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July 2004

Posts from June 2004

Now what happens?

That was quite an election. A liberal minority government isn't all bad. The NDP did well and the conservatives didn't do as well as they wanted (but still have too many seats for my taste). The next session of parliament is going to be an interesting one to watch. The Liberals will actually have to play nicely with others to get stuff done. If anyone takes their toys and goes home, then we're having another election.

The funniest post-election crack: "I was going to vote conservative but then a friendly dog came by and I changed my mind".

From the very funny election satire/comedy show Spinoff with Al Rae

If you don't get this joke (and it is a bit local) read the rather frightening story here.

I wasn't thinking a lot about proportional representation before this election, but I'm sure thinking about it now. The NDP got a good share of the popular vote which would have meant almost 40 seats if we were under that system. I know there are lots of left leaning people in this country but because we're spread across the country, we don't get the representatives in parliament.

Today is the kids' last day at their daycare. We have to change care arrangements to be closer to their schools. Yesterday they had a little graduation ceremony and today is going to be a tough day. We've been with this centre for almost 3 years and it's full of wonderful caring staff. The kids have many friends and have grown from babies to wonderful little kids in this place.


Thankfully, we're on vacation until July 19 so the kids can have a nice slow transition to the new arrangement. We start the festivities with Canada Day celebrations tomorrow. I'll be breaking out the maple leaf t's and the Canada red nail polish and we'll get decked out for a day at the park and the local wading pool. Summer is here!

Between election watching, saying goodbye to the daycare and thesis revising I haven't been knitting much. That's what I'm doing today. After I run my errands and clean up a bit, I'm parking my butt on the couch and knitting. This is my transition to the holidays day.

Through thick and thin

I had a great weekend. Craig and I finally got our act together and hired a babysitter for Friday night. We went to a pub with friends and talked politics and had some beers. It all continued on Saturday at a BBQ. Nothing like political talk when there's an election on. I'm a junkie that way. I'm pretty glad today is voting day because it's time to stop being glued to my radio and do some other stuff. That won't happen tomorrow though because this election is too close to call and they'll be tons of post-election analysis.

All that debate led to late nights and sleep deprivation (those kids of mine get up soooooo early) so I didn't knit too much. Funny thing is the two things I worked on were polar opposites in the yarn world. Sock yarn for Devan and a bulky alpaca yarn for a something I'm designing (and thus can't really share right now). It was weird jumping from 3mm to 8mm needles, but it was fun to start something new. I haven't heard back from Twilleys yet so Danielle is still on hold. No matter, it's barely summer weather here so I can wait.

Finally a little public service announcement. If you're a Canadian get out today and VOTE. You don't have to be registered, just bring some photo ID with your address on it to your local polling station. Check out the Elections Canada website for all the details (since polling times vary across the country).

How am I voting? NDP all the way. I live in Jack Layton's riding and I've been a big supporter of his since I moved into this neighbourhood (he was my city councillor). I've always been an NDP supporter but am really happy with Jack's style of leadership and his ability to promote a left agenda that matches my priorities. I know the NDP won't form the government but I want a strong left presence in the House of Commons to ensure that the issues I care about--women's rights, childcare, health care, education, fair taxation (ie progressive tax system), gay rights, the environment and homelessness--don't get lost in the debates over the national debt, tax cuts, and anything to do with the right wing agenda of Stephen Harper. I don't believe he has a hidden agenda that I should fear (unlike the ads running by his opponents); I think his policies and the principles of his party members that I know about are scary enough and we need a strong counter to that in the House. Go Jack Go!

Team Knitty Runs for the Cure


Amy Singer, editor extraordinaire and fearless leader is at it again. We're contributing to our community and Running (Walking) for the Cure for Breast Cancer. If you're in Toronto, join Team Knitty (search for the team using our name or check out the Knitty Blog for more details).

If you can't be here, how about a donation to help us out? It doesn't have to be a lot, every dollar helps. I need to raise $125 to waive the registration fee. Of course, there's no obligation--it's not like a toll to read this blog or anything. But I would really really appreciate your contributions to this important event. Amy's fab efforts and many generous donations have Team Knitty raising over a 1000 bucks already--Amazing.

You can click here to get to my personal donation page, or if you prefer you can make a donation to Team Knitty using paypal here. If you donate using my personal page and you're Canadian you get a tax receipt. And if you're almost everywhere else, you're money goes further. For example, if you donate $18 US, it's almost 25 bucks here. There are donation buttons on the top right if you wish to contribute later--the walk isn't until October 3. I'll be acknowledging contributors there too. Thanks!

You like me. You really like me.

I met with my thesis committee yesterday and they really liked the thesis. I have a few revisions to do, but I'm cleared to go to the oral examination. I have a defense date baby! September 10! Wow! I'm actually going to get this Ph.D. It was a Sally Field sort of moment.

I didn't spend the rest of the day worrying about the revisions, instead I took some time to smell the flowers. I fixed the straps on my ChicKami because they were too long (something I've meant to do since last summer). I worked on Devan, finishing the right front and making good progress on the first sleeve.


I tidied up a bit (and will a bit more today). And, I rented a bunch of movies, got some beer and pizza (which was free due to a mess up!).

I watched Master and Commander last night. Yawn. Some of the scenes were neat and the ship was impressive, but it was pretty boring. I can't figure why it was nominated for Best Picture (mind you I often feel this way about the Oscars). It was good for knitting time though.

I haven't riden my bike again yet. But I wasn't sore at all after Wednesday, so I'm motivated to do it again--Monday. Confessing here was a good idea not only because committing to the blogiverse adds to my resolve, but because you all provide so much encouragement and support. Thanks.

Today is Emma's last day of Junior Kindergarten. She's moving to a new daycare and school for next September so this is a real milestone for her. I going to pick her up after class and take her out for a little treat--some girl time with ice cream. I think I'll start a little tradition here to acknowledge her hard work (she amazes me with how bright she is and how much they learn in JK) and celebrate her accomplishment. I can see this turning into a Spa Day once she graduates High School.

I'm being silly right?

I'm psyching myself up. I can do it. I'm being silly and lazy. It makes more sense than driving and the endless quest for an affordable parking spot. It's good exercise. So why the hell don't I do it?

I'm talking about biking. I have to go to a local hospital three times a week for some therapy (nothing huge, I have psoriasis and need ultra-violet light therapy to keep it under control). I'm only there for about 5 minutes (seriously) though with travel time it takes about an hour. The whole thing is a pain in the ass, but if I want to wear shorts or a swim suit this summer than I need to go. The easiest way to get there would be to ride my bike. I figure it would take about the same amount of time as the subway, and only slightly more than driving, but I can't get off my ass and do this.

Why? Well, Toronto is a big busy city and I admit I'm a bit scared of riding my bike on the busy city streets. I see scores of people doing it, but I haven't riden in this city for six years. Since I was pregnant with Emma in fact--I figure that as a mom I fear getting smooshed. I didn't ride when I was home with the babes because it wasn't practical. Last year I bought a new helmet and planned to start riding to school. It never happened. This year I have the perfect opportunity and I'm still wavering. The exercise would be good. I'd be doing my part for the environment. I still want to drive.

Footnote: I did it!!!!! I sucked it up, lugged the bike up the stairs and went. I rode through some back streets, across Danforth, along the bike lane over the Bloor Viaduct to Sherbourne, down Sherbourne to Wellesley, through the gay village to Bay, to Grosvenor and voila I was there, treated and home in 50 minutes!!!!! That's faster than driving. I'm elated. It wasn't too scary thanks to the designated bike lanes, so I'll probably do it again. Hooray for me. My ass is really going to hurt tomorrow.



So Twilleys wrote me back yesterday with an apologetic email. They have not encountered a problem before so they are investigating and hope to get back to me in a few days. Here's hoping they do. I could finish Danielle this week if I got the instructions right. So far their customer service is bang on. It's funny how I keep thinking it still might be something I did (ie not reading the pattern correctly). I don't seem to be confident enough to say, "there is a mistake in the pattern and I've done nothing wrong here". Weird, because I know there's a problem with the pattern. I've done the math, checked my work, seen the mismatched pieces. I'm right dammit!

While I'm waiting I decided to finish my luxury socks. I really like these. And I love the Lucy Neatby book, Cool Socks Warm Feet for the great new garter stitch heel and fancy bind off. I might not cast on another pair of socks right away (I think Devan will be my sock-ish project for now), but when I do, I'll be trying some other techniques in her book.

In thesis news, I heard from one of my committee members who said she really liked my thesis. I have a lot of respect for this woman, so I was a happy grad student today. I have a committee meeting this Thursday and unless I've totally misread the situation, we should be setting a date for the oral exam (defense) in September. I'm almost finished. I can't believe it. I might have to celebrate the defense date setting with a trip to Romni.

Twilleys, we have a problem

uh_ohCan you see it? The top of the back is longer than the top of the front (I still have to put the eyelets on the side, but it's still one pattern repeat short). I followed the pattern as written, but I didn't notice right away because it has a unique construction and wasn't obvious at the outset. The piece is knit from the center out. So you do the back top first and knit to back, then you pick up from the cast on edge and knit down for the diamonds. The front is the same except that you start with three stitches and build each cup (for lack of a better word) before casting on stitches for the sides. So I didn't know there was a problem until I finished the upper front.

There is an error in the pattern somewhere. I know the two places where the error could be, but which one exactly depends on the intentions of the designer. For the three largest sizes you increase 4 times for the front and 5 times for the back--that's why it's longer. So which one is right? It's a British pattern so it assumes a great deal of knowledge on the part of the knitter and there are no schematics. I wrote to Twilleys since I can't find any errata on the web and hopefully they'll help me out. If not, I think I will rip back the back and leave out one of the pattern repeats. It also means I have to rip out the bottom of the back and lengthen it. I just want to make sure that the cami is big enough and covers me in all the right places.

Time vacuum

You ever have one of those days? You know the ones where you don't having anything specific you need to do, and somehow you waste a whole day? I finished my thesis revisions Thursday and figured I'd have a lazy Friday and get some knitting done. By the time I went to get the kids I had knit about 5 rows, folded a bit of laundry and well, that was about it.

Where the hell did the day go? Hmm. A bit of shopping, some surfing, I rented some movies, ate lunch, tracked down some car parts (car is now better--Craig fixed it--hooray). And...and, that's it. It's a good thing I have really productive days to make up for this one!

The evening was better. We watched Matrix Revolutions (which was so-so) and I worked on the top front of Danielle. My camera battery is dead so I'll have pictures next post.

Colour Blind?

devanSo, here's one of the front panels of Devan. It seems I'm not too good at matching colours though. The swatch on the right is the colour of the hem, buttonbands and the back, and it does not match the green in the main colour at all. It works when you hold the balls together, but when it's knit up you can see the solid is really lime and the sock stripe is much more minty.

Does it matter? I'm not sure. I think the lime jazzes it up because the stripes aren't as bright as I'd hoped. And I love the lime (green seems to be my summer colour). So I'm jumping in an going with it. The baby certainly won't say anything about it.

Once I finished this piece I jumped back into Danielle. The construction of the front is really neat. I like a pattern where I have to think a bit. Though I like it better when I actually read the instructions. I missed a line and had to rip back to the beginning, but now that I understand it all, it's a breeze.

The car (1995 Sunfire for the curious) is still dead. We're trying to avoid putting a lot of money into it by fixing it ourselves, but after talking to my Uncle the mechanic I think we'll have to take it in. If it ran, I would get him to fix it (nothing like having a mechanic you can trust) but since he's a 45 minute drive away it's not worth towing to his garage. The good news is I've had to walk everywhere so I'm getting lots of exercise. It's making me realize how much I was depending on my car to get around in my own urban, pedestrian friendly neighbourhood. Maybe I'll change my behaviour a bit after this. Maybe.

And the thesis is still there. I'm meeting with my committee next Thursday. I still haven't heard back from my two committee members who are reading my thesis so I can't say what comes next. If they like it (and I need only minor revisions) we could be setting a defense date. If there are problems then I guess we make a plan and move on from there. Neither member has read it before so I have no idea what they will think. Of course, I'm rather pleased with it so I'm not too worried. (But I'm still a little worried). I am hoping to get their comments before the weekend because I'm checking my email 50 times a day and the suspense is killing me.

Now I have to go and write a final paragraph to finish the thesis (I guess I sort just ended it and my advisor wants a better conclusion). This is unbelievably hard. I just want to say: "Well, that's it then", but I have to be far more erudite than that I guess.


danielle_2This is the completed back of Danielle and it's really nice. Now the big decision, start Devan, or the front of Danielle. I think I'll do both. Devan is a better travelling project so I want that on the needles. But, I want to have Danielle finished by next Friday (25th) so I need to get going.

No word on the car. Craig worked late last night and by the time he got home it was raining so he couldn't take a look at it. He might be able to fix it, or at least try. If not, I think we'll get an estimate because a repair is still cheaper than a new car. It already needs a head gasket (ie $800) but we're ignoring it because it's a really slow leak, and not worth repairing. I think I should ramp up my job search. The washer is better though, and according to the repair guy, should be felting my bags and cleaning my clothes for many more years.

I'm also on the hunt for a nifty summer bag. I want it to be medium sized and fun and funky. I don't know exactly what it looks like, but I'll know it when I see it. Anyone care to point me to some reasonably priced sources?