Monday, August 30, 2010

Stores Are Mean

I have allergies. Finding soap (and shampoo, etc) that I'm not allergic to is a challenge. There were two soaps that my grocery store carried that I could use. Then they stopped carrying one. Now they've stopped carrying the other. Sadness. Frustration. I *hate* having to buy a million different bars before I find something that works.

The first one was a glycerin soap by Henri Bernard, which they sold for $1.99 per bar. The second is this honey-glycerin soap:
(that's the empty package... the last bar is in the shower now) which was three bars for $2.99. Here's the ingredients:
Does anyone (in Canada) know where I can buy this now? Please?

My grocery store has started stocking a new glycerin soap:
but (a) I don't know if I'm allergic to it or not, and (b) it's $2.00 for a *tiny* bar. It seems a rip-off, and I'm already grumpy with them for discontinuing my soap (without telling me, so that I could stock up). So far, I'm refusing to try this new soap, just on principle.

I tried three different stores today, and found this one possible substitute:

I seem to recall there being a smelly mall store (name escapes me right now) that has glycerin soap that I'm not allergic to... but again, pricey, and I have to go into a perfume-headache-inducing store to buy it. :(

Wearing Out

Poor old washrag. First it was a favourite dishcloth. Now it's a favourite rag. Looking at how thin the string is, I'm not sure it will last much longer even as a rag. It was a gift from Sara. I have started knitting my own dishcloths using this pattern, but it will still be sad to see it go.


I stopped in at the Trading Post this afternoon, and bought beads!
(Beads are pretty.) Why do I need beads? I'm thinking of adding decorations to the birch bark canoe I started making at the cabin for my cousin M. Oh, wait... I haven't blogged the birch bark canoe (or virtually anything else about the cabin). Here's the canoe in progress:
Does anyone know what a $150 birch bark canoe looks like? (I'm making a replacement for a stolen one.)

I bought the bodkins because they look easier to use than safety pins, and didn't know about them before. I had heard the word, but didn't know what they were. They're for threading cord/elastic/whatever through fabric... uh... tunnels(? ...can you tell I'm not a seamstress?). The two items on the right are for making my vintage thread spools into Christmas ornaments. :)

The long things are actual dyed porcupine quills! (I had always thought of porcupine quills as being much longer... around 6" or so. Who knew they were so short?)

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Ah ha! I'm *not* a whiny complainer! My landlord was over earlier (someone was here to see the apartment across the hall), and Mr Party-Of-One was playing music at his current level. The landlord asked who was playing music (I told him), and then asked if it was "always this loud?" I told him it used to be much louder (back when I was complaining about it), and that if it bothers me, I call Mr Party-Of-One and he turns it down.

Heck, it was maybe half the volume that it used to be, and the landlord thought it was unreasonable. I am *not* the whiner I worry that I might be. :)

The Corn Was Excellent

Remember this?
It's my bathroom floor. (Sorry about the nasty toilet ring... that's been taken care of now.) My intention today was to tackle the rusty spot that used to be under the toilet:
the oily area from the messily installed seal:
(sorry about the focus there), do another stripping of any remaining old finish, wash the floor *thoroughly*, and then apply a new coat of finish.

Step one was to work on the rust. I cut up a lemon, squished it down around the toilet:
and left it while I cooked myself a nice meal. (Since lemon is a grease-cutter, it's also squished down around the other side.)

A while later, I threw out the lemon bits (after grinding them into the floor a bit more) and got out the sponge mop to do an initial wet-mop. I filled the bucket with warm water, plunged in the mop, pulled the leaver to wring it out... and:
IMG_3714 IMG_3715

I used the sponge part to do the damp mopping, and decided the rest could wait until I had a replacement sponge. *sigh* (I didn't take more photos at this point, since the floor was wet. I don't think the lemon made much difference on the rusty area, but looking at it now, I think the oily area is a bit better. I'll take more photos later.)

Since the inside temperature had risen to 24C (even though it was 15C outside) and humid, I shut the windows, turned on the AC, and had a nice, relaxing shower.

Well, I made the mistake of blowing my nose (foolish me), and so had the shower *after* my nose stopped bleeding. *sigh*

My tasty meal made from farmer's market meat and corn:
(I trimmed off the bone and fat and put it back in the freezer for making stock later. I know you're not supposed to re-freeze meat, but it wasn't thawed that long. I re-froze the second steak too... I could only buy a pair, not a single steak.) Sadly, due to the steak being a rather thin cut, I accidentally overcooked it. It still tasted pretty good, though.

The corn, however, was *excellent*.

Weather, Apartment

The past two days have been hot (why didn't I have that weather at the lake?), but today it is cooler and raining. Thursday I had the AC on all day, but turned it off at night, since it was cool in the apartment. I woke up Friday to a rather warm apartment, and the AC had trouble cooling it off... so I left the kitchen AC running last night.

This morning, I woke up to a perfumy-smell coming from below. I don't know what Mr Party-Of-One does Saturday mornings, but it frequently involves this smell. (Cleaning? Grooming? Other?) I'm contemplating asking him if it is possible for him to achieve his goals without scenting up my apartment, but can't decide if that interferes too much with his rights to do what he wants in his apartment. Luckily it's cool out, and so I opened the windows. (Although it's raining, the rain is coming straight down, so having the windows open is okay.)

It seems silly to have the AC running all night when it's cool out, and then switch to open windows in the morning.

The annoying thing about having the windows open is that I occasionally smell cigarette smoke in my apartment. (Like right now in my office, or earlier in the kitchen.)

I don't think it was supposed to be this wet... there was supposed to be one brief rain shower. (I had expected to go bike riding today.)

The rain does mean I'm off the hook (still) for doing the gardening around the apartment.

On tap for today: laundry, apartment cleaning (washing dishes, and reducing the clutter some... perhaps also working on cleaning the bathroom and/or kitchen floor), burning DVDs for dad.

Hmmm... I think I'll go start dishes (in a few minutes), and then work on the floors. Given that the windows are open, it's a good day to strip, clean, and polish the floors. (I'll probably do the kitchen in stages, though, due to the kitchen table, fridge, and stove. If it wasn't so disgusting, I'd ignore under the appliances and just work around the table, but I want to do a *thorough* job at least once, first.)

Farmer's Market

I went to the local farmer's market yesterday. I picked up some pasture-raised steak (tonight's dinner), a cob of corn (ditto), garlic, blueberries (mmmm... all gone!), and a really cool carving that was stupidly-cheap:
I told the guy he was underpricing his lovely work... can you believe he only charged me $15?!? And then included a puzzle for free? There was a lady there who was selling her embroidery for incredibly cheap too... like a throw-pillow for $5, or 3 for $10. The pillow *inside* probably cost $5!!!

Speaking of hand work being undervalued... click here for a post that tries to fight this.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm Back

I'm back from my week in heaven. (You have my permission to be jealous.) Heaven was somewhat nippier this time of year than I was expecting, but it was still heaven. No one accepted my offer to accompany me up, and so I spent the week alone. (Most thought it too far. Foolish heathens.)

I had a hard time sleeping last night (falling asleep as well as staying asleep), and then had to drive for a gazillion miles today (heaven is a long way away... but totally worth the drive), so I'm exhausted. Plus it feels like I have grit in my eye that won't wash out, and moisturizing drops aren't helping.

Besides all the loons on the lake, which are a given, on the trip home I saw: one live deer (near the side of the road on the opposite side, so I slowed down while it decided what to do... thankfully it was spooked back into the bush by an oncoming car), two dead deer (both appeared to be headless, from what I could tell as I whizzed past... what happened to their heads?), a coyote (live), ducks (live), lots of crows (all but one alive), a hawk (alive and swooping low over the road), what might have once been a porcupine (but now very dead roadkill), and way more dead skunks that I wished to smell (mostly near the southern part of the trip, and not all I smelled were also seen... although, thankfully, a few were seen in time so as not to be smelled).

I need to get up early to have the rental car in before 9:30 am... I didn't manage to make the 6:00 pm closing time. (Whoops. I'm blaming the fact that the sun wasn't up when my alarm first went off, and I wasn't getting up in the cold *and* dark.)

I'm going to bed now. Assuming I'm not crazy-busy with everything not-heaven related, you might get a longer, more illustrated report later.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Guessing Game

I have a hand-me-down breadmaker. It works fine, but figuring out how much time is left can be entertaining. For example, what would you guess if you saw the following:
Without knowing which pixels are burned out, and which are live, that first digit could be a 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, or 0. (I suspected it was a 1 because it only takes three hours total, it had been going for a while by this point, and the bread was still unbaked.) The second digit could be anything besides a two, and the last digit could be a 6, 8, or 0.

I figured that if I recorded a few times, I could figure out which pixels were live, which were burned out, and thus have a better idea of what time was left.

A while later:
Hmmm... that could be 0:40... I'll know for sure if I wait until it changes. After another minute:
Yep, the previous one was 0:40, and this is now 0:39. This next one also looks like 0:38:
Checking back a bit later, I found another live pixel around 0:20 (or 0:26 or 0:28):

Mapping this out, I get:
where red are dead pixels, green are live ones, and black are unknown.

Wasn't that fun?

Experimental Cooking

I made some stuffed mushrooms for dinner tonight, but they weren't all I was hoping they'd be. So I took them over to my dad's, to see what he thought. On the way, I met one of the new neigbours. I offered one to him (explaining they weren't what I'd hoped), and he enjoyed his so much that when I asked if he'd like another, or like one for his girlfriend, he gratefully accepted one for his girlfriend. I took the rest to dad's, and now they're all gone.

I guess they weren't so bad after all. ;)

Thinking about it from the new neighbour's perspective... how strange must it be to have someone you've never met wander by and offer you a stuffed mushroom? Somehow I suspect that's a rather rare occurrence.

Monday, August 16, 2010


There's a car alarm going off somewhere within hearing distance, but not close enough to be really annoying.

I just got back from biking over the CPT (yay!), and deposited a cheque (and withdrew more cash) en route (yay). However, when I passed by Sub Zero, it was a half hour before it opened (boo!). (I was going to try to convince them to bring a cone out to me, so I wouldn't have to leave my bike. However, no ice cream for me!)

Landlord is still working on the neighbour's water. The control thingy in the bathtub blew, and so I didn't have any water at all for several hours yesterday. In the evening, I had hot and cold in the bathroom, but only cold in the kitchen, so no washing dishes. :( I chatted briefly with my neighbour, and apparently the problem started on *Thursday*!!! That means that three suites on that side of the block haven't had *any* water since then (I think). I understand being frugal, and wanting to do it yourself... but there comes a time when you need to understand your responsibility to your tenants and hire a professional. Sheesh. And really... how hard is it to remove the old gadget and put a new one in? (Hint: while you're at it, put shut-off valves right below the gadget, while you have everything in pieces anyway... and then the rest of the block can have water! And that suite can have water everywhere except the tub.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Light Meal

Pretty *and* tasty! (It's on a small plate, so it looks like there's more there than there is.) Sustainably caught (according to the logo) wild pacific cod, and the rest of the chanterelles from the farmer's market, both with fresh parsley and lemon (plus other stuff). (Approximate recipe for the chanterelles here.)

The cod was a bit tricky... the package contained two filets, but they were the long, thin type, and *firmly* frozen together. :( I managed to chop the block in half, so I can save the other half for later. However, then I had to coax the two halves I was cooking apart so that I could season and cook each side.



Yay Bike Ride! (And Other Ramblings)

Yay bike ride! My uncle and I managed to get out this morning between rain showers, and the air temperature is *awesome* for biking. :) I could have biked much more, but it was starting to rain, and I have a mountainous pile of dishes waiting for me. *grumble*

These "I can't catch up" piles of dishes seem to occur when I bake... it appears that I can do baking or dishes, but not both. My intention this fall is to come home early (as soon as the help centre hours are over, which is usually 4:00 during the regular terms), cook a proper meal, and not let the dishes pile up.

Of course, this relies on me getting all my class prep done in the mornings. (I'm teaching Computer Usage again this fall, and I don't have Windows on my mac.)

After the bike ride, I took my uncle's car for a short test drive. He wants to get something bigger, and ___________ (more reasons, which I won't go into here, but not actual problems with the car itself, beyond it not being what he wants). It's a VW beetle.

- I know my uncle wouldn't hide any problems with the car (like a stranger or used car salesman would).
- I'll want a car when I get a house, and when I get a house, I'll have no money for a new car.
- Excellent gas mileage. (The trip to Flin Flon would cost me half as much.)
- Cool factor. (Although not as cool as a Mini... but then Minis have memories for me.)
- Hatchback.
- Ass heat. (More commonly referred to as "heated seats".)
- AC.
- *Really* adjustable driver positioning.
- It would solve the question of how I'm getting to Flin Flon this year. (Although renting would certainly be cheaper, if this was my only concern.)
- I wouldn't need to borrow my mom's car to go grocery shopping any more.
- Trailer hitch.

- Stick shift. (I don't have strong feelings either way. Especially since I live in the land of flat.)
- Diesel. (I can't drive behind diesels, but I didn't notice anything in the car. Other than that, I have no opinion on the pros & cons of diesel over gas.)

- I might be getting my brother's car when he moves to California next year (waiting to hear if his plans with regards to the car have changed), and it's likely cheaper, and has more space.
- My expenses would go up now rather than later. (Insurance, gas, maintenance.)
- No rear windshield wiper.
- Really low to the ground. (Could be a problem in the time between a snowfall and when streets & back lanes get plowed.)
- Two door.
- It would put a dent in my safety padding in my account... although I could recoup most of that if I treat my fall teaching position as a car payment. (The help centre covers the bills, but doesn't provide spending money, so it would be a lean term.)

If I do get it, I think I'll replace the current fake flowers with a nice fake gerbera daisy, or maybe a chrysanthemum. (I'll get a quality one from Michaels, not a cheapo one from Dollarama. Fake flowers vary a lot in quality, and I'd like a nice one if I'm going to have one.)

In other news, I bought a new bathing suit yesterday. (I can still squeeze into the old one, but it doesn't fit like it used to.) The one I ended up with looks quite good on me. R & I amused the store clerk with our giggling and jokes. (One I can remember is "this is an area I don't want to draw attention to, so let's put *sparkly* things right on it!") I told her it was okay if she laughed along with us. I mentioned that she must hear lots of giggling, being the clerk near the bathing suits, but she said that mostly she hears moans of despair. We all agreed that bathing suits were designed by men, not women.

I still don't know how or when I'm going to the lake, and there won't be anyone there to *see* me in my swimsuit, but at least I'll be clothed if someone drives by in a boat.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Risotto with Chanterelles

Mmmm! I saw chanterelles at the farmer's market today, and had to try them! I used half in this risotto, and put the rest in the fridge. Now my fridge has the most incredible smell... I think it must be from the chanterelles. The only other thing it could be is the leftover risotto, but I've never had it scent the fridge like this before. (Hmmm... I also have leftover chopped onion that I didn't seal up as tight as usual, but I don't think that's the main contributor.

Anyone have a "must-try" recipe for the rest? If not, I'll saute them like the guy suggested.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gorgeous Pottery!

While she was in town, M and I exchanged our swap... she gave me this *gorgeous* pottery she made, and I gave her a pair of crochet socks.


Another one done, another one started. (I was going to work on a WIP instead of starting a new one, but I wanted something brainless.)

Very Yellow Socks

As a result of the conference, in addition to getting to see folks that I haven't seen in ages, I also made lots of sock progress. I finished off this pair (most of one sock), and started the next pair (first sock to the heel).

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Thrift Store Finds

The fun new cutlery I found:
Isn't the black handled spoon neat? They actually had two, but one had a bit of the black worn off.


Over the next week or so I'm going to be fixing some image links in old posts, and possibly removing some things... so if you see old posts popping up in my feed, that's why.

Saturday, August 07, 2010


Oh no! My adorable dalmatian suffered a shipping accident:
However, a dab of glue, and a bit of yarn to hold the ear while the glue dries, and I'm sure he'll be back to normal soon:
Good thing I know crafty first aid. :)

New Stash Yarn

It was the wool fumes...


Finished the Rowan Calmer washcloths... now on to kitchen cotton dishcloths:
I love this pattern as a dishcloth, and have missed it since my last one got relegated to rag status. The round ones I knit before ended up too big and loose, and so I used a US 5 needle for these, and they're perfect. (I think... I'll be putting this through the wash and then testing it later today.) I love how the striped ball of yarn had each "stripe" line up with a wedge. :)

It's nice how I've knit this pattern so much now that it's now a "brainless knit" (well, it takes a wee bit of thinking, but not much), since I finished the Noro scarf. I have a big stash of kitchen cotton. (A while ago, Michaels had it on sale for $1/ball, and so I bought all the colours I like.) Dishcloths will probably end up my "knit between student questions" project. (Student questions come often enough that I can't do something that takes concentration, but sometimes I have dead time between them.)

Noro Knit Scarf

Finished one of my "brainless knits" the other day... a Noro 1x1 ribbed striped scarf. Once I wash it, I'll put it away for winter.

Thrift Store Finds

I stopped at the thrift store on my way home on Thursday, because my dad wanted me to look for teaspoons. (The stores he had been looking at were out, I knew this one had lots in the past, and I love stopping at thrift stores!) I thought I'd share some of my fun finds with you. :)

Cookie Cutters:
I have an awesome gingerbread recipe, and enjoy making gingerbread houses at Christmas. (When I have the time and space, that is!) There was a bag of cookie cutters for $2.50, and I could tell it had some I wanted... like the Christmas trees. (Useful for both separate cookies, and decorating the "houses".) I didn't need as many as were in the bag, but I didn't want to ask if I could break the bag up, and I think that copper tree would cost around $2.50 by itself if it were new. I think the duplicates would make fun Christmas tree ornaments if I tie a ribbon around them. :)

The bag of thread spools was $1.99, and I bought it for the cool old wooden spools... they would also make awesome tree decorations! The newer thread I've added to my stash. Again, the whole bag was cheaper than a single spool of decent quality new thread. (The spool of purple thread is puzzling... it looks hand wound or something!) I'm a bit undecided about the Aero thread spools... their thread is still in excellent (and thus usable) condition, but they'd also make great ornaments.

Canadian Social Studies Atlas:
I love atlases, especially old ones. Although old ones are out of date, it lets you know what the world looked like at that time. (This one is copyright 1952, last printed 1953.) For a while now, I've been wondering what was where Israel was just before Israel was created.
In 1815, it was part of Turkey! That doesn't quite answer what it was around 1940, but it was still interesting.

Another fun fact. People often wonder where my online username, "Noricum" comes from. Well, here's a map:
See that province just above the boot of modern-day Italy? Around where Austria is these days?
Well, that's the Roman province of Noricum. (Of course, *I* discovered Noricum by randomly flipping open my dictionary, looking for a reasonable username that wasn't already taken.) My heritage is half Austrian. :)

One of the fun things about this being a schoolbook is that you can make guesses about what different homework assignments were.
I think one of them was to count all the indian reservations (IR) in Manitoba. (The student missed a few.)

Other fun facts in the atlas:
Routes of the crusades:
Routes of the explorers across the oceans:
Routes of explorers across Canada:
There's *lots* more fun things too!

This isn't all of what I bought at the thrift store... I bought a few neat pieces of cutlery for myself, three more neat pasta bowls (probably actually soup bowls, but I use them for pasta and salad), a nice plaid shirt that doesn't wrinkle when washed, a few cute buttons, a tin with mallard ducks on it (that will make a nice gift for my dad if I fill it with baking), and a sturdy wine bottle opener. (My neighbour bent my wine bottle opener, and so returned it bent, plus a rusty one she found somewhere.) Including my dad's spoons, I spent a whopping $15.03. Definitely cheap entertainment!


Neato! A Tardis for allergy sufferers! (Adding it to my mile-long mental to-do list...)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


All done.
I'm all out of Rowan Calmer.

It's like a big layer-cake of squooshy softness.

This last one reminds me of a beachball.
It makes me happy. :) I'm feeling an urge to spread happiness... perhaps tomorrow? (Where "tomorrow" is defined by my sleep cycle... by the calendar date, it would be today.)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Soft Stitch Markers

Nine more sets made. However, since I've been "doodling" more sets (ooo... all the pretty wool beads...), I still have four more sets to go before I get my TV tray back. I should stop doodling.

Double Gack

I just realized that all my bras were still hanging (in full view) in the hall "closet" (no doors) where I had hung them yesterday to air dry.

Definitely not suitable for company. :(


My landlord just came by to see if I knew what was up with my irresponsible neighbour. (Her lease was up yesterday, but she hasn't removed all her stuff... some of which is quite decent.)

The reason for the "gack" is that I had been washing dishes, and thus was drenched in sweat and wearing crap clothes. Plus, because I get so sweaty, I had left my shower until after washing dishes. (Yup, I'm a real sight right now.)

Plus I still need to get my apartment to a state where I'm not embarrassed to let people see it. (Clean the clutter, then clean the dust. Achoo!) I feel like my place makes me look like a hoarder. (I need to get an honest opinion on what my place looks like from someone who has been here recently.) I'm not a hoarder, but I do have pack-rat tendencies that I am working on.

I really need to get my desk out of the hallway. That one thing will make an incredible difference in how this place looks.