Thursday, June 30, 2011

And That's The Kind Of Day It's Been

Today was oppressively hot and humid.

I started off the day with a dentist appointment. (Just a bi-yearly cleaning.)

Approaching the dentist's office, I realized that it was going to be a hot ride to the university, made more uncomfortable by the fact that I wouldn't be allowed to drink anything until a half hour after my fluoride treatment. (My dentist is the type that still gives them to adults. Some friends say their dentists say it's unnecessary and/or pointless, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.)

The cleaning went smoothly... well, as smoothly as it ever does. There's an occasional accidental poke with something sharp, and the x-ray thing hurt my gums as always, but my teeth are all holding up to the level of care I've been giving them.

Normally I just get a toothbrush to take home. At the end of this visit, I got a whole goody bag:
Toothbrush (a different brand than usual), plane-friendly-sized toothpaste (the kind I'm using!), and a tiny spool of floss. I flashed back to being a six-year-old coming home from a birthday party.

The party stopped when I got back to the front desk. When the receptionist tried to run my insurance, it said it had been cancelled. WTF!?!??!!!!! I *know* I'm not the only person who gets re-hired every four months... *why* can't the university remember to renew my insurance each time!?!??? Last summer it took something like two *months* after I discovered the problem to get my supplemental health reinstated (I don't *care* if everyone is going on vacations, make sure *someone* is doing the effing job!), and I had this same nonsense the last time I was at the dentist! I was just looking at my pay stubs yesterday, and I was being deducted for the health premiums. I was *peeved*.

I asked the receptionist if there was a phone I could use, so that I could talk to my benefits person, and have her talk to the receptionist so that she knew what to do. My phone call rang then went to voicemail. (Grrr.) It said to press zero if you wanted to be helped right away (gee, that's why I'm *calling*), and so I did. I got put on hold. (Grrr.) Finally she said that my benefits person would talk to me. (She's *there*?!?? Why didn't she pick up the phone?!?!?!!!) Apparently, even though my supplemental health was hooked up properly, the dental coverage was separate, and *wasn't* set up! (The term started at the beginning of May. They had *two* months to get me set up!)

I had the benefits lady talk to the receptionist, the receptionist is going to submit a paper form next week, and she'll contact me if there's still something I owe after that. (I'm only covered 50%, but then there's the supplemental, and it's all just confusing.) *sigh*

On the way from the dentist's office to the bus stop, I found a forgotten Blackberry. I stood there for a minute, wondering how best to get it back to it's owner. (The device was password protected, so my usual technique of looking for an entry labelled "home" or "mom" wasn't going to work.) Luckily, the owner realized she had left it behind, and came rushing back. (She didn't seem that interested in my suggestion that she put contact information on the back of the device. Whatever.)

The first bus to work was air conditioned. Ahhh! There was a longish wait downtown, where I tried to stand in the shade of the lamp post. (I could also have pulled out my umbrella for shade, but it was rather gusty.) The second bus wasn't air conditioned. Luckily by then I was allowed to drink my water. Unfortunately, I realized I had already drunk over half on the way to the dentist, and had very little left. (Plus it was warm by then... much less satisfying.)

I made it to the university by half way through what should have been knitting lunch... but there were no knitters. I guess something came up. (We're a pretty small group.)

Work was slow this afternoon. I remembered some other questions I had for the benefits lady, and so e-mailed her around 4:00. Looks like she stared her weekend early, because she didn't reply. (Did I mention I dislike my benefits lady?)

The first bus home was also air conditioned. Yay! (In fact, I decided to catch a different one than I intended simply because it was air conditioned.)

They hadn't yet closed Osborne for the Canada day preparations by the time we got there, so traffic was better than it might have been.

Reaching the Village, I saw that the farmer's market had started up again for the season. I hopped off the bus and bought some local honey (I've been hoping to run into that guy before my supply ran out again) and some garlic scapes. Mmmm!

When I was done shopping, a bus arrived quickly. However, it was most definitely *not* air conditioned. Although it would have taken me home, I decided to hop off and visit Wolseley Wool, which was having a customer appreciation night. (I had initially intended to go, but had been wavering due to the oppressive heat and humidity, which was worse than earlier. WW isn't very close to bus routes... it's not too far, but not as close as you'd like when Winnipeg gets to either end of its temperature extremes.)

WW had punch with ice! I drank some punch, ate a few nibblies, petted the yarn, and bought some yarn to make gifts. Then I went back out into the horrible heat.

In addition to not being air conditioned, the next (and final) bus was packed like sardines. By the time I was home, I was *drenched*. The cool blast of air that greeted me when I opened my apartment door was heavenly, as was the cool shower.

I love my AC! Looking at the weather website, today's temperature peaked at 34 C (humidex 43 C)... I could tell that it wasn't quite as bad as the worst days in NC, but it was still bleeping hot.

And that is the kind of day it's been.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blip Effects

Yesterday's blip seems to have had several side effects. There were reports of network problems, the A/C in the building adjoining mine seems to be struggling, and the toilet water makes you think the previous person didn't flush (challenging, with auto-flush toilets) and should perhaps discuss things with their doctor. :P

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Odd... the lights just flickered in my office and the hall, and the ventilation has stopped hissing. I wonder what's up? (And what effect it might have on the "do" going on downstairs...)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blip Cause

It turns out the reason the power went out for an hour or so last night is that a tree tried to eat a neigbour's house, and took the power line with it. Either that, or the two events were a coincidence. (It's odd that a house line would take out such a large area... perhaps it tripped something?)


In my opinion, when the power goes out, it's time to go to bed. (Especially since the internet is out.)
Mr Party-Of-One thinks it's time to listen to music in his car. (Thankfully he isn't as loud as he used to be.)

Other observations:
• The emergency lights in the hall work.
• Clutter is more annoying in the dark.
• The tea light holder that I used to keep in the sock drawer (with the emergency tea lights and matches) seems to have wandered off.
• My apartment is *warm* with no fan or A/C. (Thankfully it wasn't any warmer.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Trökni Version 2


I have a backlog of posts to get to... I may skip some. This is actually my third yellow handtowel. I used a different ribbing pattern for this one. To get this pattern, use the Tröckni pattern with the following changes:

Row 5 (ws): p2, (k2, p1) four times, k2, p2 | p2, (k2, p1) six times, k2, p2 | p2, (k2, p1) four times, k2, p2
Row 6 (rs): k1, ssk, (p1, k1, p1) four times, k2tog, k1 | k1, ssk, (p1, k1, p1) six times, k2tog, k1 | k1, ssk, (p1, k1, p1) four times, k2tog, k1

Basically, the knit/purl pattern, from the right side, before any decreases, looks like:
vv--v--v--v--v--vv | vv--v--v--v--v--v--v--vv | vv--v--v--v--v--vv

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Holy *Bleep*!

About 10:45 I heard a child *screaming*... it sounded like it was screaming for its life! Now, sometimes kids do that when they're over-tired and having a temper-tantrum, but it was coming from a direction where neighbours and I have had to call the cops before, for fear of a woman's safety.

I went outside, to see if I could find out where it was coming from. (It had stopped by the time I got outside.) When I got behind the house where there's been trouble before, the people on the other side of the lane also came out, and confirmed they had heard screaming from that house too.

I went back and called 911.

Sh!t likes that leaves a person all wound up! I hope the kid is okay. :( Sheesh... what is *wrong* with people?!


Vancouver! What the eff!?!! I hope every single rioter is found, charged, *fined*, made to do embarrassing sorts of community service, and publicly *shamed*!

To those brave souls who stood up to the rioters: Bravo! At least I can have *some* faith in humanity!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I wasn't going to post the bruises, even though the back one was impressive. (It's the size, shape, and colour of a prune plum.) However, the front one has now developed into something impressive as well. (The back one has already started to fade a bit. It started off an even, deep purple.)

I'm amused how plums and bruises ripen in opposite directions. Plums start green, and end purple, bruises start purple, and fade to green.

Interesting: I didn't notice the linear bruises until I posted this photo.

Licence Plate

I suppose that's one way to have a BMW. (This isn't a vanity plate, someone just lucked out.)

Sunday, June 12, 2011


I made a kitchen hand towel for mom for her birthday.
I'm annoyed by the dirty splotch on the yarn. The facecloth came as a set of four, one of which had dirty spots that I didn't notice until I got home and opened the package. I carefully didn't use that cloth... and then ended up with a splotch from the yarn. *sigh*
I'm going to make mom at least one more, but I only had the one done in time.

I decided to write up the pattern while I was knitting it, so that I don't have to keep reinventing it. While knitting, I was getting an "Ikea" vibe from the colour, and so decided to come up with an Ikea-like name for the pattern. I don't know fake-Swedish, but decided that German is close enough. "Trocknen" means "dry", which is what hand towels do. Then I added a gratuitous umlaut (Ikea is fond of umlauts, from what I've noticed), and changed the "nen" to "ni", to make it more name-like. Hence, Trökni.

I've written up the pattern, but I'm not sure how readable it is for people who aren't me. I'd appreciate any feedback you can send me.



12" sq washcloth
kitchen cotton (not quite half a ball)
US 5 needles, plus 2 spare double pointed needles, US 5 or smaller
two stitch markers
3/4" button (for different button sizes, adjust button hole size)

Gauge: 5 sts per inch (20 per 4 inches)


ws: wrong side
rs: right side
nrs: new right side ("right side" switches for the top of the strap)
nws: new wrong side
pm: place stitch marker
| : indicates stitch marker position
ssk: slip two stitches knitwise (changes orientation), knit these two stitches together
k2tog: knit two stitches together
dpn: double pointed needle
ss-p2tog-tbl: slip two stitches knitwise, then purl them together through the back loop (for instructions with pictures, see: )

Cast On:

Pull a 50"+ length of yarn from the ball (see Note 1), and place a slip knot there, leaving the yarn attached to the ball. With wrong side facing, sew/cast on 60 sts over needle and through washcloth, sewing from right to left with the point of the knitting needle to the right, spacing evenly (see Note 2). Sew stitches from back to front, so that stitches are sitting properly on the needle for knitting the first row.

Note 1: My stitches only skimmed the edge of the washcloth. If you plan on making deeper stitches, allow for more yarn.

Note 2: You may be able to use weave of cloth to assist with spacing. If the weave doesn't help you with spacing, use a washable marker to make small marks every inch, and place 5 stitches between each pair of marks.

Pull out slip knot, start knitting with end of yarn attached to ball.

Row 1 (ws): knit
Row 2-3: knit
Row 4: k18, pm, k24, pm, k18
Row 5 (ws): p3, k4, p4, k4, p3 | p6, k4, p4, k4, p6 | p3, k4, p4, k4, p3
Row 6 (rs): k1, ssk, p4, k4, p4, k2tog, k1 | k1, ssk, k3, p4, k4, p4, k3, k2tog, k1 | k1, ssk, p4, k4, p4, k2tg, k1
Row 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19 (ws): knit the knits, purl the purls (keep pattern from stitch below)
Row 8 (rs): k1, ssk, p3, k4, p3, k2tog, k1 | k1, ssk, k2, p4, k4, p4, k2, k2tog, k1 | k1, ssk, p3, k4, p3, k2tg, k1
Row 10 (rs): k1, ssk, p2, k4, p2, k2tog, k1 | k1, ssk, k1, p4, k4, p4, k1, k2tog, k1 | k1, ssk, p2, k4, p2, k2tg, k1
Row 12 (rs): k1, ssk, p1, k4, p1, k2tog, k1 | k1, ssk, p4, k4, p4, k2tog, k1 | k1, ssk, p1, k4, p1, k2tg, k1
Row 14 (rs): k1, ssk, k4, k2tog, k1 | k1, ssk, p3, k4, p3, k2tog, k1 | k1, ssk, k4, k2tg, k1
Row 16 (rs): k1, ssk, k2, k2tog, k1 | k1, ssk, p2, k4, p2, k2tog, k1 | k1, ssk, k2, k2tg, k1
Row 18 (rs): k1, ssk, k2tog, k1 | k1, ssk, p1, k4, p1, k2tog, k1 | k1, ssk, k2tg, k1
Row 20 (rs): k4, transfer these four onto first spare dpn | k1, ssk, k4, k2tog, k1 | k4 (16 stitches remining)
Row 21 (ws): k4, transfer these four onto second spare dpn | k4, fold knitting so that first dpn is in front, knit next four stitches through stitches on both front and back needles
Row 22 (rs): k4, fold knitting so that second dpn is behind, knit next four stitches through stitches on both front and back needles (8 stitches remaining)
Row 23, 24: k8

Following rows: (k1, p1)* rib for approximately 2.5" (6-7 cm), or desired length, stopping after what was a wrong side row, but is now a right side row.

Next three rows: knit (two purl ridges on new right side).

Next row (nrs): k3, sl1 stitch to dpn & hold in back, k1, k1 from dpn, k3

3/4" button: knit 5 rows stockinette on left four stitches

Leave a loose float, and knit 5 rows stockinette on right four stitches, catching float in centre edge stitches. (Alternately, break yarn and weave in ends later.)

Next row (nrs): k3, sl1 stitch to dpn & hold in back, k1, k1 from dpn, k3
(nws): p2tog, p4, ss p2tog tbl
(nrs): ssk, k2, k2tog
(nws): p2tog, ss-p2tog-tbl, pass first stitch over second, break yarn and pull through.

Weave in ends, sew on button so that purl ridges on ends of strap line up.

Yay Bike Ride! .... and *ow*!

Yay bike ride! This afternoon I went for a bike ride with my uncles. :) (And, apparently, an ant.) Except for one bit, it was awesome.

The rivers are still high, and will be for a while. There's a spot near us where the trail had been under water, and, while it is now above water (just barely), it's covered in gloppy mud and flotsam. There's a narrow, unofficial trail just above that spot. I made it through there fine twice the other day, but my luck ran out today. I was being careful not to let my pedals hit the high side (something I noticed happened before), but accidentally let (I think) my handlebar hit a tree, which sent me tumbling down the other side. Luckily there was a bunch of trees and shrubbery to cushion my fall. (They won't be quite so cushiony for the next victim... everything under about an inch in diameter literally *broke* my fall.) However, I only suffered some bruises, scrapes, and a temporarily jammed brake lever. (I got it unjammed once I noticed it... when I tried to use it, of course!) I suspect this is probably where I picked up the ant, although I didn't notice it on me until I was back home.

The rest of the trip was only eventful in good ways. :)

The Forks was busy with the Winnipeg International Children's Festival and a highland dancing competition.
The little ones are creepy-cute!
(How can they be so good when they're so *teeny*?! It's creepy!) I bumped into a friend from high school who was one of the volunteers/organizers.

After dallying around the Forks, we biked over the Provencher Bridge to Whittier Park. We couldn't use the path under the bridge, because the river is too high.
See that winding path with the set of stairs down the middle? well, there's a lower level under the waterline that goes under the bridge.

Looks like Fort Gibraltar isn't open for the season yet. (It's probably open for school groups, though.)

Whittier Park is lovely... you can hardly tell you're in the city.
Well, besides the nicely groomed paths, of course. ;) The occasional siren or bit of traffic noise makes it in, but not much.

The Seine River is also quite high.
(Hint: Trees don't normally grow *in* water. Not these ones, at least.)
You can tell that levels have dropped a bit, but I suspect this is another summer where the riverwalk is basically useless.

Okay, the rest of this post is just documenting the damage from the fall. Feel free to skip. ;)

Sunglasses are a bit scratched.
(They scratch easily, though. I think it's an evil plot to make me buy more sunglasses.)

Light scratches on my right arm:

More impressive (but not serious) scratches on my right leg:

Left leg got some green smears, and feels like it will develop bruises:

And finally, the obligatory bike chain grease, this time with accompanying scratch:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

New Shelf

Today I installed an extra shelf in my hall closet.
(Not a perfect job, but functional. I should have pre-drilled the holes in the wood with a larger bit... I did that for the second brace, and possibly also pre-drilled the holes in the wall.)

I think I bought this shelf board back when I was living at home. It ended up in the garage after I moved out, and was put in a "get rid of" pile recently when folks were cleaning out the garage. So I appropriated it.

This section of my hall closet is where I keep towels. Now, I don't have a lot of towels, but even the few I have tower high when put here, and putting them away can be tricky. (I'm short.)
(Note: that empty-ish spot by the drano is where some things that I haven't got around to putting away belong.)

Now that I have that extra shelf, I've put the "rag towels" above, and the "could possibly offer to company without too much embarrassment" below.
Plus, I put most of my mega-stash of discontinued soap at the back of the high shelf, freeing up some usable space on an easier-to-reach spot. Yay! :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Yay Bike Ride!


It was a *lovely* day for a bike ride!

A friend needed something, so I decided to bike over to Wolseley Wools so that she could pick it up tomorrow.

My route took me through the Forks, where the Museum of Human Rights is making progress (above). Because of the construction on Osborne, I decided to bike down Broadway instead of the bike route. The car fumes made me decide to take the slightly longer route on the way home. :(

I was feeling a bit short of breath when I got to WW, so I petted the yarn and talked to the lady staffing the shop for a while.

I had planned to go all the way to Sargent Sundae, but decided that I was ready to head back. (There's ice cream at the Forks too, and my lungs were voting for the shorter ride.)

Since I was stopping at the Forks anyway, and it was getting close to dinner time, I decided to wander around the shops and have dinner while I was there. :) I *almost* bought a gorgeous painting, but decided that transportation by bike wasn't the best idea. I'm pretty sure I'll go back for it, though. (I know my walls are already crowded, but one day I'll have more wall space.)

After dinner and ice cream, I biked home. On the way, I rode past this truck that hadn't been there a few hours earlier:
Must have been some eedjit kids joyriding. (This is a *bike* path, not a road!) The tow truck driver arrived a few minutes later, and was not impressed with how far down the bike path it was. (At the bottom of a dip, too.)

I managed to spend enough time at the yarn shop and Forks that there wasn't really time to start on the tree stump tonight.

It's like today was a vacation! :D

Library Book Sale

Library book sales are dangerous.
The way things are priced, if you're going to get something, you might as well fill a bag. (It was two-something for one book, or $5.10 for a bag. The ten cents baffles me...)


I decided I liked my bag too much to let the applique fray, and zig-zagged the edges:
The zig-zagging isn't that noticeable. I'm happy. :)

I stopped in at the library book sale tonight, and the lady at the circulation desk commented that my bag was "cute"! :D

Summer Treats

Oooo! "Freezies" made with fruit juice!
The ingredients don't look too scary.
First time I've been told to "shake before freezing"! (I take that as a good sign.)

I had a purple one tonight. Not bad!

Kind of pricey, though.

(Yeah, I know freezies are technically a brand name... but I think of all of these things as freezies.)

Does anyone know where you can get things for making your own freezies? (Not fat popsicles, but skinny things like freezies?)

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Reusable Shopping Bags

My uncle was throwing out an old camping thingy recently, and I rescued it for the fabric. Since we were also celebrating my uncle's birthday this past Monday, I decided (at least) one of the grocery bags I made should be for him.

Somehow, I still ended up sewing it at 2 am the night before the party. (What is it with me, and getting things done late at night?!?) The first bag was meant to be a prototype, but, since it was about 2 am when I was finishing it, it became the present.

I added a fun bike machine embroidery to the front:
IMG_4598 IMG_4599 IMG_4600
(I like going bike riding with my uncle!)

Of course, the bobbin had to screw up, and make a mess of one of my seams:
Yes, I'm a slow learner... not only am I sewing at 2 am the night before the party, but I'm using a contrasting colour thread. (This time on purpose, even!)

With the long handles, I could use the bag itself as the wrapping and bow:
(Extra environmentally friendly! No packaging! We've definitely got reduce and reuse going on here!)

I love the bag I made for my uncle! Using some more of the fabric, I made another bag for myself last night:
Go figure... this time the bobbin didn't mess up, and all my seams look much better. (Not perfect, but not hideous either.)

The applique is a bit of an experiment... I'm not sure how it's going to look once the edges start to fray. (I love how it looks right now, though!)

And, while I'm on the subject of bags, I repaired one that I gave a friend previously. She's been getting a lot of use out of them, and it shows:

Repaired and reinforced:
IMG_4608 IMG_4609

Tree Stump

Last weekend the weather and my available time actually managed to coincide, and so I had a go at removing one of the tree stumps behind the apartment building. The one I decided to work on is actually a clump of three elm tree stumps growing together. My goal is to dig the stump up (and the one on the other side of the door too), and replace them with peonies.

Before the carnage:
It's rather hard to see here... it's towards the left end of the hollyhocks. The caretaker was upset the other day, because he forgot about it, and ran into it with the lawnmower.

Exposing the stump:

Pruners won't work on that root:

Another shot of the stump:
(I took lots of photos because I took lots of breaks... the top foot of dirt was mixed with gravel and broken bricks, then I hit solid clay. Plus, elms are tough suckers.)

I'm glad my uncle sharpened the axe and hatchet for me:

Stuff destined for the trash bin:
That chunk of stump was rotten, and the easiest to get out.

Ha! Take *that*, root!:

At this point, I called it a night:
My blood sugar was getting low, which isn't a good thing when you're swinging an axe. I got the easier two of the three stumps out, plus that thick root. (Granted, only four inches of that root are gone, but hopefully the rest will start to rot now, and the last stump has one less anchor.)

All tidy:

If the weather cooperates again this weekend (sorry if I just made the weekend weather switch to wet and miserable), perhaps I'll get that last bit out... and maybe even a peony in? Hmmm... that might be expecting a bit much. (With the peonies about to bloom, perhaps I should take both stumps out, and transplant the peonies after they've bloomed?)