Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I am later posting this than I had intended.

Try as I might, I can not successfully photograph this sweater by myself, in any light, or with help, since almost everyone I wouldn't feel strange asking to photograph me wearing a sweater, to show off the sweater and specifically the sweater, is currently in Montana.  Or white-water-rafting in BC.

So after three weeks of attempts, I resign myself to posting this one.  Just this one.

The front is straight and without much detail.  It's the back that really made me happy (and also makes me feel a little like Thandie Newton in The Chronicles of Riddick...)  What you can't see in the photo is that it's actually quite a dark brown, bordering on black, that the single ply wool, though gorgeous, will probably pill like the dickens, and that I screwed up the pattern.  I misread the chart and did the small cable repeats on every eighth row instead of every fourth.  I realized my mistake as I started the first sleeve.  Sleeves and pockets have the correct cable repeat...  I should've known it was knitting up too fast but I decided that 9mm needles will have that effect.  Very cosy.  And very simple to do, provided that you are literate, or at least paying attention.  I'm satisfied with the result

Vogue Knitting, Early Fall.  Twilleys' Freedom.  Notes:  I used way more yardage than the pattern called for even though I knit to gauge on the specified needles.  Then, since I had cleaned the yard shop out of Twilleys when I originally purchased the yarn, I had to wait several weeks while my favourite knitting shop tracked some more down for me. (Thank you, Charlene!)  One more thing you can't see:  the slightest colour variance on one and a half sleeves, two pockets.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes.  It was a happy birthday Monday for me!  I inhaled an angelfood cake.  No fork.  True story.  :-)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

From Awful to Aaahhhh!-ful

I am in Edmonton and have discovered the perils of online hotel bookings.

At first, I drove up and found out that the difference between a good part of town and a dodgy one is less than a block.  Then I had that sinking feeling as I parked in the check-in zone and walked in.  It was dark and grotty.  It was dirty.  It smelled. The carpet was buckled.  There was a large tank of green water with what I can only assume were fish behind the algae.  The front desk staff, two of them, were both arguing with customers, one of which was an unattended child left to his own devices for the day.  In my writer's imagination, I'm sure I heard the crackle-snap of a dying fluorescent tube and a malcontented fly.  This picture illustrates the general impression it made on me, though the picture is far more cheerful:

I became uneasy.  My room wasn't ready yet so I left my bag at the desk and went to get the school clothes I was supposed to buy with some birthday money I got (Are you ever too old for birthday money? Thanks, Mum!).  I traipsed through stores I usually have success in but couldn't focus enough to really invest in much.  It was crowded, most of the salespeople gave the impression of being annoyed and almost everything I liked was over-budget or not available in my size.  And I kept thinking about that place...  And I knew I couldn't stay there.

Then the wheel spun back up and when I collected my bag from the [chain hotel to remain unnamed unless you're travelling to Edmonton, in which case, email me], the evening shift front desk clerk was very understanding and didn't charge me any sort of cancellation fee.  I think he sensed I might cry if he said I had to stay there, in Stabby Town.  (Yay for Gary!)

Needing to stick relatively close to downtown, I wandered a little over the river and found the Metterra on Whyte Ave.  Whyte is the loveliest artsy indie strip in Edmonton and if I hadn't been a half-hour drive from it when I lived in Edmonton, I would've had a much different relationship with the city.  The staff has been wonderful, the lobby is gorgeous, they have lovely little perks, I can walk to all the cool shops, restaurants, and my favourite little grocery store in the city.
At the end of a long corridor, I entered this beautiful and tranquil space.

The windows run the length of the room, the brightest and airiest hotel room I've ever had the pleasure of staying in.

There's even enough space to do yoga if I wanted to.  That is, if I weren't wearing the bathrobe and lounging on the comfy bed with tiramisu from the restaurant I had supper, oh so happy that I booked a grotty little room somewhere else.

This is the view:

The haze in the air is the forest-fires burning in British Columbia, not smog.  The smoke hit Saskatchewan two days ago...

And the powder room.

Because I know you wanted to know.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Birth of the Life - 100

I disappeared for a while, lost amid the transitions.  I was hijacked, distracted, and more than a little intimidated by the idea of a hundredth post.   For 100,  I had no desire to write about the latest sweater (though I will), about gutting my closet like the victim of a Roman campaign, a fabulous little meal from a borrowed kitchen and the hands of student chefs (though I will), or relate another anecdote from my button story (but it's coming).  Nothing seemed right to me.  It's a milestone, albeit a somewhat arbitrary one, and I felt the need to mark it.  And after running into an extraordinary teacher today in one of my favourite art gallery/cafes, I had the moment where I figured it out.

There was a sessional lecturer in the Department of Drama that used to teach a theory on breaking down plays, scenes and monologues.  To absorb a piece, it needs to be broken into manageable chunks.  The Birth, The Life, and The Death.  Easily identifiable but still too large.  So you take it further and each chunk has its own Birth, Life, and Death.  The Birth of the Birth, The Life of the Death, and so on.

I'd been in a funk and now I find myself in a swirl of creation and transition, and running break-neck trying to catch up.
I am winding down at the best job I've ever had and winding up to a period of intensity and learning.
I am two weeks from 32.
I am 6 days from the first anniversary of CitricSugar.
I am 4 and a half months from becoming an aunt (and the word from the ultrasound today is Nephew!)
I am no longer who I was _____ (then, before, ago, earlier, once, yesterday).
I am a woman with curlers in her hair.

I am passing out of the Death of the Birth and into The Birth of the Life.

My life.  And I can't wait to get to it.  I had focussed too much on what was already behind me.  The conversation I'd had at the cafe sparked ideas in my brain and sitting in my car after on-campus errands, it struck me.  Time to redirect my attention and ABSORB.  Embrace the metamorphosis!  (Not to imply that I plan on waking up as a beetle tomorrow....  Kafka, anyone? No?)  This is a transformative time and like a photo taken in a mirror, it's tough to get the right perspective.  But it's possibilities that excite me.

I always become a little introspective and often maudlin around my birthday.  As odd as it is to say, one must always remember the future.

You never put curlers in your hair for the present.  :-)

Thank you for joining me for 100 posts of CitricSugar.  Soon, one hundred and one...
Much love, Carly

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ex Libris

It's a long weekend here and I've been whacking away at my to-do list like machete-wielding action hero traipsing through the jungle.  I've also had to battle giant tropical wolf-spiders.  Okay, not so tropical but lightning-fast and definitely unwelcome in my bedroom!
On the list:  Get books under control.
Because I am a nerd and I am accumulating tomes, textbooks, and tutelage at an alarming rate, I decided I needed to start putting my name in things.  I might fail to recognize one of the new books as my own until I've ravaged it cover to cover or it might be swiped by someone less diligent about getting to the bookstore before they are sold out.  And I'm a lender.  I lend things.  Then I forget to get them back.  Also, my inner five-year-old likes putting her name on stuff.
However, I didn't want them to be overly fancy, with trees or etchings, or too young, with balloons or giraffes.  A simply pretentious Latin phrase would do for me.  But I couldn't find ones I liked.  So I made some.  Sixteen to a standard sheet of pretty paper - you can't really tell from the photo, but it has flecks in it.  I took time to find the right paper - I could've used a self-adhesive sheet but I hate how the glue eventually discolours the paper and fuzzes out the inks.  Also, expensive.  Also, without nostalgia of "lick'em, stick'em" bookplates of my childhood.  They apparently don't sell "lick'em, stick'em" in my neck of the woods.  I looked.  Twice.
Two glues were tried - wrinkle-free glue stick and quick-drying, photo-safe glue from the scrapbooking aisle.  I have to say that I liked the liquid much better and it seems to have much better hold.
If you would like your own Pretentious Latin Not-Fancy BookPlates, I made you some too.  And you can use the sticker sheets if you want to.  I won't judge.

Too much.

Pretentious Latin Not-Fancy BookPlates. Click for download.  (Via Scribd.  Because I'm a book-nerd and less a computer-nerd so that's the only way I know how to do it. :-)

And you know the nerd labeled this one....
I also went all kinds of Goodwrench/Martha Stewart/Mr Clean on my car on Saturday.  It was sweet.