Saturday, September 18, 2010

The rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

The rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated. Mostly. It has been a hell of a couple weeks around here. I might have to write this entry as a bullet point list for the sake of clarity. I'm hoping your regularly scheduled blogging will resume shortly. Anyhow, here is what I've been up to:
  • Collective Bargaining - I sit on the bargaining committee for my union, and we have finally started negotiating a collective agreement with the university's administration. Things have gone quickly so far, but we still have the big stuff--compensation and workload--to get through. It will be very interesting to see how this goes--the Ontario government has asked for a two year wage freeze for all public servants/groups that receive transfer funds; it is likely that we will be offered 0-0 for the next two years.
  • New school year. You'd think, since this is my fourth year in this job, I'd remember how hard that first week of classes is: a million names to remember, new schedule and locations to memorize, no more napping in the afternoons...but I didn't remember, and last week just knackered me. I'm so lucky to have Mat in my life--if I were left to my own devices, I would probably eat pizza for the entire first month of school because I am just exhausted when I get home from work right now.
  • Test knitting. I'm almost done my second test knit. The first was a stranded pattern done in sport weight yarns, so it was a slow(er) project. I've only knit one other stranded project in my entire life, so don't ask me why I came up with a fairly involved stranded design...but I did. My second knit is in a worsted weight yarn, and I'm so happy that I saved it for last because it's working up like a dream. I'm going to mail them out tomorrow, and then I just have finish writing the patterns.
  • Bachelorette party. This was a very good night. The theme was "Wear It Again" (as in, wear a dress that you've only worn once) with a side of "underwear" (everyone brought me a pair of gotchies and I had to guess who brought me which). There are lots of photos here, although I will warn you that there are pictures of a) crocheted thongs, b) phallic pastries, and c) firemen having hoses pinned on them.
  • Various and sundry wedding planning. I finally have all the fascinator things, but haven't quite figured out what I'm doing. I do not have all the jewelry things, which is irritating. At times like this I feel like the persecution complex that I have in relation to Canada Post is actually quite justified.
  • My cat hates me again.

Monday, September 13, 2010

With a bang and a whimper

There are two sayings that I like to pretend were said by my grandmother, although I think I probably picked them up from all that nineteenth century literature I read when I was a kid. They both essentially mean the same thing, I think. The first is, "it never rains but it pours" and the second is "if it's not chickens, it's feathers." So I'll leave it to you to guess what kind of week I had.

Collective bargaining began this week, and occupied six hours of my time on Thursday, plus countless hours of my thoughts since then. I also had dinner with my mother and one of her friends from nursing college. On Friday, I attended a Deans' Breakfast for the frosh, followed by an information session for the English majors, and met with the union's Scholarship Committee. On Saturday, I volunteered for the local AIDS Committee's annual AIDS Walk, and somehow got suckered into doing work with Excel spreadsheets.1

Saturday night made it all worth it, though. Friends of mine put together a record label for artists in North Bay Rock City2, recorded an e.p., and held a record release party at one of my favourite bars. After the week I'd had, I had more or less talked myself out of going until one of the performers emailed me to tell me that he thought I should go--so I got out of my comfy pants and into some other clothes.3

This was the best decision I'd made all week. The martinis were $5, I was only minorly socially awkward, and the music was amazing. Generally, when you've got a multi-artist e.p., you're going to wind up with something that you don't really care for, but this was not the case on Saturday. Everyone who took to the stage was awesome: there was a great mix of originals and covers. (My favourites were Matt Murphy belting out Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz," Tyler MacIver's version of Tommy James & the Shondelles' "I Think We're Alone Now"4 and Kyle Fowle's Sonic Youth cover.5)

Headliner Craig Cardiff played a set mid-show, which felt very intimate as he invited people to sit down on the floor and on the stage. I didn't because I didn't want to abandon my totally sweet bar stool, which was still less than ten feet from the stage. His set was excellent even without my favourite song, "Albion Hotel," and he played a lovely cover of "What A Wonderful World" as his last song.

I'm always a bit worried when I go to friends' creative endeavours, because there's always that slightly possibility that your friends are going to suck, and then there's some awkward lying involved about how much you enjoyed stuff.6 Fortunately, no lying would've been required for this show: I had a great time, as evidenced by the fact that I stayed out til 2 a.m.

Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better night out, with one exception--I forgot to grab myself a copy of the e.p.
1 There really aren't words to describe how much I hate Excel/how stupid Excel makes me feel. Also, it was Excel for Windows Vista, which is even worse. I really hate the MS Office suite for Vista. Obviously, no one at Windows has ever heard the phrase, "If it's not broke, don't fix it."
2 Despite the nickname, North Bay is very seldom a Rock City.
3 I tweeted about this at the time, but I still want to know: What does one wear to indie concerts when one is a grown up? This was so much easier when I was 16 and could wear a pair of Converse One-Stars and a t shirt I'd painted a slogan on myself. I ended up in a (machine) knit dress and a pair of jeans.
4Yes, it is the same song that Tiffany covers; it just sounds more impressive if you know the original artist.
5 Though, as I tweeted at the time, every time I hear Sonic Youth now, it reminds me of the part in Juno when Juno is angry at Mark and she tells him that she bought a Sonic Youth album and "it was just noise!"
6 This is undoubtedly a residual effect from one of my exes, who--while he was a talented guitar player--definitely thought he was a lot better than he actually was, and would get upset if he wasn't given what he thought was his due after shows.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Les Invasions Barbares

I've written approximately four half posts here in the last few days, but I just can't seem to settle on anything. I have only a few days left before the semester starts, and the time seems to be filling up quickly: I have meetings with my chair, with the scholarship committee, with the collective bargaining committee, and a breakfast with the first year students, as well as a visit from my mother. (One of her best friends from nursing school is teaching in town for a few days, so she's driving up to visit Middle Sister and I, and have dinner with her friend.)

I've also got knitting to do. I sold two patterns to Three Irish Girls a few months ago, and the yarn arrived last week for me to work up my samples. I need to finish them quickly so that I can mail them away to Minnesota. (I'm very glad that I started with the fingering weight project first; the worsted weight one will take less time to knit up.) I'm still plugging away on my mum's Rogue (the goal is to finish last year's present for this year's Christmas). I've also got the idea in my head that I want to make a Little Sister Dress for a colleague whose wife just had a baby girl.

The competition list for the Elmvale Fall Fair are up now, and I am bound and determined to enter some of my hand knits this year. There are several different knitting categories, which generally have fewer than five entries in them. I also have this crazy idea that I could throw together a few sewing projects for that the sewing and knitting projects I want to have done for the holidays this year.

Speaking of holiday knits, I finished these yesterday, and I foresee a fair few pairs in my future. The embellishments are done by needle felting, and I added a few of the beads leftover from when I made Larisa.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

From The Office Of...

I am at work, in my office.1 I've been asked to present at the New Faculty Orientation today on the union's contract negotiations with the university2, so I am dressed and professional and wearing heels, and await the presentation. I am also basking in the air conditioning. It was 29 degrees in the house when I left, and I don't imagine that's much improved.

Thus, I am taking advantage of the opportunity to organize my fall knits list, and to think about what holiday knitting (if any) that I want to pursue this year. I've been plugging away, slowly but surely, on my mom's Rogue sweater (which I'd love to have done for Christmas this year). There are a couple of things that I'd like to knit, but I've got some yarn coming to knit samples of two of my designs. Once the yarn finally gets here I will have a fairly tight turnaround with those, so I'm trying to stick to simple and in progress projects in the meantime.

1 The comma there is quite important. Without it, the sentence would've read, "I'm at work in my office," which is not, strictly speaking, exactly true.
2 Or lack thereof.