Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Corner paradise

I love Shoppers Drug Mart.

For my international friends, Shoppers is one of the big pharmacy chains here in the Great White North. It is so big, in fact, that they almost compete with Walmart. Not only do they carry pharmacy/beauty products, but also a small selection of groceries, as well special seasonal items.
They also have Optimum points - basically frequent buyer points.

I've been saving my points for a while, and when I walked into Shoppers yesterday, I discovered just what to use them for:
A gravity lounger and a the prettiest little glass table - almost free with my Optimum points!

And, as you can see, the boys are thrilled too. It means we'll all be spending much more time outside, because Valerie will be much more comfortable!
We spent an hour outside tonight, reading... and just enjoying the fresh air!

Monday, May 30, 2011


Since I got dragged out on Saturday, that left only Sunday to accomplish my tasked around the house.

First up stairs...

I had only planned on doing three more or so - that's about all my body can take at one time. But Muscles McGee (aka Dave) was home, and he insisted on helping (read "interfering"), so...They are completely stripped. I still have ten gagillion staples to pry out. Then I'll let Dave sand (or he'll just interfere again) and then I can paint - probably another week or two before they are done.

After that, I moved on to knitting Been a while since we've seen this one eh? I put another row on her on Sunday and guess what?!? There's just one more row to go!!! Only 11 squares! That's just 5.5 hours!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

On Point

Yesterday morning, Dave woke me up with a smile and said... "Come to the cottage with me... you can sit on the back porch all day and knit."

How can I resist a proposition like that? It seemed his uncle needed some help digging holes and trenches for something or other (I didn't ask - didn't want to ask - when it comes to those two.)

For the trip (about an hour and a half one way) I packed a new project:
The Monarch Shaw
l in Stray Cat - colour is Emperor. It looks very blue here - but it's really a bluey-purple.

The drive there took a little longer than normal, because Dave had to stop at every garage sale on the way.... and there were a lot......you can see what he was interested in...

But eventually, we got to Long Point, and were greeted by Charlie - the Labradoodle.
A handsome canine specimen, but also a total pansy. It took him a little while to warm up to me, but after that he didn't leave my side. (It might have been because I was sharing french fries.... I know the secrets to a man's heart...)

While I knit the day away, Dave and the boys dug.
And took breaks from digging.

And we were all serenaded by a little dove (seriously - this particular dove hung out all afternoon)And after dark...
A good ole bonfire!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Brotherly Love

For cats who didn't grow up together, my kids get along pretty well. (Th e boys have a tendency to pick on Peno, but they give up pretty quick most days)

Despite that - they aren't big snugglers. Occasionaly, when Tux is very calm and sleepy, Peno will lay down right beside him, but it's rare. Rocky and Tux, and Rocky and Peno, never snuggle. They will all sleep in the bed or on the couch together, but there's always a foot or two between them.

So the other day, when I went upstairs to put some laundry away, I was suprised to find the boys thus:
Of course, since I woke them up, their snuggling quickly evolved into a wrestling match..

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


In the midst of all the hiking and sleeping in this weekend, I managed to be quite industrious too.

I finished my emergency knitting project:Leaf Lace Beret in Top Cat. This is for my work partner. Her birthday is Friday. We were discussing hats one day and I discovered the only hats she owns are toques. Now, there is nothing wrong with a good sturdy toque, but every girl should have a variety of hats (and shoes, and skirts, and... well everything!)
She admired my handspun beret, so that decided the style of hat to make - and I figured the leaves would make it go nice and quick - and it did. I started this on Saturday morning and finished it up Sunday afternoon (and there were lots of breaks in between, including a trip to the hardware store and the previously mentioned hiking adventure). I had actually started on Thursday, but by Saturday I'd changed my mind on the yarn and started over.

The other project I tackled was stripping the carpet off the stairs. I'm not quite sure why there is even carpet on the stairs in the first place - the rest of the house is hardwood.

Anyway, the carpet is old and stained (including a few pet "accidents") and I'm tired of hauling the vaccuum up and down it, so I bought myself a utility knife and set to it. (Dave was off playing with his cars - my favourite time to tackle DIY projects)
This is as far as I got before I gave up for the day. I've discovered that the only tool you really need to remove carpet is sheer muscle (of which I have very little). Especially considering whoever installed it got a little too excited about using the staple gun.

After getting the carpet up, I made a quick call to my very own Bob Vila (my Dad) to ask him what I need to remove the tack strips. Oh... more muscle (and a claw hammer - but mostly muscle). Crap. But I managed to remove it all.

Only nine more stairs to go!

Needless to say, my body is a little pissed at me, but I'm determined to remove all that carpet. Dave has offered to do it for me on the weekend, but I want to conquer it myself. I'll just do a stair or two each day.

He can sand them - I hate sanding. And, once that's done, they will be painted and all shiny and new. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Impromptu Adventure

Yesterday, as mentioned, we woke up to rain. Saturday was suppose to be the only sunny day on this fine Canadian long weekend. The days before were all rainy too.

So, when the sun came out Sunday afternoon, Dave was just itching to get out of the house. I suggested a walk to Sobeys - we needed a few things - but Dave made that face. He hates grocery stores.

So I suggested we take Stella out for a spin. "Where to?" he asks. "Wherever," I reply.

My intention was actually to take Stella to Balls Falls Conservation area (very close by) and snap a few pictures of her. (I love my cars, but rarely seem to have any pictures of them. The only picture I have of my old convertible is the picture I took so Dad could put her in the Auto Trader.)

However, when we got to Balls Falls, I discovered they'd changed the set-up around. They had built a new parking lot and the old one wasn't accessible anymore. The new one wasn't nearly as pretty as the old one - not a good compliment for my pretty car.

Instead, we continued down the road to another little parking lot I knew about. It sits at the access to the Bruce Trail along Twenty Mile Creek.From the parking lot, we could hear the creek rushing in the ravine below, though we couldn't see it. Dave just had to go down to take a look and who am I to argue? This is my favourite time to of year to hike in this area - the rains make it lush a green, and the creek is always high and running fast. I hadn't actually hiked this particular part of the trail (We'd always stuck to the easier area between the upper and lower Falls - this was below the lower Falls)

So... we headed on down the trail and into the forest...Now, had I been thinking about the time of year and how much rain we've had, I would have said no. Or at least gone home for a better pair of shoes. The Bruce Trail isn't always the easiest trail, even when it's dry. And this part snakes back and forth along cliffs (Niagara Escarpment) with a raging river at the bottom.

Now the shoes I was wearing were made for walking...
but not hiking. Being flat wasn't quite good enough... smoothed soled is definitely not an ideal thing to combine with slick, sloppy, 45 degree trails. Compound that with the fact that I'm a little bit clumsy (okay... a lot clumsy... Dad so eloquently describes it as being "as graceful as a bear making love to a football" - only he doesn't says "making love" and the word he uses is a lot more alliterative.) and it made for an interesting hike.

It didn't take us long to come to a fork - one that led downstream or up - we chose down, figuring it would get us to the water's edge fastest.Dave got there faster than me (and apparently no one has told him about playing near fast-flowing rivers and streams) because at this particular spot, the trail was still about 30 or so feet above the shore. All the paths down were far too steep for me to even attempt.

At a couple of points, I had to hand the camera over to Dave so I could focus on staying on my feet. He of course took the opportunity to take some ever-so-flattering pictures of me
This is probably the only one that will ever see the light of day. (and it gives you a good idea of the terrain we were dealing with. I actually had to stay off the trail in a lot of spots and use the rougher ground just so I wouldn't slide on the mud and go ass over tea kettles.... and yes, I'm hiking in a dress.)

We continued along the trail taking in the sheer beauty at every step.
Various wildflowers including periwinkle, wild violet and wild strawberries (no trilliums, which really surprised me - these trails are usually rife with trilliums this time of year)
Moss covered tree roots. I love moss.

We also saw some wildlife, but I wasn't able to get any pictures. The pair of chipmunks were too speedy, and so was the garter snake (though I almost hooked him on my stick!) and I was just in awe of the heron that took flight a few feet in front of us, I totally forgot to grab the camera.

As we continued along the stream, we eventually got to a spot where I could get a little closer to the water.This particular spot actually comes out at one of the main roads. We discovered a little tunnel under the road:What Dave is so focused on is this:a little mossy birds nest.

At this particular road is also one of Dave's favourite flea markets. The look on his face was priceless. I knew where we were heading, but Dave, being directionally challenged, had no idea we were so close.
Of course we had to stop and take a look.
He thought he had found some old tubes for guitar amps, but they were all for radios.

After that - we headed back. We could have continued in the same direction. The creek eventually becomes Jordan Harbour, and then Lake Ontario, but I'm not sure how far the actual trail goes.

All in all, we only hiked for about an hour but it was a lot of fun. (And, by the time we'd gotten back to the car, I'd forgotten all about taking pictures of poor Stella!)

I'm hoping next weekend is nice, then we are going to tackle the upstream fork - I'm hoping it will take us all the way to the base of the lower Falls.

It's days like this that remind me why I'm so glad I live where I do.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I think I just spent the most perfect morning ever.

I woke up to the sound the rain. Because it was so warm out yesterday, the window was open. The air had cooled considerably, but we were snuggled in our blankets so the temperature was just perfect. Dave was still sleeping, and Rocky was snuggled on my left side (for some reason he doesn't like the right... even when Dave isn't there). I grabbed my book from the bedside, snuggled in a little closer to Dave and Rocky, and read listening to the sounds of rain, purring and snoring - a literal symphony of comfort. The world could end, and I'd die happy.

Of course - the moment couldn't last forever - eventually we were joined by Tux, who was in serious need of some breakfast - but it was perfect while it lasted.

And now I'm up and have to figure out which chore I want to start first on this rainy day.... sigh.

I will have knitting pictures soon - most likely later today.

In the mean time here's Rocky....... sleeping off the excitement from yesterday's outdoor adventure.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Because every baby needs a ninja suit!

I stayed up past my bed time to get it done, but baby got his clothes....
... yep a ninja suit!

Okay - here's the story. This is for the soon-to-be-born baby of a former co-worker. He was one of the few people I really liked at the last job, so when I found out his wife was pregnant - I knew I had to knit something, even though we no longer work together.

When I found out they were decorating the nursery with a ninja theme... I knew what I had to knit!

I couldn't find a ninja pattern I liked - so I settled for a baby doll pattern and a hoodie pattern I could modify. All in all, I'm pleased with the result!

And the parents-to-be were too! We went out for dinner tonight and they were so surprised. Incidentally if the baby is a girl, they are going to name it Valerie - not after me, they just like the name - but it's still cool.

Now - I've got some serious sock knitting to do....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A box of awesome

A little while back, one of the blogs (Knitnut) I faithfully read had a little contest. A just for fun contest. Zoom, proprieter of Knitnut.net toook a picture of a giant snowpile near her house (several stories high) and offered us a chance to guess when it would melt. The correct guesser would win a prize.

I picked a date out of the sky (May 2nd) and ... it was the right one!

Zoom and I wnet back and forth a little on what my prize would be - I wanted her cat Duncan (who is arguably one of the handsomest cats on the internet), but she said she was a little attached to him. She offered me a baby lovebird, but I was worried it would end up as a little kitty snack, so she promised she'd come up with something suitable.

Well my prize arrived today - and yeah... I'd call it suitable...
What you see there is a "Crazy Cat Lady" action figure (complete with six cats and two more on her person), a book of lost pet posters from around the world (including a neat little flip book on the pages) yummy dark chocolate, a scary fish-mosnter Pez dispenser (he's cool!) some toy mice for the kids, a feather from one of her birds (I'm guessing Kazoo....) and a picture of Duncan!

The only thing you don't see pictured is a baggy of cat nip from Duncan's own stash - I had to hide it or the kids would try to eat the whole bag - just a sniff was enough to send them into crazies!

The Cat Lady is totally going to work with me tomorrow. My coworker and I share a cubicle, and our colleagues call it the dorm room, because of the way we decorated it - this will fit right in!

So - the snow melted and I got a prize! That's definitely enough to cheer up this rainy day! Thanks Zoom!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Making babies!

Look! Knitting!!
Admittedly, I've been in a bit of a knitting funk lately - I want to knit, just not on any of the projects I have on the needles.

But, as today's car run got rained out, I decided to make good use of the suddenly free time and finish up a project.

This little baby is for a former coworker, who's wife is due with their first child any day now. A bunch of us are going out for dinner on Wednesday, so I figured I'd better get it finished. It's not quite done - as it's getting a special outfit - but I'll explain more on that later.

I knit this in our Stray Cat - a nice soft yarn that can be washed is baby decides to goo all over it (likely - babies are gooey). It was also a perfect choice for the hair - just tie in knots and split the plies - instant baby fuzz!

I'll post more pics when this little guy gets his outfit.

In other updates - we looked at the house - and it was almost perfect. Perfect location, perfect yard, perfect parking... but not so perfect square footage. We aren't opposed to down-sizing, but we are under no delusions about the amount of space we need to keep from killing each other....

... so, we're still looking. Fortunately, there's no rush.

Oh - and Mom's been sneaking some new things into the shop... BFL, Lace, and even some Top Cat DK.... that's right, the luciousness of Top Cat.. but in DK!!!! Use the code WCYMAY10 when you check out and save 10%!

Friday, May 13, 2011

It's not my fault

... I had a post already to go yesterday, but blogger was BROKEN!!!!

I guess it's okay, because my post wasn't all that exciting, and now most of it has gone from my head (where it spent most of the day percolating)

So what to post about now? Lets run through the usual suspects...

1) There isn't much knitting - I have one project I want to focus on, but it's a little scary at the moment, so I'll wait until it's more complete to share.

2) Work is crazy, and doesn't show sign of letting up any time soon, but I can't really find it in my heart to complain, because this job is SOOOOOO much better than the last one.

3) It's Friday (woohoo) but I have the night to myself, because it's also band practice night, and Dave won't return from said practice until late.

4) Tomorrow we are going to look at a possible house to rent, which is a closer to work for both of us, but still not in the city. We had planned on staying put - but increasing gas prices are making me rethink that. We aren't in a position where we have to do it right away, but I've been keeping my eyes open for a place that might be suitable. I'm not completely opposed to an apartment, but if I can swing a townhouse or small bungalow, I'd much rather go for that. I'll keep you updated.

5) Sunday we have a classic car run - from Mississauga to Hamilton and back - if you are driving along Lakeshore Road in that area Sunday morning look for this (minus the parrot):
We most likely won't have the top down - it's suppose to rain.

6) The cats are up to their usual antics. Rocky howls, Tux sleeps and Peno is just a Princess.

I promise more knitting content by Sunday - stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Excuse me... have you seen this week?

... I seem to misplaced it.

I can't believe it's already Wednesday night. I've been working crazy hours trying to finalize a campaign.

So I have nothing to share - no knitting, no cat stories... nothing.

Here's a random cat picture to tide you over... hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with something more exciting

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Solo Saturday

Dave is off organizing and overseeing his students' recital today, so I had a rare Saturday to myself.

I started off by sleeping in, snuggled up with the cats.

When I finally did get out of bed, what was left of the morning was spent stretched out on the couch, enjoying the sun, and finishing Mom's Mother's Day socks (I got a big surprise on Wednesday when I looked at the calendar and realized Mother's Day was THIS Sunday, not next)Pattern is Undine, in our Jungle Cat (Merino/Bamboo)- colour is Laguna.

I took the boys out with me while I was taking pictures too (not that I'm allowed out of the house without them now).
Yep - they are back on their leashes. Tux isn't too bad, he's usually quite content to settle in the garden and just watch the world go by. But Rocky has lost most of his fear, and now he wants to explore. He much faster and harder to catch than fat Tux.

So, harnesses and leashes it is. I'm on the look out for some inexpensive outdoor loungers. Then I can get some longer leads, and relax with a book while the boys explore the yard safely.

After I determined the sun was going to stay out for a while (there were a few rain clouds threatening to darken my doorstep) I took the top off Stella and delivered Mom's gift (with some flowers too!)

After the visit, I stopped, picked up a pack of cigarillos, and let Stella stretch her wheels. I live in the middle of wine country, and I'm surrounded by beautiful landscapes that I don't often get a chance to enjoy.

Now, it's after dinner and Dave should be home any time now. No doubt he'll want a quiet evening after all that music - but if tomorrow is nice, I hope he'll be up for a shared adventure.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On a tuesday, dark and dreary

It's a cold, dreary rainy day... in a string of cold, dreary, rainy days.

It's the kind of day that makes you want to call in sick, curl up in bed with the cats and spend the day reading.

But I didn't. I got up and went to work like a good little girl and the cats got the bed to themselves.

And while, I did go to work, I wasn't nearly as productive as I could have been (of course that probably has something to do with the fact that my tasks today involved far too much html coding). I found myself constantly clicking back to Ravelry.

And while I was was there, I noticed two very strange things....

1) a surge in members to the Wandering Cat group
2) a HUGE surge in the download of my Baby Janes pattern

We get a new member every so often (maybe one new member a week, but probably not even that often) but this was a whole bunch all at once.

As for the pattern - it is by far my most popular pattern (I think it's the combo of "free", "quick" and "stupid adorable") usually with about 5-10 downloads a day. Today.... wait for it.... 117 downloads.... WTF????

Now, after talking to Mom, we deducted that the new members might be the work of Miss Monika, who received her Wandering Cat KAL prize the other day. We thought she might be bragging and her readers were hoping to get in on some Wandering Cat action.

Mom checked her blog and sure enough... she sent them all our way with promises of a the next KAL in the Year of the Cat.
So, I had to light a fire under my butt and actually get the details up

So, without futher ado, I give you the Wandering Cat "S"ummer "S"titch-A-Long
(You must be a member of the Ravelry Wandering Cat Group to take part)
Wandering Cat “S”ummer “S”titch-a-long --Dates: May 23rd- September 5th 2011.
  • Projects must be knit or crocheted in Wandering Cat Yarn.

  • Project type must start with the letter “S” (ie socks, shawls, sweaters, stoles, scarves, skirts.. even snails. If it begins with an “S” - you’re good!)

  • Projects must be completed between May 23rd & Sept 5th, but can be started before May 23rd.(so if you have already started something as long as it is finished on May 23rd or after or after you can enter it.)

  • Tag your projects with yearofthecat

  • Each completed project = one entry. Enter as many times as you like

  • FOs that are also knit from a Wandering Cat pattern will get an extra entry.


There will be three prize kits, drawn at random from all entries.

  • Shawl Prize Kit - Any Wanderingcat or redknitz shawl pattern, and enough yarn to complete it. Yarn base is in weight corresponding to pattern, but is choice of winner (from bases in stock at the time) - custom dyed to semi-solid shade of winners choice.

  • Sock Prize Kit - Any Wanderingcat or redknitz sock pattern, and enough yarn to complete it. Yarn base is in weight corresponding to pattern, but is choice of winner (from bases in stock at the time) - custom dyed to semi-solid shade of winners choice.

  • Stripey Prize - A custom dyed (winner’s choice of two colours) self-striping skein in Top Cat, Barn Cat or Alley Cat.

So.... if you want to join in the fun - come join our Ravelry group!

But... as for the Baby Janes....
Does anyone know what's up? Is there a Baby Jane knit-a-long somewhere? Or is someone on Ravelry just REALLY click happy? Either way, I'm just happy to advance the shoe addiction of little girls everywhere......

Monday, May 2, 2011

Winner, winner, winner

That's right! We've got a winner for the Eostre Kit!!!Congratulations Pendie!!! Now your cats can have their own Aristocat shawl too!

Thanks to all who entered!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spoiled cats and a sock

Dave and I made another trip to the Flea Market today, and came away with another great deal... for the cats of course
A fun fur cat tunnel for only $10. Miss Peno was quite interested in it, but she hasn't quite worked up the courage to actually go in it.

The boys however...I think it's going to be Tux's new favourite nap spot.

Not much else going on today. After all the fun at the Frolic, I'm a little worn out. But I did manage to finish the first of Mom's M-Day socks.Normally, Mom and I have very different taste in colours, and I'm not a big blue person, but I have to admit, I really like this pair... it's going to be hard to give them up!