Monday, December 31, 2007

Child of the '80s

Ahh... the baby boomers talk about being a child of the '60s with reminiscence and fond memories of their pot smokin', protesting, love festin' days but I am a child of the '80s. This has been driven home in the past few days by a few reminders.

  1. My friend commented on how she's been referring to things as gift certificates instead of gift cards. Upon hearing someone else say this, I realized that I had been doing this with regularity as I pulled out my gift card to Starbucks (thank you cool friends!)
  2. I picked up a dvd gift set of ... no, not the latest season of Lost or 24 but rather The Cosby Show. As my body was on a bit of a detox plan, I wasn't going anywhere and watched the whole Season 3 of the Huxtables. I fondly remembered all the shows. (side note: wasn't Theo cute?) What children would now consider wierd with all of the legwarmers, bright and crazy sweaters, and impossibly large earrings were nothing but happy reminders of my childhood. Yeah for ugly colours that don't match at all!
  3. I killed myself laughing at the new KIA commercial on tv that had the salesman dancing around like in Flashdance. Ahh, the 20 somethings will not get it and think that man has major issues but I thought that he was cool.
  4. I just picked up a stereo that I can dock my ipod on and play cds in. This will replace the ghetto blaster that I bought off my brother second hand 13 years ago. As much as it was a nice big piece of cd and cassette playing love, I'm happy to be retiring it. Did I mention that the stereo with speakers and all is the same size as the ghetto blaster?

I guess that 2008 will be here in a few hours but for now, I'm happily going to go have a moment with my old ghetto blaster.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I resolve to...

For all you wild and crazy people who think that New Year's Resolutions are good and important, I have some resolutions that you will definitely be able to keep:

  1. I resolve to try and stay the same weight... or gain it. I bet you that if you say that, you'll stay the same weight or maybe even lose it.
  2. I resolve to not learn anything new. You will not have to worry about becoming more intriguing or interesting at parties or when you hook up with your friends. (You may want to make some new friends so your old material sounds new!)
  3. I resolve to eat not-too-healthy food. This way every time you eat a celery stick, you'll break your resolution but it could be worth it.
  4. I resolve to not do a new exercise class this year. Trust me, you'll save yourself an embarrassing moment at the back of the kick boxing class when you look in the mirror and realize that you are on a totally different rhythm than everyone else (not that I have personal experience with this...)

Good luck with your resolutions. I'm going to make a list of resolutions that I can break easily this year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Why you didn't see me

To all you crazed people who line up for Boxing Week Sales. I want to let you know that I think that you are nice people and that you have good hearts but I was willing to let you enjoy the mall with one less person than normal. You might think that this is because of my effective weight loss strategy called the flu but I had other reasons as well.

  1. I don't need a dvd player. Why does Future Shop and all these other big box retailers advertise for dvd players at good sales. (everyone has them... even my parents!)
  2. My budget doesn't allow for a plasma screen. Seriously, who has money for one of these after Christmas. And don't even get me started on the Buy Now, Pay in 16 Months plans. People, the retailers do this because it gets them money. Lots of it.
  3. I get cold. All you hard core sales people who are waiting when the stores open from being outside. News alert: we live in the Great White North. It is called that for a reason. You could get frostbite waiting outside.
  4. I have personal space issues. If I can reach out and touch you, you might just be too close. (I know that I have traveled to a couple developing countries this year and you adjust while there... but I am still a North American.) In the frenzied spirit of the morning when the sale opens, people are all around you, pushing, shoving etc. Why don't we all play nicely? Because there are only a limited number of bargain basement items and the rest are only 25% off-that's not a deal.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to continue on with knitting a baby kimono for my next friend who has a baby girl. I got the yarn for it on sale today at the same price as it was yesterday minus all the crowds and I caught up with the yarn store's daughter who has got to be one of the nicest people ever. And I left a happy camper:-) There is a method behind my madness

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Post Holiday Weight Loss

Hold onto your seats! I've come up with the perfect (well on second thought, maybe not-so-perfect) ways to lose the Holiday Weight Gain that was helped by Bargainista making a batch of Auntie Yummy Squares. Exercise: Since it is the winter time, you may want to do some winter exercise. Bundle up as it is cold outside. If you go cross country skiing for the first time in years and are basically breaking your own trail, you might get more of a workout than you had in mind. You will have a workout in specific places in your bottom that you didn't know existed. And your thighs and your neck (who knows why?), your arms and you'll hurt for two days afterwards. I'm sure that if you are going after a long break, you'll probably burn more exercise than those annoyingly perky Participation people on tv tell you it will. Knitting: All you non-knitters think that I'm kidding but you really can lose weight by knitting. After all, you don't want to get your knitting dirty with the Cheetos dust, sticky squares residue or potato chips. I'm sure that it burns even more calories than just sitting around watching tv. Flu bug: Now, this is the most extreme way of all but requires some serious determination. You must stay around the house as you will want to be near the washroom. Food won't stay with you for long but be forewarned: even the most serious foodie won't even care about eating food. You might think that you want to die, you'll think that pj's are a serious fashion statement and you won't even care about going to your LYS's (local yarn store) Annual-After-Christmas-Sale. Even though you will lose some serious weight, you have to be seriously committed and know that there are some significant side effects. Good luck with losing your weight gain losses. Personally, I'd just encourage you to up your veggie intake after New Year's Day.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The best presents!

So... I've opened the most incredible Christmas present from my parents. Yarn-alpaca, llama, merino and everything in between. Bargainista bought it for me at Prairie Fibre Mill that we went to a few days ago. I'm dreaming about all the knitting to come. SO beautiful. I know that I'm spoiled. The cool thing is that they were odds 'n ends and there is probably close to $300 worth of stuff (not all the stuff made it in the photo) and Bargainista got them in bags for WAY less.
As I'm here in our warm house looking forward to a great chicken dinner, I can't help thinking about all the wonderful friends that I met in DR Congo this year who will be happy to have enough rice and cassava leaves today and life just doesn't seem fair. My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude and a feeling of unworthiness for all this that I have to celebrate. I took the above picture the morning after we had purchased sacks of powdered milk, rice and bread for our new friends and they had lined up early in the morning for it. I was so humbled when they thanked us... I was blinking and choking back the tears because it was such a little sacrifice for me.
It looks like paradise but people's reality is so different. In the village, families of nine or ten would live in these tiny homes. And we're not talking about the state of the 'latrines.'
Have a great Christmas. All of you mean so much to me. Remember all the great things in your life that are usually not under a tree-peace, hope, faith. I'm doing that myself.

Monday, December 24, 2007

I'm never going to grow up!

I've decided that I am NEVER going to grow up. Here's why:

  1. When I come to Bargainista's house... she cooks for me. She made me new recipes and favorite foods when I come visit. Talk about being spoiled. Tomorrow is the candy cane marshmallow dessert-yum!
  2. Grown ups have to have goals, plans and aspirations. If I don't grow up, then anytime I have a mature thought, it's time for celebration.
  3. Bargainista fixes pants that I buy and are too big for me. She's right now trying to figure out her brand new sewing machine to fix my pants.
  4. Grown ups don't usually admit to things that seem rather juvenile. Like when they go cross country skiing for the first time in a long time and spend a good chunk of the time on their bottom hoping that they don't slide right off the hill into the in the trees on the side. And even taking off their skiis coming up the big hill about half way up b/c it just wasn't successful. Skiing is skiing even when you are holding the skis in your hand, right?

Don't tell everyone at my workplace but I'm just pretending when I say mature things and act like a grown up. The longer I have them in the dark, the better.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Un-Norman Rockwell Family Survival Tips

I know that all of you are busy with your cute little children, wrapping up presents, going to see the latest Denzel Washington movie (not that I'm jealous), singing Christmas carols and basically being the perfect Norman Rockwell families.
Well what do you do when you are not the Norman Rockwell family? When your reality is that you can only be entertaining for a certain amount of time and then you run out of material. Especially in Saskatchewan when a 30 minute walk at -30C freezes all imagination, wit and conversational skills.
You become a board game fan! Here's the buying guide for all you yet to be converted board game enthusiasts like I am.
For those of you who have a good understanding of all things trivial, there is the new game, Mental Floss. I chose this because there is a section to detect lies. I'm not the greatest Trivial Pursuit person. People used to fight over who'd get me... "No you take her... no you take her." All because I didn't know that Daylight Savings Time kicks in at 2:00 in the morning. It just changes when you go to sleep. I guess not!
Or... for the witty ones and the people who know sayings, Buzz Word. Like "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." I can get fairly decent success with this... not that I'm competitive.
How about the new (to Knittinchick) game Imaginiff. You put all the player's name on the board along with people that everyone knows and have to answer questions like, "If Knittinchick saw a robbery, what would she do?" People voted that I would scream hysterically and then offer counselling. Man, do my friends know me or what?
Or the final one, Be Rhymed. Apparently it's all about rhyming but I haven't played it yet. I sense that I could have fun with that ... but I'm having too much fun voting about everyone in Imaginiff.
Have fun with your Norman Rockwell and not-so-Norman-Rockwell families.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Handing out Christmas cards is a nice tradition that many people do but there is the chance that it might become rote or routine! Not so with Bargainista or her neighbor who I'll affectionately call Farmin' Gramps! Bargainista is a bit of quiet wit... unless you know her well, you won't know this but once you do... watch out:-) About 12 years ago, Farmin' Gramps and his wife gave a Christmas card to Bargainista and my dad, Building Guy. The next year it was cut up and placed lovingly on a card and returned. Farmin' Gramps saved it for a year and then returned it as ... It took a break for a couple of years when Bargainista and Building Guy were going through a bit of a challenging season but alas, it had to be resurrected. Tradition is tradition after all. This is a couple years combined. A story written into the Christmas carols calendar inspired by Bargainista's wit. Then new elements need to be added. I'm sure that stainless steel was found in King Tut's tomb...known to be a strong and steady element. But Bargainista had new ideas for this new element! Delicate dried flowers from her garden. Last year, it wood have been important to introduce have something solid. Bargainista reassures me that although it is the same as the hardwood floors, Farmin' Gramps used a scrap and didn't cut a hole in the kitchen floor. Bargainista went against the grain and sent back a spicy Christmas greeting. The scent of cinnamon and cloves follows it now. Have fun with all your traditions. We sure are!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Saskatchewan Rush Hour

Ok... so now you've done driving through the cities worrying about the biggest shopping day of the year. As I've now accomplished the Annual Trek to Saskatchewan and can let you know about my FABULOUS driving skills. Well, I've done it through another type of rush hour and driving intensity and thought that I'd share my wisdom with you... (hold onto your seats!)

  • Swerving is an important skill! But that would be around the road kill and the snow drifts instead of to be a defensive driver racing down the major road to get the next Wii for his child.
  • Speak to the fellow commuters/travelers. Unlike the city where people speaking 'digitally' to you is not the greatest experience, you just use two fingers lifted a couple inches off your driving wheel to greet everyone. Decoded for all you non-Saskatchewanites: Have a great day! Good luck! Safe travels! Isn't it cold and blowy out today?
  • Convenient Paying System. Now Pay-at-the-Pump doesn't work but the guy inside the local Esso talks to you, thanks you for your purchase and wishes you a Merry Christmas (and actually means it!)
  • Signage is important. If you need to look for road signs, they do exist but they are very small. When you are going to the cool, organic, environmentally friendly mill, you can find homespun signs... hand painted, rather smallish and attached to the side of the abandoned gas station.
  • Directions are freely given. This isn't through google earth, yahoo maps but rather through your friend's husband who you frantically call from your cell phone (thank goodness for coverage in those couple of miles) who lets you know to turn after the valley and at the pine trees. In the prairies, these are helpful clues.
  • Construction men are hotties! Now, this might not be the hunk you imagine in the middle of the summer with the picturesque backdrop. No, this is the rather layered Hutterite unmarried man (I know these things... he didn't have a beard) who is driving a big tractor, has a toque on and has such a thick Dutch accent that he is hard to understand.
  • Arrival is exciting! After your adventures in prairie driving, you are excited to arrive at your destination and you might even get invited over to people's house for "A Tea and a Pee!"

Spoiler: None of this has been fabricated and has been provided as helpful hints for your next driving adventures. And you thought you had an adventure spending 20 minutes in Costco's parking lot today!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Zappin' it!

Apparently hand held tasers are a controversial gift want list for women this Christmas. Aside from the important philosphical and ethical questions this raises, I was thinking about what I'd use a personal taser for if I owned one. However, I'd like a taser that not only shocked people but replaced their bad behavior with more acceptable behavior. Here are the people that I'd use it on:

  1. Mrs. Meany Pants. Pre-tasered: This lady was yelling at the really nice Pre-Scanning Employee at Costco (how can you not love them? They speed things up!) when she lost her American Express card. She finally found it but didn't apologize. Post-tasered-Polite, taking personal responsibility Costco shopper. She even gives away her secret recipe for shortbread to the cashier.
  2. Mr. Impatient. Pre-tasered: The man who cuts people off and weaves in and out of traffic all the way down the busy and not-so-busy streets. Usually they end up at the lights at the same time as you. Post-tasered: Driving the same speed as everyone else and waves at children in school buses.
  3. Miss Picky Pants. Pre-tasered: These are children who won't eat anything that isn't in their grouping of five favorites and tend to be rather annoying to entertain. Post-tasered: They'd be replaced with Momofthecrazies' children who say please and thank you for everything. They are delightful to be around. They even look at broccoli lasagna as an adventure.
  4. Mr. Unthankful. Pre-tasered: This guy is upset that everything isn't perfect in his life and is upset that they don't have the biggest, most flat screened, HD, blue-ray entertainment system. Post-tasered: He'd think that anything is great and would even think that Knittinchick's plain old tv is fabulous and not roll his eyes when his wife says that they are going to Knittinchick's for a dvd night.

Too bad no one is going to be giving me a taser this year. I think that there is a batch of broccoli lasagna I need to make!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's a Wrap!

I just saw these amazing women online that could wrap up a snowboard as origami. And they were gorgeous. But they did use lots of paper and tape to make these creations. I know that there is a buzz about Christmas being more green this year and I thought that I'd give you some ideas from my thrifty, oops, I mean green family.

  1. Fabric Gift Bags. They gave these away about 20 years ago at the local Turbo gas station and they are usually grabbed by the men of our family on Christmas Eve. Still as nice as the day we got them with a 30L fill.
  2. Paper Gift Bags. Now, these can die after a certain amount of time... usually years though. The key is to get one ugly one in the batch that people know comes from you and people dread having it be for them. Who knows, it might be a good place to put the most anticipated gift.
  3. Garbage Bags. For largish, awkward gifts this is pure gold! (Eat your hearts out snowboard wrappers....) Tie it up with ribbon and then when the person unwraps it, you have the garbage bag there for the unrecyclables to clean up.
  4. Wrapped Boxes. Now this takes a bit of time the first year but it will come back to help you out year after year. Wrap the top and bottom of the box separately and place the gift in there. Voila! You've got the perfect box for years to come. If you're really desperate, do it in a festive but not Christmas specific colour and you can use it for birthdays.
  5. Saving things. I agree that boxes, large pieces of ribbon etc. should be saved.... be green! However, if you try to get your kids to stop ripping through the wrapped presents to carefully save the wrapping paper, you might be taking it too far.
  6. Moment of amnesia presenting. Or you can wait until all the gifts are opened up and then pretend that you forgot about something in your room and bring out the unwrapped presents in the bags from the store they were purchased at. I have to warn you, that if you take it this far, you won't be too popular. That is just taking the green thing a little too far.

Wrapping presents is not meant to be stressful. Now go and find those gift bags!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"It's just like riding a bike!"

So... you've heard everyone say, "It's just like riding a bike. You could never forget." Hmmm... Having gone through a difficult season in my life, I realized that I have focused too much on work and other people's needs and need to develop interests of my own. What shall I do so I am not so much of a loser? Well, I do pay $260/year to belong to this community and they have one of the nicest outdoor rinks. There is even a separate hockey rink so you don't have to fight your way through the hockey sticks. There is a lit fire in the middle of the pleasure ice in the winter evenings. It's quite fabulous. I'm going to buy skates! Went to Canadian Tire and got the skates. (Bargainista: they were on sale!) I'm remembering how it is just like riding a bike as I go for the first time to the rink, in the middle of the day so no one will see me, and just about wipe out! I make it through the first day but have proceeded to take off about three layers of skin on my own leg as I didn't have my socks up high enough and the skates rubbed on there. Great, I already have a sports injury. I have kept up with it for the past week and have had better days if you don't count the time that the four year olds were lapping me. However, yesterday as I had a trippy moment (it was warm so the ice was melting) I remembered that in college I got on a borrowed bike after not riding for several years and proceeded to check the brakes on the bike by cranking on them with all my 5'2" energy. I then went literally flying over the handlebars and wiped out severly and had problems walking for a couple of days. I might still have the war wounds. They are right. It's just like riding a bike!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Giving the scary gift

Have you heard the commercial on the radio where the guy tells you how to practice being excited about Christmas gifts when you really didn't want them? "Oh thank you." "How lovely." "I've never something quite like this." It's hilarious because you know that you've done it before. I know that I have but it wasn't for a Christmas present. Bargainista (my mom) loves a good deal and has been known to provide me with many laughs over her great hunting. She's actually famous for it within our family. A dress for $5... well, she's done it! She could probably beat you at any great deal story. I digress. Bargainista was visiting me just before Easter one year in my 577 square foot condo and brought me a little Easter present. Oh how nice. Who doesn't love a present? I open it up and there is a little 12" Easter 'tree' that looks like a Charlie Brown tree but with Easter eggs, spring-y things hanging off it. I tend to like the Zen look more-you know, uncluttered. It really wasn't me. Too Cutesy. I didn't want to hurt her feelings so like the commercial urges you, I said: "How thoughtful." (is this what you think of me?) "How seasonal" (I'm your daughter, don't you know that I don't decorate for Easter?) "Thank you." (Always have a grateful heart! Do I have to write a thank you card?) "Mom, you really didn't have to." (No seriously, you didn't have to.) "Is there a special story behind this?" (This must have been a killer sale.) "You could probably use this every year." (Where am I going to store it?) Bargainista let me go for about five minutes before telling me that she knew that it wasn't me and wanted to see how I'd react to something that wasn't me. (Don't worry, it was on a good sale.) A joke! From the sweetest lady ever. She got me. We laughed so hard afterwards. I reassured her that she had taught me many polite responses. She took it away with her and puts it out every Easter and usually calls me to let me know! May you hit the mark with all the presents you get this year!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I have put in my description that I am a single thirtysomething. Thank you for keeping on reading. I think that there are two extremes of single chicks-the one being like my auntie who married later in her 30s and bought us toys and things that we wanted instead of practical clothing such as cords (trust me, in the 80s they weren't as nice as they are now.) She traveled lots, laughed lots and had the most unique friends and always played cool games with us kids. She told us that we were more entertaining than adults and the world rotated around her in our minds.

The other extreme is the single lady who yells at children and innocent puppies on the street, has a tissue tucked up her sleeve and her house and wool sweaters often have the musty, mothball smell. She also actually likes to eat bran and thinks that it is good for you. Good for you as in having flavor and being an essential part all meals and snacks. I'm sorry but crackers are not meant to have bran in them!
I'm probably between the two extremes but would like to think that I lean more towards the cool auntie. I often have embarrasing or awkward moments that I enjoy laughing about afterwards so I think that would give me cachet. Thank goodness for an imagination.
I often have random musings that I have shared for years through email with my best friends. They are extremely loyal and are still my friends. (Note to self: make them sound angelic in this blog!) Don't look for any deep meaning or themes throughout the themes. Otherwise, your psychologist will just be too rich for his/her own good.
The first musing ever (at least to this blog): Homemade, Easy and Thoughtful Christmas.
So... this August, I was struggling with some difficult life stuff and wasn't coping well (the mental picture you want is of looking at the grocery store for tissues with lotion in them-no joke!). So, I decided that I wasn't going to be intimidated by preserving, canning and making jam by myself like I've been for years. I made strawberry, blueberry/orange, raspberry/rhubarb jams and peach preserves and mango chutneys. As people were kind to me through the difficult season, I'd make a mental note and plan on giving them a jar or two at Christmas as something good out of a tough time.
So... now it is December and I need to make these jars look sort of Christmas-y. No big deal. My mom, who will be affectionately referred to Bargainista throughout this post, always put some nice fabric cut out with pinking shears and pretty ribbons. Ok... I have pretty ribbon that someone gave me that was saved for Christmas time. No nice fabric or pinking shears in the house. A trip to the local big box to purchase some. We're GTG (good to go).
Did you know how sore your back gets sitting on the kitchen floor tracing circles and cutting them out with pinking shears? Now that I've eaten up a good hour on circles, no big deal. Bargainista used to tie them on easily with the ribbon. The fabric won't sit on my jars. It keeps on slipping off. What to use? Maybe dental floss-but no, that is not working, my jars are still lonely.
A brainwave: What about elastic bands? I'll just use those ones that come with the flyers that end up on my sidewalk twice a week. Wow-they work perfectly. Oh yeah, Knittinchick is in the cold basement looking through the recycling for the last three needed elastics. Now that they're on, ribbon gets tied on nicely without bows as they are not working out.
End product: Three hours later and I have pretty 'decorated' jars of jams and chutneys. Not to mention a messy floor, new pinking shears and sore back.

Next year everyone is getting Starbucks cards!