generosity and the grammar of beer

The two topics addressed in my subject line today, by the way, are meant to be read separately. I just thought it was too anal-retentive-lawyer-lingo-like of me to put (a); (b) in the subject line.

WARNING/AVERTISSEMENT/ACHTUNG! Today’s post is excessively verbose, even by my wordy standards. Don’t say I didnae warn ye.

Today was my last official day at my legal research workplace. I would have been a bit sad to leave but they’re finding they can’t get rid of me that easily – I’m going in tomorrow to excavate clean out my office. I’m only moving one floor up in the same building (we Legal Aid types can be fairly incestuous) and the person who will be using my office won’t be starting until mid-August, so had no real incentive to put the full push on for today. Also, I have to go back next week Tuesday for my official going away pizza lunch.

So, I was well surprised to get this lovely gift today:

This lovely bunch of sunflowers was presented to me by the reception/support staff J. and L. I hadn’t expected this at all and was almost moved to tears quite chuffed – particularly when they told me they had picked sunflowers because it was something different and I’m a weirdo they thought I would prefer that. I believe they will miss me because I was by far the noisiest person in an otherwise very quiet office sent them lots of Email jokes, bitched at them about consulted them on important issues, and brought in snack food.

J. runs the office lottery pool, and has also kindly granted me a dispensation to keep playing with the research office team (only after I whined at length that if they won next week when I’d kicked in my $2 a week for the past year and a half, I would sue).

Anyway, please accept my thanks, J. and L. (as I was too verklempt frazzled to tell you properly yesterday). And I thank you for providing a very friendly presence in the office (it’s so nice to come into work and have friendly people say “hey and how are you”) – and, more importantly, for providing that invisible and seamless support and help that is really so invaluable but which is probably not always recognised just because you’re so good at your jobs. You’ve made my work life a lot easier during my time at the research office, and I thank you for that.

Sniff. Sob.

Where was I?

Oh yes, generosity. This very hectic week was also greatly improved when I received a swap package from Clarabelle. Unfortunately, because J. and L. have not committed to running my life in addition to making my work life smoother, I can’t show you my own photos right now. However, she sent me a 1200 yd merino laceweight skein of yarn from the Natural Dye Studio and the colourway looks something like this:

She also enclosed these brilliant UK sweeties:

.. and the UK version of Skittles (one of my favourites – and she didn’t even know that!):

Clarabelle has also mentioned that my recent obsession about preserving food has inspired her to make some jam. Huzzah! So, now I’m mulling over whether I can make jam out of these stems I had to cut off from the sunflowers from J. and L. to make them fit into my vase:

Sunflower stem jelly, anyone? No? Hey – suspend your disbelief… and there is a long weekend coming up for me after all. This coming Monday is “Simcoe Day” – the Toronto excuse for “you need a long weekend in August”. And so we do. The fact that the holiday is called after a long-dead white settler guy shouldn’t really matter.

However, I’ve often wondered why they don’t just call these summer long weekend Mondays “Beer Day”, being in Canada and all. This trend has already started here by the way… the long weekend organised around “Victoria Day” after this person who was born on 24 May:

… has morphed into a whole weekend which many of us Canajans affectionately refer to as the “May Twofer Weekend”.

Huh?!? you people not lucky enough to be living in Canada are saying? Herein starts the grammar lesson.

Well, not quite yet. The necessity of the grammar lesson was brought home to me when, on the way home from my “last day at the research office” dinner, I told JJ that I wanted to deke into the LCBO to buy a six of beer. He started to laugh at me but I was too busy deking into the LCBO to investigate the cause of the laughter until he drove up in his chariot to carry me home with my six-pack.

He then telt me “Well, lassie, ye’re always so big on the grrrrammar, yet ye’re saying “a six of beer” and that makes no grrramatical sense”.

And (as almost always), he is right. It doesnae make any grammatical sense… unless yer Canajan, apparently. Since he has been some 18 years in Canada, it is surely not the first time that JJ has heard reference to “a six/twelve/twentyfour/2-4/twofer” of beer, and I of course reminded him of this. He said (and I quote):

Weeeeeeellllll, that still doesnae mek it right, hen.

Sigh. But of course it is right, in the Canajan context. We buy so much beer, what does it matter if we say the word “pack” after the quantity?!? Our dialect has evolved so that we can avoid this unnecessary verbiage. And, by the way, JJ well knows this – he was just being difficult.

Anyone here ever had to learn how to decline nouns in Latin/Ancient Greek/other foreign language lessons where the language distinguishes the noun ending depending upon how you’re using the noun? If you didn’t, you might as well skip this part of the rant. I, as a young lassie, had to attend Greek School where we were forced to learn this stuff by rote – but it’s not a concept that applies to the English language.

This is the updated version of the book of my nightmares when my parents forced me to go to Greek School instead of letting me attend Brownies.  Now older and wiser, I'm (somewhat) grateful... but anyway.

This is the updated version of the book of my nightmares when my parents forced me to go to Greek School instead of letting me attend Brownies. Now older and wiser, I'm (somewhat) grateful... but anyway.

So, let me try an example from Greek school. Under the direction of teachers who had been kicked out of Greece because they were too cruel to stay there and ended up coming to Kingston, Ontario with the sole purpose of whacking kids with a ruler Kirie Yiorgho, Kirie Pavlo and Kirie Kosta (“Kirie” meaning “Master”), we’d have to recite this sort of thing over and over (and over) again, using the ever popular noun naftees (sailor):

SINGULAR NOMINATIVE: o naftees (“the sailor went out into the boat and sailed it”)

SINGULAR GERUNDIVE: tou naftees (“the boat belonging to the sailor got stolen”)

SINGULAR DATIVE: tou naftee (“I’m giving the boat to the sailor“)


PLURAL NOMINATIVE: ee naftess (“the sailors went out into the boat and sailed it”)

PLURAL GERUNDIVE: tou nafton (“the boat belonging to the sailors got stolen”)

PLURAL DATIVE: tou naftes (“I’m giving the boat to the sailors“)


(I’m still trying to figure out, by the way, why in a Greek school in Kingston, Ontario we had to keep going on about sailors and the other Greek textbook favourite, the soldier [stratiotis]. I’m also trying to figure out why I decided to blog about this because now it’s all ringing in my head. Oh, and by the way, it’s even more complicated in Ancient Greek – as every idiot Greek Canadian like me who managed to get into a university where they offered Ancient Greek and signed up in the first year thinking “Bird course!”… WRONG. But that is perhaps another topic for another blog post… then again, maybe NOT).

Anyway, if you’re still with me, here is my rendition of the noun declension for “beer” in Modern Canajan:

SIX PACK: a six of beer

12 PACK: a 12 of beer (NEVER “a dozen beer”)

CASE OF 24 BEER: a 2-4; a twenty-four; a twofer ** please note the omission of “of beer”

There are also strange variations on the theme as one local beer company insists on packing its beer in nine and eighteen bottle packs, just to be perverse different. I’m not sure of the grammatical implications of that, but I’ll keep you posted.

Oh, and please note: in Canajan, the plural of “beer” is … “beer”. NOT “beers”. If ever you are in Canada and you say “I had too many beers last night”, you will be instantly identified as Murcan. It’s easier if you’re from the UK because then Canajans can talk the common language of “pints”. The ordinary English grammar rules apply to the term “pint”, as far as I’m aware.

Oh, did I ever happen to mention that my undergraduate degree is in linguistics? Probably I had managed to avoid that admission, as that should be enough to drive even my very staunchest readers away. Sigh. Too late now!

Anyway, on that note, happy weekend to all… and I hope you enjoy it with whatever beverage you choose, but preferably beer (plural).



I’m in arrears of rent!!!

Hey, I was out having a fun time with the Tenant Advocates yesterday evening…

…when I came home last evening to this dire message from my landlord:

Auggggh!!! I’m in arrears!!! Will they file to evict me?

Hmm… I’ve just spoken with my new in-house counsel, Gabriel.

He advised that it wouldn’t be worth their while to file to evict me, as it would cost them $150.00.

As prudent counsel, however, he did also advise that if they should file to evict me I should bring up the fact that I overpaid the previous month according to their ledger:

Gabriel did advise that, if the worst happens and they file to evict me, I can claim this $0.68 overpayment as part of a relief from forfeiture eviction (sorry – I happen to like the old language “relief from forfeiture” as it really brings home the feudal aspect of the whole thing… but I’m a bit old school that way) argument before the Landlord and Tenant Board.

However, I decided to do the wise thing and just rectify the situation by payment.

This is only because I don’t know that the Board would accept the “I’m maths challenged” argument, especially when landlord/tenant is my chosen field of legal practice.

However, I’m just a bit pissed off right now – I figure it cost the landlord more than than the $8.86 outstanding to have their staff person print this off and have another staff member hand-deliver it to my door fourteen days later. But this is why the landlords keep making money and fools like me keep paying them rent, I suppose.

Now, if I wanted some real drama, I’d skip Gabriel’s opinion and get my real legal team onto it:

It’s actually such a big legal team that they don’t all fit in one photo! Check it out!

(You will recognise JJ in front. He is the honourary security person. We need him around because people like this start creating commotions in the street by nearly running over a cyclist, then getting out of his car and nearly decking the cyclist, then when someone like me intervenes and says she’s calling the cops, gets out and calls the cops himself, parks his car in one lane on a major thoroughfare in the city at rush hour, then gets laughed at by the cops when they finally show up:

Need I say more, really?)

Anyway, even more members of my legal team:

…and still more again:

… and our glorious mascot, who is a(n) (in)famous actress and has actually been on TV!!!

So, who needs to fear The Landlord when you have all these people on your team?!?

Stay tuned… because if I ever face an eviction hearing for non-payment of rent for $8.68 outstanding, I will be calling in the media.

(And, by the way, it wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. I’ve seen many clients with an eviction order for non-payment where the eviction order says the landlord owes THEM several hundred dollars. Such is the beauty of the landlord/tenant law in Ontario.)

But enough shop talk!

A very happy Tuesday to you all.



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!

Don’ts for Wives

It’s 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday
and I do not have to work
so here I sit, smoking cigs and s**t,
and fig’ring what duties to shirk…
(apologies to Simon and Garfunkel)

So, what can I do instead of getting out my steamshovel and clearing away all the crap currently filling my apartment? I promised myself I wouldn’t knit anything until at least the living room and spare room were done…

I know – I could read. That’s educational, anyway.

This should be fun. Let’s have a look:

From the intro:

Art is a hard mistress, and there is no art quite so hard as being a wife.

Damn tootin’!

Moving along to the main text:

Don’t worry about little faults in your husband which merely amused you in your lover. If they were not important then, they are not important now…

Faults? Hmm… such as bugging me to comb my hair all the time? Wanting to be given a medal for washing the dishes? Never throwing out an empty toilet paper roll? who says those aren’t important?!?!?

…besides, how about yours?

Mine?!? My faults? I don’t have any faults!!

Hmm… on second thought… hey, how do you like my loud hawaiian-style elephant shirt, anyway?

Scored it in Thrift Villa in Parkdale some time back for $5! Not really something a housewife in 1913 would have worn, though, I guess…

But I digress. Back to my reading.

Don’t live on top of a spiritual mountain. Try to be “a creature/not too bright and good/for human nature’s daily food”.

What?!? That doesn’t even rhyme? What the hell is this supposed to mean? I’m confused. But then I don’t live on top of a spiritual mountain, so I guess I don’t have to worry about it.

Let him be as messy as he likes in his own home…

Sure… that is, until I get tired of it and throw away all of his “important paperwork” that he keeps hoarding (junk mail, old newspapers, etc.) later today.

Don’t spend half the morning in bed because “there is not enough to get up for”. The day is not long enough to do all of the things you might do if you liked.

Oh – such as cleaning up after your husband?!

Anyway, the only reason I sleep in half the morning is that I’m suffering from a bit of the Tenant Advocate cheer the night before. But I guess that wasn’t the housewifely done thing in 1913, either. Good thing the list of tips doesn’t say: “Go out with the Tenant Advocates for several beer and Irish nachos every Friday after work.” I don’t think I could stick to that one.

Don’t greet him at the door with a catalogue of the dreadful crimes committed by servants during the day.

No fear of that. This is the only servant in the house:

Or is that “helpmeet”?

(Don’t feel too sorry for me, though. I think I may have mentioned before that I don’t even know how to operate this iron…and I’ve never quite mastered putting up the ironing board, either. Anyway, substitute “clients” or “boss” [in past!] for “servants” and that is probably a tip I could learn from.)

Don’t object to your husband getting a motor-bicycle; merely insist that he shall buy a sidecar for you at the same time.

Hmm – I wonder how JJ would look in a sidecar? What do you think?

JJ – King of the Household.

Don’t buy expensive food, and have it ruined in the cooking. If your cook isn’t up to French dishes, be satisfied with English ones cooked to perfection.

Well, since I had to let the cook go, the Husband will just have to content himself with this:

At least it fits the “not too expensive” category!

Don’t permit yourself for a single instant that nothing is more annoying to a tired man that the sight of half-finished laundry work. The remotest hint in your home of a “washing day” is like a red rag to a bull.

Bull, indeed. Two answers for that guy:
(a) do it yourself, then; or
(b) drop it off at the Wash n Fold!

Anyway, I think I’ve read enough. Time to get off my lazy @$$ and clean the damn house. I guess I’ve learned something from the book, eh?