Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Not Goodbye, but See You Later

This post is a letter to Kaitlyn Faith Ham, who shared her beautiful life with our community for 35 precious days, and left to be with her Father in heaven on December 17th.  The story of her journey is found at http://kaitlynham.blogspot.com/

Dear Kaitlyn,

Is it possible to receive a lifetime's worth of love in only 35 days?  We loved you fiercely and intensely, and we will continue to love you until we see you on the other side of eternity.  I wasn't able to meet you or to hold you, but I was honoured and privileged to fight alongside you.  You showed us that the impossible is possible.  You surprised us and overjoyed us with your determination.  You taught us how to let go, even though we didn't want to.  You are missed so much.

You were so small, but already the ripple effects of your life are spreading outwards, forever changing us.  I am praying for your Mom and Dad because even though they are so strong, they miss you most of all.  Aren't you so proud of them?  God made you part of such an amazing family, and it will be so awesome when you are all reunited.  This isn't goodbye little one, because we will see you later, in the place where Jesus will wipe away every tear from our eyes.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday is potluck day!

Welcome to the last day of my week-long blog series of thankfulness.  This doesn't mean I'll stop being thankful, in fact, I feel like after this week I've become more able to recognize all the things that I do have to be thankful for every day, and that each day has new and different things for which I can thank God.

Before we get to that though, I want to show you guys pictures of the Christmas treats I made for my CG potluck tonight.  The first is Cheesecake-Marbled Brownies, as found on the Smitten Kitchen blog.  Seriously, if you ever need a ridiculously tasty recipe, just browse the recipe index over at Smitten Kitchen.  Her posts are so entertaining too!

My other dessert creation was Christmas Nanaimo Bars.  Don't ask me for the recipe on this one because I improvised the recipe.  The green layer has mint flavouring and the red layer is vanilla.  I put the pan in the freezer between layers to make the interface between them nice and smooth.  I'm actually quite happy with how these turned out, and love how they look.  If I had more time I'd have arranged them on a plate for a more beautiful picture, but I plan on taking the leftovers into work tomorrow for the guys at the lab to polish off, so it stays in the pan.

We had an amazing pot-luck night and every single dish was scrumptiously delicious.  Our secret santa gift exchange was uproariously hilarious, and once again the conversation managed to stray into topics of a scandalous nature, whilst people were trying to be serious and spiritual.  Seriousness is overrated anyhow.  All the gifts were so good, including mine (thanks Cam!!!  I've already got my new lamp set up and stationed by my reading chair!) and at the end of the I was sore from laughing so much.  Good times.

On the knitting front, I finally got around to taking pictures of my modified Cablerimetry headband.  The cables are all freestyle, but symmetrical.   Because symmetry is important to this little engineer.

And remember what was supposed to be a headwrap?  It's now a circular scarf.  Not sure yet what I'm going to do with it.

Today I am thankful for:
1. My friend Vahid who consistently demonstrates a high level of consideration and humility by always being quick to apologize when he realizes he was in the wrong.  He's an inspiration for me to aim for that level as well.
2.  The past few months I've had to get to know the German exchange students.  We'll miss you guys!
3.  A freaking amazing pot-luck.
4.  Joy.
5.  Two well-stocked grocery stores in very close proximity to my house.  Definitely makes it easier to do last-minute baking.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday is a knitting day!

I knitted today!  Knitting times are few and far between lately, so any times I can sneak out my needles and yarn are precious.  This was the last Knit-Lunch at UBC for 2009.  I'm hoping we'll attract even more knitters in 2010 and be able to book an entire room for our weekly fibre crafts.  I'm nearly finished the Blackrose Wristlets.  I had some yarn left over from the Blackrose Socks I made (remember the felting disaster those were?) so I decided to use it up on something that I would remember would be a HANDWASH ONLY item.  I frogged half of the first glove because it was too long and I ran out of yarn on the second glove, so I knit the second one while unravelling the first until they were both the same length.  But then I had to go back and fix the thumb-hole height on the first one.  So, those are nearing completion at least.

Things I am thankful for today
1.  A break in the rain while I was walking home.
2.  My very helpful friend Ian who has been awesome at assisting me in getting my computer issues solved.
3.  A wonderful dinner made by my friend Yeon Ju, and being able to meet her husband and share about our lives.
4.  Wafer #S122, on which rests all our hopes and dreams for the future of our lab.
5.  Willing guinea pigs to test out new and/or modified baking recipes that I concoct.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Belated Monday Thankfulness

I know it's not Monday anymore.  I was so sleepy last night I totally forgot to blog.  However, let me tell you what I DID do last night.  I went shopping.  I know, I never go shopping.  Can't stand it.  However, Christmas is coming, and there are gifts that need to be gotten.  I found that 7-9pm on a Monday night is actually a very pleasant time to shop.  No crowds, very little noise, everything is winding down for the day.  The mall was practically empty, which is exactly how I like it.  AND I made great progress on gift-getting!  Only a few things left to pick up!

Things I was thankful for yesterday:
1.  Grace.
2.  Having a friend who also dislikes shopping accompany me on my mall adventure.  Together, we shall conquer! 
3.  The fact that I get to go home to Ontario in just a few days, to where snow lasts more than 12 hours and doesn't change into rain until spring.  
4.  Wonderful friends and family members that love getting random gifts.  Really random gifts, just to warn you....
5.  Getting to throw out 6 months of accumulated devices and molds in the lab and reclaim 90% of our shelf space.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday thankfulness

Today I am thankful for:
1.  SNOW!  Oh so fluffy and white and beautiful.  First snowfall of the winter!
2.  A snackalicious gingerbread house to tide me over in the absence of lunch.
3.  The fact that no matter how big I make my dreams for the future, God has an even bigger reality in store for me.  Awesome!
4.  Having a fellow knitter as my sister-in-law so that I can admire her latest projects and be inspired to start new ones of my own.
5.  Laundry machines in the house.  I only have to walk three steps and voila - clean clothes!

Saturday is party day!

If only I could read with a little more attention to detail.  After arranging my whole Saturday to accommodate a guild run to the Deep, I logged on this afternoon to find that no one was around.  Going back and reading the planning details, I found out that the run is scheduled for NEXT Saturday.  *facepalm*
Ah well.  At least that gave me a couple hours to relax and organize my inventory.  All my GW characters had their pockets overflowing with useless things, so a few trips to the merchant fixed that up.  I also achieved my 'Protector of Tyria' title with the help of a few friends.  Yay!

Things I am thankful for today:
1.  My awesome brother and sister-in-law.  I'm so glad they live nearby so that I can visit them all the time.  Huzzah!

2.  My crazy and random but ever so loveable little sister who is moving out to BC in January!  Oh the shenanigans that will ensue...

3.  Getting to dress up for a classy Christmas party.

4.  The opportunity to pray for a friend who is going through a tough time.  Even though I'm too far away to visit or give hugs, I can totally mobilize the Forces of Good to help, hehe.

5.  Sleep.  Oh how I love sleep.  And on that note, I shall engage in that very activity.  Goodnight, dear readers  :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friday Thankfulness

Just so you know, I'm gonna be doing this for a week, so look forward to an update every day!

Things I am thankful for today:
1.  Public transit.  I can travel around the whole city without having to own a car!  And Vancouver has a pretty sweet bus system.  

2.  A considerate and understanding supervisor.  I got to take a whole week off to spend time with my parents when they were here, and I get two weeks to fly home for Christmas.  Huzzah!

3.  God's steadfastness and faithfulness.  Even when I'm so full of doubt and fear, God always comes through for me and invites me to place my confidence in him rather than myself, so that I don't have to worry about messing things up because my confidence is not in myself but in God.

4.  Spontaneous events with people I love.  A little unexpected due to 8:30 apparently sounding like 6:30 in Korean (we arrived and they were like, "Oh....you're early....VERY early...").  Even if I could have used those two hours to sleep or make dinner or whatever, time spent building relationships with friends is so precious and realistically I would have just wasted that time on facebook anyhow.  

5.  Peanut butter M&M's!  'Nuff said.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Things I am thankful for today (in no particular order):
1.  My amazing job.  It's like detective work!  Spent some long hours today in the cleanroom lab, but we're finally figuring out the optimum process to make our devices how they need to be.  Nothing satisfies a crafter more than making something with your hands and having it turn out right!

2.  Seasons.  Winter in particular is one of my favourite seasons, and just being outside today in the crisp cold air fills me with joy.  How cool is it that we get half of the year to wear bamboo tops and linen skirts, and the other half to wear wool sweaters and alpaca scarves and merino mittens.  No matter what you want to knit, there's a season to wear it here  (this is a knitting blog after all....we need to have an obligatory mention of knitting to pretend like I'm not trying to distract you from my unfinished knitting projects).

3.  A WARM house to come home to.  Mmmm, cozy!

4.  God's provision for me, just in general.  This past 6 months has been full of crazy instances of everything I need just falling into my lap.  Not the least of which is my newest electronic aquisition:  my new laptop who is now known as Wavelet.  Just in time after my desktop died and the fan on my old lappy went kaput.

5.  Hanging out with my roommate.  Seriously, she is so awesome and encouraging and optimistic and excited about EVERYTHING and just plain fun.

Suggestions of things I might like to receive for Christmas (in no particular order):
(for interested family members or friends who might be wondering)
1.  Second controller for my Wii
2.  Oven mitts
3.  Wii games
4.  Glow-in-the-dark yarn
5.  Sock yarn (superwash)
6.  Geeky jewelry
7.  Clothes
8.  Games to play when I have people over like Munchkin, or Fluxx, or interesting board games.
9.  A full Bible that's pocket-size.  Like, not notebook sized, but extra tiny to easily fit into a purse.
10.  Notebooks, the ones that are about the size of a regular piece of paper folded in half.  I go through a lot of them.
11.  A freestanding lamp for my room.  The overhead light drives me crazy, but I have no alternative at the moment.
12.  Use your imagination.  I like surprises!
For just general guidelines, I like stuff I can use, that is practical.  Also, remember that I have to carry things back with me from Ontario to BC, as well as all the gifts for my brother and sister-in-law, so small is good.  Suitcase space is limited.

Recipes I want to make for the holidays from the Joy of Baking site:

Hope I have time for all this baking!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Island Adventures

*jumps up and down excitedly*

I have one FO!!!! Yes, after so many weeks of no knitting pictures, I finally finished one of those suckers. Guess which one? Aha, trick question, I haven't yet blogged about it! Really though, it was tiny. A friend of mine has a friend who has a store for selling pet accessories so I made this little dog scarf for her. I might make another quick dog scarf tomorrow (a smaller one....I cast on way more stitches than I needed to for the first one). My roommate generously provided a bear as a model of this lovely canine accessory.

Might as well proceed to the bad news which is that I STILL haven't decided what to do with the supposed headwrap that didn't turn out to be a headwrap at all since it was lacking several requisite inches. It's just sitting in a little pile, monopolizing my bamboo knitting needles and sneering at me. I'm going to need to undo my kitchener stitch, and perhaps bind off both ends to make it into a small scarf just to be done with it.

The reinvention of my Calorimetry Headband into a freestyled cabled .... um ... thingamabob? is going well. It's still a headband, just to clarify, but with cables that meander about in a mostly organized fashion.

Anyone else like the changes to Blogger's image insertion interface, by the way? I'm so glad to be able to insert my images as I type, instead of having them appear at the top of my text and having to drag them down to the bottom manually on the ridiculously short window space that Blogger gives us to write in.

My parents came up for my graduation this weekend, and stayed all week long. Actually, they didn't so much stay, as take me with them on a trip to Vancouver Island! I love vacationing with my parents because:
1. It's really cheap
2. My parents are fun people!
3. Did I mention it's really cheap?
We spent some time in Victoria, and met up with one of my childhood friends that I haven't seen in FOREVER. She gave us a marvelous tour of the city. The most blog-worthy mention of that day was the sheer number of rabbits that swarm the campus at the University of Victoria. Holy Bunny Invasion Batman! Most of them are quite tame, having grown up on campus and are used to being fed by students. It was like watching the Star Trek episode 'Trouble with Tribbles' right before my eyes. These little bunnies were seriously everywhere.

After spending some time in Victoria, we drove out to Sooke to check out the birds in the lagoon there (no self-respecting birdwatcher could skip this opportunity! ...and by that I mean my mother, not me....) and it was gorgeous and sunny. I got some great pictures there. After that we went up to Nanaimo, and came home via North Van, stopping off at Lynn Canyon for a bit of a hike.

My last piece of news was that I made a very reckless and spur of the moment decision today. Let me illustrate it for you.

Behold my brand new (new-to-me more specifically) Nintendo Wii! It's snuggled up there with the PS2 so they can keep each other company, but with the controllers in between so that the consoles won't fight. I found a wicked deal on craigslist that was too good to pass up. I wanted to name it 'Nanaimo' since I had just returned from there, but I mis-spelled it as I was trying to type with the remote, and when I looked up it said, "Do you want to name your Wii 'Nanzimo'?" I clicked yes. Nanzimo....it has a nice ring.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

On Independence and Inconvenience

I am in a pensive mood tonight (and again, knitting progress has been minimal, which I wholly attribute to my lack of classes this semester i.e. no lectures to knit through) so be warned, this will be a rather meandering blog post.  I'm also positive that this post will sound less impressive than it did in my head when I composed it on the bus ride home from school, but perhaps you can make it sound more grand as you read it.  Just imagine it being read in the voice of the Movie Trailer Narrator or perhaps in a posh British accent.

So, what was I pondering?  I was pondering what it is that makes me so unwilling to inconvenience people.  I do not think that this trait is limited to myself only, but something more ingrained within Canadian culture.  I would rather inconvenience myself a great deal than inconvenience someone else a little bit.  I ponder this as I need to find a ride to a retreat tomorrow, yet find myself hesitant to ask people that are going, lest they feel like they HAVE to transport me and in the process are consequently annoyed.  Now, I'm sure that most of them would be more than happy to drive me if they have room, and yet I find myself thinking about looking up bus times and otherwise avoiding the necessity of being dependent upon someone else.

Because, let's face it, that's what this is really about.  Dependence.  Our culture places a very high value on being independent, and we push our children from a young age to learn how to embrace independence.  While I believe it is healthy to be independent, we have glorified it to such an extent that we no longer know how to be dependent on each other.  However, dependence is vital to community.  People are not meant to live isolated lives, supplying all of their own needs.  This is something that many North American churches in particular seem to have forgotten  (for those of you new to this blog, I speak in the context of the church as it is my primary community).  We see the Bible verses exhorting us to serve others and contribute to their needs, yet when it comes to ourselves we say, "Oh, I'm ok.  Really, it's nothing.  You don't need to go out of your way for me."  And in not allowing others to help and serve us, we miss out on a great opportunity.  Because as we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and dependent, we put ourselves in a position of humility.  We are no longer trusting in ourselves, and as we allow other people to serve and honour us in that position of vulnerability, it builds bonds of trust and friendship that are deep and lasting.  It also makes us more sensitive and attentive to the needs of others so that we can serve them joyfully with a heart filled with gratitude for the ways that we ourselves have been helped in our times of dependence.  And most importantly, it teaches us in a real and practical way how to be dependent on God, because he will always honour the person who positions themselves in humility.

This is really me talking to myself now (or perhaps the Holy Spirit talking to me as I ponder) because honestly I have SUCH a hard time with this.  I dread being dependent on others and I'll go leagues out of my way to avoid it.  For example, when my sister and I flew back here after Christmas holidays last year, our plane got in at 11pm.  The airport is approximately an hour's drive from where I was living at the time.  I made my excuses.  "It's too late for anyone to be able to drive all the way out there to pick us up."  "My roommate who has a car won't be back till the next day."  "Everyone else who has cars, I just don't know them well enough to feel comfortable asking them to drive out and get me."  And so, I didn't even attempt to locate a ride home.  As a result we had a painful all-night journey that involved sleeping a few hours at the airport, taking a night bus all the way downtown, getting accosted by strangers at the bus stop, waiting in the rain and foul-smelling slush with our luggage getting wetter by the minute, taking three more buses until finally arriving home at 6:30am, just in time for me to change and head out to my first class that started at 8:30.  It was terrible.  I could have saved myself (and my sister) so much trouble if only I'd put down my pride and my independence, and asked someone to pick us up.

Let me give you another story as an illustration of how this attitude is part of our very culture.  A friend of mine, let us refer to him as S, who moved here from Jordan told me this story (which I may not remember 100% correctly, so forgive me if I'm fuzzy on some of the specifics).  Right after and his family moved to Canada, they got an apartment, and introduced themselves to their neighbours in the apartment building.  One of these neighbours was an older man who had lived in that apartment building for 10 years.  Now S casually mentioned to this man that he only needed to come by and ask if the man needed anything.  Shortly after, this man suffers some sort of severe health failure (I forget whether it was heart or lung-related) and as he's in dire peril, he does not go to any of his longtime friends, but he comes to S.  S drops everything that he's doing to bring this man to the hospital.  While he was in the hospital for the next week S went to visit this man nearly every day, though he had known him only a very short time.  It could have been a complete stranger, and S would have done the same.  Muslim culture places a high value on loving one's neighbour, and they actually live that out.  In our culture we're very good at being nice to our neighbours, but in the process we have lost track of what it means to love them.  We expect people to be independent, and things that inconvenience us elicit complaints.

So how do we as a culture, and more locally, we as a church, combat this destructive form of independence that keeps us apart from each other?  I think the first step is to learn ourselves how to be dependent, to keep us from being prideful in our independence and what we've accomplished, and to keep us aware of  the courage it takes to ask others for help not knowing whether they'll say yes or no.  The second thing we can do is to constantly verbally let the people around us know that we are available and willing to offer help when it is needed.  We can learn a lesson from my friend S and make sure to communicate to others that they can come to us if they need anything.  Even if we can't provide the help the person needs, we may be able to direct them to someone who can.  Often we just assume, "Oh, of course So-And-So knows I'd help them if they needed it" but likely So-And-So does not know unless we clearly tell them so.  The third very critical thing we can do is to avoid complaining about helping people.  Even if we really are annoyed by that friend that keeps on asking us to borrow Y or do X for them, the minute we complain about it we signal to everyone that hears us that we don't like helping and don't want to be bothered, keeping those people from coming to us about anything in the future.  It takes a lot fewer words to tear down trust than to build up trust.  Sometimes it's just really hard to find the joy in serving others that we're supposed to have, but I think that learning to be dependent ourselves will nurture that within us, and that even if we serve others purely out of obedience to God and nothing else, he will honour that as well and show us that joy.  It all comes back to love.  How far are we willing to go to love others?  God has already gone the whole way in his love for us.  If we're serious about being a community that lives out the love of God, we can't be complacent about it.  Love is active.  Love slips past all our defenses and boundaries and shows us the world in a way we've never seen it before.

Still, it's tough.  As I tell myself these things, I still am faced with the imminent decision of who to ask for a ride, and I have to fight against my willful independence.  The difference between knowing and doing....well, that is part of what God is teaching me this season.  It's all part of the journey, right?  One step at a time.

If you've made it to the end of this post, bravo!  Perhaps you found all of this uninteresting and inapplicable, and you are certainly free to take it or leave it, since this is primarily my own meanderings to myself, but perhaps you have found it helpful and so I pray that you will be encouraged and blessed.

(And I really will have some knitting to blog about next time! Honest!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Best birthday ever!

Though this is primarily a knitting blog, I take the opportunity every so often to ramble about goings-on in other spheres of my life, and since very little knitting progress has been made (more on that later this post) I shall tell you about my birthday! It's ok, you can ask, don't feel bad. I turned 27, which seemed very old 5 years ago, but now feels just right. And as my good friend David pointed out, it'll be a long time until my next perfect cube birthday, so I better enjoy this one!

So, the first exciting event of birthdayness happened the evening before my birthday, when I went to go see the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra playing music from Final Fantasy. It was marvellous. There is something breathtaking about being in the same room as a full orchestra, listening to the varied sounds produced by each instrument that blend together to create a cohesive whole. They closed with a rendition of the opera from FFVI, which was amazing. And then they did 3 encores. Bliss! My roommate joined me and though she's never played a FF game in her life, she really enjoyed the concert.

On the actual day of my birthday, I made a cake to bring in and eat with my coworkers. Yes, I reserve the right to make my own birthday cake, because I wanted to make my favourite kind of cake (carrot pineapple, yum!) and share the awesomeness of it with everyone else in the lab. The German guys from the lab next to mine even sang me 'Happy Birthday' in German. Overall, a very satisfactory day UNTIL I receive an email in my inbox that afternoon.

"Dear Ms. M.,
Congratulations on being a successful applicant from the 2009 Research Trainee Competition and on receiving a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Trainee Award."

WOW! Best birthday present ever!!! Basically, my salary just incresed by about 50%. And my day got even better because that evening we had a special impartation service at church to hear stories from our team that had just returned from a conference in Brazil and get prayed for by them. SO good! Seriously, I'm soooo blessed, and I know that this year is just going to get better and better!

Oh, and my small group from church also surprised me with a birthday cake (this was a couple days previous) so I was well celebrated all in all.

Now, in knitting news, I finished my sweater, but haven't yet decided on what sort of geeky embellishment to put on it. So I've just been wearing it as-is for the moment while I ponder. I'd say it's a pretty solid first official sweater. I'm now encouraged and feel brave enough to start on a cardigan. After Christmas knitting of course, since it's getting to be that time of year again.

I started and almost finished a head wrap for my aunt who is currently undergoing chemo for breast cancer. Unfortunately, I ran out of yarn and my attempt is 3 inches shorter than the pattern calls for. I started grafting it together to see if it would still work, but I think this one is not going to function. I have it sitting in a corner while I ponder trying to salvage it as a scarf, or attempting to re-knit it into a more traditional hat.

While I was pondering the head wrap, I began knitting a headband (Calorimetry from Knitty), from a project I'd frogged last year. I love the yarn, but the previous headband had been much too loose. This new one has some freestyle cables (I didn't have a cable needle on hand when I started it, so I've been cabling with my crochet hook) and is a much tighter knit which in turn means warmer ears and head. Pictures to come when I actually find my camera.

Also, if you're not tired of me talking about Darker than Black, let me tell you about how awesome the second season is. First of all, the first episode of this season was released on my birthday, and the first episode does not disappoint. This season takes place in Russia, and it seems as though a few years have passed since the incident that ended season 1. There are some new characters, but many old faces and like we saw in the first season, the writers of this show have no compunction about killing people off. I love the new main character they've introduced, a spunky girl named Suou, who looks like she'll provide enough optimism and energy to contrast with the grim contractors who work as assassins for various groups (and from the scenes in the OP, it looks as though she'll be sporting a hunting rifle as her weapon of choice). I made a new forum signature in honour of the beginning of this promising second season. Credit goes to the helpful guys at Gotwoot who provided suggestions for polishing this up into a very classy sig.

I'll post again soon when my camera is found, and I have pictures to share. Catch ya later!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Not Geeky Enough

I am nearing the end of the last ball of yarn for my sweater.  Overall, it looks pretty good so far!  I like that it's all knitted in the round.  After the horror that was the seaming of my lace cardigan, I look forward to only having to weave in the ends to finish.
However, it bothers me.  It's just....well.....not geeky enough.  Have you ever known me to knit anything standard, 100% by the pattern?  Certainly not, or if I have, consider it a momentary lapse of (in)sanity.  No, this sweater definitely needs some geekification.  But what?  I've been considering duplicate stitching a 'pi' symbol on the front, and fair-isle knitting as many digits of pi that will fit around the bottom.  My only problem with that is that my fair-isle tension is significantly tighter than my regular tension, and I'm worried that it won't be stretchy enough.  I was also thinking of perhaps duplicate stitching on some computer code or physics equations.  Or maybe I should go back to the video games realm of geekery?  So many possibilities.  Got any suggestions?  Here's me trying on the sweater, in-progress.
And speaking of video games, I have heard rumours that the Nintendo Wii is going to be dropping in price very soon.  This is a console I have been looking at for a while, but it's always been too expensive.  Maybe soon it will actually drop into my price range!  In particular, with the imminent cold and rainy weather, I know I won't want to go running in the mornings, and if I buy a gym membership on campus I'll have to drag my clothes and towel with me to work all the time.  Not an ideal situation.  However, if I had a Wii, I could get Wii Fit Plus which is coming out next month with even more fun games and activities!  I do have a $50 Future Shop gift card from switching cellular phone providers this month, and we'll have to see what my budget looks like, but there might just be a Wii in my future!  
First though, I need to get a TV.  And a bed.  And a kitchen table.  And a bookshelf.  And fix my computer which may have died beyond all repair.  I did get a free bike recently (through a very bizarre string of events....ask me sometime, and I'll tell you the story), but it needs a lot of work.  When will I be moved into my new place?  Well, at the rate things are going, it might take us another month to get all the remaining stuff we need.  Until then, it's sleeping on the floor/couch, and borrowing wireless on the laptop to watch low-resolution youtube videos, sitting on top of unpacked boxes.  At least we finished painting all our rooms though!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Presenting the Kitten Cam!

Attention:  The kittens are now large enough to escape from their box, so the kitten cam is now offline.  However, if you want to look at adorable pictures of aforementioned kittens, please visit this site.

Recently, my brother adopted a new cat.  Or rather, the neighbours got evicted and left behind a small army of cats as well as a house completely filled with garbage and cat feces (not even joking here....I'm horrified that they had small children living in that kind of an environment).  Anyhow, the humane society carted off most of the felines, but one became friends with my brother and his roommate, so they decided to adopt this friendly little girl.  Not too long after, she surprised them with a litter of kittens.

What is a technologically-minded friend of felines to do, but set up a webcam of course, to have a streaming  live feed of kittens from anywhere on the internet!  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:

The Kitten Cam!!!!  (click me!  click me!  I dare you!)

(Note: The Kitten Cam shuts down at night to allow the kittens some sleep, so if you don't see anything, check back in a few hours)

It's so addictive.  I keep it open in the background all day long at work.  The cuteness is liable to cause you to say ridiculous things and giggle at the screen.  Or explode. Much like the following xkcd comic:

 If you live in or around the Ottawa area, two of these adorable little fluffballs still need a home.  You can send any inquiries about adoption to me (sarahluvscats [at] gmail dot com), and I will pass them on to my brother.  


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Danger! Danger Will Robinson!

I am in dire peril. Or rather, my finances and my yarn stash are in dire peril - the former at risk of dwindling away to nothing and the latter at risk of multiplying like a pack of Tribbles. This weekend, there are no less than THREE yarn sales in the area. I know, it's horrifying and blissful, all at the same time.

We'll start with the sad news. Our beloved Knitopia is moving away from Langley and back to White Rock. I shall miss you Knitopia! But, moving means a big moving sale which is ongoing from now until the end of September when they move. I already have so much yarn from the LAST Knitopia sale....but it was such a good deal!

Now, the second sale is Three Bags Full's third anniversary sale. They already have their sale list up online. I've got my eye on some of that 50% off lace as well as the malabrigo sock.....

Third, and most exciting (or most dangerous) is a brand new yarn store opening right in my neighbourhood!
There's going to be yarn deals and cake! Wheeee! Oh my poor poor stash. I'm going to need to get a whole nother shelf to house it all after this weekend is done. A yarn addiction is a terrible thing. I'm supposed to be working on my graduating essay this weekend too, so I can actually, y'know, graduate from linguistics. I'm taking a couple days off work to try and get through it since my parents are flying out here for my graduation in November, which means I HAVE to graduate.

Anyhow, if any of you are in vancouver and want to go sale-touring with me, I'm a great yarn enabler :D

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sewing is irresistible to kitties

It's true. Cats have a special internal radar that goes off whenever you get out a brand new bolt of fabric. No matter where they are in the house, nothing will stop them from carrying out their feline duty to walk and roll all over every piece you want to work with. Needless to say, Minou was overjoyed this week when I was overcome by the urge to do some sewing. The sound of the pencil on the fabric and the scissors as they cut put her into pouncing mode, and she was darting in and out, tackling stray fabric folds, and sliding into the pile before running away again. Here's our little sewing helper in action.

I've also started the Wicked sweater, since my last project was making me avoid my knitting. That t-shirt will sit in the hibernation pile until I feel like dealing with it again. The sweater is going much better though. Here's my progress, after using one ball of Cascade 220. I only have two more, so hopefully they'll be enough for the short-sleeved version of the sweater. From here on in it's all boring stockinette, so I'm saving it for working on while I watch anime.

Speaking of anime, one of my most favourite series of all time, is getting a sequel this fall! Very exciting news! If you've never watched Darker Than Black, and you're a fan of sci-fi, you should watch it right now this very moment. It's a show that does what sci-fi does best: it uses a surreal environment to address current issues and ask questions. Star Trek TNG was especially good at this too (although maybe a bit blatant about it at times) where many episodes addressed social justice issues and cultural differences. Darker Than Black is a bit more subtle, and asks what it means to be human. It's an amazing series, and left lots of unanswered questions that I hope we get to explore in the sequel. Check out the trailer on RandomC's blog!

Till next time, dear readers!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summer fun!

Well, I have finally returned to the blogosphere! Really, I have no good excuses for being away for so long. Perhaps it is that I find blogging a fun form of stress-relief when I'm very busy, so that I forget to do it when I'm unbusy. Anyhow, here's a brief list of what the past couple months have looked like for me:

  • visited Ontario for 3 weeks, saw lots of my favourite people, as well as Star Trek on IMAX, opening weekend, with a fellow blogger and good friend (by the way, if you're not hungry, you should see her strawberry shortcake and cinnamon roll pictures this week and I guarantee you'll be starving!)
  • Moved into my new house in East Vancouver, complete with fluffy kitty, shaggy dog, and gorgeous view
  • Got a library card and read lots of books
  • Explored some of the local trails and mountains (I'd say that 2:15 is not bad for a first attempt at the Grouse Grind)
  • Discovered Wednesday Night Cheap Wings and Music Bingo at the pub near my house
  • My guild in Guild Wars had their 3rd Anniversary, and good times were had by all
  • Spent a lot of time job searching and ended up applying for a second Masters degree, this time at UBC
  • Got accepted into the Mechanical Engineering program and started research
  • Found a really fantastic local church and began the process of membership there
Yes, I realized that knitting didn't make it onto the condensed list of activities. However, neither did DDR, and I've been putting time into that too! Just not a lot of time. Indeed, knitting has been suffering in neglect lately, and my poor yarn stash is crying out from the closet to be used. I started a knitted t-shirt pattern from a book I borrowed at the library, but the gauge is frustrating me and I've already frogged 3 balls of yarn worth of it. I'm a bit apprehensive because I'm knitting it in cotton, and I've heard that cotton stretches a lot over time. We shall see.

Back when I was in Ontario, I did finish my version of Sartje's Booties. The Presto Change-o however is *cringe* still not finished. At the rate the twins are growing, they may be too big for it by the time I get it finished. But, that just means I'll have an excuse to knit other cute baby clothes in bigger sizes. The twins were absolutely adorable, by the way (although a ridiculous amount of work as well). How adorable? Well, here's a picture of them having a nap with their Mama, as she gets in some long-awaited knitting time.

And the booties:
I also finished the Zelda Toboggan, so here it is modelled by my brother before I mailed it off.

In anime news, I highly recommend you check out Guin Saga, which is airing right now. The premise of a guy with a leopard head might seem kinda weird, but honestly, there are a lot weirder anime premises than that. This series is shaping up to be quite epic, and the highlight for me is that the music is composed by Nobuo Uematsu, who composed most of the music for the Final Fantasy games. A few years back I had the opportunity to attend a concert by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra playing music from Final Fantasy, and it was magnificent.

And now, I shall leave you with some pictures of the cute fluffy creatures at my house.

Plus the 4th of July cupcakes I made with my brother and sister-in-law, and the view from my window :) Till next time, dear readers!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The end of a chapter

Well, it is with my heart full of joy with all the blessings of this past year, and yet full of sorrow that it is all coming to an end that I write this post. I will have a knitting update for you soon, but I thought perhaps it was about time I wrote about all the crazy goings-on of Real Life.

Tonight, I graduated (well, not technically - I still have to write my graduating essay - but close enough). Two years of studying, of homework, of writing reports and assignments, of reading textbooks and papers, of living half my life in the CanIL computer lab, all this has come to an end tonight. And it has been marvellous. My CanIL friends, you have no idea how much I have been blessed by your friendship and your smiling faces. Going to school has been full of so much joy from getting to know all of you. For those that are leaving, you will be dearly missed. The lab is full of the echoes of your laughter, and all the crazy adventures that we had there. Please do keep in touch! Know that wherever I am in the world, there will always be a place for you in my home if ever you come by.

Also, to my beautiful and amazing knit night girls, I shall miss you so very much. When I was brand new to Langley and didn't know anyone, you adopted me and made me feel like I was part of the group even though I had only just arrived. I know that Vancouver isn't THAT far away, and that we'll still be able to knit together, but I'll miss being a regular at knit night and getting to see all your projects and hear about your lives from week to week. No matter what other knitting groups I may join, you will always be my knit night family.

Now, when one chapter ends, that always means that a new chapter is beginning. I'm kickstarting this chapter with a visit to Ontario. VERY excited to go home and see some friends and family there. I have a little under 3 weeks and it's going to be packed full of visiting, knitting, and all manner of fun things.

I have also begun to apply for jobs. It is rather daunting, but Vancouver is a great place to be if you're in the market to find a job. Ideally, I'd love to work at a job where I could use my engineering background or some of my lab experience. I like a job to be interesting and challenging. I've been keeping an eye on job postings for now, but the real job hunt will begin in earnest when I return to Vancouver.

I know that this upcoming year will be wonderful and exciting and full of all manner of adventures that I haven't yet begun to imagine. So even as I say goodbye to my life as a student, there is so much more that God has in store for my life that I have yet to experience. This will be my first time living in a 'big city' and I'm glad to be able to experience living in Vancouver when the Olympics come here next year. I love global events that bring people together from all over the world. Also, my new housemate (technically my landlady, but that's such a cold and impersonal word) has wonderful plans for us to grow vegetables in the garden and keep some laying hens for eggs and create a little craft nook for us to all be creative! She is so sweet, and I'm really looking forward to all the fun and creative things that we're starting to plan. Sometimes I feel like this is one of the best places to be, with your whole future open to endless possibilities and full of so many opportunities.

And lastly to my blog readers, I'm glad that you're with me on this journey. A journey is always sweeter when you have people to share it with, and I'm honoured that you choose to come here every week to share mine. Your comments have been like little beams of sunshine on some of my most dreary assignment-filled days. You are such thoughtful and creative people, and I'm glad that many of you blog yourselves so that I can see what astonishingly wonderful things you have been crafting. It inspires me to keep at this blog thing myself and continue posting up pictures of all my knitting creations.

Yes, I know, it's been one of those sappy sentimental kind of evenings. If you just skimmed this post cause it was way long and didn't have any knitting pictures, then I shall leave you with a closing summary: I love you guys!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Disaster averted

It is very important to read the washing instructions on a ball of yarn. In fact, it is critically and crucially important, in order to save oneself from a terrible fate of weeping and agony over an item which represents hours of work. And while we're on the topic, who makes sock yarn that isn't superwash? That's like making an indoor-use only bulldozer, or a car that can't be used on rainy days - oh wait, that's a convertible - but my point is, handwashing a pair of socks is a silly silly thing. As such, it never even occured to me that I should check my yarn label prior to tossing my newly knitted socks in the wash.

When they came out of the washing machine, they looked like misshapen midget socks. A feeling of pure horror pierced this little knitter's soul. Still wet from the wash, I managed to fit them only my feet and allowed them to 'block' dry there, taking them off every hour or so to give them a good tug. Luckily, the size I'd made had been a tad on the large side, so the result is that my socks still fit! They just barely fit, and they're not as stretchy as before owing to the felting that took place, but I shall convince myself that this felting only made them softer, and more sturdy. Here they are, post disaster, looking quite innocent, as if they hadn't tried to felt into oblivion and cause me a heart attack.

Otherwise, this week has been quite busy (all those end-of-semester papers and upcoming exams were sooner than I thought) but really good. I found a couple of unbelievably cheap plane tickets, so I'm going to be spending three weeks home in Ontario. I CAN'T WAIT to see Jenn's little babies, and she says that she's been telling them about Auntie Sarah :D

Also, in a crazy impetuous whirlwind of a decision, I'm now moving to Vancouver! More details on that later, but suffice it to say that the resident cat in the house is a cute and fluffy Scottish Fold (looks like this - and was in this pose waiting for tummy rubs when I visited) *beams with happiness*

Between writing papers and studying for exams and lounging on my porch swing in the gloriously beautiful weather we've been having, I also made some progress on the Zelda Toboggan. Behold, the triforce is taking shape!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Day of the Cardigan

It all started back in September. I decided I was going to knit a cardigan. My Very First Knitted Sweater. You may recall this cardigan, and my crazy decision to knit it in lace weight yarn. Well, it sat in pieces in my yarn nook for months and months, however this week there was a new and exciting development for this little UFO.

You see, my sister-in-law is in the theatre department, and happened to be in a play. Not only that, but my brother is the musical director of that same play, and they had managed to get me a complementary ticket to opening night! Now, the tradition at my school is that opening night of a performance is a Fancy Thing. People come looking all Lovely and Sophisticated in their most elegant clothes. I had decided that I would wear this cardigan to opening night, so the day before I brought it back from exile and dumped all the pieces on the floor.

Luckily for me, I had learned mattress stitch and good seaming practices not long before, so I felt confident enough to tackle this project, with the hope that I wouldn't inadvertantly ruin all the hours of work I'd already put into it. What I didn't count on was how horrifically long seaming takes, and how much of it I had ahead of me.

If there is a place of divine punishment for knitters, I am certain that it is full of endless amounts of mattress stitch. I tell you, I did nothing but work on the finishing of this cardigan all day long today. I had my DDR out so that I could play a song or two between seams to shake out my hands and get the crick out of my neck from staring so intently at the rows of tiny lace-weight v's. I almost gave up. There was just too much to do, and not enough time. I was on the point of choosing something else to wear, but decided to try on the half-finished cardigan, just to see what it would look like. This was my undoing, because it looked too cute, and I knew I HAD to wear it that evening. My roommate arrived home and made me delicious dinner, which I hurriedly ate between weaving in ends. The angel that she is, she ironed my skirt for me, while I set about making myself presentable. Time was tight. I went from the shower to the bus stop in 5 minutes. I'm still not sure how I managed that, but I did! I also wore my recently completed Blackrose Socks, since they matched my cardigan, and what knitter can pass up the chance to wear two coordinating FO's simultaneously!

The play was lovely, however I only knew two other people in the whole building, and since one was in the cast, I didn't even get a chance to talk to her after the play before having to rush off to catch the bus home. It was actually a rather anti-climactic end to my day of furiously knitting and seaming like a madwoman. Wearing your new knitwear isn't half as fun when there isn't anyone else there to share it with. So, dear blog readers, I shall just imagine that you were all at the play as well. "Oh this? Yes, I did knit it myself! Let me tell you, the first seam was the neatest, and they got progressively messier as the day went on."

Have a lovely night all! Catch you next time :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Party time!

Yes, my blogging friends, I have been neglecting you because of excessive partying. I have good excuse though! You see, my sister who has been living here since Christmas leaves tomorrow to go back to her job in Ontario, and my roommate had a birthday. Both very worthy causes, and we ended up taking a road trip to Seattle, as well as ditching class to visit Science World in Vancouver, and generally trying to pack as much fun as possible into the past two weeks.

However, in the midst of this, I have pictures of knitting for you, as I've been dragging some simple projects around with me to work on when I have a moment's time. So, check out my Dragonscale Armwarmers! They really rock. I love them.

I had a bit of yarn leftover after I finished knitting them, so I made a headband. I won't go to the trouble of linking the pattern, but it's super easy and fast to make, and you can check out the relevant details on my ravelry page.

Here are a couple shots of the combo in action today at Science World! Yes, I enjoy setting up silly pictures.
Also, I'm happy to report that Rena's dress arrived in Singapore safe and sound. Huzzah! Here's a couple pics of that one, showing you my 'l33t' embroidery that I busted out after not having embroidered anything in years. I only hope that it proves durable enough to survive baby wear. This was a pretty great pattern, and I think I'd definitely make it again (i.e. I'll probably be making it for Jenn's new baby girl in the near future).

Also, while we're talking about past projects, I remembered that I hadn't yet shown you the Christmas Shrug (take #3) which I made for Shay. So, here is a picture of that one.
For those of you still waiting on knitting requests, I have not forgotten you! Take heart and be encouraged, for knitting never ceases around here. I sometimes just put off finalizing details of patterns, is all. Once I have a pattern and a yarn decided, the needles will start flying.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ups and downs

Well, it's been a bit of a crazy week, weather included. We went from springtime to snowstorm to back to springtime, with a bizarre hailstorm that wasn't really hail, but more like mini-snowballs falling from the sky. Exams went pretty well, I think. At least well enough that I should pass. Celebrations afterward included a spontaneous trek to Stanley Park. My DnD character almost died with a single hit of a huge-sized electrified greatsword (thank goodness for being able to use an action point to stabilize). One of my best friends gave birth to two beautiful twins. Another of my best friends had her father pass away. Her family is my home-away-from-home so that was hard to hear. Very mixed feelings about this week.

On the knitting front, I finished (mostly) the dragonscale gauntlets. Pictures to come soon. They were pretty nice mindless knitting for while I was studying. Plans are in the works to do some baby knitting for the newly arrived twins, as well as a pair of Blackrose Socks. I've also been obsessing about cables. I went to Chapters to sneak a look at the book Continuous Cables, because I have plans in the works for designing my own unique cable pattern. I didn't want to pay for the book so I sat down with it for a good hour and absorbed as much information as my brain could hold about the construction of circular cables, then knitted a test swatch at knit night. Slowly, my plan is coming together!