Thursday, 24 November 2011


Tomorrow is the last day of work for us in the Census of Agriculture call center. It feels a lot like school the week before holidays, or the last days of summer camp. On the one hand, most of us are happy to be finished the job. On the other hand, the group - co-workers and supervisors - have by and large been terrific, and we'll miss them.

Most cases are closed now, so there's less and less work that can be done, and more chatting going on in the lulls. People are exchanging e-mail addresses, and making plans to keep in touch. Most of our desks have been cleaned out, and the posters and info taken off the walls, so it looks bare. Some of the cleaners are a little enthusiastic - more than one person arrived for shift today to find they had not even pen and paper in their desks anymore! I brought my personal stuff home tonight, just in case...

And remember the last few days of school, there'd be extra recess time, and people would bring treats in for the class? We've got that too. Extra lunch time yesterday and today (and the supervisor didn't even blink when we came back a bit late because we went to the pub for supper), and got to leave early because there was nothing else to be done tonight. A lot of sweets turning up too. In the last two days I've had chocolates, a cheesecake brownie, cookies, cupcake, and a square of something termed 'sex in a pan' which appears to involve pudding and dream whip and shortbread. Usually I only get this oversugared at Christmas!

Pizza lunch tomorrow. And final cleanup, and then we'll say goodbye. And I'm sure I won't be the only one a bit misty-eyed. But underneath, the soundtrack is running, 'School's out for summer! School's out for ever!'

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


I know we're only a little over a month from Christmas, but it's been hard to get in the mood, as it were. Not like everyone hasn't been trying. Lights are up in the neighborhood, carols are playing (or blasting, in the case of the car that zoomed by me last week with Feliz Navidad at top volume), and the craft fairs are in full swing.

I splurged just a tad at the Glebe Center craft fair last weekend, but I can justify the results as Christmas presents. Look, aren't they gorgeous?

Pysanky ornaments, from Myrosia Humeniuk . All hand-drawn and her own designs. She had some of the gorgeous traditional pysanky also, works of art but out of my budget, sadly.

Now it looks like Christmas outside, though. Toronto may have gotten freezing rain, but Ottawa woke up to snow!

(And to the inevitable traffic problems caused by the fact that for some reason, every year, people forget how to drive in snow. First day of snow always means traffic issues and accidents all over.)

It's supposed to melt off in the next few days again, but for today I will make myself a hot cider and enjoy the view.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

One Down...

Jen's sweater is done. Sewn up, buttons selected and sewn on. Now I just have to wait until she gets home for the holidays to see if it fits!

Next WIP to polish off - MY sweater! Or one of them...the February Fitted Pullover in my handspun . I polished of the first sleeve this afternoon at knitting. One sleeve and the collar to go!

Friday, 18 November 2011

In Praise of Handkerchiefs

I felt well enough to go to work Tuesday, so I did, well stocked with handkerchiefs. And as I was fishing one out between calls, my neighbor remarked that they were something you don't see often anymore.

That's true. I only got into them a few years ago, but I'm hooked. It was my brother who started it actually. He started bringing them when he needed them while haying for a neighbor one summer. Easier to carry on the field than a box of kleenex, and doesn't shred getting stuffed in pockets. But he said he noticed that his nose hurt less also, after a day of blowing it. Mom and I took up handkerchiefs shortly afterwards, and haven't left off.

I know some people will think it's kind of gross, and why not use kleenex you can use and toss? As far as I'm concerned, just about every aspect of the handkerchief function outweighs kleenex.

Less mess: Handkerchiefs don't have a risk of giving way when damp and leaking all over your hand.

Less waste: I remember a cold used to mean the bedroom garbage filled with soggy kleenex. And worrying about whether the box would last the day, and the possibility of having to hunt up toilet paper as a substitute. Or hunting frantically in your bag only to find the only kleenex left are half shredded and useless. Now a cold means a few more squares of cotton or linen in the wash. I have 4 or 5 and they will last me for years, and can be stuffed in my bag with impunity. And they won't be ending up in a landfill anytime soon.

Less pain: What my brother noticed, that the handkerchiefs are easier on the nose than kleenex, seems to be true for me as well. Used to be the routine during a cold, to paint my sore red nose with Ihle's paste at night, which was sticky but helps a lot. I haven't needed to do that lately.

And I can make and even decorate my own handkerchiefs if I want. Think of all the old patterns for lace trim and embroidery, and stories where monogrammed handkerchiefs play a part. No one would ever wax romantic over a dainty kleenex!


Tuesday, 15 November 2011


Long weekend due to Remembrance Day, and a lot got done.
I finished Jen's sweater; the pieces are blocking on my bedroom floor, and I've sent a few possibilities for buttons off to get her opinion.

I boiled up a pot of onion skins for dye and got some lovely colors. (The pinky-red isn't onion, it's a strong batch of poke.) Orange is strong onion, yellow and blue-green, exhaust from the dyebath on white and indigo-blue, olive green, exhaust plus a 10 min simmer with a bit of iron added.

I did 5 loads of laundry and 2 batches handwashing of woolies, mended my cousin's wedding dress and her mother's braided rug, made a batch of lotion, and helped move stuff of my brother's that was in storage back home, since there's space from rearranging and redoing the shed. He gets to do the final sort when he comes home for Christmas.

And then Sunday night my nose started running. Don't know who gave it to me, but I've got a lovely cold - runny nose, itchy throat, headache, nausea, the works. At least I got to enjoy the weekend. Skipped work yesterday, though, because I wasn't up to moving, and I figured better to rest, even if I hate to break my perfect record with only a couple weeks left of the contract. Today is better - all the symptoms still there, but more energy - so I will drag myself off to work later and try not to cough on anyone.    

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Daffynitions From the StatsCan Basement

I know at one point I saw an article somewhere, and picked up the notion of daffynitions as a word used for strange or silly (daffy) definitions.

Whether it's due to cleverness or simply mis-spelling or mispronouncing words, my workmates have coined a few new words that are just crying for daffynition status.

Clarification became clarifiction. It sounds like it ought to be something politicians do. Probably a lie told to explain something.

Answer became answear. Given that we are calling people to get Census data, and so are very little above telemarketing and phone surveys, I suspect this would be an appropriate term if some exasperated person replies to your greeting with profanity.

Refusal became refusual. This must be the word to describe what you get when hang-ups or unco-operative people become the norm.

My personal favorite, however, was a verbal rather than a written error. My neighbor was trying to say insecticide, and came out with insexticide. That could go a few ways, but my mental picture was a sort of situation where an insect commits incest and commits suicide by poison. Ancient Greek tragedy as written by don marquis' archy the cockroach.

Yes, my brain does come up with things like that.

In the Whirl

I was talking with a friend this morning, and she was asking what was new, saying last time she talked to me it sounded like I was being a social butterfly. Now, that's about the last designation most people would probably apply to me, so I assume it was used in a comparative sense...However, it does seem as if there has been a minor whirl of activity lately. A dyepot party last Saturday, the Guild Exhibition and Sale this past weekend, and the charity KAL stuff due. Happily the get-together for the latter was at the same location as the Ex and Sale, and everything that needed to be done got done.

If there's one thing exciting for most people with hobbies, it has to be the prospect of spending a couple days with other people with the same obsessions. So the Ex and Sale proved to be a lovely weekend for me. I managed to sell a few things (and resisted buying more to replace them), spend hours spinning, chat with people I hadn't seen in a while, and see what people had been creating, plus picked up a request for a project.

Having planned to finish my Pastoral pattern in time for the Ex and Sale, that got done also, and after a few minor modifications from my tester's comments, I got that up for sale on Ravelry and my Etsy this week. Next pattern has been started.

One of the items I did for the charity KAL was a tam, chosen with the aim of testing my pattern-in-progress. Reversible, with a bit of lace, and offering lots of possibilities for takeoffs on the idea. I'm calling it "Slice". I originally planned the right side, and it looks good.

But then I noticed the wrong side is pretty nice too.

So with careful weaving of ends, voila, reversible tam. Pattern writing in progress, and with any luck I should have it up in a week or so as a free download from Ravelry.

I've been taking advantage of the weather too and getting the garden cleanup for winter done. Glad it's been busy. We've had a few sad events, and I prefer to have things to do so I don't have to think about them. Otherwise I would likely be crying in public, and that's just not good - it's awkward and my nose gets red when I get emotional. One of our cats died fairly recently, it was expected, he was old and sick. He was mine though, I found him as a kitten and rescued him, and he is missed. And then only the last week we lost one of the dogs also to a tragic accident. Her foot slipped when she was racing the truck down the lane, and she went under the wheels. It is hard to think of her as gone, still, she was so much a part of the place. Doubtless it will seem more real when I go to the parents' this weekend and she isn't there to greet me. Keeping busy has been good for everyone in the family, I think.

With which reflection I shall get back to being busy and take care of lunch and chores and errands remaining before work tonight.