Saturday, February 28, 2009

I bet you were dy(e)ing to know...

I was at an art workshop today (I didn't take a photo of what I painted, and I left it at the club to dry), and at one point the conversation turned to the source of the name phthalo blue. I knew it came from phthalocyanine blue, but didn't know beyond that. Spending a bit of time tonight with Google and Wikipedia turned up the following:
Phthalo blue is short for phthalocyanine blue. The pigment is made when phthalocyanine binds with copper. Phthalocyanine is synthesized using various derivatives of phthalic acid. Phthalic acid was obtained by Auguste Laurent, who thought he had created a naphthaline derivative, which he named naphthalenic acid. When another chemist showed that it was not a naphthaline derivative, the name was changed to phthalic acid. Naphthaline was derived from naphtha. The word naphtha comes from Latin and Greek... in Ancient Greek it refers to any sort of petroleum or pitch.
So now you know where the word phthalo comes from too. :) (To learn more of the fascinating details on each of these compounds, search for them at Wikipedia.)

PS: Mr Party-Of-One is currently playing rap music with rude lyrics. Thankfully I can't hear much more than a muffled thumping up here, but the lyrics can be heard clearly in the hall.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Only two days after spring break, and already I'm having trouble not letting the frustrating students beat me down! There's the student who hasn't retained the knowledge I've managed to teach him (it all leaked out over Christmas break) and is having an even harder time learning the new stuff, the student who keeps being on the verge of tears whenever something doesn't come easily, and the student who is both highly demanding and *incredibly* dense... *sigh* Whatever happened to the calm I used to be able to maintain?

In good news, one of my regulars is showing more independent thought than he used to. Yay!

Tomorrow morning I have another tutoring session. I'm torn between the extra income being nice, and the frustration level being not worth it...

Anyone have suggestions on how to teach proof writing to someone who, although he can answer simple, direct questions, he can't put those pieces of information together to form a proof? He even has problems writing down complete thoughts on paper.

What teaching strategies can I use with a diagnosed ADD student?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Change I can see!

Painting in Progress

Yes, I can! (Can you? I don't need to post side-by-side before and after shots, do I? Do I need to remind you what I'm trying to paint?)

One of the comments at the club: "What's the blue thing?" (I'm not finished yet!! ;) My caretaker hasn't seen it recently either. ;) )

Speaking of "change"... I'm still loving Obama! I love how he actually says things when he speaks, and doesn't just spout "spin" nonsense. *swoon*

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New York Knitting Groups?

A friend of mine had a run-in with a grouchy knitting instructor the other day. She now plans on learning to knit from a book or the web, but she's interested in finding a friendly knitting group, like the ones I belong to. Can anyone recommend one, either in Brooklyn or NYC? Thanks! (You can either comment here, or send me an e-mail and I'll forward the information along.)


My caretaker just asked me to sweep the floor!??!!

Yes, it's dirty, but I haven't given him heck about it because I know he and the landlord have been busy with renovating the suite across the hall.

Anyway, so I just stuck my head out to say hi to a neighbour, and my caretaker also stuck his head out to see if the noise was my landlord coming. The caretaker said something about not getting upset about the floors, and I said that I was just looking to see if my neighbour was coming up the stairs yet. Then he asked me to sweep the floor, wouldn't I be a good neighbour and sweep the floor? When I said no (hey, I'm paying rent, and he's being paid to sweep the floors), he asked me if I was lazy. I told him that he's being paid to do that, and I've got my own floors to sweep.

Am I being unreasonable, expecting to not have to do a job that someone else is being paid to do?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tales of A Tenant

So, about a week and a half ago, my landlord phones me, and tells me that the plumbing under my toilet has been leaking into the suite below (take that, Mr Party-Of-One!), and that he needs to have a plumber in. I tell him that of course he can have access to my apartment, just please don't leave me without a toilet over night, or anything like that.

Late last week Wednesday I came home to find this in my hallway:
(yes, that is branches from the Christmas tree you see, but I can assure you that it is indeed taken care of now), and this in the bathroom:
So I gave my dad a call, and talked him into taking me out for dinner. ;)

When I got home, the toilet was no longer in the hall, but I was less than pleased with the condition of my bathroom. The plumber hadn't made a huge mess, but neither had he cleaned up the mess he had made. Plus, the toilet was now in a new position, exposing disgusting filth:
and not only that, but it wasn't even sitting on the floor! There was a significant gap between it and the floor:
It rocked a bit too.

So, I contacted my landlord, expressing my concerns. He said the plumber would be back next week with longer screws (to fix the rocking), and asked if the stuff could be cleaned. I told him I hadn't tried... that between Wednesday and then that I had been alternately busy, exhausted, and sick... and was it fair to expect me to clean up the results of someone else's work? (Work that I hadn't requested, or cause to be required, although it did relate to old plumbing from my suite.)

Yes, the plumber did come back with longer screws, and the toilet does seem to be more firmly anchored... although it still is quite high off the floor. But the caretaker, who was apparently given the task of dealing with the mess... didn't. He didn't clean up any of the grit or waxy/oily smears, and the ancient crud got an icing of caulk:

The landlord was over today, so I showed him the mess. He was disappointed with the work he had paid for. Then he asked if I thought a dremel would take off the crud?!?! (Yeah, but it would also destroy the linoleum tiles!!!)

So, at some point, when I have time, I'll be cleaning up the mess. *sigh*

It's stuff like this that makes me want to own my own place! (At least then I'll have pride of ownership, and of improving the value of the place I own!)

Skating and Shopping

Yesterday I went skating! It was fun. :) I skated all the way down to Hugo Docks and back (from The Forks). Here's a signpost at Hugo Docks:
Skating Signpost
So that means I skated 5.4 km. I figure that's not bad, given how little I've skated. Of course, it took me an hour, so I won't be entering the 2010 Olympics in speed skating. ;)

I knocked the wind out of me once with one spectacular fall, but for the most part I managed to stay on my feet. Coming back from Hugo Docks was colder and a bit harder, because I had the wind in my face. Having the wind at my back is much nicer. (The cold also made the battery in my iPod run out shortly after turning back... that sucked.)

Hugo Docks is as far as the trail goes now, due to last week's weather. (News link.)

After skating, I had a nice (but expensive!) hot chocolate, and then wandered around the antique store in the basement of the Johnston Terminal. The stuff there tends to be pricey, and I don't like how some stuff that I knew was new wasn't labelled as such, but they've also got a lot of neat stuff. I bought a nutcracker and a pretty little glass:
Antique Store Finds
(I already have a nutcracker that I bought at the dollar store, but it's poorly designed... the antique one looks like it has potential, and I at least know it'll last!) The glass was pricey for a glass, but pretty. I've been looking for something pretty to keep my toothpicks in, rather than their ratty cardboard boxes. (I have them on the shelf above the stove, and so they're visible.) I'll need to make a little lid for the glass, though, to keep the dust off.

While I'm showing you my vintage finds, here's two items I found at thrift shops last month:
Thrift Shop Finds
The gravy boat is very pretty... I like both the shape and the pattern. According to this site, the mark on the bottom dates it between 1936 and 1954. It cost $10 at Value Village, so not terribly cheap. It is, however, lovely, and will do it's job just fine. (Should I ever make gravy, that is.)

The glass, on the other hand, was a much better buy at the Salvation Army Thrift Shop. It's a pretty amber colour, and reminds me of the glasses my mom had since before I was born. (Hers were/are green, though.) Regular price on the glass was 50 cents, but was on sale for 10 cents! Steal! ;)

Painting in Progress

Before and after this afternoon's painting session:
Painting in Progress Painting WIP
Can you see the difference? Mom couldn't, but then she didn't have before and after shots side by side. ;)

So yes, I had a nice afternoon of painting today. :)


I have a big stack of dishes waiting for me in the kitchen, so I think I'll avoid them for a few minutes and do some blogging, and possibly even some catch-up blogging. There may be a flurry of "Found on Flickr" posts too. *Then* I'll go attack those dishes. ;)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Dropped Stitch

You see that stitch marker down near the bottom, far from the knitting needles? That's holding a dropped stitch. I discovered this dropped stitch when it came time to attach the sleeve to the sweater body. *After* I cut the yarn, of course.

1. Secure the stitch and leave the sleeve as is.
2. Reknit the sleeve.

I think I'm leaning towards the second option. However, I won't make the decision tonight. (I may even start a third sleeve with fresh yarn, just to be on the safe side. I bought plenty of yarn, since I wasn't sure if I'd knit this size, or one size larger.)

Monday, February 16, 2009


Some days I wish I could have a do-over on the last 10 years or so of my life. I feel like a failure.

Today sucked.

I hope your day was better.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Feels like Mr Party-Of-One has a new subwoofer. I saw him (and his roommate) coming home earlier with a case of beer.

I still can't log in at Blogger.

I'm still feeling kind of crummy. I spent most of the day sleeping, and am now watching TV and knitting. I haven't done laundry, dishes, or even showered. (All were originally planned for today.) Good thing next week is spring break. ;)

Urgh... Gremlins Everywhere

Tummy, why are you being so unhappy? Is it because I said I was going skating? We don't have to... we can stay home. (I'd much rather be skating, but not with the sudden tummy upset... upset tummies and buses really don't mix.)

S.A.D. (Public Service Announcement)

To those of you who are happily in love, congratulations, and have a wonderful Valentines Day. However, this is to notify you that today is also S.A.D.: Singles Awareness Day. Singles generally find Valentines Day to be a particularly lonely day, so please take a moment to spread a little joy to them. Give a single in your life a phone call, or perhaps even chocolate or a pretty flower.

This ends your public service announcement.

I'm feeling pretty good today, even though I'm single two years and counting now. It's lovely and sunny out, so I think I'll go have a shower now, grab my skates, and skate around the Forks this afternoon. (The river trails are still closed due to last week's rain, but apparently the small rink and land trails are fine.) Perhaps I'll even take myself out for pancakes, should the happy couples have left a table free. ;)

Craptastic (continued)

Whee... Mail has now crashed three times in the last, oh, 18 hours?

Tech-gremlin: Please leave now.


(Freedback) Blogger still won't let me at the Dashboard, so I'm posting this by e-mail again. *sigh* I tried using the "contact us" link, but, after answering a bunch of questions, there wasn't a form to write a description and submit! I found a forum where some people are having the same problems, but I can't seem to post there either. Grrr. Hopefully they'll notice and fix things. (As evidenced by the last post, I can't use html tags when posting by e-mail, and I can't use post tags, or edit posts either.)

It turns out all my batteries are dead. Well... all the AAA ones are, so I can't turn on my new thermometer that I got for my birthday. *pout*

I'll be hooking up my new iPod speakers later today so that I can listen to podcasts while washing dishes. Hopefully the tech-gremlin that's haunting me right now will be gone by then. ;)

Friday, February 13, 2009



Blogger won't let me log in. (Update: Found a back way in!)

This week has been crazy in the help center. (Calm at the moment though... everyone is either in class, or already on spring break, I guess.)

I just discovered that the reason the forums haven't been crazy is that for some reason, I wasn't subscribed to half of them. Now I need to catch up!

I need more sleep.

My landlord had a plumber playing with my toilet because the plumbing had been leaking into the suite below (take that, Mr Party of One!)... and the toilet wasn't put back in the same place... leaving a large exposed nasty, grimy stain. Plus there's a significant gap between the floor and the toilet now.

I'm really tired.

I spent three hours this morning tutoring a particularly dense person. Sample of the conversation on my end:
Which array are the companies stored in?
No, that's an array of Strings. Which array is an array of Company objects?
No, that's the array of Strings. Strings are an object, but I want the array of Company objects. Which is the array of type Company?
No, that's the array of type String. Which is the array of type Company? Do you understand what a type is? On this line, point to the type.
No, that's the variable name. Point to the type.
Yes, the [] indicate that it's an array. What type is the array?

Yayyyyyy!!!! it's 4:00 now!!! (I'm letting the current student stay until 4:05 so that he can add a few more comments to his code before the assignment submission shuts down.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
Happy BIIIIRTHday to MEEEEeeeee,
Happy birthday to me!

*hugs* to all my online friends! How do I love thee?

Monday, February 09, 2009


I woke up this morning to the sound of cars driving on wet roads. What do you wear when it rains in February?

There's about a half inch of ice coating the sidewalks. I nearly made it all the way in without falling, but then wiped out about 100m from my building. I have "road rash" on one hand, including a shallow cut about two inches long. (Just barely enough to draw a tiny bit of blood.) Besides that I'm unhurt, but the road rash stings. :(

I wore my Ice Queen today. It is nice, but not good for sleeping on the bus: it doesn't provide as much padding as my tuque, and the beads don't help. ;) (I suspect that bus-sleeping wasn't considered in the design... rather understandable.)

Ice Queen

Ice Queen: Started at the lake in August, abandoned for quite a while, finished on Saturday. Made from Fleece Artist Peter Rabbit, to see if I'm allergic to angora. (So far I think not, although I kept ending up with rabbit fluff in my mouth as I knit this.)

Pre- and post-washing:
Ice Queen Ice Queen
This is version B. I added four more repeats of rows 21-24 since I had sufficient yardage. I used nearly all of my ball (just a *wee* tiny bit left)... there were two knots in the ball, but it also weighed a bit more than the label stated.

Ice Queen Ice Queen Ice Queen
I can't decide if I look like a dweeb in this... or if it'll be warm enough to test this out tomorrow. (It's supposed to be warm enough to rain, so possibly. The forecast is for screwy weather the next few days, with lots of warnings. Perhaps I'll try it out, and just put my regular winter wear in my bag in case it doesn't cut it.)

*yawn*... time for bed!

I have birthday cake, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Birthday Cake

Birthday cake, fresh from the oven: one for work, one for knitting night. Question is, which is which?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Under-Counter Cutting Boards

Under-Counter Cutting Boards

Left: the one that came with my apartment.
Right: one from the apartment across the hall that's being renovated.

Besides being smaller, the "new" old cutting board smells of onions and cigarette smoke. I'm going to scrub it today (apparently the previous "owner" didn't believe in washing it), and then take it to dad's sometime to sand it down. (Given that the old one needed sanding down to slide in and out too, I'm guessing there's something sagging in the countertop.)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Minor Annoyances

Things are generally pretty good around here these days, but there have also been some minor annoyances.

1. Four packages arrived in the mail this week. One per day... *except* the day that I stayed home sick, and thus could have saved myself a trip to the post office.

2. The most expensive package is the one that Canada Post randomly chose to charge taxes on.

3. I forgot my sock bag at the art club Tuesday evening (I brought it because I had stuck the package slip in it, and on the off chance that I felt like working on my socks as I watched paint dry).

4. I didn't discover that I had forgotten it until Thursday morning when I was leaving to catch the bus (since I had stayed home sick Wednesday), and thus didn't have socks to work on while riding the bus Thursday.

5. Since mom was going to the club Friday anyway, I asked her if she could get it for me then... but she forgot. Whoops. (I completely understand... I forget stuff too.)

6. My phone rang once this morning and stopped, waking me up. (Not too early, but still annoying.)

7. I was still in my pajamas when my landlord came to the door, to drop off the under-counter cutting board from the suite he's renovating, to replace the damaged one in my apartment.

8. The new old cutting board is a slightly different size. (Smaller, though, so it just has gaps to each side, and I should put blocks in the back to stop it earlier.)

9. I was about to step in the shower when my neighbour came by to borrow the phone.

10. As I walked over to the club today to get my sock bag, I saw someone stranded in a turning lane with a dead minivan. I helped her push the minivan around behind a business where there were parking spots, so she could wait for a tow without blocking traffic (or continue trying to start the minivan, or whatever)... and although I had no trouble pushing the minivan, as soon as I stopped, my asthma acted up, making it hard for me to breathe. *sigh*

11. After picking up my sock bag, and my parcel (both in the same general direction from my place), I walked home... and my exercise/cold induced urticaria acted up, making my legs itchy and painful.

12. I had planned on going skating today (the weather is *beautiful* out... not too cold, and sunny!), but after having an asthma attack, itchy/painful legs, and getting sweaty (probably also from pushing the minivan), I'm not sure I'm in the mood any more.

*sigh* Right now I'm debating whether I still want to catch the bus over to skate (it would involve at least two buses each way, neither of which is frequent), call my dad and see if he'd like to go with me (and hence drive), or just ignore all the chores that need doing, put my feet up, and watch one of the cheap movies I bought last weekend. That third option is the least good for me, but it's looking the most appealing. ;) (Chores can wait until *after* one of those three options.)

Friday, February 06, 2009


I have been getting some fantastic mail recently!

First up, some *fantastic* fiber I bought with a gift certificate to Tactile Fiber Arts that I won from the fantastic Y Knit podcast:
Prize Mail!
This is three lovely fiber blends (merino-silk, merino-yak, and merino-tencel) in the Thunderstorm colourway, naturally dyed with *indigo*, among other things! (Well, I assume the grey was made with something else.) The merino-silk blend is actually a "sorry, we couldn't find the merino-bamboo you ordered, so here's something to keep you busy while we dye a new batch up" gift! (Had I known that before she mailed it, I would have told her I don't mind waiting. I *love* getting free fiber, but I feel for the indie dyers who are probably not making a huge amount even when the economy isn't in the toilet.) However, now I can *rave* about the wonderfully nice lady behind the business! ;)

Next up, my order from Spunky Eclectic:
Spunky Eclectic Mail
I was ordering from Spunky in order to get some natural grey roving for a pair of thrummed mittens for a friend... and I might as well get my money's worth if I'm paying for shipping. ;) Mmmm... look at all that pretty roving! I've been lusting after a Grafton Fibers batt ever since I saw them at Rhinebeck. The grey roving is Shetland, and the brown is BFL (I haven't seen brown BFL before!). The pink/peach is by Abby Franquemont, and with Abby's experience, I had to try something she blended. :) I was a bit confused about the braid of roving... the photo on the website had been wrong, so it was a completely different colour than I expected. However, I ordered it because it was superwash BFL in the colour "Winnipeg", and I love the colour that it is, so I'm sticking with it. ;) And the spindle... what a pretty spindle! (My first top-whorl spindle.) Here's a close-up:
Cascade St Helens Spindle
The spalted maple is *gorgeous*! It came with a bit of partially spun fiber that someone had tested it with, so I finished spinning that up to try it out. It spins great! It's a St Helens model by Cascade.

Now with 100% more grass!

Painting in Progress

Well, maybe not 100% more, especially since the new grass needs another "layer". ;)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Won't you be my neighbour?

Looking for a two bedroom apartment within easy distance of downtown? I'm hoping to find a neighbour that I like better than the ones my landlord seems to end up with. ;)

No smoking, no pets (the building is becoming smoking/pet free as tenants move out), top floor of a three story building. The suite is being renovated right now: new windows, floors refinished, and kitchen updated (if I remember correctly). There's storage and laundry in the basement. Heat and water are included in the rent. Let me know if you're interested and have questions... I can either put you in touch with my landlord, or answer them myself.

Available March 1.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Ugh... feeling crappy, staying home sick today. I'm not horribly sick, but I have that feeling that I really should be in bed. I called work, and after we looked at the student's assignment's due dates, we decided that spending the day in bed was probably the best idea. (There's nothing immediately due, so getting better rather than worse is the goal.)

Now back to bed. G'night.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Found on Flickr

starry moon


Found on Flickr



Found on Flickr



Found on Flickr

Blue Moon


Found on Flickr

Needle book


Found on Flickr

tia's flock

I love this!

Found on Flickr

On My Desk 365/day 16

I want to make something like this. :)

Found on Flickr

My Baboo Sheep Tea and Coffee Cosies

So cute!

Found on Flickr

I love these!

Found on Flickr

EGMTK! Silk/Bamboo Top Paddock Blend

One day I'm going to order from this shop! Mmmmmm!!!!

Found on Flickr

Recycled Wool Mouse Softie


Found on Flickr

DSC02823 mushroom quilt detail chanterelle


Found on Flickr


So adorable!

Found on Flickr



Found on Flickr


Time to catch up on my "Found on Flickr" posts... starting off with this cutie! :)

Monday, February 02, 2009


Urp... I think my students may have been sharing with me, and not in the good way. Hopefully things clear up overnight, and don't go south. :(

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Found on Flickr

Valentine's Day Give-away!

Cute pincushion! Go check out her blog for more information on the give away. :)