Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Gah! I waited 25 minutes downtown for a connection (normal wait is about 10 minutes), and then the construction traffic was worse than usual! I arrived 37 minutes late. :( I talked to my boss, and I'll be staying late for the next few days. *sigh* (So much for getting to pottery faster today!)


I talked to Mrs C while waiting for the first bus today. Turns out that the chase the other day started in the back lane, and hit three residents' cars and a tree before speeding away. :P


Last week I painted the fence and brick border. This week I shaded the fence and border, and started working on the flowers some more. I intensified the colour with glazing on the orange ones, and added highlights with white to the pink ones. I still need to intensify the colour on the pink ones, and do more with the foreground foliage.

I'm really liking this. :)

Here's a before and after comparison:
IMG_3213.JPG Poppies, getting closer to done
(I forgot to take a photo after last week's painting session until I was about to start painting yesterday... but didn't have my camera with me. Whoops.)

Monday, June 28, 2010


I just witnessed part of a car chase. I heard a bunch of squeals and pops, rather like when someone rear-ends someone else at the intersection near me... but several in a row... then an SUV sped off. Two cop cars sped *right* after it (I suspect they had been waiting for the vehicle, which did a u-turn when it saw them), then an unmarked car with lights flashing, then another cop car. I heard another set of sirens while typing this up.

Looking out my kitchen window, I couldn't tell if anything else had been damaged during the "squeal and pop" phase.

I hope they catch the idiot(s).

Update: Looks like it was a stolen car, just as I expected... and the "pops" were probably between the stolen car and a police car. Brief news article.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Contest Alert!

To win a fantastic Lil Fish Studios prize package, click here and enter! The deadline is 9 pm EST on Canada Day (July 1, for those who don't know), and is open to entries worldwide! (I sure hope I win!)

Bud Bloomed

Discovered Saturday morning:
It's Thumbelina!

The seedlings are getting unhappy in the window...
IMG_3299 IMG_3300
I think I'll just go ahead and plant them in the bed the way it is, and worry about turning in the peat moss and sod once things dry out. Otherwise, I think I'll lose pretty much this entire batch of seedlings anyway. :(

...Or How Bad My Grammar Is.

Bad Grammar on a Local Sign

Urgh. Another tragic grammar death.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


To the so-called "Black Block Protesters": You disgust me. I disagree with many things the current government is doing, but what you are doing is not protest. It is not Canadian. It is illegal, violent, destructive, criminal... disgusting. What are the issues you are trying to bring attention to? I have no idea. In fact, I think you don't have any. You're just a bunch of immature vandals who get their jollies by causing destruction. This is not a video game. Grow up.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Another thing

Another thing I keep forgetting to blog: apparently someone wanted to know how well birds survived after being caught in the oil spill, cleaned, and released. Most died within 7 days. (Likely due to oil that was ingested before they were cleaned.) I think I heard this on CBC's "As It Happens"... yup, looks like it was the June 21 episode.

Cleaning oiled birds: good PR for the oil companies, not necessarily a good thing for the birds.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Yesterday's bike ride: 15.5 km.

Neighbours: I got a visit from one of my neighbours this morning (the rather nutty Mrs C). First she asked if I had seen J, the lady across the hall with all the problems. She wanted to know if J had paid me back, because she heard that J had finally received her child tax support back-payments. I said no, but I wasn't really worried about it. (I hadn't really expected to be paid when I did the babysitting, I did it to help out a neighbour in need. And I earn more than she does.) I think Mrs C was hoping I'd get on J's case to pay the both of us back. Sorry, crazy lady; if you want your money, you'll have to take it up with J... and given that I heard that Mrs C's daughter stole stuff from J (earrings, $50), I suspect that will be a tough battle.

Neighbourhood: You know that window sign I posted about this morning? Well, it was gone by this evening. Signs keep going up and then coming down. I wonder if there's multiple people living there, and they all have different opinions on the signs? Or if the person living there is just a paranoid nutjob? (He's installed all sorts of security cameras... maybe he didn't like my taking a picture?)

Ask, and ye shall receive

Apple's website shows much prettier pictures, but here's the new laptop (13" MacBook Pro) with the old one (15" Powerbook G4) for comparison.
IMG_3272 IMG_3271 IMG_3270 IMG_3269

Huh... Flickr is letting me try out its new interface now too... hopefully I won't implode from all this change! (I generally get stressed out by change. So far I'm hanging in there. ;) )

House down the street

House down the street

Remember that house I blogged about a while back, with the weird signs in the window? (I know I blogged about it before, but I can't find the post now. Found it!) Well, this sign seems to explain what happened... some guy (not the owner) tried to sell the house!


(In the "new toy" category... I used my new laptop and iPhoto to download the photo from the camera and upload it to Flickr, rather than how I used to do it!)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I'm blogging from my new laptop... do I sound faster? ;) How about more compact, with lots of memory? Sleek and shiny? No? You can't see the difference? Oh well... I guess it must be the same old me at the keyboard. ;)

Just thought I'd say hi, while waiting for MacTex to download. (1.28 GB... that's one honkin' big package!)

I haven't used the auto-migrate yet... there's a bunch of old junk on the old laptop that I don't want migrated over here. I'll try it out in a bit, though, to see if I can select what does and doesn't come over. (It's been about six years since I last did this process... I forgot what the options are!)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Good Thing I Don't Live Where There's A Water Shortage

This morning, after a leisurely wake-up, mom called just as I was getting out of the shower to say they were going for a bike ride, and would I like to join them? Of course!

We biked up to, but not into, Kildonan Park, because traffic in the park was a zoo. (Father's day.) I think my uncle's odometer said the trip was 11 km. It was a lovely day for a bike ride.

However, I needed a shower when I got back... only an hour after the first! Oh well.

*Something* I'm allergic to is having wind-borne-sex outside right now. According to the Weather Network, grass is moderate, and spores are high (prevalent spore is "Coprinus")... so it's hard to say if it's the grass or the spores. I do know I'm allergic to freshly cut grass... but then I'm also allergic to mold. Blech. I washed my face, and I think I'll go try my neti pot too.

I foolishly thought "gee my allergies don't seem to bad right now, maybe I won't take my antihistamine today" this morning. I took it after my second shower, when the allergies noticeably kicked in... but nothing's happened yet. Last time I went to buy antihistamines, the store was out of my usual (Allegra), so I thought I'd give Claratin another chance. It's been years since I used it, so I hoped my body had forgotten it's resistance to it. Either it hasn't, or waiting to mid-allergy-attack is a *bad* idea. :P

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I need a shower

This afternoon I went biking with my uncle again. (Yay! We're going again tomorrow if it isn't raining. :) ) We biked to The Forks (and a bit past) and back: 12 km. (The part where we lost the bike path added a wee bit to the distance.) It's the last day of the Truth and Reconciliation Event, so we got to see a bit of the pow wow.

After coming back, I started my laundry, and then took my caretaker for a walk. We had a longer walk that last time... about 50 minutes. (I know, because I was timing my laundry so I knew when to flip it.) We don't walk very fast, because he's not a fast walker. The mosquitoes were nuts out, and I have a zillion bites.

So... three reasons I want a shower: sweat, chain grease (not as much as last time, but both legs), and mosquito bites. However, my good towel, bathmat, etc, are all in the wash. *grump* Perhaps I'll figure out dinner while I wait.

While I was walking my caretaker, one of the things he told me is that the daughter of the couple in my building that gets drunk on occasion, who has basically been living here for a while, from what I can tell, works "the oldest profession there is". Ew. And apparently the guys below me have hired her. I'm not sure he knows this for sure, or just strongly suspects it... but still. Ew.

That reminds me... a guy from my credit union called last week, wanting to know if I wanted to invest some of that lump of cash sitting in my account not earning much interest. (He suggested a TFSA, but I've already maxed that out in another account that has higher interest rates.) I said that I wanted to keep that available, because I was hoping to buy a house once I had a higher income. He asked me a few questions... and it looks like I could actually get a house *now*, with my current income! (They can approve a mortgage that's a higher percentage of your income than what the online calculators say.) I still think I would like to have a higher income before buying a house, but it's something to think about...

Now with Window Chard

Today I decided to add some of my window chard to my shrimp pasta.

Harvested young Swiss chard:

Shrimp pasta with Swiss chard (added 2-3 minutes before cooking finished):

Window chard after harvest:

I'm A Sucker For Cute Ribbon

Michaels had their ribbon on sale.
New chart magnets coming soon. :)

Oh... and Michaels has strip magnets too. The 2' roll is more expensive than at the dollar store, but the 10' roll works out to the same price per foot... plus I was able to use a coupon on it. :)

Friday, June 18, 2010


Oh, look, it's 1979 all over again: That was Then, This is Then (The Rachel Maddow Show). Top kill, top hat, junk shot... it's all there. Heck, there's even an Alaskan pipeline burst. (Why aren't we hearing about that on the news? Is there a reason why oil spilling in pristine wilderness isn't "news"? Perhaps because it's "business as usual"?) Apparently the only thing that's changed is that now we're drilling in deeper places, with no better technology to stop spills.

Why, oh why, won't the Harper government stop the drilling in the arctic? I shudder at the thought of what will happen when (not "if", "when") a blow-out happens there.

I saw a program ("H2Oil") the other night on TV, about the Alberta tar sands.

It feels like the world is going to hell in a hand-basket.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bicycle Butt

First bike ride of the season: twice around the block. (I didn't have my helmet with me.)

Second bike ride of the season: over to the neighbourhood park and back.

Third bike ride of the season: ~15.5 km... north on the Main Street side of the river, over Chief Peguis Trail, and south on the Henderson side of the river.

Time for a shower.

Other reason for shower:
Bike chain contains less grease now. (Ankle out of frame to protect delicate Victorian sensibilities.)

View from the bridge:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hello, I'm Bud

Hee! There's a bunch of poppies with mini-buds on them. I wonder if they'll bloom in miniature before I plant them?

My bay "tree" has new growth! It's been pretty touch-and-go. It started off with scale insects (I got a discount on it because of them). I treated the scale insects with neem oil, which cost *way* more than my discount! The insects finally seemed defeated... and then the plant dropped nearly all it's leaves. Thankfully, it also started budding out new leaves. However, it was just one batch of leaves, that slowly hardened into mature growth. For the longest time, there was no more growth. Today I checked, though, and *yay*! New growth! There's a shoot coming up from the top, and another shoot that must have come off a bud-site below ground on the cutting (it appears to have been propagated as a cutting, not seed growth), because it's popped out of the dirt about a centimetre to the left of the "trunk". Hopefully I have a happy bay now. :)

Speaking of poppies, I got to go painting last night, and worked on my poppy painting. Here's two photos, one over-exposed, and one under-exposed:
IMG_3209.JPG IMG_3213.JPG
I'm including both, because it's easier to see the details in the light area in one, and the details in the dark area in the other. (In person, I can see both details just fine.) I'm not done yet, but I'm certainly getting closer. :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Can You See The Difference?

Recently my landlord got his plumber friend to fix the shower drain: the original pipe design prevented it from being snaked. (It has been making me deliriously happy to shower while not standing in ankle deep water... I assume this will pass (the feeling, not the ability to drain), but for now, I'm enjoying it.)

In order to get to the pipes, he had to cut a hole in the ceiling in the apartment below mine (sorry neighbour!), because there was no other access. Then the old pipes had to be cut. All this vibration caused my floor to vibrate, and bounce dirt out from under the loose tiles that I hadn't realized were loose. (Conversation that led to the discovery:
me: "You missed some dirt when you swept up, but thanks for sweeping up. Where did the dirt come from? It doesn't look like there were any dirt-causing activities in my apartment."
landlord: "All I did was run water in your tub, the dirt must have been there before."
me: "I know my apartment isn't clean, but I know what dirt is and isn't there."
Then I did some poking around, and discovered the loose tiles, plus more dirt under them.)

Anyway, after discovering the loose linoleum tiles, I asked about getting them glued back down. The caretaker will be in on Monday to do so.

Given how my last complaint about the plumber leaving dirt in the bathroom resulted in the caretaker caulking *over* the dirt (without making an attempt to remove the dirt first), I decided it would be best to get rid of as much dirt as I could before the caretaker showed up with glue. (*shudder*)

Cast of characters:
Shiny new bucket, ammonia (to strip the old finish off), el-cheapo scrubby (I couldn't find a nylon-bristle brush when I went shopping on Saturday), latex-free disposable gloves (not perfect, but they at least cut down the amount of ammonia-skin contact), and (not shown) an old hand-knit dishcloth that has reached rag status.

Goal: strip any old finish, do a really good cleaning job, then apply Future floor polish. According to this website, stripping is done with straight ammonia. (*gag*) Here's a sequence of "before" (but after sweeping, on left/top) and "after" (on right/bottom) stripping photos.





I'm not sure the photos show any difference, but there is a difference in person. Stripping with ammonia and rinsing with water took *forever*, and, given the colour of the rinse water, I could probably do this step again. This step will have to be enough before my caretaker comes tomorrow.

Steps still to do:
• possibly a second stripping
• water + vinegar rinse
• wash with Armstrong floor cleaner (pre-finish cleaner recommended on the bottle of Future)
• another water + vinegar rinse
• polish with Future
• perhaps polish a second time... it's been a *long* time since this floor was taken care of, and I suspect the first coat of Future might just soak right in.

I've noticed that Future is an acrylic polish, and a lot of online sites recommend paste wax for linoleum... anyone know pros/cons of Future vs paste wax? (Beyond Future being much easier to apply, of course.) It looks like something similar to Future was used many years ago, so I suspect that going the acrylic method won't be causing any harm.

Anyone want a tour of my sparkly bathroom floor after it's all done? (But please ignore the grunge in the rest of the apartment.)

Of course, after all this is done in the bathroom, I need to repeat the process in the kitchen... a *much* bigger floor, and with more obstacles. I'll move the chairs out, but there'll still be the table, and I also want to do under the stove and fridge. (Two very scary places right now.)

Anyone know where to buy a respirator? :P

Oh... one last thing for this post: anyone have any suggestions for dealing with the stain beside the toilet? When the toilet plumbing was fixed, it didn't end up back in quite the same spot, and the hidden tiles had gotten stained. (By water. I'm telling myself it's water stains, plus maybe some rust.) Thoughts I've had so far: bleach (after making double extra sure all ammonia residue is gone) or paint (I'm pretty sure this tile will be replaced when I move out... a nice decorative border wouldn't hurt anything, would it?)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Garden Update

Rain, rain, go away. We've got too much, you're drowning the farmers' fields, and I want to dig the apartment garden.

Hello. My seedlings are all still in the apartment windows.

My window chard (which was meant to be window chard) is now the size of baby greens:
After taking this photo, I broke off a leaf and munched it. It tasted green, and faintly bitter. (I think swiss chard is supposed to be bitter, so that's not a complaint, just an observation. I think swiss chard is also normally eaten cooked, but figured that wasn't important when it was this young and tender.) Looking at it, I have enough baby greens for a side salad (if I wiped out my crop), but figure it would cook down to nothing if I actually attempted cooking with it. Perhaps I'll just graze a bit for now... lately my veggie intake is pretty low, so grazing would probably be good.

My seedlings, which are meant to be going places, are also still in the window:
(The aloe there on the left is staying, of course. Speaking of it, it has another sprout.)

When I was checking on my seedlings this morning, I discovered a wee tiny flower bud on one of the poppies!!!
IMG_3189.JPG IMG_3190.JPG
Isn't that crazy? The seedling is only about two inches high, and the bud is minuscule! I really need to get these planted outside.

When it became obvious that several pots weren't going to sprout, I planted a few more cedars, and a bunch more calendulas. I love calendula seeds... they're so vigorous! I have no idea why two of the original bunch didn't sprout... especially when, after putting another two seeds in that spot, I now have three! All of the new calendula seeds sprouted. :) I have more cedars now too:
I'm positively tickled that I was able to grow cedars from seeds that I collected myself. :) I'm going to make one of them a bonsai, and then plant the rest in the apartment garden, after checking with my landlord. The garden could use some height, but cedars won't pose the same problems that the elms would have. (Plus, the elms were dying, were *immediately* next to the foundation, and were pruned to look like ugly shrubs.)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


I *finally* placed my order for my new laptop tonight! (I've only been planning this since last fall, with the intention to order around Christmas time...)

Now to twiddle my fingers until the sweet little thing arrives. :)

(Back to reviewing papers... *sigh*)


While in the washroom a few minutes ago, I was doing what one does in the washroom. As I was finishing up, I moved in such a way that put strain on the zipper... and it decided to give. One of the teeth popped out, and the pull is now only attached to one side. I now have a paper towel tucked into my waistband, like a mini apron. I informed the student in my office that we will just pretend like it hasn't happened.

I can't wait to get home.

I travel home by public transit... but thankfully it's cool enough today that I brought a coat, and won't look strange if it's zipped up.

Note to self: keep one of those kilt pins rescued from a recycled skirt in the office.

Update: Photo of the stoooopid zipper:
Broken Zipper

Find God

Living Water
For those who thirst

That is the text on the front of a book one of my students tried to give me yesterday, right as I was closing up the help centre, and thinking about the pile of papers I still had to review.

I told her I'm an atheist, I'd talk with her about it later, and try not to burn in hell before then. (She did her shy/nervous laugh at that.)

I foresee awkwardness.
1. I'm not supposed to accept gifts. (Yes, I realize that this is something that the religious groups give out for free, which kind of blurs the line on whether it's a "gift".)
2. I need her to feel comfortable coming to me to ask about computer science questions.
3. I have no desire to be "saved", and was brought up to believe that lying is wrong.
Hmmm... perhaps I should have a quick chat with my bosses.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Chart Magnets

Chart Magnets
Fun ribbons! :)

Monday, June 07, 2010


Yesterday I managed to make both banana muffins (saved for me!) and Granny's Chocolate Cobbler. Mmmmm! Chocolatey heaven in a pan! It had cooled down by the time I got to it, but it was still yummy! It's like a mash-up of moist chocolate cake and chocolate pudding. I can just imagine what it would be like served hot with ice cream!!!

I happened to have two "servings" let after the barbecue, and took them both in to work today... one for me, and one for H. Granny's Chocolate Cobbler sure makes a Monday better!

The barbecue was wonderful... just what I needed. Good food, good neighbours, and a perfect sunny day. :) One neighbour brought his deep fryer and made from-scratch fries and battered fried pickles! Amazing!

PS: Granny's chocolate cobbler is easy-peasy to make (if you brown sugar hasn't hardened into a lump like mine had). I didn't need to use the skim milk powder... I remembered I had buttermilk in the freezer, and that worked.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Some People Walk Dogs...

...Today I walked my caretaker.

He had a stroke last fall, and found out (while being treated for the stroke) that he has high blood pressure and diabetes. Among other things, he was told to get a certain amount of exercise. However, since the stroke came on while he was out for a walk, he's been rather scared to go far from the apartment, since he wouldn't be able to phone for help then. Instead, he's been walking the apartment hallway.

Now, if this was a real sized apartment, this wouldn't be too bad. But it's a tiny apartment block... and so the length of the hallway is two stairways less than the length of my apartment. He uses a deck of cards to keep track of how many times he's paced back and forth. (Each time he moves a card from on step to the lower one.) I feel bad for him.

Tonight, after putting a load in the dryer (~58 minutes), I saw that he was doing his pacing. Rather than going upstairs and washing dishes so that I could cook dinner, I decided to take him for a walk around the block instead. After circling twice, I asked if he wanted to go again, or if he had enough. He decided that was enough for today.

Usually when I see him pacing, I'm busy with lots of other stuff. I think I'll try to make time for him more often, though. (It's not really exercise for me, because he doesn't walk very fast.) I'm thinking I should also introduce him to the 96-year-old gentleman in the neighbourhood who still walks daily, but has been getting more and more frail looking... the two of them could act as security for each other. They only live half a block away from each other, and if they made arrangements by phone (and called afterwards), they'd even have some security for that half block that one of them is alone.

While out and about on our walk today, I introduced him to my dad's dog, Nicky. He noticed the chives beside the sidewalk that were blooming. I think he recognized that they were related to onions, and remarked that they looked nice. I said I planned to put some in the apartment garden, and said that they were edible. I picked one for him to try. Then I said that even the flowers were edible, and picked one of those for him too. He said he planned to put it in his potato salad. I picked one for myself, and ate it on the spot. I hadn't eaten one of the flowers before... they're quite good. I thought they were supposed to be stronger tasting than the leaves, but it seemed milder to me.

In other news, weather conditions have not been favourable for gardening yet again. (The ground is sopping wet.)

Today I washed the shower walls and tub (that took quite a while, since it's still draining slowly... the landlord is going to have his plumber friend in), did laundry, washed dishes, cooked shrimp pasta for dinner, made hummus for lunches, and baked bread. I also sat and talked to the new neighbour for a bit (I'm trying to get his dog used to me, so it doesn't bark whenever I go to my mom's), and called my grandma.

I meant to bake banana muffins for the neighbourhood barbecue tomorrow, but it got too late to start them tonight. I should be able to manage that before it starts. I also want to try the "grandma's chocolate cobbler" recipe I saw on Pioneer Woman Cooks (a Tasty Kitchen recipe). I'm not sure how much cocoa I have, and I know I don't have milk... but I do have skim milk powder, and that might work just as well. If it looks like I have time, I'll check what ingredients I have. ;)

Thursday, June 03, 2010



Curses... 24 stitches per inch, and the dried swatch now claims to be almost exactly on gauge. By switching from the bamboo needles (used in the swatch) to my slippery, pointy knitpicks, I should get gauge with the recommended size needles. (I will, however, *definitely* need a camisole.)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Lying Swatches

Before washing and blocking:
After washing, while still wet:

When it was wet, it measured at 16 stitches and 23 rows per four inches. I calculated that as being approximately 20% off of the required 19 stitches and 28 rows per four inches, and so switched from a 5mm to a 4mm needle.

I really wanted to start knitting (for real!) last night, and so cast on for the back.

This morning, now that the swatch has dried, I'm getting several more stitches and rows per inch on the swatch. *sigh* I figure I'll knit for a few inches, and see what sort of gauge I'm getting then.

Other factors to consider: The sizes given step from a 42" bust to a 46" bust, and I measured my bust at 43". That gave me a choice of 1" of negative ease, or 3" of positive ease. Which do I want? Alternately, I can knit the larger size at a slightly smaller gauge for a slightly less loose knit. (I have enough yarn for the larger size.)

To figure out what kind of ease the top is meant to have, I look at the photo. It says what size the model is wearing (in inches), and gives the model's size... but using a different method of measurement!!! Her size is given as "size 6". What the F@&% is a "size 6"?!?!? Are there even two garment manufacturers that agree on what a "size 6" is? Heck, if you took two tops from one designer, both a "size 6", they'd probably be different sizes! (If for no other reason, that they are supposed to fit differently.) Gah!

I guess I'll just knit for a bit, and see how it's looking.



I will name him George, and I will hug him and pet him and eat him...

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


I have a spitting headache. I could:
1. Go to bed.
2. Do the dishes.
3. Procrastinate doing the dishes, thereby accomplishing neither #1 nor #2.
Since I suspect any attempt at #2 will actually result in #3, I think I will go for #1. I have enough dishes that I can get by tomorrow. :P

Swatching for Flow

Flow Swatch

Berroco Seduce is a very strange yarn. After looking at the thickness of the yarn (skinny!), and the recommended needle size (fat!), I decided I need to swatch... and not only swatch, but wash and block the swatch.

I'm not 100% sure I won't feel naked if I wear this. (Holding it up, I can watch TV through it.) I'll probably need a camisole underneath. (A red one.)

I need to make the swatch a bit longer before washing and blocking. I want to be sure.

Weaving in ends will be entertaining... I'll probably sew ends together using matching thread. I can't imagine them not popping out otherwise.

If it does work, it will be pretty, though.

O Crappy Day

I have no idea why or what's up, but it feels like my antidepressants aren't working today. Nothing is actually going wrong, it's just an ordinary day. I figure I'll put on a normal face, and just plow through. (How is it that my dictionary doesn't have "plow" in it?)