Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What A Day

It started with excitement and big plans and ended with me losing my effing sh&^.

My friend Geeta asked me to tape one of her be Green segments for the news with her, demonstrating my homemade cleaning stuffs. I hauled my stuff into the city, got an excellent parking spot...paid for said parking and we had fun doing the spot.
When we returned to my car the was a notice on my windshield...and a frikkin' BOOT ON MY WHEEL!!! Thats when I lost it. I was on a tight schedule to get back home before the boys got home from school. And there was a FRIKKIN' BOOT ON MY WHEEL. Luckily I got in touch with the boys school before they got out and had them diverted to the after school program.
I called the number and the bailiffs office said that we had two outstanding tickets. Now, I asked a certain someone 2 weeks ago if the ticket from the night Geeta and I went out was taken care of (since he is in the city 5 days a week he could pay it easier). He said yes. This other ticket, also likely mine, was also taken care of as far as I knew. I have yet to be able to confirm this with Hman because I have not been able to get in touch with him.

I had to zip downtown on the Metro...pay the fine that as far as I knew was unnecessary and was it BIG!!!!...jump on the Metro again and get back, grab my car and get home.
The fine was monstrous. Definitely wasn't planned for and I am sick to my stomach about it.
Plus my friend probably thinks I am a huge loser because everytime we get together, something incredibly disastrous happens.

Monday, March 30, 2009

What Part Of Spring Are You?

You Are Blooming Flowers

You are an optimistic person by nature. In even the darkest times, you are hopeful about the future.

You feel truly blessed in life and can sometimes be overwhelmed with emotions.

You have an artist's eye. You are always looking for beauty in the mundane.

You have a good sense of aesthetics, especially when it comes to shapes and color.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Neverending ...

...sleeves of doom...

... are ended.

I will join sleeves to body tonight! Riddle me this....how did sleeve one use so much more yarn?
Oh wait...I think it was a partial ball...yes I AM an idiot, thanks for askin'!

Am looking forward to NEVER knitting with this colour again.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I just watched.......

The Story Of Stuff. Wow.

I'm going to sit my kids down to watch it too so they can see how their demands for stuff can impact the world we live in. This video is available in sevberal languages so there is no excuse not to watch.

I'm posting a link in the sidebar for easier access.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


My room that is. For Rhinebeck. Mwhahahahahaha.

This year it will just be me and T-Roc (of Dear Knits, see sidebar links), as far as I can tell, which will make it very relaxed. Plus we each get a double bed to ourselves. There is much to be said for not having the "oh gods I hope I don't spoon my bedmate and create an awkward WTF! moment in the middle of the night" stress. And sprawling room will be good.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Me to You

I am going to write down my current bread recipe of choice here, if anyone is interested in using it. Its toasting well which was the big requirement from the family (my other breads were not toast friendly). I am saving quite a bit nowadays by baking my own bread and I make 3 loaves at a time. You will need a stand mixer or food processor with mixing blades and dough hooks (or very strong arms), 3 loaf pans, a BIG bowl for the rising (or oven roaster pan, or large slow cooker insert).

In the bowl of your mixer, place 1 cup warm water, 1 Tbsp sugar (stir it til dissolved), and 4 tsp traditional yeast. Let sit to do its thing for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, take another cup of hot water and melt a couple tablespoons of butter in it. When its melted then you can add a couple of eggs and beat it all together.
When the yeast is proofed, add your egg mix and start the mixer with the mixing blades (or start beating it yourself or with a hand mixer for now). Add 2 tsp salt, and another tablespoon or so of sugar. Keep beating. Now start adding your flours of choice. I use about 50/50 white and whole wheat (or a little more whole wheat...) and a heaping Tbsp of ground flaxseed. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time, beating it in well. When its getting stiff and hard to mix, switch to the dough hooks...if you are mixing by hand you will want to start kneading in the flours). Keep adding and beating/kneading until your dough comes away from the bowl and is quite stiff. If its still very sticky, keep adding flour and beating until its not very sticky. then shut the machine down for 10 minutes...have q cuppa or switch laundry loads or something. If you are kneading by hand, dump the dough onto the counter (floured surface!!!) and keep kneading and pounding and working your frustrations out on the dough. Its good therapy. When you are getting exhausted and the dough's not sticking to everything, cover it and walk away for ten minutes.
After the dough has rested, knead it again. Knead the bejesus outta it.
Now put that dough into your big container for rising, oiling said container of choice first. Cover loosely with saran wrap or waxed paper, and then top with a clean dish towel and place in a cosy spot for awhile, until it has risen to twice its size.
Punch the dough down to release the excess air, knead a bit by hand to burst the bubbles, divide into 3 equal portions and shape into loaves. Put these into your well oiled or greased loaf pans, place in the cozy spot to rise again (covered). Preheat your oven at 400 F. When the loaves are risen to just a tough higher than the sides of your pan at the top, put them all in the oven, about mid level, and bake 15 minutes. Turn the loaves for evenness and bake a further 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
When done, remove from the pans to a rack to cool. Cool thoroughly before packing into plastic freezer type bags for best freshness or some other airtight packaging/containment you have. Loaves may be frozen for later use to prevent spoilage.
If using entirely whole grain flour like whole wheat, add ONE well mashed banana to the eggy buttery water mix. The citric acid helps those heavy flour doughs rise.
I am off to start a batch now. Toodles!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Kids still sick

Cammie has no fever and is trying to eat. For a kid that NEVER STOPS EATING , his reluctance to eat is a sure sign he's still not welly in the belly. Today he ate and its a sign he's on the mend for reals but still lethargic and after eating was kind of groany.
Ben is still warm to the touch and lethargic, sticking mostly to fluids and has no appetite. The kid has a crap appetite anyways but he's only had a spoonful of requested mac and cheese and a slice of toast in two days. Right now he's whining about the slice of toast we'd like him to nibble. Ooooh...he just asked for grapes! Yay.
In other blather;

The death of Natascha Richardson has depressed me. I have no idea why. Its not like I knew the lady for crying out loud. We have decided to start using helmets when we ski (kids already have them, fyi)because such a minor accident should not have such severe repercussions. Also, I am the faller. I don't think Hman has fallen on skis since he was a kid but you never know what may come to pass and though I expected some macho, expert skiier resistance from him when I mentioned/passed down the new law that we should have helmets too, he was all for it. Lets hope we remember in time for next years season.
I had a dream about the Neeson/Richardsons and woke up sad. See? Strangely affected. I think its because there is so much chaos in our life right now with Hman's worklife and the kids sick etc etc. Jeez I was even reading some crappy John Ringo alien invasion novel and was saddened by the idea of humanity fighting for their very existance and then started wondering what I should prepare...then I remembered that we are NOT FACING EXTINCTION AT THE HANDS OF CARNIVOROUS ALIENS, SHITHEAD!!
See?? Sick kids at home for 3 days can make an otherwise normalish woman lose her frikkin' mind.
I really feel the need to shop and feel normal again.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Day 2

The vomiting has stopped and light solids have been kept down but appetites are still fairly small. Their normal personalities begin to reassert themselves and complaints begin (This rice is mushy! I don't want to get my own ginger ale! More
Life seems to be returning to normal and I think these guys may go back to school tomorrow, depending on the fevers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Life in Real Life

Real life can be rather sucky in comparison to movies, sit-coms, sci fi and fantasy novels...
Today's dose of real life was administered at about 3:45 AM in the form of Cammie being sick in the bathroom sink and my needing to unclog it. It progressed to Ben 's throwing up 3 times between 6:30 and 7 am.
Both boys have continued to vomit tghrough out the morning in a sporadic fashion. Their bodies have decided that evacuation by rear doors is also imperative.
Thank gods it warm enough to crack the bathroom window to ventilate our situation a little. They are now resting comfortably with half a cherry Popsicle each and flat ginger ale, after having swallowed a Ginger Gravol pill. If this stays they may have more of each and maybe some crackers.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Laundry Powder talk: cross posted....

I have been thinking about a return to haomemade laundry soap for awhile. I used to make a "liquid" form when the kids were younger and in diapers and I had lots of laundry to do, because I needed to squeeze wvery penny until it shrieked for mercy. Eventually I got lazy though when our income improved I started buying laundry detergents again. I know! I'm an idiot!! I didn't realise that with all the unknown ingredients store bought detergents contain, even those marked phosphate free, I was not doing the environment any favours or my family's health either.

I found simple POWDERED versions of laundry soap online and I will share here what I am going to do from now on. Using equal amounts of the following:

Pure Soap Flakes : take bars of pure soap and grate them..voila ..soap flakes. Try to choose a soap that doesn't use petroleum products. In the past I used bath sized bars of Ivory and really liked the clean smell of our laundry and it was the least expensive soap I could find. Dial, Dove, etc are not PURE soaps. I have no idea whether Ivory contains petroleum based ingredients or not.

Borax: disinfects, deodorizes, helps with stains, softens water...Google it.

Washing Soda:(Sodium CARBONATE...not baking soda) deodorises, softens water, helps with stains.

As always when handling anything caustic, care should be taken to avoid skin contact and inhalation.

Grate the soap by hand or with the grating blade in a food processor. Then in the food processor (if you have one), using the chopping blade, mix all 3 ingredients together until its a fine powder. Be careful not to breathe in any when you open the processor. Store in an airtight container. Amount to use will vary with the hardness of your water so the range is 1 Tbsp to 1/2 cup per wash load. With my front loading HE I will start with 2 Tbsp. This laundry product doesn't suds up so don't keep adding more and more looking for suds. The plus side to this feature is that it will take less water to rinse. I usually use TWO rinses and still can here that crackly soapy noise in my clothes. Obviously I use too much.

Mixing some of this with water can be used as a stain pretreat but using a bar of soap would be pretty easy and effective as well. I swear by The Soap Works laundry bar for stains. http://puresoapworks.com/laundrybar.htm I cut/break the bar and store the unsused pieces in a wee paper sack, keeping one bit out for use. This way the whole bar doesn't get all wet and nasty and wasted. One bar lasts a LONG time this way.

Based on my costs for ingredients and using 2 Tbsp of powder per load, I can make a 25-30 load batch of laundry powder for approxiamately $2.28 plus tax, or .078 cents per load in my front loading washer. Thats pretty good in my books. I decided to start with 2 Tbsp (or 30 grams) per large load and see how the cleaning was, then cut it back until I cannot cut it back anymore and still have clean clothes. The less I use the more value is added to the batch(Can you imagine 60 loads for $2.28???)
Costs: 24 127 gram bars of Ivory Soap (I broke down because of the smell): $10.99
1 3 KG box of Washing Soda: $6.49
1 2 KG box of Borax: $5.49

I grated two bars of soap (254 grams) with the finer blade of my food processor, and then powdered it up with the other ingredients (254 grams of each) until it wasn't going to powder anymore. Because of the soap its a bit of a cakey powder. It reminded me of Ivory Snow that my mom used to buy (smell and texture) I measured everything by weight because its both more accurate and was easier since I have a digital kitchen scale.

I did a load of laundry late this afternoon with the homemade powder and I must say it did fine. No strong fragrance, one rinse, the clothes seemed clean...so far so good. With the ingredients I have on hand, I am ready for months of laundry.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Quote of the day

Found while trawlling the 'nets for a better pouding chomeur recipe than the one I have.

"and I suspect that this pudding was named when dinosaurs still roamed the French Quarter of Montreal."
FYI: there is no French Quarter in Montreal. Dumbass.

Friday night

Went out to Effiloche for a knit night with my friend Audrey. It was really busy! There were two new people who seemed quite nice as well as us old faithfuls. Its such a great crowd there each week because though not all of us attend every time, we are mostly familiar enough with one another to have conversations about almost everything. We have musician, journalists, office workers, and students. Stay at home moms, self employed, retirees,.......suffice to say nearly every walk of life is covered and discussed in two languages with much laughter and sympathising and a mutual love of yarny goodness. I displayed my mother's sweater sleeve and my dislike of the increases, learned a new-to-me method, ripped and re-knit for the evening. Its much much tidier now thanks to Audrey and her excellent knitting skillz. I managed to come home yarnless this week but holy shit it was HARD. Much much delicious new yarny goodness coming into stock and selling before it even makes it to the shelves. The Louet Mooi is "oh my gods" to die for ( a luxurious bison, cashmere, and silk fiber blend)in its subtle sheen and colours. Boucle seems to be making a comeback too. ;oD
After I came home and drove the babysitter back to her place, I was still too wide awake for bed so I flipped through channels andwatched a little of this and that until I came to the Movie channel and the movie "Young People Fucking" had started. This movie was released with ALOT of controversy and most theaters it showed in had to display the name as YPF. Its sounds like a porno I know but its not. Yes its fairly explicit sexually (like many films) but it was also a study of sex and relationships and in some scenes it was hilariously funny. There are 4 or 5 couples/arrangements, and I missed how each of the encounters are commenced, but it was entertaining to see how each relationship is effected by the events. We have two work colleagues having a roll in the hay(the office man whore and another conquest...or is it? I love Callum Blue.), a long term relationship trying to spice things up (funny and touching, Josh Dean(?) was brilliant), best friends since childhood decide to scratch each others itch (funny, awkward, and eventually sweet), a couple convince a roomate to help them with a sexual issue (FUNNY and wierd), a split up couple getting back together for a lay (kind of sad because they both want to be back together I thought). It was uncomfortable in some scenes and also some "I totally know where that person is coming from" in others. I think that someone watching this film would see them selves at least once in a situation or a character. Two Thumbs Up.
I also rented a movie yesterday afternoon now that I think back that far (its so haaaaaarrrrd). "How To Lose Friends And Alienate People". I "heart" Simon Peg. I didn't hate Kirsten Dunst as much as I usually do but I don't really think she was best for the roll. Jeff Bridges was a little creepy and mean but also kind of poignant as the aging editor who has compromised his integrity to get ahead. I laughed out loud at spots and Simon did his usual spot-on nut-job character portrayal. How does he do these so well? He takes a loathesome obnoxious character and makes you like him?? The man is magic. I have such a thing for him. Shhh don't tell Hman...heh heh.
Himself is off for the weekend, leaving me here with the squabblers. It all began at 7:30 or so this morning when I really wanted to sleep in. Between the kids and Newman's "fetch" demands my morning snooze fest was more of a snooze fast. Now that I am UP everyone is behaving and/or ignoring me. WTF? :oD

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I'm an Idealist..I guess

Custom Keirsey Temperament Report for: Alison

Your Keirsey Temperament Sorter Results indicates that your personality type is that of the

Idealists, as a temperament, are passionately concerned with personal growth and development. Idealists strive to discover who they are and how they can become their best possible self -- always this quest for self-knowledge and self-improvement drives their imagination. And they want to help others make the journey. Idealists are naturally drawn to working with people, and whether in education or counseling, in social services or personnel work, in journalism or the ministry, they are gifted at helping others find their way in life, often inspiring them to grow as individuals and to fulfill their potentials.

Idealists are sure that friendly cooperation is the best way for people to achieve their goals. Conflict and confrontation upset them because they seem to put up angry barriers between people. Idealists dream of creating harmonious, even caring personal relations, and they have a unique talent for helping people get along with each other and work together for the good of all. Such interpersonal harmony might be a romantic ideal, but then Idealists are incurable romantics who prefer to focus on what might be, rather than what is. The real, practical world is only a starting place for Idealists; they believe that life is filled with possibilities waiting to be realized, rich with meanings calling out to be understood. This idea of a mystical or spiritual dimension to life, the "not visible" or the "not yet" that can only be known through intuition or by a leap of faith, is far more important to Idealists than the world of material things.

Highly ethical in their actions, Idealists hold themselves to a strict standard of personal integrity. They must be true to themselves and to others, and they can be quite hard on themselves when they are dishonest, or when they are false or insincere. More often, however, Idealists are the very soul of kindness. Particularly in their personal relationships, Idealists are without question filled with love and good will. They believe in giving of themselves to help others; they cherish a few warm, sensitive friendships; they strive for a special rapport with their children; and in marriage they wish to find a "soulmate," someone with whom they can bond emotionally and spiritually, sharing their deepest feelings and their complex inner worlds.

Idealists are relatively rare, making up no more than 15 to 20 percent of the population. But their ability to inspire people with their enthusiasm and their idealism has given them influence far beyond their numbers.

Idealists at Work
Idealists, as a temperament, are passionately concerned with personal growth and development. They are naturally drawn to working with people and are gifted with helping others find their way in life, often inspiring them to grow as individuals and to fulfill their potential both on, and off, the job.

Because you live in anticipation of an exciting future, in your ideal job you will be asked to stretch your imagination on a continual basis. Existing ideas, individuals and groups of people, products, services, and the relationships between these things can trigger flashes of insight about how "what is" might unfold into "what might be." You feel rewarded where you feel free to share your insights with people who encourage your creativity and who support the unpredictable process by which you narrow down the stream of ideas into innovations that are meaningful within the scheme of your personal values. You are likely to be comfortable taking on a leadership role, so long as it doesn’t place you in an arbitrary hierarchy.

E= extrovert/expressive N = intuiting/introspective F= feeling/friendly
P= perceiving/probing J= judging/scheduled I= introversion/attentive

Now...am I a Champion (ENFP), Teacher(ENFJ), Healer(INFP), or Counselor(INFJ)? I don't want to pay to find out, so I will leave it up to you. hahahaha...oh gods..


I was THE laziest beotch ever. I stayed in my fleecy jammies all day. Hman got home earlier than anticipated and caught me still in my jammies so what was the point in dressing after that. Needless to say today a shower is necessary. But yesterday's laziness was lovely....
I did vacuum the basement, clean litter boxes, and toy with the idea of homemade lasagna noodles (since going to the store entailed getting dressed and going outside). Got sidetracked by a discussion about work with Hman and that meant he went to the store for me! LOL Baked a cake for dessert( and made homemade frosting for a change since the younglings snuck into the pantry cupboard and helped themselves to a sampling of the can of frosting I had in there last week. Too funny!), made lasagna for supper and worried about my poor neice in NS who is sick now for 9 weeks. I found out last night the doc says its pneumonia and has put her on antibiotics. I really hope she finds relief fast.
On today's to do list is the never ending story of laundry and vacuuming upstairs. There are scary dust bunnies chasing the cats so I guess its past time for it. Its a gorgeusly sunny morning and is supposed to warm up to minus 4C today. Tonight is knit night in NDG and since I am neither sick and its not snowing I do believe I will be going. It will be nice to get out with friends for an evening.
I cannot believe its March. Time is flying so fast even though February was the worst month of my year and seemed like it would never end. Now its March and Spring will come and all its joys and chores outside and in. I have my seed order ready for Hope Seeds ( http://www.hopeseed.com/ )in New Brunswick and will get it to the post today. By the time it gets here it will be almost time to start the tomatoes.
This years seed selection is with the intention of saving my own vegetable seeds. I have chosen Quebec 5 tomatoes because of their glowing recommendation, Tante Alice cucumbers, Ida's White and 6 Week beans which are good for both snap (fresh green beans) and dried use, a snow pea that I can't remember the name of, and Merveilles de Quatre Saisons lettuce. Since our trip to a Fruiterie on Saturday while grocery shopping I am wondering if I shouldn't tuck a zucchini plant in somewhere for baby zucchinis. SO GOOD!
I need to get new strawberry plants for the not yet ready(and snow covered!) raised bed I have for them because I think the old ones are done. I am so glad that the gardens can continue being improved upon. Last year was the expensive year what with all the mulch and compost we had trucked in but this year will be much less for my part (I need more mulch and compost but not AS much as last year). For plants I don't need to invest like I did last year eaither. I do however need to tweak my non-existant design/plan. Some plants are not good where they are and some just need to go. I can't wait to see what survived the winter. Please let my Honey Perfume rose be alive.
Doesn't it fill you with hope, when spring is around the corner? The planning, the continuity, the realization that no matter what happens in the lives of mankind life still goes on..? It does for me.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Quote of the day

Taken from an article on wire knitting by Rosemary Hill in the current Twist Collective (www.twistcollective.com) issue:

" Metal Fatigue: Metal fatigue is a term used for the failure of metal, often after it has been pulled, pushed, kinked, bent or otherwise folded, spindled or mutilated past its breaking point. There are other reasons for metal to fail, but since we will not be building a space shuttle, I think we shall move on."

Heh heh.

The news

UGH!! I had a big newsy post all full of "All Is Well!" kinds of news and it got eaten by the innernetses!!! Dang it!
Ok...in a nutshell then. Meeting not too bad. Still have job still have income. Good. Job will change and cuts are coming that will make the job still less of a funfest..not so good.

Budgetting for this househiold will continue to tighten because it just makes good sense to get a grip on our debt load and spending habits...This is GOOD. Except when I want to go to a bookstore or yarn shop, although in my own defense I have not used household money on yarn for sometime. I found 3 bulk purchase stores within a 30 minute drive from my house which can come in handy for some purchasing power (pillow sized bag of oregano anyone? No I did NOT buy a big bag of oregano). Things like flour, rice, and pasta are cheaper bought in big stinkin' bags, especially if its is something the family uses a lot of, like we do.

Can anyone devise a way for my kids to like and eat brown rice? Please? They just hate it and I have tried everything I can think of. Its better for them but they like white/parboiled nutritional wasteland type rice. NO I did not buy a big bag of brown rice. Just white "boulangerie" flour and a bulk buy of baking yeast to store in the freezer and refill my fridge bottle of yeast. I have slackened on the baking and am picking it back up to fill the Snack monsters that live here. Now I am out of Whole Wheat flour . GRR.

I recieved the wool for mom's sweater sleeves last week and they are on the needles and coming along just fine. Yay!

I accidentally came home with the last 3 skeins of grey Cestari 2 ply sock wool on Saturday. I can't help myself. I had store credit and it was screaming to be used and it was the last 3 skeins of light beautiful rustic looking grey. So soft and smooshy.

Ok...that is all. Be well my darlings and consider yourselves well and truly hugged and appreciated.

Monday, March 02, 2009


We had some good news today that would indicate that tomorrows meetinmg is NOT the worst case scenario we were steeling ourselves for. We could be wrong but don't think so.
Anyway, today's good news was that we will be attending the company conference this year like we did in 2007. Destination? Puerto Rico!! Holy cats its exciting AND relieving! I think I spelled taht wrong but I don't care.
Budget improvements WILL continue because I think they should but itys with a happier heart withthe feeling odf impending doom seemingly lifted. Please be lifted.
Ok..gotta go. I have bread rising and gotta pick up a kiddo from after school homework group. Thanks to my many friends who have made th last few days bearable with wuise words and laughter. Big kisses all 'round! Mwah!