Sunday, February 28, 2010

Trimming The Rainforest

My rubber tree, although lush and green and gorgeous, was threatening to evict me from my living room.
It's growth is uneven too (not enough turning over the years), giving it a lean I am unhappy with.

My scissors are rather woefully inadequate when it comes to trimming the thick branches, so, rather than mangling all the cuts, I borrowed the pruning shears from my parents' garage. I cleaned them up first, since they were kind of grungy, and I didn't want to transfer any outside diseases to inside. (Wow... I didn't know they were spring-loaded! I really should take better care of these more regularly. And the other tools too, I suppose.)

I readied my other supplies: a large garbage bag for the trimmings, and a box of kleenex for blotting the cuts. Then I started pruning.
It's a little, um, homely? But it will come back to its former glory. Hopefully better balanced. And, at least for now, my living room feels much bigger. I can once again get back into that corner to swiffer too... should I ever have time for swiffering.

I'm guessing that's about two years worth of growth I took off... I think the rubber tree was this size when I first moved into my apartment.

Once again, here's "before" and "after", side by side:
Before After


I have new neighbours across the hall. (Replacing two female roommates that I never really got to know.) It's a young couple. I briefly met the husband as he and some friends were carrying in stuff. Seems nice enough... but so *young*! I'd estimate about the same age as my freshmen students. Given what was being carried in, I think they have a baby and a cat. First impressions were good... but then, as I was coming home tonight, I saw a woman smoking by the open kitchen window. *sigh* No progress on making this a smoke-free building. *grump*

Drawing Parallels

My father's parents were born in Austria, and moved to Canada. During the second world war, they were classified as "enemy aliens" due to where they had been born (a country that was unfortunate enough to be occupied by the Nazis), and they had to report weekly to the RCMP. Also during the second world war, ethnic Japanese in Canada were rounded up and put in internment camps. All for no more reason than where they, their parents, or some ancestor was born. The Canadian government eventually apologized.

I was studying in the US when 9/11 happened. Afterwards, students of certain nationalities had to report to Homeland Security. Some of these students were imprisoned. Some students who went home for Christmas break weren't able to return to their studies for months. There was "racial profiling" at the airports and borders, and I suspect there still is. At any rate, people are still being held at Guantanamo, *including* a Canadian, without being convicted of anything at a proper trial. How is this any different, and when will we learn?

Monday, February 22, 2010


Marking is depressing. Luckily I have a backlog of Cake Wrecks posts to catch up on for a quick pick-me-up.

I could use some sleep, too...

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Where did my "Reading Week" go? I want it back! To whoever has it: return it by tomorrow morning, and no one has to get hurt.

Ever been dumped? I recommend the watching "Sita Sings the Blues". Heck, watch it even if you haven't been dumped. (Bonus: It's free.)

On the list of accomplishments for this past week, I forgot:
  • cleaned the toilet
  • had dinner with dad (twice)
  • watched step-nephew's hockey game
Now I can add:
  • washed dishes (again)
  • bought groceries
By the end of the night, I'll be able to add "tackled marking"... even if it kills me. *sigh*

Things from this past week I forgot to blog:

Wednesday someone was pounding on the outer door. I glanced outside, and saw a cop car. I went down and let them in. (They visited the lady across the hall. I didn't ask.)

Tuesday night I was coming back from knitting fairly late (I stopped in at Safeway to pick up a few things before coming home). On one bus, there was an "incident". The guy was standing at the back door, and was having trouble getting it to open for him. I'm not sure how hard he was trying, because it magically worked the instant the bus drive got up to show him how. As the bus was pulling away, there was a commotion. People jumped to the window, the bus driver rushed outside. The guy claimed the bus ran over him. Whenever the bus driver tried calling the cops, the guy said he didn't want to cause any trouble, but whenever the bus driver stopped calling, the guy started complaining again. Finally the driver just decided to call it in anyway, and asked the guy to leave the bus. (He didn't appear hurt. He appeared drunk.) Finally the guy left the bus, but started yelling at the driver. As the bus pulled away, the guy punched the window hard enough to leave a fist-sized dent in the shatter-proof glass. The driver kept driving.

Backstory: In the news a week or so ago, a mentally disabled woman had a bus driver shut the front doors on her before she could get on, and drove over her foot. The driver stopped, and offered to take her to her stop, but didn't call for an ambulance. I heard the story while I was starting to nap on the couch, and one of my first thoughts (before I saw the woman, or heard that she was disabled) was that she sounded like a drunk person. The woman is native, and, sadly, a lot of native people in that area of town are roaming around drunk. I suspect the bus driver didn't realize she was actually hurt, and thought she was drunk and ranting, instead of actually hurt. The reason I'm calling this a backstory is that I suspect the guy on my bus actually *was* drunk, and just wanted to get the bus driver in trouble, after hearing the other story on the news.

Sad. All of it.

Well, time for marking. :P

Microwave Hot Pads

Microwave Hot Pads

One for me, one for grandma, and one for H (already gave H hers).

Pretty Frost

There was gorgeous hoar frost on Thursday:
IMG_2874.JPG IMG_2875.JPG IMG_2876.JPG IMG_2877.JPG IMG_2878.JPG IMG_2879.JPG

Saga of the Drawer Handle


Screws too short:
Screws Too Short

Screws still too short:
Still Too Short
(I can't counter-sink the screws because my drill is too fat to come in square.)

Random Stuff

  • The up-side of small part-of-fridge freezers is that they only take about five minutes to clean.
  • I need to eat more perogies.
  • I suffer from "out of sight, out of mind". (Hence all the perogies.)
  • Unlike freezer-burnt peas, freezer-burnt perogies are still quite edible. (Perogies stayed, peas left. Perogies were made by grandma, and thus get special treatment.)
  • Dead bananas tossed in the freezer with only their skin for protection still deteriorate. (Dead bananas gone now too. Desire to bake banana muffins will require fresh dead bananas.)
  • After tossing the old and decrepit stuff, I now have much more room in my tiny freezer.
  • I believe my habit of cluttering all flat surfaces has to do with my "out of sight, out of mind" problem... I know that if I put something "away", I'll forget about it. Thus everything needs to be "dealt with" before it can be put away. Problem is, once something else gets piled on top, it's once again "out of sight."
  • I need to come up with a new way of compensating for my "out of sight, out of mind" problem.
  • I also need to deal with my amazing powers of procrastination... preferably using a method that doesn't involve lack of sleep... which is what my present method results in. (I can't go to bed until I've done X, but I keep procrastinating X, and thus, not only haven't I done X, but I'm also sleep deprived.) And, um, yes... that's why I'm currently still awake. *sigh* Problem is, I know I don't have enough time tomorrow to finish everything I need to get done.

Things I *have* accomplished over reading week:
  • swept & mopped bedroom floor
  • washed dishes (although they've accumulated again...)
  • visited the antique store to spend my gift certificate
  • drilled holes to attach new old handle to easel drawer, only to discover that screws were way too short
  • visited the antique store to swap the shorter screws for longer ones (still too short), plus spend birthday/fun money
  • finished Christmas present for H
  • help H move her dad
  • visited with neighbour-friend lady
  • caught up on sleep (negating that tonight)
  • went to art club
  • went to knitting
  • made microwave hot pads
  • did laundry (twice)
  • washed throw pillow covers and put throw pillows in closet
  • cleaned freezer
  • dusted china cabinet
  • watered plants (need watering again)
  • showered mermaid vine
  • finished and posted assignment #1 sample solutions
  • finished assignment #2 sample solutions (need to add formal block commenting)
  • answered e-mail and forum questions
  • answered phone questions

Still to do:
  • big pile o' marking
  • so many things around the apartment it would be depressing to list them all

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Pitcher

New Jug

Perfect! That white thing across the top is the offending shelf door that broke the last one... plenty of clearance! And it fits my juice, too. :) (I like to use four cans of water, rather than the recommended three.)

*Gasp*! *WEASLEY*!!!!

Weasley Hole!!!

Fixed now. *whew*

Note to self: knit up some of those sweaters from stash, so I can justify more yarn for a new Weasley!!! This fella's not going to last forever!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Neighbour's Friend's Bike

If you saw this, would you:
a) ignore it,
b) suggest they put old towels or mats under the wheels, or
c) e-mail the photo to the landlord?

This bike has been there on a regular basis recently, and I'm somewhat worried what all that grime and water could be doing to the floor... either rotting it, if it's wood underneath, or causing the linoleum tiles to lift. Are my worries unfounded? Am I overreacting?

Yes, it's not my building, but I am affected emotionally by the condition of my surroundings.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pride Goeth, Going, Gone

This morning I flew ass-over-teakettle, and landed with a great splat, flat on my back. As I hung horizontal in the air, I realized there was no fixing things, and so I just relaxed and let the inevitable happen. I think that's why I didn't actually hurt myself, even though I fell so hard my toque popped off. Either that, or my ample bottom and backpack provided enough padding. I just got back up, dusted myself off, located my tuque (once I realized it was no longer on my head... luckily it was in my hood, which had also fallen back), and proceeded at a safer pace to my next bus.

Note to self: It's icy downtown (with a "dry slush" on top), and seeing that the walk light has switched to the flashing hand doesn't mean it's a good idea to speed up.

When I unpacked my backpack at school, I discovered that my laptop doesn't seem to have suffered any (I should get around to buying that replacement, though... then I'll have a spare!), although the blow was enough to knock the caps off half my pens, and the nib half off my mechanical pencil. My laptop remote has some interesting cracks in the usb part, but seems to be functioning fine too. The leftover cake was unscathed, my juice box was a bit smooshed (no leak, thankfully!), and my epipens are just fine. The bottle of hand cream I had decided to bring in didn't blurp, to my amazement. I'm glad the incident went as well as it did.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Birthday Prezzies

L gave me a pair of KnitPicks Harmony straight knitting needles. :)

H gave me:
• a cool pop-up card with a cat watching the laundry go round, and a laundry line that spells out "Happy Birthday",
• "The Knitter's Book of Wool" by Clara Parkes,
• some *yummy* chocolate, and
• a "help Haiti" fund-raiser chocolate cupcake with a plastic heart ring embedded in the icing. (Guess what we passed on our daily walk? ;) )

My brother is getting me "Amigurumi Knits" by Hansi Singh. :)

Since I haven't managed to bake myself a cake, I'm thinking of stopping off at Baked Expectations on the way home, and picking up a little something for dessert. (Although, knowing the sizes of their slices, it'll only be a "little something" if I spread it out over several nights!)

This morning I stopped off at the campus Starbucks for my free birthday beverage with my gift card I registered online, but was told that the campus Starbucks doesn't honour that. Party poopers. :P

I got two nice compliments in the help centre today (not birthday related, but a nice coincidence getting them today).

Tonight will be a quiet evening... just me, a big slice of cake, and a bigger pile of marking. (*sigh*)

Thanks for all the lovely birthday wishes, everyone! (I don't feel a year older, though...)

Contest Alert

If you don't live in Canada, you can enter a contest over at Heather's blog to win a pair of the nifty Olympics mittens!


I am such a big baby... I want to call in sick because my knee hurts and I'm tired. I won't, but I feel like a suck for even thinking it. :P

It's My Birthday Today! Yes it is! Yes it is!

Birthday Cards

The one on the left is from my grandma. On the inside it says "What can I say? Some card stores have a better selection than others. Happy Birthday" I find it hilarious! My grandma also gave me a really lovely tablecloth that she embroidered.

The one on the right is from my aunt and uncle, and is sweet. :) It was a lovely surprise when it arrived in the mail.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Grumpy: my knee hurts, in a band above the kneecap, and down behind the kneecap. I'm not sure if it's the wacky weather, or if I actually injured it... either by going for daily walks, or by walking through the snow. *sigh*

This morning I was in a fantastic mood. (I think it helps that I got to sleep in, and woke up to the sun shining down on me.) Three hours in the help centre with students that weren't "getting it" wore me down, though. By the end of the day, I *needed* a nap. So I went home and had one. Now I need to get more work done before I can go to bed. *sigh*

It would be nice if my knee would stop hurting. I hope it's not the walks... I like the walks, and I think they're helping me lose a bit of weight. (Not that I've stepped on a scale, but my pants are loosening a bit.)

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Felted Slippers, and Thrift Store Fun

Yay! I finally got around to finishing a new pair of felted slippers for myself!
Felted Clogs Felted Clogs
Well... close to finished. They've been felted now, but I want to sew leather soles on them, so they hopefully won't wear out so fast.

While at the thrift store looking for a glass pitcher (not the trip I blogged about, but one right after the break), I discovered that the place to look for leather wasn't in the coat section, but in the skirt section! I bought two... one that is a decent match for the slippers, and a larger one in a more neutral colour:
Thrift Store Leather
(Sorry for the crappy lighting in these photos.)

The reason I was in the skirt department is because someone told me that's a good place to buy wool fabric for rug hooking. When I'm not broke, and am in the thrift shop anyway, I like to check... since thrift store shopping depends more on luck than "shop to order". (I haven't yet got a big enough collection to design my own patterns, I'm working towards that, though.) I found three great skirts, and felted them along with the slippers. Two shrunk moderate amounts:
Felted Wool Skirt Felted Wool Skirt
but the third went crazy:
Felted Wool Skirt
Hee! (The linings peeking out the bottom should give you an idea of what sizes they started out as. The third skirt I even let out the hem!)

Here they are again, all cut up for storage:
Cut Up Skirts (and one scarf)
(The purple bit peeking out is a wool/nylon scarf that I liked the colour enough to risk the nylon preventing it from felting.)

(Ow. Head hurting agian!)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Thrift Store Fun

Thrift Store Fun


Darcy's Arc Thrift Store definitely has better pries than Value Village. A lot less selection, but better prices.

I was looking for another glass pitcher (for my milk substitute... I'm not sure I'm getting the plastic ones completely clean), but didn't find one. Instead, I came home with two doilies, two china plates, a lunch plate, a Fire King dish that I'll use as a pasta bowl, a saucer that's so pretty I'll use it as a dessert plate (there was no matching teacup), a teacup and saucer (a splurge at $3, but very pretty), a ball of 100% wool yarn, a Hershnerr's kit for making crocheted bells, a book (The King's Grey Mare by Rosemary Hawley Jarman), and some Doubl*Glo Icicles. They say "Flameproof", but also "no lead content"... so I think they're still metal, but not the awesome old lead ones. (I didn't notice the "no lead content" until I got home and was googling them.)

A Lot of Pico De Gallo

A Lot of Pico De Gallo

I took this photo earlier this week. This is after eating some. (It turns out it does last more than 24 hours, if you were wondering.) I *still* have some left, but I've run out of corn chips! I'm thinking it might work in spring rolls...

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Grandma's Amaryllises

One of grandma's amaryllises decided to bloom really close to the bulb.
Grandma's Amaryllises
It's funny.
Grandma's Amaryllises
It looks rather like a really big corsage.
Grandma's Amaryllises
One of the tiny bulb shoots that we've been nurturing has decided to put up a bud too.
Grandma's Amaryllises
I took these photos when I visited her last weekend.

I feel like I just wrote an elementary school level report. However, I'm working on not enough sleep, and feel like crap. Yesterday I went to knitting, and forgot to bring my knitting. If anyone has seen my brain, please let me know where I left it.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Contest Alert

Sharing the love: if you like fabric crafts, game birds and the colour blue, go check out a contest here. This ends your public service announcement.


I won the monthly contest at The Old House Revival Co. blog! It was pure serendipity too... I hadn't a clue what the "guess what it is" item was. Then, the other day I was visiting Lil Fish Studio's blog after seeing some adorable felted wool mushrooms in her Flickr photo stream. I was wondering if they were in her Etsy shop, but in her profile, she only links to her blog, not her Etsy shop. I knew she had a link to her Etsy shop on her blog, so I went there. It turns out her shop was closed at the time, but she had an Etsy badge for her favourite Etsy shops... so I wandered around there. (It was a Sunday morning, and I was feeling clicky.) One of her favourites was in Prairie Antiques shop... which also happened to have the mystery item! At first I was a bit annoyed at stumbling across the item *after* the contest was over... until I remembered it was *still* January (at that point), and so I still had time to enter! Isn't that crazy luck? Stumbling across the mystery item on the *last* day of the contest?

At any rate, I'm really excited to go shopping! :) (I won a $50 gift certificate.)

Monday, February 01, 2010


Headache again. I gave up and took some tylenol... I haven't had any tylenol lately, because I ran out, so I figured it wasn't as bad.

I broke my nice glass pitcher that my great-uncle and wife gave me as a housewarming present. It was sitting on the counter as I prepared to wash dishes. There's an under-cupboard shelf with door that swings down... and I didn't get it quite latched. It fell down and smashed the pitcher. :( Besides breaking a nice present, that was my juice pitcher, and now I don't have a juice pitcher. *sigh*

Plus, it's midnight, and I'm not in bed yet. I'm debating whether to read a chapter before bed, or if the help centre will be empty enough tomorrow that I'll be able to get some class prep done then. If I take that gamble, and it isn't, I'll probably need to skip lunch and my walk... which I really don't want to.

Today I went grocery shopping because I had a craving for salsa after reading a recipe on Pioneer Woman Cooks. I printed out both the salsa recipe, as well as one for pico de gallo, figuring I'd decide which I'd make based on what ingredients I could find. Turns out the grocery store was out of cilantro (why is it that, whenever I'm looking for Italian parsley, all I can find is curly parsley and cilantro, but now that I actually want cilantro, I had to choose between curly and Italian parsley? I know they're not the same plant, but I decided to make do with curly parsley, since it was cheaper.) I wasn't able to get the "Ro-Tel", and anything approximating it contained celery (allergy), so I decided to make pico de gallo. Turns out that, unlike the salsa which lasts quite a while, the pico de gallo is only good for about 24 hours. *sigh* I decided to make it anyway, and will toss the rest in the food processor and call it salsa if it does turn soupy after that. (I'll have to use my mom's, though, because I don't have a food processor.)

I also made salad for the week (yay me!), and some roast beef wrapped gorgonzola for my lunches. (Fancy, I know... they were handing out samples in the grocery store, and it was tasty. And hopefully relatively healthy.)

Now, with all that food prep, plus washing a week's worth of dishes... it ended up being midnight when I was done. *grump*

Well, I'll have a look at how long that chapter is, and then decide whether or not to read it tonight. (Where did the weekend go?!? I have too much work to do!!!)