on the sixth day of Christmas...

and this is a really crappy way
to say hello to the New Year

there is a definite career as a poet in my future.

it would appear that the news of my recovery was a bit premature. worst still, he is back to having a fever, and i expect that it is only a matter of time before everyone he had contact with during the couple-few days at his family's place starts coming down with what is turning out to be the worst cold either one of us has probably ever had. please make it stop.

we had already gotten the ball rolling on the prep for our New Year's Eve meal, but that may have to be postponed for another day or so. so, instead of ringing in the New Year full of good thoughts and good food, we will probably still be in bed, performing what is by now a well-rehearsed coughing duet. oh, joy.

and speaking of joy, i pulled a certain project out of the naughty corner while i was photographing the sweater for yesterday's post. it is a pair of socks that i have been trying to make for at least three months now.

i really really really hate making these things, but he really really really likes them, so he keeps using guilt to try to get me to make more of them for him. this one has a lovely texture across the top of the foot and around the whole leg section. naturally, it is a pain to knit this stitch.

i took a few photographs with the intent of unraveling them and re-purposing the yarn, but then guilt kicked in again, so i guess i am going to have to finish them one of these days. that is, if i ever recover from this cold.

this project lives in one of the two projects bags i purchased from the Fat Squirrel shortly after she first launched her bag-making business. they are the only such bags i own that i have ever purchased. i bought them to be "supportive", but i am pretty certain that at least one of my dead grandmothers is shaking her head in shame at my buying something i could make with my eyes closed. that is guilt from beyond the grave.

and what was lurking the bottom of the bag, below the offending socks? another ball of yarn that is supposed to eventually be turned into even more hand-knitted socks. maybe it would not be so bad if this cold destroys me after all.


on the fifth day of Christmas...

i'm feeling so relieved 
i... cannn... BREEEEEEEATHE!!!


to be fair, it is only one nostril back in action, but that is enough for me to survive without the constant mouth-breathing of the past four days.

i feel so dehydrated, especially as drinking anything meant that i had to stop breathing entirely while i sipped and swallowed. who knew breathing was so complicated??? no exaggeration, i experienced a massive life-or-death dilemma while eating a gingerbread cookie. i was chewing it for what seemed like forever, but it still felt like a mouthful of bone-dry crumbs. that is when i remembered that i would soon have to inhale.

problem was, with a mouth full of dry cookie crumbs, even the slightest inhale would result in some of that going racing into my lungs, which would end with a fit of coughing and choking. that is when the panic kicked in.

i could not decide what to do. should i spit the chewed up bits of cookie all over the floor, then inhale? or maybe i should try to form some kind of tunnel to let the air through? trust me, it was hilarious. i ended up using my tongue to sweep all the bits into one cheek and keep them there, while i finally sucked down some air on the other side of my mouth. all of that because of a lousy cold.

but, now... i can breathe! i am celebrating the happy development with my first cup of coffee in almost a whole week, and it smells and tastes great. i had almost forgotten how awesome smelling and tasting stuff can be.

i think it is fair to write off this week as an official bust. we are both still not over this bug, and it will be a while yet before our home stops being filled with the constant sound of coughing.

the worst part, however, is that i was genuinely too sick and tired to work on the one project i had set aside especially for this week.

i was calling this my Marvel-ous sweater, as i was going to work on it while we watched those movies (plus some other stuff). i was totally convinced that i would have it done in time to wear when we have our special New Year's Eve dinner. at this rate, the special meal may turn out to be yet another bowl of chicken soup for two.

the pattern is called Morning in Engelberg by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne. i especially love the juxtapositioning of the textures in the garter stitch and the cable.

that cable is plump, almost to the point of being marshmallowy... -ish, -esque, -like?

and i am using this adorable stitch-marker that i made some years back when i was deeply fascinated with creating things from beads and wire.

and now i need to add that to the list of activities to revisit in the coming year. no promises though.


on the fourth day of Christmas...

there's little-to-no sign of relief
i'm exhausted, so i will be brief

that is poetry, people. poetry! i should be charging to even let you read anything that brilliant.

i have a running list somewhere of topics that i plan to revisit one of these days, so i will use this opportunity to cross off one of those things. it concerns a certain tiny garden i planted earlier this year.

i think you would agree that it has come a long way from the sparse appearance right after it was first planted.

all that was needed was a bit of patience. now i have my dead grandfather's voice echoing in my head. i will save that story for another day.

most of the little "rescued" leaves sprouted, which added new layers of texture to the grouping. so now it looks even more like you stumbled upon a tight cluster of plants that have been growing together for centuries. plus it adds a much-needed reminder that warmer climates do exist, which is sometimes hard to believe at this time of year.

now i just have to make a note to remind myself to rescue all those tiny figurines before they get lost in the sand.

oh, and i am on the lookout for a giant glass jar the approximate size and shape of those big bottles they use in workplace water coolers. i want to create a tropical rain forest next time around, and making that happen inside a container with such a narrow opening is always a delightful challenge.


on the third day of Christmas...

i am home all alone 
with three cats and a stinking cold

life does not always rhyme. get used to it.

i think it's fair to say that i am over the worst part of this cold. however, as he got sick almost a week before me, and he is still coughing quite frequently, i know it is going to be a bit of time before the last of it is out of my system. oh joy!

this really sucks, as i was looking forward to us being able to spend some time doing totally pointless stuff together during this week. we are catching up on the Marvel films i/we missed—which required starting over from the beginning, as my OCD would settle for nothing less.

we were also considering taking a drive out to visit a wildlife park about and hour outside of Montreal. it is one of those places where you drive through the grounds, and you are encouraged to bring carrots to feed the animals that come up to your car. we went there during the Summer (i will talk more about that in a few days), and we wanted to see how the place looks during the Winter. that will have to wait till my lungs are up to inhaling sub-zero air again.

the one thing i was most looking forward to though, was a visit to a shop right here in Montreal that sells supplies for making things like soap and candles. i can easily order those items online, but i wanted to go sample their full range of fragrances, so i can finally get around to making some scented candles of my very own. he even agreed to help with the sampling and the candle-making. however, choosing scented oils would prove quite difficult just now, especially with the tissue shoved up both nostrils and three solid days of breathing only through my mouth. such an attractive picture, i know.

so, he abandoned me for a couple-few days. he is off having winter-time fun with the nephews, and i... well... i am working my way through an impressive amount of tissues and over-the-counter cold medicine.

then there was that other thing i had hoped to get done during this week. i finally have all the pieces completed to put together the Bright Star blanket i was slow-knitting for the past two years. cat sold separately.

the second i finished arranging the last piece, she showed up out of nowhere, and plopped herself down smack-dab in the middle of the thing, and she absolutely refused to move. i finally convinced her to shift far enough so i could get a picture of the center of the motif. ta da!!!

then i realized that the top corner pieces needed to be switched around, so i sorted that bit. ta da (for real this time)!!!

it is going to take a whole lot of patience, and a lot of alcohol, to assemble this thing, and i was hoping to get that done while we were watching stuff together this week. instead, i am wrapped up in bed, alternating between pulling the covers over my head because i am shivering, and tossing them aside because i am burning up. but i can sorta-kinda taste again, so i guess that is something to be happy about.


on the second day of Christmas...

i'm gonna share with you
the story of 'two pees and a poo'

before you run away, it is a cat tale. i swear.

i grew up in one of those households where pets were a definite no no. they like to damage furniture, you know. oh, the horror!

the closest i ever got to a pet was the bag of goldfish i bought from the basement of my local Woolworth (back when that was still a thing), and my mom managed to kill them off while i was away at camp for all of like two or three weeks that following Summer. and, yes... it is already established that i will require therapy for the entire rest of my life, plus a few years after that.

fast-forward a couple few decades, and i share my life with a guy who has never not had cats. so now i have cats, which some may say is the best form of therapy.

what i found most fascinating in the adjustment to life with cats was just how different each one of them really is. they all have unique personalities, which shows in how they interact with the people and items around them.

case and point... Mama Kitty is usually the poster-child for apathy, but she goes into an absolute panic if their dry-food bowl dips below apocalypse-survival-level. i have to check some days to make sure that cat is still breathing. yet she turns into the world's smallest angry mob over that food bowl.

 Baby Bear, on the other hand, likes to take bird-baths in the water bowl, requiring us to have to constantly mop up the floor... and to refill the bowl. then there is the oddest of the kitty behavior.. . which brings me to the subject for today.

Cordy—the "Little One" of our furry threesome—has this bizarre ritual that she performs, without fail, every single day. and it still manages to leave us in stitches when it happens.

she has this strange obsession with the litter-box that is somewhere between comical and straight-up insane. specifically, she gets indescribably excited when it is being scooped, which is usually the last thing one of us does before calling it an evening.

she comes running like a lunatic the second she hears the scooper being lifted out of the empty ceramic flowerpot where it is kept, and the excitement increases exponentially once you start scooping.

most of the time, she gets so over-excited by said activity, that she jumps into the box while you are still in the middle of scooping. then it happens... two pees and a poo.

i cannot begin to explain it, but every single night, like clockwork, as soon as the litter is being scooped, my crazy little cat has an insatiable needs to take two very quick pees followed immediately by a poo. pretty much.

half the time, you end up standing there, waiting for her to be done, so you can finish cleaning out the box for the evening. it is so reliable, that it has become a thing in our home.

typical late-night conversation around here...

him: [calling to me from another room] sweetie, did you scoop the litter box, or was i supposed to do it?
me: i'm in the middle of doing that right now. i'm just just waiting.
him: oh. is she doing her 'two pees and a poo'?
me: pee number one already happened, and she just finished pee number two. so now i'm standing here, waiting for the poo.
him: good times.

pretty much

i have to give honorable mention to Diesel (my Deez-Bear), who we had to say goodbye to shortly before we got Mama and Baby Bear (the Little One came later). Deez was my very first experience in living with a kitty, and he is (still) my favorite cat of all time.

and what was his peculiar quirk, you ask? well, that cat had been with me though some really rocky times—including many days when i was so depressed that i could not even get out of bed—and he had come to realize that his very presence was a great comfort to me.

every  single night, when he saw me getting ready to go to sleep, he would climb onto the ledge of the window above our bed at the old place. then he would just wait patiently. and he would keep on waiting until i eventually got into the bed, got the pillows sorted just the way i like them, and the covers tucked around me like i prefer them to be. when all of that was finally finished, he would step down gingerly from the window, and come settle on the bed, snuggled up next to me.

he seldom stayed the whole night, but he would lay there for however long it took me to fall asleep. and on those nights when insomnia got the best of me, then he would settle in for the long haul and keep me company.

i seriously miss that cat, and i really wish i had taken like a million more photos of him.


on the first day of Christmas...

my true love gave to me
a highly infectious disease

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!

him: uhm... you are going to explain that it's just a cold right? i don't want anyone to get the wrong idea.
me: i'll think about it.

last time around, i ended the twelve days with a nasty cold, so i decided to start it off with one this time. a bit of change keeps life exciting, no?

the crew at the studio have almost all fallen sick in the last week or two, so it was inevitable that there would be some germs that traveled home with them. i will get my revenge, and it will be sweet.

worst part is, i currently have zero sense of smell or taste... which brings me to the subject of the day.

as Christmas was going to be the two of us, coughing in dis-harmony, we decided to keep our meal incredibly simple, but full of our favorite comfort foods.

mac-and-cheese with a curry of beef and cauliflower, and a few slices of steamed plantain, cause he happened to walk past the plantains in the supermarket, and they looked good.

how do these foods fit together, you may be wondering? if you come from a Caribbean family, you would already know this, but the combination of curry sauce over a really cheesy plate of mac-and-cheese is the stuff of gastronomic happiness. ditto for the plantain. just trust me on this one. and yes... those are little sweet peas in my mac-and-cheese. just deal with it.

the meal was amazing! that is... he said the meal was amazing. i just took his word for it. i did get a hint of an echo of a whisper of taste from the curry, but the rest was a blur. and we rounded the whole thing off with a couple slices of bûche de Noël (pictured up at the top), which is just a fancy name for a large swiss roll decorated to look like a yule log.

i am going to make another cup of peppermint tea, which i will sip in between the mouth-breathing that is currently keeping me alive. hope that you are happy (and healthy) wherever you may be.


a beautiful time of day...

it is the "orange hour of the day". that being the time when the setting sun is at or near horizontal alignment with our windows, sending a wash of warm, golden-orange light flooding through the whole place. it is a breath-taking experience, even at this time of the year when that hour is really more like an orange five minutes.

this is the closest we have come to a bright, sunshine-filled day in weeks here in Metropolis North. pardon me... Métropole Nord. almost forgot where i was for a moment. it has been cold, wet (with either freezing rain or wet snow), and depressingly grey... day... after day... after day. so, while it is currently well below freezing—even in the middle of the day—i am pleased as punch (i still have no idea what punch has to do with being pleased) to see sunlight filling the air.

i had toyed with the idea of doing a blog-a-day during December, but i simply could not muster the enthusiasm to get it done. unlike the usual 'countdown to the holidays' that tends to fill most vlogs/blogs at this time of year, i planned on talking a bit each day about the thirty-one movies we watched during October, when i foolishly allowed myself to be talked into a movie-a-day in the lead-up to Halloween. maybe i will save that for January, when i will (hopefully) be in a slightly-less-unexcited frame of mind.

there is one thing i am super-excited about at present. i am in the homestretch on that blanket i was working on more than a year ago. [scroll past the baby blanket my mom conned me into knitting for her co-worker, and you will find the Bright Star blanket by my favorite designer Norah Gaughan.]

ta da!!!

okay, so there are still quite a few gaps to be filled in before i can call this one finished... plus all the pieces have to be sewn together... and all of those ends have to be woven it... and i would probably want to add some sort of border around the edges. all of that aside, this blanket is practically... almost... nearly finished. trust me... sorta.

i am done with all of the multi-colored full squares, as well as what i am calling the "notched" squares, and i am currently working on the solid-colored squares and rectangles. it should be noted that i had little-to-no problems working on the color-blocked bits. those solid pieces (light-grey, in my color scheme), however, have proven to be quite the pain.

i set this project aside for a while, and it seems that my knitting tension has changed significantly in that time. so much so, that i had to re-knit the first of the light-grey squares a whopping SIX TIMES before i finally got something the same size as the color-block squares. turns out i just had to swap for a smaller-sized needle. [you can mentally insert the sound of me growling like a rabid lunatic here.]

once i get done with that step (hopefully, tonight), i will need to knit a few smaller multi-colored blocks for the corners, then i can move on to the assembling stage. i should (hopefully... maybe) have all of the pieces ready to go by the end of this week. then i can start sewing them together to make a blanket. however, there is always the possibility that i may stuff them into a handy storage case and forget about them for a few more years.

this blanket-to-be is made from some super-scratchy alpaca (i think) yarn that i had in my stash for ages. my delicate princess skin cannot tolerate such things, so it will become a future couch-blanket for everyone... but me. and, while i may occasionally feel left out to see my favorite animator wrapped up in said blanket, snoring away on a sofa, with a kitty or three napping next to him for company, this epic project will have earned me enough crafting-karma so that my next few yarn purchases will (hopefully... maybe) go unnoticed.

the sun has slipped almost entirely out of view by now, and all that remains are the  slivers of clouds tinted salmon and lavender-grey along the horizon. there is a small cat pressed up against my thigh, fast asleep, recharging her energy for all of the antics that will take place later in the evening. it really is a beautiful time of day.