ready for a viral apocalypse...

judging by the amount of coughing and throat clearing happening of late, i think it is fair to say that the first viral outbreak of the season has reached our humble little home.

we are taking every known precaution to minimize the impact, lest it develops into anything even remotely resembling last Winter's near-death flu. i just made my favorite animator a cup of the most locally-sourced tea imaginable. the dried mint was from the balcony garden project, and the honey was from a new-to-us source, which is the subject of this post.

i was wondering aloud recently as to whether we had stockpiled enough honey to survive another potential outbreak of the viral apocalypse, when he said the magic words that would change my whole universe.

him: Francois [fellow animator] is a beekeeper. i think he has honey from them.
me: whoa! we know a beekeeper? why am i just hearing about this?
him: oh, i thought i mentioned this before.

then i gave him that look that i reserve for moments when he has been keeping important stuff from me.

him: want to try some of his honey?
me: uhm... is that even a question?

fast-forward a couple days later when he messages me to say that he was bringing some of the honey home. i fully expected a small glass jar that would last a couple-few weeks of herbal tea drinking. what i got instead was a small plastic pail with two kilograms (roughly four-and-a-half pounds) of the stuff.

i am fairly certain that my eyes went saucer-wide when he lifted the container out of the bag. then i clapped and squeed a few times. i may be an unapologetic curmudgeon, but i still get excited about the important things in life.

naturally, i could not wait to break the seal and remove the cover. i cannot begin to do justice to the wave of fragrance that came rushing out from under that lid. a good honey should tell you where it came from as the nectar retains the floral notes of the parent plants, and this honey smelled like laying in a field of clovers on a warm Summer's day.

me: did he specify what kind of honey it was?
him: yeh, he said it was mostly clover.

i can hear what you are thinking, and i tend to agree. it really is frighteningly disturbing when i actually know things.

not gonna lie... i wanted to dip my whole hand into the center of that bucket of happiness, then stand there licking honey off my fingers like an overexcited child. however, self-control prevailed, and i settled instead for a metal chopstick.

should anyone have looked in my window just as i was done taking this picture, they would have been deeply puzzled as to why i was standing there with my eyes closed and a big smile on my face as i repeatedly licked a metal chopstick. can you even...?

i had just gotten through my honey-tasting when a sudden shift in the light outdoors caught my attention. we have been having some intensely dramatic sunsets around here of late. trust me... that photo does not do justice to the bright orange and bubble-gum pink tones. it was sheer madness!

me: maybe there is a wildfire burning somewhere west of here.
him: or maybe it's the Apocalypse. 

so now i have to add "prepare for the Apocalypse" to my to-do list. i still need to find a local crafter of wooden stakes, in case it turns out to be a vampire outbreak, and i probably should start working on my hand-to-hand combat skills for when society devolves into a Thunderdome-esque fight for survival.

however, with my stockpile of honey, i can safely say that i am ready for a viral apocalypse. bring it on, Winter.


now we wait...

i genuinely miss the days when insomnia was an occasional occurrence, as it seems to have become my default setting of late. i spent all of last night sat up in bed, watching the steadily falling snow on the other side of the windows.

it is now shortly after sunrise—in theory, at least—and it would appear that the promised twenty centimeters (eight inches) seems to have been spot-on for a change. i felt compelled for some odd reason to grab the nearest non-scientific device and verify that measurement.

that looks roughly like twenty centimeters to me. this is me we are dealing with here, so naturally i did confirm it with an actual measuring device to be doubly sure. [that is a bamboo knitting needle, by the way.]

however, as it is still snowing as i am writing this, the final snowfall amount is likely to increase before that storm front is done wreaking havoc. and, while the heaviest part of the snowing has come and gone, and the near-gale-force winds they were promising seem to have skipped us entirely, the worst part of this storm is yet to come.

Canadians pride themselves on being able to drive through the worst Winter conditions, and that is usually the case... except for the very first storm of the season. that is when everyone seems to forget how to behave in icy road conditions. without fail, this first snowfall of the season is guaranteed to be accompanied by a sharp spike in road accidents. the local news for the next day or two will be filled with reports of multi-car pileups of the kind that leave you wondering how the drivers at the end of that chain of destruction failed to notice the twenty (or more) cars ahead of them that had already smashed into each other.

being Canadians, they tend to take these things in stride, and you find the occasional report of people pulling hockey sticks out of their trunks and having an impromptu match right there in the middle of a frozen-over highway while they wait for the emergency services to arrive. firstly, only in Canada does everyone seem to have a hockey stick within reach at all times, and secondly, only in Canada could such a nightmare of a situation be turned into something so ridiculously cute. i shudder to think what a multi-vehicle pileup of that magnitude would looks like back home in NYC, and i can almost guarantee you that anyone who pulls a baseball bat out of their trunk in that situation is definitely not looking for a quick game.

man, i miss New York!

it is now the middle of the usual morning drive time, and i am surprised at how near-silent it is out there. the weather service spent the past few days issuing dire predictions of strong winds whipping all of that fresh snow into zero visibility, whiteout conditions, but that part has thankfully not happened. however, most people seem to have heeded the suggestions to plan to stay home today unless absolutely necessary. you do not have to tell us that twice.

beyond that, we live on a small one-way street that is only a few blocks long, so we are usually one of the last streets to be plowed. no exaggeration... i have not heard a single car either being started or being driven down our street, and that will likely remain the case for the rest of the day.

i find it especially adorable that the people across the street took the time to put their recycling out for collection. i get the distinct feeling it will be sitting in that spot for a few days before the city gets around to remembering that we exist.

in light of all the dire warning over the past few days, we spent yesterday afternoon driving around Montreal, crossing things off a list as we went, and we were walking to the car to head back home from our last stop just as it finally began to snow.

while this is being billed as the first snowstorm of the season, we actually got a bit of light snow back in the middle of last week. i opened the curtains Wednesday morning (following yet another night of zero sleep i should add) to find this.

farewell, trough of delicious strawberries. it was lovely eating you.

we took that light dusting as a friendly reminder from Mother Nature, and we cleared up the last traces of this Summer's balcony garden project. the ceramic pots had already been brought indoors to prevent cracking due to freezing, so all that was left was to remove the last bits of greenery from the large planters, then stack and cover them to prevent the loss of nutrients from the soil due to melting snow... which is a joke in itself, as there will be approximately two-to-three days during the course of the next five-to-six months when it will be warm enough around here to melt snow.

now we wait for next year.


very most definitely...

[full disclosure: i do not handle stress particularly well.] so, here i am—two days deep into trying to figure out why my laptop is refusing to work properly—and i am very most definitely feeling just a tiny bit stressed. this, naturally, means that i am constantly having to remind myself that it would be very most definitely counterproductive to grab a hammer and just be done with the thing, and i have been warned that it will not be replaced if i succumb to the impulse to toss it through the nearest (closed) window.


yep. that very most definitely does not work.

so, now i am taking a break, during which i will refill my teacup and attempt to add a row or two to the cardigan i am currently working on for him.

it is being housed at present in one of the project bags i made from an old pair of his shorts. i could add a few photos of the bag-making process... but that would require me to be able to get my computer to start. and it is pictured here in front of a work-in-progress terrarium, the making of which i could (also) show in a few photos... but that would (also) require me to be able to....

yep. there goes the headache again. i am going to take a couple-few tablets and go pet a cat.


one more moondance...

i sincerely hope no one gets the wrong idea, but i have a habit of humming... a lot! this does not by any means suggest that i am some sort of happy, chipper person. that brand of nonsense was not included in my programming, so rest assured that i am still the same pessimistic curmudgeon you have come to know and (hopefully) not form any sort of emotional attachment to... because that would risk violating my "avoid emotional attachment" rule. yes... i do have some problems.

where was i again?

oh, yes... so, i find myself humming a lot. all sorts of stuff. classical music, jazz, or the soundtrack of my coming of age. the nineties really was a depressing time in which to find onesself trying to make sense of your place in the world... but i am digressing again. what i end up humming, most of all, is the older-than-me stuff they used to play 'back in the day' on Lite FM in NYC.

i had (and sill have) a deep hatred for being dragged out of sleep by a blaring alarm, so i got into the habit of setting my alarm clock radio to play the local news station for a short while before the noisy bit... but that still left me wanting to toss the thing out the window most days. however, after much trial-and-error, i eventually devised the perfect formula for being awoken so gradually, that i would not start most days in an already-foul mood.

first there would be the (very-non-jarring) sounds of Lite FM for thirty minutes. is there anything more soothing than being practically whispered awake by the likes of Cat Stevens?  that would be followed by fifteen (potentially disturbing) minutes of local news... and THEN it would alarm, by which time i was usually (mostly) awake.

this meant that i started most days with a soundtrack of music that was (mostly) older than me. now—a couple (or so) decades later—i still have all of that... stuff... buried in my subconscious, and it always seems to come tumbling out with the slightest provocation. it could be a passing phrase that someone says or some other wholly insignificant thread of a connection that my subconscious latches on to, and just like that... you can hear the proverbial record-needle drop as the song begins to play in the back of my mind. and, without realizing it, i would be humming that song on repeat, sometimes for hours at a time.

like today...

i began the morning, standing shivering out on the balcony on what promised to be a crisp, cool Autumn day here in Montreal. what prompted said action, you ask? i had just drawn open the drapes to find a bright, nearly-full moon still in full view despite the sun having risen more than an hour prior.

i grabbed my camera and stepped outside just in time to get a decent shot.

then i just stood there for a while, watching it slip away behind the treetop while i recalled the days when i wanted to be an astronaut. unfortunately, that part did not last too long, as the brisk morning chill finally got the best of me, clothed as i was in a tank top and pajama pants. so i was forced to (once again) abandon that lovely dream.

what does any of this have to do with deceptively-cheerful humming, you ask?

well, it is now the opposite end of that day, and the moon will ascend into the sky any minute now, and i find myself still  humming the older-than-me song that i have been humming all day.

"can i just have one more moondance with you, my love..."
worst part is, i think the Universe was conspiring to make sure this song got cemented in my head today. following the near-frigid photo-taking, i sat down in front of my computer with my morning cup of coffee. this is when i made the mistake of checking out the newest patterns posted on Ravelry, and there it was at the top of the 'new to Ravelry' page... a (free) pattern for intensely cute fingerless mitts called... wait for it... Sweet Moon! get out of my head, Universe!

but the best bit was yet to come...

he came home to find me sitting cross-legged on my favorite sofa in the dark with that song playing on repeat on my laptop. i had just finished putting together this post (minus this bit, obviously), and i was explaining it to him in a most excited tone that was fueled by a combination of too much coffee and too little sleep.

now, there is nothing remarkable about my having composed a new post, except that i have done so at least a few times of late, but i cannot seem to muster the enthusiasm to hit the "publish" button, a fact which i blame for the most part on my ever-increasing lack of faith in humanity... but i am tangenting again. point is... this one was done, and i fully intended to actually post it. this is when it got a bit strange.

him: i see. so you're in your 'moondance mood' again.
me: what are you talking about? what mood?
him: this one... where you listen to that song on repeat all day, and you walk around singing it and dancing and being all crazy.
me: that has never happened.
him: oh, yes it does... regularly.
me: what???
him: yeh... like once every few years. you talk about how much you love this song, and how they used to always play it on that radio station that played all the old music in Brooklyn, and you get all nostalgic and crazy.
me: that has never happened.
him: yes, it has. regularly... every few years. 

so now i guess i will be putting together a near-identical post a few years from now... not that i expect you to stick around for that long or anything, because... well... that would definitely be a violation of all my rules.


Jultember: a sequel of sorts...

i always find myself experiencing the same sequence of emotions whenever i manage to talk myself into one of these post-a-day exploits. whether it is a whole month or even just a single week, it is always the same thing.

there is usually a great deal of regret on day two, and i have to talk myself out of using that second post to cancel everything i said on the first day. something like: please ignore the post from the previous day as it was the sleep deprivation talking. [that part is usually true.]

i inevitably get sick of hearing my own "voice" about halfway through the thing, whether that is the middle of the month or like... Wednesday... in a week of posts.

then something magical happens as it draws to a close. i find myself almost lamenting that it is done, and that is where you find me today. i am sipping a large cup of coffee on a crisp, clear morning in late Jultember, and all i can think is... why did it have to end so soon?

there are at least a dozen things that i hoped to get around to during these few weeks. there was the animal park, the pants-bags, the phantom tomato, and the epic failed crafty project that ended in (literal) bloodshed to name a few. so, now i am going to have to make another list and hope that i eventually get around to talking about that stuff.

which brings me the subject i had set aside for today. this one is a sequel of sorts that should be filed under "stuff i said i would get back to... but never did".

i did a series of daily posts during July of last year, and i wrapped up that month by talking about some fiber i had dyed in an uncharacteristic fit of nostalgia after finding out that the Batman of my childhood had passed away.

it was my intent to follow that up with two more posts on the spinning of the fiber into yarn, and the knitting of said yarn into some sort of thing. problem was, i kept stalling hard when it came to the last bit. simply put... the yarn was far too precious for me to ever use it for anything.

i must have looked at about a hundred different possibilities—everything from a scarf to a pair of house slippers—and nothing seemed special enough for this yarn. so i proceeded to do what one naturally does in such a situation. i hid it away in the depths of my stash, and made a pact with myself to never mention the thing.

so, after many pep-talks—from myself, to myself—i think i am finally ready to talk about it.

i took about a million pictures while spinning this yarn, and i would be doing it a grave disservice to try to compress the experience into just a few of them—plus i really want to share the process of turning fiber into finished yarn... and my pretty pictures. so, i will do a mini-series of posts sometime in the near-future focused on that subject... and i promise i will not wait another year to get it done.