stream of consciousness (oh no not again!)

Well, last evening there was a marvellous sunset for a change… partly, doubtless, because yet another thunderstorm looms.  But hey.

Isn’t it good and spooky-looking?  It actually made me covet (even more) one of these masks which I had seen on the Globe and Mail web photo page yesterday

Now, how’s THAT for a craft project?!?  They’re called “devil masks”.  The photo above is of dancers about to do a Spanish folk performance in Barcelona.

Ah, Barcelona.  Home of Gaudi mosaics!

I wish I could be 1/10 this talented… but at the very least I will definetely visit Barcelona as soon as humanly possible (although with the fuel prices where they’re at and the response of the airlines, I will likely need divine intervention to afford an overseas ticket before long.  Sigh.)

But something else is nagging me about Barcelona.  What the hell is it?!

Ah, yes.

I do hope you’ve all seen Fawlty Towers at some point. If so, you must remember Manuel – don’t you?! “I am from Barthelona” Manuel”, who has even been known to talk to Canadians from time to time!

And, there’s even a pinko poster starring Manuel, much to my general amusement!

I was still laughing at this by the time I came home yesterday.  So much so that the new balcony decoration escaped my normally keen eye until I went out to take the sunset photos:

Now, I do have a black thumb and all, but even stunned little me managed to pick up that these are actually fake flowers, not real ones.  I couldn’t figure out what they were doing in a planter with real dirt. So I asked J “His Master’s Voice” J, who is responsible for the landscaping at the House of Brouhaha (and who, I might add, has fallen down severely on the task this year).

JJ: Ah was waiting to see how long it wuid tek ye to notice… (consulting the ever present watch)…only 3 and a half hours.  No’ bad, hen.

KB: What?!?!?  What do you mean?!?  Are you testing me?  Where the hell did you get those anyway?!?

JJ: Ah’m surprised ye don’t recognise them – we’ve both bin trippin over them on the balcony floor this past month or so.

KB: Hey, there are two adults in this house.  If you noticed them a month ago, why didn’t you pick them up then????

JJ:  Ah was waitin to see how long it wuid tek ye to notice…

You see what I put up with?!?  Lucky for me, despite the global warming, the smog, etc., the sunsets in Toronto can still be lovely.

May I say it’s been pleasant chatting with you all?  But now I must away to get the first coffee of the morning…

Happy Wednesday!

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two pirates’ booty from down East

My fellow Canadian readers are probably well aware that the rest of the country tends to despite Ontario, and more specifically Toronto (because, after all, Toronto is the only city in Ontario… isn’t it?).

I never quite understood why – until I started amassing all the goods that JJ and I had plundered from our recent trip to Nova Scotia.  I have to confess that they were all steals, quite truly.

First up – check out this fabulous handmade cap I bought at a shop along the Cabot Trail called Sew Inclined:

Barbara, the shop owner, makes all sorts of handmade sewn goodies by hand… including this fabulous corset:

(And no, that’s not me in the photo.  I only wish.  I am still coveting it, but did have to show some restraint as it was near the beginning of the trip.  But she does ship…! Check out her website…)

I also must have been in quite the girly phase, as I ended up picking up all sorts of great jewellery in Halifax

I even found an evil eye pendant which all my coworkers tried to rip off my neck want:

And how about this fancy purse?!

I won’t bother showing you the dozen or so CDs I got, mostly in a great used shop on the main drag in Halifax.  I could have spent hours in there.

Now, don’t feel sorry for JJ.  He wasn’t left out either.

From the left: Hotoi, Annapurna we can’t remember but JJ is laughing at me because I came up with Annapurna which is apparently the name of a mountain somewhere other than Japan which is where this lady comes from, and Wee Little Leprechaun (which JJ has renamed Seamus – I tried to baptise him but JJ said that he’s a drunken pagan.  The leprechaun, I hasten to say, not JJ.)

Oh, and speaking of drunken pagans:

This should keep JJ happy for a couple of days or so.

Oh, and just to complete the full circle of shameless acquisitions – when I got back to the office this Monday, guess what was waiting for me there?  A little package from Blue Moon Fiber Arts

2500 approx lovely yards of “Lover’s Leap”…!

Ain’t it purdy?

Oh, and 3700 yards (approx) of the same in the fantastic Blue Moonstone colourway…

I cannot do justice to it with the camera, really, but here’s another attempt:


So – this should all keep me busy and out of the shops for some time, wouldn’t you say?

But hmm… what day is it today?  The 13th?  Meaning Sunday is the 15th? Meaning that today is PayDay… and a special rare Friday the 13th Payday at that…

Augh!!!

Happy Friday and a wonderful weekend to you.  I should note that I’m starting some unofficial summer hours for the blog effective now.  This means that I probably won’t be posting too much at the weekends unless the Moronic Muse moves me… please do try not to be heartbroken.  I’m sure you have better things on the go in the summertime anyway!

Stay tuned for a report on Greece/Russia fun on Monday!

the downfall of my people

My 10 or so regular fans may have noticed that I’m posting today’s entry rather late in the day.  This is because I was too depressed before now to turn on my computer. 

Why?

Greece got their ass kicked by SWEDEN in yesterday’s match!  Tell me this, how can the cradle of democracy, philosophy, ancient Gods, etc possibly lose to the birthplace of virutally nothing but depressing movies and cheap crap furniture?!?

Shame, shame!

That’s right, cry, you vlakas, cry.  But pick it up by Saturday’s game or I’ll really give you something to cry about!

I mean, really.  It’s completely embarrassing.  A country with 572 (or thereabouts) local soccer teams can’t get together one decent team for the Eurocup?!  Please.

I wonder if it’s because they decided to go with a new style of soccer cleats?

I mean, Takis nearly threw himself off my living room wall, he was so freaked out!

Well, smarten up boys, and fast.  I’m sure you can return to your former state of glory by Saturday, can’t you? 

And just remember – hell hath no fury like a Hellenic woman scorned!

And if you have any doubts about that statement, just call puir wee JJ.  I’m sure he’d be glad to fill you in on the truth…!

Happy Wednesday!

 

 

boring vacation photos, part I…

(…and don’t say you weren’t warned.  Now is your chance to hit the back button.)

I must say that JJ and I both had a blast on our extended vacation down East.  JJ had decided that we should take the train both ways.  At first, I was a tad sceptical (it takes just over 27 hours total, and I am not all that guid in close quarters as you can imagine).  But then I learned that they had a bar car on the train…

… so all was well.  It was also a great way to travel in that I got to see parts of Quebec I’ve never been in, and also New Brunswick…

…and somehow I didn’t even manage to piss off JJ!

Our first port of call was Halifax, which is on the Atlantic Ocean.  So you get to see lots and lots of big fancy boats:

… and look how clean the water is right in the dock!

A far cry from Lake Ontario, I can tell you.

Unexpectedly, I got to see Pier 21, where most of the immigrants to Canada landed prior to 1971, including my own father.  They had an interesting museum, including a photo of the boat that he came in on!

Halifax is also chock full of Irish pubs, which didnae take us too long to find.

And after a few pints of Guinness, JJ even managed to capsize a ship!

I should really, really be living in Halifax.  I mean, check this out… they give you potato chip topping for your street meat!!

While in Halifax, we also went on a real life pirate sailboat!

And see… here’s Johnny Depp piloting it!

Well, OK… not Johnny Depp.  Lars Lancebottom or something like that (I’m sure that was his real name, too)… but he was a nice guy.

And then we found another Irish pub of JJ’s past acquaintance, with real-live Irish snugs!

We were actually staying in Dartmouth, which is a twin city to Halifax and across the water.  Since JJ did not want to pay the 75 cent toll for the bridge, we had to take the ferry…

Oh – and I got to meet my all-time hero, Mr. Alexander Keith!!!!

We would have taken a tour of the brewery, but they wanted $16.50 per head and we decided that was best spent on some cold Keith’s.  Far cheaper, by the way, than in Toronto.

After a couple of days of debauchery and hanging around the Halifax waterfront, we decided to rent a car and hit the road.  The first stop was apparently a mandatory one if you visit this province: the lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove.

This is quite the tourist spot and I was happy we were there out of season, I can tell you!  They have spooky signs hanging around such as this one:

… and if you picture this coastline in winter, you can see why.

We then spent a day travelling the South coast of the province, which includes such lovely sights as Lunenberg:

It’s full of houses like that, all painted different colours! Lunenberg is also home of the Bluenose II, featured on our dime:

This is what she looks like in real life, at least when on vacation:

We then decided to travel to Cape Breton, a large island which is part of Nova Scotia.  Upon JJs insistence, the first stop there was at an old French military installation at Louisburg:

I thought this would be quite boring, but the scenery was spectacular!


They have set the fort up as an exact replica of what it would have looked like in the 1700s when it was in active use – right down to the house of worship that the soldiers were all forced to attend:

This is just a small part of the grand apartment designated for the Governor (Old French for “Grand Poobah”) at the base:

And, pray tell, where did his wife stay?

Er… not quite.  But this was about the extent of her quarters:

Go figure, eh?  Leaving the fortress, you come upon an ancient (by Canadian standards, anyway) cemetery right next to the water:

We then found a place to stay with, reputedly, the best sunsets in the East Coast:

This is the beach at Inverness, where we stayed for five days or so:

I must confess that I was fascinated by the ocean rocks and brought an embarrassing number home with me.  So many, in fact, that our baggage weighed… ahem… well over the alloted amount.

We tried to leave our mark on the beach…

…but sadly the ocean had washed it away within five minutes or so.  Sigh.

Well, I think that’s about enough for now.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installation, with more pictures of the Cabot Trail than you want to see, I’m sure… and also the PayDay Haul.  Here is a preview:

Cheers,

Kristina

neatness: just say no!

While at the office yesterday, I was quite tickled to read this tagline to a story in the Toronto Star:

You may see a disaster, a desk that looks hurricane-ravaged, strewn with papers and debris. Josh Freed sees creativity in the making.

This is the office of Josh Freed, a journalist who has just made a documentary about the “evangelism of neat freaks”.  He suggests that they worship at big churches otherwise known as container shops.  But he’s had it with being judged as a lazy slob just because he is messy.

His theory: a messy office means a creative mind:

I find almost everything fairly quickly. I think the issue with a mess is the aesthetics. There is an organizing principle underneath. I work with the archaeological system – the farther down in the pile, the more years back. While thrashing through, you find other things that give you ideas. It creates accidental thinking.

I love this guy! So, there is a method to my madness in not cleaning up that spare room after all!

Now, ironically enough, the head office of the organisation I work for just instituted a “clean desk policy”.  Ordinarily a neat freak myself at the workplace, I’ve noticed that clutter seems to have built up on my des, perhaps as a form of rebellion.  How dare some big shadowy boss/CEO make rules about how I organise my work, anyway! Sheesh!

Perhaps I could bring a constitutional challenge on the grounds that the clean desk policy stifles my inner creativity… hmm.

Anyone care to join me?!

Happy Saturday.  Now that I don’t have to tidy up the house, I’m going to indulge in some knitting.

tallest freestanding tower in… Legoland!

Well, it’s not quite the CN Tower…

… but pretty impressive all the same.

I present to you – the world’s tallest Lego tower!!!

It was built in the Legoland Windsor theme park in the U.K. of 500,000 LEGO bricks – man, I only wish my mother would have let me have so much Lego when I was a kid!

At just under 100 feet high, it breaks the old record of 96.1 feet from August 2007 by more than three feet.

Colourful, and amusing: kind of like this Bollywood spoof of Barack Obama’s campaign that someone sent me yesterday, called Barack O’Bollywood. “Bollywood”, if you haven’t heard this term, is shorthand for a certain style of musical movies made in India, very cheesy and camp but with fab dancing. So, even if you don’t like Obama, check this out!

(I think he’s rather hot myself. Don’t tell JJ, eh?)

I’m a happy camper today because two seasons’ worth of Fry and Laurie DVDs came my way courtesy of the interlibrary loan system!

Which meant that I laughed my @$$ off all last night while watching them. I’d never seen the series before.

In case one of these guys looks familiar but you can’t place him – it’s Dr. House on the right above, and the left here:

Nice shirt, eh?

Anyway, that’s about it for me. No huge plans for the weekend… but it’s JJs PayDay, meaning large food shopping. I know you’ll be looking forward to that particular post!

Happy Friday!

**************

conferences can be productive…

… and I’m living proof – because I have not one, but two finished objects to share which were knitted from start to finish at a tenant advocate conference I attended earlier today!

They were both one skein projects – but then what the hell do you expect from me?!?

First up, number 1. I’m calling it “Feudal Forest”.

It was knitted with a yarn called Estelle 12 which I picked up at Knitomatic.

The yarn was advertised as 12 yarns in one. And I think that was correct, although I lost count. Finished scarf is 47″ by 5″, knitted on 10mm needles.

This one was just a simple garter stitch, but knitted lengthwise. I can’t tell you how many stitches I cast on. In fact, I freaked out a couple of coworkers because I had started knitting this from the short end but didn’t like how it looked, so just ripped back the whole thing, having knitted about 8″ worth. Two people at least at this point gave me the “what the hell are you doing?!?!?!” sign language …

And here is a photo with the proud (for now) owner.

And now for number 2, which I will call “Purple Prose” for this exercise.

This was knitted with one skein of Berocco Quest on 9mm needles.

Again, I cast on lengthwise (the needles were 24″ length and I just cast on as many stitches as fit). The pattern is as follows:

Row 1: K1, (K2TOG, yo) x whatever it needs to get to the last stitch, then K1

Row 2: P all

Yes, yes, I know the ends aren’t darned in. But I knit two scarves in five hours!!! What more do you want from me?!?

Finished size = 38″ x 6″ or so.

Oh, I should note that I lied slightly above when I said I knit all of this at the conference. In fact, I finished the purple one at the pub… but this is only because (a) I had to rip out the first scarf; and (b) I had to spend the lunch hour scouting the pub location for after the festivities with my trusty social co-convenor, J.

And here’s a photo with the proud owner of Purple Prose.

Now, put this all together with the fact that today I wore my Crazed Harlequin Dress:

…together with my Tuscany:

… and I know I came across as some knitting eccentric. But then again, apparently I’ve gained some fame in the wider admin law/poverty law circle… a lecturer today whom I’ve never met approached me and said “You’re the knitting lawyer, aren’t you?? I’ve heard of you!”

Hey, I’ve been called worse in my time.

Happy Tuesday!