Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We Made It!

No sleep for well over 20 hours, bad airplane food and service, but hot damned! We're in Cairo. First thoughts:
  • U.G.L.Y. Totally without character brick buildings, half-finished.
  • Sheep. Random herds of sheep in alleys. Goats, too; pegged beside apartment buildings.
  • Traffic. HOLY CRAP. Scary. No-one died on the way to the hotel, and I am amazed.
  • The pyramids at sunset. Sent a chill down my spine. Our hotel is practically on top of them; I don't know whether to be excited or cry at the encroachment of the new and cheap.
  • SLOW Internet. Gotta run before I run out of time. More when I can!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

At Odds

At noon tomorrow, DH and I have to make our way to the airport. I should be in a full-scale panic at this point in time, preparing to prepare to pack, but I just don't have it in me today.

Operating under the "it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission" clause, DH and his ex planned a birthday party at our house for my youngest step-daughter. I didn't know about said party until a suspicious number of squeal-y girls had invaded the house mid-day. Had I known, I would have politely (or not-so-politely) requested the party be held at the ex's house, or at the very least bolstered my nerves with a couple of strong gin and tonics in advance. Hubby played it marvelously, though, and I couldn't even be pissed off at him after the seemingly heart-felt apology for "forgetting" to tell me. (This, to me, is like forgetting to tell me that I was on fire.)

Then, in the spirit of packing, I threw a few clothes on the bedroom floor. I don't know if they're the right clothes, but it helps me feel like I'm making progress.

I sat down in the bathroom and began braiding my hair, or at least, started. I got one gloriously long and perfect braid done, right in front. It took me 5 minutes, but I was having a hard time finishing it... my hair is much longer then it was last time I did this and was no longer possible for me to do myself. Here's hoping I can find someplace in Cairo and have it done for me, 'cause that's the only way they'll get done. Darn it.

The blizzard isn't really helping my temperament right now, either. The 37 cms. of snow that fell today has canceled pretty much everything in and out of the airport. I know it's supposed to stop overnight, but still. And for some reason Air Canada won't let me check in in advance. Argh.

I'd like to pour me a nice stiff "accident" (raspberry vodka with lime Perrier) but I suspect that will not actually help the packing process, either.

I still haven't heard how I did on my exam last week. I know it was damned hard and I felt like I bombed it, but that doesn't necessarily mean I did. Usually, that feeling means I got 80%. A feeling like I aced it means 89%. I am not a widely variable student... somewhere in the 80's, whether I try hard or not. Hopefully the teacher will email me the exam mark before I leave so there's one less thing to worry about.

I don't know if I'll get the chance to write again before I leave; probably not. So I will take this opportunity to wish everyone who celebrates a very Merry Christmas. I hope your holidays go just the way you want them to.

We will be back before New Year's Eve, but I'll most likely talk to you in 2008. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Apropos of Nothing

When I went to LA in the spring for a work-related course, I was responsible for making my own hotel booking. It was no accident that I stayed in a hotel across from the biggest mall in Torrence. I wanted to shop guilt-free, so ate frugally in my room, saving my generous meal allowance for pretty pretty California clothes.

I met up with Victoria for the first time while I was down there, and she told me her Secret. Now, I have for my entire adult life been what Dar Williams charmingly calls a "braless wonder." I find bras uncomfortable, pointless and cruel. However, I walked into that store, determined to find out what the big fuss was all about.

I bought the first bra I ever really liked there. It's comfortable, it gives me a lovely boost, and I can forget it's even on. Why can't they all be like that?

Now that I've found a single bra that I like, I find myself wearing it more and more. Pity I only bought one as I feel a bit odd wearing the same one day in, day out. I went online and to order a single bra would be twice the price I paid in the store, by the time taxes and shipping are added on. I love that bra, but I can't decide if love is worth $80.

DH and I went to La Senza to try and find something equivalent. I bought some pretties, catching a good sale, but I find that I feel the under wires by the time a couple of hours have gone by. Dammit. I might just have to spend that $80.


They're pretty, though. I think DH is delighted that his wife is finally dressing like a lady underneath it all.

See? It's never too late to teach this old bitch a new trick. :)

I Have to Make it Through This Week First

I've been face-down in a calculus textbook for the last two weeks... my final exam is tomorrow and I am feeling the pressure.

In Grade 12 (many moons ago), I didn't give a rat's patootie... I knew I wasn't going to university, so what point was there in breaking my back for good marks? Now I know exactly how important this one single course is... it's the only required course for the program I want to take in university, so I feel like my entire fate is hanging on how well I do on it. Which kinda begs the question, "why am I blogging and not studying?", but I can't study 12 hours a day. I already feel pretty confident with the material but I also know my math-geek of a teacher will throw a curve ball or four just to make us extrapolate the material, and not just blindly plug in formulas. It's those that I worry about.

If I wasn't neck-deep in calculus, I'd be getting really, really excited about this. (ohmygodohmygod!!!) DH and I fly out next Monday to meeting his sister in Cairo for a 12-day trip to Egypt, including a week-long cruise down the Nile. (I say that like it's something I do all the time, but it sounds so surreal on "paper". I still can't believe we're going!) I haven't even really given a thought to packing, and that alone really says something about how mentally I am not there... I usually pack weeks in advance for everything and even draw diagrams and flow-charts to ensure full packing efficiency. (What can I say? I'm a little OCD at times.)

I've done two things so far... bought sunscreen and figured out how to wear my hair. The latter is a big one. I have hair down to my butt, and this isn't "jump out of bed and race to a tour-bus" hair. It's a high-maintenance thing, requiring gallons of conditioner and an hour of fussing after every casual dip in the pool. I don't want to have to worry about that while I'm lounging casually on a cruise ship, or hiking through ancient ruins. So I'm cornrowing it. I did it once before, during a similar trip (3 weeks backpacking Italy and Greece) and it was wonderfully low maintenance and stayed pretty throughout. Yes, this means I get to sit for hours on Monday putting 60-80 little braids in my hair, but seriously, the time and fuss that this will save during the trip will make it all worth-while. I'll have DH get some pics before and after... it's always fun.

We get back on the 30th of Dec, and 1 Jan is our 2nd anniversary. I found the perfect way to celebrate with my love. For our wedding, we rented a hot-tub and had a fun party in the snow... it was a perfect way to celebrate, as far as we are concerned. So, in homage to that party, I am taking DH to Le Nordik spa across the river in the Republic of Quebec. Outdoor Scandinavian baths, people. And massages. And tapas with Leffe. Are you hearing how perfect this is???! I will have a hard time keeping this a surprise.

We love thermal spas... we've been to a couple in Europe, in Terme Čatež (however you think it's pronounced, you're wrong (unless you're Slovenian)) and Bled. I have high hopes for this one, considering it's much closer then Slovenia. And, as far as these things go, reasonable priced.

So. Now I have no doubt made you feel like driving an icepick through my heart because of all the name-dropping of exotic travel destinations. I don't mean to sound snobby, it's just that DH and I love to travel! Egypt will quite possibly be the last really cool place for years, though; I can't see myself having the money to travel much while in university, to say nothing of the time. With that thought in mind, I am motivated to enjoy this trip to the fullest; from planning and packing to the adventure itself.

After my exam, that is.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tuesday in Pictures

I look out the window from my computer room and I see this:


The snow is drifting up to my waist in places. I remember feeling quite confident that we wouldn't have any snow to speak of until just before Christmas... was it my bravado that did us all in?

The pictures on the inside of the house are nicer, though.

Tannenbaum binding

I am sewing the binding on Oh Tannenbaum... I may actually have this German Christmas-themed quilt ready for Christmas!

Something that is ready well before Christmas:


This happy little Christmas cactus is always early. And beautiful. Want another shot? I do.


I think a certain furry someone in the house has the right idea about what to do on a snowy afternoon.


I may yet join her for a little nap. :)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Screw You, Winter.

There's nothing like two weeks of freakin' blizzards to light the proverbial fire under one's needles. I finished the Stripy Alpaca Scarf a few days ago, and immediately cast on for a hat. I'd like to say a matching hat, but the fates did not so decree. I was intending to do a Coronet hat, but use the brioche stitch for the body instead of the stockinette.

Easier said than done. The brioche stitch in the round is a bitch, no doubt about it, especially when you're holding two strands together. I couldn't make it work, despite three tries, and decided to make a hat I could wear *this* winter, not next. Stockinette it was.


The fact that I held two different colours of yarn together adds a bit of zing to this hat, I think. The random pattern of orange and brown look cryptic, like a hidden cypher. I like it, and I love how it fits and feels. Not to mention that I went from "cast on" to "finished object" in three days. Take that, "gosh you're a slow knitter" lady. (Yes, I still bear emotional scars from her comment... :) )

Stripy scarf and Coronet hat

Bring on the snow. My hat and neck, at least, are ready.