Monday, December 22, 2008

how to

what does one wear when the temperature is 10 below?

wool socks
wool pants
waterproof boots with good tread
wool singlet
cotton singlet
bamboo longsleeve
big down jacket
thermal-lined hat with earflaps

it is also vital to keep one's spirits up!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

cold! cold! oh my ears and nose!

a shot in my new neighbourhood, when the snow was still fresh everywhere.

there's still little birds in the trees - i wonder what they eat?

and a view down an alley in my 'hood. this is looking west, you can see downtown in the distance.

today is a forecast top of minus 6, and there's a big snow storm coming. i'm rugging up good and loving on my big down jacket!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

growing things is fun

nature just likes to keep us on our toes, you know?

eleanor and i are on a mission to green up the new house. it's kind of challenge cos we don't get a huge amount of natural light, so we're being very inventive.

this is my attempt to grow things from cuttings - ivy bits stolen from front fences, and african violet leaves planted in coffee cups and humidifying in a bread bag. apparently you can make a whole african violet from a leaf!

i'm particularly proud of this window shelf arrangment. eleanor conceived it, other roommate M built it, and i arranged and cared for the plants. i've had to bring in all the vegies growing in pots on the back veranda, because the soil literally freezes solid overnight. so that's rainbow chard on the coffee table (silverbeet is the closest australian equivalent), carrots to the left of the table and tiny baby corianders in the blue pot on the far left of the shelf. we also bought a beautiful chain of hearts (or rosary plant?) to hang. v.g.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

there's seagulls flying around in the falling snow out there.

this is a strange place to live.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


it's cold! it's puffy coat cold! it is, actually, freezing cold - the temperature is not expected to go above zero for another week or more. it snowed lots a few days ago, and there's 5cm predicted for tonight. here's hoping for a white christmas!

went for a nice walk in the suburbia north of here with eleanor and winifred yesterday, and checked out the stunning views of the snow-covered mountains on the north shore.

there's shipping yards and a rail-line between the 'burbs and the water, so you can't get down to the shore except in a few places.

and this would be a very pretty photo if my long distance focus was better - see the white mountain framed in the far distance?

i'd forgotten, since february, how cold it is when it's cold. oh my nose and fingers! there's also the hazards of walking on slippery pavements - the snow melts in the sun then refreezes as ice. but it is pretty, and there's nothing like coming inside and making a nice cup of coffee after a walk in the cold. i'm knitting my first beanie and watching dvds from the library. bliss!

Monday, December 15, 2008

scarf! (hair!)

thankyou for my lovely scarf, JT! it is beautiful! i love the 3Dness of that stitch!

scarves v. necessary, as winter has suddenly happened, wham! today will be a top of minus 3.

also, new hair. have i mentioned how much i adore my hairdresser? he was all "how 'bout we put a random short bit up near yr ear? and then a random long bit over here?"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

when will it end??? oh. it has.

sorry about another long silence on this blog. i got distracted by writing all my end of semester assignments in two weeks. i just handed in the last one, thus marking the end of a craptastic semester, to borrow the phrase of a friend.

bring on next year! it has to be better!

achievements of this semester are making two good friends (my hiking friend, who nimmersatt and i have christened pantalaimon, and a jewish interpretative dancer, who i'm calling athena, unless anyone has a better greek myth name to suggest), meeting a bunch of children's librarians (they are fun! they taught me puppet hand!) and holding back from smiting Really Annoying Dude with a big shiny sword even though everyone would be happier for it.

oh, and while we're talking pseudonyms and internet safety - crackbook totally cut me off for having a fake name! the fascist overlords have spoken! the really creepy thing about this situation is that all my information (photos, messages, invitations, hatching eggs, shite gifts for academics, etc. etc.) still exists and the company will keep it *forever* but i am forbidden to access it, cos having a false name is "against the facebook spirit". fascists.

and while we're talking children's librarians: the latest in my "grad student for hire" adventures is crashing parent and infant groups and making new mothers fill in surveys about how often they read to their babies and use the libraries. i'm pushing infant literacy! today i spent two and a half hours in a breast feeding drop-in group, during the slow times chatting with the 70-something year old volunteers about their immigrant experience (one was a kiwi!). being marginally employed definitely has its perks.

it is supposed to snow this weekend! so far it has been cold and wet, but not in a puffy-coat kind of way, more in a "where's my toque?" kind of way. now - snow! top of -2!

okay, and waaaay too many exclamation marks in this post.

what else?

the government in ottawa has been, well, it's very complicated. the government has become very complicated, is the short version. i'll tell the long version soon, cos it's fascinating. i went to a pro-coalition rally and heard people sing "oh canada" for the first time. it was kinda weird.

i went to a bazillion craft fairs and got this cool "i dig gardens" t-shirt, and some elbow length wool gloves, which i will no doubt show you at some point.

we had our end-of-semester non-denominational department party last night, which was actually pretty cool. i giggled a lot and stuck christmas ornaments in my hair. as you do.

cass took me to her work christmas party, which was pretty spesh - held in a big ballroom downtown, with lots of incredibly buff people in suits and formal gowns. there was a band and free grub and late late dancing. So Much Fun.

we also went to a late night movie downtown a different night and had a hilarious but awful but really hilarious adventure getting home. it involves vomit and old ladies beating people with umbrellas. remind me to tell you some time . . .

Sunday, November 30, 2008

happy birthday to grotapuppy!

she followed a string from her bedside and there was nyx! what a surprise!

cass n me being adorable

she drinks from a scientific beaker, i drink from a jar with a handle, it's all good.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

in november it rains

"It November it rains. Not that it doesn't rain at other times of the year, but there is something relentless, unforgiving and chilling about the rain in November."

- The Twelve Month Gardener: A West Coast Guide

the calender page from nikki mcclure is also appropriate for vancouver in november. the message "survive" helps me remember that winter will turn into spring eventually, if we just keep plugging through it.

actually it hasn't been pouring down in that relentless way i remember from past years - we've had quite a few sunny days recently, and cold crisp air in the top of 7 and 8 degrees style, which is easier to dress for and exist in than the soggy mid-teen temperatures.

regardless, i've had a series of exciting winterish respiratory illnesses, packing the Cold of Death, asthma and strep throat into the last month and a half. i'm pretty much better now, and only occasionally cough like someone who's been chain smoking for ten years. hoping to get back on my bike again - i haven't done a critical mass in my birthday tutu yet, and that's a problem!

end of semester is fast approaching, with final assignments and non-denominational holiday parties piling up. i've picked up some tutoring work, which is good for the budget and also good for the brain, and nicely distracting from my own work. maybe i will be able to afford a haircut. . . i saw my hairdresser at a coffeeshop the other day and showed him the collected volume of fray i was reading, and told him how inspired i always was by mel's hair and how i couldn't afford to go see him even though i really wanted to, and it was all just a bit embarrassing and would be better handled by going there and making serious friends with the scissors. . .

Monday, November 24, 2008

snow is what makes winter okay

sunday was another unexpectedly sunny day, so new friend who doesn't have a nickname yet (so much responsibility! naming another human!) and her dog and i high-tailed it to the mountains again to play in the SNOW. snow!

we went walking here a month or more ago and the water in this little lake was just frozen in sheets by the edges, but this time it was frozen almost solid, and the dog, after much testing and barking, got all four paws on it.

the woods were very beautiful, the air crisp and cold; the hike made me feel a bit better about the world.

it was 4.30 or so by the time we left, so it was almost dark, and we got a beautiful view of the sunset over vancouver, and vancouver island in the distance. i took this photo from the top of a humungous pile of snow in the carpark - i'm in the king of the castle!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

me new house

the vid! the vid i promised sixteen squillion years ago!

i was thinking about refilming it, cos the sound is a bit crap, but then i thought it would take another begillion years to get that online, so let's stick with this one, eh?

lots of vid is taken up with me complaining about the rain, and how there's no heat in my bedroom, and that that cold was killing my baby gumtree. since i recorded this, well, it's still raining all the time, but i got the heat working, and the gum is looking more perky. huzzah!

the other comment that is obscure, i think, is in the beginning when i suggest that you can use the vid to make fun of my accent. other than that i think most of the commentary is discernible if you crank the speakers. it ends kind of sudden like cos i ran out of memory in my camera, so bye! nice talking to you! love you!

here's some photos too, to give you a 2D and 3D experience of my living arrangements. who says i'm not a conscientious blogger!

the state of the spare bedroom atm. the third roomie is moving in at the start of dec. in the meantime, his room is a grand place to store my lovely bike!

plants on the veranda - the empty looking pots have garlic cloves in them, and that green pot up the back has tiny baby lettuces!

the loungeroom, with our strange collection of furniture - our "give us your shit" house warming was a very successful furniture drive!

view into the kitchen, with the "why bike?" poster.

adorable little gumtree, looking a bit the worse for wear (from the cold), but still struggling on. (matchbox for scale).

my room, in all its disorganised splendor. how good is my new desk???

Friday, November 21, 2008

*everyone* loves puppies

meet gus, winifred's new baby!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

everyone loves puppies! OR more photos from home

the adorable bundles of wriggle grot and bbb have been visiting - they will end up with one of the two pups below:

bbb looking suspiciously like a confirmed dog person!

grot with an amazing garlic harvest.

another photo from the glenelg trip.

and jt all frocked up for her school reunion! i love the scarf.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

random photos

i figure if i wait til i can construct a coherent narrative for these photos i'll never ever post them, so i'll just give you a little blurb for each and you can make your own narrative. it's interactive, 'kay?

cass got a bike! it is a sweet norco mountain bike with front disc brakes and suspension.

here's me at halloween, before my armour got all soggy at critical mass.

i am a widow's son outlawed and must be obeyed!

my final harvest at my old house. the tomatoes were starting to rot on the vines so i picked most of the green ones and have been slowly windowsill ripening them over the last few weeks. the tiny carrots were delicious!

i've started doing a bit of drawing again. isn't this long notebook fabulous? i'm very pleased with this drawing of autumn leaves.

and a great example of an autumn leaf! this is a big leaf maple - hand for scale.

i've gone on a couple of nice hikes on the north shore recently. here's the river running through lynn canyon - near where we all went swimming in august. there's no way i'd hop in the water now!