Tuesday, 30 May 2006

End of May update

This has been a frustrating month trying to find a summer course that doesn't get cancelled. Had I realized what a pain it would be, I would have made very different plans for the summer! However, the one course that I REALLY wanted is happening, so I'm off on

for a scenic bum-numbing 12 1/2 hour trip to

for a condensed Anthropology course / mini-vacation. Since I've never been to PR, I'm really looking forward it. I'm even looking forward to the train trip! I wonder if I'll find any interesting yarn or fabric shops while there . . .

Speaking of yarn and fabric, my knitting seems to have taken itself on its own vacation lately. I've been sewing like mad, tho. I've made heaps of Cabbage Patch doll clothes for my little friend C. I've also made a couple of summer outfits for myself, including a sleeveless dress . . . you would be totally shocked at the colourful floral prints I chose! Not at all my usual sombre monotones. Must be a new me! I had great fun making a machine-quilted bag for myself. It has 8 log-cabin squares, 4 on each side, the centres of which feature zany old ladies with hats and cats and knitting baskets. I used a couple of different knitting and sewing/quilting prints, and invented several hidden pockets inside for knitting needles, wallet, bus pass, etc. Then discovered the first time I used it that I hadn't thought of a cell-phone pocket! (Stupid cell phone rang, and I had to practically dive into the bag and swim thru contents to find it . . . ) The bag is big and roomy enough for a book bag plus craft project, and I've had numerous compliments on it so far ("It's so YOU!"). I just hope nobody looks too close at the machine quilting . . . I don't do straight lines very well!

Last week, I went to the UNBC Convocation. Wow! Next year, I'll FINALLY be one of these students:

Is it taking me FOREVER to get there or what!? It was a very L O O N N N G G G G ceremony (note to self: remember to take a cushion to sit on), but heart-warming watching friends and classmates as well as students I've tutored celebrating their achievements. It was particularly heart-warming to see L. reunited unexpectedly with her sister! (Congratulations, L.! -- I know you're down south reading this and missing PG already!)

So have you seen this yet?

I managed to see it opening night (having been smart enough -- for a change -- to buy my ticket first thing in the morning, not try to buy my ticket 5 minutes before showtime). I thought it was quite faithful to Dan Brown's book, altho I would like to have seen more of the final bits at Roslyn. The guy who plays the albino monk was some spooky. He appeared so unexpectedly in one scene that I jumped and sent popcorn flying up into my own face! As with the book, I came away thinking "hmmmm" because a lot of historical/hypothetical explanations appeared to make a lot of sense. What did you think?

Well, that's it for this post. I'll be away from the computer for a while, but promise a nice long post about my Prince Rupert adventure when I get back. In closing, I'll leave you all with this amusing thought (can you relate too?):

Monday, 15 May 2006

Guinness, rice, fabric, Corrie, the Virgin Mary, and school stuff

This was interesting. (Thanks, Ginny, for the idea!) Apparently I'm a Guinness gal! (I could have told them that!)

You Are Guinness
You know beer well, and you'll only drink the best beers in the world.Watered down beers disgust you, as do the people who drink them.When you drink, you tend to become a bit of a know it all - especially about subjects you don't know well.But your friends tolerate your drunken ways, because you introduce them to the best beers around.

Sadly, I didn't have any Guinness over the Mom's Day weekend. Rather, I had a couple of glasses of a lovely white Zinfandel wine (which is actually pink) and a Scall0p, Prawn & Salmon Arborio Rice Bowl from the White Spot. Their menu describes this dish as:

Scallops, prawns and wild salmon sautéed with tomatoes, a touch of garlic, white
wine, capers, extra virgin olive oil and aged Italian balsamic vinegar over
creamy short-grained Italian Arborio rice. Finished with Parsley and
drizzled with Umberto's signature extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany.

It was yummy (recommended by Umberto Menghi after all!) ... but I could have ate three bowls of it!

So I bought lemon and black for the third group of afghan squares, and 2 squares in, decided I didn't like the looks of them next to those 60 oxblood/fuschia and 60 spruce/mint squares. Whatever made me think lemon and black was a likely combo? Must have been a momentary lapse of sanity! Now I need to EXCHANGE the unopened balls of lemon and black, and decide on another two colours. Or else make my afghan smaller. Hmmm.

I have finally found Fabricland! (I know, you're raising your eyebrows and wondering how long I've been in PG without addressing my serious fabric addiction, right? Ha! I can abstain!) Its NOT right on a bus route, thus not immediately visible and required a little exploring (as in walking). But I found it, and I'm the proud owner of a brand new Fabricland membership, as well as several pieces of nice fabric. It was a fruitful exploring mission, as I've been promising a special little girl that I'd make her some doll clothes, and I've been doing exactly that since Saturday. I even crocheted a wee poncho and purse for C.'s Dolly Saturday evening after my eyes got too tired to thread the machine anymore. (When did that little hole get so small???)

I got caught up with my favourite soap over the weekend ... thank you for taping them for me, S.! All I can say is WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING, SHELLEY!?!?!?!? (If you don't know what I'm blithering about, check out the Coronation Street link to the right and have a peek at an episode or two ... Shelley's gone totally loony! I want to smack her sensible again!)

This was Mum's Day weekend. It was also "Lady of Fatima" weekend, being closest to May 13. I noticed in the free local newspaper that annual festivities in honour of the Lady were organized for Sunday afternoon. Altho I didn't go (I haven't been hanging around with Roman Catholics on Sunday mornings much lately), I did remember the first candlelight "Lady of Fatima" procession in my home town in the early 1960s. At the time, I was fascinated. Having grown up Pentecostal and thoroughly indoctrinated in the evils of Catholic idol-worship, how could I help but be fascinated? (Ask me about being served red Kool-aid at a Catholic neighbour's birthday party in 1961 ... after being told Catholics drank Christian blood!) I didn't realize at the time of that first procession that I was witnessing history ... that a particular homesick immigrant community was establishing their own religious practises in Canada for the first time. Nor did I realize how much a part of my life that particular event would become, nor how very much I still miss it. Consequently, I waxed nostalgic all day Sunday.

No nostalgia today. I'm frustrated, and its not due to the Virgin Mary, strained eyes, or lack of Guinness! I keep registering for summer courses, and they keep getting cancelled. Okay, Uni people ... if you're not gonna run the courses, why advertise them and get my hopes up??? GRRR!

Monday, 8 May 2006


I went to a great concert last night -- Charley Pride! -- at the CN Centre here in PG. First time I've been to a "real" concert here in PG, something I really miss about the Lower Mainland and frequently gripe about the lack thereof here in the hinterland. We had good seats -- off to the side, but next to floor level and not far from the stage -- and best of all, the tickets were a gift -- as in free. Charley Pride's son, Dion Pride, opened the show (how cool is that for a proud papa?), and later came back on stage to do a duet with his Dad. Dion is definately a talented young man (Charley told the audience his youngster takes after his Mama -- its interesting to note he's been married to the boy's Mama since 1955. That's gotta be some kind of record for a man in the music business!). There was an intermission following Dion, then a solid hour and a half of foot stompin', clapping, singing-along to Charley! My hands are actually a bit sore today from clapping.

I was quite surprised how many lyrics came out of my mouth automatically ("When the dew wears off of your crystal chandelier ...", "Oh the snakes crawl at night ..."), even tho I haven't been listening to his music much lately. In addition to his own repertoire of hits, he did an excellent and amusing imitation of George Jones ("He stopped lovin' her today ..."), and a little fancy Elvis footwork ("Jailhouse Rock"), and paid tribute to four 'Greats' that he had opened for or performed with over the years: Marty Robbins, Conway Twitty, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash ("Ring of Fire"). He also paid tribute to Jim Reeves (the CD at the top of my wish list!), and to his Mama with the title song from his CD, COMFORT OF HER WINGS (the #2 CD at the top of my wish list):
"Daddy always called her angel,
but I never
knew why;
I was looking for
her halo,
He was looking in her eye ..."

Predictably ( considering the number of shouted requests for it ), he ended the show with a song that might be considered politically incorrect these days, but certainly well received by the audience: "Kaw-lija", the cigar store Indian.
"Poor old Kaw-lija, never got a kiss!
Poor old Kaw-lija, don't know what he missed!
Is it any wonder that his face was red,
Kaw-lija with his poor old wooden head ..."

He came back on stage for one quick encore ("Oh when those cotton bolls get rotten, you don't get very much cotton, in them old cotton fields back home ..."), and then it was all over way too fast. He definately puts on an enjoyable show, so if Charley Pride's coming to your city . . . DON'T MISS HIM!

On the knitting front, I've got all my oxblood/fuschia and pine/mint squares finished (that's 120 hexagons piled up on top of my dresser!). I still haven't decided on a third set of colours, but since Saturday's unproductive yarn shopping trip, I'm leaning toward black centres with lemon. I guess this means another yarn shopping trip! In fact, I might just go do that this afternoon as I suddenly have a few free hours on my hands. My "tutee" is busy having her grad pictures taken, and the book I had planned to spend the rest of the afternoon reading isn't in the campus Library.

Friday, 5 May 2006

Summer semester

Its been a while since I've posted anything here. I don't have a computer at home (being a poor starving student and all), and have to come up to the University or go to the Public Library or something in order to have computer time. Since I haven't had any classes since finishing exams in early April, I haven't spent much time at places with computer access . . . which has been gloriously relaxing!

I'm happy to report that I maintained my usual high GPA and added a few more "A+'s/A's" to my transcript. I guess I still struggle with self-confidence issues, as I never expect to do as well as I do. By the end of every semester, I start thinking somebody is finally going to figure out I'm not the brightest bulb on campus and fail me. I wonder if that fear ever goes away?

Right after exams, I really needed something "mindless" in order to wind down, so cross-stitched an 18th-century-looking sampler that says "may sunshine follow all your showers & flowers fill your other hours". I've always liked the rhythm of cross-stitching for relaxation, although I find searching for those miniscule holes very visually challenging! Cross-stitching reminds me of painting. My sampler has a white garden trellis and different flowers worked among the alphabet, and since it only used half of the piece of pale blue aida cloth I had, I "invented" a second sampler to complement it. Now I shall have to go searching for a local framer to frame them so I can enjoy them on a wall.

Since fnishing my cross-stitch samplers, I've been crocheting "granny squares" for a new afghan. This is not a project I tackle very often, 'cuz I much prefer projects that provide visible RESULTS fast. Crocheting gazillions (perhaps slightly exaggerated . . . closer to 200) of little squares for weeks on end before you put anything together is annoying. However, my favorite afghan is beginning to show its age, and will eventually need retirement. Actually, they are not squares . . . they are hexagons that start out like the picture on the left in dark colours (oxblood, pine), then continue in lighter/brighter colours (fuschia, mint), and will eventually come together with something boring but basic (black? beige? brown?). I need to choose two more colours for centers -- one dark, one light/bright -- before I choose the "put it all together" colour, but still haven't decided WHICH two colours even after three shopping trips to do so! I'm thinking rust/orange & peach or gold & yellow. Suggestions?

I received a wonderful new book as a thank you gift for some tutoring I did early this year: KNITTING OVER THE EDGE by Nicky Epstein. What a nice addition to my personal craft library (I have Epstein's first book, Knitting on the Edge, as well.) I think that once I've finished this afghan, I shall use my stash of ruby red baby alpaca/silk to make the capelet shown on the cover.

Beyond these crafty endeavours, I will be doing summer courses. However, they are all condensed courses, maximum duration of 2 weeks, and spread over the summer instead of all at the same time, so I should feel like I've had a summer vacation when September rolls around . . . not like last year! One of the courses will be in Prince Rupert . . . at least I'm hoping it will be . . . registration numbers are so low at this point that it could be cancelled. That would be very disappointing. I've never been to Prince Rupert, so would love the excuse to spend a couple of weeks there. I'm also doing some ESL tutoring, just in case you think I've got too much free time on my hands!

The weather here in PG is sunny and warm, and I'm really enjoying getting out and walking. Of course, the best part of warm weather is probably BARE TOES! I noticed in this mornings newspaper that the downtown Farmers' Market opens tomorrow, so I know what direction my walk shall be in the morning. (If you happen to recognize my toes . . . say hi!)