Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Four ... three ... two ... one ...

FOUR crafty things ...

#1 - Made and painted some plant markers for my balcony herbs:
Not shown ... Parsley, Chives, Thyme, Basil.

#2 - enjoyed adding a painted ladybug to each plant marker, so got thoroughly carried away by painting ladybug letters on a plaque:

"Multum in parvo" ... latin for "much in little" ... very appropriate for my tiny balcony garden!

#3 - green cardigan sweater on the home stretch:

#4 - Oops!  Got sidetracked by some cotton yarn ... I'm thinking granny square / hippy bag ...

THREE things that amused me on the way to work this morning ...

#1 - an Automobile Club tow truck getting towed:


#3 - A sandwich board advertising "liquid breakfast" between 7 and 10 am daily.

TWO things that annoyed me at work today ...

#1 - SOMEBODY ate all the fresh cherries and left the pits and stems behind!

Oh ... wait ... that might have been me ...

#2 - The street where my office is located was blocked off for underground service repairs, which meant navigating a major obstacle course every time I ran out on an errand:

ONE good reason why I shouldn't have got the cat all riled up and playful before I left her alone all day:

She shredded the newspaper, the paper from my printer tray and most of a roll of toilet paper all over the apartment, and also dragged all the ... er ... underwear ... clean clothes off the laundry rack and spread that all over the apartment too!

Friday, 25 June 2010

Another week crawls to an end

Does that title sound weary?  I am, or rather my brain is.  I've been working on cleaning up and updating my work website.  It wouldn't be too bad, but we have a number of member organizations who each contribute multiple pages to our site.  Not a website-savvy person in the lot.  Yeah ... need I say more?

There's a big forest fire not far from here, and we've been under a bad air quality advisory all week.

This photo was taken about 7 am.  The horizon was pretty much obscured by smoke.  Earlier in the week, it was hard to breathe, especially when hurrying, and my eyes were really irritated.  I think there's been some progress on getting the fire under control now as it doesn't seem so bad.  Considering we have MILES AND MILES of dry pine-beetle killed trees up here, this type of event is no surprise.
My Scarlet Runner Beans are getting ready to run!  And seriously, they are not YELLOW!  The morning sun was shining through them when I took that picture.  They are very green and healthy ... honest!  I put up some cheap wood trellising behind them for them to climb on at one end of my patio.  At the other end of my patio, I put up the same trellising for my Sweet Peas to climb.  However ...
... SOMEBODY keeps eating those little climbing tendrils off the Sweet Peas!  That same somebody also likes to rub her whiskers on the Thyme, and sit with her face buried in the Rosemary just breathing in that delicious smell!  I thought she would be all over the Mint, but considering she has no interest in Catnip, I don't know why I thought that! 

I was going to post some pictures of my knitting ... the green cardigan I started in my bus trip to Kamloops is nearly finished ... but my camera is sitting on my desk at work.  Instead, I'll introduce you to Catarina del Sarto ...

... which I believe roughly translates to "Tailor's Kate", my (not so) witty attempt to play on words.  Catarina is going to become a fashionable little 16th century Venetian lady. I wanted to dabble with some medieval garb OUTSIDE OF my early 15th century medieval British persona ... yes, I'm into medieval recreation ... but didn't want to spend the money or time making me-sized clothing that I probably won't wear.  L wisely suggested clothing a doll (thank you, L!), and I agreed, so now I'm working on some needle lace to fancy up a linen chemise for Catarina.  Can't have the poor lady sitting around in immodest nakedness!  I'm hoping to construct a complete wardrobe for her that will be along the lines of this ...
...  Bacchiacca’s 1540 Portrait of a Woman with a Book of Music which resides in a Los Angeles, California Museum.  Part of the fun and challenge is doing the research in order to construct garments that are as historically accurate as possible.  Will keep you posted!

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Friday, 18 June 2010

10 things I've learned about myself

I was having a philosophical bubble bath the other evening. No, that is NOT the name of a new kind of bubble bath ... as far as I know. I think the bubbles were green tea and rose, or something like that. Anyway, I was soaking away a stressful work day, sipping a glass of wine, thinking about life in general, and came up with a list of things about myself that I found a little surprising. So here's the list ... I'm baring my soul to y'all:

#1: I'm a cheerful and optimistic person. People actually comment on my happy smile! It's a genuine smile, too ... not a mask to hide what's really going on underneath. That wasn't always the case. There was a time when I woke up in the morning, my first thought was "SHIT! I'm still bloody alive!" and I truly wished that wasn't so. Upon reflection, I can't remember the last time I cried out of fear, frustration or anger.

#2: I have ZERO tolerance for cigarette smoke and smokers. Which is a wee bit funny considering I smoked myself in my mid-teens. Okay, mostly because Gramma said I wasn't allowed to, and we all know saying NO to a rebellious teenager often results in instant rebellion. Over the years, I have found myself more and more disgusted with the smell of smoke and the mess of butts left behind by smokers. These days I'm damn near militantly assertive about it!

#3: I have extremely low tolerance to heat. Even my bubble bath was in cool water, thank you very much! It's a funny thing, cuz I was raised up in the Okanagan Valley, so you would think I would love heat. I tan really easily ... unusual for a (former) redhead, so I don't need to avoid the sun. I just hate heat! I can't think, can't function if I'm too warm, and this is 24/7. And no, it's not "power surges" ... those fortunately aren't happening anymore.

#4: I avoid fat-free foods. I don't worry about my weight, although I'm far from skinny and maybe ought to. It's just that I see labels with the words "fat free", and I start wondering what scary chemicals have been added to replace familiar fats like butter. If I think about the big chemical words on labels, I actually get nauseous and gag! When I tried to think where this started, I recalled a dish of low-fat ice cream that ... for some strange reason ... I didn't finish eating, and left sitting out overnight. The next day, IT STILL LOOKED LIKE A DISH OF FROZEN ICE CREAM! That's just not right! In fact, it's downright CREEPY! When I read the label, there were many big chemical words, and I've been leery of low-fat and fat-free foods ever since.

Side note ... did you know it's really difficult to find yoghurt that is NOT low-fat/no-fat???  And sour cream??? 

#5:  I like to wear plain-coloured tops.  I am not confortable in print tops, although sometimes I like print skirts or dresses.  Half of my closet looks like a rainbow because I organize blouses, teeshirts, sweaters, etc by colour and shade.  I wear colours according to whatever mood I'm in, and print tops are too confusing.  For ambivalent days, I can choose from 14 different white blouses or tee-shirts!

#6:  I really like being a student.  I LOVE learning and studying.  I miss classrooms!  I'm extremely happy making notes, reading, researching, writing papers.  I even love teaching ... making lesson plans, lecturing, marking papers.  I would say I'm in the wrong line of work, but I actually get to do all of those things as part of my job.

#7:  I do not understand jogging / joggers.    All that sweating, wearing spandex, sweating, torturing feet with running shoes, sweating, inflicting stress/pain on feet and knees, and sweating ... did I mention sweating? ... DELIBERATELY truly boggles my mind!  I don't mind running to catch a bas, or hurrying to get something specific done, but I really don't like to run or hurry without a clear destination and purpose in mind.  The actual running/hurrying is NOT a destination or purpose to me.

#8:  I like languages.  I like the sounds of different languages.  I'm fascinated with the history/evolution of different languages, as well as the connections between languages and cultures.  Idioms ... oh what fun!  And sentence structure ... amazing!  Oh!  And gestures that go with words ... wow!  I wish I had enough lifetime left to learn every language on the face of the earth!

#9:  I like trains.  Seeing the Via Rail train at the train depot (which I pass by on the way to work every morning) leaves me feeling restless and "itchy" for the rest of the day.  I've only been on a Via Rail train a couple of times, but I want MORE!  Maybe this stems from growing up beside the railroad tracks and waving to the engineer every time a train went past.  I really enjoy the sound of trains rumbling along.  Some people find this noise very annoying, but I find it extremely soothing.  The sound of a distant train lulls me to sleep very quickly.  If I'm already asleep when the 11:00 pm train leaves PG, I wake up enough to hear it, smile, and drift back to sleep smiling.

#10:  Watching clouds moving across the sky grounds me.  I still clearly remember the first time I noticed clouds moving across the sky ... I must have been 4 or 5 years old ... and how that sight clarified for me that I was s small part of something much bigger, and that the world ... my world ... was unfolding as it should.  I think that was my first "spiritual" exprience.  Any time I feel a little frazzled or uncertain, I just have to stand still and watch the clouds move, and everything falls back into perspective for me.

Well, that's my list.  Anyone else care to share????

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Mid-week report

I was out the other day to give a presentation on the prevention of elder abuse, and happened to have my camera in my bag. I snapped a few quick photos on my way to and from my office.
Okay, so I'm not a professional photographer ... but I was enjoying the things I noticed! Have a good day y'all!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Take a trip with me ...

This past week, I travelled south in the interior of BC for a work-related conference. I managed to photo-document some of my journey so y'all can relive parts of it with me. I let the "Big Dog" do the driving all 655 miles ... ... cuz I took along my knitting. I knew that I had a whack of (about 10 year old) green mohair stashed in a box in my storage room, but for the life of me, couldn't dream up a project for 24 skeins of green mohair. Last weekend, I happened to be poking around in my storage room and took a look inside the box ... and lo and behold! 24 skeins of lovely green 100% wool Emu Superwash DK yarn! I have no idea why I thought it was mohair. Well! I just happened to remember a nice little 3/4-length sleeve cardigan pattern in Interweave Knits Fall 2009 edition! So I cast on the first sleeve as the Big Dog pulled out of PG at 9:15 am and by Williams Lake, had about 1/3 of a sleeve done.
We were supposed to have a 1/2 hour lunch break there, but had fallen a bit behind schedule due to road construction. So after a quick biffy break, the Big Dog was back on the road and I was back to my knitting. I always enjoy the change in the countryside from Williams Lake going south. Different trees. Different hills. However, by the time we pulled into Cache Creek about 5 pm, I was getting a little sore from sitting! However, I bravely kept knitting, and by the time I checked into the motel in Kamloops , I had 2/3s of a sleeve completed.

I also had a nasty case of swollen feet from sitting all day!

Hmmm ... THAT didn't used to happen to me! (Damned aging body!) And yes, I had to resort to Gravol for the last leg of the trip. Normally, I sit as close to the front as I can to avoid motion sickness, but when we switched buses in Cache Creek, the only seats available were near the back. Not. Good. However, the accomodations in Kamloops were pleasant ...
... and even provided a few unexpected little humorous touches. A quick shower, a brief nap with my feet up, and I was fit and ready for the Wine and Cheese reception! I won't bore you with conference details (they're all pretty much the same), but I will tell you that AFTER the conference, I found THIS shop and indulged in a serious yarn-fondling session. (Website is a little out of date due to owner recently having a baby ... but the shop is FABULOUS!) Oh, and bought this: On the left, 2 skeins of Malabrigo Silky Merino ... 51% silk, 49% Merino wool. Sadly, the photo truly doesn't do the incredible brilliant lime colour justice. On the right, 2 skeins of natural 70% Superwash Merino, 30% Seacell. I was interested to learn that Seacell is a cellulose-based fibre made from seaweed ... how was I supposed to resist that??? Unfortunately, I didn't plan my departure from Kamloops very well, so ended up spending a loonnngggg 3 hours here ...
... in the Kamloops Greyhound station with Dean.
(If you enjoy psychological chillers, read it. If you're sitting alone in a deserted bus station coffee shop, DON'T!) Back on the Big Dog at 12:01 am with knitting in hand, I promptly fell asleep. I woke up around 100 Mile House, NOTICED SNOW ON THE SIDES OF THE ROAD, and resumed knitting. By the time dawn was beginning to stir and we pulled into Quesnel , I had my first sleeve completed and the second sleeve cast on.We arrived back in PG about 6:50 am, slightly ahead of schedule, and I raced to catch the first city bus leaving downtown. You would think after an all-nighter on the Big Dog that I wouldn't be too excited about jumping on yet another bus, but I wanted to get HOME. I was so anxious for my own bathroom/shower/breakfast/cat that I even took the shortcut from the bus stop through the bush to the back of my apartment building ...
... probably not the smartest move as a young bear had been frequenting that area before I left. Happily, no bear. Only one happy kitty! E and L took care of her while I was gone (THANKS GUYS!), but she greeted me like she hadn't seen another human since I left. I brought her back a new collar and personalized name tag ...... although had I known she scooped all the paper out of my printer tray and SHREDDED IT ALL OVER MY BEDROOM FLOOR I might not have been so generous! (This is her "whaddyameanpaperalloverthefloorkittyignoringhumomnow" look.)

PS: Last night, I finished the second sleeve. Feet still a little swollen today. Good reason to keep them up and spend my Saturday knitting! Hope y'all enjoyed the trip ...

PPS: Since I took photos of my knitting instead of the scenery, I hope y'all clicked on the links along the way to see a little more of our beautiful province!