Thursday, December 27, 2007

15 minutes

I suspect that's all the time I'll have to post today, since I've got both kids at home and Phil is working. Actually, it's not too bad. Whenever I'm about to lose it, I remember that in a few months I'll be back at work and complaining that I never get to spend any time with the kids. Still, it'd be nice to have a couple of minutes to myself. Grumble, grumble.

So, how was everyone's Christmas? Santa did indeed make a stop here at chez Dear, bringing toys and goodies for everyone. Phil finally managed to get his hands on a Wii 2 days before Christmas, so I packed up the kids and headed out to Best Buy for some frantic last minute gift buying (a second remote, a battery charger and Big Brain Academy). He also got loads of stuff from my folks. For myself, I got pajamas (I'd mentioned I needed some nicer sleeping duds), a lovely book on mythology, a beautiful Tahitian pearl necklace and, of course, a few yarn gift certificates, among other things. The kids were spoiled as usual, but I think that the big success here was one of those horses on broomsticks? My daughter is really into cowboys and horses lately, and she's been running up a frenzy ever since she got her "Mustang" on Christmas Eve. Good times. I'd post pictures, but unfortunately, I left my camera at my mother-in-law's house and haven't gotten around to picking it up yet. Whoopsee!

As far as the choir duties go, Sunday was our last concert of the season, and I really think we put on a great show. And we even made it on the news! CTV news closed its program on Sunday night with about 10 seconds of our singing, and wouldn't you know it? Not only do you get a glimpse of yours truly, you hear me specifically, as well! I'm on the far left, about 15 seconds into the video (wearing glasses). And the voice you hear right at the end? That'd be me. Tee-Hee!!!

I didn't manage to finish all my knitted gifts in time, unfortunately. Well, actually I did, but I've only just cast on the final gift (for a person with whom I'll be exchanging gifts in a few days), and won't be done in time. I'd give more details, but the intended recipient is a reader, so check out all new project info on Ravelry (I'm Dearknits).

All in all, I had a lovely Christmas, and am now living in fear of the giant bill that will surely be arriving any day now :) I'll be postponing any end-of-year yarn buying until I know exactly where I stand financially. It's not as though I was about to run out!!! Trouble is, I haven't run out of stuff I want to buy, either ;)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Still Here

Just a quick post to let everyone know that I am indeed still here, and that I haven't forgotten you. I'm sure you understand how crazy this time of year can be, with the kids and the gifts and the, you know, life. It seems as though I've been preparing for Christmas for a month, and I'm still barely going to make it by the skin of my teeth.

Merry Christmas to all. I'll post on Wednesday, and gods willing, will be back to my regular blogging shortly thereafter. In the meantime, take care of yourselves, drive safely, visit friends and family, eat, drink, knit and be merry. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

34 Rows

34 rows are all that separate me from finally completing Michel's boyfriend socks. That and about eleventy-billion errands I have to run today. I'm determined to finish all shopping today, since I'd rather insert red-hot pokers in my eyes than have to brave the mall on the last weekend before Christmas. After that, I'm casting on yet another Amanda Hat for my sister-in-law, then a gift for my cousin Jessica. Then probably something for my wonderful husband, Phil, who was quite saddened when I told him he wouldn't be getting any woolly love this year (exactly WHEN am I supposed to get any sneaky knitting done???).

Oh, and there's also the wrapping, the baking, the cleaning, the choir stuff and the family visits. Sign me up for a nice, refreshing coma in January, m'kay?

I had another concert last night, and I totally NAILED my solo! It was awesome, I actually burst out laughing at the end because I was so happy with my performance. I RULE!!! :) All jokes aside, I was really happy with my last performance. On to the big show on Sunday!

In celebration of my artistic genius, my cousin Jessica brought me an early Christmas gift on Tuesday. I had recently come across a master tape of a Downy commercial I did in March of 1982 (I was 5), but it was in some kind of mystery format. Enter Jessica, uber-techno-wiz extraordinaire (who's also in the film industry, you can check out her stuff here), who knew just what to do, and Presto! My commercial, which I haven't seen since about, oh, 1982?? Here it is (I'm the little girl at the beginning and the end - Tee Hee!!):

Pretty cool, eh? Talk about a blast from the past!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Putting the Pro in Procrastinator

I don't quite understand how it's possible to be so behind on my To-Do list a mere 7 days until Christmas when I've been so busy. Sure, there may have been lots of what probably seemed like sitting around to the casual observer, but I've been pretty busy nonetheless. Can I help it if I can't multi-task while working on the Christmas knitting?

For instance, yesterday I was thinking about all the stuff I wanted to get done during Maxime's nap, after blogging of course, and the list was so ridiculously long he would have had to sleep for about 7 hours for me to get it all done. Hence the lack of my regularly scheduled post.

Friday I finally kicked myself in the behind and braved the malls for a day of shopping. Despite my best intentions, I didn't in fact get everything on Santa's list, but I'm pretty happy with what I DID manage to accomplish. Saturday I did the groceries with my daughter, and can I just say right now that I'm never, EVER doing that again??? At least not on a Saturday mid-morning in December. I have never seen so many people in an IGA in my entire life, which was stressful in and of itself, but when you factor in that Émilie was driving her little "shopper in training" cart like freakin' Dale Earnhardt Jr., I was completely knackered when I got home. Oh, and I had a concert in St-Jerome that evening (which went well, thanks for asking :)). Understandably, Sunday I was bushed, beat, and bamboozled. Much of the day was spent indoors, especially since both Émilie and Maxime are battling colds at the moment.

You'd think that with all that's been going on, I wouldn't have had much knitting time, right? Well, you are correct, but that didn't stop me from getting the Amanda Hat on and off the needles in record-breaking time! I looooved this project so much, I can't even tell you. Quick, easy, pretty, wonderful. And it only takes up half a skein of Malabrigo! So I can make another one! How's that for thriftiness.

This afternoon I'm picking up my cousin Jessica, and we're heading out to do yet more Christmas shopping. Hopefully I'll get everything bought (if not wrapped) and I can check the "finish buying gifts" item off my list.

In closing, I'd like to thank everyone who's inquired about my Dad's condition. I'm glad to report that he's now home and resting somewhat comfortably. Although the doctors were never able to determine what actually caused his condition, the bleeding has stopped and now it's just a question of letting time do its work. Thanks to everyone who sent the good vibes his way, I really appreciate it.

Friday, December 14, 2007


I've had a really, really busy week and it's starting to take its toll. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings I was out with choir-related activities (practice, meeting with City over funding, concert), and I think both the kids and my loving husband, Phil, are starting to feel my absence. Last night when I left the house at 6, all three of them were cranky (to be fair, both Phil and Émilie are sick) but when I got home (late), everyone was asleep, tucked safely in their beds. This morning, when asked how it went, Phil looked at me and deadpanned "It was the worst night of my life". OK! Guess what, I've got another concert (this time in St-Jerome) on Saturday! No, no, I don't feel guilty, why do you ask?

All kidding aside, last night's concert went fairly well, I think. We had some difficulty with our director's compositions, but all in all, for our first concert of the season, I'd say it went OK. As for my solo performance, there were some microphone issues at the beginning of the piece, which made for a wobbly start, but I managed to get through it without being booed off the stage or dodging rotting fruit, so I'm good. Was it my best performance? No. Can I do better? Most definitely. I'll keep working at it.

Needless to say, the Holiday knitting has been painfully slow. As has been pretty much everything Holiday related. I didn't get as much done during my Wednesday shopping excursion as I would have liked (in all fairness, the run was for my Mom, not myself). I DID pick up some Malabrigo (love that yarn) at Effiloché, however, which I'll be using to make the Amanda Hat for my daycare lady. I wanted to cast-on immediately (setting aside the boyfriend socks), because the deadline for this gift is actually next Friday (Aaaack!), but I didn't have the needles I needed to make gauge (I can just picture my husband right now, shaking his head in disbelief that I didn't have enough needles). Luckily, Robyn's got my back, and will be including a pair of 6.5 mm dpns with mine and Kate-the-Enabler's December sock kits (which I'll be picking up later today).

So yeah. I think it's safe to say that I'm totally NOT on top of things lately (groceries? Bwahahahaha!!!). The worst of it is that all I really need to get back on track is one afternoon of serious shopping, and I could be done. I just can't for the life of me scrounge up an ounce of motivation today. I'm totally, 100% beat. I just feel like loitering around the house today, much like the yarn (from recent splurges) that's been lying around the house lately. More on that next post. Never fear, I won't shirk my responsibilities entirely. I'll be doing laundry, as well. :)

I'll wrap up this post with a picture of my little Maxime, who's 7 months old today. I can't believe it! I was trying to get a shot of his "Pinball Wizard" shirt (custom made by a gamer friend of Phil's) yesterday, and he kept giggling every time I pulled on his shirt. It was adorable!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Just a quick post today, I'm afraid. I'm off to do some frantic Christmas shopping this afternoon, and tonight I've got a choir-related activity with the City, so I'm going to try to get a few rows done on my mom's husband's socks while Maxime sleeps this morning.

Yesterday Robyn, Jenn and Kate-the-Enabler (along with wee Liam) came over for our monthly Mommies Who Knit meeting, and although little or no knitting was actually done (hard to do with four boys under age 1 running around), fun was had by all (I hope). However, it IS hectic having all those babies around, so of course, no pictures were actually taken. Sorry! I know I promised to post a picture of Liam, but it totally slipped my mind with all the babies and toys and stuff yesterday.

In honour of my special guests, I made a Zucchini chocolate cake and Kate brought some homemade cranberry muffins. Of course, my cake was so rich that no one could even fathom of eating anything after that, so now I'm feeling vaguely guilty about having 8 muffins in my kitchen. Perhaps I should have packed them up and given them back to her? Trouble is, now there are only 7 (they go particularly well with the morning tea, so they do). :)

I'm off to L.L. Lozeau with my mom this afternoon. Michel (her husband) is a photography nut, so we always make an annual pilgrimage there around this time of year. And wouldn't you know it? Effiloché is right across the street! Before you get in a huff, sweetheart, I know I promised not to buy more yarn until the end of the year. But this is for Isabelle's (our babysitter) Christmas gift, and thus falls under the category of special circumstances. One skein only. I promise. :)

Monday, December 10, 2007


And ready to hit the ground running! There are only 15 days left 'till Christmas, and I've still got quite a bit of knitting to go. When one considers that the next two weeks will be busy with choir related activities, it's a good thing I'm rested up and ready to tackle anything!

Why am I so perky, you may be wondering? Well, Saturday Phil and I had our first ever romantic (aka "remember me?") weekend getaway since we've been parents, despite the fact that our priest made us promise to take at least two weekends per annum for ourselves on our wedding day. I guess it technically doesn't really count as a weekend per say, since we were only gone one night, but it did us a world of good nonetheless.

We didn't cheap out either! We booked a honeymoon package at the Château Vaudreuil, a beautiful hotel on the Lac des Deux Montagnes that my father and his wife Margot rave about (they actually gave us gift certificates to the hotel as a Christmas gift last year). Definitely, DEFINITELY need to do that more often. In fact, I'm seriously considering catching up on our missed weekend getaways in one fell swoop by booking a cruise in 2009, in honor of our fifteenth anniversary (yup, we've been together since I was seventeen). The kids stayed with my parents and had a great time. Naturally they slept later than they ever sleep at home (even Maxime woke up past 7). I think it's written in their DNA to be on their best behaviour when their parents aren't around.

Now, I don't have pictures of the room to show you (didn't think to take one until the bed was, um, disheveled ;)). But when we arrived, we were suitably impressed, with the king size bed as well as the king size jacuzzi. Phil promptly decided to run us a bath, and about an hour later, we were ready to hop in (no pressure, big tub), with sparkling wine for myself and Pellegrino for Phil in hand.

... (you can fill in the blanks yourself) ...

We then get all dolled up and ready to head downstairs for dinner (the hotel restaurant is actually fantastic). I'd been shopping earlier in the week, and was very excited to look and feel like a woman (as opposed to a mom). I started rooting around the bag for my heels when I realized they're nowhere to be found. I had asked Phil to pack them for me, and he totally forgot. Now, in all fairness, we were trying to pack everyone up at once, and if you don't have small children (and babies in particular), you really can't conceive of exactly how much stuff you need to pack for even just one night. Sure, there's the stuff you'd expect to find: food, bottles, jammies, backup jammies, clothes, toys, books, diapers. But remember, Maxime doesn't sit on his own yet (well, he does, but only for about 7 seconds), so you need to pack the chair, the portable high chair, the bath for Pete's sake! Oy Vey!

Anyway, he forgot. He DID remember to bring these though:

I'd asked him to pack some rubber shoes in case we wanted to use the swimming pool (we didn't). I remember thinking when I bought the outfit that I should wear it with a coloured shoe (navy blue, or possibly teal) to bring out the colour in the blouse. This wasn't quite what I had in mind. Oh yeah, baby, once, twice, three times a lady.

After stifling a few snickers, Phil managed to keep a straight face long enough to tell me that it'd be fine, no one would notice my shoes (did he not notice that these are bright, neon green Crocs????). Heck, I wasn't gonna put my big boots on, right? So, I pose for the pictures and we set off for downstairs. Naturally (naturally) upon arriving in the lobby we discover it to be filled with glitzy, fashionable people, all of whom are wearing shoes that go with their outfits. It's a Christmas party! Yay! Oh my humiliation as I walk through the masses to get to the restaurant, and stand patiently for all to see while the Maitre 'D explains the table d'hôte to us. (Come on, buddy! Get me to my table STAT!). Crazy, crazy, crazy.

Aside from that little, um, snag, it was a lovely evening and a lovely time. I knew I liked that guy! Not much knitting got done though (when I casually asked if I could bring my knitting, I got such a glare that I laughed it off and mumbled something about just kidding around). I'll report my progress next post.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Knitting and shameless self-promotion

I'm really starting to feel the pressure of the impending Christmas deadline. I still have 2 (or 3) projects to complete (and, you know, cast on - Ooopsee!), and while that may seem like small potatoes to most of you, it seems like a lot to me (I'm lucky if I can get six rows done during the day, despite the fact that I'm currently a stay-at-home mom). It's amazing to me how you can spend most of your waking (and sleeping, for that matter) hours thinking about something, yet get to actually DO it so little. I guess now I know how men must feel about sex. ;)

I've almost completed my first boyfriend sock (get the pattern free here). I usually display socks in progress on my nifty blockers, but this pattern really needs to be shown on the foot for it to be seen in all its glory. I started the 1x1 ribbing last night, but now I'm thinking I'm going to tink back (I only got 2 rows done) and go ahead and finish the pattern repeat (another 18 rows) before beginning the cuff. I've got more than enough yarn, and the pattern will just look more complete (at least, to my eyes). I think it's safe to say that completing the second sock by Sunday night would be a pipe dream at this point, but I'd really like to get one gift done a week, which does put the pressure on quite a bit.

And now, on to the shameless self-promotion. I've mentioned previously that I sing in a choir, the Ensemble Vocal Universalis. We've got a few concerts coming up, notably at the chapel of the Soeurs Missionnaires de L'Immaculée-Conception here next Thursday, December 13th, at 7:30 PM, and at the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours chapel here on Sunday, December 23rd, at 1:30 and 3:00 PM. Both concerts are free, and should be a lot of fun. Thursday's concert will feature a solo performance by yours truly (I'll be singing Schubert's Ave Maria), but on the downside, it'll be our first performance of the season. You may want to wait for the December 23rd concerts, by which point we should be like a well oiled machine (but no solo performance from this diva). So come on out and say Hey! It'd be neat to see a few knitters in the audience.

Finally, an update on my father's condition. First off, thanks so much for the kind wishes and prayers, especially from those of you who delurked to send them to me (Hi Draftnik!). It really meant a lot to me, and I know he'll benefit from all those good vibes. So thanks! His surgery didn't go very well, I'm afraid. They removed another 2 litres (!!!) of blood from his pleural cavity during the surgery (apparently, they knew there was still some blood there, but were surprised at how much there actually was), and despite their best efforts, the surgeons weren't able to determine where the bleeding was coming from. So as of yesterday afternoon, he's "under observation" while they figure out what to do next. Again, all your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated. Keep them coming!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


I mentioned a few posts ago that my Dad was in the hospital (thanks to everyone who sent me their well wishes, either through the comments or in person. I really appreciate it). It turns out he is suffering from a hemothorax, a condition where blood seeps into the pleural cavity and compresses the lungs. Anyway, he's doing much better now, but will still need to have surgery (he's scheduled for 12:30 today), because they still have to drain some fluid from around his lungs, and they don't yet know what actually caused the bleeding in the first place, so they want to check that out as well before giving him a clean bill of health. I tell ya, my Dad has had a rough time in the past couple of years.

What does this have to do with the title of today's post, you may be asking? Well, I'll tell you. It turns out that my dad's wife, Margot, had sent my blog to a bunch of her friends and relatives, and that her brother (Hi John!!!) actually found out about my dad being in the hospital from reading this blog. Who knew??? That just cracks me up, seriously. So a big Hidey-Ho to all you lurkers out there. I'm thrilled you're reading my blog, and I hope you enjoy it. It's a public service, and I'm happy to do it. :)

We've been buried in snow over the past two days, here at chez Dear. I've been nagging Phil to get a contract with a snow removal guy, and he's always dismissed this, arguing that we don't have lots of snow, and it's good exercise. Ha! Bet he's not so Gung-Ho now, eh? Actually, the only thing that really worries me is that there will be a giant snowfall like the one we just had, and he'll be out of town on business. Maybe I could put up a sign "Will Trade Handknits for Snow Removal"?.

I've made some good progress on my mom's husband's socks. I've turned the heel and am now in the home stretch of the cuff. Two issues are coming to mind as I think about these socks. First, how weird it feels to go from sweating through every stitch, wondering if I'll have enough yarn to finish (remember the gorfing?), to wondering if this cake will ever get any smaller. I swear, these are going to be hose, not socks. :) Secondly, even though Michel (that'd be the intended recipient) has size 10 feet, I decided to make a size medium, which is written as a 9 and a half inch circumference, as I like socks to have a little negative yield for a snug fit. However, the circumference is based on stockinette (76 stitches at 8 stitches to the inch = 9 and a half inches, you follow?). I DID do a gauge swatch, and my gauge is spot on, so I figured a medium would be perfect. Unfortunately, I neglected to realize that the pattern in based on a 2x2 rib. Aaack! I got Phil to try them on last night (if they fit him, they'll fit Michel), and even though I thought he had difficulty getting them past his heel, he swears they fit great. So I'm just going to keep at it and hope for the best. I'll definitely block these babies before I wrap them up, just in case!

Have a great day, everyone!

Monday, December 3, 2007

White Squall

We're being hit with a major snowstorm here in the greater Montreal area, and that, combined with the fact that we put up our decorations yesterday (this is only a small sample), can only mean one thing: Christmas is indeed coming, and I'd better get a move on or else.

I've made good progress on the Boyfriend Socks I'm knitting for my Mom's husband. I love toe-up socks. This was my first time using the figure-eight cast-on, and I'm not crazy about it. I think if I were to do it again, I'd use the magic cast-on instead. I realize they're quite similar, but the magic cast-on doesn't leave such loose stitches in the middle of the toe that you then have to tighten up manually. I'm absolutely loving the Smooshy sock yarn (I'm making a note to myself to add some to my Christmas wish list), and the colourway (Dusky Aurora) is fabulous. All in all, I'm happy.

As you can see from this picture, I got my nails done this weekend. Back in June, my husband Phil got me a gift certificate to a local nail salon because he'd heard me musing (OK, it was more like grousing) about the fact that I missed having nice nails. I used to have them done regularly, but when we bought the house, I just couldn't rationalize the expense of having them redone every three weeks.

Anyway! I finally got my act together and made an appointment for Sunday morning. The place is incredible (I'm SO going for a pedicure before Christmas!), and despite some initial problems communicating what I actually wanted, I left happy. But here's the thing. When I sat down there was a man at the station to my right, getting a manicure. Now, I have no problem with this. In fact, I used to give Phil regular manicures (before it became an obligation to which I preferred jumping headfirst into a pool filled with my own vomit, but I digress). Granted, this wasn't the type of guy that you'd look at and automatically think: Metrosexual. He was this teeny, Rocky-wannabe man, with the bike chain necklace and bracelet and pinkie ring (OK, maybe that IS a metrosexual, and I'm out of the loop). Anyway, to each his own, right? Well, you know how these places always play the obligatory soft-rock/muzak to placate the customers? I wasn't really paying attention, when it dawns on me that the guy is humming along, quite contentedly, to every tune. Seriously, when he started mumbling the words to Enrique Iglesias' "Hero", I almost choked on my coffee. Too funny.

Have a great day everyone, and if you're currently being buried under 2 feet of snow like we are, just take the hint: Mother Nature wants you to get some Holiday knitting done. :)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

No Longer Friday

I really and truly meant to post yesterday, but I had an appointment that came in out of nowhere on Friday afternoon that I absolutely could not miss, and an already busy day turned into a crazy-ass, hectic one. Seriously, this is what I did yesterday:
  • Woke up at 6:15 AM. Fed Maxime and got Emilie ready for daycare. Got started on laundry.
  • Put Maxime down at 8:50 for his morning nap.
  • Dash into shower.
  • Make 3 chicken pot pies ('cause I wouldn't have time to make them that afternoon). I was counting on the little one to sleep until his usual 11 o'clock to get this one done. Naturally, he woke up at 10. Little Angel.
  • Alternate between tending to a screaming Maxime and finishing the freakin' pies. Get them in the oven and give Maxime his lunch at 11.
  • Have my lunch (read: scarf down bowl of pasta in record-breaking time).
  • Head to the mall to pick up something I forgot on my trip the day before.
  • Head to the hospital for Maxime's physiotherapy appointment (he has torticollis).
  • Rush home, try to put Maxime to bed while I get changed.
  • Wait for Phil to get home at 2:30 and run out for my appointment.
  • Get out of meeting at 4, swing by daycare and pick up Emilie.
  • Get home. Find out that my Dad's been hospitalized and is in the ICU (apparently he ruptured something in his chest a week ago and has been bleeding internally ever since. After removing 1.4 liters (why yes, that would be 25% of the body's supply of blood!) from around his lungs, it appears that he's going to be OK, although he may need surgery if the bleeding doesn't stop on its own.
  • Have dinner (chicken pot pie!), put the kids to bed.
  • Collapse in a heap of exhaustion.
Seriously, sorry about the bulleted list presentation, but that was the most efficient way to get through all that was going on yesterday. This morning has been equally busy (Zellers, groceries, finish up the laundry, 2 pumpkin pies with leftover pie crust), but I've now done everything I needed to get done today, so I'm good.

Oh! Kate-the-Enabler had her baby! Woo-Hoo! Apparently the threat of induction was enough to send her into labour on her own, because baby Liam was born at 2:21 AM on Thursday morning, a full 4 hours before she was to be induced. I haven't met him in person yet, but I've seen pictures, and he's adorable (seriously, with good-looking parents like that, of course he was going to be cute!). I'll post pictures when I get the OK from Mama Bear.

In knitting news, I've finished my secret Christmas project (you can check it out on Ravelry), and I've decided to move on to these socks for my Mom's husband (he's not a reader, so it's OK if I talk about it here). I'm going to use my one and only skein of Smooshy sock yarn, and I'm quite upset that I won't have any in my stash anymore after this. He'd better appreciate them! Grumble grumble. Seriously, I think the yarn and the colourway (Dusky Aurora) will fit great with this pattern. I've only knit my swatch so far, so no pictures (Monday!).

OK, I'm off to enjoy a few minutes with West Side Story and some knitting. Have a great weekend!