Archive for June, 2008


I have a dear friend Brenda, whom I have known since, oh, before the glaciers melted. Brenda and her husband have a five-year-old daughter named Tori, who lives with Down’s Syndrome and some other serious challenges. Tori has just been diagnosed with leukemia, and has started on a two year course of chemotherapy. This disease and treatment can knock the ass off a child with a healthy immune system, but unfortunately Tori is going into the process with compromised immunity. We don’t know what the outcome will be but Brenda tells me that it is the form of leukemia with the highest cure rate. We are hopeful.

If you are of the praying persuasion, would you mind saying one for Tori and her parents? The wonderful medical community here in Saskatoon is doing all they can for her, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a little assistance from another direction. Thank you in advance!


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Value for the Money

I recently acquired, at no cost to me, a previously-owned firebox for the house. I had wanted one for a while, to keep computer backups, memory sticks, and so forth protected if we have a fire or a flood. While checking to see if the lock still worked, my dear brother-in-law closed the door, turned the dial, and discovered that it was a little sticky. This is what it looked like when I brought it home:

This is what it looked like after a road trip to the locksmith’s:

Not much change, you say? Exactly. Still shut. Still locked. Securely. The locksmith tried. He really did.

Moral of the story: You get what you pay for. And now I’m off to the safety deposit box at the bank.  Does anyone need a doorstop?

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Majority Rules

In Andy’s case, this means that the camping trip proceeded as originally planned. Things taken: Liquid refreshment, two smaller tents rather than one bigger tent (because why would you want to take the one that you already knew how to put up? ), a rain jacket (under duress), and an electric griddle (for pancakes). Things suggested by the mother and not taken: An air mattress or a foamie, a flashlight, a can opener, a toothbrush, a change of clothing, and so on.

from the \

from the “open the door and throw it in” school of packing. He did not learn that from me.

The intrepid explorers left just as the sun was starting to set for a three hour drive to a lake where none of them had been before. I dreamt that night that the police showed up at my door at 4 the next morning saying they had caught Andy driving 220 kph away from the campsite (I guess he’d had enough). In reality, I heard nothing until Saturday night when I got a text message saying “This sucks. The sun was shining 5 minutes ago.” Apparently it rained. And rained. Big shock- you camp, it rains. It’s one of the laws of the universe. Anyhoo, everyone made it home, over half the liquor made the return trip, movies were viewed of squirrel trapping and opening a can of beans with an axe, and Andy has reaffirmed his enthusiasm for hotels. I don’t think he’ll be coming with me on my campout this summer.

I am getting excited about our trip to Scotland next week. Mike bought a new rolling duffel bag, and I was so jealous that I went out and bought one just like it.

This sucker is big.

The bottom opens up and will fit my fins, snorkel and goggles for when we go south in the winter. Also, it’s really light. Mike thinks he can fit all kinds of cheap souvenir t-shirts into his (I tend to go for fewer, more expensive souvenirs.) I think I was deluding myself that just like the good folks at Tilley, I too could pack for a trip to Europe with nothing but a carryon. (Yeah, maybe for my shoes.) While Mike can apparently pack in ten minutes (just before we leave for the airport) (he dawdles on purpose because he likes to see me squirm), for me it is more of a ritual. Lay out, mix, match, put away, lay out, combine, go for coffee, put away, go shopping, and so forth. I couldn’t possibly fit in a full time job. I’ve only got a week to pack. It’s not just the clothes, but all the other stuff. I make lists. Lists of toiletries (because they have no first aid supplies in Scotland), lists of itinieraries, lists of accommodations, lists of yarn stores (and how to “stumble upon them” so that I can claim it was an accident). I do hope to drop in to K1 Yarns in Edinburgh (unintentionally, of course). Sadly, I won’t be there on a Thursday, but it would be nice to meet some knitters from halfway around the world. (I wouldn’t complain if there were any leftover cupcakes, but Ysolda’s baking always looks so good it will likely all be gone.) Other than this stop, the only thing for which I really have a hankering is a piece of real live Harris Tweed. I remember my mother speaking about it reverently when I was growing up, but didn’t pay much attention until I was devouring every word in Alice Starmore’s book In the Hebrides. Now I want a piece of tweed for my own. Not to sew anything, just to have as a wrap, or to toss carelessly over a table. (Not as a kilt either, because then I would feel obligated to knit a pair of kilt hose, and there is enough angst in my life already.)

Segue: knitting/angst Speaking of which, this sweater?

We hates it. I suspected partway through I was not going to love it, but I kept going (possibly to prove to myself that I can finish something other than a scarf) and my suspicions have been confirmed. While the construction method (top down with neck shaping) was interesting, so are some insects but that doesn’t mean I have to love them. Or even wash or block them. I just want to put it away for a while, and produce something that doesn’t piss me off every time I look at it. I continue to slog away at a certain Christmas present (I originally thought I could do it in a week. What was I smoking?), and picked up some interesting fibre at Prairie Lily yesterday:

After starting a scarf, I decided to rip that out and try a Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket. I suspect that the jacket will be bigger than baby-sized as this is worsted weight, but it was in the clearance bin, and if it doesn’t appear to be working out, no blood no foul. It’s 80/20 merino/raw silk, and feels pretty nice on the hands. I’m using my new (!) Knit Picks interchangeable needles (yes, Mother’s Day finally arrived: Mike couldn’t decide so he ordered me both the metal and the wooden sets. I am so spoiled.) and hoping that my brain can keep in synch with Zimmerman’s conversational directions.

Have any of you flown Lufthansa lately? I’m just curious if they’re going to confiscate my needles. If there’s a chance, I’ll have to use some inexpensive ones, and leave a lifeline in whatever I’m knitting at the time. Then, I’ll just leave my good needles in my checked luggage so I can use ’em after we land. Really, though. Why would anyone want to use a needle for anything else when you could be knitting with it? I don’t usually knit in the air; Mike and I are both broad across the shoulders (quit snickering; it is our shoulders.) so any knitting done is during airport layovers. We’ll have a short one in Calgary, and then 5 hours in Frankfurt, but we may try to escape the airport in Frankfurt and do a whirlwind tour around the city. After flying all night, that’s probably just what we’ll feel like doing. Right…

In the department of you-get-what-you-pay-for, stay tuned for a post about home security.

And now I have to go and scrub the tree sap off the kitchen floor.

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