Mar 30, 2020

Monophylletic Monday

monophylletic ~ descended from a common evolutionary ancestor or ancestral group

Just so you know, I’m not enjoying the forced social isolation as much as I thought I would. As a matter of fact, I’m finding it’s a lot like the books we had to read for English class in high school. It’s great when you do it of your own free will, but another thing altogether when you’re forced to.

I can’t say that I’ve been making good use of all this extra time on my hands. Mostly I’ve been reading or playing solitaire on the computer. For variety I’ll do a hidden objects game or on-line jigsaw puzzle. It’s hard to generate motivation when the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

Sometimes I muster a little energy to do something constructive though. I’ve been plugging away at my appliqué piece for the Stitchery Guild, but the light’s not so great in the living room/dining room area and I can only work on it when it’s sunny out, which it hasn’t been much lately. But I did finally finish the sweater for the grandbaby.

I had so many problems with it I started calling it ‘the cursed sweater.’ First the darker turquoise I’d chosen for the yoke wasn’t the right weight of yarn, a fact I didn’t realize until it was finished with the ends tucked in.

With a lot of patience and good light (and a great deal of cursing) I was able to unravel the yoke which included the button bands and collar. And I ended up with two extra stitches on my knitting needs. Oh, well. Better two too many than two too few.

Then I had to figure out where the middle of the sweater was again. Not an easy task when you’re working on circular needles. But I figured it out and the new yoke went on fairly quickly. Then I finished it and . . . overlapped the button bands the wrong way and sewed them in place with the button holes on the inside.

*sigh*

And of course I didn’t figure that out until I’d tied up the loose ends and skillfully woven them into the sweater. OMG! I sweated over getting that piece apart again, I tell you what! It taxed my patience but I got apart and sewed it back up, and sewed on the bunny buttons because the grandbaby loves bunnies, and here she is, modeling the finished sweater:



Isn’t she adorable?

And totally worth everything I went through for that sweater.

Mar 16, 2020

Melismatic Monday



melismatic ~ florid in melody

How much things have changed in such a short space of time . . .

This time last week the Coronavirus (or COVID-19 if you prefer), was just something that was happening overseas. Didn’t really affect us unless we were travelling. Now it’s a pandemic and we’re pretty much on lock down.

Schools are closed, trips are being cancelled, businesses are closing up . . . the NBA and the NHL have suspended their games, the Juno awards have been cancelled . . . grocery stores are emptying out of stock faster than you can say “toilet paper.” We’ve been told to avoid social gatherings and stay at home whenever possible.

The March Break (which is this week) has been extended by two weeks, coinciding with the closing of many family friendly venues – Neb’s Funworld, the YMCA, the Cobourg Community Centre. Several daycares have closed their doors temporarily as well, which begs the question, what are parents going to do with their kids for three weeks?

For myself, this week’s poetry reading has been cancelled, tai chi classes have been suspended, and I suspect I’ll be getting word any time now that the Stitchery Guild meetings will be suspended.

My normal strategy for the weekly grocery shopping on Fridays is to hit Walmart at 7 a.m. when it opens, then No Frills at 8 a.m. when it opens. Walmart was nightmare. I’ve never seen it so busy, even at Christmas during a half price sale. No Frills was downright terrifying. People were buying non-perishables by the case, and bottled water and paper products (toilet paper, tissues, paper towels) by the cartload.

Seriously, do they really believe buying a year’s worth of toilet paper is going to keep them from getting sick? Wash your hands, people. And stop touching your faces!

Mar 9, 2020

Magnetograph Monday



magnetograph ~ instrument for recording measurements of magnetic fields

A funny thing happened to that sweater I was knitting for the grandbaby. The contrast yarn I bought was a lighter weight than the main yarn. The colour was good, but the yoke is kind of . . . stretchy. And the collar (which is made from the heavier, main colour yarn) looked kind of small. And I didn’t notice how bad the overall effect was until I’d completely tied up loose ends and finished it up right.

*sigh*

At the very least I plan to unravel the collar and re-do it in a larger size. At best I’m hoping that if I get the collar off I might be able to unravel the rest of the yoke and re-do it in a different, heavier yarn. But no rush. Spring appears to be here so it won’t be needed until next winter anyway.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

The annual Vintage Clothing Show was on this weekend, and the daughter and I made the pilgrimage up to Toronto to see what treasures they had to offer. This is the second time we’ve gone and it’s turning into kind of a nice mother/daughter tradition.

We got there a lot earlier than the last time, and were glad we did – by the time we broke for lunch it was getting really people-y in there. I found the price discrepancies from vendor to vendor very interesting. Some places seemed reasonable, others bordered on ludicrous.

And speaking of ludicrous, lunch was insane. Our choice was a $7 hotdog or a $9 bagel sandwich. A bottle of water was $4.50. If we had realized how little we had left to see, we would have skipped lunch at the show and walked over to the nearby Starbucks afterwards.

Still, we managed to come away happy. The daughter snagged a gorgeous poufy skirt for a song – apparently the guy selling it couldn’t read his own hand writing. I found a matching jacket and skirt with lots of beadwork and appliqué for a less modest price. They’re a little too fancy to be worn together, in my opinion, but they'll look great with other stuff.

The picture above was taken at the show. The doll heads looked a lot creepier in person than they do in the picture. And yes, those are real ducklings on the bottom left – not live, of course, which made them also creepy.

We came away from our excursion with money left over, so we stopped at the Oshawa Costco on the way home. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this Costco before, it’s the one I found annoying because everything is backwards to the one I’m used to, and the customers are really mean.

Well, now I have a witness. The daughter didn’t like it either. It kind of sucked all the fun out of going to Costco for us. And why go to Costco if you can’t have fun?

All in all, despite Costco, we had a really great day.

Mar 2, 2020

Mustelid Monday



mustelid ~ otters, badgers and weasels

I was hoping to have a picture of the grandbaby’s sweater for you today, but as the typing of this post it isn’t quite finished yet. But it’s close, very close. However, it’s a good thing I made it a size larger because it’s a heavy sweater and the long range forecast is for above freezing temperatures. It might be next year before she has a chance to wear it.

Instead the above picture is of the nifty craft case I went all the way to the Peterborough Costco for. The hubby and I saw it last week (?) when we were there and although he urged me to get it, I wasn’t so sure I’d be able to use it. I was thinking stitchery stuff at the time.

But that was before I attended the Stitchery Guild’s appliqué workshop. The pieces we were creating weren’t just appliqué, they were more like fabric art, which included lace and ribbon and assorted doodads. And wouldn’t that craft case come in hand for all that stuff? Of course it would. The only thing that kept me from going earlier in the week for it was the weather. LOL

So Saturday morning I hied me to Costco and bought the case. And since I was in Peterborough anyway, I also stopped at Michaels (you know, the giant craft palace). I honestly didn’t need to stop there because I had more than enough doodads at home to fill the case, but you know how it is. Craft Store.

One of things I scored there was a set of beading needles that had collapsible eyes. I used to do a lot of beadwork – one year for Christmas I beaded dragons on velvet bags for a select group of friends – but it was hard enough to thread those beading needles when I had perfect vision. Now that my vision is much dimmer it’s pretty much impossible, so it’s been a few years since I’ve done any beading. Now, however . . .

Anyway, after a lot of debate I decided to use the case for beadwork and fabric art. I could have used one side for stitchery stuff, but I already have a bag that works for that, and the beading/fabric art stuff seems to just fit together.

The case is nicely compact, but the picture doesn’t do justice to just how much it holds. Each side has two layers, and the dividers are removable so you can make the rows as short or long as you want. My only complaint is that although there are a couple of large compartments, they’re not large enough to hold works in progress.

So . . . in my case you’ll find glass seed beads, sequins, charms, larger glass beads, jewelry hardware, needles, wire, thread, and all my beading odds and ends. Believe it or not, I didn’t fit everything in there – I still have a plastic bin with wooden beads, regular seed beads, cords, beading looms, and bigger, bulkier supplies.

Now the push is on to finish that sweater so I can get at some stitchery. I was off to a slow start with my ideas for the appliqué piece, but now I know exactly how I want to lay it out and how I can enhance it with some beadwork – if those new beading needles work.

And once I’m finished that piece, I have ideas for two larger pieces.

Things are about to get very creative around here.

Feb 24, 2020

Mousseline Monday



mousseline ~ very fine glassware

Thursday was a really good day for me last week. First of all, I scored a couple of extra shirts at Tai Chi. When you sign up you get a plain, navy blue shirt with the Taoist Tai Chi logo on it and it’s pretty boring. Even more so when you’re surrounded by people who’ve been doing it for years and they have a variety of “pretty” shirts.

It used to be you could just buy more shirts, but because the Taoist Tai Chi is a charitable organization and the tax laws have since changed, you can’t do that any more. At least not in Canada. If you want a new shirt you pretty much have to go to Florida to buy one.

However, one of the other newbies and I were whining begging asking one of the instructors about new shirts and she just happened to come into possession of several gently used shirts and offered them to us. They weren’t exactly my colours (I took a pale green one and a bright orange one) but beggars can’t be choosers. Squeaky wheel gets the grease! Or in my case the shirt.

The other notable event on Thursday was my poetry reading. One thing I discovered with selecting (and rejecting) poems for the reading is that I have a lot of poetry. I really need to start doing something with it.

The reading went well; I stuck with forms, which is what I do best. And I ended with my favourite form, the parody, just to leave ‘em laughing. Several people came up to me to make positive comments, and the guest poet even told me he’d never heard of several of the forms I used. Go me!

The only other excitement for the week was the trip hubby and I made to Costco on Wednesday. This also included a trip to Chapters where he spent more money than I did (a LOT more) and a quick trip through the mall. We finished it off with dinner at the Keg, using the gift card the grand baby gave us for Christmas.

It’s just a thrill a minute around here, I tell you what. :-D

Feb 17, 2020

Miniaceous Monday



miniaceous ~ colour of reddish lead

I’m still waiting for the super cold, super snowy winter the weatherman promised in the fall. We’ve had a couple of really cold days (like Friday when we had extreme cold warnings in effect), but they usually warm right up again the next day. And while Newfoundland has been hit hard with the snow this year apparently they prefer to keep it all to themselves. We haven’t even had enough for a proper snow day.

*sigh*

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been going to Tai Chi twice a week and I’m finally starting to feel if not like I almost know what I’m doing, then at least less klutzy as I go about it. For the most part it’s a friendly group to be part of, and during one of the breaks I was talking to a couple of ladies about stitchery crafts and next thing I know they invited me to check out their group.

I don’t usually do all that great in new, social situations, but I sucked it up and went to their next meeting. I have to say, I’m glad I did. If I thought the Tai Chi group was friendly, they have nothing on the stitchery group. And talented! Boy howdy those ladies have mad stitching skills.

They were also pretty chatty, and through the course of the morning as they talked about the various other groups they were part of made me realize how insular I’ve become. I didn’t even know most of these other groups existed!

That’s not to say I’m going to run out and join them all, but I will be joining this one. They only meet twice a month and it’ll be a fun way to while away the time. For sure it’s revived my interest in my crafts. I’m not sure when or why I got away from them, but it’ll be nice to use up some of those supplies just gathering dust.

This week I’ve also got a poetry reading to prepare for. I spent Sunday morning struggling over a bio to send the MC. I wish her luck. Compared to most of the other poets who’ve done readings, I’m pretty boring – I’ve lived in the same place all my life and haven’t really done a whole lot. No awards or recognition, just piles of unpublished poems.

Feb 3, 2020

Maculose Monday



maculose ~ spotted

You know how some people binge watch a series on Netflix? Well I kind of did the same thing during my unintended absence, only with me it was binge reading. And when I say binge reading, I mean it. I did very little except read since my last blog post.

I bought myself a book late in the fall to save as my reward for completing the National Novel Writing challenge in November. While I did complete the challenge, I didn’t really have a lot of time to read, seeing as how Christmas was looming over me. But after the Christmas madness was over, I pretty much sat down and did nothing but read my new book.

Then I decided I didn’t want the story to end, so I started reading the entire series from the beginning. All thirty of them. It was the Lynsay Sands Argeneau series, in case anyone is curious. And then I started in on several of the Nora Roberts trilogies, most of which I had to buy first. Indigo/Chapters loves me right now. :-)

So . . . what brought on this bout of reading madness? Might have been burn out from the holidays, might have been a symptom of my annual New Year’s depression, might have been my way of escaping the world. Probably a bit of all three. To be honest, I’m not going to worry about it too much seeing as it seems to be passing now.

In any case, that is my explanation for my rather lengthy absence.

Needless to say, the world kept spinning but it was pretty much spinning without me, so I really don’t have much more to say. I’ve go to Tai Chi twice a week, grocery shop once a week, and make family dinner on Sundays. For a brief time I thought about getting a companion cat for Dante (my remaining cat), but I talked myself out of it. Probably for the best.

I don’t really see anything new or exciting on the horizon, so the blog posts may be a little spotty still. I’ve been doing this blog for 12 years now. Could it be I’m finally running out of things to say?

Jan 6, 2020

Merdivorous Monday

merdivorous ~ dung-eating

Well, the holiday is finally, officially over. We had the last family get together on Saturday, and yesterday I took the tree down. The decorations have been put away; all that’s left are the cookies.

As far as 2020 goes, so far I’m not impressed. Not only did the holiday drag out far too long, but on Friday we had to say farewell to another one of our furbabies. Last year around this time it was our oldest cat, Taz, this year it was his son Romulus (Romi for short).

Romi was our basement cat. He liked to sleep in the basement and the last few years he only came up for meals and the occasional nap in the sun. He was large, but sweet natured and the least trouble of any cat we know.

He was the reason we have short bookcases along the upstairs railing. The railing in the upstairs hallway is open, looking down onto the stairs and landing. When the boys were kittens they used to like to play in the upstairs hallway and jump up on the railing to wrestle. One day, while wrestling with his brother, Romi fell off the railing onto the stairs, breaking his palate – I didn’t even know a cat could do that.

It wasn’t a serious injury (according to the vet we rushed him to) and it healed on its own, but that’s when I bought the bookcases. I couldn’t keep those darned kittens off the railing, but I could at least give them something a little more solid besides the railing to play on.

Romi was sweet, and quiet, and sixteen years old. His health had been declining steadily over the last year or so and when he started refusing food we knew something wasn’t right. Unfortunately, he had a lot more wrong with him than a lack of appetite and the kindest thing we could do was to let him go.

We’ll miss you Romi, especially your brother Date who’s been wandering around the house looking for you.

R.I.P. my old friend. Say hi to your mommy Panda, your daddy Taz, your brother Julius, and your sister Josie when you cross the rainbow bridge.


Jan 1, 2020

Happy New Year!



happy ~ delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing

Normally this is where I’d be sharing thoughts on the past year, or at the very least be figuring out the game plan for the year ahead, however I haven’t had time to think about either. This has been like the holiday that never ends.

First of all, I don’t know about you, but Christmas felt particularly un-Christmasy this year. The tree was up and decorated, the shopping was done, the cookies were baked, but there just seemed to be something missing. Could it have been . . . snow?

We had a teaser of snow the weekend before Christmas, but that Monday it warmed right up and by the end of the day it was gone. And it has stayed warm and overcast ever since – sometimes rainy, sometimes windy, but always grey and dismal. Great White North my Aunt Fanny!

And having the holidays fall in the middle of the week threw me right off too. My days got all muddled up. Plus between us leaving town for visits and people coming to town for visits Christmas has been spread out right through this coming weekend.

That being said, Christmas wasn’t all bad. There was lots of good food and lots of good company. And did I mention the cookies? I may have had a wider variety of cookies than the daughter, but she beats me hands down in the decorating department.

Two standout presents from the hubby were a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and tickets to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (one of my all time favourites). I got the mixer before Christmas and I gotta tell you, I don’t know how I ever lived without one. It’s amazing! If you do a lot of baking (like I used to), don’t wait, go get one now!

Yesterday was another busy day, so we rang in the New Year with pizza and a marathon of Lost in Space (the new season is out on Netflix). Do we know how to party or what? LOL

Today was a little quieter, and I’m still playing catch-up. My office is almost to the point where I can use the vacuum in it, but I’m not quite there yet. The tree is still up, I don’t have a new calendar or a new journal, but I’m hoping by Monday things will be back to normal.

Maybe I’ll even have some goals for the year ahead.