The Urge to Splurge

Hello T.

Feast your eyes on the roses from my garden!

I was flipping through the pages once again in Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and on a complete whim, I decided I needed to make the hand/wrist warmers immediately. And before I could reason with myself, the car keys were in hand, and I was out the door, down the steps, and in the car. I had an hour before my lys closed. Lots of time.

I pulled into the parking garage that promises 1-hour free parking for plaza customers only, but all cars are under 24-hour surveillance, and you must pay on Level 2. Where is Level 2? Do I need a ticket? How do they know I am shopping in the plaza? I should mention that all the parking spots are too small, and there are loads of giant cement pillars that threaten to scrape the crap off your vehicle if it doesn’t dent it first. I should also mention that this is like my sixth trip to this store, and none of this is new to me, but my nerves continue to wreak havoc each time. There’s never a soul to approach with my 101 questions, and the signs seem to increase in number and hostility. Eek. So I glanced back over my shoulder and said good-bye to my only way home like it was the last time. I was going to hurry.

I walked into the store, and instinctively, I eyed the Noro Cash Iroha and grabbed the first colour I fancied which happened to be lavendar - what is up with all things lavendar? I can't seem to choose any other colour at the moment. Oh well. I went around and pawed all the balls within reach. This alerted the owner to ask me if I required any assistance, to which I replied, "Yes! Was I right to just park and leave my car? Do I need a ticket? Do I need to pay someone? How do they know that I am shopping in the plaza? Will my car still be there when I leave?" She calmly noted that I did the right thing by just parking, and if there were any problems, I just need to come to her, and she would sort it all out. I nearly sobbed with relief, and then I went back to my yarn shopping to my leisure. Ahh. I bought the one skein of Noro and three balls of a discounted chocolate brown alpaca blend wool, and I didn't break the bank entirely. And my car was in tact when I left. Good times.


Back to my mittens . . . One down with one to go.

Past Posting

Dear N,

The craft room of your dreams sounds like the garage behind where you work. Where will the students assemble Newborn Literacy Kits?

Anyway, I was poking around in my pictures files and found some pics of Vancouver that I hadn't posted. I don't think we'll be coming back to Canada anytime soon, what with the upcoming civil ceremony in July and then my immigration process will begin. That means that I can't leave the country. Well, I could but they wouldn't let me back in. So I am missing Canada and poutine and real news on the TV. I am so sick of Fox and CNN. We have long resorted to streaming the CBC on the web or watching international news from France. Anyway, I digress. Here is T in the big hollow tree in Stanley Park.Here is the devastation from last winter's wind storm that took down hundreds of trees. My heart broke as we drove through the park. You could literally see through the forest where 300 year old trees used to be. So sad.
My favorite cupcake shop in all of the world on Denman Street just off of English Bay. So yummy and such a cute place.Check out the pink table and chairs!

Don't get me wrong, the Forest City is pretty hype too. It is home of the Labbatt's brewery, the Knights and the only place you can get bear claw ice cream!

Imaginary Friends

I dreamt last night that I was walking through my house and happened upon a huge bright and airy warehouse-type room. The floors and walls were cement, but there were big windows and doors (although in need of a lot of scrubbing), and there were old cupboards and appliances, but I thought to myself that it would make a brilliant craft area. Along one wall, I found a really long and wide formica table that I delegated for my sewing machine and cutting mat. I was excited to clean and cozy up the space and throw up loads of shelving, and it would be heavenly.

As I sit here ‘working’, I was thinking how nice it would be to get started on the workspace when I get home tonight. And then I remembered that it was all just a dream. Why am I grieving as if it were a real loss? I’m so silly sometimes. As if a big room would appear on my house’s butt out of nowhere!

I started on another pair of Malabrigo mittens. I think I will start to work on more mittens to prepare for next winter. These mittens were fantastically delicious on my hands last year. I want to spread that mitten love. Soon I will be the mitten wizard! People will bow down to my mittens.

At the wedding last weekend, the deejay played Sexy Back before I could get inebriated enough to dance in front of people, and I fought the urge to boot it back to London to blast some JT down in my basement where I could dance all crazy without being seen. The timing was all wrong. I managed to last a few more hours, and I danced to two or three songs for the amusement of my family. I believe they took pictures, and no, I don’t want to see them.

Oh! It’s sweltering outside, and E decided to wear jeans, and B told me out of the blue that Jesus lives in yellow sand land. Really?


March of the Penguin

This morning in a moment of insanity, I decided to walk to work. I always think how easy it would be to walk every day, but I am excellent at thinking up excuses. Most days, I have to drop B off at daycare, and I would need the car to drive her home again; however, truth be told, that kid has two very long sturdy legs, and she is fully capable of walking or taking a bus as well as I am. I am certain that time is always an issue as well. I enjoy getting ready in the morning at my leisure – it’s not all leisurely since I am not only getting myself showered, dressed and fed, but two other little ones as well. And the weather plays a role in my decision-making on the days when it is freezing, raining, windy, grey, too hot, too cold, wet, snowy, icy . . . . Doesn’t leave me many days to take that walk. Know what I mean? So I am either rushed, have too much baggage (that includes a tot), and the weather is not up to my standard.

But that’s not all. My feet have been destroyed by too many years of being on my feet serving customers for minimum wage for nine hours a day then walking, biking or standing longer for buses in crappy shoes because I couldn’t afford a vehicle never mind a good pair of shoes. That was five days a week for seven years – no vacation and no sick days. After my walk to work this morning those stumps that look like feet were burning!

I’m going to see if I can buy some gel pads my soles and see if that makes a difference. I hope it does because I really enjoyed the walk. Things I found out:

· People on the path are friendly, and I was really getting into greeting passers-by with salutations. Good morning to you too!

· Construction is no more easier to avoid. In fact I encountered more roadwork than I have in my entire life. It’s as if the City is rebuilding my entire walk to work. I am not exaggerating! Every ten steps I had to cross the street. In addition to gel pads, I will be on the lookout for a yellow hard hat.

· Construction workers are hunky – even the old raggedy guys. I love me a muscle-y arm. Oh dear.

· Sweaty shirts take about two hours to dry. And the minister’s wife has deodorant in her office. How come she doesn’t have nail clippers?

· Tretorns are great for tennis, but not for walking – I actually learned this back when I took that walk after dinner, and I saw the Star Wars wedding by the river. I think I was laid up for a couple days after that. Who said bringing back the 80’s would be easy?

· Take the camera. This goes back to the Star Wars wedding. Who’s going to seriously believe that?

· Walking takes as long as driving some days. I got to work in about 40 minutes. If I hit construction or an accident and drop B off at daycare – this is actually the same amount of time. I didn’t spend have my morning waiting for lights to turn green!! It was liberating.

I will definitely be walking again this week! Really.


Don't Let Cake Push You Around

Dear N,

I swear I almost lost it Thursday night, no actually, I did lose it on Thursday night and Friday morning. It all started on Thursday when I volunteered to bring a cake for the farewell lunch for one of the girls at work who was beginning her maternity leave. I had a cake in mind and thought that it would be simple enough to do in one night. Normally this would be true but I had a super crazy week and by Thursday I was exhausted. So it was kind of last minute anyway, as I usually bake my cakes a couple of days before so that they can fully cool and settle. Then I decorate them the day after. Not only did everything go wrong with this little baby bassinet cake, I was just not in the frame of mind and the cake was getting on my last nerve. The icing was the wrong consistency, the white chocolate filling was way too thin while the strawberry filling was way too thick, and did I mention that it was about thirty five degrees in that kitchen? I walked away from it twice, only to be lured back to it twice, thinking to myself "the cake cannot win". I finally go to bed at 12:30am with the thing half finished and wake up at 6:30 to complete it. Needless to say, I wasn't that happy with it but I promised cake so I was going to bring cake. Many times it crossed my mind that I would just throw this cake out the window and pick one up at the grocery store on the way to work. But I did not let the cake win! I finished it, boxed it up and just as I thought I was safe, the demon possessed thing shifted and landed upside down still in its box. I did not cry. I ran back into the house to get a spatula, scooped the cake back onto the cake board, gooped the icing back onto the spots where it had fallen off and off to work we went. Let me tell you, I was very happy to see that knife go into that cake. Die cake, die! Here it is before it's deliberate fall in the car.

Low Tide

Dear T,

My cousin's wedding is Saturday, and slowly, bit by bit, I have been preparing for her big day. Eyebrows have been waxed, the grey has been coloured a chocolate truffley brown, my nails buffed and polished, my outfit dry cleaned, and all that is left is an early hair cut and style appointment with my favourite hairdresser early Saturday morning. Oh how I adore Rudy. Rudy and his wife are expecting their first child in the fall, and I am so thrilled for him. He is going to be the coolest dad EVER! Mini-Rudy is the perfect recipient for the baby einstein sweater and matching receiving blanket (the matching thing was a total fluke).

He doesn't get to keep Naked Baby. I wonder where Naked Baby's clothes went to. The batteries in Naked Baby are dead, and Naked Baby can no longer open her eyes. Poor Naked Baby or rather lucky Naked Baby. A perpetual nap would seem like a gift some days.

I have discovered that KNIT club knitting must be kept simple and mindless, so I propose another wrap. This time, rather than buying another kit, I have rummaged through my under-the-bed stash for navys and oranges. In my small pile, I have some cashmerino aran, fancy ribbon, and chunky alpaca. I heart chunky alpaca! I can feel it just thinking about it. The only yarn missing is some mohair, or maybe another colour is needed. A gold perhaps? I have another week to solve this, so feel free to share any suggestions.

Can you believe that I made another batch of church windows? Beah wanted a couple of fruity marshmallows, so I figured while I had the bag opened, I might as well whip up some squares. And yet I feel lazy.

And look what I got from the Board of Directors - a pot of lavender mums! A thank you for my pleasantness and efficiency. It was completely unexpected, and as I blushed furiously, I blurted out, "I enjoy working here!" to some friendly chuckles. I am so awk-mo that I shouldn't be allowed out in public. One of my highschool friends and I coined the word to describe all the awkward gestures, gaffes and motions only teenagers are capable of. Put that in the urban dictionary!



Dear N,
If only you had been here only yesterday you wouldn't believe what a relief this 27 degrees is today and it's not even officially summer yet! I was even able to take a hot shower today instead of a cold one, which was a nice change.
The balcony garden is coming along. It's nice to walk out of the kitchen and be able to pick fresh basil and mint for a salad. We had tuna, garbanzo beans and a mess of fresh herbs with some toasted pita bread for dinner, yum!
Do the chairs look familiar?

And here are the boots that I blogged about a few weeks ago. They are now sitting in the linen bag that they came with, awaiting the cooler weather of fall. I can't wait to wear them but I am definitely enjoying the weather that we're having now. The boots and the fall can wait for now.

the knit stitch

Hey T!

How's your weekend going? I think we are setting a record for seeing every single member of both sides of our families in two days. At lunch we sat down with a dozen of Josh's relatives for his Gramma's 75th, and for dinner, we went out to my uncle's for swimming and a big bbq for my Grampa's 77th and to celebrate Father's Day in general. The girls are zonked out, but I stopped for a grande latte on the way home, and I was so perked up that I finished the sleeve on this puppy!

I don't know any one-armed babies, so I guess I will have to stitch on another sleeve. I haven't been knitting this on the down-low. It was just that I couldn't get a picture of it before this that you would have been able to picture what it would look like. Know what I mean? It's a baby Einstein coat from the Knit Stitch designed by Sally Melville. I am using a not-so-soft or drapey acrylic, and I would definitely knit this again, but with a wool or cotton a bit lighter in weight than this particular yarn. I admit that it could stand on a baby. Oh well. It's a learning process. I love the fact that there is next to no seaming. It's all about picking up the stitches which I am getting darn good at if I must say so myself.

The latte is wearing off, and I must head to bed. I am nearly finished that whore book you recommended a few posts back. Fantastic book, T.


Some Knitting!

Happy weekend N! T went over to Best Buy and got a card reader for the camera so I am finally able to post some pictures of knitting that I've done, pre lost camera cable.

So I've been busy whipping up apple cozies. Why, you ask? They're fast and fun to knit, especially now that I've mastered Magic Loop. You gotta try it. Here is my first apple cozy, from this pattern.I just sewed on a button since I couldn't find a bobble pattern that I could understand. It has since been given to my boss to encourage her to eat healthier and stop having candy and nachos for lunch.
This is the back view of a little quick-to-knit shrug from the pattern that I mentioned to you about a month ago.I have orders from two friends in Vancouver and have one in tan on the needles. I was knitting this as I waited for T to complete his road test (which he passed!) and just happened to be in the same waiting room as the woman who co-owns the Yarn Garage. I'm just sorry that I didn't ask her name.

Glad to hear the you're enjoying the Marquez book. I should look for it at the library. I have requested this book though and I am one of fifteen holds so in the meantime I am reading this book from T's library of food related fiction.

I'm going to read over the Fiber Trends felted clog pattern that I bought today at the LYS...yes I bought it. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. G'night N.




Check this out!

A banner and an appropriate urban dictionary definition within 24 hours. I am on a roll.


I Herd You Loud and Clear

Dear N,

Blame my father, a wonderful and very talented man whom I love dearly, but a lover of all things corny, mostly jokes.

I had one of those crazy days that involved some negotiation, a lot of freaking out, a little bit of crying (luckily not me), and two frenzied trips off site to do some damage control. Thanks for the reminder of why we do what we do five days out of the week.

I found this picture:It's a herd of sugar sheep that I piped about a month or so ago. I think I blogged about the cake but didn't post any pictures. These are the sheep, sitting out to harden. The recipients were delighted, being sheep farmers and planned on taking a couple of the sugar ones to show the real ones. I wonder if they got eaten, the sugar ones that is.

Anyhow, we've got the air conditioner going trying to keep cool in this 89 degree heat, 32 degrees if you're not American. If you ask me, it's too hot, but I suppose no one is asking. At least Monday is over.

Hang in there,



Note to self:

Seriously, what are the pros to working full time and raising a family? I needed to ask myself this question today to fully appreciate what my job means to me. I envy stay-at-home mums to infinity and beyond! Could I be a Soule Mama, and still remain sane? So I made a list of all the positives because sometimes I forget.

· I worry a lot about money. The paycheques allow me to sleep most nights.
· I like to compete. The girl in my position before me lasted ten months. In fact, no one has been able to stand it for more than a year. In September, I will have been there four years! That’s right. Suck it up! Some might say those ladies before my time may have actually won, and I am the one losing. But I guess it’s all perspective.
· I like the people with whom I work. I’ve made a gazillion friends who I would not have met otherwise. They think I am great, and that helps me be surer of myself.
· Working Monday to Friday makes me appreciate my time off. I would like to think I spend my free time wisely – doing nothing most times just because it feels so good.
· My storytelling depends on the daily drama. I couldn’t make up half the stuff that happens around here every day!
· I am setting a good example for my daughters. Working hard, constantly learning new things, demonstrating responsibility and integrity, and topping it all off with an inane amount of efficiency and organization might actually rub off on them some day.

May this list remind me on the dreariest of days why I do what I do.


Elton John is Still Standing, and so am I

Dear T,

It’s been a busy week on Donna Street. Picnics and fun fairs – not a lot of knitting or crafting in that case. I was also reading a very engrossing novel. I stayed up late every night reading it. I am now finished, and looking at my pile of books from the library, I still have lots of reading left. My dentist appointment yesterday ended up being just a thorough cleaning – two flippin’ hours! I was relieved, however, that I didn’t have to pick up B from daycare with a frozen face. But I confessed to the hygienist that I would have much preferred the drillings and fillings as there was more ‘discomfort’ with the cleaning. That tells you something about the state of my teeth! But now my mouth is sparkling and white, and I can honestly say it’s no longer scary. It’s beautiful. I have been flashing my teeth at anyone who passes by my desk, not to mention B who then begged to go to the dentist’s again. All in good time, my dear.

I made the cake you linked me to ages ago for a co-worker’s birthday yesterday, and the entire Admin team raved about it for hours – some still today! I hooked them up with the link; although, part of me wanted to keep the recipe to myself because it was ridiculously easy, and it will be known to all that I am only a novice cook at best!

This morning, I am driving out to Ailsa Craig for their annual town-wide yard sale. I fell in love with Ailsa Craig last month on the shunpiker, and we walked through the little neighbourhood and did some shopping in one of the two antique stores in town. In fact that is where I bought my vintage stool and wool blanket. I am so excited. I will pack up B in the car, grab a latte and hit the road. It will be heavenly!

My peonies are in bloom as well as my little tea roses. My garden smells lovely. I love opening the front door early in the morning and catching a waft of the flowers. The kids could care less though. Bleh.

I passed the microwave popcorn recipe to a couple of people. I am interested to try it myself. It’s unbelievable how much money you could save popping it yourself. That’s how I see tea. It’s over a dollar to buy a cup of tea anywhere, but it costs just pennies to brew your own at home. I always think they tend to brew it too long for my liking anyway. And rather than be a whiner, I will brew it myself! Back in my Timmy’s days, it would astound me when people would complain about the coffee daily – if you seriously have a problem, make your own at home! How hard is it? It’s not. Forgive my ranting, but it seems I am still bitter. People would get so upset if you didn’t have the donut they wanted. Honestly, they must have been living sweet lives to get their panties in a knot over a donut. The girls were crying about a stuffed animal last week, and I remarked to J that it seems we’re doing okay if that is their biggest problem.

“At Rex Kwan Do, we use the buddy system. No more flying solo. You need somebody watching your back at all times. Second off, you're gonna learn to discipline your image. You think I got where I am today because I dressed like Peter Pan over here? [points to Kip] Take a look at what I'm wearing, people. You think anybody wants a roundhouse kick to the face while I'm wearing these bad boys? Forget about it. Last off, my students will learn about self respect. You think anybody thinks I'm a failure because I go home to Starla at night? Forget about it!”


Only 24 Hours...

...which I'm sure you'll agree with me, is not enough to do all of the things that you want to do. Including:

Knitting these felted clogs. Yes, you already know that I'm obsessed with them.

Trying this microwave popcorn recipe at home. Who doesn't like to save some money and avoid all of those preservatives?

Reading this Marquez book. Doesn't the title just make you want to pick it up?

Watching this movie, which I got from the library and this movie, which I'm hoping I can borrow from a friend because it's very rare and hard to come by at rental stores and is all about eating oneself to death.
Listening to some good Canadian content on the back deck with one of these in hand.

Happy summer!

Time's Up!

Dear N,

Oh what a beautiful wrap! I love everything about it, including the lush garden and the chunky necklace. The colours are great and the drape is so elegant. I hope you are keeping it for yourself. You inspired me to whip up some ball band dishcloths because of your colour combinations. I currently have a brown and aqua blue one on the needles.

Well, this was my last weekend as a single woman. T comes home tomorrow and I'm through the roof. I've made a few changes to the house that I hope he likes. And along with T comes the digital camera! It'll be nice to have pictures to post again and I will take lots!

It's unfortunate that I was never able to make it to the Gathering on the Green but on Saturday I went to the Minneapolis Farmer's Market. It was like a farmer's market on crack! There were stalls as far as the eye could see full of local produce, plants, flowers, and tons of food. I was so overwhelmed but that didn't stop me from purchasing some herbs for my patio herb garden as well as some flowering plants and a yummy Italian sausage for lunch. I cannot wait to go back and bring T along.

Then today I went up to the outlet mall with my friend from downstairs. Her husband was away over the weekend so we kind of hung out. I have to admit, I scored big, huge actually, at the outlet mall. I don't want to brag or nothin' but I got the most beautiful pair of brown leather riding boots at Burberry for, get this---$49! I just had to have them and now I can't wait until fall when I can wear them. That's all I bought but I'm quite pleased. I wish you were here to take part in all of this consumerism.

Today I made these. Kind of labour intensive but well worth the effort. Top them off with a little Mexican hot sauce and you got yourself one awesome snack. Photo and recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Now off to tidy up the house and pick out an outfit to pick up T in tomorrow!

Good night, N.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Oh, T, the Gathering on the Green was ripe for the picking. I bought plants, paintings, and hot dogs. Although I am not a fan of hot dogs, I did it in support of the Old South Community. It was unbearably hot, and we sought shade for relief. I dragged my mum along with my girls and one of E's friends, and we met up with Em, her mum, Sophie and her almost sister-in-law. We were a gaggle of girls as we browsed the booths of crafts and horticulture. It was lots of fun.

I have something to show you. I am finished the wrap in all of its glory. That's my backyard garden in the background. Isn't is lush?? I can't take any credit - nature does it all by itself.

And a growing collection of ball-band dishclothes.

It's fair to say that I am addicted! What colour should I do next? I have orange, yellow and indigo cotton in the stash.


Never Gonna Give You Up


I looked at our monthly posting stats, and we are slowly slacking off. That being said, I don’t think that we should just write crap in order to fill the blog quota. Do we need a quota? I do know that we badly need a banner. Which one of us is going to figure that baby out? Maybe we can ask another blogger. It must be fairly simple. Bloggers are doing it all the time. And lord knows I will have some time on my hands this summer with practically no meetings. Do you think T would have an idea? I can ask J, but I doubt he knows. E could probably help since she thinks she knows everything. She is pretty computer literate. She kicks butt honestly. I just want to put the banner out there as it needs addressing. Our blog appears bland, and that will not do.

Am I going to have to buy you your first skein of Manos? If you were here, I would slap you silly. It’s worth more than what you have to pay for it. I would not lie.

It’s raining birthdays and celebrations this month. I dread June on my bank account, especially with a new roof on order right in the middle of it. Grandpa Astley and his wife have birthdays in June. She is turning 70 which means a big birthday open house for everyone and their mother. And J’s grandpa called really late last night and scared the crap out of me to invite us to J’s grandma’s 75th birthday party on the same weekend. Then J’s birthday is on the 19th which follows Father’s Day, so that’s another ten gifts! Do you have craft ideas for middle-aged men? Sophie turns 5 at the end of June, but I have already bought her gift and wrapped it – I am on the ball in some respect. I picked up a little raccoon finger puppet for J, and Wilson suggested that I clean out a soup can for the garbage can for finger Bob’s home. She is such a creative genius! I also have to figure out what I plan to wear at my cousin’s wedding on the 23rd as well – I am fairly certain that it calls for something new!

I think today is the day the air conditioning at home will be turned on. Oh A/C, how I love you too. It's June!

How do you like all the links? I had some time on my hands this afternoon. Thank goodness it's Friday!