Thursday, January 27, 2005

Happy Anniversary

Five years ago today, the most beautiful, wonderful, intelligent, perfect woman in the world said that she would be my girlfriend. Through university, through adversity, through family spats and governmental scares, she's walked by my side. When we met, marriage was impossible, so we've counted our partnership from that date. Last June we married, but in my heart, this is also our anniversary, and possibly more real then the one where the government admitted what we both knew already.

Happy anniversary, my lady love. May the next fifty years be as joyous as the past five.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Finished the Course!

Today I officially submitted the last assignments for my Honours Specialist in English course. For those of you who are not high school teachers in Ontario, this means I just finished four months of spending WAY too much time reading articles written by people who have never been in a classroom. After that, I had to comment and analyze and critique said articles, and applying them to my teaching practice. Then I had to reflect on their success or failure.

Oh, my poor little guinea pigs of students.

This also means that I get a BIG pay raise. Well, after all the paperwork. Did I mention paperwork?

--------------------------------BEGIN PAPERWORK RANT HERE -----------------------

As far as I can tell, my prof tells the university that I passed. (I'm pretty sure I did. I got honours standing on the first 5 of 6 major projects.)

The university sends that information to the Ontario College of Teachers. I have opinions about them, but I'm legally bound from stating them. Yeah, those sort of opinions.

The OCT waits for me to send them a request, then they send me an updated teaching certificate that includes this course.

Meanwhile, I request a transcript from the university. Yes, for some reason, I do need it.

Once I get the transcript and the OCT certificate, I send both off to my union. THEY send me a rating statement.

I send the rating statement to my school board, who then increase my pay.

Now, please note, all of the above institutions communicate regularly with other other via email. Each will allow you to perform SOME tasks on their websites. The course itself was conducted entirely online. But the paperwork, for some unknown reason, must be sent through Canada Post in every direction.

I might believe that this was because each organization is worried about security, but for one final factor. All of them are sending out E-tax-forms this year instead of mailing them.

--------------------------------------END PAPERWORK RANT HERE-------------------------

But, hey....I'm done.

In knitting news, I've almost finished the fuzzy blue mohair baby hat. No pictures. What? That wasn't on my list of WIP? Umm....Shhhhhhh.

I've also finally passed the midway point on the SnB baby blanket. I figured out the trick to the seed stitch. Stitchmarkers of different colours! Putting a green one (green for go ahead and knit) on the rows that start with a knit stitch and a white one (pearls/purls are white) on the rows with a purl stitch (right and wrong facing rows) works beautifully. I'm just whizzing along now. Considering that this project was started a year ago while I was teaching myself to knit, my tension is remarkably consistent. Furthermore, I notice that I knit much much much faster than I did last year.

Currently, both DW and I have a fever/cough thingie that's going around. I can sit up and type for short periods, but sitting to mark is difficult. My marking pile looms above me, and chases me in nightmares. Looking on the bright side, exams are this week, so there is nothing more that students can submit to make it grow any big other than the exams themselves.

So, I must finish the English marking by Tuesday morning, the CanFam marking by Thursday morning, and the exams by Saturday night. I can do it. The house isn't going to be pretty, and we're likely to have what my mother used to call "icebox soup" for dinner, but I can do it!


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Sock against backdrop of blanket. I love that seed stitch border. It doesn't love me, but hey, it'll learn.

Circular needles firmly ensonced in that bag thing, I learned how to work with four needles. Witness the first inch of my first sock. Notice I've never dealt with heels. Hear me shiver in dreadful anticipation.

Almost half done the baby blanket from SnB. Using green Demin aran weight yarn.

My first attempt on circular needles. What WOULD have been a self striping sock ended up being the beginning of a little pouch/carry bag.

My first try at thrumming, using a earwarmer pattern from the Mississippi Black Sheep Gallery's owner in Carleton Place. She amzes me. The fleece is dyed with rhubard, and the green is Briggs and Little.

Another shawl-for-me pic

DW is knitting this Irish Diamond Shawl (from Folk Shawls) for me in luscious red Mohair from Estelle

DW's Lotus Blossom Shawl in Fleece Artist

Knitting PICS!

Hello fearless reader.

Today, I commit myself to finishing things.

I commit myself to finishing ALL of the projects shown below BEFORE Canada Day.

Given that it's -40 degrees (same C as F at that temp, neat, eh?), July 1st seems to be an awfully long way away. Also, please note, the two shawls are being knitted by my dear wife, who is also weaving in the bedroom. That's not too much, is it? Please?

(Orris quietly hides Tammy's fluffy scarf, Patricia's sweater, and the school-projects from you all. Nothing to look at outside of the house. Out of house and in the car projects don't count. Nope nope nope.)

I also commit myself to finishing the mountain of marking in my bedroom (due next Tuesday), the piles of my own coursework in the desk drawer (due Friday), and the prep for next semester's courses (starting Feb.2).

Finally, I commit myself to making me a healthier person. Starting February 1st, I have a member at a gym, and a prescription for Xenical from my doctor. She's known me over 15 years, and suggested this. I've agreed. If I want to have kids soon, I have got to drop some weight.

So, to make myself accountable, I have posted these photos of my projects, admitted my dates, and now I'll do the unthinkable. I'll publically, for the first time since Grade 5, state my weight.

*drumroll and hushed awe please*

I weigh 254 lbs.

This time next year, I want to weigh 200. Yes, that's still obese, but it's sensible, achievable, and realistic.

Soooo...I'm going to knit instead of eating, and exercise instead of stressing, and be happy because I have a wonderful job, a fantastically brilliant and supportive wife, a very wonderful family, and friends online and off who are just great.

Now, I'm off to knit.


Sunday, January 16, 2005

Bleedin' Money and Lovin' It

Well, in every dark cloud is a silver lining, they say.

During my poor Mya-cat's last few days with us, she soiled our couch. Really really soiled. ICKY.

Of course, no cat can ever let another cat have the last word, so our surviving cat, Tora, marked over the soiling. Repeatedly. With malice aforethought. And probably malice anafterthought. And definite little kitty pride, since she woke me this morning by throwing herself at our bedroom door, mewing like her heart was going to break.

I, thinking that the world was coming to an end, opened the door, expecting to find a half-dismembered cat. Instead, tail high and proud, Tora ran to the couch. Then to me, then to the couch. "Look look, master, that bugger Timmy fell down the well again. Come see." (I always figured cats would've made awful Lassies.)

Following Tora's clue, I strolled over to our couch. The Nature's Miracle (a cat pee cleaner that works surprisingly well) had been doing OK...until about 20 minutes before Tora started mewing.

Now, a huge sopping puddle stained my poor couch. Upon closer observation (why did I keep looking? I don't know. Morbid curiousity I suppose), I realized that the ring of stain overlapped three, count 'em, three other similar circles. Little Tora-cat had outdone herself. She drank two bowls of water dry to make that Venn diagram of cat pee evilness. my DW and I went (carefully, because her toe, while feeling considerably better, still isn't happy), to the LaZboy gallery. We found the chair we loved. Then we found it on sale. Then we got a slight discount because there was only one colour worth of it left (we didn't tell them that was our colour of choice....they didn't ask though). So we asked to buy 2.

I paced, DW sat, as the nice lady rang through our financing application. We both fretted, since student loans do horrible things to you, even when you ARE paying them off double-fast. The lady came back and said "I'm sorry, we can only approve you for $5000." Five thousand. Someone out there thinks they should lend us five thousand dollars! YIKES.

I quietly pointed out that the purchase, with delivery, was only $1420. "Oh, " said the nice lady, "so it is. Well that's fine then."

Wednesday, we get two LaZboy chairs. Yay us. (Shhhh....don't mention the cat....if she hears you thinking THAT, she might try it. Then we'd have no cat. I'm only half joking at this point.)

In knitting news, I managed to pick up 2 skeins of Fleece Artist for my good patient (my DW). I also got a shawl pattern, which she's happily casting on as I type. For myself, I picked up a vest I've been hoping to try, and 2 balls of Katia Venecia , in the blue colourway.

I'm going to try the dropped stitch scarf from SnB Nation. I've already cast on and done one pattern repeat, but I'm using 5.5 mm needles instead of 8.

I've also figured out bloglines, and have added the first half of the RAOK list to my blogline, making it east to keep up with you all.
Pictures to come. Off to knit now

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Green-eyed fluffy Mya-cat


The good news: I got another 6 inches knitted on Tammy's scarf today.

The bad news: My dear wife is highly resistant to pain meds, and thus just had her foot operated on without them. She's now on the couch, foot raised, wishing that something stronger than Tylenol was effective.

And a lil more: Our cat, Mya, was put down on Tuesday. She had chronic bladder problems, and, while the vet says there is an operation that might have helped, that operation was expensive. It was also likely only temporary. Rest in peace, my grey fluffy dear. I'll miss you so much, but I'm glad you're not in pain anymore.

Monday, January 10, 2005


Click here to find out more about Knitters without Borders.

When I add the button to my sidebar, it messes up my formatting, so it'll have to stay in this post for a while.


So my dearest darling wife, whom I love so very very much seems to have the pain threshold of an opera teacher.

Thursday, she's going in to have a toenail removed. When asked directly about the level of pain in her toe, she will reply "it's a little sore." A little sore indeed! Last night, the pressure of said "sore" toe was enough that it randomly split open to bleed a LOT.

DW's response? "Oh well, it's not as bad as it's been once or twice." ARGH!

In knitting news, the kids (my high school students) are out-knitting me by better than 100-1. Dropped off today alone were 7 scarves, 8 headbands and a pair of mittens.

The lovely lady who volunteers in the school with the knitting club lived in norway a while. That's right, I have my own personal Norweigian knitting goddess! Plans to pick her brain are forming rapidly.

Unfortunately, that's all I have time for today, since I have to take the cat to the vet, set 2 exams, and mark til my eyes bleed.

See you (OK, you'll see me, I'll be touch typing) tomorrow!

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Knitters Without Borders

Well folks, the Yarn Harlot has done it again.

Rather than just being a true inspiration and leaving it at that, she has effectively started her own charity, Knitters without Borders.

I urge all of you to go and donate to this wonderful cause.

In other news, now that the holidays are over I should have time to update this blog (and my school blog) regularly.

I'm still figuring out how to do the spiffy sidebar thingies with percentages of completed projects, but here's my update:

1) Kerry's red pocketed scarf, in chenille yarn: COMPLETE! She's off to NZ wearing it today.
2) Red and grey felted bag: COMPLETE - exchange in the LJ KWB exchange
3) Tammy's blue fuzzy scarf: 35%
4) Pink and white Pixie scarf: 40%
5) 100% wool grey socks: 3%
6) green thrummed heaband: 45%
7) Patricia's grey tweed sweater: 0%
8) bunny rabbit blanket: 5%

Pictures will be forthcoming when I manage to bring the digital camera home from school.

Speaking of the school, we've hit 100 scarves, 15 hats, 4 pairs of mitts, 7 vest/sweater/jackets, and more for the Ottawa Snowsuit Fund! My kids are FAN-tastic!