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).




Felted Clogs!!!!

Hey!! Wait a minute!!! I just finished both pairs of Felted Clogs and already they’re walking away?

Man alive!


You're grounded!!!!

You're grounded!!!!

Ah, no… not really. You see, I like my new clogs very much – and JJ is well chuffed too. He was prancing around in them breaking them in most of yesterday evening.

After a few setbacks, the knitting of the clogs went swimmingly. Mine were slightly easier than JJ’s – I can’t decide whether that’s because I preferred my colourway to the one I picked for him, or because they were smaller. Hmm.

I highly recommend this pattern to anyone looking for fabulous slippers – it’s very clever as it incorporates a double sole. Who needs Air Soles, anyway?! And, I knitted my pair in just one evening!

JJs were men’s medium (size 11 US/Cdn), mine were size small (6 US/Cdn – quite a bit smaller than my true shoe size, so thanks to Amy for the tip to knit a size smaller than I needed.

Yarn for both was by Brown Sheep. JJs were made with two strands of Lamb’s Pride Worsted, one Turkish Olive and one Kiwi. Mine were made with Lamb’s Pride Bulky, so I only had to use one strand – the colours are Lotus Pink and Limeade.

(If you’re planning to make these and can get ahold of Lamb’s Pride Bulky, I would highly recommend it. It’s great for felting and I found it easier to work with the one strand.)

I used 9 mm needles for both.

Actually, I’m thinking of wearing mine to work tomorrow as I happen to have matching accessories:

Then again, it might be a tad hot. But they’d look really fancy at the Summit of the Tenant Advocates planned for tomorrow after work – and yes, I know it’s Monday. Is there some rule that you can’t go drinking on Mondays?

In preparation for the toll that deep fried spring rolls and copious amounts of Moosehead will inevitably take, I made sure and got my Vitamin C all day yesterday with my new favourite summer thirst quencher: salted lime drink or “Indian limeade”.

I know that might sound odd. Try it. Miles better than Gatorade or Lucozade for killing thirst. This drink originated in India and I first tried it years ago at an Indian buffet place – and loved it. However, I never actually thought to try making any myself… until I came across a recipe for it in an excellent cookbook by Sybil Kapoor called Taste. (This book is fabulous – she combines all sorts of tastes you wouldn’t even dream of mixing, to great results.)

I’m now making it in litre jugs – approximately one cup of fresh lime juice to three cups of water. Then add salt to taste (I probably put in two teaspoons per litre, but I’m addicted to salt). Chill and serve over ice. Ms Kapoor suggests grinding in some black pepper – an excellent suggestion.

So, I’m now feeling all cool, comfy and exotic with my new beverage and my fabulous clogs!

Happy Monday!

slip slidin’ away…

Well, His Excellency JJ, Ruler of the Remote, has finally managed to guilt me into making him some new slippers. Admittedly, the last ones I made him, depicted above, have seen better days.

In this regard, I had bought a new pattern … um… two months ago or so. And then I went off knitting for a while (and I’m still not 100% back on my previous zealous track, I must confess). And then I started two lace shawls while ignoring forgetting about my promise to JJ to make some slippers.

That’s when the above sad looking tattered specimens made their reappearance on the otherwise pampered feet of JJ. He is nothing if not subtle. He didn’t bother to mention that he was wearing ragged slippers, but waited patiently for me to stop ignoring this notice. And then waited some more.

Finally, last evening, he stuck his feet up in the air all of a sudden while we were watching Food Safari, waving his puir wee nekkid wee heels which were sticking out of the chequerboard slippers and bellowed said in his usual dulcet tone:

Lassie, when am ah gettin mah new slipperrrrrrs?!?!?

So, today after work, I stopped in at Knitomatic and finally bought some feltable yarn:

Lamb’s Pride Worsted, in Turkish Olive and Kiwi. The colour choice, thankfully, has met with the approval of His Nibs.

And, I’m proud to announce that I was completely selfless in this mission – I did not buy any yarn for myself!!! Hard to believe, eh?

I should, however, mention that I did have to buy this mag and I suspect that there won’t be much content there for JJ:

I was taken in particular with two of the patterns I saw within, and couldn’t resist:

These Europeans know what they’re doing with design, I tell you. And – such stashbusting potential!!! I’m picturing this in either a rich blue (Madil Eden) or poppy red (Dalegarn Svale):

And as for this beauty…

…well, maybe, just maybe, I can finally start dipping into that ridiculously large Super 10 stash.

Great. Another thing to feel guilty about… cheating on my beloved Butterfly Greek Super 10 cotton because I discovered the loveliness that is laceweight silk. I’m a terrible person, really.

More evidence of this home truth: the only real reason that I didn’t buy myself more yarn was because I had already gone on a shopping binge on the lunch hour.

But hey – since I’ve been off knitting, I’ve started to run out of clothes!!

Besides, they’re just so colourful I couldn’t resist… and they’re nice and cool.

And the best part – they cost only $10 apiece! So really, I couldn’t say no, could I? Does it count as selfish when you get such a great bargain?!?

JJ: It counts as “selfish” so long as ah’ve no got mah new slippers on mah feet, ye wee bampot.

Hmph. He’s obviously getting a bit too full of oats sitting at home all day. I’ll have to hide the remote before I leave for work tomorrow just to teach him a lesson, eh?

JJ: More paw, less jaw, lassie!

OK, OK… how’s this for a start, then?

Does anyone know if they have a Bigfoot Monster in Scotland?

Happy Tuesday!

and on the eighth day…

… she succumbed to the siren call of Romni Wools.

(OK, OK – I know that the people who frequent here knew it was only a matter of time. But I had managed to delude myself that I could make it through July at least without hitting a yarn shop – as is evidenced by this rather heartfelt post last week. Damn this blogging thing, anyway – it means I can no longer fully delude myself about promises made after they are broken!)

But it’s not my fault. Really. You see, I was stupid enough to misplace my 2.5mm lace needles (which I need for the Year of Lace Blueberry project

GOOD KRISTINA: But you’ve just started two other lace projects! You won’t even start this one for another month or so…

EVIL KRISTINA: How do you know??? I knit faster than you do, you lazy wench. You’re too busy being goody-goody and doing things like working and being sociable.

GOOD KRISTINA: You can’t finish two full lace stoles by the end of July! That would be impossible.

EVIL KRISTINA: Besides, whose fault is it the needles are gone anyway?!? I wanted you to hold onto all that Dale Svale lightweight stuff but noyou had to clean out the stash room and take the whole bag of it to the Goodwill box. And that’s why the needles are gone – they were in that bag, you twit!!!

GOOD KRISTINA: But there’s no more room in the storage locker!!!

EVIL KRISTINA: Who said anything about the storage locker??? What’s wrong with the living room floor? We don’t even walk in that corner where all the stuff was stashed…

GOOD KRISTINA: (holding head) I … I … oh, never mind.

… and besides, the evil people at Romni have moved the Malabrigo to the front of the store, instead of hiding it in the back where I actually had to go and look for it.

Malabrigo? you might well ask. Didn’t I say just last week I already had 4 kilometres of the stuff in my stash?!?!

Well, yeeeeees… – but not in the Molly colourway:

Shocking pink! And, in yesterday’s ultra hot weather, it reminded me of a refreshing watermelon ice.

Or, for that matter, of my new favourite beverage:

So, how could I resist, really?

GOOD KRISTINA: Hey – have you forgotten it’s JJ’s birthday?!? We should be buying stuff for him, not for us!! Today of all days!


GOOD KRISTINA: I mean, at least I bought him that fancy $90 bottle of malt whisky from Cape Breton – and you never even chipped in. So, what did you get him? Huh??? Huh???

EVIL KRISTINA: OK – NOTHING.  All right? Satisfied????

Well, I probably should have resisted, actually. Why? Because, on the way home from work yesterday, I was all of a sudden plagued by a recent memory – something that I had not only actually come across in the stash just last week but documented in that dreadful “I’ll never ever ever – and I mean NEVER – go to the LYS again!” post.

I hoped that perhaps my memory was failing me (as it seemed to have while in Romni earlier – but then I can hardly be blamed for that, can I?!?).

But no. Sigh.

One thing very clear in my failing memory, however… the image of me tossing the Romni receipt blithely away into the bin at St Andrew station on the way to the train.  After all, I wouldn’t need it, right?!

GOOD KRISTINA: heh heh heh heh heh.  Serves you right.

EVIL KRISTINA: Ah, shuddup already.


Happy Tuesday!