Thursday, December 31, 2009

With Glowing Hearts

The Olympic Torch Relay rolled into North Bay last night, having made its way through the tiny village that is my hometown the day before. I went on the advice of one of my uncles. He is sarcastic and cynical, almost always dressed in black, and refuses to be photographed. He and my aunt once owned cats named Topper and Strummer after members of the Clash. So I figured that if he, of all people, was recommending the torch run as something to be seen, then it was worth seeing.

It was pretty commercialized, since Coca-Cola is a sponsor, but there was still lots of neat stuff--the live performances of musicians and acrobats, as well as several community groups. There were even fireworks at the end. My feet were pretty cold by the time that it was over, but that's what I get for wearing running shoes instead of proper boots.

I bought a new winter coat yesterday, after I finally admitted that the boiled wool peacoats that I adore (in a very pretentious, hipster way) are simply not warm enough to cut it in a northern Ontario winter. The coat I picked up is a skiing/snowboarding coat, and it attracted me initially because it has birds on it. (I am simple like that.) It also has a bajillion pockets (and armpit zippers for those days when I am skiing hard) and places to keep my electronic equipment. (Does anyone remember when coats were just coats? And your lift ticket went on the front zipper and it would fly up in your face for the whole night and you liked it? Those were simpler times, Gentle Reader.)

The best part is that it was a $200 coat on sale for $50. I do love a good bargain.

It's New Year's Eve, and I am spending it with the old roommates. I hope that it will be a good night. I really dislike New Year's - to me, it is the prom night of holidays: much ado about nothing, a night where anything could happen but nothing ever does.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Eve Eve

I am not grading exams right now. I should be, but I am not, because it manages to be both tedious and painful and I have developed seasonal ADD that prevents me from focusing my eyes on a single object for longer than twenty seconds.

It's totally a real medical condition, you guys. For real.

The Christmas shopping is all done, although I still have a few gifts to make, and mostly everything is wrapped and sitting in a laundry basket at the door, waiting to be taken away.

It's a bit too early to think about New Year's Resolutions, but I do want to think about the things I want to knit next year. So far, tentative knitting goals are include: 1) knitting ten sweaters (Rogue, Featherweight Cardigan, Coraline, Wrenna, St. James, Icelandic Star are all on the list so far--the really sick part is that I can knit all of these out of stash yarn). 2) My wedding shawl. 3) At least one project per month from my Three Irish Girls stash. 4) Socks. I love wearing handmade socks. I just don't particularly want to make them.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Take A Good Look At My Face

The school term finally ended on Wednesday, and I am still marking furiously to catch up to my students, who expect to get their essays back on Monday. They will then write the exam on Tuesday (at night!) and I will mark furiously to get it done before Christmas. Good thing I did not sign myself up for lots of Christmas knitting this year.

I did finish the one project I was really keen on: a Swallowtail Shawl for my grandmother. My grandfather has been very sick lately (and has just been diagnosed with a chronic lung condition) and my grandmother has been having a hard time, since she is his primary caretaker. She used to make all sorts of things: she knit, crocheted, sewed, smocked, etc. until her arthritis became too painful for her to continue. Her grandchildren definitely benefitted from all of this creativity, so I wanted to make her something to show her that I was thinking of he.

yarn 160

I also published my first pattern this week: The Celtic Moonrise Mittens are available for free on Ravelry, and I've already got an idea in mind for the next pattern, which will also be mittens. I had a lovely custom dyed merino-silk blend arrive in the mail this week that will be perfect for it.

Sometimes the knitting life is so much better than the real life. Although, in real life, I need to sing the praises of Vista Print. We ordered Save the Date announcements for the wedding on Monday night, and they were printed and at our house by noon on Thursday. The quality is really nice, and the prices were very reasonable. I have a calendar coming in the next few days, and I hope that the quality is as good.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Joys of Being A Pet Owner

We've had Bad Cat for approximately 18 months now, and for the most part, he has been a delight, and our lives have been all the richer for his presence in our house. (Exceptions to this statement include his need to have someone awake with him when he's awake, his need to eat--or try to eat--everything, his cries of distress to arouse sympathy from the neighbours, his...odorous...contributions to the bathroom, some occasional scratching, and the time he ate a plant and vomited bright green on our duvet.)

This holiday season, Cat has decided to contribute to the family by helping with the decorations. Mat and I set up our tree yesterday, but didn't have a chance to start decorating it. The knitting guild is having a sale/trade table at our holiday party in a couple of weeks, and while I was evaluating what parts of the stash I could be persuaded to part with, I found the Dread Sock. As Bad Cat has recently expressed considerable enjoyment in the unravelling of half-knit socks, I broke the yarn and passed it on to him.

Mat worked a night shift last night, and I went out for a few hours to attend a silent auction in benefit of the local AIDS Committee (alas, I did not win anything). When I got home, I saw this:

On closer inspection, I could see this:

Needless to say, Bad Cat is very pleased with himself:

He's lucky he's cute.