Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Good with the Bad

As you know my in-laws are visiting. With the arrival of Jeff's dad comes the anxiety of "what kind of trouble are they going to get into". When they are together they like to make holes, saw things off, add things that shouldn't be added etc. You know, guy stuff. Anyway, I like to try to think things up ahead of time. I call them busy projects. These are to keep them out of trouble. So far so good.

One of the items we picked up this week at Ikea was curtains and a rod. We went with their brown Ritva ones and a silver rod. I'm still experimenting with the way they are hung and am trying to get used to the idea of having so much light flooding in. Since we moved in there have been the beige Venetians which came with the house. We had all the blinds off in the summer with the window replacement and really enjoyed the unobstructed view and added lighting. I've been going on for weeks about how I was going to make curtains and Jeff was going to make the rod but Jeff found these curtains and thought he'd save us both some time. What a guy. Who am I kidding. He knows I'm not related to Martha Stewart.


And the final product. They still have to be shortened a bit but we want to give them a day or two to see if we like them. (Please excuse lounging animals and dog blanket.


I bet you thought that was going to be the bad. No. Not it. More to come.

Remember my beautiful baby birch tree we planted in the back yard? Here is the post on it if you've forgotten. It's a lot bigger since this post. For some reason, when we were all distracted with other things, Shelby (our 70lb love bug) had a lapse in judgement. A huge lapse in judgement, and took one of the three main branches between her teeth, twisted and tugged, twisted and tugged with all her might until she practically broke it in half. Jeff caught her in the act before she completely detached it. Needless to say she was on the sh*tlist all night and most of today.

I didn't think to get a snapshot last night when it was hanging beside it's rooted bottom but here is the poor thing after Jeff splinted it. Good ol' duct tape.


We're hoping it will heal itself but we'll have to keep a close eye on it because Shelby was caught checking it out again this afternoon. She was immediately brought into the house because we all felt she could not be trusted alone outside for a while. Maybe the rest of her life.

***
Topic Links
* Ikea.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Current Project: Aran Socks

I was right. I finished the Aran Socks this past week, despite having company. Here are the finished images.

Look at my beautiful floor.


Instead of starting another pair of wrist socks I decided to start a red scarf for support our troops red Friday. I'm making one for Jeff and one for myself in a simple cable pattern. I'm just using RedHeart. I can't remember if the colour is labelled but it is a deep red. The flash on my camera doesn't do this colour justice. It's awesome, trust me.



Want to make one for yourself?

Cast on 42 stitches and work in this repeating pattern:
Row 1: P2, *K6, P2. Repeat from * to end.
Row 2: K2, *P6, K2. Repeat from * to end.
Row 3: P2, *sl 3 on to cable needle holder, K3, K3 from cable needle, P2. Repeat from * to end.
Row 4: K2, *P6, K2. Repeat from * to end.
Row 5: P2, *K6, P2. Repeat from * to end.
Row 6: K2, *P6, K2. Repeat from * to end.
Row 7: P2, *K6, P2. Repeat from * to end.
Row 8: K2, *P6, K2. Repeat from * to end.
Row 9: P2, *K6, P2. Repeat from * to end.
Row 10: K2, *P6, K2. Repeat from * to end.
Row 11: P2, *K6, P2. Repeat from * to end.
Row 12: K2, *P6, K2. Repeat from * to end.

Keep going until desired length, bind off and tuck in your ends. Feel free to add fringe or not. I don't think I will for these ones.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I Wanna Read... War and Peace

Actually, all I want to do is go to sleep. Jeff and I were running around all day getting ready for his parents visit. We have to drive two hours tomorrow to pick them up at the airport. Guess what time we're leaving? 6 a.m. Yeah, I know, that's like three hours after my usual bed time. My motivation? We're also going to IKEA! It's 11 p.m. now and I just finished showering and checking email (first time all day). I didn't want to go to bed without doing my Wednesday I wanna read.

Since last Wednesday, I've been considering the next book to add to my list of Wanna but probably won't get the time reads and for some reason one title is the first to pop into my head... War & Peace. I'm a bit embarrassed to say I haven't read it, being the Literary Fiction editor at BellaOnline and all. But I haven't. I want to. That should count for something.

How can one not want to read a book with a tagline like "one of the world's greatest novels". I wonder what Leo Tolstoy would think of such a comment. Looking through Amazon at all the different editions of War & Peace I also wondered which translated version Tolstoy would prefer. If I picked up two different translations would they be considerably different? And which version was the one that was honoured with the world's greatest novel tag.

I'm not afraid of the epic tale; I made it through Stephen King's The Stand which is only 300 or so pages less. It's just one of those books I wanna read.

***
Topic Links
* War and Peace is available from Amazon.
* Literary Fiction at BellaOnline.
* Ikea.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Socks and Cactus

Since I finally uploaded some pictures off the camera, I thought I'd better post about them before I forget.

Here are the wrist socks I mentioned in an earlier post. The pattern is available at KnitPicks. I worked them in a hank of their Gloss which is a lovely combination of merino wool and silk. I chose dusk, as you know I'm a fan of blue and it goes well with my winter coat. Now obviously these were made for surface cold and not minus 30 weather. They'd also be good around the house when it's cold and I'm trying to type at the computer. Although we haven't had that kind of weather in a while. The flash of the camera has made the blue quite sharp. It really isn't that potent.

The pattern is worked with 2 needles but I can't for the life of me figure out why it's not done with circular needles. When I'm done with the Aran socks I'm going to do another pair in a chunkier wool, probably pinkish on the circular.

As you may remember I was all excited about my Christmas cacti having a flower bud on it. The first ever. Well, the bud has opened and there is another pinhead bud forming! Here it is:


Isn't it beautiful?!Have a wonderful Boxing Day!

30 Wanna Movie Hottie: 4

Movie hottie was delayed a day because of the most glorious holiday of the year but I didn't want to skip it all together since I have a special hottie in mind and just couldn't wait to share. I was watching Santa Baby the other night and Ivan Sergei was one of the co-stars vying for Jenny Garth's attentions.

I first fell in love with this actor in the short running John Woo series Once a Thief (which co-starred X-files hottie Nicholas Lea). It was the story of three young thieves brought into a covert government agency to solve crime.

After this he kind of disappeared (from Moe radar) but I've noticed he's been popping up here and there as the attractive and sexy side character or the hot guy who's a blip or distraction on the lead character's radar. Most recently I've seen him in The Break-up with Jennifer Aniston. A very small role but I enjoyed seeing him. Before this I caught him on Charmed as Paige's love interest and fellow crime fighter.

This actor is definitely one of the best kept secrets of sexy-yess out there. He is also another example of people who get better looking with age.

So the basics: All this time I thought Ivan was Canadian. I've been telling people for years, "Oh, he's Canadian." Surprise, he's not Canadian. He was born in Hawthorne, New Jersey in 1972. Hawthorne was the home of rock diva Debbie Harry too. He's a tall 6'4" and married. And that's all I could find on Ivan. No official website to send you too, sorry.

***
Topic Links
* The Break-Up is available from Amazon.
* Once a Thief is available from Amazon.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Current Project: Aran Socks

After doing some wrist socks as warm up, I've delved into the world of sock making. It's a big world out there and a heck of a lot of people like to make socks. I'm very excited about it actually. I bought a bunch of wool from Knit Picks specifically for making socks and have been holding out starting until I finished the wrap and a few books I wanted out of the way. Knitting does cut into my reading time afterall.

Knit Picks is a new addiction for me. A writing friend turned me on to it and I curse her every time I spend more than five minutes on their website. They have a bunch of free patterns of course but I especially like their search feature to find a specific pattern or project based on the type of wool you want.

The sock pattern I'm attempting at the moment is Aran Braided Socks. You can find it here. I'm using Knit Picks Essential Tweed in Inca Gold which is a blend of wool, nylon and donegal. This particular brand comes from Peru. Fancy!

I really love the colour, even the name. Inca Gold. So far I've finished the fancy cables on the top of one sock. Because there are two sizes of needles I've switched over to the smaller ones and will use the large onces to start the second sock instead of finishing one sock completely before starting the other.

Here's a picture of what I have so far...

Oh, I almost forgot. I'm using bamboo needles for the first time. I really like them. I remember making socks when I was younger with metal needles and one or more needles for ever slipping out of 20 or more stitches. These ones, made by Clover are so soft but the yarn doesn't slip off until I take it off.

So far so good. I'll show you the finished project when I'm done. And I'll show you the wrist socks once they're stitched up.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I Wanna Read... Nature Girl

After some thinking I've decided to designate Wednesday as "I Wanna Read... "day. There are so many books I want to read. So many books I am required to read. There just isn't enough time (and I'm a slow reader). I'm sure I'm not alone.

So every Wednesday, I'm going to share a book I want to read and hopefully I'll be able to live vicariously through someone out there.

The first inductee into my Wednesday whine is Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen. I've never read anything by Carl before but apparently he writes good comical mysteries. After reading the excerpt at the Borzoi site I decided this book would be a huge laugh if only I had the time to read it. But I don't. Maybe you do.

It sound like a really convoluted story about a single mother, named Honey Santana, with possible bi-polar disorder and her misadventures in life. There's a host of characters she comes across and affects; both good and bad. I was particularly interested in Sammy Tigertail, a Seminole Indian with equally bad luck.

Nature Girl, even the name has a sarcastic undertone, received only mediocre reviews at Amazon but I tend to like things a little off key.

***
Topic Links
* Read Excerpt at Borzoi.
* Buy Nature Girl from Amazon.
* Carl's Official Website.

Monday, December 18, 2006

30 Wanna Movie Hottie: 3

It's Monday! I know you've all been wondering who I was going to pick for this week's Wanna Movie Hottie. This week's hottie is Native Canadian Adam Beach. I've had a crush on him since his role as Victor in Smoke Signals, an Indie film depicting the lives of two young Native American's suffering many adventures as they travel to pick up the remains of a shared father figure.

In Dance Me Outside Adam plays Frank Fencepost a young native with dreams of being a licensed mechanic and learning the deep dark secrets of communicating with women. Even though it's a comedy it does touch on the racial tensions forced upon young natives. This film resulted in The Rez, a short-lived television spinoff. For some reason the powers at be thought Adam should play a different character then the one he played in the film (*shakes head*).

I also have a vague recollection of Adam appearing on North of 60 an awesome Canadian show about the trials and tribulations of a native community up north (it has a great cast, most notably Tina Keeper).

For the early part of his career I only saw Adam with long hair. Something that is only acceptable on women and Native men. As Paris would say, "It's hot."

Adam made three features films for PBS: Skinwalkers, Coyote Waits and A Thief of Time. In it is my absolute favourite character of his, medicine man / police officer Jim Chee. In all three films he worked with Wes Studi. It seems like they are always on and I always end up watching them. I wish someone had made it into a regular series.

In 2002 he became more mainstream when he starred with Nicolas Cage in the film Windtalkers, a WWII film about a Native American code keeper. I'm not big on WW films but I'm looking forward to seeing him in the new Clint Eastwood film, Flags of Our Fathers

And the basics: Adam was born in 1972 in Ashern, Manitoba. He lived on Dog Creek Indian Reserve until the age of eight. Both of his parents died horrible deaths. His native ancestry is Saulteaux, a division of the Ojibwa collective. He has been married twice, has two sons and supposedly resides in Ottawa, Ontario. Practically around the block from me.

His once informative official website has been replaced by a php forum.

***
Topic Links

* Smoke Signals is available from Amazon.com
* Windtalkers is available from Amazon.com
* Adam Beach Official... forum

Sunday, December 17, 2006

It's a Miracle

Here's to small miracles! My Christmas cactus has flowered. And after 7 or 8 years it really is a miracle. And here is a picture of it's one, yes one, luscious bloom:

All this wonder happened under our noses. When we were getting the floors done everything was moved out of the room. All the plants in the house were set in one of the cold spare rooms. I know absolutely nothing about cactus plants but apparently they like the cold before they flower.

I shall make it a point every November here on out to shove the Christmas cactus into the cool spare room for the month of November. Maybe next year we'll get two blooms.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Feeling Better

After doing some online research I'm feeling better about my ultrasound results. No thanks to Wikipedia which had "Death at young ages if not treated properly" in their list of symptoms. Not something you want to read right off. I'm sure my blood pressure which is normally quite low, spiked. Luckily no other resource I read had a similar symptom. Some of the better resources and ones I consider more reliable were the government ones.

From my reading I got the impression ovarian cysts are quite common in women of childbearing years and they usually clear up on their own. Of the ones that don't clear up they seem to treat them first with birth control pills then as a last result laparoscopy.

An interesting precursor I found was women who had diets higher in red meat and cheese had a higher disposition for these type of cysts. I wasn't much of a red meat eater until I met Jeff and now we have it a couple times or more a week. Don't know if I can give up my steak. I can give up the cheese... I think.

Anyway, shall wait and see what happens in February. Wish I had a picture of my ovary to show you.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Results are Back

I really don't know how to feel, in part because my doctor doesn't know how to explain things fully and in part because I don't ask direct questions.

This morning I found out the results of my internal ultrasound. According to the results, I have remnants of a burst cyst as well as a remaining 1cm cyst on my left ovary. They couldn't see my right one clearly. She didn't give me a clue as to how worried she was or how worried I should be about this. My doctor is like a little bee, rushing off to the next flower before it's finished with one.

I do have to go for a follow-up in February for another internal. She said nothing about future pregnancies which came to me on the drive home. I ended up calling the office and leaving a few questions with the receptionist.

So I'm off to the internet for some reliable research (tongue in cheek)...

Monday, December 11, 2006

30 Wanna Movie Hottie: 2

Happy Monday! I decided to go with a woman this week. I am after all and equal opportunity admirer. This week's Wanna Movie Hottie is Diane Lane. Some actors get better with age and she definitely falls into this category; both in talent and looks. In my opinion she is one of the most beautiful people in North America.

I remember being annoyed with her characters in such movies as The Outsiders, and Streets of Fire. It wasn't until her later works that I became a fan. Murder at 1600, A Walk on the Moon, The Glass House, Under the Tuscan Sun and Must Love Dogs have really established her as an adult actress worth spending your hard earn dollars to watch. Not to mention she attracts some attractive co-stars. I saw previews for the upcoming Killshot due out in 2007 and am so looking forward to it. It's an action thriller where her character witnesses a murder and she and her husband (Thomas Jane) are put into protective custody until a hit man comes looking for them.

When it comes to interviews, Diane is another actor who handles herself well. She's charmingly nervous and respectful which makes her even more beautiful.

The basics: Born 1965 in New York. She was a child actor and survived. She was married and bore a child with Highlander star Christopher Lambert but is currently married to actor Josh Brolin (remember Goonies?).

She had a beautiful official website which I've visited a few times before but now there's just a place holder by safesearching. Very disappointed. Luckily there are lots of fan sites.

***
Topic Links
* Murder at 1600 is available from Amazon.
* A Walk on the Moon is available from Amazon.
* Under the Tuscan Sun is available from Amazon.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Who Do You Believe

I had a strange, dare I say, moral dilemma sprout up today. Around 4 p.m. Jeff decided he wanted mashed potatoes with supper. Being Irish and a big fan of the potato I wasn't about to deny him the luxury of mashed potatoes. So off I went to the grocery store a few blocks away. And of course because I was lazy and it was cold, I took the vehicle. A Toyota Sienna if you must know.

As I was driving down the main street leading to the local Independent a tall thin woman with no winter coat was on the right side of the road waving her arms. Her lips clearly mouthed "Help Me". Now you might be thinking this is the dilemma, to stop or not to stop, but it was not. I spun around and stopped, no problem.

I figured she had car trouble and the old guy in the van who was leaving either didn't have a clue or he was harassing her. As I walked up to her I noticed another man sitting in the car I thought was hers. Here is where it gets strange.

The woman thanked me for stopping and introduced herself. I gave her my first name. She put out her hand but for some reason I didn't. I still don't know why. Maybe it was her fluorescent green contact lenses. Anyway, she proceeded to tell me she was crossing the street to go for supper when this guy, she motions to large man in car shaking his head, slows down and opens his window.

She thought he had car trouble and asked as such. He thought she was hitchhiking and called her a bunch of names when she said she wasn't. Actually, she said something like, "Do I look like I'm hitchhiking? I don't have my thumb out". Anyway, she said he called her cops on her and she wanted someone there for support. I asked her why she didn't just go in the local Tim Horton's and wait (no winter coat) but she said it was her word against his and she wanted someone on her side. I explained to her I could stay with her but I didn't see anything and would say as such. She offered to by me a coffee, I declined.

After a few minutes of waiting (and listening to her repeat her story and talk about the guy's body language as she was talking), I asked her if she was sure he called the cops. I then went over to talk to him. His story: She was hitchhiking and he pulled over. They exchanged words and she refused to move from the front of his car so he called the police. I asked him if he was sure he called the police and when he expected them. Three cruisers then showed up.

All three of us explained our situations to different officers and I, of course, was sent on my way as I didn't witness anything.

So where the hell is the dilemma you ask. Well, who would you believe? My first instinct was to believe this woman. Women, after all have been in situations of not being believed and supported for centuries. I felt I should believe her out of principle. But something about the situation led me to think she might have been hitchhiking or otherwise not truthful. And these thoughts made me feel guilty for not believing her.

So who do you believe? Or how do you remain impartial? This is the moral dilemma I thought about while getting potatoes and driving home. What if I was in that position and the woman I asked for support was looking at me like I was out looking for trouble, if there really is such a thing.

Jeff was supportive of the incident when I told him. "You did what you could do. You stayed and supported her until the police came." He thinks she might be one of the locals residing in a group home in the area. These people have been harassed and taken advantage of too. So, what do you do when you come upon a situation like this?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Internal Ultrasound

Guess what I did for my birthday? Well, I guess I gave it away in the title. I went for an internal ultrasound and the 4th (my birthday) was the only day they had available until some time after Christmas.

Background: For the last three months I've had some unusual spotting throughout the month. Now for some women this may not be unusual but for me it is. My period is like clockwork. Since I hit the big 37 and my mother developed early menopause my doctor decided it best to check everything out.

Last week I went through the blood work part which included some hormone testing and it came back normal. I wasn't really surprised. I'm freaky that way.

I was really nervous about having an internal ultrasound. I only had a vague idea of what the procedure entailed: A rod being inserted into the Va-jay-jay (too much Grey's Anatomy) and a picture shows up on a little screen. The last ultrasound I had was, coincidentally, last December and it was an external. I'm mentioning it because it was done by a man; so most of my nervousness involved the idea that my internal may be performed by a guy. Yes, I know they are professional. That's not the point.

Anyway, I decided to go for my appointment early because I had a very full bladder and didn't think I'd be able to get there dry if I waited much longer. I even brought a book I'm reviewing to help pass the time. After I checked into the radiology department I was ushered to the Ultrasound(US) waiting room where I read maybe two paragraphs before being called by a tech.

The female tech brought me into the US room and had me lose the jacket and purse. I made myself comfortable on the table and she took an initial view with my bladder full then had me go empty my bladder. I was sooo happy to empty the bladder. When I came back to the room I had to lose the pants and undies and slide up on a funny cushion that raised my hips on an angle so she could get at the privates. She left the room while I did this.

When she came back she explained the procedure and showed me the rod or transducer. It was about a foot long. Part of the explanation involved reassuring me that only a thumb size portion of the transducer gets inserted into the Va-jay-jay. For sanitation they put a latex sleeve over it. The exam didn't take long at all. She looked straight on and had to tilt the probe to the right and to the left to look at the ovaries. It was totally comfortable. I would take this experience over a pap (which I had the very next day) test any day. So if an internal ultrasound is in your future, don't sweat it.

Results in a week...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Wanna Hottie?

A friend of mine does a weekly post she calls 25 TV Hubba Hubbas. Not surprisingly it is one of my favourite topics and I look forward to seeing who she'll pick next. You can see Keris' Hubba Hubbas here.

I've been wanting to do something similar but haven't been able to decide on a name. I didn't want to use Hubba Hubbas as well, that'd be just wrong. I also want to do movie and not tv. And I'm not sure I want to limit myself to just men, although I might. So I think I'm going to go with Wanna Hottie. What do you think? Pretty self explanatory no? Or maybe, Wanna Movie Hottie? Moe's Movie Hotties? See, I'm not firm in a title so let say Wanna Movie Hottie and I'll leave it open for a title change. And the magic number? I'll try for 30. Which would change my title again to 30 Wanna Movie Hotties.

The next question. When? Let's say Monday. Then you have something delicious to start your week with. Well, I will anyway. But I like to share.

So I'll see you Monday.