Sunday, March 30, 2008

Feeling Quilty

Partially due to the Stash Dash Poker Run that Lisa and mum and I indulged in on Tuesday, I have a resurgence of the quilting bug.

We visited several quilting shops in and around Ottawa, had a wonderful adventure, met some nice people and I found a new LQS to call home. We started in Osgoode at Julee's, and met the friendliest shop-cat ever, Waffles. She thinks we look tasty.

From Osgoode we hopped to Kemptville, then to Richmond, two shops in Almonte, and a final stop at Kanata's own Yarn Forward. (There was a bonus stop in at the Running Stitch, who, oddly enough, weren't participating in the fun.) We had lunch at a lovely tea room in Almonte and just had a day of stash-enhancement and giggles. It was all good.

Our best hand between the three of us? A full house. Three kings and a pair of eights. I doubt it will win a grand prize, but who cares. It was a day well spent.

Today I spent some time working on a quilt I promised a girlfriend some long while back. Good progress was made, and she might actually get this quilt sometime this year. (stop laughing!) I bought some nickel packs of fabric (5 inch squares, not 5 cents each) to start a quilt for my niece, who is almost ready for a big-girl bed quilt. I need to finish my friend's quilt before I begin another one. I also saw a glorious French Braid quilt table runner at Running Stitch that has my creative juices bubbling.

FO... Again.

I have a knitting disorder.

Specifically, I have a mitten knitting disorder. I cannot, for love nor money, turn out two consecutive mittens of the same size. My needles and yarn don't change, but lo and behold, the second mitten is invariably larger than the first.

For the first pair of "Warm Cozy Mittens", I had to knit three to turn out two the same size. The pattern held true for the second pair, as well... and they were a gift, so I needed to crank that third true-to-size mitten out in a week. Fortunately, I am getting good at these mittens and nearly have the pattern memorized. There's something to be said for excessive repetition.

Here's the second pair in all their glory.




And here's the recipient, enjoying them. Again, excessively. I am hoping Alberta has a rather bitterly cold spring, because her hands will be way too warm otherwise... :)



My mum is a freak. That's okay. At least I know where I get it from. :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

These People Have Met Me.

The Recipe For Susan

3 parts Mania

2 parts Enchantment

1 part Shrewdness

Splash of Flair

Finish off with an olive

Sunday, March 16, 2008

5 More Days

Though spring is persistently absent, I have begun to turn the house upside down and shake it out. Saturday I picked up the paintbrush for the first time in a long while and painted the trim in the upstairs hallway, main bathroom and got a start on the ensuite bathroom. The trim includes no fewer than 7 doors, two of which needed to be painted on both sides.

I hate painting doors, as no matter how smooshy your roller is, there are invariably textured lines that didn't get the paint. I'm a little obsessive about my painting. That's what today was for... travelling all over the house with a tiny paintbrush, touching up the assorted nicks, gouges and dings the walls have taken over the last couple of years. They (and the people who so carelessly inflict them) drive me mental.

All this frantic painting-cleaning-patching-decorating has absolutely nothing to do with the fact my mom and dad are coming on Friday.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Momma Has New Shoes!

Can anyone guess what sort of naughtiness I plan on getting into with these babies strapped on?

Dancing Shoes

It's actually a whole range of trouble... from Foxtrot to Salsa, Waltz to Tango, Swing to Rumba... bring it on!!!

I have a deep, abiding passion for dance. It's been on hold for years as I recovered from knee injury and surgery, but there is nothing stopping us now from getting out on the dance floor!

DH and I have had two seasons of Ballroom/Latin lessons a few years back, but have nicely forgotten everything. We're now enrolled in private lessons and intend never to forget anything again. Dance is just too life-affirming to let slip away... we may never be very good at it, but we will always have fun.

I am so blessed to have a man who is as passionate about dance (and life and love and everything else) as I am.

Day 7: Abu Simbal

Christmas Day.

A side-trip via airplane to Abu Simbal. This tour was an add-on, since it encompassed an hour's flight south of Aswan to nearly the Sudan border. That being said, I don't think you've properly seen Egypt without seeing this site. "Amazing" doesn't begin to cover it.

Egypt, Day 7, Abu Simbal (2)

Egypt, Day 7, Abu Simbal (3)

Egypt, Day 7, Abu Simbal (9)

Egypt, Day 7, Abu Simbal (15)

The sheer scale of these monuments boggles. The faces of the Pharaoh are 4 meters broad. In a couple of the shots, you can see an Egyptian man with white robes near the bottom left... that might give you a sense of scale.

This was another massive UNESCO rescue site. They essentially cut the mountain into pieces, moved it and rebuilt it outside of the flood zone.

The most amazing thing about this place was the amazing motifs and paintings inside the temples. Never before had we seen such colour, detail, relief and artistry. Unfortunately, photography was forbidden inside.

A truly exhausting day. So much transportation- ship to bus to bus to plane to bus to bus and reverse that for the trip home. Anything less spectacular than Abu Simbal and the day would have been a total disaster. However, when your ultimate destination is this amazing, it kind makes all the crazy travel worth it. Not that I wasn't exhausted, dehydrated and travel sick by the end of it; just happy to be back on the boat and have nothing to do the next day but sail.

Birdie Num-Nums

I love my little backyard birdies. However, the Howling Gale (TM) that roared in last weekend buried, and I mean buried, the feeders. What used to be at my eye level, was now nearly lost beneath the snow. I felt sorry for the little guys, and applied some good old Canadian technology to the problem of how to get to the feeder for a dig-out and refill.

Feeding the Birds 2

Feeding the Birds
The gal next door came outside, ostensibly to let her dogs out, but really it was to ask her crazy neighbor if she was *really* snow-shoeing in the back yard. Why, yes, I am.

Mission accomplished! The feeder is full and accessible again. And, as I whispered to my cat later that evening, I fed her TV. :)

A reminder of what the yard looks like in summer... bird feeder is at extreme left.
Rear of House 4
Bonus points to anyone who tells me in a comment where I got the title of this post from... without the use of a search engine.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

No Affirmation Here

I received offers of acceptance for college this week. Far from being the overwhelmingly exciting event that university acceptance would have been (even though it's now almost a moot point), being accepted into the college program of my choice was pretty much a non-event. I think it's commensurate with the effort required.

For my university application, I arranged for roughly ten assorted documents, from 7 or 8 different academic institutions (!) and wrote an essay. Although they have receieved a mountain of paperwork from me, the status of my application still apparently hangs pending on a transcript for a course I'm actually taking now. I'm jumping through hoops; I feel like quality control on who goes to university is high. You get in if you deserve to get in.

College? Well. I supplied them with my not-too-bad high school
transcripts from 20 years ago. The transcripts for the night school courses I have been slaving over for the last two years hadn't even made it there when they made their offers. Subtext? You probably have a pulse, and you're not a complete idiot, so you're in.

It's not at all the benediction or affirmation I was longing for. That being said, practicality trumps all (this time) and I'll need to continuously re-adjust my expectations.

Balancing the Universe

I was reading the Tsock Tsarina this week and almost blew a gasket... she has posted pictures of crocuses about to bloom on her yard. I need not say anything to the Ottawa people, you all know why this almost drives me insane, but for the rest of you, here's why.


I cannot believe that grass even exists at this point in time, to say nothing of crocuses.

To instill some small edge of balance into my world, I have cast on for the most spring-like sock you can imagine.

Another round of Monkey, in luscious Arequipa, Lily Pond colourway. Toe-up, Turkish cast-on.

These socks are appropriately called "Dreaming of Crocuses", and they will grace my feet long after the Tsarina's ts-crocuses are gone for the season. A small victory, but I'll take it.

A finished object: the first and maybe last pair of socks for DH. These took SO LONG to knit!

His pant-leg is cleverly concealing the fact that they aren't really the same size. I think that happened when I was working to finish them off and watching "The Motorcycle Diaries" at the same time. I know the Harlot cautioned against watching sub-titled movies while knitting, but, well, I need to learn every lesson the hard way. Hubby swears he doesn't care. That, my friends, is true love in action. :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sure Feels That Way

A couple of days ago, lulled by the scent of March and the brief time it was actually ten degrees above zero (!), I booked my bi-annual hair appointment. My hair doesn't need a lot of attention but twice a year, like it or not, I have an inch or two hacked off the bottom to keep the split ends under control. I enjoy the whole ritual of the shampoo, too, though I usually forgo the blow-dry as I don't heat-treat my hair at all.

The appointment is at 1300 today. My hair salon is maybe a 10 minute walk away... but I called and canceled. I was betrayed by my premature thoughts of me walking back from the appointment, freshly-cut hair drying in the (soon-to-be) spring sunshine. Instead, I get this.

Snow; about 4 inches overnight, and ice pellets. Not to mention the high winds. It makes me want to weep or scream or both... I am so sick of this whole winter business! It's been long and brutal.... I think that we've had well over ten feet of snow this far (over the entire season.)

So. No haircut, no nice shampoo. My consolation prize? Studying for a calculus test tonight, and then if I have a little spare time, I'll see if I can crank out an essay on political philosophy. The next six weeks are guaranteed to be nasty while I wrap up this philosophy course and struggle to wrap my feeble mind around Calculus and Vectors.

There may, however, be a consoling pot of pear green tea and a little knitting along the way. It's not all suckiness, all the time... but at times it sure feels that way.