Friday, July 29, 2005

Another Day, Another FO

Just one item ready to show today. It's also just been listed on Ebay (here). I love it. If I had enough of the yarn, I would have made one for myself. Heck, I still might. I didn't know the yarn at first, since it was sold in a bulk 1lb bag which stated it to be an "unknown fiber", but I got some help over at Crochetville with identifying it (thanks guys!). So, it appears to be of the Bernat Illusions variety, not sure the color name, but I know where I can buy more. So, we'll see how it sells.

The fall sweater I made (see sidebar) is selling well. Hubby liked that one. Sometimes he gets pouty when I make something he likes, then I sell it. He makes it sound like I never make anything for our own kids. PuhLEEze. I make them tons of stuff.
I have to work tonight, and then I get 3 whole days in a row off. Woohoo. Tomorrow we are driving to Ottawa for a bratwurst lunch with the inlaws, and we also have an appointment at Home Depot to plan out our new kitchen. Sunday will be cleaning day and then Monday, well, heck, who knows. Maybe I will spend all day crocheting on Monday. It's been known to happen.


*NOTE ADDED AUG.2/05* I should have said earlier....the pattern is my own. Well, not really a pattern at all, since I made it up as I went along. Perhaps I should call it a "possible future pattern", as I may eventually write it down....or not. We'll see how lazy I am, lol.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Ok, I'm Still Alive

So my house didn't crash to the ground. Whatever. It could have. The shaking wasn't as bad today. And I had to find something to do while cowering in fear outside, so I mowed some of the yard. It's an acre of grass that needs mowing, so it's not like I finished it, but I got some done. So that's one thing good about the stupid stupid road work.
And, since this is my first weekday evening off for, oh.....FOREVER....I decided I really didn't feel like spending the night making things to sell. I felt like being greedy. And my hands hurt. Long story, old cashier injuries. Once in a while I have to have what hubby calls a "forced crochet break". And how do we distract Tara's attention away from yarn? Shiny shiny pretty beads. So I beaded. I made a dragonfly book thong for my oldest daughter, sized to fit her Lemony Snicket books, and a coffee bean book thong for me, sized to fit my trashy romance novels.

And guess what else I beaded? Oooh, it's so pretty. I almost can't wait to go on the plane (what? who said that?), just so I can wear this in public.

And NONE OF IT IS FOR SALE!!!

Taking an Inventory of Phobias

Yesterday was a turning point for me, I think. I have realized something about myself. This may have already been evident to some of you who have read this blog, but I am afraid of a lot of things. I mean, I knew what I was afraid of, but I never sat down and took stock of everything I am afraid of. Till yesterday.
It started with the work crews tearing up the road directly in front of my house. The house rattled and shook like it was in an earthquake. Then my little 3 year old saw a spider on the wall and freaked out. I thought "I taught her that." Really, she would have been fine if she had never seen me freak over a spider, now she will probably have a lifelong fear. Not long after that, the shaking got worse. After hours of rattling, I knew the house was going to crumble. I actually took my daughter and fled. My husband was on his was home to pick me up for work, so I just decided we would meet him further on down the road. I grabbed what I needed for work, then thought about saving some valuables, so I grabbed some yarn and my hooks. Priorities, right? Then we fled. And I felt soooo guilty for having to leave the animals in the house that was about to collapse. Then, at work, I was having a conversation with someone about my upcoming trip to Edmonton, and it turned into a discussion on my fear of flying. With another coworker, the topic turned to cooking, and my fear of food poisoning came up. That's when it hit me.
I'm scared of everything.
So, I stopped and tried to think of all the things I am scared of. I need to make a list. Good thing I'm not afraid of lists. So, here it is, in no particular order:

Aviophobia or Aviatophobia- Fear of flying: I don't handle flying well at all. Ok, to be fair, it's airplanes. I'm really not bad in helicopters. My dad was a helicopter pilot for the first 25 years of my life, so I had a few chances to fly in one. It's kinda nice. Planes, I can live without. It's difficult to explain to someone who has no anxiety flying. Basically, from the minute I get on the plane, I think I am going to die. I am not thinking of engines falling off, or terrorists, or flying into a mountain, because my brain is too busy preparing to die. I'm ticking off a mental list of all the things I never did in my short life, all the people I will miss (if you miss people after you die), how my kids and husband will deal, what my sisters will do, etc. etc. etc. If I am able to, I start singing songs in my head, just to distract myself. It usually ends up being "American Pie" by Don Mclean. Yes, I get the irony. It's a song about singers that died in a plane crash. But it's long and I know all the words. Unfortunately, I have not flown without a child in tow for the last 12 years, and closing myself off completely is not a real option. Neither is valium. The flight attendants prefer if you actually, ya know, watch your kid. But, the reality is that I have to fly. A lot. At least 2 or 3 times a year. It's very hard on me.

Arachnephobia or Arachnophobia- Fear of spiders: Now, to be fair, I am only really afraid of them indoors. And it's not crippling. I can't kill them or touch them or anything, but if a vacuum is handy, I can suck it up. I think the main part of this fear comes from that urban legend (which may be true, I don't know) about how we eat on average 12 spiders in our lives. Not in our food, but by them crawling into our open mouths while we sleep. Ick! But this fear is minor. Well, it's not crippling, anyway. Although, I'd hate to see what I would do if I had a couple dozen spiders coming at me at once.

Toxiphobia or Toxophobia or Toxicophobia- Fear of poison or of being accidently poisoned: This phobia for me is more specific to food poisoning. A number of things contributed to it. For one, I have had food poisoning. It ain't fun. No way, no how. A headache that makes you wish it would just hurry up and explode your head so you can die already, and then.... well, the rest after that isn't pretty. I won't go into details. But at least I lived through it. People die from food poisoning all the time, ya know. The other part of this phobia is poisoning other people. Like my family. I worked in restaurants for years, and made a lot of "from scratch" meals. I was always very concious of the health codes and standards, because I would have hated to see a customer get sick. Now that has followed me home and I torture my family with it. Here is a typical dinner scene at my house: "Honey, does this meat (chicken, beef, pork, whatever), look cooked?" (that was me, by the way) "Yes, it looks fine." "Are you sure? That doesn't look a bit pink, does it? Girls, don't eat any part that looks pink." "It's fine, it's cooked. Didn't you use your meat thermometer?" "Yes, but maybe I had it in a hot spot and it read wrong." "It's fine! Just eat!" "Ok. If you're sure........but if it looks pink, let me know, ok?" At which point my husband looks like he will start banging his head on the table but politely refrains. What a guy.

Climacophobia- Fear of stairs, climbing, or of falling downstairs: I'm not entirely sure where this one came from, it's just always been there. Maybe something from when I was a kid. But I am very careful on stairs. Always. I hate them. And just watching my daughters on stairs just about gives me heart failure. So, of course, we moved into a house with the steepest and highest stairs leading to a second level I have ever seen. But it's not crippling. I'm just very careful.

My House Falling Down (no phobia name known): I know, it sounds irrational. And it's not like there are a lot of news stories of peoples' houses falling down around them. But it could happen. I explained this one before in another post. It was a distraction fear when hubby was playing with landmines and guns in Afghanistan. If I worried about the house, I didn't worry about him. It got better when he came home. But with this road construction, it's back. If those trucks come back today, I'm leaving. I don't care if I am being irrational. It scares the bejeezers out of me.

Phasmophobia- Fear of ghosts: Honestly, they scare me. I don't even care who it's a ghost of. If my loving grandmother stood in front of me, I'd run. And hide. And tremble. I don't like them. And, I don't really believe in them. Not really. I know, there are creepy things happening in my house. And it's not the first time, or house, it's happened to me in. Which means, that I may just be right round the bend. Loopy. Crazy. A lunatic. Which would be fine by me. Because I'm not afraid of being crazy. Ghosts, yes. Crazy, I can deal with. They have pills for crazy. Oh, and ya'll who are gonna tell me that if you ask the ghosts to go away, they will...ya, no. It doesn't work. Around Halloween I will tell ya'll about all my other hauntings. There are many. I had a pyschic once tell me I am a bit of a ghost magnet. Thanks. Thanks, that helps a lot with my fear. Yikes.

Paraskavedekatriaphobia- Fear of Friday the 13th: Don't laugh, it's true. Not to be confused with Triskaidekaphobia- Fear of the number 13. I don't care about just the number. It's the date that freaks me out. I just know I am going to die on a Friday the 13th. Probably being eaten alive by spiders while flying in a plane. And then the spiders will get food poisoning because I was undercooked. And then I will have to go live with all the ghosts and I'll probably be assigned to haunt some stairs in a house that's about to fall down. That would be my lucky Friday the 13th.

There are other fears. Like bees and car accidents and my children choking to death on a hard candy, etc etc etc. I was just a little surprised with myself when I stopped to think of all of my fears. My God, I am a lunatic. But then, while looking up the names of phobias at www.phobialist.com , I thought "Hmmm, maybe not so nutty afterall." I mean really, who actually has Arachibutyrophobia? Now, THAT's crazy.


Oh my God, the shaking just started.
Short pause while I make sure everyone is dressed and prepared to flee. Please excuse typos as I am rushing my editing.
I will post tonight and let ya'll know if the house (and me too) survived. Pray for me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Yarn: The Answer to World Peace?

Well, maybe not world peace, but perhaps small sections of it. We got new yarn at work again. And this is the fun yarn. It's a very large bin full of 1lb bags of every kind of color you can dream up. And they looove to be fondled. I know they do. I can hear them calling to me. And the best part of it, you practically have to climb into the bin to see what's down near the bottom. It's like swimming in yarn. Yes, ok, I know. I have an illness. But, go on, judge me. Any one of you, I dare ya.
So we have this manager in the store. Let's just call her *Betty. Betty is not the, um, well, nicest person around. Actually, she's pretty mean. Ok, so she's really the devil masquerading as a department store supervisor. She lies about staff to get them into trouble. She belittles, degrades, and insults staff on a regular basis. She treats us all like we are morons and she is the only intelligent person left on earth, poor her. On numerous occasions, she has made people cry while at work. Yes, me included. I eventually told her off a bit, but not enough to get fired. That helped some, but pretty much just for me. She has diverted her evil to other people now.
But I have discovered her weakness. She, like you and me, is a yarn fondler. And it makes her happy. And chatty. And while she fondles the yarn, she talks to me like I am a real person and not a peice of gum stuck to her shoe. Huh. Go figure. I think somebody oughta send a big case of yarn to all the evil people in the world. All they really need is something to do with their hands and a few pretty colors to brighten up their lives.
A girl can dream, can't she. Sigh.
And now onto real life. I have been working way too much lately. I think someone forgot to tell them that I am a part time worker. I have way too much crocheting to work this much. We had inventory on Saturday, which is stressful. Not because I can't count. Because I can. It's because everyone else in that store stresses themselves out to the point of imminent disaster. Relax, people. Sheesh. And enough with the extra shifts. I need more "me" time. To buy more yarn. For "me".
I have managed to list some new items on Ebay (see sidebar for what's on sale). And for those of you who like yarn porn, here is one of the pretty pretty yarns I scavanged from my bin diving expedition at work:

I have no idea what it will be, but I love the colors, and it's soooo soft. And, just to tease ya'll, here's what I am making now:

Stay tuned to see what it will be. Doesn't it look a little like a candy factory exploded?

* Names have been to protect the innocent....which is me...cuz I don't want to get fired.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Return of the 80's ?

I have nothing really big against the 80's. I grew up in the 80's. I started kindergarten in 1980. They were not really big fashion years for me, but I saw what was going on. Except for a few portraits in which my mom dressed us up in Michael Jackson "Thriller" off-the-shoulder pink sweatshirts, or the sparkly Garfield horoscope sweatshirts, all of them, surprise, a Scorpio shirt ( Duh, Mom), we didn't have a ton to do with current trends of that time. Well, my one sister and her friends did go through that whole Madonna lace glove and flourescent hair scarf with a big bow thing. Some other honorable mentions of bad bad 80's style I endured: Jelly shoes, oversized sweaters, stretch jeans, Peter Pan boots, stirrup pants, and on and on and on.
If any of these fads or fashions were to come back, I may roll my eyes a bit, but it wouldn't upset me too much (well, maybe the stirrup pants would). In fact, just the other day at work, I noticed the return of gold lamme belts. I can handle that. As long as it's not a return of Solid Gold. God, I hated that show. And really, the whole crochet thing is very 80's, and ya'll know I'm on board with that.
The hairstyles, though. The hairstyles of the 80's must STAY in the 80's. I cannot stress this enough. Big, fluffy, bleached, overpermed, mullets. On guys and girls. Freaky colors and Flock of Seagulls wannabes. Can and cans of hairspray just to get your bangs to stand up straight. Nobody ever had just plain old hair. I tried to resist, I really did. But by the late 80's, I was coerced into a *gasp* poodle perm. It was not pretty. Not even a little bit. No wonder I had no friends.
Ok, so why am I discussing the horrors of the 80's? Because. Because I was standing in line at Blockbuster last week, and there was a kid standing in front of me....with a RAT TAIL in his hair!! What?!? When did rat tails come back into style? And it wasn't even at the back of his neck, it was off to the side near his left ear. What?!? Bad eyesight? Well, yes, obviously if he likes his rat tail, but I had a feeling it was more than that. I asked a few moms of young boys if this was the new thing. Apparently it has something to do with the new Star Wars movie. Apparently all the young Jedis in training wear their hair like that. So? I just wanted to shake those moms and scream "What are you thinking?! Don't you rememeber the 80's?" This is a slippery slope, folks. Don't forget, there were girls wearing the rat tail back then. Cute little girls that should be in long flowing pigtails with pretty ribbons. But they didn't. They had short short boy haircuts with an awful little bit of hair growing down their back. Do we want that again? And what's next after that? Boys shaving their initials and checkerboards into the sides of their head? I've already seen a small comeback of crimping.
We can't allow this people. Dig out your photo albums and yearbooks. Do a Google Image Search for 80's hair. Look at how stupid we all looked. It was not cool. It was not classic or timeless. We looked stupid. If you love your children, do not let them get an 80's hairdo! For the love of Pete, just say NO!
If you know of any other fads of the 80's that we must not allow to return, let me know. Together we can fight this. Stay strong.

Friday, July 22, 2005

There is a spider in my STASH....and a Ghost, too

Marla, hon, I'm sorry....really I am. But come on. It's in my yarn! I tried to catch it (after taking the picture, of course), but it crawled deeper into my yarn bin. Eeeekkkk. Look, it's on my pretty pretty crochet bag from the Dollarama.


It's just sitting there, laughing at me. Laughing. What am I supposed to do? Ignore it?
Speaking of creepy....The last 2 days I have been catching my cat, Spook, staring at a spot on a wall at the top of my stairs. His nose is actually pressed to the wall and he just sits there staring. That by itself would normally be considered as only somewhat odd, but it gets worse. I have always felt something eerie on the stairs. Actually, it was more than an eerie feeling one night, it was an actual feeling. As in a hand pushing on my shoulder as I crossed the upstairs landing. I was going from the bathroom back to my bedroom and as I passed the stairs, I heard a loud creek further down the stairs. Just as I stopped and turned my head in that direction, something pushed on my right shoulder, propelling me in the direction of my bedroom. Eeeek. I RAN back to bed. I haven't told hubby this. I think he will think I am nuts. Just like ya'll do, I'm sure. But this isn't the only occurance in this house. I often think I see something moving out of the corner of my eye, only to have nothing there when I look. And that always happens in the stairwell.
Ok, scared yet? It's about to get creepier. We recently found out that this house was once a bar in the 70's. We were also told that some people died here in an accident, but we don't know the details. Everyone is assuming that something happened in the basement, where the bar operated, but I think it was the attic. Ya see, at the time this would have occured, the stairs did not exist. The entire upper level of this house was just an unfinished attic with a trap door. So, one night while I was sleeping on my stomach, a "finger" jabbed me in the ribs really really hard and woke me up. I would have thought it was a crazy dream, except that it kept hurting for at least another hour (while I quivered under my blankets). We hadn't been in the house very long at that point, but I discovered later on that right where that "finger" was coming from, was directly over what used to be the trapdoor to the attic (now covered over by my bedroom floor).
So, if ya'll have followed me this far, you may see what my theory is. I think if I ever find out the details of the deaths in my house, it will involve the attic and the space between it and the main floor.
Although the basement is still creepy. What with all the spiders and all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Updates

I finally finished my latest sweater.
It took me much longer than it should have. Partly due to the mind melting heat that has kept me more or less immobile. Partly because I have been getting twice as many shifts at work due to everyone else going on holidays. Partly due to my being totally lazy on a 20 hour driving trip. Dumb. I barely even touched a hook the whole time. Dumb dumb dumb. Oh well, I'll get back on track now. Hopefully. I crochet each weekday while watching a rerun of Quincy, so I will be starting back at that today. The little one also knows that Quincy time is "quiet time" so that helps. It also means peanut butter and jam toast time.
So, now onto my next project. Since I am not really sure yet what it will be, I will probably start and yank out at least 3-5 projects before settling on one. I really should be making something to sell, but my friend Kim at work is having a baby and I have the perfect yarn to make her a blankie. I set up a poll on the side so ya'll can help me decide.
Speaking of polls...there was a clear winner in the last poll "What is your favorite crochet stitch?"
I admit, I voted for the hdc as well, but since learning about the extended single crochet, I may have to change my mind.
As for non-crochet related news....I have finally given up trying to fight my family about flying to Edmonton. My oldest daughter is there right now and they have been harassing me to fly there with my youngest for the last week of the oldest's trip. I have been resisting because 1. work doesn't just go away, they have to actually give me the time off...during holidays, when everyone else requested time off in April and 2. I HATE TO FLY!!!! Omg ya'll, I'm serious. I can't handle it again. I end up flying at least twice a year, so it's not like I am a newbie at it, but I spend every flight thinking I am going to DIE any minute! I swore in the past that I would only get back on a plane for weddings and (god forbid) funerals. Well, not that there is a funeral planned, but my sister just told me that she has something wrong with her. Her whole left side went numb the other night and they rushed her to the hospital. They did some rush tests and ruled out a stroke or blot clot in the brain. It could still be a ton of other things, though. MS, they are thinking. Whatever it is, I need to go there now. Screw work. She has somehow ended up being the responsible one in the family. My mom, a big business owner, hired my sister to run her office. It has evolved to the point where she runs my mom's whole life. I mean really, she can't even pay her own bills anymore. And when my daughter visits there, they call my sister her secretary. She keeps track of where she is staying and for how long and who's driving her where. Not an easy task with my soap opera family. PLUS, her and her husband own a lube shop with my dad that is still new and needs a lot of time put into it. AND she has 2 small kids, one that is in desperate need of the Supernanny and another that is less than a year old. And the little one was a really hard pregnancy and was born a preemie. Gosh, I wonder if STRESS might have anything to do with her problems! So, I am going to go there and take her kids away and send her to the mall with her friends. I will beat off my mom and dad and her husband with a big stick, if I have to.
Since I am speaking of my sisters, Wendy and Jodie, I just want to show them off. I can do that here because they have zero interest in crazy things like crochet blogs and they will never know I am saying nice things about them. They can never know that. It would upset the balance of nature.
Aren't they pretty? They are the 2 bridesmaids. I didn't have a maid of honor because there was no way I could pick one of them over the other. I couldn't even go off of age, since we were all born together (yes, triplets). The little one is my oldest girl, but she isn't that little anymore (sigh).
Ok, enough rambling. Quincy starts soon. Gotta go make toast.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Hot

I am way too tired, hot and brainless to write anything even halfway intelligent today. I just spent a full 2 minutes in the pantry looking for the milk. Duh. So, here are a few links you may like:
  • If you are sick of yarn (like that's gonna happen) or just want to try something new, try crocheting with wire and beads. I have done a bit and it's really neat. Not that I can produce anything worthwhile, except maybe to my 3 year old for costume jewelery. But it's fun. Try it. "How To" with Wire
  • Love PEZ? Who doesn't!? Well, me, I guess. I hate the candies, but I love the dispensers. I must not love them as much as some people. Pez Collector's News. Factory tours would be cool, though.
  • Crochet a funky Masquerade Mask! This would be great with little colorful flowers all around it. Or leave out the eye openings and make a sleep mask.
  • The L.L. Bean GSI Vortex Blender . Seriously, folks. It's a handcranked blender. For camping. The description says "ideal for mixing shakes, sauces or pancake batter" but, really. We know it's for daiquiris. Strawberry daiquiris. I tried one at the store and I can tell ya, that is one powerful blender. I am so buying one before my next camping trip.

And that's it. My little office has now turned into a little brick oven for the rest of today's daylight hours. I need to now go and lay perectly still under my livingroom fan. Hot. Too damn hot.

Monday, July 18, 2005

What I Did on My Summer Vacation ~ by Tara

Oh, the places I have been...the people I have seen...the yarn I have fondled. Well, since Thursday, anyway. Actually, we left the house at about 10:30 PM on Wednesday night, after I finished work. It was a very long night. We drove as far as Montreal and then stopped just outside the city for a rest. (Hint to anyone who hates Montreal traffic: 3 AM has very few cars on the roads. It was a breeze. ) We stopped in the parking lot of a St. Hubert restaurant. I'm pretty sure we were not allowed to park there, but all the signs were in french, so I have no idea.

Parking lot we slept in and my new yarn.

After very little sleep, we were on the road again. It was a long long drive to Maine. Maine, I love ya, but could you please fix up your roads a little? The northern ones, especially. They were a bit scary. And crumbling. But your drivers are very friendly. And I had my new yarn to fondle.
We finally got to Freeport, Maine where our campground was. I had no idea how much shopping there was to do there! It's factory outlet stores as far as the eye could see! But, we had to set up the campsite, first. Priorities and all (stupid priorities). Our site was beautiful, with a great view of the ocean. Here are a few views from our site:


Click for bigger pics!
The weather was perfect! Thank you, Maine, for your perfect weather! It was such a releif to get away from the hot and humid weather we are having here in Ontario. But it wasn't cold. Not at all. In fact, the nights were so warm that we didn't even use out sleeping bags. However, after our 1st night's sleep, we discovered, painfully, that our air mattress had a leak. Ugh. We spent half the night re-inflating it. And our air pump sounds supiciously like squeaky bed hinges. I can only imagine what our fellow campers were thinking. We patched up the hole later.
I am always up earlier than everyone else, so of course it was my job to get breakfast ready. Camping is just not camping without a really really bad cup of coffee. And sausages. Overcooked sasuages. Mmmmm. Yummy.

Part of the deal of my agreeing to this trip was that I could crochet while there (usually I have to promise to leave the hooks at home). And I did crochet....kinda. See that loop (pics below)? That was the start of a poncho. Then, after about 4 rounds, I though to myself "Dear God, puhLEASE not another poncho!" So I yanked it apart. After that I pretty much just played around. So did my new assistant. Hey, we gotta start them early. Then hubby realized he forgot to bring any rope for a clothesline. (Insert superhero music here) Crochet to the rescue! I whipped up a pretty sage green chain to act as our pretty pretty clothesline.

But, we did not just spend all of our time at the campsite. Noooooo. Not when there were so many stores. And not when I married a guy that likes to shop as much as I do. And not when sitting and staring at the ocean and drinking bad coffee is just a little bit too boring for a little 3 year old tazmanian devil with no "off" button. So we went shopping. We went to all the outlets, but the only thing we ended up buying was 2 new pairs of sunglasses (his and hers) at L.L. Bean. Great store, by the way. We could use one here in Canada. Canada, please.....L.L. Bean. Look into it.
Then (and here is the best part) we went a bit further north of Freeport to a town called Bath. Why? Why, because, it is the home of Halcyon Yarn . And because I have a very wonderful and tolerant husband who will drive way out of the way so I can fondle the fancy yarns. I would have taken pictures, but I think that may have tried his patience a little too much. I never bought any yarn, though. It was all so beautiful, I just couldn't decide. But I am on the mailing list. And I didn't walk out empty handed. I got a great book called The Crochet Stitch Bible.

And it really is. Ya know, in all the billions (give or take a few) of patterns I have read, I have never even heard of the extended single crochet. Why? Why have I not seen this before? Has it been a big secret? Am I going to get kicked out of the club now for revealing it in this public forum? Oh, I also bought a yarn pendant cutter. Well, I thought it was. Turns out I grabbed a thread pendant cutter by mistake. Now I'm not quite sure what to do with it.
After hubby and child endured the yarn bonanza, I suggested the beach. We went for a quick dip in the Atlantic, a 1st for all of us. Then we headed back to the campsite.
Saturday we went into Portland and looked around at the Old Port area. If you have gobs of money and are redecorating your house, go there. There are some amazing shops. You will never look at the Home Depot with any respect again. Then we went into South Portland to do some regular shopping. By "regular" I mean Target, Old Navy, whatever mall we come across....etc. That mall happened to be the Maine Mall. Apparently the largest mall in Maine. If I hadn't grown up wandering the halls of West Edmonton Mall, I might be more impressed, but it was still pretty good. I bought a new Lynn Kurlynd book at the book store and hubby got himself a Boston hat (he really liked Boston when we were there on our last trip). At the target, hubby got a great pair of sandals that have little gel pads in the heels. Great idea. Wish they made girl shoes that way. But, really, screw comfort, our shoes are pretty. Oh, and then I went to A.C.Moore. We don't have those in Canada. It's basically a Michael's, but I liked the yarn selection more. I even got a 1 pounder of some discount yarn that is a shade of white-grey I haven't seen before. And a yarn pendant cutter. For real, this time. Then, when leaving the South Portland area, guess what we found! No, really, guess......give up? A Tim Horton's!! I swear it on my yarn stash! It's almost exactly the same, except that if you order a large, you get an extra large, and they take debit AND credit cards. But all the cars in the drive thru were from Canada, so it was just like being at home. I missed you, Tim Horton, and your Timbits, too!
Then we went and did our USA grocery shopping trip.
I know, some of those brand names are available in Canada, but the variations of flavors usually are not. I don't know why. It's not like it wouldn't sell here. What the heck does Canada have against chicken and stars soup, anyway?
For our last night at the campground, we had to move to a different site. The ocean view paradise was previously reserved for the Saturday night, so they moved us across the road. Our new view was not of the ocean, but rather of this:

Nice. And the new people pilfered my pretty pretty crocheted clothesline.
Sunday was all about the drive home. I would describe it in detail, but living it was tedious enough. I will show you, however, the coolest coffee shop design I have ever seen (photos taken from a moving minivan):

Click of bigger view!
Yes, that's a cow sitting in a coffee cup. And one more photo, even though I am breaking my "no spider" promise.


And that about does it. There would have been a great picture of a guy walking in front of the L.L. Bean wearing super super short spandex shorts, but that was about the time the batteries on my camera decided to give up the ghost. Sorry. I'll make it up to ya'll someday.

And that was My Summer Vacation.....by Tara.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Bugs, bugs, bugs for everyone!

I was born in Ontario, so I really do have some love for it, but I spent most of my life in Alberta. Now I am back in Ontario, and I gotta say.....what the heck am I doing here???? I totally do NOT belong here. Reasons:
  1. It is too HOT HOT HOT! I don't like ANY kind of heat, really. Dry, humid, hottub, whatever, it all makes me really bitchy. When hubby called home from the Afghanistan desert, I bitched and moaned to him about the heat in Alberta. Yes, I know how insensitive that was, while he was sitting in the 52 degree celcius heat in full uniform, but it was HOT damn it! But this Ontario heat...give me a break! I'm freakin' melting! I'm actually looking forward to going to work, because of all the wonderful, magical air conditioning there is at the store. And the temperature is never the temperature here. Back in Alberta, 32 degrees was 32 degrees, and that was bad enough. Here, they tell you it's 32 degrees...."but, it's about 45 degrees with the humidity, folks!" Arrggg.
  2. Speaking of weather, there's too much snow in the winter! Not that we didn't get a lot of snow back west, but it usually happens in big dumps. Then the whole city has to dig out their cars and try to drive to work before the roads are plowed and it turns into a big mess. But then that's it for a while. My 1st winter back in Ontario, it barely snowed at all before Christmas. I was laughing. We were apparently living in a high volume snow area at the time. The "Snow Belt" they called it. Ha. I saw no snow. Then the snow came. And came and came and came. It piled up and up and up. And it didn't stop. Ever. Not for the rest of the friggin' winter. Oh THAT snow belt. And what about those fun "thaw days" in the middle of winter, when you can go outside in a T-shirt and play in the snow? Humph. Not here. Oh, and that temperature thing here....it's not -15 degrees, it's "-34 degrees with the wind chill, folks!" Arrgggg.
  3. The BUGS!!! They're killin' me! I can't walk outside in the summer without saying, at least once, "What the hell is that?!" Speaking of which, I thank Pixi for letting me know what the mystery bug from my last post was. Turns out it was a cicada . Interesting little things, but I wouldn't want one flying into my head. Oh, and while researching just what the hell a cicada was, I came across Cicada Mania. Fun. They even sell T-shirts. Now, I was born in North Bay, Ontario. If you have ever been there at just the right time in the summer, you know what I am about to talk about. There is a horrible little useless bug that attacks that city every year. It's called the shadfly. It's disgusting. Basically, the eggs hatch on the lake, then they lay more eggs. Then they fly towards the pretty pretty city lights. They don't eat, they don't mate, they don't go for coffee. They stick....to EVERYTHING. They just stick to things for about a week, then they die. They die in big piles and heaps on the sidewalks, all over town. And then the town smells like fish. Dead, rotting fish. Doesn't that sound like fun? If you want to know more, some nutjob from my hometown actually has a website for them, www.shadfly.com . How can I not love all the scarey bugs in Ontario?
  4. It kinda smells. Not the people, they seem, mostly, well groomed. But the air, it has an odor to it. Not just the cities, either, but in the country, too. And ya know that really nice just-rained smell? Ya...not here. It smells worse after it rains. Sorry, Ontario, but you know it's true.
  5. Other reasons for belonging in Alberta rather than Ontario are, well, just personal preferences, really. I won't go into them, since this is not a political site and ya'll don't care that I can't find a cream supreme donut at ANY Ontario Tim Horton's (no, not the Boston cream, that has a custard filling, the cream supreme has a whip cream filling). And I'm sure the fact that I prefer Disneyland to Disneyworld doesn't interest anyone, even though I either have to settle for second favorite or go on a much much longer drive. It's the subtleties, you see.

I'm sure at this point ya'll are wondering what the bejeezers I'm doing in Ontario, anyway. Well, not in that exact phrasing, but something similar, maybe. My husband is military. So we go where they tell us to go. Home is just a posting away. PMQ sweet PMQ. And there really are some nice things here in Ontario. But I don't care. I'm an Albertan. I don't care that I was born in Ontario. I say "ya'll" now. So, I will make the best home of Ontario while I am here, and wait and see where they send us next. Maybe it will be Saskatchewan. Does anyone know if there are a lot of bugs in Sakatchewan?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

New Yarn!

Oh my god! The store I work at got in new yarn! I was so excited! Strangely, my fellow coworkers did not share my enthusiasm. And I suppose ya'll wouldn't care about this particular yarn so much, since it's not exactly rare....but hey, I'm in a small town where the "quality" yarn can be found at Walmart. It's all Lionbrand (Kool Wool , Wool-Ease® , Wool-Ease®Chunky , Wool-Ease®Sportweight ) and OH the most beeaUTiful colors! There are mostly beige and brown tweedy colors and the Kool Wool has some lime greens and hot reds. Oh, my, I was in heaven. I almost stopped one lady from buying 8 of the plum colored Wool-Ease. I was so scared it would all sell before I can go in and buy some tomorrow. But then I went upstairs to the stock room.....GASP! There are CASES of it piled higher than ME (to be fair, I'm only 5'1")! So, I think I am safe till tomorrow. Oh, and the best part....the price! The same stuff is at Walmart for about $5-6 CAD(that's about $3.75-4.50 USD). At my store, it's only $2.89 CAD ($2.17 USD)!!! And I get a staff discount! And....I have a 10 hour drive to Maine on Thursday! Hmmm....wonder what I'll be doing....
Speaking of Maine....anyone around there know a good place for yarn? Everytime we go to the US, we end up missing all the yarn stores. Usually because we are in a rush to get home. This time, we ARE finding a good store. We are camping nearby Portland. Hubby already looked up the 24 hour
LLBean, so I know we will be shopping there. What great campers we are, eh? We can't go anywhere unless we look up the retail possibilities first. I've also used the store locator for Joann to find the store in Portland. I'm starting to think it's a good thing we only have 4 days, or we might run out of money shopping!
Ok, now on a totally seperate note....what the hell is this?

No, seriously.....I found it dead on my driveway. It's frickin' HUGE!!!! I have no clue what it is, other than to call it an insect. Really, does anyone know? Should I be worried? And I did not break my promise.....I said no more spider pictures. It's not a spider.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

I am FINALLY done my crazy work weekend. I now get one whole day off before I go back to work again. But, on the plus side, we leave for Maine on Thursday. My husband got some notion in his head this week that he wanted to go whale watching. Whale watching. That man and his last minute ideas. Oh well, I'll get out of the house, and I can do some US style grocery shopping. Honestly, you Americans know good food. Try to find sausage gravy in Canada...I dare ya.
I really haven't crocheted anything this weekend. I've mostly been passing out when I get home from work. Even tonight, I'm just to tired. Well, I did start a new project with some yarn I want to use up, but I'm not totally sure what it will be yet. Maybe a cardigan, maybe a shrug, we'll see. I'll post a pic when I get further along. I also bought this new book.

I know, it's knitting, but I love all the pictures and ideas. I can't knit more than a rectangle, but some of the patterns can be converted to crochet.
Short post tonight, Family Guy comes on in a few minutes. Toodles!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Work work work work work......

Oh, if weekends could smell, I'd be pluggin' my nose for this one. It's bad enough that I had to send my oldest daughter on a plane (oh my GOD I hate planes) on the same day that there were terrorist attacks all the way on the other side of the world (yes I'm that paranoid), but now I am working more hours than a weekend actually has. I know, I need some perspective. My family is all safe and alive and what else matters, right? I get that, I am grateful but my body is not cooperating. About 2:30 am friday morning is when I 1st started feeling sick. Then I had to work at 5 pm. SO, I stayed in bed all day. I never stay in bed all day. Ick. My shift was the usual crap of snotty customers and snotty coworkers, but whatever...I'm used to it now. But, today is the killer shift, and I barely slept last night (due to sleeping all day, duh).
I've worked very hard since before I was legally allowed to, and I am not a stranger to long shifts, but whenever someone at my work heard that I was working the 9am-6pm shift today, they all did that hissing, sucking, squinty-eyed thing and say "oooooo....that's rough." It's 9 hours of walking around a discount retail store.....just walking. I'm only a part-time (part-time apparently equals limited brain function to the rest of the staff there), so I don't even get real jobs like putting out stock. I just walk around. Oh, but I do get an hour break instead of a half hour. Hmmm....what can I do in a stuffy room with no air conditioning for an hour? There is a TV, with only one channel, and on Saturdays it only has a save-the-children/whales/spotted wolf/etc infomercial. ACK! Of course I will have my crochet bag with me, but if it's nice, I will walk to Timmies. Oh, and tomorrow.....work again. This time while hubby and youngest child go boating with Grandma. How do I get to work when they take the van? Oh, heck, who knows. We only live way out in the country. Hitchhike, maybe? No, I'm not that stupid. I just have to go to my crappy shift today and beg people I don't like to pick my up for a shift that I don't want to be at. Sigh. I know....perspective.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Random Updates

Tomorrow my oldest baby leaves me for a little more than a month to go get entirely spoiled by grandparents. Sigh.
I will also be (attempting) to list all of my finished sweaters on Ebay tomorrow afternoon. Speaking of Ebay, I never won that yarn pendant. I got outbid in the last few minutes. Curses, foiled again!
I am was very angry with my job last night. Well, I still am. There was a little 7 yr old girl missing in the area where our store is (wandered away from a very bad babysitter), and nobody made a single announcement. It was more than 10 minutes before I even heard about it, and that was from the crying mother who was rollerblading around the store with a picture herself. She must have talked to a dozen other people that worked there, including a manager, and the only page we heard was "If there is a Gabrielle in the store, please come to cash ten." What?!?!?!? She's seven! She has no idea where cash 10 is! I am sick to think that she could have been in my toy department and I had no idea to look for her. As soon as the mother came to me, I immediately got the picture photocopied, put it up on all outside doors with a description and personally made an announcement to the store. My god. We need a system there. If anyone has ever seen
Code Adam in use, you will know how important it is. Every single second can matter when a kid is missing. I'm going to be speaking to the owners of the store about this. I am hoping that the lack of news this mornig means that little Gabrielle made it home safe.
And...I know it's WIP Wednesday, but I don't have a lot to show. I have a bit of a new sweater done. Oh, but I can show you a picture of my pretty pretty crochet bag....I got it at the Dollarama (yay for being cheap!).

Monday, July 04, 2005

Fireworks, Yard Sale and a Ghost Story

Wow. What a weekend. First off, I'd like to say Happy 4th of July to all of my American readers! Have fun and be safe!
On friday, after working all day, we had my husband's aunt and his brother and his wife and son and dog all show up from out of town. Not that we mind guests, it was just chaotic. My husband was doing the fireworks show for the military base here, so there was a lot of rushing around and feeding my guests hotdogs and coleslaw from a bag for dinner. I really am a good cook, but they would never know it. We had to go sit on a hill in the wind and misting rain for about 3 hours before the show started, but it was worth it. It was a great show. I especially liked the part where my husband went running to the tree that caught on fire so he could save it (and he did). Sigh....my hero. Here are a few of the better pictures I got of the fireworks:


The next day was.....drumroll please....YARD SALE DAY!

It started at about 5am (we got home at about 1am the night before). I was up putting up signs and getting everyone's first dose of Timmies before anyone else was even awake. Then hubby had to go back to the fireworks site to help cleanup, so I started piling stuff on the driveway. The signs said I opened at 8am, but the early vultures get the worms. They started showing up at 7 when I only had half my stuff out. I expected that, though. Heck, I made 50 bucks before I was even open. By the last 2 hours, I was giving stuff away for free. If anyone even touched it, I said "Take it!" This was more about getting rid of crap than making money, after all. But, even with giving it all away, I still made a good chunk of money. Wanna know how much? Ok.....(hello? drumroll? where's my drumroll?)....$368!!! Wooo. That pays for about two thirds of our new lawnmower. I'm just happy to have some of my house back.
Speaking of my house....here's the really cool part of the weekend. I think I mentioned before that my house was an old schoolhouse built in 1909. And that was about all we knew about it. Nobody around here ever told us any more details about it....until now. A few of my customers told me that they went to this school. They described to me where a few changes have been made. My shed is where the ball diamond used to be, my flowerbed was the flagpole and my porch used to be 2 outhouses on either side of the front door, one for boys and one for girls. They all left the school before it stopped being a school, though, so that was all they could tell me. BUT, then one lady told me a bit more. It stopped being a school in about 1966. It sat empty for a few years. Then, in the 70's it was a bar. A bar! Bands played in my basement (I wonder if the spiders liked that). So, it was a bar for a few years, but due to noise complaints and liability issues stemming from the horrible accident that killed a few people (take a minute to absorb that)....they shut down. OH MY GOD! And yes, there are creepy parts in my house, but they didn't exist when this would have happened (the entire upstairs was built in the early 90's). There have been a few creepy instances, but I'm not ready to say "ghost". I'd rather think, for now, that I'm a little bit crazy. For now. I'll keep ya'll posted.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Happy Canada Day!!!