Thursday, December 31, 2009



12" across again. This would appear to be my last finished object for 2009. (I highly doubt I'll finish anything else in the next 49 minutes.)

Dead Slipper

Dead Slipper

I think it's past time for this pair to go. For some reason, the right slipper is in much better shape. I wonder what I *do* with my left foot?

My First Camera

My First Camera

Hee! The first camera I got as a kid! I took a photo of it for posterity, then tossed it. (It suffered a lot of abuse, and I seem to remember it was developing problems. Not a good candidate for donation.)


Brrr! It's -22, with a windchill of -32. I'm glad I'm not going for that walk today!

Office Progress

Yay! More progress made in tidying my office! Some things put away, some things sorted and closer to away, pile-o-paper recycled, and a few things tossed. :)

However, it's after midnight now, and in my quest to get back on a more normal schedule, I should pack it in for the night.

For now, I leave you with some bad poetry, written when I was a teenager, discovered tonight. (Dated, of course, because you should always know when you wrote your bad poetry. For the record, this one is from January 27, 1995.) By the lack of capital letters, I'd say we had been studying e. e. cummings in school around then. Wait a sec... January 1995 would put me in first year university, and I didn't study e. e. cummings then. I guess he had just made a big impression on me earlier.

these giants. (I think this is the title.)
great grean hulking (I misspelled *green*?!?)
breathing beasts.
rough skin
green hair
down beneath
the surface
these giants
their toes dig
dig deep
into the earth
where water flows
blood of the earth
sticky sap crawls
blood of beasts.
Look up. (A capital letter?? For emphasis, or out of habit?)
see the pattern.
lattice leaves.
leaves breathless beholders
for the gift of breath
breath of life
Look up. (Capitalized again... must have been on purpose.)
compared to
these giants
we are small.

(This is copyright me... don't steal my bad poetry. Write your own.)

So... when you were a teenager, did you write bad poetry and hide it in secret places? I did. (This was found in an under-bed box that got left behind at my mom's when I went off to grad school.) Back when I wrote it, the thought of someone else reading my poetry was painfully embarrassing... but for some reason, I wrote it down anyway. (At this point, I'm far enough removed from that "me" to look back and laugh. Mostly.)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Another chore done: I have done everything for the silk painting workshop I'm holding that I can do at this point, the rest will have to wait until the supplies arrive.

Hmmm... Okay, not quite everything. Somehow I haven't watched the DVD I borrowed from the club, or read the book. (In case there's material from those that I'd like to include.) However, I have ordered the supplies, and called all the people who said they're interested. (The workshop is now full, two people are on the waiting list, and 3-4 can't make the current dates, but are interested if I hold another workshop.)

Now, if I had a design ready for the workshop, *I* could actually do a painting then too... maybe if I'm lucky, I'll find the time to put something together. :P


I had a box of packing peanuts to recycle, and needed next month's bus pass. The temperature out is only -13, but with windchill it comes to -23. I didn't wear my longjohns, because I was planning on taking a sheltered route, and didn't want to overheat. I should have worn them. After a 35 minute walk, I've got the painful tingly-itchy rash on my legs caused by my cold/exercise allergy. :P

At least I'm up one bus pass, and down a box of packing peanuts. :) Plus the exercise is good for me.

Kidney Stones

I think I have another kidney stone. Luckily, except for one or two momentary twinges, it's been pain free... but it seems to be sitting in my bladder right now, and settling at the opening of the urethra when I visit the ladies room. It's annoying. :P Hopefully it'll finish passing soon... preferably without requiring a hospital visit for assistance. (I'm kind of baffled at how it made it from the kidneys just fine, but is now having trouble making it down the urethra. I thought the urethra was bigger than the ureter.)

Box of Chocolates

Box of Chocolates

My caretaker had a stroke recently, and was told he has diabetes (or something), and to cut back on the sugar. That meant I couldn't bake him cookies for Christmas. (Not that I've had time to bake cookies.) I found some sugar-free chocolates at Scoop N Weigh that looked tasty, so I made a box for them, and gave him that for Christmas instead.

I passed on the warning that the owner's husband gave to me.



Pattern from:

I used US8 needles, and ended up with quite a large dishcloth. (12" diagonal, from tip to tip.) I'm not sure if that's too big or not.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sunday's Accomplishments

Sunday's accomplishments:
• laundry
• dishes (*all* of them!)
• several hours burning DVDs for my dad. At his house. So I couldn't get stuff done around here. (See what I mean?)


Recently I've been pulled in many directions. Tonight, dad wants me to come to his choir dinner so that I can play back the recordings. About an hour ago he asked if he could get me at 4 pm so that we could all go over to his wife's house so she could make the chicken salad.

The chicken is at his house. His wife and the rest of the supplies are at her house.

At first I reluctantly said okay, I'd be ready... but I have a *ton* of stuff to do for myself around here, and she has a cat. So I firmed up my backbone, called back, and said "she doesn't live that far away... could you please just get me when it's time to go to the dinner."

Dad was evasive, saying we'd see what happens when she calls... so I'm not sure I got through to him... but we'll see.

As a friend once said to me:
"Bad planning on your part does not make for an emergency on my part."
I need to take that more to heart, so that all of my stuff doesn't end up "emergency" due to spending too much time on other people's stuff, stressing me the heck out. (Like when dad invited me for boxing day dinner, and I ended up cooking half of it, and sitting around while the chicken roasted... when I had thought I'd have the afternoon for getting my own stuff done.)

After all, it's not my fault the chicken is at the wrong house... or that dad won't take responsibility for making the potluck item for his own event.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Well, I made a tiny bit of progress towards cleaning today. I had intended to make more progress, but then life happened. As I was making grand plans for progress while in the shower, my dad called... and asked me to come help cook dinner. (No, it *wasn't* almost dinner time when he called... it was not long after lunchtime. However, he was roasting a chicken, and needed my assistance.) So, instead of spending all afternoon cleaning, before going over to dad's for dinner, I spent a small amount of time cooking, and a largish amount of time waiting. I made good use of the time waiting, and finished off my step-dad's socks. (Only a day late... and I would have made more of an effort of having them done on time had I realized earlier that I *hadn't* in fact bought two mini screwdriver sets, one for my brother, and one for my step-dad... I had only bought one. Whoops.) I also started on a present for H. (Sorry R, I started H's first, since hers has been waiting longer.)

So. After dinner I did a bit of tidying, a bit of blog reading, a long bit of talking on the phone, then some attacking of the office mess.

Accomplishments in the office mess:
• Sorted some papers into recycling/scrap/keep
• put some other stuff in recycling
• threw a few things out
• transferred my sock yarn from one long, shallow rubbermaid container into two smaller, deeper containers... in which they plus a few more skeins fit much better, and freeing up the long container to put saws and other tools in. (I'll probably need to dedicate another box for the other skeins in various places, but I'll gather them up later, once I know if I'll need that box sooner for other office junk. I'll get more containers on my next shopping trip, when I've used up the current set, and have a better idea of what size I want to buy more of.)
• collected a bunch of painting supplies from around the office, dusted them off, and put them in a rubbermaid container. (They're partly things I wasn't using while painting the pet series, but will get back to using now that I can play with other styles. The rest was supplies passed along to me by a friend, and haven't needed yet.)
• put some of my art show supplies back in the card box, which I had partially emptied while I took it around to flog my cards to various friends. ;)
• collected up and stashed away packing materials (in an easily accessible but relatively out-of-the-way place... possibly not their "final away" location, but good enough for now.)
• wrapped and stored the spare piece of glass from a frame that I didn't need glass for
• stored my spare "palette" (a discarded plastic hospital tray), and quilting rulers and cutting mats.
• returned a few loose "fastener" category items to the "fastener" box.

Hmmm... written up like that, it does feel like more of an accomplishment, and does explain where the time went. ;) (Not that I had a lot of time, what with the interruptions today.)

Oh... I also finished straightening out the fins on the back of the air conditioner before my shower... now to the actual *cleaning* part. (Ick! It looks *disgusting* inside, from my peek through the vents!)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Seasons Greetings

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have a wonderful day, filled with family and/or friends!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last Minute Gift Knitting

Present due: tomorrow (now today)
Present finished: today (now tomorrow)
IMG_2673.JPG IMG_2674.JPG
Will the recipient like them? Hopefully. I had no clue what to get her.

The problem with Noro is that I'm not sure anyone who isn't a knitter will believe these both came from the same skein of yarn. Also, Noro softens with washing... but there definitely isn't time for them to dry by tomorrow afternoon. (Not unless I want to risk toasting them in the oven... but I'd rather go to bed.)

I goofed on the first, and so had to undo the grafting and add a repeat. The second had a knot in the Noro, so both ended up with an extra set of ends needing to be woven in. I had *maybe* three feet of yarn left over when I was done.

The hand portion is fine, but the arm portion is way too tight on me. Hopefully it will be fine on the recipient. (If I ever make them for me, I’ll make them “straight” rather than shaped.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Yay! No more window air conditioner in the window! My brother came over and helped me move it. :) (With some gentle persuasion from my mom, about how it means she wouldn't have to help me if he did.) It's *much* easier to move it with a second set of hands! (No new gouges in my wall! Yay!)

Of course, now I have a window air conditioner on my dining room table, but I'll deal with that later. After it thaws, I want to open it up and give it a cleaning before putting it elsewhere.

Thanks brother!

Sleep Debt

Wow... it's amazing what your body does when you turn off the alarm clock when you've been running on a sleep debt. I woke up briefly at 10 am, then slept until 3! Perhaps I'll need to use my alarm the next few days so I don't miss Christmas dinners with my families!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Holidays Have Started!

I'm on "vacation" already, and didn't even know it! My last paid day was last Friday. That means that after my meeting today, and submitting my grades, I can go *home*! I don't have to come in tomorrow!!! (Yeah, just because I'm not being paid at the moment, doesn't mean I don't have to work... I'll be doing a ton of class prep from home. *sigh*)

I think when I get home, I shall ceremonially turn off my alarm clock. :) Ahhhhh!

Monday, December 21, 2009


My head hurts. I got less than five hours of sleep last night... I got on a roll with the marking, and decided to stick with it until it was done... and so didn't turn the lights off until 5 am. Luckily I didn't have anything scheduled for this morning, and so could sleep late enough that I did get five hours.

On the bright side, that means I'll be able to leave work promptly today. Leaving work promptly means I can make an appearance at the neighbourhood cookie party... and burn DVDs for my dad. (Well, start the process, at least.)

Today I should double-check my data entry of grades, then start creating assignments for the online course I'm teaching. *sigh* I think I'll goof off for just a few minutes more. (I'm in the help centre, but I don't expect any customers this week.)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Another One Bites The Dust

Loved to death. Repaired for "good rag" status, so it doesn't completely come apart in the wash.

Tonight, in my effort to tidy the kitchen, I washed dishes. And washed dishes. And washed dishes. I reduced three sinks worth of hot, soapy water to a state of grungy sudslessness. (There I go again, making up words for effect.) I got *nearly* all the dishes washed, there was just a bit more plastic left. But I had enough... and apparently so had the dishcloth.

Once the dishes drip-dry, I'll be able to put away the last of the really annoying things on the table (the food dehydrator and box), and I'll be ready to get down to marking. Yes, I could towel-dry the dishes, but it's already 1:40 am... so it's time to fold the laundry and go to bed.

No, I won't be getting as much marking done this weekend as I had hoped. Tomorrow there's dinner at my mom's, I need to go grocery shopping (I'm running low on, or am out of, a number of items), and I'll sleep late to make up for being up so late. *But*, the kitchen is better than it has been for a *long* time. It still has a ways to go... the floor and baseboards are nasty, and likely so is the top of the fridge... but it's no longer contributing nearly as much to the mental clutter. (My surroundings really affect my emotional state.) Once the marking is done, I can think about the floor, baseboards, etc.

Tomorrow, the air conditioner will be moving from the window (yay!) to the table (boo!). It needs to thaw so that I can clean it (after the marking is done) and store it for the winter (preferably *not* on my kitchen table).

Tomorrow will be busy. Monday will be busy. Tuesday will be busy. (I'm stopping this train of thought here... *before* I get too stressed to sleep.)

For now, laundry and bed. Good night.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Viking Plate

Okay, about all I can find is "LIPMAN-LEVINTER INDUSTRIES- Toronto, Ontario - Canada active 1930 c. Viking Plate is its trade mark", found here and here. (Same site, different pages.) I would have thought that "active 1930 c." would mean that the company started in 1930, but eBay sites list their Viking Plate as 1920-1930.

Funny... googling again gives me different sites. I'm no longer getting 1920. This site says ""Viking Plate" is the registered trade mark for the Lipman Levinter Industries Limited who were situated at 41 Peter Street, Toronto, Ontario in the 1930-1950 period." Cool. Now I have both a start and an end date for the age of my pieces. :)

Hmmm... also on the site:
Many Victorian Art Nouveau and Edwardian pieces of silverplate will almost always show bleeding and sometimes need re-silvering. Re-silvering is frowned upon and is not always recommended by purists, especially when it comes to Georgian and Early Victorian silverplate. Re-silvering of really early pieces, Georgian to Mid-Victorian, can devalue pieces. Generally speaking, "re-silvering" is a personal matter of choice.
I think the pattern on the tray looks kind of art nouveau or possibly art deco. I love the pattern on the tray. Isn't it pretty?

Okay... back to clearing off the kitchen table, so that I can continue marking. (Yes, I'm procrastinating by clearing the table properly, rather than just shifting the stuff to an alternate flat surface... I might as well use my powers of procrastination for good, rather than evil. My place has gotten rather disgusting over the past term, and it is long overdue for a tidying and cleaning!)

Science is Fun

Recently I received a few pieces of silver-plate from my grandma's estate. It was quite tarnished. Mom recommended using the baking soda / aluminum foil / boiling water method to remove the tarnish, as it was less harsh than silver polishes, and would remove the tarnish evenly, even in the grooves.

Wondering about the details, like just how gentle the process actually was, and whether the aluminum foil should be in contact with the silver, I googled... and came up with this site. (I followed my mom's instructions, rather than the slightly different method listed there.)

Ah-ha... it just reverses the electrolysis, and leaves the silver untouched. Cool! That way if I have to go down to flip the laundry part way through, I won't harm the silver plate.

The aluminum foil should be in contact with the silver. Check.

It's sulphur that causes silver to tarnish? Fascinating.

By now, my water had started to boil. I rearranged my silver in the plastic bucket so that it was in contact with the aluminum foil, shook on a generous portion of baking soda, then poured the kettle full of hot water on.

Holy rotten-egg farts, Batman! If I didn't know there was sulphur before, I sure did now!!! Wow, that is one *foul* smelling process. However, it sure works some crazy chemical magic!

I forgot to take a proper "before" photo, but here's a "during" photo or three:
Silver Plated Heirlooms during cleaning Silver Plated Heirlooms during cleaning Silver Plated Heirlooms during cleaning
Sorry about the focus... I forgot to set it on macro.

My kettle is rather small. While I waited for it to boil again (and again, and again, and again...) I turned the pieces when the submerged part looked clean. Plus, it's fun to play with something. ;) (I used my tongs so that I didn't burn my fingers.) Eventually I got them completely covered.

While I was playing, I also tossed in a silver chain I found, and was sitting on the kitchen table. Then I added my silver Medic Alert bracelet. I don't think my Medic Alert bracelet has *ever* looked so clean since the day I put it on. It even got all the "buried" spots in the chain that regular silver polish can't clean. Fun! (I should have thought to go get all my other silver jewelry too. Oh well... perhaps another time. Perhaps over Christmas break.)

Another cool thing about the process is that I didn't even have to use fresh aluminum foil: I used stuff I had been saving for my dad, who likes to collect it to recycle at the places that pay you.

After the tarnish seemed pretty much gone, I rinsed them under warm water while polishing with a cotton washcloth, then dried them with a cotton tea towel. They cleaned up pretty good:
Silver Plated Heirlooms Silver Plated Heirlooms
The copper is showing through on the tray where the design is, and there are spots of something, possibly missing silver, on the cream and sugar set. I wonder how much it would cost to get a fresh coat of silver applied? I may look into that at some point.

If you're the type that is interested in markings, here's the stamp from the tray:
Stamp on Tray
and here's the stamp from either the sugar bowl or the creamer:
Stamp on Sugar Bowl and Cream
(I think it's the sugar bowl, but they both say the same thing.) It took me a while to figure out that "E P COPPER" meant "electroplate on copper", rather than some company name. ;) I'm guessing that "W M MOUNTS" means "white metal mounts". I think I'll go google "Viking Plate" now.


Head hurtses. Back achey too. Prolly the weather messing with my head. Weather melted all the "privacy frost" off my windows too. Mean weather.

Crunching Numbers

I don't think the MacBook Air will cut it for me... not as a main computer, and not with how long I keep my laptops. If this laptop weren't so out of date, yeah, it would be awesome. Perhaps if I upgrade to a nice laptop now, and then have some extra spending money a couple years down the road...

So. Then the question narrows to the 13" MacBook Pro, and the 15" MacBook Pro.

(I suppose the non-pro is an option, but I would have maxed out the ram, wouldn't have the backlit keyboard, and would gain 0.2 lbs for a savings of just under $200. Plus, it's bulkier. In five years, would 4 GB of ram be enough?)

With a 500 GB drive, iWork, VGA adapter, and AppleCare, prices for the 13" pro would be $1815 or $1964, depending on processor speed. (Difference: $149 for 0.27GHz.)

For the 15", with all the same options, but the faster drive, the prices come to $2279, $2474, and $2621, depending on processor speed. (Same drive speed, subtract ~$50; antiglare screen, add ~$55.) Difference from first to second: $195 for 0.13 GHz plus extra graphics. Difference from second to third: $147 for 0.14 GHz plus double L2 cache and fancier graphics. There is a final processor speed upgrade... an additional 0.26 GHz would be an additional $302... but that's starting to get quite pricey ($2923).

Going up from the 13" to the 15" (at the same processor and drive speeds) adds $265 for the extra screen space, but adds one pound of weight. Doing a quick online search, $265 would buy a 20"+ LCD monitor. But then, that monitor would be on my home desk, not either of my work desks (different positions require different locations) or my couch. Most of my home computing is at my desk, but not all. I do spend more hours at work than at home, though.

Of course, none of the prices above include a spare power adapter... I'd really like one of those, so I'm not lugging *that* back and forth as well. Since they've changed connectors from my five year old model, I'd need to buy a new one. There's another $89.

All this number crunching, and I'm still no closer to making a decision. (Too many choices! All these little incremental price increases!)

I know my brother prefers the anti-glare over glossy screen option. Anyone else have an opinion? (Anti-glare is only an option on the 15"+ models.) Is the new anti-glare the same as on my current laptop?

Given my current drive size is ~150 GB, would the 250 - 320 GB model be enough of an increase, or is the 500 GB size worth the extra $100 - $150? (I suspect that buying the larger size later would probably come to more than $150.)

Enough waffling... time to go to bed, so that I can be up and marking at a relatively reasonable hour. *sigh*

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I'm having one of those days where I wish I was tucked in bed. Yesterday afternoon and evening I felt "kind of ugh". This morning, I really didn't want to get out of bed. Right now I'm getting some flashes of feeling weepy, I'm shivering, I have a headache, and I think my sinuses are funny. (I think it's the sinuses that are causing the headache.) I'm not "sick"... but I sure wish I was back in bed. I'm not sure if I'm coming down with something, if I'm just being lazy, or if it's stress.

I almost wish I was sick, and so could justifiably be in bed. :(


The night before last, I didn't sleep well. I was achy all night. (I think it's the cold, and weather systems.) So, last night, I tucked myself in with *two* hot water bottles. I started off with one by my feet, and one by my side. I was *toasty* warm. :) Later on that night I moved the foot one up by my other side, and it was dreamy, being nestled between the two. (Perhaps I should get a third?)

The only downside is that it was *really* hard to tear myself away from them this morning. :(

For a chuckle, check out these snow flakes on Savage Chickens. ;)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I went to pottery today to pick up the piece that wasn't ready the last time I went. It is a little polar bear stocking holder. It is missing. I left my name and phone number, in case it turns up. I haven't seen it since the glaze was fired, but it was cute before that. The instructor thinks she remembers the glaze having successfully repaired the cracked hook.

Happy journeys, little polar bear.


My phone stinks again. I was late heading out this morning (I'm only scheduled to work afternoons this week, although I have other work I need to do too) because I was supposed to meet up with with a friend, but she slept in... and as a result, I was home when the cops visited my neighbour. I heard a loud, odd honk, but didn't see them. I only realized they were there because her kids started running around the halls, shrieking. I opened my door to fix my mat, which the kids had managed to slide under the door, lifting up the weatherstripping I used to reduce smoke and other smells from coming in my apartment.

Because I opened my door, she realized I was home. Turns out the Ex's mom had called the cops on her, claiming she stole a family heirloom ring. (I didn't stay outside and listen, this is what she told me when she came over afterwards.) My neighbour says the grandma is mad because she isn't letting the grandma see the grandkids... and the ring disappeared back when another stellar family member had been staying with the grandma (I'm not sure if that was before or after he spent some time locked up for tagging and whatever other trouble he was getting in), and that the two of them (neighbour and grandma) had gone around to all the pawn shops to try to locate it.

So, I foolishly loaned my phone to the neighbour again, because she was upset and sick. I asked her to hang it on my door when she was done. She still had it in her apartment when I arrived home at 6 pm, so it spent seven hours over there. It doesn't smell like smoke this time, but it does stink. It's hard to describe the smell.

I hate it when my phone smells.

The neighbour was supposed to be moving out around now, but she still hasn't gotten things straightened out with Revenue Canada. (Speaking of which, apparently she was supposed to give me something to e-mail to the landlord. Whatever. I am *not* her keeper... so if she wants me to do that, she can remember herself.)

Speaking of Evil

I am deeply ashamed at my country's current government. For many reasons, but particularly with regards to climate change. Asbestos is another "flaw". And now this article. For shame, Prime Minister Harper.

Another thing I'm unhappy with, and has been in the new lately: torture, and our complicity with it. (Afghan detainees, Omar Khadr, etc.)

Yet another reason why I refuse to own a cell phone.

Cell phone companies are evil. See this CBC article on how they can change a contract from free incoming text messages to 15 cents. How is it a contract if the cell phone company can arbitrarily change it's rates? The consumer can't arbitrarily make changes. And if they're going to charge for something that's *incoming*, the user should have the option of refusing it... like they can for phone calls by not answering. Evil. The way cell phone companies treat consumers is just *wrong*.

Silk Paintings

I thought perhaps I should write the "story" that goes along with the silk paintings. (I've already posted about the pet portraits, for people who are coming straight here... if there are any of those.) Note: most of these paintings were given to friends, and I borrowed them back for the show. I wanted to show how my personal style developed from the beginning in each of the two art forms.


The abstract painting in the upper left is a design that came with a silk painting kit. The kit was given to me by my host family from a German exchange program I was on in high school. Although the design was traced from the one in the kit, the colours were my own choice.

At the time of the exchange, silk painting was popular in Europe (or Germany, at least), and the supplies could be found all over. There was basically nothing in North America, though, that I could find. (This was back before everyone had an internet connection, though, so I could be wrong.) This meant that getting additional supplies was extremely difficult. As a result, my second silk painting was done on an old silk shirt that had worn out. (Silk shirts had become popular and affordable when I was in junior high.) The silk shirt happened to be pink, which is why the bird from The Book of Kells is on a very bright pink background. You can also see (in person, if not in the photo) that my gold resist had separated, making it not very gold in places, and not very "resisting" in places. (This painting was a gift to my mother.)

I really like Celtic designs, but I wanted to create my own, rather than just copying ones done by others. The peacock is my own creation, loosely based on the bird from the Book of Kells. (This painting was a gift to my grandma S.) As you can tell from the white silk, I was able to get more supplies from Europe by this point. (I think I had someone mail them to me, although I could have picked them up while on a trip I took in second year university.)

The next painting was designed as a wedding present for two friends, both who were getting married around the same time. One of them liked fish, the other was religious, and used to draw the fish symbol for Jesus all the time in high school. The fish body is created from two interlocking rings, representing wedding rings. The tail of the fish forms two letters: H and P. One friend's first name starts with H, the other starts with P, and her husband's (and now her) last name starts with H. The whole shape creates a heart. Although I created two paintings with this design, both of my friends are represented in the design. (It takes me a long time to develop a design, and so I chose to do one that pulled double duty.)

The next painting is of a pair of loons, and was a wedding present for my mom and B when they married. My mom loves loons... they are common up north where she grew up, and where our family has a cabin. The Celtic influence in this one is much more subtle, but is still there, in both the stylization of the moon, and the "highlights" on the loons.


The dog in the next painting is my dad's dog, Nicky. Nicky is a pointer, and dad takes him pheasant hunting, hence the bird. I call this painting "Strange Encounters of the Bird Kind." ;) The Celtic influence is more prominent here again.

The final painting in the series is one I just completed this year, and was the only one actually for sale. (I owned the learning piece, but didn't feel right about selling it, since it wasn't my design, and also it has sentimental value.) However, since I was really proud of the heron, and didn't actually want to sell it, I priced it fairly high: $800. (I'm biased, but I think it's worth that much. If you think otherwise, I'd be interested in hearing your opinions... not that I'll necessarily change the price.)

My original intentions with the heron design was to create a set of two, each facing each other, one at night, and one during the day. This heron was from the day painting. Several years ago I had created a sun and moon design, but the second heron was only a very rough sketch. Then someone who was my roommate at the time got married, and I wanted to give a gift. I liked the moon design better than the sun design, so I combined those two parts into a single painting. That painting didn't have the river in the background, and the blue wasn't as "nighttime" as I wanted. I still wanted to complete the pair for myself, but didn't have time for many years.

This past fall, I taught a silk painting workshop at the art club I'm a member of. I wanted to have something I could work on while my students were working on their own, so I went back to my heron design. Even though I liked the moon better than the sun, I wasn't as happy with it as I wanted to be. I didn't have time to redesign the moon, so I borrowed the moon from the loon painting. (The original moon was a plain disk with stylized clouds around it.) I then sketched the river freehand with a pencil, rather than preparing the design on the computer like I normally do. (Well, like I have been doing for the later paintings, but the early ones I did on paper.)

I still intend on doing the second heron, but I haven't completely decided on how I want it to look. They will be facing each other, and the river will meander between the two paintings.

One of the things I found interesting about comments on the heron painting is that several people thought it had a Native American influence, and didn't notice the Celtic influence. I love a lot of the stylized Native American art, but I'm worried that people would think badly of me if I incorporated that style into my own work, the way I have with the Celtic. (My roots are half Scottish, and I don't feel there are quite the same feelings about what is "proper" with Celtic art.) At any rate, I feel I have developed a style that is recognizably my own, without being exceedingly derivative.

Great Blue Heron

I am considering making a limited edition giclée (archival fine art prints) of my heron. If I charged around $100, that would probably just cover the set-up costs of the first print plus packaging, and on the second and future prints I would actually earn a profit (if you ignore the labour costs associated with creating the painting in the first place). The image size would be about 10 inches wide by 38 inches tall (if I remember correctly). If you were me, would you make prints? What would you charge? What size would you make the limited edition? (I can print them one at a time, but I need to know how many for numbering the edition... and smaller editions tend to result in the prints being more valuable in the long run. Not that I would make anything off their increase in value.)

Two other paintings that I have percolating in my head are of a fox, and of a loon turning an egg in a nest.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Local Colour Art Group November Show

Now that the paintings are no longer secret, I can show you my display from the November art show. (Normally we're limited to eight feet, but I wanted to show how my personal style developed over time, so I requested permission to have extra space.)

IMG_2526.JPG IMG_2527.JPG

(Kelli's pets are in the right order in this photo.)

The Gift

You may remember me mentioning my friend who lost everything except her two dogs in a fire. (If you don't remember, you can read her account here.) Over the past two and a bit years, I've been painting her pets... the five cats that died, the two dogs that survived, and one shelter kitty she rescued since the fire. After each painting was finished, I really wanted to blog it, but that would spoil the surprise. Somehow I did manage to keep the secret the whole time. Kelli has given me permission to post photos of my work now (they are from her photos, to which she has copyright, but I also didn't want to post them if it would be painful to here). So, without further ado, here they are:









Pip was the first one I painted, followed by Puddin, Neville, Xander, Felix, Bella, Penny, and, finally, Piper. (I might have a few in the middle mixed up in order.)


Yay! The package arrived! The paintings are there! It was my secret series of eight paintings that I had been working on for over two years that I sent, which was why I was so uptight. I'm *so* relieved that I didn't lose two years worth of art. (I priced them at $100 per painting for insurance, so a total of $800 for the package... but having to start from scratch would have been devastating.)

I may post more about the paintings later.


All I can think about is the parcel. Will it be delivered today? Will my friend open it today? Will she like it? Will it have arrived safely? Will the post office have messed up the order inside, wondering why it had such a high customs value? Will I go insane by the end of today?

Mail Update

The package is now in the correct state *and* city!!! Fingers crossed!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I mailed a very precious gift to my friend in NC on November 25. I paid for the 8-10 business day method. Two days later, it had made it to Montreal. A day after that, it "left Canada". (I believe that's a euphemism for being passed to customs, because it took another three days to arrive in the USA.) As of December 1, the package has been sitting in New Jersey. From USPS's "Track and Confirm":
Your item arrived in the United States in FOREIGN CENTERJERSEY CITY NJ 099 at 2:48 PM on December 1, 2009. Information, if available, is updated periodically throughout the day. Please check again later.
It's now December 13th. Does anyone have any clue what happens in "FOREIGN CENTERJERSEY CITY NJ 099"? Please tell me that that isn't the place where packages go to disappear!!! Yes, I put insurance on the package, but nothing can truly replace it. :( I'm getting rather worried...

Friday, December 11, 2009


Curse you, Pile Of Work. Your powers of duplication are impressive, but what has me quaking with awe is your ability to show up in my mailbox *today* of all days.

I guess I will be doing reading this weekend after all. (This seems to be a "sign".)

I hate working late.

7 pm. My "introduction letter" is finally done. Now I can go home. I've been here since 9:15 am, doing various "jobs". (Blargh.)

I need to pick up some spice jars and coriander on my way home.

You know? I think I'll leave the work pile here, and come back to it on Monday. Yeah. That sounds good. See you Monday, work pile. (And please let my tutoring student not contact me for Sunday tutoring!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hand Sanitizers

Ha! I *knew* hand sanitizers weren't as good as soap and water. CBC article.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


The website hosting the forums I'm supposed to read and reply to has been up and down like a yo-yo since last night. The techies keep bringing it back up, and it keeps dying. So what was a break on reading the forums has become a kind of disaster management with my own students, who have an assignment due tomorrow. (I can see why they'd be panicked.) Making matters worse is that I don't have correct e-mails for a number of them, so they aren't getting my e-mails. I respond to them one-by-one as they send me their identical tales of woe. (I'm not belittling them, I just wish my mass mailing had gotten to all of them.)

That reminds me, I should add those e-mails addresses to my full list, so they get future e-mails. (Okay, done.)

Today I had a bit of time at the end of lunch, so I wandered over to get some more eyeglass cleaner (turns out they make you pay if you don't bring your bottle in... and it's not cheap!!!), and visit the bookstore, which is still having a big sale. I bought a few canvases (I've gotten a commission! and have had several expressions of interest!), and splurged on a Chinese Brush Painting book. :) Guess what I'm doing over Christmas break? (Well, when I'm not catching up on sleep, or working, or cleaning my apartment, or...)

Today was nice. The teeth cleaning went well, the help centre was relaxed (people there the whole time, but not crazy busy), I left right at 4:00, and, after putting out a few fires, I went to the Christmas pizza party at the art club. After coming home, I watched a movie I had recorded this weekend. Now I'll do a bit of class prep (I'm mostly ready, although I have no idea what I'll do as a review... I guess just answer questions), and then head to bed.

I have some chores to take care of evening tomorrow:
1. Add up what I owe my mom for framing and printing, and write the cheque.
2. Do something with the roast in the fridge I bought to make beef jerky. (Possibly cut into smaller pieces to freeze and deal with later.)
3. Order the silk painting workshop supplies, and send a subtotal to the people in charge of finances. (I won't know exchange rate and duties until later.)
4. Water the wilting houseplants. (Perhaps I should do that tonight...)
5. Finally write that letter that was supposed to be done a month ago. (I have the needed material now. Perhaps I can get that done at school, if the help centre is slow.)
6. Stop off at Sears on the way home and stock up on underwear.

Hmmm... that list is looking kind of long... I think I'll go water those wilting houseplants now. (I'm sorry, my plants! I don't *mean* to neglect you so!)


My neighbour came for a visit at 9:40, so I switched the VCR from recording Hoarders to recording the last bit of Castle. Or so I thought. I forgot it was on channel 7, not channel 5. So I didn't get to see the end of either. *sigh*

I'm feeling much more human now, though. It'll be nice to go to bed in a relaxed state. :)

I have a dentist appointment (cleaning) tomorrow morning, so the morning will be fairly relaxing. I need to remember to tell them I have some coverage now.

Monday, December 07, 2009


I was at work until 7 pm tonight. I was doing okay until about 6, when my brain cells let me know that they were good and toasty. However, I had to finish proofing the final exam.

When I left, there were two forum questions that needed answers. (Although they were ones that weren't really part of my official duties.) I figured I *needed* to go home, and I'd consider answering them later. Now the forums are down. Problem solved. (For me.)

I'm going to go park my toasty brain cells in front of the boob tube. I think I shall turn the ringer on my phone off again.

Ta ta.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


Next term I'm teaching an online course. I received the appointment back in July. At that time I requested access to the course material, so that I could start preparing. I was told that, as a Winter course, I would be contacted in October/November with particulars.

I found the delay somewhat annoying, because I was about to have six weeks of unpaid time, and figured I might as well get a head start, since the fall would be busier.

In August, I found out that I would be teaching in the fall. This made my fall *considerably* busier than I had anticipated back in July.

In mid-October, I received a request for an introduction letter, to be completed by the beginning of November. I was crazy busy at the time, and didn't complete it then. (I didn't feel too bad, because they hadn't given me what I asked for when I *had* time, so I figured they could wait until I had time again.)

Mid-November, I received an e-mail stating that I would need to complete the assignment packages and have them uploaded by mid-December. I didn't have time to deal with that information either, but wondered when I would receive the course information myself.

On Friday I received another reminder about the introduction letter.

Tonight: I finally had an hour to sit down and write the letter. I open up the sample letters sent to me, and discover that this letter needs to include material specific to the course. I search through all my e-mail, and cannot find *any* reference to where *I* can get access to the material! I try logging into their online system (even though I had no notification of my account having been set up), and, although I *can* log in, and there *is* a link to the course page... there is *NO* actual information specific to the course! WTF?!? I asked for access BACK IN JULY!!!!! I'm now being asked to produce things (long before I see a paycheque for this course, I might add), and I *still* don't have *anything* to start from! Gah!

To me, this is sounding like a disaster ready to explode. Does it sound like that to anyone else? The description I got when asked to do this did *not* sound *anything* like "horrible mess that will eat your whole term plus more, and chew you up and spit you out in a quivering pile of sleep-deprived wreckage in May." (Had it sounded like that, I would have run far, far away.)

For now, I will wash dishes (how did it get to be so late?!?), do a quick review of tomorrow's class material, and then go to bed. Hopefully I won't be so stressed out that I spend the night in restless sleep with nightmares. (That seems to be what happens if I go to bed stressed out.) *sigh*

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Window Shopping

Back in the fall, I decided that if I taught this semester, I could afford a new laptop. My bank account hasn't increased quite as much as I had hoped, but I could still do it. (Especially since I was actually starting this term below my "keep my savings account at level X"... I actually managed to save more than it looks like, but part of that was making up for the shortfall in the summer. I can defer some of that "make up" to next term, when I'm teaching an online course.)

I'm pretty sure I want the 13" MacBook Pro... it's lighter to lug around. After the new laptop happened to come up in conversation with my dad, I thought I'd go over and look at what the customization options did to the price.

Click, click, click... doubling the ram costs *how* much? No thanks. Click, click... save $30 on the cost of iWork? Sure, I might as well upgrade now rather than later. I've been thinking of upgrading much of my aging software. (I think much of my software is actually older than my current laptop!) Click... video adapter? Yep. (But should I adapt to VGA, what is mostly what I'll need, or to DVI, and then also need to carry around my current DVI to VGA adapter as well? I'll probably just go straight to VGA, and hope I never need to connect to DVI.) AppleCare? Yep. Hard drive? Hmmm. Without upgrading the hard drive, it's at $1,810, and that's before ordering a spare power adapter. (Why is that not an option on the customization page?) Another $51 gets me an additional 70 GB of space, or $154 doubles the drive space to 500 GB.

The hard drive on my current laptop is only 150 GB, but it's over 80% full. (Of course, I'm not sure how much space some old OS 9 crap is taking up... but if I decide to put some sort of Windows on the new Intel machine, I'm sure that'll hog a *ton* of space. Not that I *want* Windows, but it sure would have been nice with what I was teaching this term.)

Looks like a new laptop will run me somewhere around $1800 - $2000. Food for thought.

PS: When I went into the local Apple Store recently to get a replacement foot for my current laptop, the salesperson/tech guy was impressed with how "pristine" my old lady is. He thinks it's neat it's still performing well. (Which it is, now that I have the additional RAM... and is another reason why I might postpone the purchase.)

Shock and Surprise!

Dad was just by (I'm his tech support and free labour), and on his way out, he mentioned that he was planning on moving. He had (idly, I thought) talked about buying a place outside the city before. My brother asked me if I had heard. Nothing sounded very immediate, because previously he had said he planned on letting my brother live at home until he graduated.

However, today he asked if I wanted to help him move in the spring. (Uh, no. I have a dust allergy, and he has literally *tons* of crap.) This spring. As in a year before my brother graduates.

Of course, the house he's in now needs a bunch of work before it can be sold, and I'm not sure how Mohammed's planning on moving his mountain. He's not as bad as the hoarders on the TV show "Hoarders", but there's also stuff on his "to do around the house" list that are older than I am. (As well as actual stuff around the house that's older than I am.) Of course, a financial deadline might provide the incentive to increase productivity that he hasn't had before.

But the biggest shock to my system is that "daddy's selling the house I grew up in." Change throws me through a loop.

Found on Flickr

mouse view 4

How cool is this?!? It's adorable, *and* holds your thread while hand sewing!

Found on Flickr

Tree Skirt

This tree skirt is way-cool-awesome! I *love* it!


Run, don't walk, over to Sara's blog, where she's having a dishcloth give-away. (I can confirm that her dishcloths are awesome, make my dish washing happier, and produce wonderfully clean dishes!)

Sara loves comments and visits on her blog statistics, so please become a reader... or, at least, go back and leave her lots of comments on her old posts. ;) Plus, she's just a very friendly and awesome blog-friend. :)

Friday, December 04, 2009


First day back after being, and I spent over 12 hours at school (arrived a few minutes before 9 am, left at 9:10 pm), with only a 50 minute break for lunch. :( It was after 10 pm when I finally made it home. I had a bite to eat, unwound for a bit, and now I'm off to bed.

Not that I'm fully ready for class tomorrow, even with all the prep. There'll be some "winging it"... *sigh*

Am I allowed to whine?

One of the profs was *really* glad to see me back. That was nice. And, although the help centre was *busy*, I had enough energy to handle it. (Sleeping for two days was something I *needed*, gastroenteritis or not.)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Tracking Mail

Canada Post is bizarre. Consider the following tracking information:
2009/11/28 International item has left Canada
2009/12/01 International shipment has arrived in the destination country
The "destination country" is the USA. Canada and the USA share a border. There is zero space between us. How, then, does it take three days to cross zero space? (It's probably time spent in customs, I know. But then why don't they call it that?)

Weird. I like UPS's tracking system *way* better.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


It is *nippy* out there! Winter seems to have arrived.

After sleeping all day again today, I ventured out to knitting tonight... as organizer for the stocking swap, and no decent alternate dates before Christmas, I felt I had to be there. Plus, I was treating it like a trial run for going back to work tomorrow. I seem to have survived, so back to the grind tomorrow. (Plus I figured I'd sleep better if I got out for a bit.)

Well, I need to go wash some dishes so that I'll have a clean bowl for breakfast. I was successful with two bananas, some bizarre toast-like things, wild rice, and (breaking the rules) *orange* juice, so I'm going to venture having a bowl of cheerios tomorrow morning. (I'm debating having one tonight as a trial.) For lunch I plan on packing the rest of the wild rice I cooked tonight, a banana, plain bread, and (crossing fingers) my homemade hummus. Given that I'll be at work late tomorrow (*sigh*), I'll need *something* to subsist on. I *won't* pack yoghurt though... H says milk products are a no-no until later (I use a substitute on my cereal), plus, with my intolerance, yoghurt messes with my system a bit anyway. (I plan on throwing out the last three snack containers of yoghurt... they are "best before" November 27th, and *should* be fine... but why risk it, what with my intolerance and recent illness.)

Sorry for the boring post!

Mmmm... Banana!

My mom and B are awesome. They saw my post, and stopped by the grocery store for me. :)

Oh... and I remembered that I have some wild rice in the cupboard, so I'll be cooking that up later too. Much tastier than plain white rice. :) (Plus more fibre.)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Still sick. Ate a bit tonight, and visited the loo shortly thereafter. :( Given the time span between eating and unmentionable, if I tried to go in to school tomorrow morning, that would place me on the bus for the second event. I found a replacement for my class in the morning, and my "boss" agrees that I should probably keep my germs home tomorrow.

Hopefully I'll be well enough in the evening to do the stocking swap at knitting. (I'm the organizer, and there isn't a good alternate night. :( ) If I do go in, I'll probably just do the swap and go home.

H suggests the "crab" diet: Clear fluids, Rice, Apple sauce, and Bananas, or the "brat" diet: Bananas, Rice, Apple sauce, and Toast.

Apples: Allergic.
Bananas: Out of stock, and have been since the last time I thought I should cut back. (It's a sometimes allergy.)
Clear fluids: Check.
Toast: I have frost covered bread in the freezer (my schedule hasn't left much time for preparing lunches), but no toaster. I'll give the thawed bread a try, though.
Rice: Got that. Will try that too.

Tonight I tried some oatmeal, as suggested by Rhiannon. I managed a few bites (I put honey on it, so it was relatively edible). Then I cooked up some clear boxed chicken stock and udon noodles. I managed to eat all of that. Plus I had some ginger and lemon herbal tea.

I am now completely out of honey (it was on my grocery list, but grocery shopping has been sporadic lately) and clean bowls (I was going to do dishes Sunday, but dad took me out to buy himself a video camera instead, and it's been months since I've seen him... and I couldn't wash them last night, because dad wanted me to use his new video camera to tape a concert). I suppose that neither rice nor bread require bowls.

I hate gastroenteritis. *sigh*

Oy Vey. (Warning: TMI)

I'm sick. I'm losing my lunch (literally), from both directions. Ugh. I've e-mailed in sick, and turned off my alarm. Hopefully I'll be able to sleep without too many interruptions. (I've got a large bowl on standby, just in case.)

I hate being sick.

Anyone have any "get better faster" recommendations?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Well Loved

Remember this poor dishcloth?
Time To Retire?
Well, I have another at this stage:

Since they are both well-loved, I've repaired both with a bit of blue cotton yarn, and they're now part of the "good rags" collection:
IMG_2548.JPG IMG_2549.JPG

Hmmm... I wonder if it's getting time to contact my "supplier" of dishcloths?

Found on Flickr

Katzenquilt - quilt with cat

Awww! So sweet!

Found on Flickr

Little Lace Gems

Lovely! What an adorable idea!

Friday, November 27, 2009


I always quit my web browser before teaching. Today, instead of clicking "save and quit", I unthinkingly clicked "quit"... so now I don't have all those tabs open that I had planned to do stuff with... interesting tutorials that I had planned to read... "found on flickr" images I had planned to post... recipes I had planned to write on cards and stick in my recipe binder... *sigh*

On the bright side, I no longer have all those tabs nagging me, and my browser uses a lot less memory. (But still... the reason they were open is that I *wanted* them open!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I gave my precious parcel to the post office today. It came to ~$32 including insurance. Now I'm antsy to hear about it's arrival. Perhaps I should have paid the extra $5-$10 to have the slightly faster option? (Of course, that would have only cut about two days off... to get the really fast service would have added ~$100.)


Recycling Tip: Packing peanuts can be brought to your local UPS store for reuse.

Housekeeping Tip: Actually taking the packing peanuts to the UPS store reduces clutter.

Mailing Tip: Procrastinating on the housekeeping tip means you have a box and peanuts to use yourself when you need it. (Note to self: Actually finally take the other two boxes of peanuts to UPS... I don't need them in the foreseeable future, even with all the other stuff to mail.)

Question: Why does it take me an hour and a half to package something to mail? *sigh*

By my calculations, tomorrow I will be giving Canada Post approximately $35 of my hard-earned money. They better treat the package well... (That amount includes insurance, just in case they don't.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Heard clattering outside. Looked out. Someone was riding a bicycle... but there was no tire on the front rim. (Somehow that seems like a metaphor for me lately...)


My head *hurts*. I had a killer headache last night, and so took some tylenol before bed. It still hurts this morning, although perhaps slightly less than last night.

I've been having a bunch of headaches recently. Sometimes I take ibuprofen, sometimes I take tylenol. (I don't want to end up with a reaction headache to either, although I'm certainly not taking either on a daily basis or anything.)

I remember having headaches both days last weekend (ibuprofen each time), I remember taking ibuprofen for a headache at some point this week, and then last night I took tylenol. Three headaches in a week, with probably similar frequency before that, seems like an unusual number. I wonder what's causing them? I don't drink coffee, I rarely drink tea, but I do eat chocolate. And I'm certainly under stress. I am taking magnesium. Anyone have any suggestions?

Last night I was helping students until 6:15, then did a bit more work until 7:00. Then I caught the bus as far as the shopping centre with FutureShop. I picked up a few things at Dollarama, bought a pair of headphones, then, since I was there anyway, stopped in at the pet store to pet whatever animals I could get at without having to ask staff. (So, no puppies, but I petted bunnies, and stuck my fingers though the bars of the kittens' cages... I particularly liked the one that licked my fingers!) I left there a bit after 8:00, was home by shortly before 9:00, and couldn't keep my eyes open by 10:00. I was in bed by 10:30, and asleep shortly thereafter. I woke at 8 am, but rolled over and slept/dozed until noon. I was definitely in bad shape by yesterday afternoon (from stress, lack of sleep, and being overworked). My goal this weekend is to put myself back together as much as I can. (Putting myself back together completely will probably take more than just a weekend... especially since I have chores I need to do this weekend.)

*sigh*... anyone know a good house elf looking for a home? I promise to treat him/her well, and will give them lots of socks...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mush Brains

Mush brains, mush brains, bhf hsa;l a;lk jdaslk lhfs hfjdkslafhiouvhc akl jhd ....


I just need to hang in for today, and then it's the weekend... and boy, do I ever need it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Tonight is knitting at McNally Robinson. Tonight is art club. Tonight is adult pottery night. What am I doing? Sitting at work, fighting with MS Access. *sigh*

I went to Timmies to buy a bagel with cream cheese and a cookie. Now my tummy is unhappy... it has stress tummy feeling. I don't know if it's the food, or the fact that I'm at work at 7:14 pm.


They replied:
Thank you for contacting Koss Stereophones.
Stereophones that were purchased after July of 1989 are covered by our No-Questions-Asked Lifetime warranty.

Please send your stereophones to our Corporation and we will repair or replace them in accordance with our Limited Lifetime Warranty., for shipping there plus $7 plus whatever my bank charges me for writing a cheque, they'll repair or replace them. I can buy a new pair for $20 from their web site, but I'm not sure what shipping is.

I wonder if they'll actually repair them, or if they'll send me a new pair? (Given that they also need new foam covers, and they sell those for $5, it's probably worth it to buy a new pair rather than get the old ones repaired.)

I don't have the dated receipt any more (I think), but they don't ask for the receipt.

If it were you, what would you do?


Hmmm... I just noticed those Koss headphones have a "no questions asked lifetime warranty"...


It covers defect in material or workmanship, and you need to send $7 CDN plus the headphones. I'm probably better off just buying a new pair.


Well, it finally happened. My headphones died. I was wondering when it would... the I could feel the plastic on the cords getting hard, and the foam covers were getting quite beat up. I still get sound out of one side, but the other side only gets sound if I hold the wire "just so", and don't jiggle it. I've been idly looking at what's available locally, and have just been frustrated that I really can't make a good judgment when they're encased in plastic. (The numbers don't mean much to me, and I certainly can't test how they feel.)

Anyone have a recommendation? These will be for my iPod. I can't use earbuds. I'd prefer something that isn't too clunky (for stowing away when I'm not using them) and works with hats. I mostly listen to podcasts, rather than music.

The pair I currently had are these ones by Koss. The only downside they had is that sometimes the ear clip would come off... although I somehow managed not to lose them (well, I lost one for a bit, but it was in my apartment, so I found it again).

I may see if I can find something decent at the mall before knitting... assuming I get enough class prep done that I can go tonight. :(

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I finally feel like I can relax. This morning's demo went well, and I got a ton of fantastic comments on my artwork! I'm thrilled. :) I stuck around for the acrylics demo at 1 pm, but around 1:30 I felt myself "crashing"... even though I got eight hours of sleep last night, I still have an accumulated sleep debt. I tried sticking it out until the end of the demo, but I was feeling pretty woozy. So I bought the painting I had had my eye on (there are lots more that I would love to own, but don't have the money or wall space for), ate some dainties, then walked home. When I got my laundry downstairs, someone was just finishing the wash cycle, so that meant I could start napping right away! (Drying takes an hour, but the wash cycle is short enough that it's not really nap-worthy.) I think I've had three dryer-cycle naps this afternoon. ;) The second-last load is in the dryer now, so I'll still have all the laundry done fairly early. (Not that I've folded or made the bed with what's come out already.)

I think I'm going to take this evening off. I'll answer some student questions, and *maybe* do the dishes, but that's it. I need some relaxing "veg time". I'll probably regret that decision tomorrow evening... but that's life. Right now I'm starting dinner. Once it's ready, I'll put on some of the TV shows I recorded on Thursday and Friday, and pretend the outside world doesn't exist. :) Mmmm... knitting and TV!


Killer headache. Ow ow ow. Took painkillers, but they haven't taken effect yet.

I got eight hours of sleep last night. :) Much better than the three hours I got the night before.

The opening for the art show last night was lovely. I got *lots* of compliments on my art. The only complaints I got were that I was doing a "show", and not a "sale". ;) Only one of my paintings in the main display is for sale... the rest belong to other people. I did this on purpose, though, because I wanted to show how I started and grew into my own personal style for two different mediums. (Silk painting and acrylics.) I only got my write-ups done last night after I got home, so they'll go up this morning.

I do a silk painting demo this morning.

Yesterday I got paid for the workshop I ran. Considering the hours I put in (estimating 16 hours, including prep time), it doesn't pay as well as my other jobs (I got around $150), but it's nice, and I'll definitely do it again. I certainly got a lot of requests to hold another workshop last night. :) Today during/after the demo I'll pass around a sheet for interested club members to write down their names.

Well, my head is still pounding (perhaps my over-inflated ego is having trouble fitting in?), but I should go have my shower and get ready.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


It's 10:50, and I'm finally home. For the second time, actually, but the first time was around 8:20, and only for long enough to gather my art show paintings, etc, plus putting some hangers on three. Then it was over to my mom's to pick up a protective sleeve, over to my dad's with the sleeve to pick up the painting I'm borrowing from him, back to my mom's to adjust the sleeve size (whoops), assemble a frame, and make one last pair of sleeves.

Although I'm home, I can't go to bed yet. I have to score, cut, and assemble my cards, assemble my magnets, cut my bookmarks, and label everything with prices. (Which, for the magnets, involves painting a white strip on the back to write on.) Oh... and prepare for tomorrow morning's class. Updated to add: And read and respond to forum and e-mail questions...

The question is, do I want dinner? I'm thinking just a bowl of cereal, but that will mean I won't have enough clean dishes for Saturday morning breakfast... there's no time tonight to wash dishes (please let there be enough time for a few hours of sleep!), and tomorrow night, besides a brief period at home to eat dinner (if I'm lucky), I won't be home until after 9 pm... probably closer to 9:30 pm or later.


I cancelled this morning's tutoring session, because I woke up feeling tired and stressed. I decided I needed the two extra hours of sleep more than I needed to keep my student happy. He replied to my e-mail, saying "okay but we will have to try and make up two hours next week some how." Yeah. Like I'm going to feel any less fried *after* working all weekend.

Please send sleep.

Art Show Flyer

I suppose that if I want my local friends/readers to come, I should actually let you know the details...

Local colour art flyer Nov. 2009

(Click through for biggy view!)

You're welcome to just come and look, or you can choose to shop. Whatever floats your boat. :)

I'll be hiding behind the sales counter on Friday and Sunday, if you'd like to say hi. (I can even pop out to comment on my art, if you'd like... they let me take the occasional break.) I'll also be doing the silk painting demo on Saturday morning.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Head is 'splodey. Took painkillers and eating halloween-sale chocolate. Thought about buying a bagel, but not feeling like one. I finished sending the marker comments. I have to figure out forms (and queries?) in Access before I can go home.

I'd rather be anywhere but here.

Will still need to wash a pot or two before I can eat tonight. (All out of frozen pizzas.)


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Opinion Poll

a) The person choosing the paint is at least partially colour blind.
b) The person was fooled by the tiny paint chips.
c) The paint was free or a cheap mis-tint.
d) The person doesn't care, and grabbed two random accent colours.
e) The person actually thinks that colour combination is a good idea.


I finally got to bed around 2 am. That meant four hours of sleep. I washed about half of my dishes last night: milk & juice jugs, water bottles, bowls, plates, and cutlery. That leaves glasses, pots, pans, cutting boards, cheese grater, and tupperware for today.

I knocked one glass over this morning while preparing lunch... it shattered. That's one fewer glass to wash, but cleaning up the shards took more time than washing. It was a glass I liked, but at least it wasn't wasn't of my way-cool-awesome vintage glasses.

The before-lunch tutoring session was cancelled, so my office hours plus tutoring time became a 1.5 hour nap on three chairs pushed together. I left the door open in case someone did happen to come by. I don't care who saw my feet sticking out from behind the desk.

The help centre is rather light today, which is kind of nice.

I suppose I should go mark that assignment... *sigh* (Whoops... people came in, and now it's time to leave for knitting. I guess I'll get that done tomorrow.)

H found some Lindt halloween candy on sale, and bought me some.
Lindt Halloween Chocolate
H is *awesome*!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


I'm *wiped*.

I left campus at 8. On the bus ride home, my stomach was in turmoil from stress, and the late dinner probably didn't help any either. I decided on comfort food. Luckily, since I haven't made it since the cold weather left in the spring, the dishes necessary for risotto were clean. (Well, a few things I had to make do.)

I got home at 9 pm.

Mushrooms: check. (Luckily I still have a stash of dried ones, although I probably only have enough for one more meal after this.)

Onion: going a bit mouldy, but enough still good after trimming off the bad bits. Check.

Butter: butter can go mouldy?!? Trimmed the fuzzy bits off, was left with plenty.

Stock: only expired by a few days.

Arborio rice: thankfully, nothing wrong with the rice.

Gee, how can you tell that I haven't had time for real cooking in far too long?

It's now 10:37, and the risotto is only just ready. *sigh* I'm off to eat it now.

And no, I still don't have clean dishes for breakfast. My eyes are burning from exhaustion, but bed is still a ways off. :(


It's 6:52 pm, and I'm still at work, prepping for teaching tomorrow. (Do you think my students appreciate the effort I put in? I sure hope so!) After I leave here, it'll still take another hour before I get home. *sigh*

Then, once I get home, I have a stack of dishes to wash, in order to have clean dishes for dinner and breakfast. *sigh* (I kept opting for small amounts of relaxation or sleep instead of clean dishes.)

I bought some chocolate covered almonds at 4:00 to keep me going until dinner. Just now I had my leftover yoghurt and orange juice from lunch. (After a BLT sub and a grapefruit, I wasn't that hungry, and didn't have time either. Grapefruit is nice, but takes too long to eat.)

MS Access is a pain in the tush. I've already figured out a bunch of stuff. Once I figure out queries, I'll let myself go home. *sigh* And here I was hoping for a relaxing night and early to bed. *grump* I wish there was Access for the mac so that I could at least be doing my class prep at home. (And no, it's not just me procrastinating... I did at least two and a half hours of prep yesterday, and probably about about four or five hours so far today, counting the bits of prep I managed to squeak between students in the help centre.) This week is *definitely* running over the 40 hour "full time" work week... without having any of the benefits of *actually* being a full time employee.

Well, whine-break is over. Back to work. *sigh*

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Time To Retire?

Time To Retire?

Admin Building

Admin Building

Earlier this week when the dark clouds parted to let in a blast of late-afternoon sunlight, I happened to be leaving work, and was able to snap a quick photo before it faded.

The Singing Revolution

The Singing Revolution

Wow. Estonians are heroes. This movie was uplifting and inspiring, and the singing revolution was truly amazing. I wish this movie was a required part of the school curriculum.


The workshop went much better today... the instructor wasn't nearly as grouchy. ;) I was still up late last night, but my accumulated sleep debt wasn't quite as bad, I think. I don't think I yelled at *anyone* today! (Although, for some reason, everyone today brought their *own* rock salt, except for the two people who weren't around when I flipped on the one lady.)

When I got home today, there were three calls on the caller ID, none of which were for me. One wasn't for my neighbour either... there was a message confirming someone's appointment, and it wasn't anyone I knew. So I called the dentist's office back and let them know about their mistake.

The phone still has a faint smell, but after giving it a quick sniff, I think I can go back to using it again. (Yay!)

After I got home from the workshop, I managed to start my laundry, even though all I really wanted to do was have a nap. Once the first load was in the dryer, I set two timers for 50 minutes and lay down. I didn't wake up until an hour and a half later. Whoops! I sure am looking forward to that extra hour tonight, and not having to have my alarm set for the morning!

The Singing Revolution arrived in the mail yesterday, so I'll be watching it tonight, and dropping it in the mail for the next person on the list on Monday. (Canada Post doesn't work on the weekends, so I'm not really messing up the "only keep it one day" rule. If I don't sleep *too* late tomorrow, I'll walk across the bridge to the closest (but not my) post office so that it heads out bright and early on Monday.) Since I *have* to mail things, perhaps I'll finally get to some of that stack of "to mail" stuff I've been neglecting as well. ;)

Well, the timer beeped, so I'm off to put the last load in the dryer. I hope you're keeping well! (I seem to have a morning cough... not too sure what's that about, but I've started taking my puffer just in case.)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oink Update

The call from my dad tonight was about H1N1. A friend of his had a 24 year old son who just died from H1N1 in Alberta. My step-mom's son has had severe reactions to vaccines in the past. I assured dad that I wasn't going to keel over any time soon (from either the vaccine, or the swine flu itself), and suggested his stepson talk to an allergist.

On the news tonight: long lines and people being turned away from flu clinics at capacity, and how there isn't as much vaccine as expected, because manufacturers had to stop making the regular shots in order to make the non-adjuvanted for pregnant women.

Big Stink

Monday: My neighbour has a run-in with her ex. (Despite the restraining order.)

Tuesday, early evening: I loan my neigbour my phone while I'm out for the evening so she can call her mom to make arrangements to move back to her home province. I ask her to put it back in the bag on the door when she's done so that it doesn't smell as smoky as it has the past few times she borrowed it.

Tuesday, late evening: The phone is in the plastic bag hanging from my doorknob... but it's wet. With something scented. She tried to be helpful, but I'm allergic to perfume and scented stuff. I wipe it down as best I can, and put it back on the receiver.

Wednesday evening: a friend calls, but I can't talk because the phone is still perfumed.

Thursday morning: I leave a note for my neighbour, saying that I know that she meant well, but never *ever* do that again.

Thursday evening: My dad calls, but the phone still stinks. I talk briefly, but keep it short so that I don't get a headache. I try wiping the phone down with rubbing alcohol, but it still stinks.

Anyone know how to get perfume out of plastic? The phone body is hard plastic, they keys are soft plastic, and both stink. *sigh* Do I wait it out, or do I spring for a new phone? (Why do things keep costing me money this term? I know I'm earning more because of the teaching, but I'd really like to save that extra cash for a new laptop to replace my five-year-old one, and ideally a vacation too... at least for bus fare to the lake and back.)

Oink oink.

I did manage to get vaccinated against the swine flu yesterday... so if I get a craving for truffles this winter, it should be for purely culinary reasons. From start to end, it took a bit over two hours.

Note to self: if you may be getting a vaccine that day, it's best to think about that possibility while dressing in the morning. (I can't remember if the news that prompted the chain of events came before or after I was dressed, but I ended up wearing a top with narrow long sleeves... which meant I had to stick my arm out the bottom, and pretend that no one was looking at me.)

Thankfully I didn't fall over and die, or even have an allergic reaction at all. While checking for potential allergens, I did find out something about the adjuvant that, with my sense of humour, I found hilarious. I'm not going to blog it, though... e-mail me if you're dying to know.

I felt so little during the injection itself, I was kind of worried there was something wrong with my nerves. I'm more used to the needles used to give blood, which are quite a bit thicker. Of course, with the way some of the children were screaming (often before they got stuck at all), you'd think we were in Guantanamo.

The lack of pain didn't last, though. It started to feel sore when I left to go home, and by bedtime, raising my arm or lying on it caused pain. The level of the pain is around "bad bruise". Between the pain, and the fact that I prefer sleeping on my left side, which clearly wasn't an option last night, I didn't sleep that well. However, with a full eight hours between when my head hit the pillow and the alarm clock going off, I feel quite a bit better today than I have. (Yay!) I still hit a point around lunch time when I felt like a nap would have been a really good idea, but I've caught a second wind. Now I just need to finish my class prep for tomorrow, and I can go home. (Yay!... assuming it doesn't take me too long. So I should shut up, and go do it.)

The pain is still at bad-bruise level, and I've got some tingling in my left hand and arm as well. Hopefully that won't hang around too long. :P

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm *beat*

I *really* need a nap right now. Thankfully class went fairly smoothly this morning, and I made it through the tutoring session fine. Today should be light in the help centre too.

The good news is that I called my allergist, and I'm okay to get the flu shot even with my allergy. (My asthma puts me in a high risk group.) The bad news is that means I get to wait in line for several hours for the shot tonight, instead of going home and getting some sleep. I'm hoping I'll hit a lull, where the university crowd has mostly gone home, and the after-work crowd hasn't started. (Knowing my luck, though, I'll get there right after the after-school crowd hits.)

Hopefully I won't be here until the bitter end (they close at 8 pm), and will still manage to go to bed early tonight. Keep your fingers crossed for me, will you?


I still exist. *Tired* and not enough time, but I'm hanging in there. (Anyone want to teach a class on MS Access tomorrow morning? I'd be happy to sleep in instead!)


My apologies for those of you waiting for a reply to your e-mail, or wondering if I dropped off the face of the earth. Hopefully things will get a little less crazy soon. Prod me if your e-mail was urgent.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I'm listening to Dispatches on CBC as I wash dishes. One of the dispatches was from Haiti. Sweatshop workers making t-shirts for Americans and Canadians are earning $11/week... and that's for a 60 hour work week. One lady they interviewed wouldn't be eating dinner that night, because she spent the last of her money on the bus ride home from work. The argument *against* raising the minimum wage to $5/*day*? That they wouldn't be profitable any more, and would have to close. Another country raised the minimum wage to $5/day, and lost hundreds of millions of jobs.

I want to know what the break-down is for the cost of the t-shirts we buy as consumers, and why it is that we can't pay Haitians (or other sweat-shop workers) enough that they can eat dinner... something that people wearing those t-shirts take for granted.

This is why I do my best to buy goods made in countries that have humane labour laws. It's not that I don't want my money to go to developing nations, but that I don't want to buy goods that don't even pay the workers enough to eat.

Sheesh. (Big business? Can you hear me? Helloooooo?)

I am Binky

Well... in one of my three jobs, I do the same thing as Binky.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Weasley Repairs

Weasley Repairs

Well, I wore Weasley to school today, and no one commented on all the patches... so either they didn't notice them, or they were being polite. ;)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Weasley's Back

Weasley Repairs

Weasley is getting thin all over, but I've duplicate-stitched some life back into the three worst spots.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Apartment Repairs.

Landlord: The caretaker will be away for a month, can you let me know if anything needs attending to?

Me: Sure. (I have e-mail, it's easy to shoot one off whenever I want.)

time passes

Me: The latch to the garbage area broke, and the door is swinging in the wind. (Plus a few more details.)

Landlord: "Thanks for letting me know. [The caretaker] is away for a little while yet so if you can do something temporary that would be great.



IMG_2434.JPG IMG_2435.JPG

Some days I feel like the world is taking advantage of me.

This weekend *sucks*

Yesterday morning the phone woke me up... someone calling my neighbour! I grumped at her, and asked her to make other arrangements.

Then I spent too much money while grocery shopping. Part of it was that I haven't been in a while, part was that I was stocking up, and part of it was that I was in an "ooo... shiny!" frame of mind. *sigh* And after spending way too much? The "free" item wasn't one I wanted, and then I discovered that I forgot things after I was home.

Backing into the parking pad, I scratched up my brother's car:
*shit*. The offending post:
I don't like backing into things. I'm fine backing *out* of things, but I really don't like backing into things. However, my brother likes his car pointed out, so I thought I'd put it back the way I found it. The turning radius isn't as tight as I thought it was. I noticed that I was getting close, so I pulled out and fixed my trajectory. Or so I thought. I was watching the *other* side, to see how close to the garage I was. The car is ten or so years old, and it's not like it's in perfect condition:
...but my brother wants the professionals to look at it, rather than just using the touch-up paint to make sure it doesn't rust. *sigh* Knowing what professionals charge, there goes a week's pay.

After that lovely experience, I went over to my mom's to drain the rain barrels. I attached the hose and straightened it out, so that the water would drain over near the street, and not next to the house. There must have been water frozen in the hose, because *nothing* came through. *sigh* So I just let them drain near the house.

My hot water bottle burst.
No, not in the sink. In my bedroom. Thankfully, not in my bed... but I didn't want that stuff on the dresser all wet either, and there was water all the way from my bedroom to the bathroom. :P Luckily it *did* happen *before* I started laundry, so I could use things that were going to be washed anyway, and thus didn't create lots of extra laundry for next week.

Both my mom and dad are out of town, so I don't have a thanksgiving dinner to look forward to tomorrow.

Finally, the hallway smells like cooking cabbage. (I think someone must be making holopchi.) I don't like the smell of cooking cabbage.

On a somewhat brighter note, my ADD student might not need me to tutor him tomorrow!