Saturday, July 31, 2010

Three R's: Reuse

I'm a little short on flower pots right now, and can't seem to find ones I like. However, since this pepper is only for a season or so... an ugly pot is fine.
Did you know that sorbet containers make great pots? The lids are nice and deep, so they hold the drainage water fine. I cut four holes at the curve where the sides meet the bottom... much easier than trying to pierce holes in the flat bottom, and probably more effective too.

"Super Chili" is still super small... I'm guessing size was limited by the toilet-paper tube starter-pot it was in. Both Super Chili and Little Blue have moved to my mom's porch for the time being... my self-pollinating wasn't working, so I decided to see if the bugs could get some peppers going. Fingers crossed!

Last Night's Dinner

Last night's dinner started with a yummy salad:
Ignore the fact that it's out of focus... isn't it pretty? That's red romaine lettuce from the farmer's market, green leaf lettuce from the grocery store (bought previously), blue cheese crumbles, extra virgin olive oil, and aged balsamic vinaigrette. It was so good, I had another salad just like it tonight. (And, given that dinner was rather light tonight, I'm considering having another one!)

Last night's salad was followed by wild caught pacific halibut (with the sustainability logo):
Yeah, I reused my dish. Dishes are piling up, and I haven't worked up motivation to wash them. (I really should have done them today... perhaps I'll at least start them tonight.) I like thinner fillets with this recipe, but the halibut was pretty good (if expensive). I bought cod at the same time, and it was cheaper (while still having the logo). I'll be trying it next.


I did it! I sewed a pair of pajama pants! (I also replaced the elastic in a pair that needed a looser elastic, but was otherwise okay.)
The butterfly pair is the pair I made from scratch, from a pattern I devised using my favourite, disintegrating pair. I could have made these a bit longer, and perhaps a bit longer in the seat... but on the whole, they are definitely a success. :) Plus, I *finally* used the fabric I had bought for them. (Now to make a matching top, assuming I have sufficient fabric, and then sew two more pairs with the other fabric I bought.)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Neat House

When I bike over the CPT, I pass this house on the way home:
Isn't it fun?

I brought two water bottles with me today, and so didn't run out. :)

Gel seat review: it moves around a bit, I noticed myself sitting more "forward" than I probably should be, I have to lift my leg higher to swing over the bike, I felt less "mashed" down there.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Guess who stopped at the farmer's market on her way home?
That bunch started out about four carrots larger... they didn't all make it home for the photo shoot. More have since met their demise. Isn't the red romaine lettuce pretty? (And dirty! Romaine sure can hold the gumbo. It spent the night soaking... it finally stopped shedding dirt on the third bath.)

Good news: I'm still okay with eating young, fresh carrots. :) There's a little tingling, but nothing too annoying.

I predict that tomorrow's lunch will be a gorgeous salad, leftover carrots, and the last wedge of focaccia.

How many carrots do you think I can eat before my allergy acts up? (Stoopid allergies!)


I won a contest over at Vintage By Crystal! *happydance* (Her vintage spun cotton creations are adorable! Check out her etsy shop!)

I want my TV table back

Lately my TV table has been occupied by a few circular knitting needles (one of which needs re-gluing) and a bunch of stuff for making soft stitch markers. I want it back. (Yes, I eat dinner in front of the TV... it's not like I have anyone to keep me company. Breakfast is eaten with the radio.) So, I decided it was time to get around to making the planned stitch marker sets so that I can put the rest of the supplies away. Although it is still occupied, it's a bit tidier:
(yes, that's tidier than it was!) and I finished four sets:
I had more time tonight, but after a few, my fingers start to get sore.

Hopefully I'll have these done by the end of the week, and will be able to return to eating dinner on the TV table, instead of my lap. (My lap poses a much higher mess danger.)

Also completed tonight: chart magnet in a ribbon pattern a friend requested.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hot/Cold Pack

I have a large hot/cold pack, but I wanted something smaller for icing my plantar fasciitis. So I bought some flax (and ran short, and bought some more), cut up a holey t-shirt, and made one. I sewed a rectangle, then added some dividers to prevent the flax from falling away from the part I wanted iced. I found that the dividers were thin places that ended up where I was trying to ice. So I sewed neighbouring channels together on each side of the bag, essentially creating a box construction. (This last bit was done by hand, and so took a while.)
I put it in the freezer last night, and tested it out this morning. It is *wonderful*!!! I highly recommend flax and t-shirt material for cold packs! Together they provide great contact and lovely squooshiness. It only cost me $5 too... although, had I bought all the flax at Superstore, rather than buying additional flax at Safeway, it only would have cost $3... the flax at Safeway is twice the price. :P

Pretty Sky

The sky was pretty on Monday night, and I thought I'd share it with you.



Too bad it had to come with *crazy* heat and humidity. (It was a day worthy of a NC summer... not a NC heatwave, but a NC summer.)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bike Ride

Today I rode over to Kildonan Park, over Chief Peguis Trail, scouted the best routes to Kildonan drive, and then finished off down Brazier. (Without stopping at Sub Zero, wah!)

Bike seat holes before ride:
and after ride:
Poor bike seat. When I stopped in B&B to get some chain grease, the guy said that some people sew their own seat cover. I may try that. I certainly have enough random scraps of fabric from various people.

Paper towels after wiping bike chain:
I wonder what makes it so black? Ground metal? Red River gumbo? The oil didn't start out black...

Also entertaining, I rode faster than the Paddlewheel Queen. As I was exiting St John's Park, it was a bit ahead of me:
but I was a bit ahead of it by Kildonan Park. I had to wait a few seconds to take this next photo:
Not only did I get there first, but I had to travel some distance perpendicular to the river. (Not that a paddlewheel river boat necessarily travels terribly fast...)

As you may have noticed from the photos, it was a gloriously sunny day. Rather hot too. I finished my water about two thirds of the way through my trip. (It was rather hot by then, too.) I think I may need to take two water bottles, and start off with some ice in the bottle.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Plantar faciitis is hurting. It's been two weeks, so I stopped taking ibuprofen three times a day. Then I stood for a few hours while washing dishes. Then I bused and walked to Zellers and Safeway to pick up some inexpensive, non-custom orthotics (one pair for my sandals, another pair for my slippers). All that standing and walking made my heel *HURT*.

Sadly, I'm still not done with the dishes, and I need to do more standing to cook dinner for tonight, and do lunch prep for next week.

I think I'll take some ibuprofen and ice my heel for a bit. :(

Jean Quilt Upate

I woke up earlier than usual today, so I used the time to add more patches to my jean quilt.
I sewed on eight more before deciding to leave the rest for another time. I think I'm gaining on the holes, though. ;)

Note: In addition to former seams, areas beside pockets seem to develop holes too, especially by pocket corners.


Some sort of chemical perfume smell is coming up from the apartment below again. :( I'm thinking it might be hairspray or something similar. I can smell it in both my bedroom and my office.

I tried opening a window, but there's no breeze, and so that didn't help. (I might have had better luck opening more than one window, but it doesn't look like there's any breeze anyway.) A neighbour has started cutting his grass now anyway, and, since I'm allergic to freshly cut grass, I've switched to AC.

Me, Biking

I'm the one with the orange vest and big bum.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ahhhh, Glorious Shower!

I straggled upright earlier than usual this morning in order to join my family on a bike ride. I didn't bother showering first, since I knew I was going to get sweaty. (Boy, was I *gross* by the time I got back!)

We rode around 26 km... we went to the BDI for ice cream, and returned via Whittier Park. We weren't going very fast, so it took us several hours.

Although it was gloriously sunny, it had rained heavily last night. Did you know it's possible to get so much Red River gumbo on your bike that it's no longer possible to pedal? (And then you have to walk out of the mud patch!) The patch looked damp, but it didn't *look* like a mud trap! It took a few minutes to scrape the goop off enough to ride. (I should have taken a photo, but I didn't think of it.) When I got home, I hosed down my bike. (I was going to use a bucket and a rag, but mom insisted the hose was fine.) It's nice and clean again. :)

I need to remember to get some chain grease.

The holes in my bike seat are getting bigger.

My... um... "bottom" was well tenderized by the time we got home. I wonder if bike shorts would help with the holes and tenderization? (Do they make bike shorts for fat people?)

I think I'll have a bit of a nap before tackling the mounting pile of dishes...

Thursday, July 22, 2010


hot babe knit
Who on earth searched for me using my real name and "hot babe knit"?!? (And is he single and cute?)

PS: This was on my page, not this blog.


*sigh*... I'm still allergic to cherries. The other day when I had them, there was a bit of tingling in my mouth. Today it's mega itching. I guess I'll be giving the bag away.

At least I can eat the blueberries I bought.

The Omnivore's Dilemma

On Jess's recommendation, I picked up The Omnivore's Dilemma from the library.

Conclusion after reading chapter one of part one: if a disease develops that wipes corn out, civilization will collapse.

Correction: this conclusion was after reading section one of chapter one of part one. But the conclusion didn't change after reading the rest of the chapter.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Someone Didn't Think Things Through

My neighbour across the hall will be moving out shortly. My landlord and caretaker are renovating the suite so they can charge more. Looks like they had extra mortar after setting the tiles, and so used it to "patch" the sidewalk. (Very little effort was put into smoothing the patches... not that they'll stick.)

Apparently it didn't occur them to mark the patches as being wet.
(Some other idiot wrote something, and grabbed a handful, but part of the mess looks accidental.) There's mortar in the grass, on the building door handle, the mat in the entrance, and on the linoleum on the stairs and halls.

I look forward to owning my own house. *sigh*


1. *Finally*. I got an e-mail this morning that my benefits have been sorted out... but I'm to submit my claims through her, to "make sure there's no more problems." (Another friend who deals with the same person figures that it's so that she can have a few more weeks to contact the insurance people.)

2. *ow*. Last night after knitting, I looked at the cookbooks for a bit before leaving McNally Robinson. When I left, it was around 10 pm... when the buses don't run that often. Halfway across the (large) parking lot, I saw my bus. Since it could be quite a while before the next one came, I ran and waved madly. I did catch the bus, but *ow*, my plantar fasciitis *hurts*! My heel feels really bruised. *wah*

3. Mmmm.... pasta!
Long ago and far away, I had a boyfriend who would cook me amazing meals. Many were recipes from the pasta section of The Silver Spoon. It turns out there's now a cookbook called The Silver Spoon: Pasta, that has an expanded version of the pasta section from The Silver Spoon... and instead of being $50+, it was on sale for $10 in the discount section of McNally Robinson. Woo hoo! Of course, I still have to do my own cooking and clean-up... but I guess I can't have everything.

I didn't have the right ingredients for an exact recipe from the book last night, but I did whip up a great meal using inspiration from it's pages. Yum!

4. The other day, Little Blue finally opened up a second flower, so I could try cross-fertilization:
Of course, after I took this photo (and before I got around to blogging it), a third blossom opened up. There doesn't appear to be any pollen on the paintbrush (or on the stamens, for that matter), but I try anyway, just in case. The first blossom has fallen off now, so we'll see if the little nub grows into a pepper, or if it shrivels up and falls off.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Found On Flickr

Back of Seascape in Felt...

Ooooo! Pretty!

Found On Flickr

Linen and yellow bag

What a lovely bag! You can even buy the pattern.

Found On Flickr

all set for small accidents...

This has got to be the cutest emergency kit ever!

Found On Flickr

Carved Moose Antler and Chechen Top Whorl Drop Spindle

*drool*... this is *so* pretty. I found his shop, but he doesn't ship the antler ones outside of the USA. *pout*

A Good News Story

I've been hearing so many horrible things in the news, that it was a relief to hear a good news story on The Bottom Line. (Thank you, David Suzuki, for giving hope along with the bad facts.)
Self-described 'radical' farmer Joel Salatin shares his ideas on how to revolutionize the global food system.
I googled the name, and came up with this website about his farm. Happy cows, happy chickens, etc, all being rotated around a small parcel of land in a way that makes use of nature. Cows eat perennial grasses. When the section they're eating gets mowed, they get moved onto the next section. Three days later, the chickens are sent in to eat the maggots that are living in the cow patties, before they can hatch into flies and cause a fly problem. The chickens scatter the cow patties, helping to fertilize the grasses. A couple of weeks later, the cows are back in that chunk of lush field, and the circle of life continues.

On The Main Ingredient, an interview with someone developing a way to grow veggies and fish in the same tank... in a "back yard" sort of way.

Happy thoughts!


Note: This post is so I can vent in a way that doesn't involve yelling at actual people. If you aren't in the mood to read a venting rant, feel free to ignore this post.

Aaaaargh! I *still* don't have my benefits straightened out! It's been over a month now that I've been calling them. (I started calling June 14, when my dentist notified me that my coverage has been cancelled.)

I have claims from this spring I want to submit. I can't submit them until they get my benefits retroactively reinstated. (They were fine in the fall when I had my previous dentist appointment. I was slow submitting my spring claims due to a crazy-busy schedule last term.)

The question isn't whether I'm eligible, but whether to call me a sessional or casual employee. (Some of my jobs are in one category, some are in the other.) My total hours clearly give me benefits, and the benefits don't even differ in cost or what I get! The only differences are that one has the year starting in September instead of July, and one front-loads the payments so that benefits continue over the summer when you may or may not be working.

In either case, I would have paid all my benefits by now, so just flipping bill me for whatever I haven't been charged yet, and let me submit my claims!!! Figure out the rest later! I don't *care* which you call me. Sheesh. Grumble.

I politely asked them to expedite my case, since they've dithering for over five weeks now. (Apparently, part of the problem is that they keep going on vacation. Given the current financial state of the university, they are probably somewhat understaffed too.)

I would *not* have paid ~$500 for a decent pair of glasses (including eye exam, frames, lenses), if I had known that I wouldn't be able to claim at least part of it. Pharmacare has decided my income level means I need to pay around $1000 before they start helping me with my prescriptions again. I WOULD LIKE TO SUBMIT A CLAIM OR TWO, IF YOU PLEASE!!!!

Gah. Ms "We're Working On It" promised me an e-mail by the end of the day. Probably because I asked if I could have her supervisor's information, so I could find out what is going on. Last time she told me that her supervisor is looking at the case, which is why I asked for the information... but she perhaps thought I wanted to complain about her. If it gets things moving, I'm not going to enlighten her as to why I wanted the information. She did offer to have her supervisor call me when she gets out of her meeting... but I'm in an office with no phone.

Grump. Whine.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I hurt. I woke up around 5 am this morning feeling swollen (torso, arms, hands, neck) and arthritic (most joints, but particularly the hands).

I'm not really sure what caused it.


1. Mango sorbet. (I am allergic to mango, but there probably isn't a lot in there, and my allergy to mango is usually an itchy mouth... not that I've had any recently.)

2. Fuzzy peach gummies. (Although not a usual food, I have had these in the past with no problem.)

3. Bike ride. (I pushed myself on my bike ride yesterday, but I did listen to my body, and eased back when I felt like I should. Plus, feeling swollen is an odd reaction to exercise.)

4. Weather. (But the weather was crazier on Saturday, and I didn't hurt then.)

5. Pruning a tree yesterday. (But then, my right hand should hurt more than my left.)

6. Running out of vitamin D supplements around a week ago.

I think that last one is my main suspect. I bought more yesterday, so we'll see if I start feeling better.

Monarch Butterfly

This afternoon I saw a monarch butterfly! (I'm pretty sure it's a monarch, rather than the other kind that I confuse with monarchs sometimes.) It was pretty skittish, but eventually settled. I got one reasonably close photo:
Monarch Butterfly
then crept closer. I was about to get a fabulously close photo when... a car drove down the lane and startled it. I decided against waiting for it to settle again. (I waited a bit, just in case, but didn't wait too long.)

Happy butterfly day to you!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Jean Quilt

I love how my scrappy jean quilt gets better with every random patch! I sewed on three new patches today (over the worst holes), but it currently could probably do with a dozen or more small patches. ;)

Current state of the jean quilt:
(You can see one of today's patches: it's the dark blue patch in the upper left.)

Patches ready for sewing:
These are scraps left over from hemming my dad's pants. I ripped the seams today, and then ironed them flat to make them easier to handle. (The patches I sewed on today were kind of curly where the seams had been.) I expect I'll apply at least some of these next weekend.

While I was sewing anyway, and the thread happened to match, I whipped up two more gift bags out of recycled skirt lining. I still have more lining to make into bags, but didn't feel like switching to the matching thread at the time. ;)

Accomplishments today:
1. Washed the majority of my dishes. (I'll get the rest tomorrow.)
2. Baked "Grandma's Chocolate Cobbler". (Yum!) I messed up the recipe a bit, but it turned out great anyway. (I ran short of white sugar, and then didn't read the quantity of sugar for the second part properly. I ended up adding more than enough brown sugar to compensate for the missing white sugar. Turns out too much sugar isn't a problem in this recipe!)
3. Prepared patches for my jean quilt.
4. Sewed three patches on my jean quilt.
5. Sewed two gift bags.
6. Did laundry.
7. Finished another baby wash cloth. (I'm getting quite a stack now!)

Hempathy Hand Towel

I *love* the feel of the Hempathy fabric now that it's washed! (I machine washed & dried it today.) I'll definitely be buying more to make a tank top. :)

Here it is before washing:
and after washing:
Yeah, my gauge changed halfway through. It didn't grow when washed... quite the contrary. The stitches tightened up a bit. I knit the hand towel using most of two balls of yarn. (I had a tiny ball left over... I didn't want to risk running short in the ending garter-stitch border.)

"Action" shot:

Thanks for the yarn, PaperMonkey!

Yet Another Benefit To Living Alone

Yet another benefit to living alone: the ability to snack on chives without anyone complaining about your breath.

Mmmm! Window chives!

Note to self: Brush teeth many times before dinner with mom tomorrow.


Wow, there sure is a lot of lightning and thunder today! I've switched to battery power on my laptop, just to be on the safe side. (The lights are flickering with some of the shots.)

I can see blue sky to the south, and dark angry clouds to the north. The rain is pounding down at the moment. (It's been coming and going... I'm guessing I'm on the edge of the storm.)

I could have gone bike riding yesterday, but I was a complete zombie. I slept until around 2 pm, and was in a haze the rest of the day... half of which was spent at the computer, the other half watching TV. Besides answering some work e-mails, I accomplished *nothing* yesterday! (Although I did find a *really* cute house on MLS. Not that that's an accomplishment, but it's nice seeing that they are still available in a price range I would consider, once I have a better income.) I've been quite tired lately... I'm wondering if it's related to the ibuprofen my doctor told me to take for two weeks? I guess I'll find out in a week when I stop taking it.

Today: dishes, laundry (at a minimum), and hopefully getting some other to-do items crossed of my list. I wish I could have gone bike riding today, though. (I wish I had gotten myself moving and gone yesterday!)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

No Win?

Sometimes it's really hard to make the correct choice for the environment. For example:
Looks good, right? It's made from recycled paper (a large portion is post-consumer), and there's even a message on the front of the packaging along the lines of how you're thinking. Turn it over, though:
...and you discover that it's made in France, and assembled and packaged in China.

1. How can it possibly be economical to manufacture something in France, assemble and package in China, and then sell in Canada? (Aren't these assembled and packaged by machine anyway? How can the machines be cheaper in China, unless it's because they don't have to follow as many safety and environmental regulations there?)

2. Which is better for the environment? Buying the non-recycled content post-its that are made in the USA (another option I had), or the recycled content ones that have made a round-the-world trip before you buy them? Which uses less oil and other non-renewable resources? Is it better to consume non-renewable resources to reduce trash and save trees?


(Unless someone has a better suggestion, I think next time I'll go the tree-killing method... assuming it's still an option to buy relatively locally the next time I'm running low on post-its.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Things That Make You Go "Hmmmm..."

A few days ago, Dad sent me a link to this video on how basa (catfish) is farmed in Vietnam. Some parts didn't really faze me, but other parts... ew.

Tonight I decided to have fish for dinner, and guess what was in my freezer? Basa. From Vietnam. I was going to eat it anyway, and just not buy any more... but I couldn't.

Then, in tonight's depressing TV, I watched The End Of The Line on CBC's The Passionate Eye. It's about the fish stocks... those that have already collapsed, and those that are about to collapse. It was pretty grim.

1. Stop buying basa from Vietnam.
2. Avoid buying fish from countries who likely have dubious fishing or fish farming practices.
3. Buy fish with the sustainability logo, rather than "what's cheap".
4. Never buy bluefin tuna. (Figures I remember: 10 units would allow stocks to recover, 15 units is sustainable, the international consortium put quotas at 29.5 units, fisherman are ignoring the quotas and fishing 60 units. I can't remember what the specific units are... I think it's 1000 tons... but at any rate, we're about to lose the bluefin tuna.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Little Blue" Pepper Flower

IMG_3401 IMG_3400
I love how it's growing so symmetrically!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Franklin Update

Franlin update from Kim:
Franklin learned his name very quickly and now comes running whenever he is called - and now DEMANDS to be cuddled after every bottle (and every time he sees me!) Such a little charmer! His voice is very tiny - at first - but as his need for the bottle and cuddles increases, he finds the volume control and cranks it quickly!
He sounds like one smart cookie! (If only I were able to be there to help out with the feeding and cuddles!)

Friday, July 09, 2010

B L tas-T

I had some tomatoes that were showing their age, some lettuce I had been ignoring, and some French bread languishing in the freezer. So, on the way home, I picked up some bacon. The bacon went in one skillet, and I toasted the bread in my grill pan.
Mmmmm! Was it ever good!

Can you really fault me for having a second?
Besides, I had to finish off the tomatoes I had sliced.

I fried up the rest of the bacon and put it in the freezer, so I only have clean up all the grease once. When it's time for the next BLT (lunch tomorrow?), I'll crisp it up in the microwave. (That's what Subway does, after all.)

Tonight's dinner was probably a bit high in saturated fat, salt and chemicals (from the bacon), but hopefully the veggies counterbalance that.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Meet Franklin

A week and a half ago I went on a day trip to Sheeples again. There I met Franklin:
(Previously known as #16. He didn't have a name yet, so I got to name him.) Franklin is a bottle baby (his mom isn't feeding him enough). We became good friends, he and I.
Do you think the landlord or caretaker would notice if I brought home a sheep? He's real quiet, and would help mow the lawn...

To read more about the Sheeples trip (and, more importantly, see more photos!), click here.

Baby Blues

I finished the baby blue washcloth, and gave it to the mom today.

IMG_3394 IMG_3395 IMG_3396 IMG_3397

She loved it. :)

Odd Poppies

To the left of the front stoop, Mrs C planted some poppies she got from her sister. Most are the standard poppies: red with a black centre:
Some are odd: red with a white/yellow centre:

Again, red with black centres:
red with white/yellow centres:
I've never seen ones like this before. Are they normal? Albino?

They're messing with my mind. (I do like them, though.)

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


Shoot... I blew my nose, and started a gusher. (Sometimes I hate my nose/allergies.) I guess I'll blog instead of showering.

Poppy update:
I'm loving it. :) I need to do a bit more with the greenery (I've sketched in the leaves I want to add), but I'm pretty close to done now. :) Before and after comparison:
Poppies, getting closer to done IMG_3389
(I brightened the pink poppies last night.)

Uh... whoops. The other day I noticed I was stretching the yarn quite a bit while knitting, and consciously loosened up. Apparently, between that and the extra loops the wraps take, I ran a bit short. I've tightened back up, and hopefully that will take care of the problem. Question: is this still nice enough to be a baby gift?

Blogger comments seem a bit buggy at the moment... they make it through eventually, but I thought I'd mention that that's why it's taking a while for your comments to be moderated. Sorry.