Same old, same old…

I haven’t written for quite some time, because I had absolutely nothing of any interest to say. More importantly, I didn’t have anything I was interested in writing about. I’ve been knitting, I’ve been crocheting, and tonight, I will be spinning (or plying, anyway). But I just haven’t felt like talking about it. Spring is finally arriving, and I just want to sleep for a week! My kids are both sick with some kind of stomach bug right now, and I’m just exhausted, not sleeping well, and resenting having to get up in the morning.

It could be the time change, but it’s far more likely that winter is just catching up with me. I *am* ten days in to another Whole 30 though (for anyone who doesn’t know, this is Whole 30).

Aside from working, podcasting and knitting, I haven’t been up to a whole lot. I will be sharing a few Passover recipes as we get closer to my trip to Chicago, but for now, I just have a few knitting finishes to show off…

Boyfriend Hat by Stephanie Nicole Bennett

Boyfriend Hat by Stephanie Nicole Bennett, out of Red Heart Super Saver in Gold and Claret, on size 4.5 (US 7) needles.

Rib-A-Roni Hat by Jane Tanner

Rib-a-Roni Hat by Jane Tanner, out of Red Heart Super Saver in various colors, as well as other random acrylics, on size 4.5mm (US 7) needles.

The Amanda Hat by Gina House

The Amanda Hat by Gina House, in Jil Eaton Minnow Merino on size 5.5mm (US 9) needles.

The Amanda Hat just begged for a nice squishy, warm cowl. So I’ve adapted the hat pattern into a cowl, and I’m working on finishing that. It’ll be for next winter, since it’s starting to get nice and warm (or at least, above freezing!) here. I’m also working on a baby blanket for a friend and I’ve got a couple of shawls in the rotation. The Amanda Hat also counted as my March project for the Brown Bag Sock Challenge over at Two Tangled Skeins! (Oh!!! One piece of exciting news, we reached 1,000 members on Ravelry just before we recorded our 100th episode, so we had a big party and giveaway! If you haven’t joined yet, come on over!)

I’m hoping to get some spring cleaning done in the next few weeks, because the kids and I are sick of being cooped up in the apartment with piles of stuff everywhere. My goal is to be able to get around the apartment without avoiding obstacles and to be able to use our kitchen table as more than just an accumulation point! Maybe then we can tackle the teenager’s bedroom!

Consent: Not actually that complicated

tollbaby:

This deserves to be seen by as many people as possible. Read. Absorb. Share.

Originally posted on rockstar dinosaur pirate princess:

http://kaffysmaffy.tumblr.com/post/780535517 http://kaffysmaffy.tumblr.com/post/780535517

A short one today as my life is currently very complicated and conspiring against my preference to spend all of my days working out what to blog. But do you know what isn’t complicated?

Consent.

It’s been much discussed recently; what with college campuses bringing in Affirmative Consent rules, and with the film of the book that managed to make lack of consent look sexy raking it in at the box office. You may not know this, but in the UK we more or less have something similar to ‘affirmative consent’ already. It’s how Ched Evans was convicted while his co-defendant was not – and is along the lines of whether the defendant had a reasonable belief that the alleged victim consented. From the court documents it appears that while the jury felt that it was reasonable to believe that the victim had consented to intercourse with the co-defendant, it…

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My whirlwind tour…

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Woo… that was a bit of a breathless week. I did mean to blog before I left, but I honestly couldn’t think of a thing to say that would have been more interesting than watching grass grow. (Grass…. there’s a thought. I never thought I’d miss grass, but I do right now!)

Last Friday, I left work a little bit early and drove to Syracuse so I could take the train to Rob’s house. I knew I’d have a bit of time before the train (it doesn’t leave until late), so I asked a friend of mine who lives in Syracuse if she wanted to do dinner before train time. She did, so we did, and it was awesome! We ate at Cantina Laredo, and the food was fab. We both had Ceviche as an appetizer and I swear, our eyes just about rolled out of our heads over how good it was. I love ceviche, but it’s hard to find where I live (We only have a few Spanish/Mexican places in town). SOOOO tasty. She had this amazing-looking mango cheesecake-y type thing for dessert (which I did not try for obvious reasons). Then Tricia headed home and I headed the two blocks over to the train station.

The train ride to Chicago was fairly uneventful. I didn’t get much sleep because I was too excited… that, and I met a nice fella around 3am who sat and chatted with me until almost 7am. He clearly needed someone to talk to, or rather, for someone to listen while he talked, and he’d been through some rough things. I listened, I hugged him, and then he wandered off to have a smoke while I went back to sleep. Rob was at the train station BRIGHT and early to pick me up, even though my train was nearly an hour late coming in, and from there, we headed off toward lunch and an awesome show. If you happen to be in the northern Chicago suburbs this weekend and want to see an excellent production, I highly recommend Spotlight Theater’s production of Hairspray at the College of Lake County in Grayslake. There are tickets left for the February 14th and 15th shows, which you can purchase here. (Oh, and if you are in the mood to drive out there to see a great show put on by some of the most talented kids I know, do me a favor and credit Catherine Roscher – one of the Spotlight kids – for the ticket sale? It’d help her out!)

Sunday was mostly spent cooking – I fill Rob’s freezer whenever I come visit, since he doesn’t particularly enjoy cooking (especially for one) and I sneak vegetables into his food this way! In the afternoon, we met up with his Genealogy Society friends for their biweekly writing group meeting. Basically, the point of this group is to get together and work on their life stories. Every two weeks, there’s a new topic. Everyone writes a couple of pages on the topic assigned, and we read our stories aloud to each other. It was a lot of fun, and there was a lot of side-discussion as well! Sunday night, Rob rented a movie, and I tried, I really desperately TRIED to stay awake to watch it, but … I only managed to see the first 30 minutes of Bullitt. I’ll confess now that I don’t think I’ll ever be a Steve McQueen fan… I find him very two-dimensional and boring in most of his movies. This one… well, we were lying down, and I had a nice warm blanket covering me, and…. nap time.

Monday, I headed home on the train with an impressively large group of Mennonites (I love hearing them speak – their language is so musical!), a lady with two extremely well-behaved little girls who had been on the train from Syracuse with me, and an unfortunate older lady who spent the entire 15-hour train ride arguing with herself. Loudly. Shrieking, at times. What can you do? I arrived back in Syracuse on Tuesday morning to find my car almost entirely buried in snow. *sigh* Photo to follow, because it really was a LOT of snow. I dug myself out, got on the road, had a quick lunch at Cracker Barrel (I know, I know… It’s not healthy, but it’s SOOO GOOOOD!) and got home just before the sun went down.

I’ve slowly been getting back into the routine around here, not a lot of knitting has seen the light of day – the baby blanket I’m working on saw a little bit of love on the train to Chicago, and none since. I’ve cast on a hat three times now and I’m just not feeling it, so it’s going to be frogged before it ever gets past the ribbing. I may try it again in a different yarn, because a shelter near my house has run out of winter wear to hand out to folks, and they need some hats and mitts. Here’s hoping my mojo comes back before we record the podcast on Saturday!

Scary stuff…

This is going to be controversial and rude – I apologize in advance.

I’ve noticed over the last few weeks that there’s been a drastic increase in the anti-vaccination crap littering my Facebook feed. It likely stems from the recent Measles outbreak stemming from an unvaccinated and infected child visiting Disneyland and starting a new trend.

And I am APPALLED at the number of reasonably intelligent adults who continue to refuse to vaccinate their children out of stubbornness and abject stupidity. I am disgusted at how many of these people do all the wrong kinds of research, arrive at completely false conclusions, and make their “informed” decisions based on debunked junk science and, worst of all, take the advice of celebrities of that of their doctors.

How absolutely brainless do you have to be to put the life of your child and the lives of hundreds or thousands of children around them at risk? There are some children who can not be vaccinated. Children with compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients, heart patients, etc. Children who are severely allergic to some component of the vaccine (like eggs). Children under one year of age, who are too young to receive these vaccines. If your child falls into one of these categories, then this blog post is not aimed at you. Carry on.

However, if your child does NOT fall into one of those categories? If your child is healthy and you just don’t want little Johnny to have “chemicals” pumped into his body? (Here’s a hint – if the kid is alive and breathing, there are “chemicals” entering his body every day.) SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP. Those folks whose kids can’t be immunized? They rely on something called “Herd Immunity” to keep their kids safe. And herd immunity? It just doesn’t exist in a world where people choose not to vaccinate their kids for idiotic reasons. And yes, I absolutely think you’re an idiot if you choose not to vaccinate.

Polio, measles and mumps are diseases that were eliminated in Canada and the United states. And now they’re making a STRONG comeback. Because of morons who won’t vaccinate their kids. Am I being harsh and opinionated? YOU BETCHA! If I sent my kid to play in a snakepit, someone would call Child Protective Services on me and my kids would be taken away. But sending your kids out unprotected against measles, mumps, polio, pertussis…. that’s just as dangerous, if not more. Because your kid is way more likely to contract one of those diseases – diseases that have killed tens of thousands of people – than my kid is of being bitten by a snake.

And for those of you who whine that it should be your choice? No, it shouldn’t, because if protecting your children from deadly diseases seems like a bad idea to you, then you’re clearly not capable of making intelligent choices. I am being harsh and opinionated and in-your-face because there is a growing trend of stubbornness surrounding the anti-vaccination movement, and it’s INCREDIBLY frustrating to the rest of us that this small group of people is using faulty logic disproven by science to endanger our children.

vaccinesnecessary

I’m beginning to understand my mother…

My mom is an early-rising morning person. I am decidedly not. However, I’m beginning to understand why she enjoys her morning solitude. When I was a kid, my mom would wake at 4:45 on weekday mornings, without fail. That’s always seemed really ridiculously early to me, but what do I know? I have no idea what time she woke up on weekends, all I know is, it was before I got up.

She’d use that time to take a shower – I assume… to this day, I have never been aware of my mother using the shower, and when I lived at home, she washed her hair in the utility sink in the basement. This always puzzled me, but again, what do I know? She grew up in a house that didn’t have a shower, so maybe this was just what she knew. She’d read her newspaper and eat her breakfast, make our lunches, and then start thinking about waking us up. By the time I was in high school, my alarm clock would wake me long after she’d left to take the bus to work.

My father? SO not a morning person. It was sometimes a chore and a half to wake him so he could drive us to the babysitter’s house in the next town over. If you let him, he’d sleep most of the day away and be up all night. I’m more like him, temperament-wise. I like my late nights and sleeping in. But recently, I’ve found my view shifting a bit.

I’ve been having a bit of insomnia the last few months. I’ll wake in the middle of the night and just not be able to get back to sleep. So I’ll get up and knit, or read, or play around online until it’s a more appropriate time to be moving around above my downstairs neighbors’ heads. But the best part of waking up stupidly early? I get to watch this:

Not my picture, it came from here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rudypohl/13757294663/

Not my picture, it came from here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rudypohl/13757294663/

This isn’t the exact sunrise I saw (I live farther east than this) but it’s close. And it was magnificent. I got to see another tiny vertical rainbow on the way into work. The bridge I cross to get to Ottawa from the Quebec side is right next to a hydro dam, so the spray often creates little tiny ones in the sky. It’s one of the highlights of my commute, along with the waterfall created by open sluice gates.

I don’t mind insomnia so much when it comes at the morning end of my sleep schedule. I’d hate to lie in bed and not be able to fall asleep at night when I’m tired, but this? This is okay.

My day started with rainbows!

It’s stinking cold outside, but I’m willing to forgive that for the moment. My biceps and hips hurt (worked out last night), and my bra is so tight that I have a second set of boobs spilling out (I think it’s time to retire this one), but today is going to be an awesome day. WHY is it going to be an awesome day today?

DoubleVerticalRainbows9-15-12LR-3624REDUCE1024adjL

Disclaimer – I did not take this picture.

I drove to work between two vertical rainbows this morning, and it totally made my day! I mean, I could say that I’m ahead of the game in audit prep at work, or that I had a nice, relaxing weekend, or that I had hugs and kisses from little people yesterday, but really? Those rainbows took all that awesome and concentrated it! So today is going to be fantastic, and nobody can do anything to change that! (The fact that I’m eating sweet potato and dilly beans for breakfast isn’t hurting anything either.)

So even though it’s damn cold out and there are another couple of months before I get to walk around without a heavy coat on, things are pretty awesome today, and I’m willing to bet there’s at least one seed catalogue in my mailbox when I get home tonight. I don’t have a yard, and I can’t plant stuff, but I do love poring over the pages and pages of possibilities!

In knitting news, I started Kuura last weekend, and I’m getting really near the end of it. I’ve also been plugging away at Olive Branch (although Kuura has been very distracting), and Lyn’s Round Ripple Baby Afghan (no, I did not design it). I also started a plain old men’s sock, but I haven’t decided who it’s for yet. It’s plain stockinette (aside from the top cuff) and I don’t know if Rob will like it, so if he doesn’t, my dad will get a new pair of socks – they wear the same size! I’ve been fighting off a major case of startitis – there are about a dozen shawls, hats, etc., that I want to cast on RIGHT NOW. I am trying to be strong and resist ;)

Is there anything that just instantly puts a smile on your face? No matter what kind of mood you were in before? Tell me all about it!

ADULTING!!!!

You guys…. oh you guys, I’m so psyched! I finally got fed up with my kitchen this past weekend. My kitchen is a disaster, because my dishwasher was out of commission (and I’m really, REALLY lazy). All kinds of sticky residue was being left all over my dishes, and it didn’t matter what kind of detergent I used, or how many rinse agents I added. My dishes were coming out way grosser than they went in.

So I decided to be an adult. I watched any number of Youtube videos on cleaning dishwasher filters and disassembling the sump to clean that out, etc. And then I grabbed the big torch my parents bought me last Christmas, set it in the top rack, and went to work. I took that thing apart, and it was DIS. GUS. TING. I honestly don’t think it had ever been cleaned, and I know the dishwasher was at least ten years old when I moved in. That’s twenty years’ worth of accumulated gunk. It took me an hour or so to clear it all out. AN HOUR, folks. An hour of picking food particles and hair and lord knows what else out of that thing. Then I put it back together, and gave it a run with just vinegar to really clear the works out, and now? Now I have a functioning dishwasher once again! I have been washing ALL THE THINGS. My cupboard is FULL OF CLEAN DISHES! If I want a snack, I can go get a bowl and a spoon and just effing EAT something, because I won’t have to do dishes first!

And because I felt that wasn’t enough adulting for one weekend, I cleaned out and reorganized my son’s dresser. Dudes, I had to VACUUM out the drawers, there was so much crap in there. Apparently one of the drawers was housing his collection of pencil shavings?! Not anymore. Now his dresser is full of clean, folded clothes that fit him and I have three new pairs of jeans for the fabric pile (unless I suddenly find someone who fits them). And then? Then I vacuumed. Which is more impressive than it sounds, because the beater bar on my vacuum cleaner isn’t letting any suction through (that’s next weekend’s project). So I have to remove the canister from the upright, cart it around, and use the hose and wand attachment to actually pick anything up. *sigh*

(Oh, and I’d like to point out that I did all this while it was 28.2 degrees Celcius in my apartment. It’s winter. And there’s no temperature control in my apartment. The heat is either on or it’s off. And right now, it’s on, and it’s not that cold outside, so I live in a sauna. When it gets really cold outside again, it’ll feel more normal in here. For now, we roast!)

And now, I am appropriately tired for 9:42pm and I am going to go chat with Rob for a bit before I pass out.

No spoons left…

I know it’s been a couple of months, but things have been nuts, I’ve had zero motivation, and I’m just TIRED. Christmas, and the time leading up to it, was nuts. Funny for someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, right? For some reason, I got it into my head this year that I had to knit Christmas gifts for everyone in my immediate family (my family DOES celebrate Christmas). My son got a sweater (I finally finished the Flax sweater by Tincanknits). My daughter got a poncho I improvised from the Stolen Moments Wrap by Amy Swenson. My parents and Rob all got socks based on A Good Plain Sock Recipe by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. I also managed to knit myself a pair of mittens (what? It was cold out!):

mittens

Apparently these are done in Schachenmayr SMC Colorful, and they’re done using the Afghans for Afghans Basic Childrens’ Mittens pattern by Elizabeth Durand. I don’t have pictures of any of the other projects, since they’ve all been given away LOL I will endeavor to get pictures of my kids’ gifts, since they live with me.

We spent our winter break cleaning, decluttering, and building things. Rob built me a bookshelf… a couple of years ago, some neighbors moved out and left the shell of a cheap bookcase near the garbage area. Rob screwed support pieces in, then screwed the shelves in permanently, and now I have a brand new bookcase! (I talked him out of painting this one – I wanted quick and dirty, and that’s what I got! – and no, it’s not actually dirty). There’s still SO much more to do, but I ended up sending six or seven bags of clothing to Goodwill, and tossing one or two more. I lost count of the number of garbage bags we tossed, but suffice to say, my neighbors were getting pretty sick of me filling the bins every day.

Other than that, things have been kind of overwhelming. I’ve been retreating a lot to avoid having to deal with anything, because I don’t have the energy. Thus, the lack of spoons. (For anyone unfamiliar with the term “out of spoons”, I invite you to read this very informative article!) I’m working on building up a stockpile again though. Whole 30 started again yesterday, and I’m starting to recognize that half the time when I think I’m hungry, I’m only *psychologically* hungry. I’m hungry in my head, but not in my stomach. Incidentally, last night I made Melissa Joulwan’s Chocolate Chili from The Clothes Make the Girl blog, and it was absolutely delicious! I’d just reduce the salt slightly, and wait until it’s cool enough to eat so I don’t burn my tongue again ;)

I’m starting to get my shit together and be able to cook again, and be able to get things done without tripping over STUFF in my house, and I have a plan for how I want to change the livingroom around (this requires that my daughter clean her room, so it’s a work in progress) and I’m starting to feel like a responsible adult again.

Over at Two Tangled Skeins, we’ve started a Brown Bag Sock Challenge. The idea is that you take twelve skeins of sock yarn (or whatever – we’re not really strict on rules), twelve patterns you’ve been meaning to knit, and put one of each in twelve paper lunch bags. Every month, you choose a new bag and knit a surprise pair of socks! It’s a good way to build up your sock collection (not for me, because I don’t wear them, but everyone else does), and to stash down your sock yarn collection, which may or may not be slightly out of control (mine is…). I’ve already finished my January project, which was the Ilene Bag by Hannah Ingalls, made from two skeins of Universal Yarn Summer Linen in this gorgeous orange colorway. I have one skein left, and I’m going to attempt to improve my crochet skills by doing a Jazz Age Washcloth by Jenny Catchings with it! If you’d like to join the challenge, head on over to our Ravelry group, join up, and start brown bagging it!

On the needles right now, I’ve got the Olive Branch Shawl by Library Paste in Handmaiden’s Mini Maiden, I’m improvising a pair of flip-top mittens for my son (also based on the Basic Children’s Mitten pattern linked above) out of Bernat Softee Chunky in Grey Heather, and I’ve been working on the Beekeeper’s Quilt by tinyowlknits and will occasionally knit a few rows on Totoro by Robin Zillman Jacobson.

In other words, I’ve turned into a knitting machine, and I haven’t been doing much of anything else! What have you all been up to while I’ve been away? (Away… that’s a nice way of saying “too damn lazy to interact with anyone”)

Windstorms…

Oh how annoyed I am right now. I suppose I shouldn’t complain. We’re warm and safe. But I would just like to get a little bit of sleep before morning comes! We’ve had a pretty major windstorm here (for Ottawa) with gusts up to 80km/h, and it’s been going on for quite a while. All day at the office, the wind was pushing and pulling at our door, setting the door sensor off and activating the doorbell every few minutes. Good thing I was alone today, because it drove me bonkers, and I’d rather my coworkers and boss not hear me swearing at inanimate objects too often.

It made the drive home a bit hairy – idling at a light, the car was shaking and shuddering with each new breath of wind. The power was knocked out in several neighborhoods (thankfully, not mine) as trees hit the power lines. Several Hydro and City crews were out doing emergency repairs. One such crew apparently set up shop outside my bedroom window (slight exaggeration, they were at the house next door) around 10:30pm. And as they revved up their chainsaws and the big diesel wood-chipper, I wondered how long they’d be at it. Just over an hour, as it turns out. City noise ordinances come into effect at 11pm, and so does my bedtime. I was rather annoyed at having to listen to all that until nearly midnight – after they turned the wood-chipper off, there were still random bursts of chainsaw activity.

And then for the next hour and a half, what I at first thought was the sound of chopping wood by axe (but actually turned out to be a couple of recycling totes blown out into the street) has kept me awake and unable to finally drift off. I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried white noise, I’ve tried music, I’ve tried sleeping with a pillow over my head. And I’ve finally given up. You win, wind. I have accepted that I won’t get any sleep until you’re done playing with the big blue bins.

no, this isn't my photo. We don't have palm trees in Ottawa!

no, this isn’t my photo. We don’t have palm trees in Ottawa!

Hibernation time…

It’s -5° C outside, there’s snow and ice, and I’m going to bed and getting up at the same times as before, but now I feel like I’m dragging through the days. I hate Daylight Savings Time. I also hate abrupt season changes. It’s November 18th, and I feel like it’s the middle of winter. Fall, my favorite time of the year, is dead and gone. *sigh* For the next five months, we will be buried in frozen white crap and salt and dirt and cold. The houseplants I have at the office are starting to notice the seasons changing too – leaning farther toward the window, trying to catch a glimpse of sun without feeling the chill from the cold glass.

On a slightly more positive note, things are going well at work, and things are starting to get sorted out with organizing the house (a multi-year process at this point). I’m getting excited about pomegranates and clementine oranges being in season again, and I’m getting a handle on this adulting stuff.

There’s also been lots of knitting going on. I guess the cool weather arriving has sort of bonked me over the head. I joined NaKniSweMo (based on NaNoWriMo) – November is National Knit a Sweater Month, and you’re supposed to knit a sweater of minimum 50,000 stitches between November 1st and 30th. I made a strong start, and I’ve been making good progress… but I don’t think my sweater will top out anywhere near 50,000 stitches. So it doesn’t count for the competition, but I’m still going to try to finish it as quickly as possible. It’s the Flax Sweater by Tin Can Knits. I’ve also been working on a new pair of socks for Rob (first one’s finished). They’re plain vanilla socks based on Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s A Good, Plain Sock Recipe from Knitting Rules. Only modification is that I do the whole sock (except the sole) in a 3×2 rib.

The hexis are proceeding apace, although they’re not puffs. They’re hexiflats! Sue named them that for the podcast, and I like it, so that’s what they’re going to be known as from now on. I will add pictures to this post later tonight.

Anyway, trying to convince myself to go out in the cold so I can make my way home for the night. Who else wants to join me in hibernation?

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