Saturday, December 31, 2016

A New Year Beckons

Suddenly it's Saturday & the end of the year once more. I stayed home for most of the week simply because I didn't feel like wrestling with black ice & snow - the Safeway parking lot was even more treacherous yesterday than the week before even though I waited until well after lunch to go for some last minute things. After deciding I wanted to make Chow Mein for dinner, I needed celery. And I used RICE noodles, finely shredded cabbage instead of bean sprouts & bought some pulled chicken for it as well. Hell, if you're going to go out, you might as well make it worth while!!!

On my way in, I met a woman a little younger than me who set herself on fire a few days ago while trying to stay warm in a tent in Whalley. Lynne became homeless about 6 months ago when her little bachelor suite was declared 'illegal' by the Surrey Bylaws Inspectors & she was given 24 hours to vacate after living there for four years. She had to abandon most of her belongings & was put up in a Shelter. She is guaranteed a bed, shower & toilet from 6:30PM to 9:30AM. She has to be OUT by 9:30AM & cannot return until 6:30PM every day no matter how she feels or how cold or wet it is outside. And she has to find her own food. She said she was grateful for the Shelter but moved into her own tent after a couple of days because the weather was good, she could have some privacy & have somewhere to go during the day. She didn't want to be on Welfare & scrounged a living collecting bottles & cans. Since the fire, she's back at the Shelter again because she lost everything, but says it's tough to sleep there with all the noise. And she's back to looking for somewhere to stay during the day where it's warm.

I listened to her story over a hot cup of coffee at Safeway. And she agreed with me when I told her she was too damn old & injured to be a hobo. I know, I know, you can't help 'em all. But this one isn't young anymore & needs to get out of the cold. So, I bought her something to eat & a hot coffee so she could get warm for an hour or so. And I was very, very glad that I had a warm, dry place to live, beat up & drafty as it is.

So, here we are, on the verge of a new, fresh, untainted year. A fresh page to draw on. A new ball of yarn to knit. A new fleece to spin. Happy New Year everyone.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

One More Christmas

I survived another Holiday by staying up till the wee hours on Christmas eve watching the Dr Pol marathon - I do love the Vet shows on TV - with knitting in hand & munching on Wheat Thins & Hummus. I'm trying my best to eliminate CHIPS from my diet by buying toasted Pita chips & popped or baked Wheat Thins. It works, most of the time. And Wheat thins & hummus really fill you up while chips do not. I'm very fond of a 'dippy' supper of raw veggies & hummus too but this time of year calls for soup to warm you up. And lately, I've been making a lot of 'brothy' soups with fish balls & chopped veggies. Soup that can be eaten out of a big soup mug so there's no dishes to wash except a mug & spoon!!

Did not get out to eat breakfast or dinner on Christmas since my gut decided to rebel. You know the routine, the gut starts rumbling & mumbling with the occasional painful gassy spasm. You don't know which end will suddenly explode like a volcano. I just drank as much weak tea as I could & slept. I've had occasional bouts of this ever since that last mega antibiotic before surgery last year. Yeah, I could take a bunch of drugs but the best thing is to stop eating solids, drink clear fluids, eat yogurt & let it heal itself. I help with a couple of capsules of live culture Acidophilus too. But, this is my reminder that I've been eating too much wheat - a problem I never had until that last antibiotic made me so sick.

On the needles - just working another scrappy Blue sock - the heel is turned & I'm about
halfway down the foot at the moment. I took this picture by the outdoor light coming thru the open door so the colors aren't as bright as they should be. But, there's lots of blues & greys in this sock so far. I find it impossible to sit in front of the tube without knitting something!!
And I'm picking up the front pouch on the Wonderful Wallaby for the Dirty Face kid. I think I have enough Royal Blue to get to the armhole & make both arms to the armhole. If not, the arms will be Red & the body Blue - they will see him coming, that's for sure.

Good Grief - the neighbor across the alley is washing his driveway with water!!! It's 3:00 PM. His female relations had been out there after lunch trying to scrape the last of the Christmas snow off the drive but I guess it was still frozen. Now he's dumping gallon jugs of water on the drive & pushing the water to the side. Oh, I can't wait until morning .   .   .   .

Saturday, December 24, 2016

One More Sleep

The sun is out, the sky is blue & the black ice has finally melted. This morning, I got up early & went to Safeway because I had to have an onion soup mix, two zucchini & some Gummy Bears. I went to bed at 2:30 AM craving Gummy Bears & crawled out at 8:15 AM to go in search of them. Apparently it not only rained last night but it snowed a little too. And then it froze solid. It was not  good out there this morning, especially in the parking lots. And I wasn't the only idiot sliding across the parking lot, either. Apparently, the malls were full of last minute shoppers & a steady stream of people came & went from Safeway too. I can understand the people picking up Party Trays, Cakes & Fresh Turkeys but the rest of us??? I did manage to snag the Gummies & some bagels, though.

So, this is it. Tonight, we all settle in to listen for reindeer bells & remember our old childhood dreams. And tomorrow, a lot of the world slows down to celebrate another Christmas gathering.     May yours be happy, healthy & secure.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Almost There

So it's almost Christmas 2016. When I checked my mailbox this PM, I found two phone bills, a Visa bill, a book, a January Public TV guide & FOUR requests for money from the Salvation Army. The first four are already paid, I always love my Public TV guides but I have to say I'm really, really annoyed with the Salvation Army.

I automatically toss the mailings from the Sally Ann without opening them nowadays. Why?? Because I regularly SEND money to them. I regularly email money so it saves stamps, the cost of processing checks & the costs of sending out tax receipts. It can all be done automatically. It saves money for helping people that need help. And I've always admired them for the work they do. But, FOUR mailings in ONE MONTH???? Who's paying for the Admin costs & postage??? How much of the money we donate actually goes to the people who need it???? I may have to rethink who I'm giving my money to. I really see no reason for all the begging letters & they really annoy me.

After three miserable, broke years, I now have enough money not only to live on but to buy a few extras like underwear & books. And I've been looking very hard at my single friends who're barely scraping by. It's so easy to miss the ones who need help & too many of them won't tell. Winter holidays that celebrate Family are especially hard on Seniors & single men because they don't have the friends & support systems that single women do. I'm planning on taking each of my buddies out for coffee & donuts if I can't find a little cafe that's open this year. My Ex & I used to meet all the folks who had nowhere to go at our favorite little cafe on Christmas & New Years. And we made a party of it while we ate ham & eggs & checked up on each other. I often think about how much fun we had every year & wish the cafe was still there.

On the Needles - I haven't managed to get back to my sweater yet but the Wonderful Wallaby has progressed nicely. It's amazing how fast a kid's sweater knits!!! The worsted acrylic is thicker than most of the other yarn I have too - so I had to frog it twice!! It was too big both times until I checked my gauge on CIRCULAR needles. As is often the case, I relax & my gauge gets looser on circs. So, this time, I'm knitting the size 6 to get the 8 that I want in the end. I don't think there's that much difference between a 6 & an 8 anyway except in length. Kids seem to be about the same size around but they grow taller & longer. And then, when this is done, my sweater is next.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Just a Little Rain

Sunday's snow turned into Monday's rain. And, wow, did it rain here!!! The wind came up, the rain poured down & the new snow that we got on Sunday turned to slush on Monday. Just after dark, there was this huge BANG outside where half a roof of snow came crashing to the ground!!! As of Sunday lunch, there was 13" on the ground in the yard so it was a hellova pile that slid off the roof, onto the fence next door. Oooops.

In the meantime, I've been working on the new Dirty kid Wallaby. I had this huge ball of yarn in Royal & plan on using Red for most of the yoke with Green or Yellow - whatever I can round up in the same weight. This is the hoodie I knit last time & the younger boy grabbed it before his brother got home from school. So I made a larger one in Black, Red & Yellow for the older boy ASAP because the fight was ON. And then that damn kid went on a growth spurt & grew right out of his hoodie. This time around, he's not quite a size 6 so I'm making an 8. That should do him until summer!!! And, I won't have to knit one for his brother who is now wearing both of last spring's hoodies.

I frogged most of MY hoodie. Frogged it back to the crossover yoke, that is. I added on too many stitches under the arms because I was afraid of making it too small in the bust. I keep forgetting that my H cup no longer overflows as it once did. Although I'm not small by any measure, my measurement has dropped a couple of cup sizes & I think it's bulked up more by back fat than boobage, these days. So I've gone from worrying about the bust measurement to adjusting for belly. And I'm not even sure I need short rows in the bust anymore. So, back to the measuring tape, pencil & paper. And then pick up those stitches once more .  .  .

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Well, Looky Here

Blogger has let me in at last!! I haven't been able to get in for a few days. Don't know why, it never gives any reason or explanation. Not that my life's all that exciting but it's nice to record some events.

As anyone local knows, we've been having an uncharacteristic cold snap in the Lower Mainland. And it's damned cold out there!! My favorite bad boy dug out the bottom of my drive Friday so I could get back into my drive if I felt like going out into the world. My snow tires are very good for getting me into places but not so good to back me up a hill in 9" of the stuff since I have 'All Seasons' on the back. I don't generally have to worry much about it except that I have a hump at the bottom of my drive & an icy alley to back out of so if there's a lot of snow, I can't get back IN once I get OUT. Yesterday, I got OUT, went for lunch, bought some goodies like fresh bread & salmon cream cheese & then came home & backed as sweet as you please, right up into the drive. I wish getting around in the Safeway parking lot was as easy. The store was crawling with slow moving Greyhairs!! I think every Senior in town was out there shopping yesterday.

Union Suit
I tell ya, I sure don't have the clothing for this kind of weather. I suspect a lot of us don't since we rarely have to use it. A Cowichan sweater is made for this weather but sadly, I no longer have one. And I'm sure that by the time I make one, the cold snap will be over for another decade. I did knit a warm hat to pull over my ears but that didn't help a whole lot - I needed a wool Unionsuit just to inch across the icy parking lot.

Yesterday, I downloaded a nice little cowl pattern called SHILOH. It not only covers the neck but comes down over the shoulders as well & finishes with a double or single fringe. It can be knit in chunky or worsted yarn & has a simple textured pattern to it. My crazy niece, the bee-keeper, would love it in the mossy green shown in the picture. And I think I'd also like one in some of that wild blue/purple cascade 220 I bought on sale eons ago.
Well, they weren't kidding about more snow in the forecast. There's been a break in the snow - well, it's coming down so fine that you can barely see it - but it looks like there's just a hair under 4 inches out there again. I think that makes 13 inches to wade through on the way to the garbage bins. Sigh.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Winter Is In the Building

I'll bet the Tire shops are busy this week because Winter has arrived on the Wet Coast in the form of fat snow flakes. This is very unusual for us in Lotus Land. Some of us wear shorts all winter long & most of us with cars don't even own winter clothing unless we drive to the mountains. So snow, before February, that lingers, is a bit of a shock.

I finally brought in the houseplants from the patio - in December. I didn't think the Jade plant would be happy in the snow. He sure looked happy out there as long as it stayed above zero but I thought I'd better bring him in before he froze out there. The Spider got so big that I have nowhere to put it but I'll clip the babies for next year!! The Crab & Christmas cacti are already indoors blooming their little hearts out & everyone else stays outside for the winter.

Saturday, I prepared for snow. Put the latest check in the bank. Bought milk, fruit, veggies, bread & a big bag of JuJubes. Already had my snow tires put back on last Wednesday - to the amusement of all the men I know who said my 'All Seasons' would be just fine. Filled up the gas tank. And settled in with several knitting projects & a few good audio books for the duration. This is the time of year I enjoy being Retired/Self Employed. No more 6 hour commutes from hell for me!!! I'm on permanent Snow Day.

Tuesday, I couldn't stand it anymore, I dug & chipped myself out & went for lunch at my favorite truck stop cafe.

Friday, bright & early in the falling snow, I decided I wanted fish dumplings & BBQ pork & busted out once more. It was a ghost town out there!!! Everyone took a Snow Day. I was quite surprised at NEWS-radio telling people to carry blankets & shovels in case they got stranded since it might be hours before they got rescued. WOW. Doesn't EVERYONE carry emergency equipment???? I've always had space blankets, plastic ponchos, tarps, a fleece blanket & a folding shovel in the car.
Found my fish balls & BBQ pork waiting for me at Hen Long. I love that store!! Bought noodles, chicken & shrimp buns, Pho soup base, mangoes & broccoli. Let it snow!!! I'm safe inside with lots of goodies to eat!!

So, it's Saturday morning & it looks like another 4" of snow fell since I broke out of the drive yesterday. This is getting mildly alarming. Good thing the fridge is full, the cupboards are groaning, the bills are paid & the internet is connected because I may be trapped in the alley till spring .  .  .  . 

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Baby, it's Cold Outside

I'm not a big fan of 'seasonal' music although I do have some favorites out there. I'll never forget Cher singing a magical 'Oh Holy Night' live on one of her Christmas Specials. And anything by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is absolutely thrilling. But, the latest version of 'Baby, it's Cold Outside' by Michael Buble really made me laugh out loud. It was considered pretty risque by the morals of the day when it was first performed in the 40s!! It's been recorded many times but Buble's rendition is very fresh & cheeky. It made me laugh, brightened up my day & made me want more. Things sure have changed.

Now that we're into the Christmas month, yeah, it's not that far off, I find I'm not as cranky as I usually am. No one is outlawing 'Merry Christmas' this year. It's Politically Correct to mention the holiday again. After the Election Battle, everyone seems to be getting along for a change. Even though no one seems to have any money this year, they're still planning on celebrating anyway with food & presents. Drink seems to be waaay down on the list of requirements. I'm finding more talk of cookies & pie crust than Rum & Vodka. And a lot more of us seem to be happier.

My latest socks were called "Perfection" & a dozen more ordered . . . .  Oh brother. Not a job I really want. Maybe I should work for Baileys or Carolan's - booze in my tea might make it better.

Yesterday, I went & got my new-to-me snow tires put on the van. I want to be able to get out of my drive if it snows this year. Several years ago, we had all that snow & I was stuck in the drive for over a week. Stuck??? you ask?? Yes, stuck. I live on an alley, off a narrow side street which is off a secondary street in Surrey where they don't plow. Well, sometimes they plow the secondary street because it's a bus route but they don't do it right away. The Safeway parking lot gets plowed as it's snowing. The streets leading to it, don't. I wanted to make sure I can get out & about if I want/need to. Most of the time I don't bother but I want to get out if I want to. My new-to-me tires were looking good but rather bumpy when I left. Then I had to go out to meet the girls to knit last night & had a hellova time with a hard to steer van. I figured the right tire was unbalanced. Today, on the way back to the Tire Store, that tire started to thump. Yup, I knew what that meant. They sold me a tire with a separated steel belt. So, today, I got a nicer set of snow tires - they drive as smooth as summer tires. So, bring on the Snow.