Friday, April 07, 2006

Waiting for the cat in the hat to appear

DD has a PD day. Which means a day off from school. And of course, it is raining outside and we can't find fun that is funny in this house. Our "new to us" computer is acting up and she can't install any of her games, she is desolated. And grumpy. And whiney. And if the Cat in the Hat doesn't show up and cheer her soon, I may have to lock myself in the bathroom to get some peace for a bit. She did some modelling for me, and the sweater does fit! A little long and loose in the bottom but not overly so (she hates sweaters that are tight across the waist anyway because they ride up and she ends up showing buttcrack). The sleeves fit nice, and will accomodate growth. I am doubly glad I cut down the neck band, it would have been WAY too high if I used the pattern instructions. Last night I started a test swatch for my wrap. Two repeats across of the pattern, comprised of 17 stitches each. And I have to say, it looks so nice I am tempted to continue along to make it scarf length and set it aside to give as a present. When I press it flat and stretch just a wee bit, you wouldn't believe how pretty it is. Blocking is going to make all the difference to be sure.

And I also did a little practice piece of cabling for the cellphone pouch. What colour? Pastel purple of course LOLOL! I am going to try something a little more involved for the actual pattern though. If I swatch it (and I am sure I will since it scares me roflmao) you are sure to see it here!

Now I am off to pack the car. We sold the baby swing and I have to deliver it, then on to the Social Services office to hawk girl guide cookies for DD's Sparks troupe. They pre-ordered, but want to see the cutie in pink.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

For the love of gawd, it is DONE!

Well, after how many weeks of unending knit stitch in the round, DD's sweater is finally DONE! My first sweater. My first "colourwork" (okay, the first time using more than one colour at once. But "colour work" sounds so much more complicated). I finished sewing down the neck band last night, and I have to say that I think it was a good decision to crop an inch and a half off that neckband. K1P1 ribbing is mind numbingly boring, but you still have to pay attention (at least if you are like me, and have trouble counting to ONE). I was supposed to do 2 1/2 blessed inches of it. After a tad more than an inch, I realized if I continued on any longer I was going to have a stroke. Reviewing the picture of the sweater on the pattern, I decided that a smaller band would be better for DD anyhow, as she doesn't like anything too bulky near her neck. That and I was considering sticking a DPN in my eye so I didn't have to knit anymore K1P1 ribbing. I knew sweaters were a labour of love, but I would never never never have believed that they take so long to make. After all, instant gratification takes too long, right? A person like me has no business knitting something that takes this kind of comittment. I can't even wait for paint to dry between coats, making this sweater could have killed me. Plus, staring at all that easter-candy-purple yarn was starting to make my eyes itch. Kind of like being snow blind - only in pastel. It hasn't been blocked yet, and DD hasn't tried it on yet either. I am crossing my fingers that all goes well LOL. I don't care if it's big, being too tight somewhere is my bigger worry. This is a closer picture of the colour detail. Thank goodness for that! If I would have had to continue for those inches with just more knit stitch in the round, we would have had to add on a padded room. The biggest surprise for me, is finding out that I actually LIKED following the chart to make the design. Perhaps I should still be tested for ADD and memory disfuction (why can I not remember a five stitch sequence of two colours? WHY? I can still remember my student number from university and the formula for potassium permangonate from grade 9 science. I had to stop and stare at the chart after every sequence and do a LOT of counting). Next up? I want to make myself a wrap/wide scarf thingy. Yep, knitted lace. If I am going to learn how to YO and K3togTBL (that is Yarn Over and Knit Three Together Through Back Loops) then it might as well be now, right? Most times I am overheated, but sometimes I get chilled. Like if I am tired or sick or if it's late at night. Something soft to wrap around my arms or drape over my legs would not be amiss. Something warm enough but light as air. Knitted lace fits that bill! I already have the yarn, Red Heart Symphony. The colourway is a dark twisted center with a light blue gray fuzzy halo. DD picked it. Remniscent of old blue jeans, a very casual comfy colour. Wish me luck, I am going to need it! Also, I have never cabled before so I am making my dsis a cabled cellphone pouch for her birthday. She only just got the phone, so she doesn't know she NEEDS a cabled cellphone pouch yet, but I am sure she can be brought around ;). Her fave colour is black, but I am not sure if that will show stitch definition enough. Maybe I can convince her that easter-candy-purple is the new black?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Ahhhhhh Chooooo!

I still have that cold or whatever it is that started on March 10th. The fever and chills are gone, but the body aches and muceous have decided to stick around. And now I also have the SNEEZES. Every few minutes, I have a sneezing fit. Not little kitty sneezelets, we are talking body-wracking-throw-whatever-you-are-holding-into-the-air explosions, and usually three or more in a row. Which DD and DH find incredibly funny for some reason. My eyes are puffy and achey - who knew eyes could be achey? My nose is both runny and stuffy, which defies the laws of physics if you ask me. I no longer have sinuses, I have canals that have a current all their own. It is liveable, actually. But the weather here has turned colder (we had some snow last night) and now I am back in the body aches camp and would rather just roll myself into a comfortor and lie on the couch to wait for my demise. On top of that, I sprayed mildew remover in the tub and now my eyes are watering from the bleachy smell. The spot where the tub meets the wall (the part that has the caulking on it) has become my nemesis. No matter how much scrubbing, how much bleaching, how much swearing, that line always looks like the black plague. I have even replaced it, digging out the old caulk and adding new anti-bacterial anti-fungal bathroom stuff to no avail. So we have brought out the big guns. Commercial mildew remover that has one line of directions and 98 lines of warnings. Including my personal favourite "Do not spray on painted surfaces unless you are planning to repaint". So this stuff strips paint. I can only hope it will remove the mildew! Now, is it just that I have a freakishly messy family, or am I wrong in thinking that most normal people don't have to scrub their toilet every two days? If it isn't a ring around the water line (which is really our water supply and not the people using the potty causing that), it's the smudges in the bottom. And do I need to see smudges first thing in the morning? No, I do not. Do I WANT to scrub a toilet before I am even awake? No, I do not. But that is what happens around here...we don't always get what we want. We won't even discuss what happens under the rim and the underside of the seat. *Shudder*. I am beginning to wish I had my own bathroom so I only have to deal with my OWN filth every day. If we forgot even ONCE to rinse the toothpaste from the sink, my mother would drag us by the hair back to the bathroom to make that sink and tap SHINE. Now, I won't be doing any dragging. But could they at least keep the toothpaste in the sink, and not on the mirror? How does that glob of toothpaste end up on the mirror at all, I wonder. Sure, spatters maybe. But a chunk of it? How does that even happen? They both deny any involvement. But I KNOW it is not me, because the toothpaste on the mirror is blue, and the toothpaste I use is white. We all have our own toothpaste, maybe I should start buying DH green toothpaste so I can find out who is behind the mirror shenanigans by colour coding. Then there is the kitchen sink. I don't like dirty dishes in my sink. We have a dishwasher. If the dishwasher is full or running, I would rather plates be scraped and stacked neatly on the counter above it. SCRAPED and STACKED NEATLY. Sometimes DH will fill the sink with cold water and dump dishes into it - toast crusts, milk sludge, and all. And that sink will sit that way for days because there is NO WAY I am putting my hand in there, not even to pull the plug. Finally DH will get disgusted (both with the smell and my constant nagging to do something about those disgusting dishes) and drain the sink and do something about the dishes (put them in the dishwasher usually). Things get dumped in the sink, and then not rinsed down. So our sink always looks like a war zone. Every time I use the kitchen, I have to scrub the sink because I can't stand the thought that it is right next to where I prepare food, and it looks like THAT. Once DH was making fun of me as I scrubbed the sink and gagged. He got sprayed with bleach water. He hasn't laughed or made fun of it since then. Wonder why? Messy is fine, dirty is not. Clutter is fine, garbage is not. A half cup of tea and coffee left out on the table is tolerable, a bowl of sludgy cereal milk is not. Sometimes the cats help here and lick up the milk before it becomes a problem. In fact, if you look away, they try to help you finish your cereal milk before you finish your cereal. Ew! If I catch them helping, I give them the whole bowl. They walk through their litterbox then lick their paws. I don't want that kind of potty mouth in my cereal! Note that cats on the table are not the issue, just cats eating out of my plate before I am done doing so myself. To me, a tablecloth is a dirty zone anyway. Which means a plate can go on the cloth but forks and other implements are on a napkin or your plate or in your hand at all times. No food items are placed on the tablecloth unless you want me to snatch them up and throw them away. Once, we were having breakfast in a restaurant. DD took the orange slice garnish from her plate and placed it on the table. DH, thinking he would be nice, picked it up and flung it into my plate. Since I like oranges, why shouldn't I have an extra? It landed right on my eggs. Breakfast was OVER for me. I would have had to order a whole new breakfast if I were to eat, and my appetite was gone anyway. Sometimes, in a restaurant, he will take his roll off his plate and place it directly on the table. Makes my hair stand on end! Even if I am not expected to eat it, once it has touched the table my mind screams and I can't stand the thought of somebody else eating it either. Funny, I can use a public restroom (and no hovering) but won't eat food that hits even my own table. What does that MEAN? Now, the rest of my house is falling apart. I have sink, toilet, and tub issues. But for some reason dust is clean. And hey, after it gets to a certain point the dust never really gets any deeper ;). When the cats start sneezing I give everything a once over (with the vacuum. Why push dust around with a cloth if I can suck it up and remove it completely with the vacuum?). And my bedroom looks like the church clothes closet. You know, the room where there are donated clothes in piles everywhere, where the needy can come and paw through to find what they need? That is my bedroom. Piles of DH's jeans that are too tattered to wear but too good to throw out. Piles if DD's clothes that she has grown out of and need to be sorted (to donate, to sell, to pass on to friends and family). Piles of my own clothes that need to be tried on and sorted (fits, will fit, too small but not small enough to get rid of because they aren't THAT small, too small and no way in HELL will I fit in those anytime soon, and so on). And the baskets of clean clothes that just never got folded and put away. Living out of the laundry basket, is what I call it. When we were kids my father made our beds. Captain style with built in drawers. We had three girls in one room. My bed butted up against my sisters bed so close that I could not use the drawers. My clothes were in baskets in the closet. You would think I would rebel against that, but for some reason living out of basket (or suitcase) is comforting. I can see everything in there, I know how many pairs of underwear I have, and when it is time to do laundry. Dh hates hates hates it. I know it would make both our lives happier if I used the chest of drawers instead of the floor and baskets. And I am worse for clothes-in-front-of-the-hamper than he ever was. And I promise I will work on it. Right after I scrub the toilet, wash the bathroom mirror, and rinse the tub. Ah Choo. AH CHoooo. AAAAHHHHH CHOOOOOO! Partners in Crime LOL. DD is wearing her Snow White outfit. It was a halloween costume she wore when she was four, that was gigantic. We think somebody put a women's size costume in the package for the child size, hoping to pay the lower price and maybe were interrupted before they could buy it. We had to pin it everywhere on her to make it fit. But at least she gets a play outfit for a few years! They had both been teasing me right before I took this picture, which explains the twinkle in both their eyes ROFL.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Gourmet Gourmand

On Tuesdays I have a morning therapy appointment. My weekly luxury is going to a gourmet grocery store afterwards on my way home. You know the kind of place, 10 varieties of fresh olives, deli meats like onion sage turkey and loaf upon loaf of european cured meats, sparkling like jewels. The most beautiful produce you have ever seen. I can understand how Snow White would be tempted, after seeing such beautiful apples. I imagine that these apples were in the garden of Eden, so of course Adam never stood a chance. Never mind they are like five dollars each, they are individually polished and arranged and look like a picture in a magazine! The butcher counter carries things like stuffed veal breast and chicken pesto sausage. Pork chops thicker than your arm, steaks that look like they came from a 1960's food pyramid handout. Today I couldn't resist the lure of a perfect pork loin roast, that may or may not become tonights dinner (roasted on top of potatoes, carrots, and some anise/fennel bulb also procured from said shop). Artisan breads, displayed in baskets "old world" style. They have the best selection of sourdough's in the city. Their sourdough pumpernickel evokes poetry. Even DH, who views darker breads with suspicion, loves their sourdough pumpernickel! Bins upon bins of fresh rolls, in every shape and description. Muffins the size of your head. Pies that look like grandma baked them. Dangerous place to go if you are hungry! So today, I got my obligatory loaf of bread, some brilliant produce (including some yellow grape tomatoes that are divine...yes, I dipped into them before I was even halfway home), a lovely roast, and of course, a stop at the cheese counter. I love to nibble on different cheeses. My favourite lunch or light meal is a few olives, some marinated or pickled veggies, a bit of good bread, and some interesting cheeses. Brie is my favourite, but I am adventurous in taste. Apart from one mistake imported from France that tasted like decaying flesh, I haven't met a cheese I didn't like. Double cream Brie, something in a wedge called St. Andre, a bit of imported fontina, that should do it. Then something caught my eye. A snow white cheese with reddish streaks. Not port cheddar, or cranberry cheshire. What could it be? I squeezed a piece to judge it's softness. Was it creamy or crumbly? Seemed to have the feel of a goat type cheese. But what are the red streaks? In the middle of my investigation, a huffy clerk took the cheese from my hand and said snidely "CAN I help you?". I blinked a bit, like a person emerging from a cave into the bright sunlight. "Oh. I was wondering what that was. I have never seen it before". She looked me up and down, and cast a glance into my little cart, then back at me. "It's strawberry cream cheese" she anwered, in a tone of voice that suggested she thought I might be somewhat impaired. "Oh, thank you". I startle to giggle nervously. Suddenly I found it very funny, the look she was giving me. I was half expecting her to ask me if Elvis talked to me or something. Giggling was clearly making it worse. "Would you like to purchase it?" she looked over her glasses at me. "No, no thank you" I answered as seriously as I could, which wasn't very. Of course she thought I was insane. I stared and poked at a package of cream cheese for half an hour like I was ready to discover uranium. What did I expect? Have you ever wondered how the you are viewed by the outside world? Well today I got my answer, from a clerk at a cheese counter. And according to her, the world thinks I am a nutjob. Now DD, however, has a different view of me. Monday night she was upstairs, supposed to be washing her hands, but was unusually quiet. This kid is NEVER quiet. I was suspicious so went and checked on her. To find this. She got into my make-up. Which was in the bag I took from the big red dog and put at the back of the closet. And she found when looking for a new hand towel. She said "I wanted to look pretty. Like YOU mommy". Not sure what is scariest. That she might think I look like that with makeup on, or that she thinks hooker makeup is pretty. We are not going to discuss why I own blue cream eye makeup and whore red liptstick. Let's suffice it to say that it was supposed to be the next in thing, everybody was doing it, and I succombed to peer pressure even though clearly none of my actual peers would ever wear shiny blue cream eyeshadow and prostitute lipstick. And if you were wondering, cream eyeshadow slides off your lids and down your face when it is warm outside, or cakes in the creases when it is cold outside. And nobody looks good in that blue, except maybe Twiggy. That's it for today. I have cheese to nibble while finding a new hiding place for my makeup bag.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Spring Forward, Fall Back

I do not handle this time change well. I know it is only one hour, and really, what difference is one hour? But it takes me all year to recover from it, I swear. I get so tired, my whole body gets sore. You would think I was physically ripped from one space and time and jetted to another. Hey, that is just what it feels like! Jet lag. I need a sign that says "Do not disturb. Suffering from Spring Jet Lag". Sunday I made chicken and dumplings for dinner. Slider style dumplings, that are actually noodles (not those biscuity things). Noodles in gravy is what it amounts to. I made them with mashed potatoes (lumpy ROFL), and corn. This was the only meal my mother ever made where she allowed more than one starch. THREE starches at one meal? Practially sacriledge! But with all that lovely gravy one needed mashed potatoes. And what are mashed potatoes and gravy without some corn to mix in? The recipe I make is about a quarter of a batch (if we were making it for one meal only and for just us. More meals, more mouths, more noodles). Dh and DD slurp them up like they are starving. Growing up it was my favourite meal, often requested for my birthday. They spent the day with MIL, raking leaves and general clean up in her yard. I spent that time reading the paper, rolling out noodles, and peeling potatoes while watching a bedraggled robin bathe himself in our gargoyle fountain. This is the same robin, I am sure, that has been tormenting Ruby for three years running. He is missing the claw part of his toe on one of his feet, is how we know it is him. He thinks he owns our yard, and Ruby thinks SHE owns the yard, so they stand off several times a day. He swoops at the poor pug, and she barks at him mercilessly - ROO ROO ROO! If he dares land on our patio, and Ruby sees it, she goes ballistic. AB ABA AB AB AB! She'll even start barking with food in her mouth (which is now on the floor) or while drinking water (sputter sputter!). This robin perches himself on one of his various spots and sings out his territory. Then waits for a bit for all to be properly impressed, before flitting to the next spot and singing his territory again. From time to time he flies down to the lawn, listens intently with his little head cocked sideways, then wrestles a worm out of the ground. Guarding your yard is hungry work. Dinner was ready and waiting when they came home, and of course, MIL was in tow. At least I sort of expected it this time, even though I think DH deliberately failed to mention she was coming along. And they brought her dog, as well. This dog is a red doberman that weighs roughly 120 pounds. She is not a BIG doberman. She is a FAT doberman. Although, I have to admit she is not as ROUND as their last one was. Their last one looked like a dog shaped balloon, and only needed a string to complete the effect. Now, for seemingly loving dogs, that family has NO idea about dog behaviour. The first thing she does when she comes in, is plunk dobies dinner dish on the ground. Half cup of kibble and about three cups of assorted people food crap (lunch meat she buys just for the dog, a piece or two of chicken pulled from the bones, a two inch chunk of polish sausage cut up, a scrambled egg, and some liver pate). Ruby is a good dog. When it comes to dog food, you can put your hand in her dish. Other animals can eat out of her bowl. But when it comes to MEAT like smoked deli stuff, look out! She will snarl and snap if you try to take it. We know this is because she is HUNGRY, since we have to measure her food. But she is already portly, we aren't sure what to do at this point. So we created the rule, NO PEOPLE FOOD. She can have what drops to the ground, but we don't GIVE her food from our plates, nor do we put leftovers in her dish. Life is better that way around here. And if she does get something accidentally, we let her have it. So here she is, unexpected visitor, and a strange dog. This is all very exciting. Then down plops the dish. If two dogs are going to fight, it will be over food or territory (toys count as territory). Ruby immediately went for the lunch meat. Dobie said "goodie! This doggie wants to share!" and tried to join the meal. Bad move! Pugbutt snarled, and jumped up to BITE. Never mind dobie is far too tall for Ruby to bite even with the jumping. Dobie thought "oooh, the little round doggie wants to PLAY!" and pounded her with a big whomping paw. So now you have one dog snapping trying to guard a dish that is not hers, and another trying to stomp the little dog to death. All withing five minutes of arriving. Sigh. So I took the food away, to the protests of MIL. "She has to eat her dinner!". Fine. Bring the dish to the bathroom, put red dog in the bathroom with the food, shut bathroom door. Wait a few minutes, open door, food is gone and dobie is sitting waiting patiently in a pile of shredded TP, holding my ten pound make-up bag in her mouth. This is going to be a long evening. The dogs took turns going outside while we ate dinner. Finally I handed MIL and DD sweaters and left the sliding door open to save my own sanity. The "no people food" rule was ignored, as is MIL's habit when she visits. Never mind the dog is going to yak on my head in the middle of the night, how can she ignore those pleading eyes?!?! "look, she loves me!". Of course she loves you. She is a pug and you smell like sausage. For those that are wondering, she did not throw up on my head. But she had noisy gas all night and kept moving from pillow to foot, pillow to foot, with every loud toot all night long. Feeeeew! DD and DH ate their weight in chicken and dumplings. MIL just picked. She is not used to food like this, she says. Spicy food. My eye twitches even thinking about it. But it is a free meal after all, so I decide to not be offended and just let her eat or not eat. I've sat at her kitchen table and watched them scarf down wall paper paste flavoured food for years, so I guess it is her turn now. After dinner was done and the table cleared, DH asked what was for dessert. Sunday is the only day I plan a dessert. And that is only because I know these two like it. I said "Another baking triumph!" as I took a box from the freezer with great fanfare LOL. It was a cake thing with mousse and whipped topping, and according to the box it "tastes like ice cream and cake!". I chose to take their word for it and abstain, but they all had two pieces. I was quite amused to hear the comments about the tea. MIL only drinks green tea (which is my fault, but that is blog fodder for another day). We always have several kinds of tea in the house, and I made green tea to have for dinner in honour of her. Once, ONCE I made Earl Grey tea, which was my personal favourite at the time and many people in my family drink it. She took a gulp, then spit it back in her cup. "It tastes like perfume!". For two days she insisted it was "coming up on her, that awful tea" and she would give me this look, like I was responsible for creating such a hideous product. At the moment I am hooked on irish breakfast tea, a strong black variety. But having learnt my lesson, it was green tea that went into the pot. She sniffed it. She sipped a bit. She sniffed it again. Then she rejected it. "I don't like that kind. I only drink green tea". DH jumped in here. "Ma, it IS green tea. The same brand you buy". She insisted it was "something strange". So he said "Fine, don't drink it. Have some water". But she doesn't like water from the Brita filter. "I don't trust that filter. Who knows what they put in it? The lady at the mall says it causes cancer". Now, this woman does not believe that the years of three packs a day smoking, diet with a complete lack of fiber and vitamins, and alcoholism had anything to do with FIL's pancreatic and subsequent cancers. But she has stopped wearing deoderant and won't drink filtered water. Deliver me. "The lady at the mall" is a woman that stands in front of the health food store and hands out pamphlets and flyers. Things like "Why fluoride (sp - too lazy to check LOL) is killing our kids" and "Hot dogs linked to leukemia". She has told MIL such gems as 'our cats are going to steal DD's breath while she is sleeping', and that garlic pills will cure everything from piles to the bird flu. Which MIL immediately buys into as fact. After all, standing in a mall are the best credentials one could have, right? But just so you know, buying the garlic pills and keeping the box in your cupboard is apprently enough to protect you. Because they are "too big to swallow, but I feel better since buying them". At the mention of the crazy mall lady, DH lost it. I am not even sure what he said, I was so shocked at the time. I sat there, frozen, my tea cup half raised to my lips. DD's eyes got big as saucers. It was a catharsis for him, about far more than tea and water filters. I finally shook out of it enough to put my cup down and hustle DD downstairs into her toy room. Closed the door behind us and played barbies for a while (with two dogs constantly stealing things or walking through our "set ups" and scattering tiny furniture everywhere). After about fifteen minutes, there was a quiet knock at the door. Dh peeked in and said we could come upstairs now, and apoligized to DD for scaring her. She said she hadn't been scared, just startled. When we got into the kitchen, MIL was sitting with a cup of tea, and made a point of taking a big drink and saying "See, I'm drinking it. It's good". She apologized for making comments. "I didn't mean to be rude". Things were a bit tense and quiet after that. I had to break that tension some how. That is how "it" happened. It wasn't my fault! I swear it! Circumstances were beyond my control, I tell you!