Sunday, September 13, 2009


Hey, I just noticed that my last post was my 200th... sure, they've been irregular, but wow, I'm kind of impressed... maybe for the 250th I'l have a contest or something - which should be easy pickings as I believe there are only a few, select people who read me...

another milestone:First Day of School
the first day of school, going into grades 10 and 8 in the order shown above - the first week has been survived, everyone still intact, homework minimal so far, but riot acts have been read, expectations for the year CLEARLY delineated... we'll see how things go

and I consider this a milestone: the KW Knitters' Fair, which my mom and I attended yesterday, along with a whole whack of enthusiastic people. Big crowd, 80-ish vendors in two big rooms, lots and lots to choose from. As in Portland, I was quite restrained, although I did buy a pack of 10 skeins of Manos Silky Blend as I walked in the door... the Purple Purl booth was right there, and they are so nice and friendly, and well... you know...Manos Silky Blend
If I can fiddle with the numbers (different gauges, of course), I think it'll be a Varese hoodie for me in the very near future.

I FINALLY met Sandra - YAY!!! - I don't know how you felt, Sandra, but I was totally comfortable chatting with you, felt like I've known you for ages - so cool to finally meet someone you've been emailing and blog-reading with for a while, and find yourself friends in person - I tend to be pretty reserved, so it's such a treat to connect with people...

Mom and I spent a good 2 hours indulging ourselves in a mature, controlled manner (no sarcasm, we were very good) - I did pick up a Fiddlehead mitten kit from Tanis Fiber Arts, Fiddlehead mitten kit from Tanis Fiber Artsand spoke a bit with Tanis and her mom, both of whom are just lovely - such a talented fibre artist, Tanis - her colours are spectacular! I may have bought a bit more than the kit, and I may show it off later. Or if you're keen, you may want to peek at my Ravelry stash and appreciate the colours yourself... to die for... and there may be some further Tanis in the near future, if I make it out to the Purl next weekend for the February Lady KAL photo op.

and now we find ourselves back in the routine, back to the grind, with barely a hint that we had a vacation at all... why is it that it takes (well, for me anyways) at least a week to unwind and get into vacation mode, but only a couple of days at most to get out of it?

Monday, August 31, 2009

These are the times

I sent the boys and their best friend off to a nearby pizzeria to buy themselves lunch today, because (a) it seems like a fun end-of-summer thing to do, and (b) I have minimal food in the house, and there was no time for grocery shopping.

When they came home, they presented me with this IMG_0820
There's a candle stuck in the watermelon, which they very thoughtfully did not light.

accompanied by a spontaneous, rousing version of Happy Birthday. It's not my birthday.

I have been giggling about their silliness all afternoon.

So, these seem to me to be the times remembered, to help one through the inevitable kaka that comes with two teenaged boys. Remind me about this when I need it, okay?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Same bat time, same bat channel...

yeah, I know, I just dated myself...

so I had someone from the Humane Wildlife Removal Association come by to check things out, and see if our toilet plunger target had any friends hanging around. After climbing all over the roof, peeking into the attic, and looking in the garage rafters (all while wearing a black t-shirt with "Bat Guy" in huge yellow letters, which was no doubt comforting to the neighbors), my house was declared "clean". Happy news, considering bat removal would cost in excess of $1000, and frankly, if I'm going to spend that much, it should be on something fun.

So imagine my surprise when I went into the garage the next morning and narrowly missed stepping on a dead bat. WTF is going on around here???!!!! My first thought was that if anyone found it, I would be charged with killing a bat. Oh, did I forget to mention it's illegal to kill bats? I love this - they damage your home, have highly toxic droppings, can bite you in your sleep, and are frequent carriers of rabies... but they are protected by the law. If some guy broke into my house I could shoot him legally, but I can't kill a bat. Someone please explain this to me - even after a couple of beers it still makes no sense.

I think I have figured out how the first one got in - climbed through the garage, through the air vent in my bedroom which is DIRECTLY BEHIND MY HEAD. Why yes, I am a little freaked. And no, no I haven't been sleeping all that well of late. I have been through the garage with a flashlight, and found nothing (THANK GOD) and will be going out again when I'm done this to look more closely - think happy thoughts.
Thankfully, the boys and I headed out for a couple of days at Sandbanks, and we lucked into the best day of the week - sunny, windy, hot - I love this place, it's good for the soul,IMG_0784 and the boys are still not so grown-up that they don't enjoy climbing the huge dunes only to pitch themselves back down. And repeat ad naseum.
I was the only one who braved the water, but it was surprisingly warm - I do love lake swimming...
We made our traditional stop at The Big Apple for the traditional photo op, for which they were less than pleased, as is our tradition.
And now we are home till school starts in a couple of weeks - way too soon for me, but I seem to be in the minority. Although I just checked in on them , and my 13 year old and nearly (gasp) 15 year old are dissolved in laughter over jokes about farts and penises. So maybe school's not so bad.

Some knitting - I am very close to finishing my Heather Hoodie Vest, made from very well aged Cherry Tree Hill bulky merinoIMG_0761;
and am working away on the 3rd reincarnation of my Cookie A-inspired sock, which I started at her Sock Summit class.IMG_0760 I love it, and I think it'll look good when done. And it's complicated enough that I stay focused, but no so much so that it frustrates me.

Lord know, there's enough of that going around right now...

Off to check the garage - happy thoughts, happy thoughts...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I've got some good news...

and some not-so-good news...

good news is, the air conditioner is fine - it seems that one of Ben's friends inadvertently turned off the furnace switch, thinking he was turning on a basement light... fortunately, the service call was free and the technician was most understanding. And I'd just like to clarify, I love the heat - I don't complain about it ever as far as my own comfort goes; I can sleep in anything, knit in anything - just ask my mom. But the dogs and the boys were absolute puddles, and I felt badly for them, especially my velcro-dog, Charlie, who will not leave my side regardless of the circumstances.

more good news - summer weather seems to be here, and is expected to continue through next week, which will hopefully give us a good time at Sandbanks...

the not-so-good? Well, I woke up this morning, around 3:30, to a sound which I thought was a bird in the eavestrough outside the window beside my bed. I tried to get back to sleep, but the sound kept on, and started to sound closer than outside. So--- I figured it might be a mouse, and rolled onto my back, debating what to do. Something swooshed over my face, and in a total panic I realized it was

a BAT - in my bedroom - flying over my head.

I am not a screamer by nature, but boy, did I let loose with a howl, which certainly didn't help matters; in a small (very), calm (not so much) part of my brain I watched this thing react to the sound and alter its flight path accordingly. Fortunately the boys were at their dad's last night, but the dogs were right in there, trying to "help" by springing about in the air and snapping wildly. I was absolutely PETRIFIED - I cannot stress this enough - and grabbed the only weapon I could find - a toilet plunger - swinging at the thing until I finally connected with it. I bagged it, brought it outside and let it go, because... well, I don't know, I just did.

I think it may have slipped in when I had the door open to let the dogs out last night, but I called a bat removal service just to have them do an inspection, because I know that bats live in colonies. Big groups. Many bats. Perhaps in my attic. Makes me all shuddery just to think of it. The cost for bat removal STARTS at $1000 for all the places I called, so I'm hoping this was just a lone, free mutant bat trying to make a statement. Maybe running away from home to show his parents and million other colony neighbors.

Fingers crossed...

In the meantime, I am starting to feel like Marlon Perkins from Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom" - remember him? Every time turn around there is another goddamned animal that doesn't belong here, but seems to want to.... maybe I should start filming this... make a reality show... maybe I could make enough to pay for bat removal...

so here's to more good news... please??

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mysteries of Life... the Ongoing Saga

Can anyone explain to me why, in the midst of the only heat wave we've had in Southern Ontario all summer, my air conditioner has stopped working?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Oregon Wrap-Up

I am still feeling almost hung-over from last week, but have come home to full-blown SUMMER, so yay!

I was lucky enough to get out to Cannon Beach while in Oregon - I skipped the book signing event, which I knew would be busy and I am not one for crowds, and I'm usually too tongue-tied when I meet people I admire to do anything other than blush and babble - not pretty - so instead I headed to the coast, about 1.5 hours from Portland.

There were mountains, spectacularly tall pine trees, there was drizzle and sun and cloud, and then there was the best beach I have ever seen... ever
I fell very seriously in love with the gigantic rock formations in the water, the largest of which was covered with screeching seagulls. IMG_0718 I love the size of this beach - it goes on for miles, and is the widest I've ever seen - vast expanses of flat, solid, excellent walking sand. Even in crappy weather, it was amazing.
The trees in front of the houses have obviously seen a lot of weather - they actually grow like this!

Fabulous place - there were surfers, IMG_0720and jellyfish, IMG_0698and mountains topped with cloudsIMG_0692, and even a motorized para-sail thingyIMG_0723 - there were dogs all over the place just having a ball, and no signs anywhere suggesting they shouldn't be there (here in Burlington, our little beach is laden with anti-dog signs, which people largely ignore).

So I dipped my feet in - it was FREEZING!!! - which I think brings my ocean total to 4? Atlantic (Hilton Head), Pacific (here), Caribbean (Mexico) and Mediterranean (Greece) - I know, I know, only 2 are actually oceans... indulge me...

The trip home on Sunday took a little longer than expected - found out in Vancouver that the flight to Toronto had been delayed by 2 hours, which was annoying but out of my control, so I plugged in my ipod, took out my knitting and passed the time quite contentedly. I saw some more mountains at the airportIMG_0727, and realized when I got on the plane that I'd made quite a bit of progress on my Vesper sock, which had been my mindless knitting since leaving for PortlandIMG_0726.

I believe we landed around 3:30AM, and learned from the shuttle driver on the way to my van that the power was out all over because of a humungous lightning storm - which explained the flight delay - so trying to make my way out of the parking lot with no lights, and paying a girl who was working cash with a flashlight made it all even more surreal than it normally would have been at 4:15AM.

All well worth the experience, though, I'd do it again in a shot...

Can you say Sock Summit the Second???

Monday, August 10, 2009

Is it possible to have a knitting hangover?

Why, yes. Yes it is. And all it took was 4 days of Sock Summiting to prove it.

Since Thursday, I have:
* learned fabulous techniques with Cat Bordhi and Cookie A;
* been thoroughly entertained while learning more about sock yarns with Clara Parkes (honestly, if the knitting thing doesn't work out for her, she could be a stand-up comedienne);
* watched Stephanie and Tina, organizers par excellence, go from laughter to tears and back again while describing the birthing process of this incredible baby;
* watched young people becoming enthralled with an ancient art;
* barely avoided being trampled upon by the tsunami of knitters running into the Marketplace for the initial opening;
* shopped a little (really - I was so restrained I was almost worried about myself);
* been part of an historic (well, I think so) attempt (oh, come on, we're pretty sure we did it) to break the previous Guiness World Record for most people knitting simaltaneously (old record = 256, our number = almost 1,000);
* sat ONE TABLE AWAY from Barbara Walker, Meg Swansen, Anna Zilboorg, Nancy Bush, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts at the Opening Reception;
* learned that even the elite can be star-struck, as Cat Bordhi gushed excitedly in our class about sitting next to Barbara Walker at dinner and actually talking with her;

and just so much other stuff it'll have to follow in another post. After getting home at 5am today, and being rudely awakened by a telemarketing call at 8am (gotta love the Don't Call List, works like a charm...), I am hovering at the edge of incoherence.

But I'll be back with more...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Ready... I think

Well, my bags are packed, yarn is wound, homework is done... I feel like my head is going to explode every time I check the Sock Summit group on Ravelry, so I'll stop looking...

after what promises to be a long day of travelling tomorrow (starting when I get up around 3:30AM - I am in denial), I will be spending the next 4 days in the company of thousands of like-minded folk, learning about socks, knitting socks, buying sock-related things in Portland, Oregon - never been out west before, am SO excited...

It'll be so nice to play for a while -

pictures and stories, possibly ad naseum, upon my return - catch y'all next week!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

So my question is this...

as seen in the bathroom of our cottage at the Blue Spruce Resort

if it's strong enough to actually bleach towels, do you really want to use it on your face???

Friday, July 17, 2009

So what else have you got??

The boys and I are back from our annual sojourn to the Blue Spruce Resort on Oxtongue Lake.
IMG_0615 The weather was 80% cold and wet, 20% sunny and hot, but we still had a fabulous time.

Lots of reading, Monopoly-playing (Ben kicked butt), semi-wildlife
Not that he's desperate or anything
This guy pecked at my toes thinking they were peanuts - he has a very sharp beak...
Landed just beside us as we walked through the Algonquin Logging Museum

some picnicking IMG_0574
At Lake of Two Rivers, just before a school of canoes filled with Japanese tourists pulled in directly in front of our table and started snapping photos - I kid you not

but only a little knitting, some of which I'll show you now (other photos haven't been uploaded yet) -
Fuschia sock test knit
ask me why there was only a little knitting - go ahead...

well, on our first night I broke the middle finger of my left hand, not battling wild animals with a canoe paddle or anything, but playing tetherball...

for god's sake

I managed the week, was able to canoe a little, knit a little, drink maybe more than a little (not really, not when the boys are there, it just makes it sound better), but after not being able to bend it for 10 days, I went to our local Urgent Care clinic to have it looked at.

Broke a chunk off my middle knuckle, and have to keep the finger taped to it's neighbor until I see the plastic surgeon next week to discuss what happens next.

As if that's not bad enough, we are three weeks to Sock Summit, which I find myself fortunate enough to be attending. I've even gotten into the classes I wanted, and am totally pumped about this huge adventure.

Unless I have to have surgery.

Okay, so I am in a funk about my hand. While we were gone I had a call from the kennel, informing me that Charlie had a rash which needed to be seen by the vet. He came home like this IMG_0643 and commenced head-butting me until I took the thing off.

Two nights ago, I went out in the backyard with the dogs around 11:30 for their nightly ablutions. Maggie suddenly dove into and charged out of a bush, spat something out and continued spitting. Charlie plowed out of another bush sneezing and shaking his head. Turns out that what I thought were bunnies living under our back porch are, in fact,


Maggie found an injured baby and was carrying it, but I am guessing didn't like the taste. Charlie got a full-on spray in the face. We spent a good hour shampooing and sneezing and swearing (some of us more than others). I called Animal Aid the next morning to come and get the injured baby skunk, and was told that they do not help with getting rid of them but could refer me to a fairly pricey service who might help.

Charlie still stinks, and he knows it. I have been using this stuff recommended by the local pet store - using it a couple of times a day on the poor guy, and still when he leaves the room it's like shades of Pepe LePew...

and we're only into the 3rd week of summer vacation...

so come one - what else have you got?????

Hope everyone else's summer has been a little less eventful...

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Canada Day

I'm not going to say "Happy Canada Day" because I find, for holidays other than Christmas, New Year's or birthdays, it just sounds silly.  Like, Happy Easter.  Just sounds all wrong to me, I don't know why.

Not to say that I am not happy to be a Canadian, nor that I don't think our country and heritage is worth celebrating.  Couldn't be further from the truth.  I just don't like wishing people Happy Canada Day, and I need a word other than silly to explain why.

My day today is a gift... most things are closed, so I can't go anywhere.  I have little $$ right now, which is further incentive to lay low.  My kids are off on their annual 'Lord of the Flies' RV trip with their dad and one of their friends.  So I shall putter.  

Lord, how I loves me a day to putter.  

While it's decent out, I shall putter in the garden.  When it rains, as is promised for later, I'll putter inside.  One advantage to living in a relatively clean but disorganized house is that there is endless puttering to be done.  Tonight, I join a similarly-childless friend for wine and (weather permitting) fireworks-watching on her beachfront.

Happy to be Canadian?  You betcha.  Just don't make me say it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


It's only been, what, 11 days or so since my last post?  (Catholic school flashback - making a confession and having to say how long it had been since my last confession... )...

lots of things happened while I was away... there were birthdays Ben at 13
Ben turned 13, which I find utterly shocking, and I aged a little more too - let's just say that 50 no longer seems as old as it once did...

there was a trip royal hacienda's infinity pool which was heartbreakingly cut short due to Swine Flu - and if I may digress for a sec, without minimizing the effects or spread of this disease, what I saw in Mexico confirmed for me that the biggest problem with it was media overreaction - royal hacienda resort, mayan riviera
there were no signs of anything, not even concern, where we were, not at the airport on the way home or on the planes as we scooted home on the last flight out of Cancun until June... do I feel like we dodged a bullet by leaving early? Hell, NO.

Frankly, this, spotted on the highway from Cancun, scared me more than anything else I saw really?  Not even a new hairstyle??!!

There has been gardening, and new transient occupants in the garden strawberries calla lily mom and baby.

There's even been some construction
Before: Bathroom pre-reno
After: midway through renos - well, it's not 100% after, but I'll post a final pic when it's actually done.

Heck, there's even been knitting and other fibre games, but I'll be back with those in a bit - right now I'm off to paint a wall or two...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oh, the Irony...

Don't you just love how some people love to spout off about how great they are, how, oh, I don't know, virtuous they are... and then they just drop off the face of the earth?

I do...

I have/hopefully had lost my blogging mojo - I have written more posts in my head than I can count , but have had no ooomph to actually write them down.  And putting up pictures???  Puh-lease...

lots has happened since last we spoke - there have been birthdays (Ben is now 13!!!!!, although he insists that he will not be teen-like; and I am now officially older than dirt);  there have been vacations;  there has been a new computer purchased (the reason for lack of pics is I am having a bitch of a time getting Flickr to work with this - I am now a Mac user and still figuring it out - stupid learning curve);  and there has been much knitting.  For that, you can take a peek at my Ravelry page and see what's been shakin' on the needles... 

and now we are in the death throes of the school year and are DYING for the start of summer vacation... I am, as in years previous, planning many to teach myself many new skills, including weaving, spinning, and dyeing - I have finally settled into my home (only took 5 1/2 years) and am planning to start ripping out stuff from the garden that I hate; I am going to buckle down to my AutoCAD course once the updated version becomes available...

and I will try my darndest to be a more faithful blogger... starting with uploading pictures...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Virtuousness abounds...

(yeah, I don't think it's actually a word, either)

I feel virtuous in so many ways...

* after my hysterectomy, I started taking supplements on the advice of a specialist in women's issues. I ran out a couple of weeks ago and waited to replenish the supply till I could afford them, and what a difference! I turned back into PMS Deirdre, whom we haven't seen for a bit, and it was a really good indication of why I should always, always keep up with these things. So I am taking them again and feeling virtuous in knowing why.

* I am doing a strength training class on Monday mornings and am in week 5 of an 8 week training program run by the same gal, plus for those days I miss (like yesterday, because Ben is out again with a stomach bug) I have a dvd that I actually use. And I actually do. Again with the feelings of virtuous.

* About a year ago I bit the bullet and ripped out a sweater that I loved making, but that looked like utter crap on me (Welcome Back Old Friend) - Goodbye, Old Friend. I kept the several and various resulting balls of yarn within eyeshot for the past year, waiting for the perfect opportunity to play with them again. Garter Yoke Cardigan
Found it! The Garter Yoke Cardigan, which I cast on a couple of days ago and which I am pleased to report seems both quick and pretty. I am not putting in as many buttonholes as recommended, but otherwise am happily following along mindlessly... all about the mindless these days.
So I am recycling yarn - virtuous little me...

* I finished the Pleated Vest, which is blocking as I type. Pleated Vest It's always nice to finish something, and to be happy with it, but this is especially nice because I got it done for Vest-uary. Why is this significant, you may ask? Well, I love to sign up for things like this - sock-alongs, shawl-alongs, they always seem like a fun idea at the time. But I have never, ever finished anything within the suggested time frame.

Until now.

Which makes me feel... what now? Say it with me, people - virtuous.

Am I making y'all sick yet? Yup, I thought so - feeling that way myself, frankly. I can only gloat so much...

did I mention how virtuous I'm feeling?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

My first "official" tag / meme

Wow, I can't believe how excited I am to have been tagged personally by someone - I am obviously in need of getting a life, no?

So, Tamara tagged me - thank you - to do the following:

Link to the person who has tagged you.
Write down six things that make you happy.
Post the rules, tag six others and let them know you did it.
Then tell the person when your entry is complete.

Six Things That Make Me Happy...

1. My boys, Tanner and Ben. The funniest, dearest people I know, even with the various teen / pre-teen angsts (does that pluralize?) and issues.

2. My dogs, Charlie and Maggie.

3. My books. I have a shelf (or two) of unread books, waiting for me. I love knowing that I can achieve so much escape in so little time.

4. My yarn. I have been, um, collecting yarn (like other people collect stamps or spoons, except that this is more practical), largely on sale, for at least 20 - 25 years, and I cannot articulate the deep sense of contentment, unadulterated pleasure, I take from looking at it, going through it, feeling it, and imagining the possibilities.

5. Blank notebooks. Again, it's a matter of potential and possibility - having a bound stack of clean, fresh pages waiting for deep thoughts, inspiration, or just scribbling. I like the smell of a new notebook, too, like a new book.

6. Hot sunshine and sand - while I love being out anywhere in the heat and yes, even humidity, I am at my happiest on a beach, in the sun, with the boys, a book and my knitting at hand. One of those rare moments that cannot be improved upon. While I am even annoying myself with my complaints about this winter, you will never, ever hear me whine that it's too hot, or too humid.

Anyone else want to play? Help yourselves, and let me know what you come up with... thanks, Tamara!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


I know, I know, twice in one day - so sue me

Tanner just asked me if the term "jive turkey" is offensive, and if not, can he use it in conversations with his friends.

I am crying with laughter, and I can't stop - I think the last time I heard the term "jive turkey" was from Huggy Bear on Starsky & Hutch...

I'm totally dating myself here, aren't I?? Still shovelling, but now at least I'm laughing...


a.k.a. catsup, or ketchup

so, it's been an interesting couple of weeks - we've had a snow day, other snowfalls which didn't warrant days off, and then the last two days feeling like spring. Honestly - I was driving with my sunroof open yesterday, feeling like someone who had been held captive in a ship's hold for months on end (forgive me, I am reading The Book of Negroes and got lost in the moment). My 5-foot long icicles melted, the driveway and walkway were clear and dry...

of course I know better, I mean, I've lived in Canada my whole life - I was in Thunder Bay for 2 years for grad school so I know from winter... but I was lulled into that false feeling of hope...


We woke up to maybe 4 inches, and it's still falling, has been all morning.

I am way beyond the "pretty, fluffy" crap - I believe I voiced my objection to any more of this a while back, and I'd like to know why I was ignored.


So as I work on my computer drafting course this morning, I find that Bob Marley combined with a short weight workout which makes me sweat gives me a sense of warmer times. If it wasn't so early, I'd be busting out the tequila... just for the effect, you understand...

Maggie's cure for the winter blechs? A little mini-sticks, of course. She followed me for almost half an hour like this P1010750 till I finally caved and played a little. And yes, she is in dire need of a haircut...

Well, maybe if it lets up I'll try to go out and get a few things - I figured last week I probably need to buy some new bandages P1010736. These were all I could find after I tripped and slashed my finger on a door jamb (you know the metal part? Yeah... hurts...), and frankly, they do nothing for the image, nothing at all - just ask my teen / pre-teen...

of course, I'll probably be snowed in or something - or worse, maybe I won't...

off to shovel (heaves deep, deep sigh of disgust)...