why I was having such a problem but I've upped my consumption of B vitamins to try to stimulate the aging brain cells. I miss my gloves from last year & may just knit a second pair of these with extra long arms for warehouse jobs!!

I was asked for another work touque by one of my Tire Guys. His son pinched his. So, I found a nice ball of multi-strand pure wool in brown & am just about finished knitting a plain hat that 'doesn't show the dirt'. I figured I'd just rib it from bottom to top so it'll cling to his bald head & not fall off when he bends over to tighten those lug nuts!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gloomy & Grey

And it's another gloomy day on the Wet Coast. I don't even want to open the blinds. Is this all there is??? Van has eaten up all my extra cash & increased my credit card balance so I can't afford to go anywhere other than to work so I'm feeling a little blue. Good thing I have the freezer & cupboards full or I'd be in deep doo doo!! The houseplants are all in for the winter & the Crab Cactus is trying hard to add a little color!

I'm feeling a little fr
ustrated at the moment. I started the 'Spirogyra' fingerless gloves at least 5 times in the last few days. My favorite needles are being used to knit socks so I had to find others. I had about 4 inches on the found needles when I decided they were too large. I pulled it off the needles & cast on fewer stitches, only to decide I still had too many stitches on the needles after a couple inches of pattern. So I cast on again for the smallest size only to realize it was too small. Of course, it's hard to tell until all of the ribbing & at least two repeats of the pattern - about 12 rows - are done. So I found smaller needles & tried once more but with the medium size since these needles are smaller. Nope. Ripped it out one more time. And found my old set of 2.25mm Brittany Birch needles - well, what's left of them - I think there's 7 needles left. But, I'm only doing one fingerless glove at a time so they'll work. This is some of my handspun from the 'bumps' in the bag of Brown Sheep mill ends I've been spinning. I don't know what kind of wool this is but its slightly fuzzy with a lot of elasticity to it. I dribbled Worker Red & Worker Blue dyes on the yarn after I spun it. I forgot the acid to set the dye & most of it washed out!! I added vinegar, dabbed a little more dye on it & put it back in the microwave to heat. This is what I got! Ain't it purdy??? Right about now I sure wish I could find my old fingerless gloves . . .

But, all is not lost. I found a bag with two big balls of Crafter Cotton in the midst of all my junk & I had to cast
on for a new face cloth for the shower! This big ball was just so bright & cheery that I just HAD to cast on immediately! I needed the burst of color to cheer me up & I may just knit several of these to replace the Oatmeal & faded Berry washcloths that now hang in the bathroom.

Monday, November 08, 2010

My new Wheels

So, my new-to-me van & I
have been getting to know each other this past week. Oh, I've had to fix a few things but you ALWAYS have to fix a few things when you get someone else's old car. It came with almost no rubber on the wipers - no wonder they made that strange noise when I used them!!! And there was this great Black Hole in the dash at night - someone put in a new instrument module & mickey moused the wiring. So I got the wiring fixed. The worn out fan/water pump/air belt that started to squeal was also
replaced. And I learned that I have a factory Alarm/Disabler in there. I also learned how to use it without a FOB. Nice of the former owner & mechanic to tell me about it. NOT! There's nothing like sitting in a screaming van in front of a bank with no idea how to make it stop. But I learned. Like any new relationship, you enter with shining eyes & open heart forgetting about the bumps along the way. Van's pretty easy to get along with & doesn't have a lot of baggage from former relationships. His heater's hot, he has good bones, he's in pretty fair mechanical condition, his body's in good shape for a van his age & so far, he always starts when cold.

With all the damp weather we've had lately, I haven't accomplished m
uch in the way of knitting or spinning. Although I'm casting on for some fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm - I made Spirogyra from Knitty.com twice - I'm going to try another pattern this time. My hands & fingers hurt. I'm so stiff in the mornings that whatever falls to the floor, stays on the floor till much later in the day. And I tend to wash dishes a little at a time all day so I can soak my hands in the hot water - why waste water??

Soup is back on the menu again jsut because the weather is cool & damp! I cleaned all the chicken & turkey carcasses out of the freezer & made a huge pot of soup! I'd saved all the drippings from cooking a turkey last month & added them. It was wonderful!!! I added barley & bow tie pasta before adding back the meat picked off the bones & a couple of cups of baby peas at the very end. I ate it for three days & gave some away!!! It was the best turkey soup I've made in ages!!
Today, I'm making Soup with hot Italian sausage. I cook it in chunks in the pot. I add water, a can of diced tomatoes, a package of Onion Soup, a can of small white beans or any beans you have
& tiny bead pasta. 4 cups of cubed zucchini are added at the end. Sometimes I chop spinach or bok choy leaves if I don't have zucchini. And I've actually thrown in a cup of pureed yam a time or two. The Italian sausage really gives it that bite of flavor!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Huston, We have another car!

One of my clients called with a line on two cars. He went & saw them, offered to bring the most likely for me to try out & told me to meet him at my favorite Greasy Spoon. Threw on my clothes - wasn't dressed yet - roared down the road in my hot "little" car & met him as he pulled in. He was driving MY VAN!!! Well, a silver version of MY VAN! I ran over & peeked inside - it was MY VAN, same interior, same seats & the steering wheel even had the Chrysler emblem on it! A TWIN to MY VAN. I got in, drove it across the parking lot & said, "I'll take it!". I actually drove it to New West from Surrey & delivered it back to it's owner so I know it rides nicely & purrs along so quietly you can barely hear it!!! Oh, it's a little newer, has a couple of extra buttons,
a 3.2 litre motor instead of my 3.0 & a different color outside but it's essentially the same van. Dodge calls it a Caravan & Chrysler calls it a Voyager. Whoopee, I'm back in business! Kudos to Ralph, my sweet elderly Rock Truck owner, who spent most of the last week driving all over town to find me a car! He's getting my last big bottle of Port from 2005 that I was saving for a Special Occasion!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Car Trouble - Part Two

So I got my new-to-me free car on Friday evening. Not a bad looking car with a couple of problems. It's a Buick Skylark. The car has been sitting in a client's drive for the last month since he found his mother-in-law the new mini van! He gave me the car to use until I can find - scrape together the money - a car. My van picked the worst time since every bit of spare money I've made this year went to pay down the bills I 'inherited' when I gave the BT the boot. But, back to the car. Gavin gave it to me for free. He told me it had a dead short so I'd have to disconnect the battery at night. He also told me about the leak in the trunk & the hole in the muffler. I can live with that I said. RIGHT!

It came on empty with the gas door pried open. What a surprise! It also came with one set of keys & the official wrench to connect the battery terminal. So, I connected the battery & took it out to Revenue
Canada to drop off paperwork. I can't believe it's so low & so small inside. My butt barely fits into the seat but there's actually plenty of leg room. And, I couldn't get the door open to get out of the car. I was afraid it would run out of gas before I got next door to the gas station!!! I couldn't find the interior light, I couldn't open the door to make it come on & was stuffed inside so tightly I couldn't even climb out through the window if it was sinking into the river!!! Eventually, I found the Kiddie locks on the doors - why on the Driver's door??? Like some kid has room to open the door when MOM's driving??? I think I hate this car! Eventually, I got gas & went home. On Saturday morning I had to let it run for half an hour until the condensation on the INSIDE of the windows cleared enough so I could see out. I could get into the car by gravity feed which I remembered from the night before but getting that seat belt on is a trial! My ample butt overfills the moulded seat & doesn't give me much maneuver room to find the belt & stuff it into it's other end. When I could almost see through the windshield, I put the front windows down so I could see both sides & left for work with the defroster still blasting. The passenger window wouldn't come back up again. But, the heater works, the radio sometimes works - you have to dial in your favorite station every time you reconnect the battery . . . But, the car really moves. Lots of power, signals work, horn works, electrical works when the battery is connected. I parked it in the sun on Saturday to dry out the interior. Sunday morning was great. No condensation inside at all. But it was cranky to start after I dropped the wrench inside the car when trying to connect the battery cable in the dark. Had to tighten it by hand. Couldn't keep the car running properly & had to balance the brake with the gas at all lights or it would die. Got to the main intersection - lots of accidents here - car stopped, battery not connected properly! Oh Shit! Had to pump brake lights to let people know I was there in the dark & then pry my butt out of the car, raise hood, tighten battery terminal by hand because I'd dropped the wrench somewhere inside the car where it probably fell out on the road by now, close hood, fall back into snug seat & get out of the intersection before the light changed. To hell with the seat belt . . . balanced gas & brake all the way to work. This car is a menace! I'm going to go to the Auction, get a car & put it on my credit card if I have to!!!

So, while I haven't been driving anywhere other than work, I've been knitting. I've cast on new socks for the Ex - this is pair #3 this year - and am to the heel shaping on both. If I survive this car, I'll make him one more pair before Christmas.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Yes We have No Wheels

Since I still don't have a car & yesterday was payday - the 'Boss' didn't have a problem picking me up - late!!! - & dropping me back home - also late - he forgot about me!!! He WAS sick so I told him to GO HOME & go to bed. I didn't need him breathing all over me - I was very busy for the whole day. I didn't even realize I'd been forgotten till my stomach started to growl . . . . My loaner car will be here sometime today - if the current owner can be located to sign the transfer paperwork . . . so I'm working at home making soup & doing laundry while I pound on the keyboard. The old Home Office is really great at times like these - I can multi-task & get paid for it too.

I've been out on the patio moving plants around. My houseplants are still o
ut there where they've been since Easter. Since the basement is quite dark in the winter, I try to give them as much time outside as possible & yet not freeze them. As long as we don't get a hard frost, they'll be just fine out there under the cover of the balcony & against the back wall. The Easter & Christmas Cacti are already setting buds & getting ready to bloom their little hearts out when I bring them in. The Jade Plant has sprouted new leaves all up & down its thick main stem & the remnants of the branches I left attached. It got quite weedy in the office's dim light so I pruned it severely & gave it a shot of fish fertilizer in the spring. One of the Spider plants has babies almost as big as the mother plant & the Ferns have doubled in size with the damp, cool weather! Jade plant cuttings were thrown into the side of a large plumed Flamingo grass planter & rooted themselves. I've been giving them away as I can. The Grasses are enjoying this weather with a nice variety of plumes, seeds & nubs.

Finished two pairs of size 13 socks & started another for the Ex in a nice blue Regia yarn. Regia always
feels so thick & cushy after knitting with Confetti! After washing, they all feel more alike of course, but Regia is just so nice to knit with. I have two 100 gm balls of the same blue yarn so I'm knitting one sock from each ball for him which will leave lots of yarn to knit a pair for me out of the remains. I found a nice simple lace pattern that I'd like to try & may use this Regia for it.

Still spinning up my Brown Sheep mill ends. I spent several hours every sunny day over the Holiday out on the patio with a Murder playing on my
MP3 player spinning those mill ends. I have about half a Safeway bag full of the 'bumps' - I'm not even going to talk about the roving I haven't yet started to spin. My half of that 15 pound bag has gone a L-O-N-G way!! I never imagined when I bought it!! I am really hoping I have enough yarn here when it's all spun up to knit a kimono style jacket for myself.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Fickle Finger of Fate

I distinctly remember whining about being a dull person with a dull life. On Saturday morning, I got a little excitement in my life that I'd rather not get. My car blew up. My nice little Voyager van that buzzed through that damned AirCare like a hot knife through butter. And raced up the Coq at 120k just as smooth as you could want! I had to fill up the oil once a week lately because it developed a leak. It had a problem or two but overall, it ran well, didn't cost me a lot of money & got me where I needed to go on time. Yesterday, it blew a head gasket on the way to work & left me on the side of the road in a cloud of steam/smoke. So, it's off to the Crusher & I have to find a new-to-me car.

Life isn't SO bad though. I spent a couple hours on the phone letting all my friends & customers who tinker with cars know I blew up the van. I also let them know I was collecting money for new wheels!! One of the worst offenders may be able to pay his bill by finding me new wheels!! And my favorite customer Ralph was already at the Auction - he offered to check out the Reserve cars at the end of the day!! In the end, I was offered the use of a car which has a small trunk leak & a dead short in the battery. I will have to disconnect said battery when I park it for more than a couple of hours but it's free until I can find a better one. We decided a kill switch on the outside of the front grill would be a nice touch & save me from being drowned when I have to connect/reconnect the battery in the rain . . . . I did ask for excitement. Didn't I??

And the wandering Red Cup has come home. When I ordered my tea at Wednesday Nite Knitting with the girls, it came in my Red Cup.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Nothing to Report, Nothing on the Needles

I've come to the sad conclusion that I'm not very exciting any more. I do the same old things, see the same old people, rush home to the same old tv shows & knit the same old stuff. It's Tuesday, so what am I doing?? Well, the very same things I did last Tuesday. I haven't got dressed yet although I've been pounding on the keyboard for a several hours contemplating going out to pick up the mail, pick up a cheque, do some banking & eat a chicken & swiss sandwich at my same old coffee shop while catching up on two day's newspapers. See?? Dull!
I miss the old BT in some ways - he, at least, wanted to get out & GO somewhere for coffee every day. So we had to get shampooed, showered, shaved & scented to go out for coffee. Sometimes, by myself, I don't go out for days. Not that I'm unhappy or bored - I have tons of things to do - but I'm afraid I've become dull, boring & sexless as aging women often do. Damned if I'm going to start running after men or drinking in public but I may just have to generate some excitement by dyeing my hair a flaming bright RED. Just to stir things up a little. If I was 16 again, I'd dye it MAGENTA!! But I'm not sure that would work when I deal with the public who are often insecure & needy.

So, I guess the only thing left to do is to take on a new project. I DO have 7 more classes to take to finally finish the degree I've been working on since the 70s. Hell, I've been working on it for so long that 5 of my classes have been deleted as "non transferable" "content unknown" from my transcript!!! It's time to get it finished! I even picked out new classes but I have to win the Lotto to afford them. Where is a rich relative or a Trust Fund when you need em???
I could start working on that Poncho Pullover pattern - the hot Pink & Purple yarn I bought is just too fine for the pattern but I have a ton of Briggs & Little Heritage that would work! Come to think of it, I have a box full of Buffalo Wool that would work too . . . . And then there's that bag of Phentex yarn that Gail so nicely gifted to me. Thanx a lot Gail! I should make her something she has to wear out of that "yarn"!
I suppose I could even get my sewing machine back in action - yes, I DO sew - and make myself some pants now that I've given all the ones in my closet away! I had a moment this summer & cleaned out my bedroom closet. I threw out everything I'm not happy with, don't wear, is the wrong color including all the pants - 11 pairs that I have to roll in the waist!!! I found out I'm petite sizing in pants with regular length legs. Whoop-de-Do!! They don't make pants for people like me. I can buy shorts or capris because they have short legs. but not pants because the legs are too short. I can't wear regular pants unless I roll the waistband or chop three or four inches off the top & put the waistband back on. Easy for pull-ons with no pockets or design detail but impossible for anything else. So I live in shorts or sweats. Lately, I've been thinking about buying stretch denim or heavy cotton/lycra & just making my own pants. I like a stirrup pant for winter so there's no gap between sock & pant leg when you get in & out of the car. I can make them easily AND since I don't have an orange cat anymore, I can wear black pants if I want!!!! I also want leggings to wear with my oversized tees for exercise class. I am NOT prepared to pay $40 to $60 for them! Hmmm - not a bad idea that . . . I may be boring but I will not be unpanted!! I can make wild, flowered leggings!! I can have MAGENTA & PLUM stretch pants!! Come to think of it, I haven't been in the discount fabric stores in years . . . and there's those bins of fabric in the closet of my bedroom - mmmm, I wonder what's in there . . .

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm Back

I decided I just didn't feel like knitting & went cold turkey. Didn't knit, crochet or spin a thing for a while. I read. I watched tv. I hung out at Starbucks. But I didn't do anything with fibre at all. And then, the other day, I decided to haul my old Indian Spinner outside into the sunshine in mid afternoon & spun till the sun went down. I listened to an audio book set in Alaska, in the small town of Naniltna, about 30 miles down a gravel road from Anchorage, till it got too cool to spin outside comfortably. Then I went inside & cast on a sock for the Ex. Today, I went outside in the sunshine & did the same thing again until the sun went down behind the trees. It got pretty nippy all of a sudden & I had to quit for the evening. I have more 'bumps' to finish but I'm more than halfway through the pile I used to have. And there's a nice bunch of skeins sitting in a basket on my couch to remind me to get off my butt & finish spinning them, get them dyed & make myself something. Hopefully, this winter!

I promised the Ex some socks a couple of years ago when he saved my butt by letting me take a small mortgage against our house. He asked for some socks in exchange &
I've only knit a couple pairs since. So I figured I'd better get some of that ugly "manly" sock yarn out & put it to good use! I have enough "manly" yarn to keep two Ex's in socks for the remainder of their lives . . . Isn't this one special??? I knit this one & it's mate in the last couple of evenings. It's my usual plain jane sock with the Queen Kahuna knitted gusset heel. No picking up stitches along a damn flap!!!! The price of the yarn was great & I need two & a half balls to knit a pair of socks for the Ex's big clodhoppers! I think this is some of the ugliest yarn I've ever seen but he doesn't think it's bad at all. He's going to wear it so why should I care - I guess. At least he isn't fussy like some men, that's for sure.

I've been picking away at the hood on my latest hoodie. Since I decided to knit larger kid's sweaters for charity, I've been knitting size 10s & 12s. They do seem to go on forever in the larger sizes but I figure the end result is worth the effort. That bin of donated yarn just never seems to get any lower though - I think the yarn is reproducing in there!

And speaking of hoodies, I dug out the half finished - everything I make for myself seems to be half finished - purple Marble sweater. It's the Kyler's Kardigan pattern from Cottage Creations that's knit in one piece from the neck down. It looks like I'll have lots of yarn to finish it & I'm almost to the hip in the body with the arms to do yet. It's become Car Knitting so it will get finished sooner. I don't think I'll bother with a hood or the kangaroo pockets in front. I think I'd prefer a big roll collar instead since it will have a zipper front. I may put a small pocket inside to hold my MP3 player though. The garter stitch is loose enough to feed the earbud end through without building in a 'hole' but I want a narrow, deep pocket to hold the player. Kool, eh??

Monday, September 06, 2010

Well, whatinhell happened to Summer?? Yesterday I went to work in wool socks & long pants! I hadn't intended to do THAT till the end of October. Not that I'm complaining too much about the rain but I thought we got our summer rain last Tuesday when we got torrential, tropical monsoon-like rain that made most of us stay home if we could. It rained so much - I'd made a date with a co-worker to drive 30 miles away to an All-You-Can-Eat lunch of Indian Food - that I slowed down for a FROG who was crossing the highway!!!!

So, now, it's raining again. I suppose we really do need rain but can't it wait till mid week when the kids are in school & the rest of us can enjoy it?? Oh, no, it has to rain while we're running here & there picking up last minute stuff or waiting in line to get home or like me - wanting to spend the afternoon sitting in the sun listening to the lastest Murder on my MP3 player. Oh well, guess I'll stay home in my Jammies & listen to it while I make money pounding on the keyboard. The only good thing is
this rain caused me to look for long pants again. I have two pairs of jeans I bought oh, 12 years ago or so. I hate stiff fabrics & never actually wore them. They hung around in my closet - one still has the tag on it - until yesterday when I tried them on again. Turns out they're stretch denim & while they're too long in the rise - every pair of pants I own is - they fit. So, guess I should shop in my own closet more often.

One of my clients went shopping at Cost Cutters just across the Border yesterday. He went at 6 in the morning & phoned to report an hour wait at the Border to come back at 9:00AM. He brought me 20 pounds of chicken thighs & a dozen eggs. It cost me $14.58. I have 6 packages all nicely frozen & well sealed. I got three Sockeye Salmon from a client for $10 a fish. I'll probably get an
other three or four fish & another 20 pounds of chicken when they're on sale again. The freezer is filling up! I just put on the Slow Cooker with a layer of spuds, a layer of baby carrots, a layer of chicken thighs - with skin & fat removed - topped by a can of creme of chicken soup! Supper tonite & lunch for two days while I work. Life is good folks!

Haven't done
much knitting or spinning lately with all the work but I have to report the Rainbow socks are ready for toe shaping & should be on their new owner's feet by the weekend. And the nice size 13 Blue socks for the Ex, well, I'll graft those toes when I watch the Antiques Roadshow tonite at 7:30 on PBS. Yes, Monday is a good nite on the Boob Tube! I watch the British & the American Antiques Roadshow & then the History Detectives! When the socks are finished, I will be finishing my purple Marble Kyler's Kardigan for moi. From the looks of that weather out there, I'm going to NEED it.

Friday, September 03, 2010

I have to report that sometimes it's not very exciting around the old basement abode. In fact, yesterday, I didn't even get dressed. I spent the day pounding on my computer trying to get some of the backlog out of the Office. I listened to most of a Thriller - 61 Hours by Lee Child - on my headset while working. It was just THAT kind of day. Oh, I did some work on my "Nations" socks but mostly, I just worked like a fiend. I knew if I got dressed & went outside, I'd have to deal with the oil leak in my car & I just didn't want to. I decided to do that today.

It's sad but I have to find a new mechanic
. After 30 years, I have to find a new mechanic. It's horrible. My faith in a new set of wrenches is not good. I've always had my Gerry Mechanic to tighten up the stuff that vibrates loose, patch the holes, find a good used part or buy a new one with his 30% discount. In most things I'm a liberated & independent person. In mechanics I'm an idiot! Well, I do understand some things but not enough to do any monkey wrenching, that's for sure!! And now I have an oil leak. It may just be something that needs to be tightened up or it may be something really important - who knows?? Is there a mechanic out there who needs winter socks???

I have a pattern in my head for a LOOPY Bonnet. It's your basic TEE shape with the front being on the long side. I folded the back to the front & sewed the two short seams & then picked up stitches around the neck & knit an inch or so to finish it & then crocheted two strings to tie it on with a big pompom on the end of each. Sometimes I left the sides open a little for pig tails. I knit it in acrylic while in college in the 70s for a small consignment store in Whalley. They took all the Loopy Bonnets I could produce at $3 each back then. The money helped pay my bus fare & groceries but the Profs were a little startled to see me knitting in class . . . When you figure, my budget was $85 a month for a 'housekeeping' room - bed/sitter with kitchen & share the bath down the hall & groceries - I was working pretty close to the bone!! I had a phone - they were still rotary phones - but no tv or car. I walked or took the bus everywhere, lived off soup & stew & was healthy as a horse! 10 hats every couple of weeks paid most of the grocery bill! And every once in a while, I made a few Adult Loopy Bonnets & sold them for $5!! LOL I'm thinking of reviving it with a modification or two because it made a very cute little girl's or infant's hat.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I found out that I passed my exam. Apparently I aced the Taxation & Pension parts - I bloody should've since I battle the Taxman at every opportunity! Seven of us attended the course from my little "group" & only TWO of us passed the exam according to my Up-line. My table mate & I wrote the 3 hour exam in less than 2 hours. The guy in front of us finished in just over 1 hour. We all decided that we must be really, really smart or really, really stooopid because none of us thought the exam was that tough. I think we only needed the calculator once or twice in the whole thing . . . we decided we weren't going to worry about it. Today, I found out I now have to be fingerprinted!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Summer's coming to an end & you can feel it in the cool evenings. I think this time of year is one of my favorite times, oh, I love the Indian Summer of the early Fall too. Those clear, blue days when you think the time will go on forever & you get to wear a favorite hand knit sweater & socks with your walking shorts! But, I think this time of year is the best! The days are warm but not scorching & nights are cool enough to sleep comfortably. Field tomatoes are just ready. You can still find cherries & nectarines with melons of every kind. Jam is simmering on the stove. And wool starts to look really good again. When it was so hot & sticky, I didn't want to knit ANYTHING. Now that it's cooled a bit, I've started to knit socks again! This pair in the Regia NATIONS colorway is for a work cohort. She teaches the Theory portion of the Motorcycle Training & is often out in the parking lot assisting with the Practical Training as well. I thought these would make her stand out from the crowd!

I downloaded a couple of CABIN FEVER top-down sweaters from PATTERNFISH the other day. I've been slobbering over a couple of them for ages & finally bit the bullet & ordered them. I have some lovely hot pink & purple yarn bought on sale which will look great in the PONCHO PULLOVER. I think this one will be terrific to throw on when I'm off to the grocery store or Starbucks to have a tea with the Techie Boys!!
And I have tons of blue or magenta dk weight yarn which would work for with
the MENDOCINO SWEATER from OAT COUTURE! It's not top-down but it's such a pretty cardigan with light cables & seed stitch.
I also fell for the TOP-DOWN SWING COAT also from CABIN FEVER just because of the different directions the knitting went. It intrigued me a little & it's that simple garter stitch design that's soooo cuddly when it's cold. I personally think it would work out really well with handspun yarns. The directional variation in the SWING COAT would really suit handspun! Sweaters, sweaters everywhere & only two hands to use . . .

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hello World

I survived the Weekend. I rode the train for the first time in probably, maybe, 10 years. I didn't discover till the END of the day that I didn't validate my ticket in the morning. Yup, I inadvertently became a Scofflaw!! I stuffed that ticket in the machine & it 'clunked' but I didn't realize it was supposed to 'suck' the ticket in & print a time on it before spitting it back. The 'clunk' meant nothing. Ooooops - I'm just an old fart from the 'burbs . . . anyway, I learn quickly. Picked myself up a Bum when I exited the Granville Station - I asked for directions & he offered to be my guide! Bought us both a coffee & bagel at Timmy's right next to the place! After the fact, you can tell where BCIT is because there's a Timmy's, a Starbucks, a Mcdonald's, a Pizza-by-the-slice joint & an Extreme Pita within a half block!!!

54 people attended the weekend class from all over the Lower Mainland & the Island. The class turned out to be a REVIEW of the course which MOST people in the class had not yet finished. Some hadn't even started! One or two were unaware there was an ON-LINE course. Some came to the Review Weekend to find out what to study for. We have three opportunities to write the exam for our Mutual Funds License. Some will not write the exam tonite - one of their three attempts - and go home to review only what's in the handout from the weekend & write again later. I decided to review what I had problems with - two chapters I didn't study - and write the exam tonite just to get it over with!!!

Gad, ONE more climb up all those stairs to Seymour Street & it's over. Unless I fail. I better not fail. I want my life back! I've had more brain & body exercise in the last three days than I've had in the last three months . . . .

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I know, I know, nothing has been posted for ages!! I've been Missing In Action, so to speak for the past week or so while trying my best to complete an On-Line course for a Weekend Course that I stupidly signed up for, ohhhh, about three weeks ago. I was told " It's only a two day course over a weekend with the exam on the Monday . . . ." so I paid the 400 bucks, sent in my application & got ready to do the "Weekend Course". Of course, none of these stupid things are that simple & easy!

I found out about a week after enrolling that the "Weekend Course" was just a Case Study Session! I had the course to do, On Line, BEFORE the weekend in question which was less than TWO WEEKS away. Oh yeah, somehow I'm working almost full time & then must come home to my hot little basement & try to do a course in less than two weeks. Good thing I took a Calculus course waaaaay back in the 80s because there are formulas to memorize & use. Did I say we CAN use a calculator?? It can't make noise, must not be programmable & you STILL have to memorize the formulas! And here it is, two days before the "Weekend . . ." and I'm only a little more than half way through. Last night I came home from my job exhausted. I laid down to have a nap - the old eyeballs were red & tired - and woke up FIVE HOURS later - to my surprise. I had something to eat & was back in bed by midnight & slept through to 6:30 this morning! That's tired!

So, now, it's back to the computer. I have to finish learning about Mutual Funds, bonds, stocks, debentures, T-Bills, GICs, Loans, Premiums, Discounts, face values vs market value, Strike, Bid, Ask, Money Markets, the Rights of a Client, confidentiality, Interest, Capital Gains, Grossing up, Taxable Income, Net Income, when you're In the Money, At the Money or Out of Money & Trading in the Market. I still have to find out about the rest! Whooooo Hooooo. Right now - I think I'd rather spin or dye some wool . . . .

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Knitting Right Along

I've enjoyed the last few days of cool & damp intellectually even though my joints hate it physically. I creak like an old sailing ship in the mornings & avoid stairs if I can. Thank gawd for fish oil & enteric aspirin!

Not much progression on the 'lump' spinning since it's been too wet to pull the spinner out to the patio - why is it that it rains sideways when
you have an open sided roof???
In my crafting defense
, I've pulled out the latest "hoodie" & am moving rapidly towards the shoulders & hood. The yarn I'm using is rather loud so I found a solid pink to knit the yoke. I'm really hoping that the street kids of Afghanistan don't have the color allergies of the spoiled kid
s in North America. I think the colors are fun but, who knows what a kid will think??? When this one is finished, the next one will be in the grey/tan/cherry. I have about 10 balls of it so I can make another size 10 or 12 sweater for a larger kid.
Also in my own defense, I've been working on the purple Kyler's Kardigan for myself as well - you can see it just peeping out from under the hoodie in the photo. It's the top down garter stitch cardi I've been working on in that nice Marble acrylic yarn from Knitopia. It feels soooooo soft & yummy as I work & I'm really looking forward to wearing it in the Fall. It's almost hip length at the moment!

Haven't knit a sock in some time. I just got tired of socks I guess, although I invested in six sets of Knitpicks Harmony circs. I bought two sets of size 2, 2.25 & 2.50mm needles in the 24" length. When I did the Smoldering Hearts socks, I had to use circular needles to keep the front & back separated because the lace chart had two parts that were slightly different. I'm not totally
comfortable with two circs but I see their advantage when doing patterns or lace. I want to make a pair of Monkey socks from Knitty for myself & will use a set to keep the pattern organized. And I still have two pairs of promised socks to make . . . .

Have you seen the new Knitty??? I fell in love with VICTORIA! I printed it off immediately when I saw it! And it goes up to a 60" bust! I don't ha
ve turquoise yarn but I DO have Magenta Dalesman wool & a lovely Eton wool in a soft, slightly faded, blue. And, come to think of it, I also have a whole lot of Briggs & Little in the Anniversary Blue colorway reminiscent of faded blue jeans - both blue yarns were bought with He, who will not be mentioned, in mind but have become MINE by default! In the end, it doesn't matter which yarn I use, I love this sweater & intend to make it for myself.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Skeins, Skeins Everywhere

I finally wound off the yarn on my Indian Spinner. Although I didn't finish the bag of "lumps" I intended to spin for the Tour de Fleece, I did spin a respectable amount of yarn. I finally wound it off this morning & got 5 skeins of approximately 500 yards each. That's 2500 yards of fingering w
eight yarn! I have two or three larger skeins of the same stuff tucked in a basket and half a Safeway shopping bag of lumps yet to spin. I'm not absolutely sure but I think I have at least a full bobbin's worth yet to spin!

I'm rather surprised at how much is still in that bag! I have to spin it all up before I dye it so it's at least 'related' before I use it. I have too many odd skeins from dye experiments that won't work together unless I crochet them into Granny Squares! Remember these??? These were some of the sample skeins I dyed while experimenting with the set of Dyer's & Printer's primary colors I bought. I had a lot of fun but I ended up with a whole basket of skeins that had no relationship to each other other than being the same fibre. That's why I intend to spin up ALL the knots before I dye them. And, of course, I have that project in mind.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Tour de Fleece

If I was actually in the Tour de France, you could say I fell off my bike about half way into the race. Oh, I started off with good intentions. And I was enjoying spinning in the cool mornings or evenings on the patio amidst the vines & flowers. I confess to plugging in the headset & swaying along with a mixed bag of country tunes one evening which caused the strolling neighbors to stop at the end of my drive & gawk. I just know they thought the Goree (white female devil in Punjabi) had finally lost her mind!! But - they also tend to gawk & whisper to each other when I'm thwacking wet skeins against the posts on the patio too. Let em gawk - time they saw an old time Canadian hobby, I say!! But, I digress . . . I fell off my bike.

I had good intentions. I dug out ALL THOSE BUMPS of wool, put em in a green Safeway shopping bag & really tried to spin them all up. But, two clients had to have year ends done NOW. We're talking almost three years behind but they need at least TWO done NOW. And then my part time - two day a week job with benefits - has become FOUR or FIVE days a week in an office with no air conditioning. Not a problem till 3:10 in the afternoon but not a happy place when it hits 90+ degrees! And my thumb is still sore - especially when I have to write all day in the office. Spinning became a luxury! I haven't had any time off to do it! I know, I know! Whining doesn't get the job done! Here's a shot of the bobbin on the final day of the race. Oh, did I mention this is a HUGE bobbin ?? It probably holds a pound of spun yarn when it's full.

I still intend to finish spinning those bumps but I guess it will be much slower than I expected. The worst job is winding all that yarn off onto the niddynoddy!!!! And, today, I finally got a day off from Langley to work in my home office.
Tonight, I will pour a big glass of wine, turn on my headset, tune in a murder & spin until the mozzies drive me in for the evening!