Sunday, 25 December 2011

Happy Ho-Ho and Merry New Year

I had a blog started on Christmas Day, wishing my dozen or so readers a merry Christmas and extolling the virtues of my cooking and what we had planned for the day but after at least half an hour of trying to get pictures to upload so I could show off what I had been doing I got a little ticked off and just put it aside for later. I didn't mean it to be a week later, but, well, here we are.

So now in addition to the merry Christmas that got lost in the ether, I wish you a happy new year and all the best for 2012. It seems there was a lot of unhappiness last year, for many people and many different reasons, big and small, and I hope that things will be looking much brighter for everyone this year.

I was rather down last weekend, as Christmas is usually a big thing for me. I enjoy going present hunting for my guy and my sister but that was out this year because of finances, and I have fun cooking a big(ish) dinner - can't really be too big, there are only the two of us after all, and I don't want the food going to waste, but even so it's still something that can be fun. It wasn't as much fun this time, but that was because of my mood more than anything else. My poor guy, I warned him in the morning that I wasn't in a very good mood and he took it wrong, thinking it was him that had caused my bad mood so he said he'd leave me alone, not realising that what I actually wanted was a really big hug. We got that sorted out though, and that part of the day was better at least.

I did see my sister before Christmas and was able to give her the little gifts I'd made for her - let's see if I can get the pics to post this time. I've put them up before, but let's consider this in the nature of a test.

Well well, what do you know - it finally worked. It took a little bit of futzing about, waiting for it to load, but hey, at least it worked. I've been trying to load pics to Ravelry for the last week too, and it's been a bitch as well. Anyway, she seemed to be very happy with her presents, and I got a text a couple of days later that she was wearing the hat and was really happy with it. This is a good thing :-)

Since the pics are working, let's try another one or two -

The stuffing I made for the 9lb turkey that himself won at work :-) I'm not the world's biggest fan of turkey, mostly because I don't like eating leftovers for weeks on end, but this was free food - never turn down free food.

I also managed to get a good picture of Boo while I was mucking about with the camera, one where she's actually looking at the camera and not off to one side or moving from one place to another.

Christmas night we went to see a movie, one of three we've seen over the holidays. That first one was The Darkest Hour, an alien invasion movie of a sort. It was more entertaining than I'd had reason to hope, considering that none of the cast are A-list actors and the publicity wasn't really all that great. I only ever saw the one trailer for it, and the ads they ran on tv were just a shortened version of that trailer. It was done in 3D, and they did a really good job with that aspect of it. It was really only used to add depth of field to the surroundings and it did that to great effect. There were even a couple of vertigo-inducing scenes in there, which is the mark of some decent 3D.

My guy was off until Thursday, so we had a very lazy week of staying up way too late and getting up rather late as well. One of the things we did was continue with our Babylon 5 marathon :-) We just finished season three and it's one hell of a show. It still gives me chills watching that show, it's so intricately constructed. There are things going on in season one that aren't explained for two or three years but once they are it's like a revelation when all the pieces fall into place.

When he went back to work on Thursday I got up and picked up my friend Mary and we went off to Newmarket to pick up our cheques. After that we stopped by my apartment where she helped me pack up some more stuff and fill my car to bursting with my clothes drawers and what was left out of the kitchen. After that we went to another friend's place for a potluck lunch she'd organised for the six of us. It was a blast, especially since even when we are all working we don't get the chance to just sit and chat and laugh like that. Tammy made us what she calls "smoothies" - adult slushies, I call them. LOTS of booze, mostly rum, a whole lot of frozen raspberries and some water and Crystal Light for sweetness and added flavour. Oh wow, were they ever good. I could only have one or I wouldn't have been able to drive home, but it's because of her that I went and bought a Magic Bullet Single Shot for myself. I had all the ingredients, I just needed that little blender because I've just about fried the motor on the one we have. When you can smell the burning rubber when trying to make a yogurt/berry smoothie it's generally not a good sign. I made a slushie when I got home from hunting down the Magic Bullet, and oh boy was it ever good :-D

 Saturday we had no plans for New Year's Eve, we don't socialise much at all and have little to no desire to go out and about on such a crazy night. In the past we've gone out for dinner, or out looking for a R.I.D.E. program but that was just not what we wanted to do this year. So instead we went to see a movie in the afternoon - Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - good movie! Lots of fun, though I'm still really not sold on the soundtrack. I didn't like the music for the first one all that much either, though I really did try, and this one is just as twangy with the harpsichord line in there (or whatever it is). Otherwise, though, it was a lot of fun, and I got some work done on his Halloween stripey socks too, until I made a mistake and had to stop knitting because I couldn't see to fix it :-P

After that we went hunting hors d'ouvres for dinner, and we had cheese and shrimp puffs as well as little mini quiches. We had some cheese and crackers as well, and boy were we stuffed. Both of us had some tummy upset actually, so we put away the rest of the stuff we had and just spent a quiet evening in. I got some more work done on my Warlock Socks (Ravelry link), I'm up to the ribbing on the cuff and I'm doing it in 1x1 twisted rib. I'm thinking of making a row with yarn overs in it to create holes for ribbon laces to keep the socks up, I just have to decide where to put that row.

That's the first sock, they're both that high now and they're very matchy-matchy, too :-D

Today was also very quiet, though we did head out for breakfast and while we were there he asked if I had any interest in seeing Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which of course I did. Turns out he'd gotten tickets for that yesterday at the same time that he got the ones for Sherlock Holmes and was going to surprise me with them but then had to tell me, because he just had to share. It was also a good movie, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I couldn't knit again, because I messed up only a few rows in - I have to make sure I take knitting that uses slightly thicker yarn than these Halloween stripey socks because it's just too thin to work with easily, even when I have lots of light. That's okay though, the movie was entertaining enough that I didn't miss it too much.

Anyway, that's enough for now :-)

Happy New Year to everyone,


Thursday, 22 December 2011


Are you running away yet? ;-) It's okay, there's a brief reprieve.

Today was somewhat better than yesterday, thank goodness. At least I didn't have a leaky pipe in the basement that I had to call a plumber to fix. I did, however, slightly lose my nut on the poor guy at Fido (my cell provider).

I upgraded my phone a few days ago, and have been waiting for it to be delivered by UPS. While I was on the phone doing the upgrade, I had them change my address so that it would be shipped here, but no, that part of the call didn't stick and delivery was attempted to my place in Newmarket. I'm there only sporadically these days, and I'm not going up there to hang out for a day hoping the UPS guy is going to show up. I called to get the delivery changed to here and was told to call UPS directly to do that, and so I did. It turns out that I can go pick it up, and though it's out of my way to do so, I'd rather do that than wait til next Thursday to have it delivered. They're closed on Mon and Tues next week for the holiday, it would take another day for them to get their act together and so it would be Thursday before it would get here.

Also, my data plan was changed from a Blackberry plan to a different one because the new phone is an Android. This would not be a problem if I had already had my phone when they switched it over. They switched it at around noon on Tuesday, but it's now Thursday and I still don't have my new phone. It will be another day until I have it, yet I'm paying for a data plan I can't use. I was rather offended by that and let the guy have it. He ended up turning my Blackberry plan back on for me, and gave me a credit on my next invoice for my troubles. I'll have to call them tomorrow to get it changed back again, and then probably argue with them again about the length of my term. I deliberately went with a two-year term as opposed to a three-year one because I just can't cope with the thought of being stuck that long. I don't anticipate changing providers, but who knows how badly they'll piss me off between now and then.

My new toy, which hopefully will be in my hot little hands by tomorrow morning :-D I'm looking forward to having some fun with it.

The other thing I did today was make a big mess in the kitchen. I'm late, but I had to make my fruitcake this year. I had a very pretty moment while making it and inadvertently doubled the fruit but luckily I caught it before making the cake batter. So I wound up with four fruitcakes instead of two, though I do have a plan to get rid of two of them. One is going to a friend at work and I think another will go to my upstairs neighbours at the apartment. They're British and so enjoy the dark fruitcake at Christmas. I gave them one last year and John, at least, enjoyed it very much.

When I say fruitcake, I do mean fruitcake - there are four kinds of raisins and four different kinds of dried fruit in this recipe. It's somewhat bastardised from the one I got from my stepmother, because that one calls for a pound and a half of candied peel and cherries... ugh. I don't like those at all. So, I used Thompson raisins, sultanas, Lexia raisins, and currants as well as dried mango, apricots, peaches and strawberries. The rest of the recipe is just fine, but I really have to sub the fruit for the candied crap. The downside is that in cutting all that stuff up, I've gotten a blister on my finger from the knife rubbing against it for the time it took me to do the chopping. (It took quite a while - chopping dried fruit is tough.)

The sad part is any time I mention fruitcake most people I know run for the hills because they're thinking it's something like the garbage that's sold in the grocery stores and re-gifted forever and ever. If I could only get them to try the one I make, I'm pretty sure they'd change their minds. If they didn't like raisins they'd be pooched, of course, but if they do I think they'd like this one. Even my guy said earlier when he tried it, "That's good!" in a tone of surprise. He should know better :-P
I have been checking the online news sources regarding contract negotiations and the like, and I have to say that I really need to navigate away from the pages before I get to the comments section. The ignorance and rudeness of some of the people commenting is frustrating and hurtful. If I were to tell you that Joe Blow down the hall from you at work is making 40% more per year with better benefits and better working conditions while doing the same job that you do, would you not be a little pissed? We're not asking for the full wage gap to be made up, but half would be a good start. As for pensions and benefits, the only pension I have is what I can put away in an RSP for myself, and we pay quite a bit for the benefits, and Manulife keeps upping the premiums and cutting the benefits that are covered, just like every insurance company around. Regarding working conditions, a lot of our drivers are working an eight hour day that's spread out over up to 15 hours. How is that good, in any way? It contributes to fatigue and to more stress in the home life than is good for anyone. Driving distracted and driving while fatigued can be just as dangerous as driving impaired. Those are a form of impairment actually, and I heard that from a provincial police officer. The comments about being happy we have a job, and the "Pay me $15/hr and I'll go do it" just make me want to slap that person upside the head. We do a specialised job - it's not glamourous, but most of us do it because we love to drive. We're being paid to do something we enjoy, and that does make some of the rest of the garbage easier to take, but when we're offered a contract where the increase over the next three years isn't even enough to buy a medium coffee at Tim Horton's and our benefits are increasing in price, we had no choice but to say, "No. We are worth more than that. We are more deserving than that."

That's all my rambling for today,


Wednesday, 21 December 2011


I just have to put this out there, get it off my chest - this year, Christmas sucks. There are a variety of reasons, one of which, of course, is that fact that neither of us has much in the way of money and so presents have been put on hold. So there's nothing to get excited about there. No wondering what to get for him, or what he's gotten for me, and that's rather sad. I had plans, too, of what to get him. One of the things that's becoming a tradition is to adopt an animal at the Toronto Zoo. They send a certificate with a picture of the animal, a little brochure with information and the recipient's name goes on their wall of donors at the front entrance of the zoo. It's really neat to go there and see your own name on that wall. I hadn't decided which animal to adopt for him this year - in the past I've adopted a red panda, a polar bear and a black panther for him. The year I got him the polar bear I also found a framed print of a mama polar bear curled up with her two cubs which seem very serendipitous. 

There's also the fact that we're in week nine of the strike and there still doesn't seem to be an end in sight. On the news website this morning it was announced that one contractor had approached the union with an offer, but that's not our employer or union so it doesn't matter that much for us. It matters in that whatever they're offered, we will be offered as well by our employers, but if the offer sucks then, well, that doesn't do any of us much good.

The weather has been really weird, warmer than usual, and while I'm not complaining because I'd rather be out picketing in temps over 0C than under, since I do live in Canada the weather does shape our perceptions of the holidays and with rain, not snow, and temperatures above 0C, it just doesn't feel like Christmas. When I lived in Australia I had a hard time at Christmas because it was summer and that just seemed so wrong to me. I'm sure if I had stayed I would have gotten used to it (and there are times now when I wish I still lived there - sun, beach, warm weather...) but at the time it just felt really strange. There's the point too, that we've had very little sunlight for the last couple of weeks and that does start to get one down after a while. All around it's rather depressing.

To add insult to injury, one of the pipes in the house developed a crack - the one leading from the kitchen sink and dishwasher - and has been leaking all over the floor in the back bedroom, causing mould to develop and just be icky in general. It went unnoticed for a while because there was a table in the way, and I just didn't see the carpet getting wet, but when the mould sprang up (in what seemed to be) almost overnight I freaked. I found it at 3 am when I had to get up to check on Honey, and when I turned the light on I happened to be looking directly at the area in question. Ugh. I couldn't sleep in there after that, thinking that every time I breathed in I was inhaling mould spores. My biggest problem with it is that that bedroom is where I escape to if I can't sleep because he's snoring. I can be a very light sleeper, and I have a hard time *getting* to sleep, too, so sometimes it's just easier to go sleep in there than it is to get grumbly and antsy and really irritable.

To finish this off with something much more pleasant than my whinging so far, here are the photos we had done of the four-feets earlier this fall. Our local pet store had a photo competition for the cutest pets and if you spent $50 or more in the store you got to book an appointment to have the glamour shots done and have your pet entered in the contest. After it was all over and done with, you could order prints from the photographer which is what we did. Here they are :)

Aren't they lovely girls? It would have been nice to bring the cats too, but probably only Milo would have made the trip successfully. Maybe next year :)


Friday, 16 December 2011

Mitts and more yarn

Here we are again :-) Lunch today is a very lovely Honeycrisp apple (best apples ever!!) and some McLaren's Imperial cheddar cheese spread and Vinta crackers... sooooo good... and of course my dog wants the cheese and crackers as well. She's not so fond of apples, but she just loves the rest. She already got a cracker when one hit the floor so she's hopeful that she'll get more.

The strike continues, the companies involved won't change their offers even though both the companies and the union have met at the bargaining table again at the urging of the region. The region themselves will not take any part other than to say that they've saved $5 million over the duration of the strike and that they'll offer a month of free service after the strike is over to entice passengers back to the transit system. Not sure why they're doing that - most people ride the express buses in the system for free anyway. There's a proof-of-payment fare system on the express lines and unless enforcement officers get on the bus to check the fares there's no reason for the passengers to bother with a ticket. There are a lot of teenagers who ride the bus for free that way. At least once we go back we won't have to deal with passengers paying a fare, or issuing transfers.

So, in the meantime I've discovered the crack that is Malabrigo Rios. Oh wow. So very, very soft. I was on my way up to Newmarket on Wednesday when I realised that I had forgotten my knitting bag. Definitely not a good thing for me. My friends have noticed that having my knitting keeps me calmer, and less cranky than I can be, and I've noticed that I get a little antsy when I don't have it. In my mind, these are all good reasons to make sure that I have it with me. As a result, I had to stop by Wendy's shop and get something to keep myself busy and while I was there I decided that I didn't want more sock yarn. Not now, at least. I have lots, and I also have three pairs on the go at the moment so I really didn't want another pair started right now. The fingerless mitts I had made, though, the ones I put a pic of in the last post, those I could make more of and as an added bonus I could knock them off in less than two days. Aren't they pretty?

The colour is Purple Mystery, and I'm sure I didn't capture the true richness of the shade with my camera. Trust me when I tell you it's stunning :-) I have more of it, as well as what's left over from the mitts, so I'm going to make another Palindrome hat with it, and then I'll decide what to do with what's left over from that. It's so soft and gorgeous.

I also picked up some yarn for a sweater that they tempted me with while I was at the store. They are such enablers! The pattern is Oblique and the yarn is their new store line of yarns, called Timothy Street Yarns. So far there is only the aran weight available but it is lovely. They have a range of eight colours, and I picked up the dark teal to make my sweater in. The dark grey is also very nice but I just finished the Strike Hoodie in grey, and I'm still using up the last of the deep grey for some gifts so that wasn't a colour I was interested in right now. Here's a pic of the teal :-)

I picked up some Cascade 220 Superwash in a couple of colours and some white roving to make a pair of thrummed mittens - haven't started on that yet, but it will be soon.

I haven't decided which colour to use, but I'm sure that will sort itself out ;-)

Also, here are some of my latest acquisitions from the lovely Katie at YarnLove - so pretty.

The top one is Just Before Dawn, and the center one is Sunset, both November's selections in the sock club. The bottom one is Silvered Waves, which was one of August's selections, and I now have a whole lot of that colourway. I'm thinking of making a cardigan or sweater with that one held double, which is why I have so much of it.

Let me see, what else have I been up to? I did manage to do some housework today, sweeping the floor to get rid of all the Boo bunnies and Milo balls - I swear they were plotting coup under the desk. Here's one of the miscreants - I'd been calling him and couldn't figure out where he was until I went looking. I had to move the basket to where there was more light to take the picture :-)

He's just too darn cute for his own good. Anyway, that's all I can think of for now :-)


Friday, 9 December 2011

Yarn and Projects

It's been another lovely morning of puttering about :-) I woke up late, about nine, and wandered about letting puppies out and filling food and water bowls. I had some cereal for breakfast - so exciting, no? ;-) After a little digging I found a lovely recipe for cranberry muffins that I decided to indulge in. I had bought the cranberries and an orange a couple of days ago, but the recipe that I had in one of the few cookbooks I have here (most of them are still at my apartment on the shelves in the kitchen) just wasn't that appealing. It wasn't what I was looking for, which was just a basic muffin with cranberry and orange zest. The link above is just that - it says lemon, but subbing the orange extract and adding some zest is not a big stretch, and now that I have a naked orange sitting on the counter I guess I know what I'll be having for my afternoon snack, hm?

Yes, that is a Starbucks stainless steel travel mug, and if you like to keep your coffee/tea/whatever hot while you take your time drinking it, I highly recommend these mugs. They are awesome, so much so that I have purchased five of them, and four of those were for myself. The other one was a gift for my uncle last Christmas when he expressed interest in the one that I'd had with me. I preheat the mug by pouring boiling water in it and putting the lid on, allowing it to sit for about five minutes. I then pour the water out and brew my coffee right into the cup using a small cone filter. I've had my coffee hot for hours using this method, and it doesn't go funky which is good because I take my coffee double double.

Today's soundtrack was provided by the wonderful composers James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer from this awesome movie :-D

Another one of the many that I've seen enough times not to get distracted by what's going on onscreen, it's just in there for the music, which I absolutely adore. Now it's time for the sexiness of James Bond in Casino Royale. This one is because the movie is fun, not for the music - I find it too heavy on the brass section, though I do like Chris Cornell's theme song.

I have some new treasures to show you :-) I am trying to be good and knit from my stash but there are certain things that I just can't resist and one of them is a sale. Twisted Fiber Art had their version of a Black Friday sale and I picked up a couple of skeins of wonderful yarn from them in colourways that aren't currently being dyed. The first one is the colourway Ember on their Shiny base which is 50% merino/50% tencel, and yes, it is shiny - and soft, and squishable...

The next is Sweet Tooth on their MCN base (that's merino/cashmere/nylon for the non-yarnies in the audience) and I just love anything with cashmere in it. Oh. My. God. Soft is not the word.

These are both self striping yarns, much like the pic I put up in the last post of the Warlock colourway. I have a pic of that skein too, for your vicarious pleasure. I'm having a hell of a time deciding which one to start as my next project - they will be socks, definitely. There's also a new player in town, but we'll get to that in a minute.

Mmm, purplz...

So, about that new player... I don't know how I've managed to miss it for so long, but there's a shop by the name of GothSocks by Rainy Days & Wooly Dogs who creates some beautiful self striping yarns. I've managed to pick up a couple of skeins on destash on Ravelry and one of them has arrived here already so I can show it off to you. It's the Ricin base, which is merino/bamboo/nylon, and it feels wonderful.

I also have some pictures of current projects :-) I made a pair of fingerless mitts the other night, I finished one on Monday night and the second on Tuesday night. The nice thing about working with worsted weight yarn is how quickly it knits up. I adore my sock yarns, but sometimes it's nice to do a quick project. These were really warm, too, and they hug the hands because of the ribbed construction.

There's also a hat under construction from the same yarn which I'm hoping to finish today or tomorrow.

It's the Palindrome Hat by Kristin Bellehumeur which has reversible cables so the brim can be rolled up or left down, looking lovely either way it's worn.

I have a pair of socks that I've been working on for a little while, just a plain pair where the first one is done and I just finished the heel turn of the second one last night so they're once again available for on-the-go knitting. They may well be the ones I take to the meeting I'm going to on Sunday as they're the closest to being finished and I'd like to have another f.o. notch on my Ravelry page :-D

One last picture of the latest in self striping socks - these are using the Halloween colourway from Tri'Coterie Yarns that I posted about a few blogs ago. My guy is looking forward to his stripey socks :-)

As you can see it's the usual ribbed pattern that I use for his socks, the only changes I've made are to add 4 stitches to the usual number I use for his socks because the yarn is very fine and I'm knitting on US 0/2mm needles. I'll be doing an afterthought heel for these, of course, to maintain the stripe. Hopefully they'll fit him nicely, though I'm a little worried about it because I usually do a gusset and flap heel for him which gives more room over the instep. I guess we'll see, no? :-)

That's all for now,


Friday, 2 December 2011

This Could Take A While...

Well, here it is - the region won't intervene in the strike, perhaps calling for the drivers to be legislated back to work, thus causing the passengers even more grief and hardship than they've had to deal with already. It's gone too far for us to back down now, so this could drag on for a very long time. We need our jobs, we don't actually want to be on strike and not have a paycheque coming in, and there are a lot of the drivers who are feeling truly awful for the passengers, myself included. It will be interesting to see where this goes from here.

That was very weird. I just got a call on my cell with an automated survey of my opinion of the transit strike. I'm wondering if it's a random sampling of numbers from the area phone book or if it's from a list somewhere that my number is on. I just hung up, feeling like it was some sort of conflict of interest. Probably not logical, but there it is.

This week has been busy - picketing on Tuesday, which meant up super early, then off to the apartment to clear out some more things. I brought another chunk of my kitchen with me this time, and came to the (not very) shocking conclusion that I have a lot of kitchen toys. I also only have four drawers in the kitchen here, and two of them are half sized. My apartment had six drawers, all full sized, one of which was filled with plastic wrap, foil and baggies and the like. I have no idea where the hell this stuff is going to go here, but I am thinking I'm going to have to get a set of freestanding drawers to put it in. Then of course, the question becomes "where do I put that?" *sigh*

Wednesday I was up early again to go with my friend for her court case. She's had a rough haul over the last year and change with her common law husband, and she really needed some moral support. Two of us went with her, to try to keep her from bouncing off the walls. Yesterday was more picketing, which meant I was up at "omfg it's early!!!!" I haven't seen this many early days since I worked day shift. There's a really good reason I switched to afternoons. Sleep is a marvellous thing. I was so tired that I went to bed at seven-thirty last night - I felt like I was six years old again. At least it was dark out so I could sleep. I have an issue with there being light in the room when I'm trying to sleep. It's one of the reasons why I don't nap during the day. I just don't sleep well enough to be bothered trying anymore. I wake up feeling worse than I did before I went for the nap.

I got up this morning and made my guy coffee and a bagel for his breakfast, since I'd gotten eight hours sleep and was feeling much better :-) At least that way he didn't have to stop for coffee on his way to work, and sometimes that keeping that extra couple of dollars can make a difference. Besides, I don't like Tim Horton's anymore (I know, it makes me seem un-Canadian, doesn't it?) and think that my coffee is definitely superior.

After I got up again this morning I decided it was time to tidy up a bit and use up the bananas that have been sitting on the table for the last few days. Bananas are nasty things, really. I'm not fond of them at all. They have a window of only a few hours where they're tolerable to eat, otherwise they're too green or have gone black. The smell, too... I do not like the smell of them. However, since we had them and I'd rather use them in something than just throw them out I just decided to make banana bread. I didn't have the pecans chopped to put in it so i put in mini chocolate chips instead. I really didn't think he would mind (he likes banana bread more than I do - I only eat it when it's fresh out of the oven and the butter goes all melty) and I was right :-)

I have been knitting away, though I think I only have one project to show you right now. It is a lovely one though, and it's very squishy :-) I only have the pic of it blocking unfortunately, but here it is:

The next one I've begun is from, the pattern Citron which is a lovely shawl.

It's up to the beginning of the fourth repeat now, and believe me when I say that's a lot of stitches... I think I might pull out my Argonath stole later on and work on that for a while :-)

Okay, I'm off to do... something... I'll figure out what in a while :-P


Thursday, 24 November 2011


It's about the end of week five, and still nothing. Well, not nothing - I finished my hoodie!!! :-D I finished it last Saturday, and washed and blocked it Sunday. It took two days (and a couple of trips through the dryer on "air fluff") to dry, but I've been wearing it since Tuesday and loving it. It's so warm! I still have to get himself to take pics of me with it on, but I do have this one to show you :-)

It's soooo comfy :-)

I've also managed to finish Mel's Stripey Strike Socks -

I love these, I think the way the stripes turned out is just awesome :-) These were my first socks done with an afterthought heel, which was entertaining. One of the things I love about knitting is that you can learn so many different ways to accomplish things if you want to, or find the one technique you love and stick with that. For the stripes the best way to maintain them was with the afterthought heel, so that's the one I chose. I have some new yarn from Twisted Fiber Art, who I believe I've mentioned before, in the wonderful Warlock colourway :-D (picture from their website)

I also got a 1/4 skein of the coordinating purple to do the toes and heels in, so as not to mess up the gorgeous, gorgeous stripes of this colourway. I got the Arial base, which is 100% superwash merino, with a fantastic yardage - 480 yds for the full skein and 120 yds for the coordinating skein. These will be some impressive socks ;-)

I also finished the first sock in the second stage of the Tour de Sock. I didn't finish the first stage in time, so there was no pressure to finish these ones up and as a result they've been languishing in my knitting bag for a few weeks. Now that I have so much time, though, all sorts of things are coming out to play. The pattern is Phellogen by Glenna C. and it's a fun one. it's one that you have to be careful where you stop because the repeats on the two charts don't match up - one is a 10 row repeat, the other is a 14 row repeat. Let's just say I had a lot of lifelines in there to note the start of the next repeat.

I've just cast on for the second sock, and will work on that as I have patience for all the twisted stitches that are in this pattern.

Another pair of socks that I've finished is Skew by Lana Holden - these are awesome socks. I love the look of them. It's another pattern where you have to be careful where you put them down, because the pattern isn't all that intuitive in terms of where it's going. It's very well written though, and so it's a simple matter to pick a spot to pause. Good thing, because I "paused" back in August :-P I picked them up again on Monday of this week, worked on the green sock above on Tuesday, and then finished these up yesterday and today. All I had left to do today was bind off the second sock and sew in the ends, so that went pretty quickly.

Anyway, time to wander off and finish getting ready for dinner. Himself will be home with some sausages soon, so I should heat up the toaster oven. 


Friday, 18 November 2011

Friday Follies

Well, it's the end of the fourth week of the strike and still no movement. We're thinking that the various contractors believe that we'll just cave because we're now starting to miss the paycheques. They don't get that that isn't the point. Wednesday we picketed the one yard in York Region that is still operating - I read a few tweets about it as we were leaving and there was one that said something about a "surprise strike". Um, hello... ? Then yesterday we had a demonstration at the Regional headquarters which was kinda fun. So was the picketing, actually. For me it was almost more of a social outing - got to see my friends for the first time in what felt like forever.

As I was leaving yesterday after the rally I stopped off at Serenity Knits to see if they had any Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend as they were listed in the store locator on the site but they said they hadn't carried it for a couple of years. Instead I wandered off to the corner with the sock yarn and fondled that for a while :) I actually managed to escape without being seduced by the yarn, but it was a close thing. After that I decided I'd swing by another shop in Bowmanville on my way back to the house, where they do carry the Manos I was looking for but they didn't have the colourway I was looking for. I have ten skeins already, but that's too much to use up by making accessories and not enough for a sweater or cardi. They said they could order it for me, and asked if after Christmas would be okay. Considering the current state of my bank account, I said that that would be just fine :) This is the colourway I want:

Pretty, no? :)

In other knitting news, my Strike Hoodie is coming along beautifully :D I finished the sleeves and sewed them on the other night, and last night I started on the last piece - the hood. Woohoo! I wove in most of the ends as well, while I was attaching the sleeves, figuring that getting that out of the way would make me much happier. In other news, I'm very pleasantly surprised by how much (little?) yarn I'm using for this hoodie even though I've bumped up the size a fair bit from the pattern. I'm on the seventh skein of the light grey, and will probably need at least part of an eighth skein to finish the hood though I doubt I'll need the whole thing. Even with the dark grey that I used for the bottom border and cuffs I should still come in well under 10 skeins. I've been caught short so many times when making a sweater or cardi that I guess I went a little overboard for this one.

I'm also plugging away at Mel's Stripey Strike Socks - the new name for them :D I got a boatload done while picketing on Wednesday and then again at the rally yesterday. I made her try the first one on on Tuesday, to be sure I got the size right, and it fit perfectly. She keeps looking at the progress and grinning madly. I think she's excited about getting her socks.

I'm still going to the gym, though I have to admit I'm a little depressed about how little results I'm seeing so far. I know it takes time, but I was hoping I'd be seeing at least something by now. I do feel a difference at least, so I know something is happening but it's not showing on the scales or in the fit of my work pants :-( Soon, I hope.


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Wednesday's Whimsies

You know, it's nice to be called a "young lady" - especially since I'll be 42 next year :D I don't think I look my actual age, but it's nice to have someone else assume I'm younger than I really am. For the most part I'm not particularly vain (though I do think my hair is gorgeous - go curls!)  so this was a nice compliment.

Today's excitement was going to the gym and doing three miles on the elliptical in half an hour - that's an average of six mph, which I haven't been at for a long time. I used to average higher, but ... yeah, long time. So I did that, had a lovely shower then came home and decided to do some cleaning. The Boo-bunnies were plotting coup under the couch, so it was time to clean them out. I swept the upstairs and then steam-mopped the floor as well as shaking out Boo's pillow and sweeping/mopping the entryway. I put Kingdom of Heaven in the bluray player and cranked the volume while I was doing this - I adore the soundtrack to this movie. I don't really care if I see what's happening on the screen, I just wanted the music going behind me. I knew if I'd put any one of the Pirates movies in I would be pausing to watch but this one was just for atmospheric music.

I've finished the body of my Strike Hoodie (Ravelry link) and have done both cuffs for the sleeves. I was going to do them both at the same time but I don't have a long enough needle in the right size. If I put it off til tomorrow then I can get one, as I have a set of Addi Turbo interchangeables at home with a longer cord in the case but I don't know if I can wait that long. I do have a pair of socks I can finish, as well as Mel's stripey socks to work on, so there is stuff to do. I also bought some patterns last night (four, actually) for various shawls, one of which I'll be using the graduated from Tri'Coterie that I mentioned in my last post. I still have to find a pattern for one of this month's acquisitions too. It hasn't arrived yet, so I still have time, but oh my... It's going to be gorgeous. (picture ganked from the Tri'Coterie group on Ravelry)

100% superwash lace merino, 2-ply, 850m (930yds) *drool*

Time to go finish that sock :)


Saturday, 5 November 2011

Week 2 in Review

Hey, hello, how are ya? It's the end of the second week of the strike, and so far there's been very little movement towards a resolution by either side. In some ways, I don't mind - I'll take the two week vacation. Money hasn't hit the crunch point yet - it's coming, but not yet - and I've had lots of time to relax, go to the gym, knit, and try to recover from the cold that hit the middle of the first week. (I was nice, I shared it with my guy :P )

In other ways, I'd rather be working. I'm starting to dread going back to work because I can just see the passengers bitching like mad once they get over being happy that the buses are running again. What they don't understand is that we are paid anywhere from 25-40% less than other drivers in public transit in the province, and we have no pension to speak of (the company will match up to $25 when contributing to the company pension fund where others match dollar for dollar) so we have to plan for our own retirement *cough* and just hope we can actually retire and be able to afford groceries. One of our drivers is 77, and he can't afford to retire. The company has proposed raising the premiums for our long-term disability benefits, based on a 40-hour work week, but most of us don't work that much unless we have signed up for overtime. I don't mind the sliding scale so much, which is what they have now - if you work 40 hours a week (or more) then you pay the premium for the 40 hours, but if your crew is only 37 hours and you don't work overtime then you should only pay the premium for 37 hours, but I don't think everyone should have to pay the 40-hour premium. Besides, we pay a lot for our benefits and the premiums always go up every year, a cost which is always passed along to the drivers.

Enough of the boring stuff, what have I been up to? Well, I've done three classes at the gym last week - BodyFlow (yoga and Pilates based) on Monday and found that I was not as stiff and inflexible as I had thought, BodyPump on Tuesday which I took very slowly and carefully for two reasons - I wanted to be able to walk for the rest of the week and I didn't want to completely wreck my neck. Wednesday was the previously mentioned BodyCombat class - karate/muay thai fusion of moves that is an insane cardio workout if you put your all into it. I had a tough time moving the next day, but it wasn't the usual low back pain that you would think of, but the muscles down the sides of the spine that don't usually get too much work that were complaining mightily. That and my arms. Ow. But a good ow, so I look forward to going back again this week :D I've also been "running" on the elliptical, getting back into that, and I'm up to about 25 minutes and 2+ miles on it. It's nice to be trying to get my wind back. I don't run out in the real world, or even on the treadmill, but the elliptical puts almost no stress on my knees and ankles, and I just don't bounce the way I would if I were really running and that's a good thing.

I've also been working on my Strike Hoodie which is coming along pretty well. I'm at the point of having separated for the fronts and back. I ran into an issue last night on the right front with 10 orphaned stitches and now am trying to figure out how to solve that. This time I read through the pattern, thinking I'd just missed the instructions on what to do with the stitches, but no, there's an errata on the publisher's website about those stitches and I didn't like their solution. So I've ripped out and redone it about 6 times today trying to get it to look right and work properly.

Good thing that Cascade 220 is such a sturdy yarn. Speaking of yarn, some of my latest acquisitions:

Molly Brown, dyed by Fresh From the Cauldron for the first round of the Every Decade Has A Diva club

Fright Night, dyed by Maylin of Tri'Coterie, a three colour self striping yarn

Halloween, also by Maylin, a two colour self striping yarn

Don't Stray From the Path, again by Maylin, a graduated yarn in merino/cashmere/nylon that is going to make a gorgeous small shawl.

This is Sunshine Tangerine, a self striping yarn I dyed myself with my friend in mind. She loves orange, and I thought the yellow was a good complement, and I've started a pair of socks for her with this. It's a 75/25 blend of BFL/nylon, so it should make very nice toasty socks for her. She loves the colour :D

This is Lime-Aid - ten packets of lime koolaid and one skein of 75/25 merino/nylon yarn from Knit Picks. My guy has spoken for this yarn, wanting a pair of lime green socks.

This is Stuffy Blue Tweed, a three-ply tweed yarn from Wool2Dye4, with two plies of non-superwash merino and one ply of superwash. The superwash merino takes the dye differently than the non-superwash, giving the tweedy look to the yarn.

This last one is Autumn Day - a handpainted skein I did with yellow-orange-terracotta-green-brown sections. The terracotta bled out more than I thought it would, as did the brown in places, but it still should look pretty neat. My guy has also called dibs on this skein. Lucky guy.

I finished his Seen From The Moon socks and he's been wearing them proudly since I sewed in the last end.

The shifting rib goes in opposite directions, so the socks are mirrors of each other, not matching.

That's it for now, I suppose, so I'm going to go swear at my hoodie for a while :)


Wednesday, 26 October 2011


Okay, well I'm not going to the Body Combat class - didn't get up in time, or move fast enough to get there. Still going to the gym though, have to get some waters and some alphabet noodles first, then off to go walk for 45 minutes today. Then a shower, and home to make homemade chicken noodle soup (with the aforementioned alphabet noodles) and fresh bread.

I had to rip out the cardi - good thing I hadn't got very far yet. I missed part of the pattern when reading it (READ THE DIRECTIONS!!! *sigh*) and so hadn't cast on enough stitches. I'm altering it so that I can do the whole thing in pretty much one piece, and missed the border stitches.

Anyway, I can start that again when I get home, after I get the soup started :)


Tuesday, 25 October 2011


Hello, good afternoon and hi, how are ya? Been a while, hasn't it? I'm going to fall back on the excuse of having been busy, as well as the fact that it does seem rather pointless to write these things out for no one to read. My guy is the only one I know of who reads this and he gets to experience it all firsthand, so this really does seem like an exercise in futility.

However, everyone needs a place to put things down to put them in order in their heads so here I am again. To catch up on the last couple of months, my vacation was lovely though it was busy. My guy had the second week off as well, so we rearranged some things in the house and emptied out my storage locker in Newmarket. That meant renting a truck and moving things like a big ass armoire (my dad saw it and said, "I recognise that" - he and my mum had bought it way back when I was a baby) and the washer and dryer, plus some other stuff that was in there. We set up the washer and dryer the next day, stacking them so that there was room to put a table beside them to fold the clean clothes on. (That last part is theory only, never been tested :-P )

Work starting in September was back to evening shifts, thank goodness. Mornings seem like they're preferable but honestly, having to go to bed before the kids upstairs is just ridiculous. Also I've discovered I really don't like having to get up to an alarm anymore. Did that for years and now I just want to be able to sleep until I'm slept out. It meant that I have a crew that has lower hours per week, but I've been making them up with extra work in the mornings and on Saturdays. So I really have been busy, honest.

My Mythos yarns arrived - oh, my, god... They are all so soft and squishy, and the colourways are divine.

I have duplicates of a number of these, allowing for bigger projects and I just can't wait to cast on ...something. I don't know what yet, though there will be at least one stole/shawl out of it.

I also ordered yarn from Tri'Coterie, based in France (I have French yarn!!!) and that arrived yesterday - it is also beautiful. I got three of the four colourways available for September (pics taken from the Tri'coterie board on Ravelry):

Halloween, Fright Night, and Don't Stray From The Path

The first two are self striping yarns, and the last is a graduate, going through the colours as it's knitted up.

I made a hat, my second, out of Manos del Uruguay Classico - it's very blue, and it's very warm. It's just a beanie pattern, nothing special, but I haven't made many hats so it was fun. The Seen From the Moon socks for my guy are almost done, and for a little bit I was attempting to do the Tour-de-Sock but due to a couple of mistakes I blew the first deadline and so was out of the race in the first round. Got a pretty pair of socks out of it, though too small for me so I'll be giving them to my sister as part of her birthday present. I'm still working on the second pattern, but since I'm out of the running there's no rush.

I suppose the biggest piece of news at the moment is that we're on strike. Our contract has been up since Feb 1, and the negotiations were put off, delayed, and otherwise just not done, so  at the end of August a vote was held to determine whether or not we were prepared to strike. There are three contractors at the moment that are out, which takes out about 60% of the service. We went out yesterday, and well, it was just a bad day all round. So today I went out, did what I had to do, and then I went to the gym. I've decided that since I haven't got much else to do - the organisation of this strike seems odd to me, we had a meeting yesterday but no picketing, no presence - I'll get off my ass and go back to the gym. As well I've been trying to improve the diet again, back to the way it used to be with more veg and fruits in there, and less junk food and snacks.

I started easy today, since it's been a while, by walking on the treadmill for half an hour. I went almost two miles and burned close to 300 calories, then came home and had a lovely big salad for lunch. Dinner tonight will be shake'n'bake chicken breasts, with acorn squash and roasted veg from the other night. I'd made pot roast but the veg didn't cook in time so we'll have them tonight. Tomorrow I'm going to see if I can't get my butt in gear to go to a 9:30 Body Combat class and kill myself with exercise :-P

Okay, I don't know what else to go on about today, oh yes - I did start a new project, in honour of going on strike, and that is the Hooded House Coat, which is a fancy name for a hoodie cardi. It should be lovely, I'm doing the borders in a charcoal grey and the main body in a lighter grey. I'll keep you posted about how it's going.