have I landed in Hell???

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When we saw the orangey glow in our apartment just before the storm this evening, we thought that this might be the end of life as we know it.

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But then, when the sky darkened and the rain started… for the second time today, we just acknowledged that we live in Canada and the climate is very, very weird.

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Having said that, the humans in the household were more bothered than the kitties:
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… and I’m still here to tell you the tale of the Day the Sky Went Red… so it’s all guid.

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Happy Monday! (and please give a wish for us up here in Toronto that the temperature does not change up and down 10C/34F in the space of two hours. It is all very, very confusing).

in case you needed a laugh…

Guess who this is (circa … ahem… I don’t wish to say.  Suffice it to say that I am turning 39 this year August.  Yes, I will really be 39 for the first time.  But I may stop there for a few years.  My mother, may I say, is quite peeved this year as now technically she can no longer say she is 39… heh heh). 

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Yup.  Me in full Grik drag.  And let me tell you… I HATED this costume.  That would be the costume that my puir wee beleaguered grandmother in Greece probably stayed up many, many nights sewing for me.  Now that I’m a crafter, I can appreciate the effort.  Back then, I completely despised having to wear this bloody thing (including, by the way, the organ grinder monkey cap which weighed at least 3 pounds… no word of a lie) in June every year at the $&#(@$*&(#*$@#& Folklore festival… AND dance in it.  

I would have traded it in a heartbeat for a Brownie or Girl Guide uniform.  Alas, when you were Grik-Canajan in Kingston in the 1970s    1980s well I can’t really get away with being 10 and under in the 1980s anymore, can I?   1970s, you were not allowed to go to Brownies or Girl Guides.  There was some law about it, I think.  Or rather, we had to spend what seemed like every *($*)#@($*)@#($ night at GREEK SCHOOL.  

But now that I see the costume again, 30  ahem, many years later… it actually looks kinda cute.  

The fake-o wood panelling behind me… now, that’s another story.  I guess I managed to give away my age just through that image alone!!!

Happy weekend!

kb

back by popular demand…

Introducing: Cleo and Patch (aka. Patra)!

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Patch is the bolder one standing to the left.  Cleo is the lazier calmer one lying to the right… I’m told that the calmness (in addition to her propensity to jumping to the highest heights in the apartment) mean that she is the boss.

And no, despite the fact that we have named them, they haven’t been baptised, despite my best efforts…

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Funny… I thought they’d rather like Father Grackle’s vestments.  They certainly seemed to like them enough last night when the vestments were prized from some hidden corner and left on top of JJs shoes for nuzzling purposes!

In fact, despite the fact that we have purchased every cat toy known to… ahem.. catkind… they prefer old human favourites for play.  For example:  God(dess) bless IKEA…

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… or, if it’s too heavy to hang on your wall, don’t worry – you haven’t wasted $19.99.  Just put it on the floor for the cats instead.  Hours (and hours, and hours) of amusement.

But if $19.99 seems too steep, here is another kitty favourite:

IMG_3220Ye Olde Paper Bagge.  A very fun toy for kitties, apparently.  As was this variation which was left on the floor somewhere in the house inadvertently…

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The “green” grocery store bag.  You know, the one that they sell you for 99 cents now that the City of Toronto has told them to start taxing us 5 cents for plastic bags.  I have about 5 million of these bags as I keep forgetting to take them to the store.  Now that the new tax has kicked in, I’ve been made to feel like a criminal asking for plastic bags.  Hello?!?!  I’m PAYING for it.  But I digress.  The kitties love this bag and in fact fight for dominance over it:

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They also seem to love these knitted items:

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(And no, they didn’t destroy this rug.  I did so myself by freaking out and putting a hot saucepan on it some time back)…and this one:

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(my Liquorice Allsorts sweater.  It never fit properly, so I felted it.  At that time, I thought it would make a funky handbag.  However, Cleo and Patch have now claimed it as their own.).

They have been very busy exploring, and have even found a separate level on our dining room table that we had forgotten existed:

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They have also been sunning themselves out on our patio:

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… and enjoying the hell out of another blankie of mine:

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In fact, they have inspired me to start knitting again!  And no, no, no, not cute little outfits.  Just cute little blankies:

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This one was made from some Fleece Artist acrylic blend I had left over.  Funky shape, eh?  I wish I had a photo of one of the kitties on it, but they were too busy celebrating by themselves when I brought it out…

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So, I’ve started another blankie, given their excitement level:

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This one is, again, courtesy of Fleece Artist – their “Curlylocks” blend.  I think that the above will be for Patch, who very much appreciates fuzziness.  So that Cleo does not feel left out, I’ve started her a sleeker Twilley denim log cabin:

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And, just in case you wondered whether I’ve become so obsessed with the kitties that I’ve given up everything else – fear not. I’ve also been canning!

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I saw an interesting and easy recipe for barbecue sauce the other evening on “Chuck’s Night Off”. Chuck is a very endearing french-canadian chef who has a show on the Food Network up here. He offered up the following very simple recipe for BBQ sauce: 1 cup each of apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce and ketchup. I of course had to add a few things… and also to can some of it because there is no way that JJ and I can polish off 2 litres of BBQ sauce in the near future.

So, how am I, you ask?  Well, I’ve had a couple of days off work now… going back on Thursday.  In the meantime, I’ve been doing a LOT of this:

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Happy summer!!!

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PS. Thanks to all of you for your kind comments. I will be in touch personally in due course. 🙂

new arrivals in the Brouhaha household!

Hi all five readers or so who are patiently waiting for updates:

My apologies for not posting for so long.  I’ve been a bit out of the mood.  One of the reasons: I was (apparently) expecting!

So, allow my to introduce our new twins:  Fric and Frac.

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I apologise for the photo quality.  F&F arrived here this morning, and immediately took up residence underneath the TV cabinet.  They have only emerged since to check out some salmon flakes that I was trying to offer… after about 10 minutes they deigned to lick them off my finger, then disappeared again.

JJ and I are hoping that they will emerge shortly if only so that I can actually see what colour they are, properly.  You see, bad mother me, I was at work this morning when they arrived. Because of that, when they did arrive they headed immediately behind the fridge, and then underneath the TV cabinet, where they have been residing since.

But guid mother me, there is no shortage of food in the house for them!

Here is a photo of Fric:

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…and a photo of Frac:

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Worry not, this is not going to turn into some daily update blog on the status of Fric and Frac.

I should note here that Fric and Frac will not be the real names of these kittens.  Rather, they are placeholder names in the long Grik tradition of not naming babies until they are baptised.  Seriously.  Many Griks refer to their new human offspring as “bebi” or “beba” until the priest dunks them into that cold, cold water in the baptismal font.

JJ is now glaring at me, perhaps deciding what I have been writing, and perhaps trying to remind me that these kitties are half Grik and half Scots).

In actual fact, we have not decided on names yet.  JJ rather sensibly suggested that we should meet and see the kitties first before deciding on names.  I begged to differ… I’ve had many, many ideas since we decided to get these kitties, as you can imagine.  Fric and Frac was the first idea.  I’ve settled on one name, Cleo, and JJ gets to pick the other.  (My mother, by the way, suggested “Cleo” and “Patra” when we were visiting her this past weekend.  JJ rolled his eyes and said to himself “Och aye, not another crrrrrazy perrrson!)  But I digress.

Anyway, I think that F&F, despite being puir wee nameless souls at present, are actually owed a little announcement.  So, here’s my stab at it:

Brouhaha and JJ proudly announce their new arrivals!!! Two little twin girls!!!

Names:  TBD

Age: approx. 9 weeks

Weight: n/a – but estimate 9 oz for Fric and 10 oz for Frac

Fingers and toes: n/a – but paws and claws appear to be all there.  Teeth have come in as well.  My, aren’t they talented???

Voices: quite loud and plaintive at present, especially when JJ turns the TV channel to “The Dog Whisperer”.  Right now there is a Scottish program on TV and they seem to have settled down, though.  A guid sign.

Proud grandparent: [mother of Brouhaha who shall remain nameless]

Proud aunt: Mipou II (cat daughter of mother of Brouhaha who shall remain nameless)

Oh, and for those knitters out there… yes, I have hidden all the yarn.  I haven’t been knitting all that much lately as you might have gathered, but I still had to gather errant pieces of stash and throw them into a cupboard put them away safely.  I have probably, however, defeated my own purpose in keeping any future knitting safe by acquiring this toy:

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If you know me, you’ll know that I couldn’t resist it.  Explanation, not excuse.

Anyway, please do wish us all well.  I was concerned that the new arrivals would not get on so well with other denizens of our household…

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… but now that they’re on top of the BILLI bookshelf, I reckon they’re safe for another couple of months at least.

Cheers,

Brouhaha and Company

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ripping my hair out…

Now, I’m a pretty smart person, and fairly good with using words, wouldn’t you say?

So, why is it that I cannot come close to finishing a cryptic crossword, even with cheating??? (More about how to cheat on cryptic crosswords later this week. However, don’t lie awake waiting for that update even if you’re as obsessed as I am, because I’m here to tell you that cheaters don’t prosper. Sigh).

I have just spent an entire evening solving perhaps 12 clues total in the past two weeks of Globe and Mail cryptics. You can see the results of my hair-ripping here:

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Kidding, actually. Instead, I just had a visit to Telly the Barber (my new favourite – I only have to go once every six months!). I gave up on hairstylists a long time ago (and wouldn’t you, if you had ridiculously fine and ridiculously curly hair?)

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Instead, I just go to the barber and say “Cut it off – cut it all off.” And, as you can see from the newly-short photo above, even this doesn’t get rid of the stubborn curl. I blame my parents, really… given that this is how I came into the world:

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See that piece of hair sticking up? I was doomed from the womb, really. And by the way, all of you straight-haired gods and goddesses out there who say “I wish I had curly hair…”??? No, you don’t.  You are far, far better off with that straight floppy/glossy/wonderful hair than with little errant bits going all over the place.  I have tried every overpriced hair product known to personkind and also some way too high-priced hairdressers to help me with my little problem… to no avail.

Which is why I now just go once every six months – whether I need it or not – to the barber and say “cut it all off”.  He (because I have yet to meet a female barber, or indeed a male barber without a heavy and familiar access) always says “are you sure/what are you doing here/etc.”.  In fact today I was wearing my pink puffy coat when I hit the barber shop and they tried to pass me over because they assumed I was waiting for my boyfriend!

The other thing I like about going to the barber: I don’t have to engage in idle chit-chat.  20 minutes in and out of the chair… we pass some pleasantries, but I don’t need to be freaked out about “abandoning” the barber if I decide to go to another barber the next time.  This contrasts with what I have heard from some friends about not liking their hairdresser anymore, but not wanting to “betray” the hairdresser by going elsewhere.  It’s a haircut, not a relationship!

Well, enough about my new ‘do.  I may bore you with it again in weeks to come because, for the first time in many, many years, my hair is now its full natural colour.  This is not a problem from the front, but there is some weird patchy grey activity at the back.  I don’t mind going grey – I just would have liked it to be that nice salt-and-pepper look.  It isn’t.  It’s actually a “sick, tired and undernourished skunk” look.  So, it will be disappearing as soon as I get my act together and spend an hour to stick that $10 L’Oreal haircolour kit onto my head.

So, now that I’ve bored you completely, let me prove to you that I am still, in fact, knitting.  I’ve almost completed a sweater by Norah Gaughan:

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I know, I know – it doesn’t look like much right now. I am convinced that it will look completely fabulous once it is done – although I am suffering the dreaded “second sleeve syndrome” right now. I am actually enjoying working on this but just about the time I was ready to start the second sleeve I managed to burn my right index finger while making sponge toffee for JJ. This put paid to knitting for a week or so. I’m hoping that the sweater will be done while I can still wear it this season… please send me guid vibes!

More later regarding my cryptic dilemmas.  For now, if you want to see how I entertain myself during the Canadian winter, go to this website: http://wordsmith.org/anagram/advanced.html, put your name in and see what anagrams you come up with.  I figure that one of mine will be the title for my autobiography when I ever get around to writing it.Heh heh.

Cheers,

Kristina

is it your lucky day today?

Well, it shouldn’t be unlucky – at least not according to this guy: spiroafce

This, by the way, is my great-uncle Spiro. And he believes the unlucky day is actually TUESDAY the 13th.  Oh, but the old skool griks also believe that 13 is a lucky number – or so I’m told by http://www.greekspider.com:

Tuesday is considered the unluckiest day during the week for the Greek people. It was on this day on Tuesday May 29th 1453 that the unimaginable happened and the city of Constantinople fell to the Osman Tribe, the “Ottoman Turks”.

It is often said that businesses that open on this day have a black mark against them, and many Greeks who believe in this superstition will not venture into a new business on a Tuesday.

The number 13 is considered lucky by Greeks in the setting when it stands alone as can be seen from the previous weeks writing, see The Number 13.

However, when Tuesday and 13 are placed together they are considered unlucky in the Greek culture. So Greeks will watch out for Tuesday the 13th not Friday the 13th. It is the combination of the date “Tuesday” with the number “Thirteen” that is considered very unlucky to the Greek people.

Damned griks. Nothing is straightforward with them!

Happy 13th!

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(unfortunately, I didn’t take this photo. You can find it here: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2128/2104275737_185b18d77b.jpg?v=0)

I know, I know – it’s been a very, very long hiatus this time. And after all this time away, I only have two – well, three, really – words for you:

It’s ()*()#$*@#()$*#()@ cold!!!!!!

And I mean, really $#)(*@)(!*@)( cold.  Something like minus 27,010 degrees C (or minus 40,897 degrees F – plus or minus 10,000 negative degrees or so). 

So )(*$)#(%)#$(%* cold, in fact, that I’ve had to resort to this sort of gear – in the apartment!

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Even puir wee JJ, he of hardy Viking stock and all (or so he has led me to believe, although every time I ask him for written proof he tells me that the bloody English burned it all about 300 years ago!), is feeling a chill:

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(And WordPress is apparently feeling the pain – as these photos appear to be frozen to the left side of the screen.)

“So what’s the big deal?” I imagine you’re all thinking by this point.  “She’s been too lazy to post for a month or so, and all she can whine about now is ‘It’s so cold… and it’s January!’  WAH.  Someone should remind her that she lives in CANADA for ()*)%#)($*)@#(‘s sake!!!  What is it with these Canajans, always moaning about the weather?!?”

Well, welcome to my increasingly irritating world.  Because, dear readers, last night what do you think the top stories were on the evening news?  Curious?  No?  Well, I’m going to tell you anyway:

1.   It’s cold.

2.  It’s going to get colder.

3.  I mean, it’s going to be REALLY cold tomorrow.

4.  Don’t forget about that windchill effect – which makes it feel as though it’s even colder.

5.  Don’t forget your gloves, because it’s going to be SO cold that your fingers could start freezing off in 15 minutes (I am NOT making this up, by the way).

And so on, and so forth.  I thought I had actually turned on the Weather Network by accident, until around 20 minutes in they mentioned something about that guy Obama south of the border … ah, so there really IS some news going on?  Oh, wait – that’s not actually going to be news until next Tuesday.

(I also had flashbacks to public school days where we were forced to read books like “Call of the North” and learn that if you spit in the air at 50 below zero Fahrenheit, it freezes.  Funnily enough, this is some of the only information from those halcyon days that seem to stick in my brain – I wish that I could remember arithmetic classes instead, really.)

Am I the only one who is driven crazy by the evening news?  Or am I just frostbitten between the ears?

Anyway, it’s all enough to drive someone to…

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So, what have I been doing with myself anyway?  Well, one of these days when I manage to get the batteries for my camera charged, I will come back and show you.

In the meantime, I leave you with the following:

1.  Stay warm!; and

2.  Did you know that for only $3.29 per day (or less than the price of a mocha soy chai latte at The Evil Coffee Multiconglomerate Which Shall Remain Nameless), you, too, can sponsor a puir wee snowbound duckie?group-of-small-ducks-in-snow2

Send your cash or certified funds to Brouhaha today – for January and February to start, please.  You’ll have to do the math.  I trust you.).  For more information – well, you know where to find me – somewhere in front of a space heater in Toronto.

Happy Wednesday!