Friday, July 28, 2006


This lovely, eloquent, takes-you-there entry from Enchanting Juno today made me think about my own experience with Damien Rice's music. Beyond the wonderfulness that is 'O' all on its own, I love this cd because it has a story.

I will suffer many indignities and hardships if it means I can come out of it with a good story. Mind you, I am not one of those amazing storytellers who have the ability to pull you out of you chair and propel you to another place, another time, another personality and set of emotions using words and gestures and passion. My stories generally don't make it to the paper (or the screen) in a way that I find satisfying. But they're mine, and they're a part of me in the same way that everyone's stories make them whole.

The time I:
- ran across the Orange Walk in Glasgow (kind of a protest parade), only to be rebuffed and yelled at by the crowds who wouldn't let me through on the other side until they were satisfied that I understood why I was wrong.
- sat on the edge of a 400-foot cliff, watching the waves crash far, far below
- fell into a puddle of the worst smelling rotten onion glop that ever existed
- sang and pounded the bus seats in an international (and possibly drunken) choral of triumphant return to Edinburgh
- was rained on by hot, sticky relish
- really and truly wished I were dead, rather than lying in a puddle of... well, let's just say I was seasick and I was not alone
- was trapped in the world's smallest elevator, nose-to-nose with John
- had to wrestle a Saint Bernard to the ground in an effort to rescue two panicked pymgy goats

And so many more. Many interesting only to me, most with an element of embarassment. The chance of a good story is balm to a wounded pride.

And as for the Damien Rice cd? Well, that was the time I decided I wanted to listen to the cd that I'd left in the trunk, so I pulled over into what I thought was a thin layer of snow along the (apparently narrow and perilously close to a ditch) shoulder of the deserted back road near Vineland.

Thank goodness for roadside assistance. And cell phones.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Boston. Finally.

Two weekends ago, I embarked on the first road trip vacation since the mighty Year 2000 trips to Calgary and Winnipeg (and what I was thinking going to Winnipeg in January, I’ll never know). In comparison, this was a minor jaunt. But it was a fun trip overall, even including the car drive.

On Thursday night, the trip began when I picked up Rachel from the Long Branch Go station after work. Well, that’s not entirely true. It might be more accurate to say that the trip really began in the planning stages, which were very thorough, in a fashion completely unfamiliar to both of us. We planned what we were bringing, when we were leaving, mapped out the whole trip in manageable chunks, and even had a planning site in the form of a pbWiki. I don’t know how much it actually helped us in the planning, but it was a whole lot of fun to play with, so I would recommend it for that reason, if no other.

Thursday evening was spent getting some last minute shopping done and then ‘resting up’ (read: eating spaghetti and watching TV) for the next day’s early start. Friday morning, the lazy, rebellious part of me (90%) had trouble getting up and out of the house, so we got away a bit later than we had originally planned – though only by half an hour, so, for me? That was great.

We had a hearty breakfast of grease and sugar thanks to a local McDonalds, and then the trip started in earnest. We made great time to the border, and the weather was looking to be perfect for driving. A bit warm, but sunny and dry. As we approached the bridge, we noticed a small-ish back up. No big deal.

An hour later we were still sitting in the sun, seething as the cars in every other line seemed to slide smoothly ahead of us to the barrier. Half an hour after that, bladders full and tempers stretched to the snapping point, we pulled up to the booth in our lane. And were then forced to be cheery and friendly and cooperative with the gabbiest border guard ever, responding to such inanities as, “Wow – seems like everyone’s going to Boston.”
“Really? Huh.”
“Is there something going on there”
“Um. Cheap lobster?”
“Is it cheap there?”
“Oh, uh, I guess we… don’t really know. Probably. Maybe?”

The drive went fairly quickly, helped along greatly by Rachel’s iPod music and podcast dj skillz, and just enough junk food to keep things well sugared. The weather cooperated surprisingly well, but we could see the damage caused by some of the flooding in New York state.

We arrived at Sabrina and Chris’s house at around 6 pm, by which time the giddy-ness was setting in. They have a lovely home, with colours similar to the ones I’d like to use someday when I’m living someplace for more than a year and a half. We also met their friend Laura, who had come to spend the weekend with us. And, of course, Sadie.

Don't take her ears seriously Sadie in Sepia
We all (well, not Sadie) headed out to dinner at a nearby steak house, Rachel and I enjoying the novel sensation of not moving. We proceeded to eat too much and stay up too late.

The next morning, Sadie had to go to puppy school, so she was off, taking Chris and Sabrina with her. Rachel, Laura and I had some quality loafing time, and Rachel checked on the pool. She has a lot of skills. We headed off to Target, where we spent some quality retail time, and goofed around with hats.

Next, we stopped off to pick up some yummy sandwiches, and headed off to Nashoba Valley Winery, where we picnicked outside in the sun, with Sadie enjoying the shade and crumbs under the picnic table. And, of course, we did a bit of shopping inside the winery, too. I picked up a strawberry rhubarb wine that was pretty yummy.

The Girls at the Winery

Saturday night was full of fire. First, a rousing game of Celebrity, mixed in with a hot dog and chips dinner. And to top it all off, marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate in their supreme form: the s’more. Well, lots of s’mores, actually. This infusion of sugar then fuelled a game of Canadian Cranium, which turned out to be just about the most Canadian board game since that one they made us play in high school history. It included a question about the weapon used by Jean Chretien to defend himself from an intruder into the Prime Minister’s residence (it was an Inuit stone sculpture).

Sunday, we had a nice lunch, then headed into Boston for a guided tour (guided by Sabrina and Chris) of the key sites in Boston. It’s really a beautiful city, and I would like to go back and spend some time walking and seeing more of the city. Um. When it’s not over 90 degrees and crowded. In the meantime, I took some really crappy pictures from the back of the comfortable, air-conditioned mini-van.

bad boston

After doing a bit of Gar-fleck stalking, (Look – oh, not Ben. There’s not Ben again. Oop – not Ben.) we finished the day with a visit to a dog park where Sadie made a new friend in the form of a cowardly little Westie, and then had a great dinner before heading home.

On Monday we headed back to Canada, again blessed by a largely uneventful journey.

It was a great weekend, and I hope we can do it again. Even if I do get odd looks when I explain that we’re visiting friends we met on the internet. Or maybe especially because of that.


Thanks, Sabrina and Chris!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Weekend in Port Credit

This is why I love Port Credit. I was driving along Lakeshore, when I heard music and noticed this.

Port Credit art show

It's an art show in the marina. This little guy was dancing to the music of a very loud - and fortunately good - band set up in the shade. There were about 30 booths set up, with paintings and photographs for sale. And there was some lovely stuff. I would have liked to take pictures, but figured people might not appreciate my taking pictures of their pictures. Yeah.

I also enjoyed the opportunity to walk about in the blazing sun, in hopes of improving my corpse-like pallor. But thanks to these good ol' Scottish genes (thanks Mum and Dad) I remain as pasty white as ever. My hope is that by the end of the summer, I achieve a shade that stops people from either snickering with amusement or gasping in concern for my health any time I bare my legs. Right now, though, I do tend to make other people feel better. Anyone who stands near me looks rosy and sun kissed.

In yarn-related news, there is none. I have three projects on the needles, but each of them is a project that I've already done at least once. I'm working on a log cabin blanket, a baby blanket, and my second clapotis. Things are getting very, very boring, causing me to feel less and less desire to pick up the needles. In hopes of recapturing a muse or two, I'm looking at a few different patterns and yarns. I've been longingly visiting White Lies Designs for months now, trying to pick out a good pattern to start with. I think I've finally chosen the Angelina jacket. I also picked up Big Girl Knits during a moment of weakness at Indigo, and joined a Big Girl knitalong in a Yahoo group. Though I don't know yet if I'll cast on the project (the Boobalicious tank) along with everyone else.

I also have yet to master the sock, so I'm considering tackling a basic sock recipe. But try as I might, the dpns continue to fight me like a pointy, angry spider, so I'd like to get some teeny circulars and try out magic loop or two circulars, rather than risk more puncture wounds.

Until then, I must persevere with the duplicate patterns. Maybe I can rediscover the thrill if I actually achieve a FO.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Saturday Night

I have had a lovely evening.

I set out this afternoon, planning to have a quick dinner, then watch a movie or two, then head to bed. Just a normal, boring Saturday. So I headed out to the grocery store, where I lingered over my choices, taking time to think about the meals I would prepare, and carefully choosing my fresh fruits. Once I was home, I set out my meal, then cooked up corn on the cob, a grilled burger, steamed green beans, and new red baby potatoes.

After dinner, when it came time to turn on the movie, I found that it really wasn't what I felt like doing. Instead, I ventured out onto the balcony.

When I was looking for a place to live in Toronto, I was determined to have a place with a balcony, so that I could keep my patio furniture, cheap and plastic as it is, and my barbecue, given to me as a housewarming gift a couple of apartments ago by my parents. But after all that, I find that I don't ever use the balcony, and just feel guilty about it. Tonight, though, I first hooked the kitty up on his silly little harness and let him roll around on the concrete. Then I tucked him back inside, and sat out on the balcony on my own with my knitting and a podcast.

It wasn't completely enjoyable; I don't notice the train noise nearly as much when I'm inside the apartment, but there are a lot of trains that pass by here all the time. And a lot of neighbours intruded on my time, if inadvertently. The woman on the other part of my balcony, smoking and talking on her phone, the couple across the way who appeared to be watching tv from the balcony for some reason, the two guys having a conversation across two balconies. And just the mass of people all crowding this small piece of sky. I can see 63 different balconies clearly from where I sit in my little plastic chair.

But despite all this, there did come a moment, when the light was stealing out of the air, and the colours were fading from the world, and the bustle of trains dimmed, and I was knitting, watching my fingers move in the candlelight and twinklelights, and I just felt a bit of peace and comfort.

That was better than a movie.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Because you can always count on me to be up to date and current, here is my video collage of my pictures from 2005.

This may have come earlier, had I known how to do this before now. Thanks, YouTube!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I Didn't Know Dollar Store Stuff Could Be Even MORE Fun

But it can! Particularly when it's dollar store stuff from Japan. Or, more accurately, the 100 yen store.

Rachele, of My Nephews Knit, was kind enough to send me this little package all the way from the Land of the Rising Sun. Half of the fun was knowing that this package was coming and wondering what would be inside. And it was a perfect way to end a great long weekend, since the package arrived on my day off, so I was here to see it slide through the mail slot and arrive on my door mat. And the fun began.

In the package are funky purple chopsticks, a cute postcard, a packaged rice snack, a little drawstring bag, and the best - the erasers. There are two different shaped sushi erasers, which are all kinds of adorable, but the very, very best are these:

These are erasers shaped like bowls of ramen noodles. Very cute, yes. But why (you may ask) are they the very best part of the package?

Here's why:

Thaaat's right.

They open up to reveal little noodle-block erasers.

Don't worry - yes, I did take some (bad) pictures in Boston, and yes, there will be an entry about the trip. But until I have the gumption to start digging through the camera wreckage to find the useable pictures, it will have to wait. Suffice it to say that it was a great weekend and there is some small amount of photographic evidence.

Until then, I have one more picture of the ramen erasers to share. Because it's just so darn cute!