stampeding into shamelessness

I’m well and truly off the wagon now, folks. Yup. Yesterday, I made yet another trip to one of the local Houses of Worship – on the pretext that I needed one of these:

For some reason I keep losing these. This is probably my fourth this year. I’m sure that one of these days I’m going to bump accidentally into a secret portal in my apartment and be faced with a whole pile of single socks, good wooden coat hangers (as opposed to crap wire ones from the dry cleaners’) and knitting needle measuring ruler thingies, all pointing and laughing at me.

So, of course I decided today that I was in huge need for one of these $3 thingamabobs. But did I go back to Romni, which is just down the street from my workplace? Hell, no.

Why not? Well, I felt the need to take a 25 minute walk (each way) in 30C/150C with the humidex (don’t know what that is in Fahrenheit, but “damn hot” will about cover it), that’s why.

It certainly wasn’t because Lettuce Knit (quite a hike away from my office, in the Kensington Market) is the only yarn shop in the city that carried Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn. No sirree Bob. Nope.

OK – so now you know the truth. I am a big fat liar.

But, really, how could I resist!

Oh – and while I was there I had to pick up a lonely little skein of Bobby Blue (as in “No Sirree Bob”, I guess!) Malabrigo laceweight as well:

But I don’t feel so bad about this – because Amy told me: “Malabrigo doesn’t count”. I’m a very gullible person, and I do hope that she has not led me down the garden path toward bankruptcy….

What makes me feel a bit better about all of this is that I’m apparently not the only one who’s getting up to hijinks this week, apparently – and mine are far cheaper than some. You see, this week the Calgary Stampede is taking place. Now, I’ve never been to Calgary but if you have ever lived in Canada and watched any news programme during the month of July, you’ll know all about this WestFest, where all the oil millionaires/billionaires, politicians and other high rollers turn up to watch some rodeo and eat some high-priced beef.

Now, according to CTV News the other evening, that’s not all these guys do. They actually had a segment on the late news discussing how some of these guys also come to gamble and pick up women. They even quoted a pro female saying it was by far the most lucrative week of the year.

I think they did, anyway. You see, I cannot find this story anywhere on their website – I do remember seeing it though, if only because it really really hurts to spit Vex alcopop out your nose when you start laughing with your mouth full. JJ confirms that this was on.

But instead, all I could find on the CTV website was this: Calgary drops suits for Stetsons during Stampede.

More like “drops trou”, no?!

I mean, really – let’s face it, these prime ministers must get up to all sorts of nonsense when they’re on the road – and especially when they get to dress up in cowboy drag. Why else would Pierre Trudeau have been showing his stuff there, for example?

Now, as for Jean Chretien, I’m not so sure:

Now, I must say that I really like his wife’s cowboy boots – in fact, I want them. But what was up with those puddlejumper jeans, Jean?!? Did the Prime Minsterial budget not extend to a pair of jeans that actually fit, or did you spend it all on the 10 gallon hat?!?

And then there’s always my favourite, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, our current fearless leader who allows Geo. Bush to address him as though they’re hanging out on a street corner somewhere (I mean, really. “Yo, Harper“??? WTF???? When he pulled this stunt a few years back with Tony Blair, the British were reportedly offended. And, to my view, the British were right.) and simply giggles and blushes smiles. I’m not so sure, however, that it’s wild women he’s after…

I mean, first he poses for this cheesecake photo back in 2005:

Is that lipstick he’s wearing?!? I mean, really. Doesn’t he look as though he just stepped off the cover of a Village People LP?

So, then he hid I was not able to find any photos of Harper at the Stampede in 2006 – but this is what he turned up in in 2007:

So, what’s up with the pink shirt?? Well, apparently he said it was to show support for fundraising efforts for breast cancer. Well, that’s heartwarming and all, Steve – but if you really cared about people who suffer from breast cancer (or cancer of any kind, for that matter), you wouldn’t be doing your bit to destroy universal health care as we know it. But I’m ranting digressing now.

Suffice it to say that, sported by an arch-convervative like Harper, the colour pink speaks volumes. But this year, his image consultants have he’s decided to go butch:

Now, I haven’t been in a women’s bar for a while now – but the last time I went to one, this was pretty much the uniform.

So, Steve, I’ll be waiting with baited breath to see what cute little outfit you come up with for next year’s Stampede! How about something like this, for example?

Fetching, isn’t it?

Happy Wednesday!

reward for PayDay forbearance!!!

No, no – I did not rush out and buy something else. Instead, I got a lovely surprise in the mail today – the latest package from my Year of Lace 2008 subscription! And lovely it is indeed!

However, since some people have still not gotten their kits in the mail, I feel obligated to put up a spoiler warning…

… and also to engage in a wee digression (that’s today’s excuse, anyway). So, bear with me for a minute or so.

I know it will be very, very difficult to believe this – but on occasion I do get accused of having a rather narrow outlook on certain things. I can be prone to rather myopic behaviour sometimes, as it were (not to mention “obsessive”, but that’s a topic for another digression). It is a trait that serves me well in my vaunted profession of top notch hard working lawyer …

JJ: Ah, go oan, sell me a bridge, would ye, lassie?!?!?! D’ye actually think your blog readers will believe ye tae be hard-workin’?!?

KB: Um… er… (searching for witty response, then muttering) Ah, shurrup, wuid ye?

JJ: Ah telt ye, stop makin’ fun of the way ah talk.

And so on, and so forth.

Man, a digression within a digression. I’m really firing on all cylinders today!

… but it can tend to be a rather unlikeable quality, or so I’m told.

However, I intend to demonstrate to you that tunnel vision can sometimes be a beautiful thing indeed. The other day I took these photos of a field…

Isn’t that pretty? Let’s zoom in just a wee bit more, shall we?

But in fact, I just lied to you above (and yes, yes, I know – lying is another unlikeable quality in a person. However, I’m Greek. It’s genetic. I can’t help it. Really.) when I told you that these were pictures of a field. It is actually a photo of the garbage depository area of my building.

See? Far better, in this example, to take the narrow view, don’t you think?

Well, enough of that… time to show off my latest yarn acquisition!

First, a wonderful pattern by Joan Schrouder!

Blueberries!!!

And – my first ever skein of Lorna’s Laces laceweight (half silk, half wool):

I suspect it won’t be my last, though… look how soft it is!

And the yarn even comes with its own free shawl pattern…!

But now I’m torn!! Should I make the fan shawl, or Joan’s creation with the Lorna’s?

Help!

Oh – I forgot – I still have this radiant Claudia’s Handpaints in the stash…

I think the fan pattern would look very flash in this colour – perhaps I could call it “Daedalus“?

Yes!  Yes!

Oh – but another dilemma.  What to do with my other fabulous blueberry coloured yarn?!

And no, none of you can have it.  Sorry.

Hmm – I guess tunnel vision is not my only unattractive quality.  Apparently I need to work on generosity as well.

Sigh.

Wishing you a wonderful, wonderful weekend – and a happy 4th of July to my American friends.  The Tenant Advocates and I will be raising several glasses to you this evening…

fun crafts and weird phone hotlines

Well, it’s back to the grind – but what better to kick off my working week with some craft ideas, one quick, one interesting if you’ve got a tortured brain like mine? (Besides, I figure I’d better have some craft content on here before my 10 or so regulars wander away).

First up: you, too, can look like a lace knitting genius in ten minutes or less* by making yourself a
fancy lace bracelet:
:

* more than 10 minutes if you actually want to knit the lace… but why not just pick some up and say you knitted it! and don’t quote me, either!

And now for another tip which has haunted and fascinated me since I came across the concept: a tutorial onHow to knit backwards:

And speaking of “backwards”, now for a wee rant. Sometimes I just hate reading the paper. You see, I learned this morning that our Minister for Public Safety, the Honourable Doris Stockwell Day:

in his infinite wisdom, had started up a snitch line for us upstanding citizens to report illegal immigrants by way of anonymous phone call. The Canadian Border Services monitor this line, and they say that “no information, however trivial it may seem, is too small.”

Well, guess what? According to today’s Glib and Stale Globe and Mail, that endeavour has apparently generated a large number of bizarre calls.

Why? Well, some people apparently like to make crank calls. Others, no doubt, are mentally challenged, wandering aimlessly without treatment since they started to defund certain medical services and close beds in certain facilities and are merely looking for company.

And… some other people like to make crank calls. I know this might be shocking to you, but it’s true. Of course, I personally have never made a crank call – unless, of course, you count those ones that we made from the church hall payphone when we were all about 12 and resenting having to go to Greek lessons – we’d phone 411 information and ask for “Hooker Heaven”, etc. and hang up giggling. And let me tell you, the priest was not best pleased when he found out we were doing this. But I digress.

Anyway, here’s the types of calls they’ve been getting:

  • Caller wants personal information about her husband, but doesn’t know when or when he was born.
  • Caller says that psychiatrist is forcing caller to take illegal medication
  • Caller says he is illegally in the country, and demands to be deported.
  • Caller states he has a problem. His wife’s family is interfering with his marriage and he doesn’t want them to come to Canada.
  • Caller would like to deport a couple of people from Canada and she would like the website address to fill out the proper forms.  Caller is advised that it is not her decision who gets deported. Caller does not care.

I particularly like that last one.  I can think of a few people I’d like to get deported, Stockwell Day and his boss Stephen Harper being at the top of that list!

Hmm… where is that website?  I need to get hold of that hotline number!

Happy Tuesday!

“Advised him to speak with his wife.”

the legend of a shawl called Icarus

Once upon a time there was a Princess called Aphrodite. She had the fairest figure in all the land of Trana:


For this reason, Aphrodite’s evil stepmother, the Handmaiden, was jealous. She kept Aphrodite locked up in this tower:

with only a shawl called Icarus for company.

Icarus was actually far better company for Aphrodite than one might think. He had been made of the finest Lace Silk which the Handmaiden had lovingly spun. Also, a wonderful designer called Miriam Felton dictated what form Icarus would take.

Now, Icarus had some very difficult moments growing up. He was constantly picked on by the full grown lace shawls in the tower. They even threw him outside a couple of times.

Even worse, he was attacked by the dreaded Frogman three times!

This left Icarus a little bruised and battered.

Perhaps it is for this reason that Icarus never reached his full weight. He was meant to become at least 150 grams with 1,000 metres of yarn, like all the other Icari. However, the Handmaiden used only a 3mm needle to make him – so he weighed only 90 grams!

However, his actual size was 66″ wide by 44″ deep – quite impressive for a scrawny underweight.

But back to our main story. Icarus, once he reached his full size, got restless and bored with life in the tower. So, one day, he escaped:

He initially got caught in the leaves protecting the tower, as you can see. However, he managed to disentangle himself and go exploring the grounds around the castle.

He found a rock wall to lounge around on for a while…

…but then got bored with this and went to find a more comfortable bed:

It was springtime in Trana. Being locked in the tower all that time, Icarus had never seen flowers, so went exploring a bit.

He had never seen anything so beautiful in his short life:

He then headed over to Millionaires Row – Aphrodite had told him never, ever to go there because the people who lived there were Evil and Corrupt Capitalists. However, Icarus didn’t initially see any evil people, only beautiful trees:

Meanwhile, back in the tower, Aphrodite wept bitterly. She could not be consoled by the other shawls, although they tried:

You see, unlike the other shawls, Icarus had a very delicate Rowan Kidsilk edging, which was lovely, but likely to shrink in the cold April rain:
.

As well, people called Icarus had had a history of melting in the sun, and Aphrodite, being the superstitious Greek Princess that she was, was scared for her little shawl.

(The Weatherman had said that it would not be sunny for several days. However, everyone knew that the Weatherman was always wrong – especially in April).

Icarus, however, wasn’t missing home a bit. He hung around in front of Spadina House for a while:

then found some pine cones to play with.

But suddenly, an Evil and Corrupt Capitalist jumped out of the bushes:

“Hey! Those pine cones are my property!”, bellowed The Capitalist. He then threatened to call the police, who would come and unravel Icarus so that Icarus could never trespass again.

Icarus ran as fast as he could to the safety of the Local Yarn Store, where he knew he would be protected by the Lovely Yarn Pushers:

However, he soon tired of all of the close up attention he was getting (Icarus was actually quite shy):

He also realised, seeing all the fabulous yarns, that he missed his lace brothers and sisters in the tower.

So, Icarus returned home to Aphrodite, who was thrilled.

And the Handmaiden, realising the folly of her ways in keeping all of them locked up, began to let them out from time to time:

And so they all lived happily ever after…

(Happily, that is, until Aphrodite got seduced by a Prince called Misti d’Alpaca who promised her all sorts of gold baubles:

…but then ran off, leaving her in a forest called Sherwood to fend for herself.

Stay tuned for the next fairy tale!!)

Big Friday, redux

I’m feeling lazy today…I’m taking a day off for religious observance. That’s right, folks – it’s Big Friday for all us Greekish types (see my post this past Good Friday if you want to know why this is so).

So, being the high holy day in the Orthodox calendar, I’m spending the whole day in church, right?

Yep. The Church of Icarus.

(Oh, what’s that? You don’t think that knitting is a real religion? Check out this recent blog post by fellow raveller Genuine: The Sacraments of Knitting: A Simple Tract. I was a skeptic too, but she persuaded me and I’m a lawyer and all – I don’t believe anything, really.)

Anyway, if that excuse doesn’t work, my back up excuse is that I need to finish Icarus ASAP so that I can start on a test-knitting project that I’m doing for Susan of Sunflower Designs! The project in question is called Sherwood:

So, of course I had to go out and buy some new yarn for it today at Amerigo:

Llama!

I know, I know – it’s not really my usual type of colour choices. Unlike, for example, the llama I already bought from Amerigo a month ago…

… or the Handmaiden Sea Silk from the stash that I had already designated for this project.

But I figured, what with the forest-like name and all, that I should go with a bit more natural hue. Makes sense, eh?

Sherwood also calls for 1300 beads to be strung on. Here they are:

I figured I’d have to get a bit of zip in with the beads, at any rate. That’s fair, right?

And hope I’m not jinxing Icarus.  I’ve just finished the 3rd chart and now have only 20 (very long) rows plus the edging left.  Decided to pin part of it out to shore myself up last evening:

JJ just said to me “Aren’t ye glad ye didnae throw it off the balcony, hen”.  So I am. And I will be praying this Big Friday – if only to the Goddess of Knitting to ward off the dreaded Frogman.

So, that’s how my Big Friday will pass. Oh, and am I going to observe the traditional Big Friday fast (i.e. no meat, no dairy, no oil, no food that tastes remotely edible)?

Am I hell! (as JJ is wont to say). In fact, I’ll be hooking up with some friends on the Danforth for a big fat Greek meal which will involve as much pork souvlaki, saganaki (fried cheese) and galactoboureko (custard phyllo dreamy treat) as I can manage to ingest.

Hey, we can’t all be saints, eh?

A happy Friday to you all!