Maine or bust!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Short and sweet...

That's what this entry is going to be, because I managed a whole hour at the gym tonight and my arms are SORE.

Monday, I went to the gym after work, and I wasn't feeling too hot... Or rather, I *was* feeling too hot. I was sweating like a pig on the recumbent bike, and couldn't finish the 15 minutes (I quit after 12 1/2) because I felt really nauseous. Hit a couple of weight machines, and felt even worse, so I quit while I was ahead. Class was cancelled, so I went home. Tuesday, I went for groceries after work, still not feeling too hot. Had a steak for dinner, and it sat there in my stomach, all night. It was still there when I went to work the next morning. Oh joy. Hernia flare-up.

I have a hiatus hernia. My stomach sometimes slips up between my diaphragm and my chest wall (I think... it could be other organs) and gets trapped, so food has nowhere to go and can't be digested. After a few hours of this, stomach decides it's going to reject whatever hasn't been digested, so it was a fun night. Wednesday was the farewell party for my boss/coworker (he's not really my boss, but he kind of is in my mind) who's going back to Halifax so his wife won't COMPLETELY forget what he looks like. I will miss him very much :( I made him a sash that said "Mister T.S.I. 2012" and a photo collage from all of us:

He *loved* it :) (If you click on it to make it bigger, the guy in the Freddie Mercury poster is the one who's leaving - the guy on the right, that is LOL) We passed the mat around the office and had everyone sign it :) The party was a blast, and I decided that since it was such a special occasion, that a drink wouldn't kill me, so I had a half-pint of some very lovely and mellow cider (and I can't remember the name of it!). UGH. Big mistake. I felt sick ALL night and not too hot this morning either. My stomach seems to be trying to tell me something, so tomorrow we're going to go on a bit of a cleanse, I think.

My family is going to the sugar bush on Saturday, but I'm working at 10, so my mom asked me to drive them to her house... IN ORLEANS. The sugar bush is in QUEBEC. Everybody who's going practically has to pass right by my house to get there. *sigh* (but then, the kids wouldn't be at my house, they're going to be at their dad's, so that complicates things a bit, I guess).

So as I said, I did an hour at the gym tonight... someone was using the recumbent bike when I arrived, so I went straight to the weights, and did the bike half-way through the workout LOL I still didn't get any bicep or wrist stuff done, nor did I play with the stability balls, but the rest of me hurts! I think I'm going to go lie down and read now :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's been a long time comin'

...but now it's here.

I'm not sure what "it" is, but whatever it is, I wish it'd go away. Started out a bit rough this morning. Even though I went to bed early last night (by my standards), I didn't get much sleep. Got to work, where I got to sit through a meeting about how crappy the next year is going to be because we're likely to lose a large portion of our budget, etc... so when the meeting was over, I went to our HR lady, and said, "It doesn't look good, does it?" "No, it really doesn't," she said... so that basically means that in about 1 1/2 months, when my current contract ends, I will again be out of work. I will polish off my resume tomorrow and start making the rounds. If anybody knows of anyone looking for an awesome admin assistant, a stats person, a database admin or anything else really...

Dropped the kids off at Jeff's and then went to the gym. I managed 12 1/2 minutes on the recumbent bike before I got a foot cramp and started feeling nauseous. Finished the 3 minute cool-down, so I basically did 2.5 miles in 15 minutes. Then I headed for the weights. I managed the adductor, the abductor, the seated cable pull and the lateral pull-down before I felt so sick I thought I was going to throw up... I think I just overheated (the gym is air conditioned, but it's all west-facing windows, and it was 5pm) so I quit after 35 minutes.

Headed to school, and tried to enter my classroom only to encounter this:

Her sign says "La hausse a bloqué l'accès".
The university's student council had a vote on Friday and the majority chose to strike to protest tuition hikes, so even though I've paid for this semester's course, I'm losing a night (and possibly next week as well, when there are only two more classes before the final exam!). Ugh. I understand and I support the principle, but I don't believe that strikes accomplish anything, and I'm really peeved that I may not pass this class if I can't finish it. I'm sorry guys, I can't be supportive right now, I just have too much on my plate :(

In the plus column, however, I now have a family doctor (the kids are still on a waiting list for a pediatrician). I've got my first appointment with her on April 18, and I'm thrilled! It's been EIGHT YEARS! I think there's a fundamental problem with the way Quebec's ministry of health is run when there's such a shortage of medical personnel (mainly due to language restrictions - all doctors, nurses and other professionals must pass a French exam in order to be licensed to work in Quebec). I won't get into politics here, but it irks me greatly.

The baby cardigan is complete save a few ends to sew in, and the neckband to finish (four rows of garter stitch... I could probably do it before I go to bed). The curtain is moving along. Not quickly, and I've revised my goal of finishing it by Easter. I'll be happy if I have it finished by the time Rob comes back in June :) (a bit more realistic given the fact that I have two papers to write for my class before April 16 and a final exam on that same date).

I am looking forward to rewarding myself with some sock knitting :) I wanted to take a class, but I'm saving up for Stitches Midwest and for the Yarn Harlot's visit to Perth in August! Besides, Stephanie teaches a mean sock class, I'm told, and I'd rather take hers! Here's hoping that a good night's sleep will make everything seem more manageable in the morning.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Blergh.... New Glasses?

Sorry, couldn't help it... I love John Lennon!
I picked up my new glasses this afternoon, and I'm... um... nauseated. There was a full point jump in the prescription for my right eye, and I'm having to re-train myself to focus. I'm okay if I keep to one spot, but the second I look around or have to change my focus, I get dizzy and feel sick.

At one point, I tried switching back to my old glasses (the optometrist suggested switching back & forth until I get used to the new ones), but as soon as I put the old ones back on, I felt like throwing up. So I'm stuck with the vague unease and almost-headache that the new ones are causing instead.

These were supposed to help, right?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Snowballs in summertime ;)

Work has been crazy (last week was somewhat tame, and then BOOM, Monday morning happened and it lasted until Tuesday afternoon). Then I worked three shifts at the store this weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). Monday was a bitch... all hell broke loose at my regular job, and nobody seemed to understand that what was being requested was completely unreasonable. I ended up staying until 6:30, then rushed to class.

From the front lobby of the university, I saw what looked like an apartment fire and called 911. Turns out it was a reflection - of a fire in a hydro transformer station (I think that's what Rob called it... "un parc transformateur" is what I know it as in French)... so I may have saved my former employers a crap load of money by alerting the authorities before too much damage could be done. Finally made it to class around 7:30, enjoyed it immensely (our instructor is awesome, and the subject matter is fascinating stuff). Got home, couldn't sleep.... I finally passed out around 1am, only to be awakened by the burning of a thousand suns in the back of my throat an hour later. Oh hai, reflux... you again. I can still actually taste it if I clear my throat or cough. Yipee. I got about 2 hours sleep, all told.

Got up at stupid o'clock to go pick the kids up so I could get to work early and finish the ridiculous task that needed to be finished by 1pm (did I manage? I squeaked it in around 1:05). I felt like a zombie all day, and my throat hurt (residual from the acid burns). I got a bit of knitting done in class last night (it was a light note-taking night... he'd made photocopies of everything, so all I had to do was follow along), but other than that, I haven't touched any of it since last Thursday!

I have this Friday off from the store, and I don't work on Saturday until late in the afternoon, so I'm looking forward to a bit of "me" time.

Ooooh! I knew there was something big I had to mention here! I decided that it was high time I got out of the financial rut I'm in (always broke) since I'm actually making some decent money right now, but I'm terrible with money and can't really be trusted... so I asked Rob to help me. Well, we sat down one night and worked out the plan I'll be following until my employment situation becomes more stable :) It's not so much a budget as a set of rules to follow regarding all my responsibilities and debts and all my sources of income. I am very excited to see how this will work! :) This is HUGE for me... I'm 36 years old, and I've never had any kind of rules or set habits regarding money, other than SPEND IT! SPEND IT NOW!

Well, time to go feed the natives before they get too restless :) I think the rest of the week will be considerably better than the first two days were! And I'm very much looking forward to picking up my knitting in an hour or so. Have a great week!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mary, Mary, quite contrary...

I apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures... I was using my daughter's camera, which only has an LCD screen (and I need new glasses). Guess what I'm going to do with all of this?

Pots, plant food, rocks and soil! It's transplanting time! I have no idea where I'm going to put all these pots until they can go outside though. I may hold off on transplanting most of the herbs until later.

Cilantro on the left, basil on the right.

Crazy tomatoes (three viable, I think) and chives.

My poor drowned parsley, although one plant is doing well, and a few others are starting to sprout!
In other news, I'm still not finished with the baby sweater, because it has become my "at work" knitting and I don't bring it anywhere else. The curtain hasn't been touched either. Last night was report card night at our house, and it took up most of my spare time. Tonight is swimming for the kids (and probably gym for me, since I skipped yoga class today - I can already hear Rob going, "WHAT????" LOL)

Weirdest thing happened to me this morning. I had a sudden bout of dizziness, the room spun for about 5 minutes, and then my head exploded and the world was right-side up again. Needless to say, with a somewhat nauseating migraine, I was not about to contort myself into a pretzel for the amusement of others. So no yoga today. I feel bad though, since it was our last class in this session :( I'm hoping we'll start up again, but if we don't, I may have to find myself a class nearby.

Someone asked me last night what the most Canadian thing I've ever seen was. I have to admit, a few weeks ago, during our most recent snowstorm, I saw a guy in a pickup truck stop at a red light, climb half-way out of his truck, and clear his windshield with a hockey stick. I only wish I'd had a camera to capture the moment :)

In other news, there's something wrong with the ABS on my car. It's been engaging at odd moments, sometimes while I'm not even braking... so my car is in time-out right now, and I'm driving Jeff's until I have the money to fix mine (again with all the unexpected expenses cropping up at once! What's with that?) If anyone has any ideas or knows what's going on, lemme know :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

General Update...

I did end up going to the gym last night, and it was pretty great :) I did 15 minutes on the upright bike (Rob calls them upwrongs, and I roll my eyes every time he does it) with only a little muscle pain, then I moved on to the weights. I was about 40 minutes in when my head exploded (return of the errant migraine), so I ended up leaving. Had some lovely sushi for dinner (yay, sushi!) and then went to class. We've moved on from the civilizations that influenced the creation of the French language to the history of French literature, and I'm having a great time :)

Didn't get any knitting done yesterday AT ALL, which is kind of frustrating, but today, I knitted the two sleeves onto my baby cardigan (and I now have a recipient in mind), and I'm in the home stretch (i.e. raglan decreases). Whoever designs a raglan sweater to be knit bottom-up needs their head examined *sigh* But it is adorable. I will show pics once it is finished :)

The plan for this evening is to work on Rob's kitchen curtain (not MY kitchen curtain) and to get some laundry done. This will all be after I do groceries, since there's nothing left in the house for the kids to take for lunch. I think it's time I transplant the sprouts... Most of them are doing alright, but the tomatoes are going gangbusters and they're getting so tall they're starting to lean over and grow horizontally ;) I'll have to pick up some little pots and some soil and stake them up. Or am I doing something wrong and it's not normal for them to tip over when they become top-heavy with leaves? The basil is going nuts, but is still small, and hasn't produced any true leaves yet. The cilantro, on the other hand, is full of true leaves and needs more space :)

I had a brilliant idea at around 12:30 last night (did I mention that I slept like crap again?). I have a bit of leftover wood (1/4 inch something or other) from the bookshelf project, and I think I'm going to use my drill to screw it into the wood of the window sill to support the plants so they'll all fit on the sill. It's a brilliant plan. Really.

I had to convince myself this weekend NOT to start a pair of socks. I had told myself that learning to knit proper socks would be my reward for finishing Rob's blanket, but I'd like to get the babt cardi and the curtain panel before I start anything else. (gasp, I know...) I'm kind of bummed that I'll be losing my knit night this week (I have a Friday night shift at the store... I'm also missing the ceilidh being thrown by one of my coworkers, and I really wanted to go to that). I can't change my availablility again though... I've already knocked off Sunday afternoons...

Rob actually drove to Missouri on Sunday to have brunch at the Ayerston Cafe (can't find any reference to it online, so I may have the name wrong) on Route 66. That's about a 6 hour drive. Each way. For brunch. He once drove me to Mineral Springs, WI (3 hours each way) to get a pasty for lunch. I voice no opinion... I'll leave that to you guys.

Oh, by the way.... 23 days until I'm in Chicago :D

Monday, March 12, 2012

Frustration, thy name is clutter!

I think Spring Cleaning fever has hit me. I actually got frustrated yesterday that there's yarn everywhere. Yes, that's right... My stash had me fuming. *sigh* Granted, the huge pile of dirty laundry that takes up half the house isn't helping. There's laundry, there are dishes (although I did fill the dishwasher this morning), there's junk everywhere... bleh. There's no longer anything gross in my fridge, except the fridge itself, which needs to be emptied and scrubbed to within an inch of its life. It's so bad that I was actually lying in bed last night, thinking about climbing a ladder to clean the ceiling fan in the kitchen (it goes beyond caterpillars... think "no range hood" and see what your brain comes up with).

The curtain is coming together nicely. I'm half-way through the second pattern repeat (I worked a 6.5 hour shift on Saturday, so very little knitting time). I'm loving it, and I know it's going to block out beautifully! The baby sweater is about 2/3 done. I've reached the yoke (lord knows why the designer felt the need to do a raglan sweater from the bottom up, but so be it), brought it to work with me, and then couldn't knit on it, since I neglected to read the instructions, and had to knit the sleeves on at this point *sigh* I'm not entirely sure how this is accomplished, but I'm sure I'll figure it out tomorrow when I bring the sleeves with me!

I nearly killed all my seedlings the other day. I didn't water them (for a whole 36 hours) and they started drying out. I lost most of the parsley and one of the cilantro plants, but everything else seems to have survived my stupidity. I think next weekend I'll have to start transplanting, since the tomatoes need staking at this point and I don't want to lose those!

I slept like crap last night... had a slight headache when I went to bed, and we all know how that goes. Raging migraine when I woke up at 2am, but was too fuzzy-headed to do anything about it. Woke up again at 6ish, stumbled through getting the kids ready for school (thank goodness I had a few burritos left in the freezer! easy microwave lunch FTW!), and then dragged myself in to work. Staring at the computer all day hasn't helped too much, but the ibuprofen is taking the edge off, anyway. I am very much looking forward to picking my new glasses up on Thursday! (they're actually cute... shut up, Rob.) More importantly, I'll be able to see ;)

Tonight, there's school (so much for reading week - I spent the week doing anything but, which puts me behind schedule for my final project - ACK), and since I've been a lazy ass and not gone to the gym once since Rob went home, I'll be going there first. I even have my gym bag in the car with Rob's Schwartz Cycles shirt and the pants I bought, and my gym shoes! So no excuses! (I also have my notebook in there, which is good, because I need to keep track of what I'm doing). It's not all as bad as it sounds though, I did get quite a bit of exercise over the last week... I just haven't done any of it at the gym ;)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Cousin Vinnie...

No, I don't have a cousin named Vinnie... What I do have is a smart-ass boyfriend ;) Last year, he asked if I'd make a curtain for his kitchen window. I thought about it, had a few false starts, and then gave it up to work on his blanket. I finally found the perfect stitch pattern that's open enough to see outside, but has enough closed areas that people can't see in and it's not girly! So I swatched it up:

(swatch is done in Estelle Cadenza on size 5 Addi Turbos - pattern is a triple chevron lace pattern I found online here)

Each pattern repeat is 2.5 inches wide, so I emailed Rob to ask if he knew off-hand how wide the kitchen window was. Important bit being I said "the" kitchen window. This was his response (in its entirety):

Now, uh, Ms. Vito, being an expert on general automotive knowledge, can you tell me... what would the correct ignition timing be on a 1955 Bel Air Chevrolet, with a 327 cubic-inch engine and a four-barrel carburetor? Mona Lisa Vito: It's a bullshit question. D.A. Jim Trotter: Does that mean that you can't answer it? Mona Lisa Vito: It's a bullshit question, it's impossible to answer. D.A. Jim Trotter: Impossible because you don't know the answer! Mona Lisa Vito: Nobody could answer that question! D.A. Jim Trotter: Your Honor, I move to disqualify Ms. Vito as a "expert witness"! Judge Chamberlain Haller: Can you answer the question? Mona Lisa Vito: No, it is a trick question! Judge Chamberlain Haller: Why is it a trick question? Vinny Gambini: [to Bill] Watch this. 
Rob Schwartz:  Because you don’t have a kitchen window. 

*sigh* Aren't I lucky?

In other news, plants are all coming along nicely, and about half the parsley has sprouted (I'll take those odds, considering I thought the entire packet was a dud), and Skye and I went to yoga class today (it was brutal). The baby sweater continues apace.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mission Improbable...

I had intended to get my whole house cleaned up this week. Has it happened? Hell no. There is considerably more floor and clean laundry than there was at the beginning of the week, but that's mainly due to Zachary being left home alone every so often. Today as Skye and I were coming home from running errands, I looked up at her window and noticed she'd cut a square from her window screen. *SIGH* I really don't know what possesses her sometimes. Zachary must really want his nice new purple bookshelf in his room, because he's actually in there cleaning, unasked, as I type :)

I went and dropped off the renewal application for my passport this morning. They said I should receive it in the mail in two weeks :) It's less than a month before I head down to Chicago for Easter weekend! :D I am so psyched! I didn't end up going to the gym yesterday though, and I'm feeling the lack today. I may go this evening after we've had our eye exams. I made a new friend today at Skye's appointment. Another patient happened to be a new knitter and she was fascinated with the baby sweater I was working on (this one):

(there's a bit more done on the body now, since I just spent an hour and a half on it). She's fifteen years old and only knows how to do 2x2 rib, so I showed her Ravelry, and a few other resources online, and she's very excited now :) (I also pointed her toward Knitting for Dummies, which is how I learned).

I did promise pictures of the two scarves I finished, so here they are. One-Row Scarf in Balitex Ruthy's Fat Yarn (hand-dyed using Jacquard acid dyes by yours truly) on size 10.5 needles (6.5mm):

This one is 4" wide and 32" long. Just the perfect length for short ladies' coat scarf (one that you just tuck the ends into the front of the coat). The other one was a bit longer but was done on bigger needles, so it's all good. This one was knit in Loops & Threads Cozy Wool (Michaels) in Sapphire and Merlot on size 15 (10mm) needles. It's 4" wide and 78" long, and I knit the red at one end, then striped a few times, then the other end was done in blue. I'll see if I can get a better picture of it later.

I'm hoping to make a bit more progress on the apartment tomorrow, since I won't be going out anywhere (so far, there have been errands every day). And I should be able to spend more time at the gym, since I'll be on my own on Friday :) It still feels like the house is empty when Rob's just left, but we're slowly getting back into a routine (the kids notice it as much as I do... I don't think the cats care). Once I've got things cleaned up a little, I'm going to attempt to put up some art around the house. I bought a few paintings last year that I'd like to put up and I have a kit to make a 9-square canvas montage that I hope the kids and I can have a bit of fun with (clearance merchandise FTW!)

The sprouts are all looking great. I think I may only end up with three viable tomato plants. The two sprouts in the fourth square are all droopy and lazy. The chives, cilantro and basil are all going crazy and the parsley is finally starting to come up all over the place. I can't wait until it's time to transplant! I'm still trying to find window boxes. May have to make a special trip up to Lee Valley for those. Spring is definitely here! It's 10 degrees and everything's melty! The trees in our neighbours' yards all have buds on the branches, and my family is making plans for our annual sugar bush outing. YAY SPRING!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Radio Silence....

Sorry for all the dead air around here. Last week sucked, and then Rob was here over the weekend, so I was selfishly offline for most of it :) However, I have updates and PICTURES today!

First off, our weekend. He was supposed to arrive Thursday evening, but events beyond our control conspired against us. The first leg of his flight (Chicago-Toronto) was cancelled, so they put him on a later flight, but it arrived in TO after the last flight to Ottawa left, so he spent the night at the Royal York (poor baby, right?) and then hopped a plane to Ottawa first thing in the morning. We went for breakfast, hung around the house for a bit, and then met up with some of my coworkers for lunch (he's wanted to meet my boss for a long time - they have a lot of common interests... I invited a female along so I'd have someone to talk to once they geeked out on bikes. Not bad, but I should have sat them next to each other instead of across so that A and I could actually talk to each other). Then we hit the gym (YAY) He did follow along and finish everything I did, but I think he was a bit surprised at how much I've been doing. Then we went to knit night and he had a great time, and it ended with a trip to the pub to have dinner and drinks with a friend. Saturday was mostly spent doing stuff around the house, and in the afternoon, we took the kids (+1) to play laser tag. Well, ROB took the kids to play laser tag. I sat in the lobby and knit. I finished the last bind off on his blanket Saturday night. Sunday was spent finishing up things around the house and hitting the gym again, and then taking the kids to my parents for dinner. I left to drive Rob to the airport (which always sucks) and then went back to my mom's for a turkey dinner that couldn't be beat, and now you know what I did all weekend!

So here's the finished blanket:

It's on my bed, which is a queen size, and you can see that there's ample overlap on each side. Sorry for the lumpy appearance, I left my comforter and my body pillow underneath. This is Rob being a goof:

(I don't know who taught him to smile for pictures, but I've got to break him of this goofy grin - I'm only partially joking. This is NOT how he smiles when there's no camera around.)

He actually helped me get the last strip at the top attached to the blanket (since I did it in my cramped bedroom and not on the big boardroom table at work or on the folding table at my mom's like I'd done with the rest). And I was right to tell him to bring the BIG suitcase, because the blanket took up ALL of it. He was able to pack a few books and flat things on top of it, but no clothes. (Becky, he brought the first book of that series home for you and the kids to read - I'll bring the rest when I come down for Pesach).

In other news, my "garden" is doing a bit better... it's amazing me how much it changes every day! I still can't get a bloody avocado seed to sprout (I think I've got sterile pits... they are from the avocados I buy at the grocery store), but everything else is sprouting like mad!

There are tomatoes and chives (I pruned the tomatoes this morning, so there are some stubby little stem ends in there):

There are some basil and cilantro sprouts that are doing AMAZINGLY well. They're not slumped over, by the way... I had just turned the tray around because they were leaning toward the sun:

I'll admit that I don't know which is which, as I didn't label them, but I imagine it'll be easier to tell when they get bigger (y'know... they smell and taste completely different and all).

The parsley... well, I kind of overwatered the parsley and didn't notice until a few days later, so I may have drowned some of them. For the longest time I thought I'd killed all of them, but then something really neat happened. About a week after everything else started sprouting, I saw this:

Excuse the over-exposedness... it was really sunny, and it was hard to get down low enough to take this picture (they're sitting on the radiator under my window so they can get some light and heat). Not sure what I'm going to do to get these guys enough sunlight because my windowsill is very narrow, and doesn't have enough room for all three trays... it's also the only one the cats can't get at (and therefore eat all my plants).

I'm still planning on grabbing a rhubarb root somewhere and planting it in a big pot (still need to find the big pot). I wonder if the landlord would give me access to the roof. Balcony space is quite limited and the neighbor uses it too (shared balcony). So that's what I've been up to :) Pictures of the baby cardigan will follow once I've gotten a bit more than two inches of the first sleeve done (I got distracted by the scarves... finished one and I'm in the home stretch with another one).