Friday, December 31, 2004

A bit of history

Well, we invited the lady next door to join us for dinner, because we figured her original plans for tonight might fall through. They did, so she came. Somehow, we got talking about some china that my mom had been given by her aunt. My great aunt passed away back in 1996, and my great uncle said that my great aunt had said that the china was for mom, since my mom had said she wanted it. Mom claims to never had said this, but my great uncle wanted to obey my great aunt's wishes. So my mom stuck the china up in a crawl space, and we've never gotten around to unpacking the box. Well, I got irritated enough at not even knowing what pattern it was, that I went up and dug out a piece.

Here's the pattern, and the information from the back:

saucer_front saucer_back

I googled it, and Alfred Meakin is the manufacturer, so 'Osiris "Solway"' must be the pattern. (Reg. No. 742045.) However, there was very little on the web. Does anyone know anything about this china? Like how old it might be, and stuff like that? Before my great-aunt, the china belonged to my great-great-grandmother MacDonald. (I'd have to hunt down a family tree to figure out when she was alive... I'm not sure if my copy is here in Winnipeg, or down in Chapel Hill, or even if it contains that information. I remember her being on it, but also that not all people had dates listed.)

Oh... and while I'm delving into history, for those yarn interested readers, here's one of my great-grandmother Olive Fortune's ornaments that we have on our tree. It's a ball of red yarn:


The top is a bit broken, but then it is quite old. My great-grandmother gave it (and some other ornaments) to my mom when my great-grandmother stopped putting up a tree.

Dug out photos

Here's the view out front: the neighbour across the way snow blowed a bunch, but all that marks the street are two tire tracks. Didn't my mom do a nice job of the walk? ;)


Here's my mom and B shovelling out the last bit of the back parking pad:


A neighbour with a snowblower cleared one of the back lanes.

This is what a parking lot looks like in Winnipeg in winter:


That big pile of snow in the background used to be all over the lot. They'll come back and haul it away when they're done clearing the other lots and streets. (The private contractors tend to do the big store lots first, because they pay better than the city. ;) )

That reminds me... apparently Winnipeg has it's own little baby glacier. We pile our excess snow in one spot, and with the sand and muck that ends up forming a protective layer on top, it takes a long time to melt. Correction: I thought that there was one summer that it didn't melt at all, but mom says that the longest she can remember is it taking into August. So I guess it's not a real glacier. *sigh*

Digging out

Well, this morning we dug ourselves out. We spent about 45+ minutes this morning digging out our sidewalks and driveway, and also some of the sidewalks belonging to the older lady next door. (We didn't do all of hers, because she pays a neighbourhood boy to clear them, and we didn't want to take his job. He wasn't home this morning, though, so we cleared enough that she could get to the street if she needed to.) I'm not sure exactly how much snow we got, but it went up over the top of my sorels. (Sorels are honking big snow boots. Mine are rated to -30C, and go up to my knees.) When I was shovelling out the neighbours walk (that was the part I did, all three of us split up the work), I don't think the level of snow ever got below a foot.

I was a bit peeved at Bob though... I felt like shovelling before my shower (so I could have my shower when I was all hot and sweaty), but Bob said that we should wait before going out. I didn't want him to feel rushed (which he would have if I had gone out and started shovelling), so I went up to have my shower, and mom called a friend to see how she was doing. While my mom and I were occupied, Bob SNUCK OUT and started *shovelling*!!! Sneaky little mutter, mutter, mutter! Mom told me while I was still in the shower, and then went out too. I hurried out too, but that meant I was shovelling with wet hair! Aargh! And it wasn't all that warm out. (Right now the thermometer says it's -17C, and the wind is blowing too.) And since I was the last out, I didn't get a nice shovel either. Normally we have enough shovels, but only two are ergonomic shovels, one is an ergonomic snow pusher, a fourth is a regular snow pusher, and the rest are basically garden shovels and stuff. There was way too much snow to use a snow pusher style shovel, so I ended up with an aluminum garden style shovel. I really had to bend over to do that. Grrr. And I couldn't get very much snow per shovel. Hence, I only did part of the neighbours walk, while my mom did all of ours, and Bob did the whole driveway. I just couldn't move very fast. Plus I was the last one out. Oh well... at least I got some exercise.

Instead of doing our regular grocery shopping as planned, we just got essentials at a closer store that only required main roads once we were out of our neighbourhood. We wouldn't have made it at all, but one of the neighbours had a snowblower (well, actually his parents a few blocks away did, so he went out and shovelled them out, then snowblowed his way back) and he cleared the back lane. On the way back in, we still had to get out and push where our front street has a bit of a hill.

I'm all out of breath now (my asthma is acting up, pushing cars in the cold), so I'll read for a bit before potting up some of my ficus cuttings.

I hope you're having fun too. :) Oh... and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2004


Hmmm... it's looking pretty nasty out there:

The blizzard that blew into the province Thursday made driving so treacherous on southern highways that provincial transportation officials have pulled snowplows off the roads.


Oh... I forgot to mention... this yarn looks *really* neat!

The Changing Moods of Winter

Well, it's about time I posted some pictures, so my plan is to post some tonight. :)

I had plans to go to a yarn store this afternoon, but that didn't happen. Why? Winter said so. Here's what it looked like outside earlier today:


They're actually both taken at the same time... just one is without flash, and the other is with flash. The flash tends to "freeze" the snow, and makes it look much darker than it actually is. For comparison, here's how it looked on Christmas day, nice and sunny:


and here's some of yesterday's hoar frost:


Today's little blizzard started off this morning with ice pellets, and then reasonably heavy snow. It's still snowing, but also really blowing out now. We postponed the scheduled dinner with friends and relatives tonight too. (The dinner was going to be outside of the city, and we were worried about getting stuck with Bob's mom in the car.) I can tell shovelling tomorrow is going to be lots of fun. ;)

But to warm things up, here's a cute face from yesterday's party:


One of my friends brought her adorable little boy. He's all smiles... I'm surprised my photos got him when he wasn't smiling.

While I'm managing to get photos up, here's my latest pair of socks, the blue Kroy socks:

And here are a few of the wonderful things I got for Christmas:


In that last pair of photos, the little senior and seniorita are different sides of the same ornament. The "background" in the last three photos is my *wonderfully* snuggly new housecoat! :))

Oh... and I keep forgetting to mention... my dad's girlfriend *does* like the scarf. :) Dad says she's been wearing it, and likes it. (I haven't seen her since I gave it to her.)

Okie... I feel better now. Was that enough pictures for you too? ;)

Tired... sparkly

I'm dead tired, but I felt like blogging before bed.

The world is all sparkly outside today. I woke up to hoar frost covering everything, and it's still out there now! I think it even got thicker as the day progressed. I didn't take many pictures, because the sun never came out.

I'll post photos tomorrow... although I'm alert enough to blog, I'm too tired to post photos.

Let's see... today I went to Chapters and a few other places with mom and Bob, then spent the afternoon at the dentist. I got my teeth cleaned, and two fillings. Joy. They froze my mouth around 2, and it was after 6 before it really started to go away. Blech. I hate freezing. And I got *both* sides frozen, because I had one cavity on each side. I would have asked them if they could do it without, but at least one of the cavities was too big for that.

After the dentist I got a good crunch at the chiropractor. I read one of my new books until dinner. It's pretty good so far... it's a teen fantasy novel: The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson.

After dinner I went to a party with a bunch of friends from grade school. It was great. :) Driving there and back was a bit hazardous, though, because the roads were wet and sloppy.

Okie... headache says it's time for bed. Good night, and have nice, cavity free dreams!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Snowflake and Socks

I called up my professor (H) this morning, and we made plans for a late lunch. (I wasn't sure what time Bob would be back from the dentist... he had to get his crown put back on, because it fell off during the turkey dinner on Boxing Day.) I then remembered I had intended to make a snowflake for H for Christmas, and that I hadn't done so yet! I whipped up a quick snowflake (2 hours), and was ready by the time I had to leave to meet her. She loved it, so I'm happy. :) I didn't take a picture, but it was the same as one I've done before. (I did a repeat, since I knew it turned out nice previously, and I didn't have time to goof up.)

H gave me an origami-a-day calendar. When I pointed out that the origami in it was pretty trivial, she let me give it back to her to give to her kid, and she bought me a regular calendar instead. :) They were even 50% off, and I got to pick one I liked. :))

H and I had a nice lunch, then browsed McNalley Robinson together for a bit. We exchanged loaner books, and she let me use her discount card to buy some new ones. :) After making tentative plans for Thursday, we went our separate ways.

I went to the yarn store on Corydon, only to discover that it was closed for the holidays... due to open back up tomorrow. :P Peering through the window, they look worth stopping in if I'm in the area, but probably not worth driving half way across the city for a special visit. I may stop in on Thursday, since it won't be too far out of my way on the way back from meeting with H. We're planning on meeting at the conservatory at the zoo this time, which is also in the same direction.

Tonight I finished off the blue Kroy socks. The trim is quite cute (in my opinion), but you can't see it when I wear jeans, and they're quite thick wool (4 ply), so they'll probably be a bit warm for summer. :P I'll post photos tomorrow. It's late tonight, and I plan on wearing them tomorrow anyway.

I'm going to start V's socks tomorrow. They're the only project I have planned and have yarn (here) for. I think I'll stripe hers, rather than doing the trim at the top, since they'll also be the 4 ply wool. I should have enough of the rainbow yarn if I don't stripe until after the heel, or if I only do really skinny rainbow stripes. I hope.

I do need *something* to start tomorrow, because tomorrow's my fun, exciting dentist appointments for cleaning and two fillings. Gee... I buy myself the nicest Christmas presents.... And with one cavity on each side, I'm sure I'll be drooling from a frozen face for my party with friends from high school. Lovely.

No worries

My "kidney stone" pain is gone this morning. :) Luckily it stayed fairly low key.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Late night blogging

Yay... I remembered to set the time to 12. (It's only 11 here in Winnipeg, but I've been leaving my posts set on Chapel Hill time.) I still haven't checked to see what happens at noon... or gotten around to sending in a bug report. I think I tried once, but the page was down. I'll get around to it.

I feel sorry for all those people living around the Indian Ocean... both for those that died, and those that lost loved ones and homes, and are trying to put the pieces of their lives back together. If you can help, the Red Cross is accepting donations of cash... which allows them to help faster than donations of objects. CBC article:

The death toll from a tsunami that surged onshore in 10 countries
bordering the Indian Ocean neared 24,000 on Monday, as thousands of
soldiers searched coastlines for survivors.

I think I'm having another kidney stone... not a big one, but enough that I have that familiar pain in my right side. Yuck. At least it's not too bad yet... and maybe it'll pass easily. I hate kidney stones.

Today I finished the sock part of my blue Kroy socks, and tonight added trim to one while watching a movie with my dad. (Although the trim took lots of looking at, so I didn't get much watching done... luckily, it was one of my DVDs, so I've seen it already.) I didn't add quite as much trim as I was planning, but I think it turned out pretty cute anyway. I'll post a photo when I've finished the second sock.

I also helped my parents shovel snow this afternoon. It was easy, since there was just a couple of light, fluffy centimeters of snow. After that we walked over to Dollarama (a dollar store), and I saw a friend along the way. It was really nice, because I haven't seen her for *ages*. I got to meet her husband and cute little kid too. We didn't stop for long, because it was rather cold out. We invited them to come over later today, but I guess they were busy. I should give her a call, and see if we can plan something more definite.

At Dollarama I bought two heat resistant spatulas (regular & spoon), and several classical CDs. So it was an expensive way to get exercise, but cheaper than if our destination had been something else, I suppose.


I'm planning a visit to a yarn shop. Why? Because I only have one crochet project in progress (not counting the afghan in limbo), and I like variety. My immediate plans are to make a felted laptop sleeve, a scarf and tuque, and a pair of felted slippers. All for me. I rather like crocheting for me... I get to see the stuff all the time, and I don't have any anxiety over whether the recipient will like it, or whether it will fit. (I can measure myself as much as I need.) I think I'll order some yarn from, but I'd also like to have some immediately. Impatient, aren't I? Sheesh!

Ignoring the big box stores, it looks like Winnipeg only really has four yarn shops:

Camille's Elegant Yarns
935 Nairn Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R2L0X9

Good Wool Shop (The)
1103 Corydon Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3M0X3

Leona's Sweater & Wool Shop
1575 Logan Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3E1S5

Ram Wools
1266 Fife Street, Winnipeg, MB R2X2N6

I would have thought a city the size of Winnipeg would have more yarn shops, but Winnipeggers like their bargains... and yarn shops are rarely cheap.

I've been to the first... it's a nice little shop, but nothing really exciting. I bought some sock yarn there this summer. I found a web page for the last: Ram Wools. They look like they have a nice selection, so I think I'll go check them out. Maybe if I meet my professor at Grant Park tomorrow I'll stop in at The Good Wool Shop on the way back.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Lets See How Much Fun We Can Have.....

From ThreeOliveMartini:

1...a movie
2...a book
3...a musical artist, album or song

Ask me any three questions you want.. I Swear I will answer them

Copy and past to your blog and see how much fun we can have!!

(mmm... I am a cut and paste blogger!)

My three Christmases

Christmas Eve

Christmas eve was with my dad. I went over around 5:00 to start the dinner cooking. I made my shrimp pasta, and dad made an appetizer of prochutto, parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinegar. There was a distinct lack of vegetables, but that isn't unusual at my dad's. I figure we came close, since there was tomato juice in the pasta.

We didn't end up decorating the grapefruit tree, or even the ficus. Dad had already "decorated" by the time I got there: he set up the nativity on top of the piano (actually an electronic keyboard), draped a string of lights over the piano, and added a little 8" tinsel tree. We put the presents under the Christmas piano:


After dinner we opened stockings and presents. I'm not sure if O liked the scarf, or if she was just being polite. She certainly wasn't excited about it, but when I told her it was okay if she said she didn't like it, she said it was nice. Oh well... maybe it'll grow on her. (That reminds me... I need to send her the care instructions from the label.) T liked what I gave him, and O thought the sparkle nightlight I put in his stocking was really neat. (I think I'll pick up a second one for O, to make up for the scarf.) Oh... O really liked the chocolate I put in her stocking. :)

Dad really liked all the stuff I got him. He even liked the Christmas ornaments! I got him a little paper deer, a blown glass pheasant, and a wooden moose. He even said he'd have to make sure to get a tree next year! Ah ha! I've found a compromise! Tree ornaments that he likes too! :)

I got the backpack, trackball, and candy that I knew about. I got a different calendar than I expected (still a free one, and luckily just as nice), and even a few things I didn't expect! I got an LED flashlight from O, and dad put a car power converter and a nifty screwdriver in my stocking. I'm not sure what I'll do with the car power converter... I don't own a car, after all... but the screwdriver is great! It has 15 different bits that are held in place by a magnet, and an extender. And it's not pink! (Pink isn't my favourite colour... the previous screwdriver dad got me was hot pink "so the guys wouldn't steal it.)

After opening presents we sat around and talked for a while. I had brought a bunch of DVDs over in case we wanted to watch one, but dinner took longer than expected to cook, and there wasn't enough time after presents before dad and O had to leave for midnight mass. They're in the choir, so they needed to get there for 10:30. Dad said he was going to wear the tie I gave him. (Navy blue, with tiny gazelles on it, so it looks like a regular pattern tie.)

Christmas Day

Christmas day was with mom, B, T and S (B's mom). S and T didn't come over until around 2:00, so I had a relaxing morning, trying not to wonder what was in my stocking. ;) A friend of B's son dropped in at 2, so we invited him in for a glass of wine, and sat and chatted with him for about an hour. (P really had us confused, because he arrived before T... I couldn't figure out why T was using the doorbell, and then my mom had trouble recognizing P because he's put on weight since we saw him last. I've only met P once or twice, so I didn't know who it was until the conversation started to fill in the clues.)

After P left we opened stockings. I got lots of neat stuff, including three ornaments from Mexico, and a neat frog necklace (also from Mexico). Interestingly, I didn't get any yarn... I had thought I might get some sock yarn. Apparently I was the easiest to buy stocking stuffers for, and mom didn't want to overdo it.

Mom and B both loved the stuff I had added to their stockings, and S was happy that I was able to fix her brooch. (I stuck it in her stocking, because I didn't want to let her pay for the replacement "stone".)

I got a nice set of watercolour paints, a few *really* nice brushes, and some good quality watercolour paper. :)) Mom and I will be painting after Christmas! Mom *loved* the watercolour books I got her, and B was thrilled with the pint glass and little beer mug ornament. S liked the calendar I gave her, but she has a bit of a problem... another friend of hers bought her a calendar (dang!), but the numbers are hard to read from where she sits. She'd like to put mine up (I always check the numbers to make sure they're big enough), but she's worried that her other friend will feel hurt that she's using mine instead of hers. *sigh* From the sounds of things, she's going to put up mine, but then switch them when she's expecting a visit from her other friend. It's hard for her, because she has problems lifting her arms up that high. (Sadly, she's getting old. However, she is feeling better now than she was last summer, when we were afraid we would lose her.)

T had fun playing with a dollar store toy mom stuck in his stocking, until he opened the present containing his new digital camera. Boy, did he like that present! (He's already gone through his first set of batteries.)

We had roast beef and mashed potatoes for dinner, and I cooked my *really* good steamed broccoli. (I *don't* overcook it... just until it turns bright green.) For dessert, we had some of S's cinnamon buns. They're *really* good too... my mom told her about the trick of putting some butter and sugar at the bottom of the pan before baking, and then flipping it over while it's still hot after taking it out of the oven.

After dinner mom took S home, and then we sat and played and read for a bit. I suggested watching a DVD, so we watched "The Italian Job", which B said he wanted to see. However, it turns out we had indeed watched it on one of my previous trips home, so mom went back to reading her new books from me. :) T hadn't seen the movie before. I worked on my blue Kroy socks while watching the movie.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day is when B's kids come over. They weren't due until around 2:00, so I worked on my socks some, then moved my clutter up to the guest room until after they're gone.

I basically hid in the guest room too. B's kids smell... some of them smoke, and most of them wear perfume/cologne, which I'm allergic to. There isn't really enough room in the living room for everyone anyway. (B has three kids, two of which have significant others, and then there's S and my mom too.) So after giving the leftover earring to A, I went up and watched one of my cheap Walmart DVDs on my laptop ("Evelyn"... not bad), and worked on my socks. I am now past the heel on both socks. (I stop and switch socks before doing the heel, because I do a better job of getting them the same length that way.)

I went down for dinner... we had "turkey in a box". It's this new thing where they partially debone the turkey, then prestuff it. All you have to do is stick it in the oven when it's still frozen. Five hours later, *poof*, instant turkey. The only bones in the beast were in the drumsticks. It didn't look much like a turkey when it went in the oven, but it tasted not too bad when it came out. I prefer my mom's stuffing and turkey... she makes sure some of the turkey is dry an stringy the way I like it. :) (Yes, I'm strange.) The turkey in a box didn't manage any dry and stringy bits.

I thought about hanging around downstairs after dinner, but decided to abscond to the guest room again. Thus, you are gifted with a really long post about my three days of Christmas. (At least I included a picture to relieve the boredom. ;) )

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas everyone! Except for a bit of a splitting headache, I've had a wonderful Christmas. I'm too tired to post pictures tonight... I'll post some tomorrow... or maybe the day after. Tomorrow Bob's kids come over for their Christmas, so it'll be busy around here again tomorrow.

I will, however, post my Christmas cracker joke: what do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire? Frostbite.

Head hurts, can't think. I'll post more tomorrow.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas Eve

It's not yet time to go over to my dads. I wrapped the last of the presents, got a good crunch at the chiropractor, and went grocery shopping with the folks this morning.

I just finished whipping up three batches of gingerbread cookie dough, and they're now cooling in the fridge. My plan this year is to try to make a gingerbread treehouse. (I have a bad habit of trying to one-up myself each year.) I'm not sure if I was allergic to something, or it's just because flour was flying everywhere, but my nose is stuffed up. I can't wait until after my allergist appointment, when I get to take my antihistamines again. :(

Speaking of allergist, I decided to do pecans for my nut challenge test. I wasn't sure how many I would need, so I bought ten. (I need to remember to bring a nutcracker....) Pecans are popular in NC, so I should be able to get pecans without other nut oils added when I'm down there. I was going to try cashews, since they came up totally negative on my last test, but the only cashews at my local grocery store had added peanut and/or sunflower oil added. (Both of which I'm allergic to... and peanuts count as a second nut.) Pecans aren't my favourite nut, but I really like Turtles, so being able to eat them again is good. When I'm back in Canada next time, I'll do another nut that I like better. :)

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Racing Stripe Scarf done!

Coming in just under the wire... the racing stripe scarf! Christmas with my dad is tomorrow afternoon & evening, so I crocheted until 10:00, and declared it done. Think it's long enough?


(For reference, I'm 5'3".) I'll wrap it tomorrow before I go over.

I got up at a reasonable hour today... around 8 ;) ... but then decided to go back to bed after breakfast. I slept until noon. For some reason, I was ready for bed again tonight by 9.

T, dad, O and I went shopping this afternoon. We went to United Army Surplus and MEC. I found the *perfect* backpack at UAS! It's *really* nice. :)) It was regularly $60, on sale for $40. I'll post a photo of it when I "get it" for Christmas tomorrow. ;) T said I could take it home, but I thought it would be nice to have under the tree... not that my dad has a tree yet. I'm thinking maybe this year we'll just decorate the grapefruit tree. It's nice and big, and sturdy enough to hold ornaments. (I'll post a picture of that too!) That reminds me... I must remember to bring my camera tomorrow night... and maybe I should charge the battery tonight.

Tonight I watched "A bear named Winnie", which my mom had taped for me. It's definitely not a Hollywood film, but it was neat. I never knew that the real Winnie was female. I guess I learned something new today. ;)

Looks like there's not much wind again tonight. I asked my mom, and she wasn't sure if the wind chimes were the Westminster chimes or not... these were ones she got for $30 at an art gallery in BC, and the accurately tuned ones are usually somewhere around $100 or more. Whatever they are, they're beautiful.

Minor complaint

Blogger seems to have a bit of a bug... whenever I post at 12, it claims it is 1. (I haven't checked at noon, but I've noticed this at midnight.) Anyone else have this problem?

Winning streak

I went out to play pool with my dad tonight. (His singles group plays every Wednesday.) I somehow managed to be on the winning team each time. :) I'm not sure how, since I didn't sink that many balls. (However I did sink some... and I think I did pretty good considering this was the fifth time I've played.) Not only that, but I won a prize in the drawing... a gift tin of Crown Royal. Me. Who doesn't drink. (Well, I'll drink some light wine occasionally, but never any hard stuff.) I told my dad I'd wrap it and put it under the tree for him. Dad and Odie didn't win anything in the drawing... but I'm sure they'll enjoy my prize. ;) I may ask dad if I can keep the pretty purple tin it came in. I think I'll let him keep the cute little shot glasses though. It's not like I have a big use for shot glasses. (And he did pay for my ticket. ;) )

Well, I'm off to enjoy the wind chimes as I fall asleep. Not too much wind out there though... it's just bitterly cold. Speaking of which, we've been having some pretty weird weather here since I arrived... we keep getting "Alberta clippers" which have warm air ahead of them, and then bring cold air. The temperature has fluctuated between about 0 and -30 Celsius several times already. It's currently -31C, but with windchill it's -43C. (Aren't you glad you're not here, Paulina!) Today I was wishing for a nice wool scarf and tuque, instead of the acrylic ones I have now. However, I've promised not to visit the LYS until *after* Christmas. *sigh*

They're currently forecasting -8C for Christmas, but a few days ago they thought it might actually rain! Crazy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Stocking candy

Today was the ritual bankrupting of my father in the candy store his friend owns. Not to worry... it's his idea, and "but we only do it once a year!" I'm the worry wart... ("Dad! Not so much of those ones! They're expensive!") The final result? A very heavy bag of candy for four stockings (me, my brother, my dad, and my dad's girlfriend), and a credit card with a $90+ charge on it! (Granted, about 75 cents was for the spices I bought for the Christmas Eve dinner I'm making...) Dad's friend was nice to him, and gave him 10% off. (So the real cost was up over $100! For candy!) Oh well... it's *really* *nice* candy. :) (Stuff by Jelly Belly...) I suppose my dad *could* be spending it on worse things. *sigh*

(Remind me never to tell my dad about my blog...)

Does my $10 donation to the local food bank balance out the $20 worth of candy in my stocking?

I just keep telling myself I can't control what he chooses to spend his money on.

I packaged up the two trackballs... the Logitech one will be going under the tree, and the MS one will be going back to Staples. I thought about wrapping the Logitech one, but it didn't seem right to wrap my own present... I suspect I may end up getting it unwrapped. ;)

Tony and I are going out shopping for backpacks tomorrow. I was going to just get my mom to drop us off and catch the bus home, but Dad's interested in coming too, so we'll all go in his car, and fight for parking. If Odie comes too, we'll have her handicap sticker, which will give us 4 hours of free parking. Downtown parking has jumped considerably in price since they built the new arena downtown. Bus fare isn't cheap either: $1.80 this year, and going up another 5 cents for 2005. And they wonder why no one wants to shop downtown... (I don't mind doing a bit of shopping when I transfer busses downtown, but I hate making a special trip for it.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Quick post

One more quick post before bed. Tonight was fun... I finally got to go to the neighbourhood cookie party... the first time ever! I think the first year they had it the night before an exam, and ever after I've been out of town. It's amazing how many new neighbours have moved in since I lived here regularly... I hardly knew anyone! (Of course, some of the people I do know didn't come.)

This afternoon's shopping was a sucess... although it started quite a bit later than intended. (Yes, we did end up in some rush hour traffic, but it wasn't too bad at that point. And there wasn't any on the way back... wrong direction. Boy I'm glad I don't live in Transcona.) We stopped in at Future Shop, but they didn't have any trackballs. Then we tried Staples. They had two, but only had one of them on display, and high enough up that it was hard to try. The sales guy said the return policy was really great, and that we should take both home to try them out. So we did. (Crazy!) One was evil MS, the other Logitech. At first I thought the MS one would be nicer (it looked more ergonomic), but I'm finding I actually like the Logitech one better. That's nice, because it's $20 cheaper, and isn't made by an evil, world dominating company. :) (Or so says the Mac user.) We also stopped in at another computer store (no trackballs) where my dad got himself a laptop harddrive. (Boy, those things sure are small!) On the way back home we also popped into Wally World, where I got a pair of junk earrings with the right kind of stone to repair my grandmother's brooch. The brooch is one of those gaudy things that are back in style now, so she decided she'd like to replace the missing stone and wear it again. I'm the handy-dandy repair-woman. :) (I'm not going to let her pay the $7 for the stone, though. I figure I'll give the other earring to my stepsister April, who very likely has an odd number of piercings anyway.)

What else happened... well, no hbonds yet. However, I did start writing up one of my patterns. :) (Sorry Josie, I started with the raglan. ;) ) I've got the rows and stitches counted for the neck and yoke, and am trying to figure out how to describe the increases in the yoke. I'll do that tomorrow, along with the body and sleeves.

Speaking of tomorrow, I have more stuff planned with my dad. We're going out in the "morning... crack of noon" (his words) to get the groceries for Christmas Eve dinner (I'm cooking my shrimp pasta), and also to get the candy for the stockings. (My dad likes to go bankrupt buying candy from his friend's store for our stockings.)

Too much stuff to do... T and I still have to go out to buy my Christmas present too. (No time today, with the late start.) I just got an e-mail from him asking what we had agreed on. (My response: nothing so far.) Sheesh... it would be nice if my family could shop for me without me... I *really* do like surprises! Oh well, I shouldn't complain.

Well, now off to bed. That reminds me... every night just as I'm falling to sleep, I hear the wind chimes on the porch. My mom has several, and at least one of them is one of those fancy ones that sound like the real bells somewhere. (I can't remember where hers are from... Westminster, maybe? They look something like the chimes here.) They're *lovely*. I keep meaning to blog about them, but always forget once I'm up and about for the day. I've decided that when I have a real house, I'm going to have to have wind chimes where I can hear them as I fall to sleep. I must remember to ask mom what kind of chimes she has. Mmmmmmm. :))


Lots of good stuff today:

1. Annie from the calendar loves my sweaters. (Good news for you too Josie... there's now a deadline on me writing up my patterns! ;) )

2. Starting in 2006, cosmetics in Canada will finally have to list ingredients! (This will make it much easier to find shampoo, etc, that I'm not allergic to! Not *easy*, since I'm not entirely sure what I react to, and they'll all keep having fragrance, but it will at least be *easier*.)

3. My family doctor here at home had a look at my moles while I was in, and said there's a very good chance that there's nothing to worry about, although she suspects they might cut one out (to be safe) when I go in to see the dermatologist.

I've made more progress on the scarf (it's now long enough that I can stop any time, but I think I'll keep going for a while), and on my latest pair of socks. I'm close to starting the heel on the first sock of the pair. I was working on the socks while waiting at the doctor's office... I got two people interested, and gave one the URL for the pattern. (The other didn't have a computer.) I think maybe I should start carrying around extra copies of the pattern! ;) (I'll have to check to see what's allowed on the SBC pattern.)

What else is going on? Well, I added to my review and re-sent it. The editor wanted me to make the private comments public, and add a few more details. I'm feeling a bit guilty, since I still have to do my hbonds. Dad and I are going out this afternoon to buy my Christmas present. Dad has a hard time buying surprises... I have to make my wish list very explicit so he knows what to get, and then he goes and tells me what he's buying sometimes. This time I wasn't specific enough, so I we're going out together to pick it out. I wasn't specific because I didn't really know. I've had several people recommend a trackball as being better on carpal tunnel, but I don't know enough about them to know which I want. Tony is coming too, to give his input.

It's actually a bit funny... Dad didn't want to go on the weekend, because of all the other people that would be out. So instead, we're going today. However, we're not planning on leaving until 3:00, so we'll end up hitting rush hour traffic! I don't understand. Oh well... I'm committed to having a relaxed, laid back holiday... and I won't be driving anyway. ;) (I was ready by 12:30, for the record. I phoned at 11:45 after my doctor appointment, and dad said he was just starting his day.)

Monday, December 20, 2004


Well, I did it... I sent some pictures to the crochet-a-day calendar to see if they'd be interested in the patterns. Wish me luck!

I sent photos of my raglan, and my purple stripe sweater. I figured my mittens are pretty standard... and my racing stripe scarf is nothing special either.

Well, I need to make a few minor changes to my review... some of the private comments need to be public. *sigh*. I guess I'll do that now. (I dream of a vacation with no homework... Ha!)

Raglan done

I'm done my turtleneck raglan. :)


Instructions coming soon (hopefully)!



What herb are you?
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Happy feet

Mom and B in their new socks:


We're all wearing our new socks today to show them off at the chiropractor. (I'm planning on wearing my rainbow Regia socks... I would have worn my yellow and orange pair, but I wore them yesterday.)

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Sleeved again!

Oops... my raglan now has 3/4 of the second sleeve. I just couldn't resist! I'm still not quite done frogging the original sweater! Only a few rows left on the old sweater now... and I have a whole two balls of yarn after I'm done frogging. I think I'll make a stocking or two out of the leftovers. (A little fun fur around the top...)

Harry Potter was enjoyable, but the parts cut out to make the movie shorter were really obvious.


My raglan has a sleeve:


I "finished" my review today, so I decided I needed a reward before I moved onto hbonds. (I didn't actually read the whole paper... I decided it was unreadable enough that it needed more work.) I decided to let myself have an hour to work on my sweater. After an hour, I decided that I didn't like something I had done with the sleeve, so I frogged my hours worth and re-did it. I finished the sleeve just before dinner. (So I went over my time allotted... I'll do the hbonds tomorrow... ;) )

Tonight we're watching Harry Potter on TV... I'll work on the scarf some more, and maybe finish it off. :)

My last sleeve will have to wait until my hbonds are done, though. :(

I've been keeping good notes on the pattern for my raglan (I've learned after my purple sweater)... do you think the crochet-a-day calendar will be interested in the pattern?

Snuggled up by the fire

The snow is falling gently from left to right (or right to left, depending on which window you look out), and the woodpecker had all his feathers fluffed up. We decided to stay in today. Mom is working on her cross stitch (which she thinks she might finish in the next six years... she's about one quarter done right now), and I started reading the paper I have to review, but a headache convinced me to have a nap instead. Bob is puttering about, doing what he likes best. We have the gas fireplace on, so it is nice and cozy in the living room. Well, back to my paper (nap).

Waking up.

I enjoyed today's PhD comic.

I woke up around 6 this morning, and strangely felt like getting up. However, it was cold in the house (my parents turn the heat down overnight), so I jumped back in bed after going to the washroom. I did that several times, until the heat finally came on at 8. ;) However, it's probably a good sign that I can feel awake and well rested that early in the morning. I went to bed at 10 last night, so 6 was about 8 hours later... things are looking up for next term!

I had a dream last night that I was fencing. For some reason, I was in a gym where they were teaching a bunch of people how to fence, and the real fencing team was there too. After the general lesson, the team members paired off and started fencing. Manuel (the coach I had back when I was fencing) was also the coach in the team, and he made me take an additional lesson, even though I tried to say I wasn't one of the real fencers any more. I really enjoyed myself. I'm thinking maybe I should bring some of my equipment back to school with me so I can start up again. I won't bring my mask... it's probably not safe any more... but I could probably pack my pants, jacket, glove, and stuff like that. The main problem is packing my epees. My big suitcase isn't long enough, and I already have two bags with me, so I can't bring my fencing bag back. I really prefer epee over foil, but the club at UNC only has foils to loan people. (UNC's team fences all three weapons, though, so I could fence wtih them if I had a weapon.)

Mom just came down for her shower... apparently the heat does come on at 6, but it takes a while for the house to warm up. We have hot water heat hear, not forced air.

I didn't do any crochet yesterday, but I did wrap all the presents (except the scarf for my dad's girlfriend, which isn't quite done).

Today mom and Bob are going to a movie downtown, so my brother and I are tagging along to go shopping. (Saves on parking, or bus costs.) My brother has decided he'll buy me a new backpack for Christmas, but thought I should come to pick out which one I want. (Also, I also have a membership to MEC, which is where we're planning on shopping.) I put a new backpack on my wishlist because the straps on my current pack are dying. I seem to destroy backpacks fairly quickly, for some reason.

Speaking of backpacks, I'm thinking of crocheting a felted laptop sleeve. My current laptop sleeve is way too big, and thus is hard to cram in my backpack. I tried making one out of some quilted fabric, but it didn't have enough padding, and ended up too big too. (So it let my laptop flop around... it was soft enough that getting it in my backpack wasn't a problem.) I'm thinking a felted bag, plus a bit of extra foam on the bottom, might do the trick. (And I can shrink it until it's the right size. ;) )

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Tree time

I decorated the tree at mom and Bob's house today:

(For good measure, I put red satin balls on the ficus as well.)

I've made progress reviewing the paper... I've made it nearly half way. Of course, now I have to slog my way through a 4 page proof! (Uck!) I think the proof for the first lemma is wrong too, which means I'm going to have to keep my eyes open for mistakes in this walloping big proof. (I write long proofs too, but I at least try to break them down into more manageable lemmas.)

Other than that, I haven't done anything exciting today. Although I did have a really nice nap on the couch this morning. My parents have a comfy couch, a comfy blanket, and the sun was even shining on my legs! Nothing like a great nap during the holidays! ;)

Friday, December 17, 2004

Scarf progress

I made progress on the racing stripe scarf. I'm not sure how much longer I'll make it... my family thinks another foot will be enough... so one or two more movies. ;) At any rate, I'll have no problem getting it done for Christmas. I didn't get more of my review finished... I'll have to hit the books tomorrow! Oh... and Bob's sock is done... I finished pulling all of the elastic out, and worked in the final end.

While I remember, Crochet Me has a post about another neat mathematical crochet pattern... another thing to add to my list! Here's Crochet Me's post.

Family socks

Mom's socks fit perfectly, but the elastic in Bob's was indeed too tight. I pulled the elastic out of one sock, and he likes it just fine now, so I'm pulling the elastic out of the other sock now. (I'm nearly done, but got interrupted by dinner.) I wore my purple "winter eclipse" socks to the chiropractor today, and everyone was amazed. I've promised one patient I would bring the instructions in, and mom and Bob and I are all going to wear ours to the chiropractor on Monday.

It sure is nice being home in Winnipeg... I get to see my family again, and there's about six inches of snow outside. :)

Oh... I saw someone crocheting in the airport last night in MSP. She was doing fillet lace for a tablecloth border... using *very* fine thread!

Well, back to family visiting! (And I have to get some more work done later... I spent an hour reviewing a paper, but I've only made it 3 pages into the sleeper! :P )

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Getting ready...

Well, I remembered a few more things to pack this morning (luckily they were small, so they fit), and one more thing I had to do... trim my hair! It wasn't too long yet, but it would've been too long by the time I get back. I think I managed to clog the tub drain a bit this morning... the hairs were short enough that they washed down the drain, rather than clumping on top, where I could collect them and throw them out. Oops...

There was definitely a hard frost last night. I went to put the recycling out this morning. When I tipped the bucket over to get the cans to drain, nothing came out. I thought it strange they were dry... when I looked, I saw that they actually had a thick layer of ice keeping the water in. Oops again. ;) The few impatients that tried to come through previous frosts were definitely dead this morning, and the strawflower was looking pretty toasted too.

I've washed my dishes, taken out the kitchen trash, dropped off my January rent cheque, and got some cash for the cab fare on the way back. I think I'm all set now. I just hope todays mail comes before I have to leave... and that the recycling gets picked up. I wasn't going to bother with recycling, but they were late this morning, and hadn't come by the time I was up. I'd like to bring the bin back in. I didn't have today's mail held on the hopes it would come early enough... I'd like to make sure there aren't any bills in it. (And see if there are any nice surprises in it! ;) )

Well, I guess I should get some work done before I leave. I'll be checking my e-mail while I'm gone, but I may not be posting much... too much visiting to do! ;)


Well, I *think* I have everything packed now. I thought I had everything packed five minutes ago, and then remembered I had some chocolate in the freezer! (I could have eaten some of it myself if I'd forgotten it, but there's no way I'd eat the coffee-flavoured stuff I got my dad and brother.) Since it's now after 2am, I'm going to bed, h-bonds be darned. I'll get to them in the morning, if my dishes don't take too long. Otherwise, I'll finish them up on Friday. (After all, I think I have all my Christmas shopping done already, so the few days between arriving home and Christmas shouldn't be *too* hectic... although I do have that scarf to finish.)

I'm finding it somewhat hard to believe that I packed my not-yet-finished raglan sweater. I couldn't classify it as clothes, since it's not done, and since there's not much left, it's awfully big for packing for entertainment.... Oh well. I'll finish it soon enough, and then I can happily justify packing it as clothing. ;)

I also packed my purple stripe sweater... not out of any great desire to wear it, but because I need to write up the pattern for it. I will wear it, however, to justify packing it. ;)

Also, those two sweaters were nice and cushiony, so they're also acting as padding for some of the Christmas gifts. ;)

Well, I still can't think of anything else I need to pack (besides my laptop and some plane snacks, which I'll pack tomorrow), so I'm off to bed. Good night.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Crochet today (yesterday)

Today I did most of a sock toe in the group meeting. Tonight I did most of a sleeve on my raglan... when I should have been packing and doing some last minute homework! (Oops!) Only a few more inches to go on the first sleeve, but I need to do my packing! (I've started... so far I have all my family's Christmas presents spread out on the bed, sorting which need to be in my carry-on, and which can survive in a suitcase. I've also put a few clothes on the bed.)

Hmph. Off to do more packing. Tomorrow I leave for Canada! :)) I can't wait to see my family. It's all I could think about today, instead of programming the h-bond slider like I was supposed to. (Hence, I want to do that too before I go to bed... and it's already 1:30 in the morning! ...I promised my advisor some screen snapshots.)

Then there's the paper review I need to finish asap... it got pushed back because of more immediate (and physically closer) pressures, but today I got a nagging e-mail about it. Apparently I'm the last one to send the review in. :( I'm planning on doing the review on the plane tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


I finished my mom's socks! Here they are:

mom socks

Don't you love the stripes? (Well, it's okay if you don't. I like them. ;) ) I was trying to decide which pair of socks to start next, and eventually decided to do the pair for myself. I'm justifying it by saying this way I'll be able to figure out the trim, and not make mistakes in my friend's sock's trim... riiiiiiight. ;)

Socks remind me... I got an e-mail the other day from someone who will be coming here in January, and found my sock site. Looks like we'll be getting together to crochet, and maybe talk other geeky stuff! (D will be a postdoc in biology.)

So I decided to watch one of my cheap movies tonight... I took a risk and watched "Dying Young". I think my Prozac dose is definitely high enough (maybe too high?), because I didn't feel sad at all when the movie was over. (The past few years I haven't been able to watch "chick flicks" without feeling depressed afterwards.) I thought it was a bit interesting the way they echoed the art images in the two main characters, but I felt the story was a bit lacking otherwise. Julia Roberts isn't believable as a dumb high-school dropout, and they were laying the stereotypes on rather thick. If they had spent less time on the stereotypes, and more time on developing a believeable relationship between the two of them, it would have been a much better movie.

Well, this movie critic is up past her bedtime... good night. :)


Well, I did get something done for my meeting, so I'm happy. What did I do? I modified my code so that I can view rigid clusters as sticks instead of balls!

PXR Balls:

PXR Sticks:

Okay... not too exciting, I know. But it made my biochemist happy. :) Now I just need to do the hydrophobic tethers for our next meeting...

More language problems: must remember that Americans call a "washroom" a "restroom"... I hate getting those blank stares! (We use both in Canada, so I can never remember which one it is that Americans understand.)

I wore my mittens today... it was just barely cold enough out. Everyone loved them, although one person commented on the thumbs. I'm surprised more people didn't find the thumbs odd. (I had wanted to do the thumbs blue, but didn't have enough blue left.) Two people asked me to make them some, so I said sure, as long as they bought the yarn. (I have to pay nearly $5K in tuition next term... if I didn't have some savings, I'd *really* be a starving student next term!) As I was wandering around in the biting wind, I thought longingly of having a matching toque and scarf... and then tried to calculate how much an alpaca scarf would cost... somehow, I don't think it's going to happen! (At least, not the scarf.) I'll have to see if I can find some soft wool in a close enough colour to be a reasonable match. (And that is a reasonable price!)

On the way back from Duke I worked on my mom's sock... only a few rows left, and it'll be done! Yay! I can't decide if I want to do another pair for myself next, or a pair for a friend in Vancouver... I told her I'd make her a pair if she sent me her measurements. I'm planning on doing a pair for myself and for her similar to that knit pair with the neat stuff at the top... I've got some plain Kroy sock yarn for the sock part, and I'll use scraps left over from other socks for the trim. I think I'll do a blue pair for myself, with the blue & gray Scheepjes for trim, and a green pair for my friend, with the rainbow Regia leftovers. (I think she'll get a kick out of the rainbow.) I also want to do a striped pair for myself, using the same stripe repeats as my mom's, but I'll need to get some contrasting yarn for that. (I thought about using the blue and green Kroy, but the colours were too similar.) And yes, I know I have a bunch of other projects going, but I like to have a pair of socks going too... they're just so portable!

My plan for the matching scarf: mostly navy blue, with gray bands at each end (like on the mittens). I'll put a snowflake at each end, and two crocheted cables running the length of the scarf. (So the ends will have a bit of a plaid effect, between the cables and the gray stripes, with a snowflake in the middle.) This way the scarf will tie together the mittens and tuque... (I still want to do the Coronet tuque!)

Okay... now to make progress on tomorrow's tasks... *sigh*. ;)

(PS: I'm in a good mood again today, and am mentally awake, though still tired.)


It's that time of year again... I start talking about toques, and American's stare at me blankly. A toque is a hat you wear in winter that keeps your head warm. It's frequently knit (or crochet), but I've seen polar fleece hats I'd call toques too. Pom-poms are optional. Alternate spelling is tuque or tuoque. has a rather blah description, and Wikipedia has a more interesting one.

Oh... and a toboggan is a kind of sled. (...mutter... mutter... crazy southerner's! ... mutter...)

This educational message is brought to you by Procrastinator, she who should be working on stuff for her meeting this afternoon...

Monday, December 13, 2004


I was just reading Yarn Tomato's blog, and I must say I find it a bit strange, this idea of *buying* a fruitcake! I think my family was spoiled... my grandmother would bake fruitcakes every year. Personally, I'm not a fan of fruitcake... it's not the fruitcake's fault, I've just never liked cooked fruit (possibly because I'm allergic to fruit), and I also have a nut allergy. My grandmother passed away last year, so I think I'll remember my grandmother, and ramble about her fruitcake. My fruitcake grandmother was my father's mother.

My grandmother's fruitcake apparently tasted very good. However, it was very fattening, so my family took a long time to go through each loaf. (Especially since my brother and I didn't eat it, so it would mostly only come out when we had company close to Christmas... and a little goes a long way.) Each year my grandmother would bake up a new batch of fruitcake, and one would appear in the mail, or we would pick it up if it was her turn for a visit. (My grandmothers lived in different provinces from my family, each in the opposite direction, and a 2-3 day drive.) She would then ask my mother what she thought of this year's cake, and how it compared to last year's. However, my mother was frequently still working on the cake from the year before that, and so had no idea.

One year my mom decided to make fruitcake like my grandmother. I must have been very young (or not born yet), because I have no memory of this. My mom got the recipe from my grandmother... but it only contained ingredients, not instructions. My mom used my grandmother's ingredient list, and found a magazine recipe for the instructions. Apparently my mom got out her large bowl, and started adding ingredients... and very quickly discovered she would need a much larger bowl! (No wonder my grandmother would mail everyone a fruitcake... there was no way she'd be able to consume an entire recipe!) I think my mother has never made it since, simply because of the massive volume of fruitcake it produces. (And you can't make a partial recipe... unless you could find smaller packages of the various preserved fruits, and stuff.)

I think I will always think of my grandmother when I see fruitcake. She *loved* baking... whenever we would visit, there would be at least one dessert for every meal, including breakfast, and dinner would have a choice of 3 or 4! That reminds me of another oddity of my grandmother... when we arrived, she would comment on how we've gained weight, and then at every meal would scold us for eating like birds. We generally gained several pounds during visits with her... ;)

And while I'm on the topic of fruitcake, I had a checkup with the doctor, and he's decided to keep my antidepressants at the same level. I'm still feeling tired, but at least I can think now, and I can handle the tiredness better. (Ie, I don't *need* to have a nap, even though I'm tired.)

I survived my meeting with my advisor just fine... I was able to handle the usually depressing end-of-term paperwork. I asked two people to be on my committee... one said yes, the other has to think about it. (He's really busy, now that he's the new department chair, so I completely understand.) So now I just have to hear back from the one guy, and reconfirm another, and I've got a committee! Yay! However, a meeting isn't going to happen before Christmas, so the three forms I have ready and waiting for just the committee to be formed will have to wait. Officially I'm behind on five milestones... forming the committee and getting these papers signed would clear three of them up. It would have been nice to catch up a bit on the milestones... I hate being a "discussion case". :P

But, I'm happy, and I now feel capable of working (thanks to Prozac)! So I better get cracking... I need to finish something for one committee member for tomorrow, and something else for my advisor by Wednesday! Aaack! Later...

Elvish glee!

Tee-hee-hee... I mailed out a few small surprises to various people today!

I'm feeling great today! I'm happy, excited about my work, and alert! I'm still somewhat tired, but I can live with that. I hope you're having a great day too! I hope I still feel great after my meeting with my advisor this afternoon... ;)

"Severe" Weather Warning has a warning for my area today:






(a) I wish they would discover this amazing phenomenom called "lower case"
(b) *That's* not cold!!!
(c) I guess it'll help prepare me for Winnipeg weather... Canada, here I come! (Well, not for a few days yet...)

Maybe it'lll get cold enough that I can try out my new mittens? :)

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Hello again

Oooo! Neat sock alert:
These are knit, but it would be pretty easy to do the same thing in crochet! (Can you hear the wheels grinding in my head?)

I just read an article about my aunt's store (that my uncle scanned and sent to me). I haven't been able to get to the store yet, but I've seen some of the fabulous stuff she has there. If you're looking for something different to get people for Christmas, maybe you'd be interested in checking it out? (No, she doesn't know I'm posting this.) Here's the URL:

Today I went for a walk in a park with a friend, and then we went to Walmart, where I got sucked in by the evil known as "cheap dvds". *sigh*. I also bought the 63 Squares Afghan booklet (more for the stitches, than a real plan to make the entire afghan), and a how-to booklet on knitting. I know I can probably find the instructions online, but I like having them on paper in a bound form. But the real lesson here is that when my friend says "do you want to go to Super Walmart with me", the correct answer is *not* "sure, I need to get some dental floss." (It's not her fault... well, maybe just a bit, because she was the one suggesting we browse the cheap dvds, and I had initially planned to stay well away from that part of the store...)

No crochet yet today, unless you count the fact that I picked the embellishment out of my mitten, so now that project is officially done. :)

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Rambling on...

I think I'll ramble about a bunch of stuff tonight, and get it all in one post for once. ;)

yarngirl describes a neat way to make a foot "dress form"... this sounds easier than trying to use the auto-timer on my camera!

Neat... yarn manufacturers donate yarn for people who do charity work! I'm not going to send away for any right now... I have enough other projects going... but maybe I'll try this after I move back to Winnipeg. (The lady got a lot of yarn, and I wouldn't want to have to move it back to Canada with me.)

I've decided I like my mittens best with just the snowflake, and since I'm the one wearing them, I'll go with that. Thanks for everyone's opinions!

I've make progress on my raglan sweater. I had intended to spend today working on my dissertation, but somehow ended up watching the first two LOTR movies and crocheting my sweater. (Not even working on a Christmas gift for someone else! Bad me!) Well, at least I rode my exercise bike for 30 minutes, and got my laundry done. (That reminds me... I think I need to move the last load to the dryer... okay, task accomplished.) Anyway, I think the body of the sweater is now long enough, so now it just needs sleeves. Here's how it looks so far:
raglan progress

I'm very impressed with the little project progress bars I hacked together... I'd like to find a nicer way to "code" them (to make them briefer for reuse), but I rather like how they turned out. I was going to steal the code from someone else's site, but I couldn't get to the original website, to find out what was kosher.

I think that's everything I felt like rambling about. If I've forgotten something, I'll post it tomorrow. ;)

Friday, December 10, 2004

Mitten dilemma

I still can't decide... the mitten with just the snowflake has a sort of fun retro feel, whereas the snowflake with embellishments is a bit more traditional.... At first, I liked both equal, but now I think I have a slight leaning towards just the snowflake. Everyone except one person liked the embellishments better. Hmmm.... I think I'll put the decision off one more night.

Tired of hearing about death and destruction in the news? Here's two fun articles:

British men have been given a new way to avoid shopping with "the
missus," with a leading department store chain introducing playroom
areas in which they can relax for hours.

Tired of nagging their children to do their chores, the parents of two
Florida teenagers have moved out of their house, into a tent and gone on

In the news...

I'm proud that my country is open and accepting of how responsible adults choose to live their lives:

The Liberal government will introduce legislation to legalize same-sex
marriage when Parliament resumes sitting in January, Prime Minister Paul
Martin said Thursday.

Of course, living in a free country means that some citizens can also choose to be close-minded:

Groups opposed to same-sex marriage reacted swiftly to Thursday's
Supreme Court opinion that Ottawa can legalize gay marriage, with one
group saying the traditional definition should be enshined in the

Looks like New Zealand is making progress too:

New Zealand's Parliament has adopted legislation to legally recognize
civil unions between same-sex partners.

This is a cute idea:

The city of Boston is letting motorists use a unique currency to pay
their parking fines – Cabbage Patch Kids and Scrabble boards.

To Do...

To be added to my list of things to crochet: sentry snake to stop drafts.

This is one of the first "cool" toilet paper hiders I've seen: pot of posies. It's still a bit "grannyish", but not nearly as bad as those dolls with the big skirts.

Hmmm... this collection at is kind of neat. Scara-Lee Witch looks pretty cute too.


Wowzers, did we ever have a storm last night. It poured rain, and there was a near constant lightning show! If it didn't happen at 4:45 in the morning, I would have sat there and watched it for a while. I unplugged my computer, and later took a brief look outside after an impressive flash-boom-crack to see what had been hit. However, at that point I could only see stuff by the flash of the lightning, because the street lights were out. (The power in the house stayed on, except for a blip that made my answering machine talk to me.)

In Winnipeg, I'd associate this kind of storm with summer, not near-winter!

Looking out this morning, you'd hardly guess about the excitement last night. The rain has mostly dried up, and the sun is peeking through the clouds.

The half-dead tree in front of my appartment looks like it's in the process of losing several more major branches. (I wish the apartment complex would do something about that tree! At least trim off the dead branches, and treat whatever insect infestation is killing the tree, if they don't want to remove it altogether!)

I was bad and let myself sleep late this morning. Why? I realized after I went to bed that I hadn't reset my alarm, and I was too lazy to do it then. So I simply turned it off. Well, I should hurry up and get in to school!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Fun snow!

This is fun!

Um... so much for me getting to bed at a reasonable hour. G'night!

Mittens nearly done... opinions?

Well, I'm almost finished my alpaca mittens... the only problem is that I can't decide whether I prefer just the snowflake, or the snowflake with the other decorations better. What do you think?

Here are the options:


Note to self: crochet the really cool snowflakes at, link courtesy of Josie. (Thanks Josie!)


So... I appear to have survived my trip to Lenoir. Why is it that normally I have absolutely no problem falling asleep, but the night before I have to get up at 4am I take an hour and a half to fall asleep?!?

I discovered something interesting this morning... NPR actually has a news broadcast (by the BBC) that doesn't mention the war in Iraq! It was quite interesting, and also refreshing. I was a bit foggy at the time, but I seem to recall mention of some research which can lead to an HIV vaccine, and the existance of possible "honour killings" in Britain by Asians (mostly Indians, from the sounds of things). I've forgotten the other stuff... oh, wait, there was also something about South America forming a coalition similar to the EU. So, if you want interesting news, all you have to do is get up at 4am! ;)

Jack picked me up at 5am. A student from our class (who is from Lenoir) also came along. I slept a bit in the car, but kept waking up because my neck hurt. I don't sleep well sitting up. The two classes went well, and the teacher and students seemed to really enjoy it and learn something. Cool. :) I fixed a small bug in my software between the two classes. (I *really* need to rewrite my parser... it's a mess!) It rained on the way home, and Jack's jetlag was catching up with him, so I took a turn driving. We switched a bit before Winston Salem, and I drove the rest of the way back. By the time we were back it was 4:30, so I didn't bother going in to school. I did a couple of rows on my mom's sock at lunch, but that was about it.

I could use a nap. I think I'll have dinner, veg in front of the TV, and then go to bed at a reasonable hour.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Elephant update

Unfortunately, the baby elephant I mentioned earlier didn't survive:

The baby elephant that won hearts around the world after being rejected
by her mother died on Tuesday at the Calgary Zoo.

It turns out I did make progress on my mom's sock today... I finished the heel, and another 1.5-2 inches of the leg during my group meeting. I didn't make much dissertation progress though: I had another 3 hour nap after the group meeting. :(

Well, I'm off to bed, so hopefully I can manage to drag my lazy butt out of bed at 4 am.


I've decided to re-learn how to knit this Christmas. While procrastinating, I came across this nifty cabled hat pattern, and I really want to make it. My ultimate goal is to learn how to make "real" cables in crochet. I think I'll get some alpaca yarn for this hat to match my new mittens. Then, of course, I'll have to make a matching scarf... ;)


Well, Jack asked me to come along to teach some of our folding stuff to high school science classes. There are two classes tomorrow, with the earlier being at 8. The school's not in Chapel Hill, and he warned me I'd have to get up early. I figured the school would be around half to one hour away, which means I'd have to get up earlier than usual, but not too early... little did I know! The school is in Lenoir, NC, which is near the blueridge mountains... a *3* hour drive away! Argh! I'm going to have to be ready to leave a bit before 5 in the morning, which means getting up at 4am! *shudder*. Well, since Jack's driving, at least I'll be able to have a 3 hour nap in the car... and maybe I'll see something interesting out the window on the way home. I have to make sure I go to bed really early tonight!

I started the heel on my mom's sock this morning on the bus ride in to school. We're having a working group meeting today, so I probably won't get much done on the sock during the meeting. ...That reminds me... I should make sure I have enough crochet along for the way back from Lenoir tomorrow. Maybe I'll bring that scarf for my dad's girlfriend. I could do snowflakes, since I won't need to watch something else for the trip back, but I don't want Jack to see me doing snowflakes... he's going to be one of the recipients.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Well, my meeting went well, even though I wasn't as well prepared for it as I'd like. My next assignment is to look at hydrophobic tethers for next week. Hopefully I'll be better at making progress! ;)

The MUG meeting was kind of boring today... we just watched all of last year's MiLife entries. However, there was free pizza, and iTunes scratcher cards for everyone. I won an iTunes Indie Sampler... very bizarre music, I must say. (It's all alternative, which generally isn't my genre of choice.) I was hoping to get a coupon for a free song or two, so that I could "buy" some Christmas music. (I've discovered my library is extremely lacking in this area.) I guess I'll just browse the sale bins when I'm home... especially those after Christmas sales! For now, I'm fine with listening to Christmas music on the department shared music libraries. (Although many of those tend to be rather religious...)

On the way back from Duke I worked more on my mom's sock... I'm now just two rows short of the heel, so I should have no problem finishing before I'm home. (Even though there are no classes left.) I did several more rows on my raglan sweater. I still haven't re-started a scarf I plan to give to my dad's girlfriend for Christmas. (It's one I started in the summer, then stopped when I ran out of yarn... I have more yarn now, but have been more interested in other projects, like my socks and sweater.) The raglan is a really great Christmas colour, but it's acrylic, so it's not very warm. For Winnipeg winters, I want *warm* sweaters to bring home with me. Whether I bring the raglan home depends on how much room I have in my suitcase... and, of course, whether or not I finish it. ;)

Well, it's now well past midnight, so I should head to bed... I want to be awake tomorrow!


I'm dead tired again today... I was up late (playing with my blog and my web page, but also doing some dissertation work), and then didn't take my trazodone again. It's been several nights since I took some. Of course, last night had to be the night I couldn't fall asleep again! (And here I thought I didn't need the stuff any more. :( ) I eventually took some at 3:30 am, but even with sleeping in until 8, that only gives me 4.5 hours of sleep. I want to have a nap, but I need to get some work done before a meeting this afternoon, and there's a departmental holiday lunch today too. *sigh*

Monday, December 06, 2004


Time for more pictures! I'm too lazy to shrink, upload, and post them regularly, so here's a bunch of pictures that go with some of my recent posts.

This is my shrunken comforter:

For what it looked like *before* the most recent washing, click here.

Adventures in paper... here's a rhinoceros (design by David Brill) I folded from fancy paper I got from Paisley & Co.:

and this is the bird paper I bought for my dad:

I've made several more rows of progress on my raglan sweater:

The one that's being frogged is on the left, and the one on the right is the new sweater. (The blue yarn is marking where I did the increases... I want to leave the markers in until I start the sleeves.) The one on the left is way too wide, and is done in single crochet. The new one is done in half-double crochet. I don't like the texture as much, but the increases at the shoulders worked out better with the taller stitch. The new sweater was still a bit wide, so I've done some decreases since starting the body... hopefully it'll look nicely shaped. If not, I guess I'll start over for the third time! (And that's not counting the frogging I keep doing when I mess up turning at the join.)

Here are the most recent pairs of socks I've finished:

The rainbow pair is for me, and the gray pair is for my stepdad. (He has skinny legs, but I'm thinking the elastic is going to be too tight... I may have to pull it all out. We'll see when I go home for Christmas.)

It's been a while since I did snowflakes, but here's the one I haven't posted at all yet:

I should get around to making more... I want to give several as Christmas presents, and this is only my third! I made a few fancy boxes for them, out of brie packages:

And finally, here's my Christmas tree:

(Yes, I forgot about putting lights on... maybe I'll buy some next year.)

I hope I shrunk everything enough that this post doesn't clog anyone's dial-up connection... if anyone besides me still uses dial-up. ;)

Crafting my way into Fall...

Crafting my way into Fall...

Hmmm... another fun blog. :) I wonder where I can get that Crochet World scarf pattern... it's intriguing. And I do love a challenge!

Dandy's Crochet Creations

Dandy's Crochet Creations

Dandy has *fun* crochet designs. :)


Argh. My mind felt pretty awake again today (perhaps not as much as yesterday, but I'm not sure), but I'm tired again. :( I had a *four* hour nap in the office just now, and I'm *still* dead tired. :(

Sunday, December 05, 2004


These past two days my state has been a bit of an oxymoron. I've felt both awake and tired. Feeling awake really emphasizes that I have indeed been feeling zombie-like for most of this term. It's a weird experience to "wake up". I suppose I should be a bit used to this by now, since it's happened before... I had the same experience half way through first year university, after toasting my brain on high school AP exams. I wish I knew how to wake up on command... it would be really helpful for the next time this happens.

I'm still tired though. Although I feel more capable of thought, I still want to nap. I'd be in bed already, but I baked banana bread for the holiday lunch, and it needs to cool before I can wrap it up. (It came out of the oven at 9, but last I checked it was still quite warm.)

I'm really looking forward to Christmas. I'm getting all excited about seeing my family, and being home. I can't wait to give them the presents I bought them. Unfortunately, I really should be concentrating on getting work done so that I don't have to feel bad about my lack of progress the whole time I'm home. *sigh*

Once again I didn't get any school work done this weekend, although I had the best of intentions. How can my brain wake up, but the rest of me feel so tired? I need to get back on my exercise bike. I really meant to today and yesterday, but still didn't manage it. Today I talked to my mom, watched a video while considering napping, showered, bought groceries, baked banana bread, and did another inch or two on my raglan sweater. I still need to finish my mom's socks (I'm about 1/4 done the second sock), and the scarf that I've decided I'm giving my dad's girlfriend. I haven't finished a painting I want to give my dad for Christmas... Suzanne didn't have time to come over this weekend, and I didn't work on it without her. I really should if I want to finish in time, but it's just more fun with company.

I did have a nice chat with Helen from down the street on my way back from grocery shopping. I'm going to bring her some banana bread tomorrow. I also gave Chung-Hui a call, and gave her some banana bread too. (I baked two loaves, so that I'd have one to "sample" in addition to the department one.)

I'm falling asleep in my chair, so I guess I'll wrap the banana bread up warm, and go to bed. I meant to make pudding and cole slaw tonight too, but that'll have to wait for another night. I guess I'll have to be satisfied with being energetic enough to make banana bread.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Stereotypes & burned bread

Argh, I hate stereotypes. I got this in an e-mail from a friend today:

"BTW, I think you could definitely present yourself better, too. I say this as a friend. I think you should grow your hair a little longer and perhaps wear women's shorts. Garner told me that he'd guess you were a lesbian (!) if I hadn't told him otherwise. I'm sorry for the brutal honesty, but better from a friend than from someone else, right?"

I think she probably mentioned it because I was complaining the other day about how I hadn't had a date in about 5 years.

About me: I don't wear makeup, I'm blonde, I currently have my hair cut short, and I tend to wear somewhat unisex clothing. I am not a lesbian, although I have nothing against other people choosing to be lesbians. I don't particularly like it when people think I'm a lesbian, but I really don't like it when people think I'm a "dumb blonde", or when creeps hit on me. The former tends to happen when I have short hair, and the latter two tend to happen when I have long hair. I can't wear makeup because I'm allergic to it, and I tend to wear "jeans and a t-shirt", because it's cheaper and easier than trying to be in style all the time. (I don't normally wear guys shorts, but recently I've been having problems finding womens shorts that fit me and that have pockets... so I bought some guys shorts and "fixed" the waist with a belt.)

*Why* does short hair equal lesbian? I've met lesbians with long hair!

*Why* does blonde and female equal stupid!?! I'm not, and I don't like people treating me like I am!


I figure having short hair makes better first impressions at conferences, etc, and if a guy actually does like me, I'll know it's me he likes, and not just superficial looks. *sigh*

I needed a rant to get that out of my system... it's not out yet, but this has helped a bit.

The other frustrating thing tonight: I baked pita bread, but a piece fell onto the element, and now the whole house smells like smoke. :P (I guess I made the dough a bit too soft.)

On the upside, I got my laundry finished early enough that my bed is made already (grump again about the comforter), so I won't be slogging my way through making my bed at 2am. ;)

Quilting chuckles

Okay, my comforter may be bad, but I cheered myself up by looking at the entries here: The WORST Quilt in the World Contest. I think mine would rank right up there, but at least I'm not alone. ;)

Incredible shrinking comforter

My comforter is *not* machine washable! I washed my comforter this week with cold water, and dried it on low heat, and it shrunk even more than last week. It's now small enough that it has only about 6" of overhang on each side of the bed (if that), and is not long enough to tuck in. This is really frustrating, because I had figured out that if I tucked it in, then put my ratty cotton blanket on top, it stayed put, and I slept really well. Now I have to find a new way to fix it to the top of my bed, and may have to find a totally different blanket if the stupid thing keeps shrinking. :(

Well, before I started my laundry, I was having a good day. I actually slept really well last night, even though I didn't take any Trazodone. (I hadn't taken any the night before, either.) Maybe I don't need the stuff any more. :) That would be really cool... I hate taking all the medications I do. Anyway, I didn't get to bed until about 1:00, since I didn't actually get home from the movie until midnight. When I woke up at 9, I still felt somewhat tired, but my brain felt awake! It's been a while since it's felt awake like that! However, since it was Saturday, and I was still tired too, I went back to bed and slept until 11:00.

So far I've started my laundry (which now has me rather grouchy... it took me *forever* to finish that comforter!), had breakfast, had a nice long phone call with my dad, and finished reading a National Geographic (from May, I think, so I'm not too far behind yet... I was doing much better before they started delivering a free, twice-weekly paper). I hear my laundry has stopped, so I should go change loads, then have my shower, and check to see if the front office has any interesting movies to ride my exercise bike to. I'd like to get my grocery shopping done today, as well as make some banana bread for the departmental "holiday lunch" next week. I may need to bake pita bread too. Oh well, I guess I should go get started, since it's nearly 2pm. ;)

Friday, December 03, 2004

Zombie again

I feel like a zombie again today... I slept late, dragged myself in, then had a two hour nap shortly thereafter. I feel like having another nap, but I have to remember to go home on time so I can meet Kelli to go to the movie.

I did do a little work... I preprocessed four pxr files, and found & fixed a bug (not a real bug, just not handling all error cases) in the part of my program that reads in the data. I noticed it died unhappily when I tried to read the second preprocessed file in. I'm still not sure what it doesn't like about the file... I'm about to dig in and figure that out. If I can make my eyes focus. :P

I really should be writing a one page description of my dissertation, and why I think various people would want to be on my committee (to try to convince them to say yes), but I really don't feel like doing that. I think it's because I'm not really sure my dissertation is all that worthy. At least, that's how I felt this morning coming in... I couldn't convince myself that what I was doing was actually worth a dissertation, and I really shouldn't be writing about why others should like it if that's how I currently feel. Maybe I'll feel better about it tomorrow. :P Maybe I'll find something exciting in PXR that'll change my mind.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Doing better today

I think I'm starting to feel somewhat better. The Curasore sure is doing a good job on my cold sores, and either I'm feeling slightly less tired, or I'm better able to handle it.

However, this didn't happen to translate into me making progress on my dissertation.

This morning I was helping with Jack's class again, and we had a "field trip" to an interior design store that has lots of really neat paper. It was the last class, so we got some paper, and did some folding. For those who didn't have to leave right afterwards for another class, we then headed next door and had some gelato, and folded some more origami. By the time we caught the bus back to campus it was around 12:30. When I got in, I wasted some time talking to some friends, then at 2:00 I had a doctor's appointment to get the results of my tests. Turns out everything is normal. Then WHY do I feel like HIBERNATING?!?! He's upped my Prozac dose, and told me to come back next week. Joy. After my appointment I had a nice long nap, then went home and vegged all evening. I would have ridden my exercise bike, but it's "that time of the month", and I really didn't feel like riding with a diaper. :P Instead, I finished the yoke portion of the sweater I'm working on.

Oh... and I got my dad another stocking stuffer today. At the paper store they had a really neat piece of brown handmade paper with a printed design of a flock of birds flying from the lower left to upper right corner. I thought it would go great hanging in his new hunting shack. (Yes, the shack is a shack, although it's starting to look better.) If he doesn't like it, I'll find a place to hang it up in my apartment. ;)

Well, it's late, so I should head to bed. Hopefully I'll make decent progress tomorrow. If nothing else, I should finish looking at PXR, like I promised one of my committee members I would. (PXR is a protein I'm considering analyzing the rigidity of.)

I think I'll take an advil for my headache... no idea what's causing those either. :P

Isn't math great?

Another cool website, this one on digital sundials:

My brother e-mailed me this one. Apparently there was an article on slashdot. (I really should start reading slashdot, but I already waste too much time in the day.)

Tee hee!

Apparently someone has decided to fight back against internet scammers:

Note... I don't recommend you try this, unless you *really* know what you're doing. I wonder why the police aren't doing this, then having someone at the Western Union to arrest them when they come in? Or maybe this site is a joke itself. ;)

A frosty good morning to you!

Seeing it there in type, my greeting looks a bit cold, but I like frosty mornings. This morning when I woke up, everything had a light coating of frost on it... just enough to mute the colours, and make everything look a bit sparkly. A good hoar frost is better, but this light frost made me happy, and think of home. (Winnipeg is quite a bit frostier right now, but I'll take what I can get.)

The other surprise I got this morning is that I have a reader! (Besides Paulina, who knows me, and who I told about this blog.) And given that most people read without posting, I suspect I may have more. I have to dash off to class, but I find it fascinating how the internet brings people together, and you get contact from people you likely never would have met otherwise. Sue, I have a response to your comment, but it'll have to wait until after class. Nice meeting you!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Far from home

Yet another thing I can't find in the US: Lipactin... what my family's always used for cold sores. Luckily I suspected that might be the case, and asked a friend in the department what she uses. She recommended Curasore, which is kept behind the counter because it contains ether. It smells like compound-W, but it does make the sores hurt less.

Do they sell compound-W down here?

The other over-the-counter remedy I miss not being able to get down here are dequadin sore throat lozenges. Everything down here seems to contain menthol, which I *really* can't stand. Yuck! I was out of dequadin back in October when I had a sore throat, so I tried a "home-remedy": hot lemon and honey. It actually worked pretty good. Maybe I'll just use that from now on... less medication is better, in my opinion. (They need to start marketing OTC placebos... ;) )

Today I started on the second sock of my mom's pair, and continued on my TLC Amore sweater... I'm almost done the yoke on it... only about 3" to go, before I switch to body.

Another interesting thing today: Jack and I are going to write a textbook. :) We've been talking about it for a while, but now we're actually starting, so maybe it'll happen one of these days. Can you imagine seeing a textbook with my name on it? I think it'll freak me out the first while!