Saturday, December 06, 2008

It's mitten weather here in Ontario!
Damn, it's cold out there!
Kids being kids, mine are growing like weeds, so of course, they both need new mitts/gloves. S has decided it's not cool at middle school to wear mitts, so he's going to stick with store-bought gloves, but B was wanting a new pair of mitts. So like a good Mom, I whipped out my knitting needles. The mitt you see at left is the the first of the pair. All that's left is to close the thumb off, weave in ends and B has a new pair of mitts. At the rate he's going though, I think I should start casting on a bigger pair now!

Our friend Debra is getting another pair of socks this year. Dark blue leg, rainbow coloured cuffs and toes. So far so good, I've just gotten to the heel flap for the first one. This pair is taking me longer than I'd like.
Every year I say I'm going to knit all the important people in my life socks, and then the year gets away from me, and it's November and there's no way all those people are going to get handmade socks!
I see a new year's resolution in the making.

Work has changed yet again.
I have been promoted to manager of a 24 hr. store.
Those of you who read here on a semi-regular basis will remember when I stepped down as assistant manager of that first store.
Now I'm managing my second store! Yikes!
(I'll post pictures next time)

There have been issues, and there will continue to be, I'm sure. I think I see how to fix what needs fixing on the floor. I know I need to become more paperwork oriented, even though that's not my thing. I would rather spend the day on the floor straightening, cleaning and rebuilding.
But it's mind blowing at times how many different elements there are to managing a store.
I think someone is trying to sabotage my new position. There are rumors, wrong and incorrect ones at that, someone has already called head office trying to paint me as incompetent and lazy; and I am grateful that there are cameras all over the place!
But I'm stubborn and pig-headed and whoever it is will not drive me away.
I am a Sagittarius. We are honorable, honest to a fault, trustworthy, reliable, generous and sincere.
But above all else, I am stubborn!
I have already taken a store in need of focus and TLC and made it more successful.

I will do it again.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

No Buddy Left Behind

One of the blogs I follow alerted me this morning to a situation that had me in tears.
The picture to the left is Ratchet and Sgt. Gwen Beberg. She and another soldier rescued Ratchet when he was just a puppy, flea-bitten, starving and huddled under a blanket. Sgt. Beberg wants to return home with Ratchet, but apparently regulations strictly forbid soldiers befriending dogs while on duty. Operation Baghdad Pups is doing what it can to try and get Ratchet home, following a number of other pups back to the States, but as recently as October 15 - Ratchet did not make today's SPCA International ( flight out of Iraq. Just 30 minutes before SPCA International's rescue expert, Terri Crisp, was to lift off from the Baghdad tarmac, the military finally gave Ratchet clearance to be released from his location at COP Meade. The military's slow response has put him at risk because they did not release him in time for today's flight out of Iraq. 6 other U.S. soldiers' dogs are on their way to safety escorted by Terri Crisp, Operation Baghdad Pups program manager.
October 17 - SPCA International's Operation Baghdad Pups program manager, Terri Crisp, boarded a plane bound for the Middle East today for the third time this month. This time Crisp leaves with assurance from the military that Ratchet has the clearance needed to meet her at Baghdad Airport.

So while I'm writing this on October 18th, I'm wondering....where is Ratchet? Who is caring for him?

Now, I don't own a cat, but I kept thinking, cats live in war zones too, what about them? Baghdad Pups is trying to help them too. Here's some of the criteria for an animal to be accepted into the program:
  • Animals must be living in either Iraq or Afganistan under the care of a United States military person or a military contract worker.
  • Cats or dogs must have been under the age of three months when found, with exceptions being made for older animals.
  • Animals must have never bitten a person
  • Animals must already have a permenant home to go to in the United States, they cannot go to a shelter in the hopes that they will be adopted.
  • Feral animals will not be considered for the program
  • Animals cannot show any signs of agression
  • Animals that have been regularly tormented, especially by children, require special consideration before being accepted into the program.
This is just a partial list, for more info, please visit the Baghdad Pups website.

If you, like me, think it's time to change the regulations holding Ratchet in Iraq, please, say so. Leave me your thoughts, visit the Baghdad Pups website, write to every Senator, even if you aren't American.
You need only be human to understand why these regulations need to be changed. Visit the Clemency for Ratchet website.
Demand change.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Here, Watch My Blog Wouldya?

Halloween is right around the corner. 20 days in fact. I still have to get costumes for the boys. Shandon wants to be the character for Scream. Braydon wants to be Sonic the Hedgehog, but I'm not sure how do-able that's going to be. Ever try and convince an eight year old he needs a second choice?

Even though Thanksgiving is only two days away, we're already starting to decorate the store for Halloween. We have blood bowls, goblets, ghosts, "blood" filled squishy handprints, scary halloween music...the whole thing. Now all we have to do is move the stereo and actually DO the decorating! We're thinking about creating a murder scene in a corner of the store, hence the "bloody" handprints and footprints. We have the required spiderwebs, skeletons and so forth. I found a talking headstone at Zellers that I had to get; that's going to be a lot of fun. Last year, Tammy and I, with the help of a couple others, created a crime scene at the store. We had gathered rocks and leaves and sticks for the "ground", had one of our staff lie like a victim so we could outline their body, dripped blood on a rock and surrounded the whole thing with police tape! We loved it! Unfortunately, we had to take it all down because someone in a position of power felt it was inappropriate for our neighbourhood. I don't even have the photos anymore....damn. So this year, I thought I would drink from a bloodfilled goblet with floating eyeballs. Which then gave me the idea to knit eyeballs. Here, watch my drink for me, wouldya? Yeah, I love halloween... Now I have to decide how I'm going to dress up this year!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pardon Me, I Didn't Knit That For You.

Ravelry has been a cool thing since it's inception. I'm more convinced of this now than ever before. Ravellers have huge hearts. Last week I put out a call for donations of hand-made mitts, scarves, hats or socks for Cambridge's homeless shelter. Not surprisingly,a few people responded, and yesterday I got a parcel at work containing some hats! Many, many thanks go out to AnnieBee; a lovely young lady with a big heart.

While scooting around Ravelry, I came across the video below; a tongue-in-cheek poke at the "girl singers" in the fifties. It won't have you spitting your coffee in hilarity, but I'll bet you my stitch holder you won't be able to get the song outta your head!

More tomorrow, watch the video!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Trees and Stones Will Teach You What You Cannot Learn From Masters.

There's a lot to discuss today, but I'll start by sharing a glimpse of my afternoon.
<---- That is part of my trip to work. Up until winter, I rather enjoy it. Today I was joined by a toad (whose photo is alas, only on my cell) and an angry black squirrel. It was a very nice stroll, despite the 20 pounds of library books on my back. Except for the fact that I had to turn around and go back through the ravine because I'd forgotten my money at home! Ah well, entirely my own fault...

I did some knitting before going into work to do the bank deposit. I worked for a couple of hours on Tammy's Dad's socks. I'm nearly done one, except I'm not especially happy with it. But his birthday is November, so the push is on. Then I've got a pair of kid's mitts on order from a former co-worker. My supervisor wants a pair of socks for another supervisor, and I'd really like to make Tammy a pair of socks.
Wait! There's more!
Debra has moved up to Gravenhurst, land of the mosquitoes and pine trees, and she'd like as many knitted socks as possible. Betty wants a couple of pairs made from the new sockyarn from Bernat, the boys need socks this winter, and ours are getting holes faster than I can knit!
You know, work really gets in the way of knitting....
When my fingers need a break, I've been checking out Knitting Up A Storm. The path from knitted blob to felted clog has been an interesting one to follow. Then I went over to The Velvet Cerebellum to follow the adventures of Chester and Maddie. Then I picked up the needles again.

Did anyone else besides Betty and I catch the Saturday Night Live sketch of Katie Couric and Sarah Palin? It's was funny, but frightening at the same time. Tina Fey is channeling Palin so well, it's eerie. We watched both the original interview, and the sketch, and the only difference is that Tina Fey's voice is just a bit higher and she was a bit perkier. The fact that she had on the same outfit and spoke Palin's own words was bordering on creepy! What's even more disturbing though is that if McCain gets elected, Palin is one skipped heartbeat away from leading the biggest free country on the planet. One airbubble to the brain away from dragging the entire United States further into hell. I read a lot of Betty's favourite blogs over her elbow (her desk and mine are only a foot away from each other), and I was reading a theory this morning that's really taken hold.
What if Palin is not supposed to finish out the campaign? What if she is only window dressing with a shelf-life, who will bow out of the campaign when she becomes too embarassing? Who then will get the tap for V.P? Rudy G ? Hmm.

Even though I am Canadian, I fear the reprocussions will be felt all the way up here. After all, U.S hurricanes make their mark at our gas pumps. The state of the U.S Stock market affects our dollar too.

I fear for not only the U.S if McCain and Palin get elected.

I fear for us all.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Crapdom...It's a Word.

I'm listening to "Gypsy" from Lord of the Dance....what do you listen to when you're feeling reflective?

I'm feeling reflective this week, partly because it's been a hectic week and partly because it may very well be the week that changes my life to a degree.
Remember my once-upon-a-time-boss-now-friend, Tammy? Well, it seems she may leave the company. This sucks because the company won't be the same without her. My job as a manager won't be the same without her and that store won't be the same without her. She made me the manager I am today. She taught me how to be strong, how to be flexible, how to bring a store back from the brink of crapdom. Yes, crapdom. It's a word now. Speaking of crap....I had the opportunity to go and see another store this week. Oh My God. The coolers looked like crap; they were mostly empty and bug-ridden. There was only two kinds in the damn thing, instead of all the flavours there should have been. The cans down the grocery aisle were dust-covered. There was a huge butcher knife in the fridge behind the limes....wait...I had to move my shovel last winter in case someone grabbed it and brained me with it, and this manager gets to keep a big-assed knife in their cooler????


To be fair though, I would like to say that I came away from that store more focused and with a zest for bleach.


Thank you.
Because of the crappy, filthy, shudder-worthiness of your store, I went back to mine and cleaned.
Yet again.
I washed the back door; front and back. I washed the walls. I washed the windows. Again.
I washed the coolers and the floor. Then I took all the product off the breakfast food aisle, washed every item, and the shelves, and then put it all back together.
And we aren't done. When I left, a staffmember was washing the magazine rack with hot soapy water. And when I get back to work tomorrow, I'm sure I'll find something else to clean.
Thanks for proving to me that I am doing a good job at my own store.
I just wish I could challenge your number two position.

I was saddened to learn this morning of Paul Newman's passing. He was a good 'un.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Sarah Palin needs a tele-prompter to tell her when to pause in a speech?
She needs someone/thing to phonetically sound out nuclear????

This is a woman who was Mayor of a town of more than 15 people, who then went on to become Governor of a STATE, who has been tapped for next-in-line-to-the-Oval Office and second most important person of the second largest free country on the ENTIRE PLANET, and she needs someone to tell her how to sound out the word "nuclear"??????????

Are you kidding me????

Wait, I think I can become a politician after all.

My platforms are easy to understand. I stand for what is right, freedom to choose for all, decency, commonsense and opportunity. Mess with my country, or it's people, or my family and I'm gonna come down like a ton of bricks on your ass.
And here's the best part...

I don't need someone to tell me how to sound out a word my eight year old knows!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Convenience or A Big Hassle?

We all take convenience, or variety, stores for granted. We all do. Just get stuck needing something, and not have one around.
I would never have thought I would ever work at one, let alone manage one! But I do. After four-ish years behind the counter, I've learned a few things I'd like to share with you to make your experience a little more pleasant.

  • Do not, and I cannot repeat this enough, do not come into a convenience store if you are in a hurry. We cannot promise you will be served quickly. We cannot promise there will be no lineup ahead of you and we cannot allow you to jump line because you did not leave home early enough to get where you have to be.
  • Please, do not snarl at the person behind the counter and expect them to be sweetness and light when they answer you. You get out of this brief encounter what you put into it. You want polite service? Be a polite customer.
  • Please think about your question before you ask it. Just because you no longer see cigarettes for sale behind the counter does not mean we no longer sell them. In Ontario, we have been "blacked out" since May. This means the government tells us how we can sell cigarettes and to whom.
  • Speaking of cigarettes, we must now ask you for identification if you look younger than 30 years old. Please, find a different response other than "Are you kidding me?" Also on the list of responses we're tired of, "Seriously?" and "But I'm 32!" If I had a quarter for every time I've heard any of those responses, I could retire tomorrow. I remind you, the government and our head office decide who we ask for I.D; not us. We can lose our job if we are caught selling to an undercover enforcement agent, and your bad habit is not worth losing my job over. Do you want to explain to my children why they can't have new shoes?
  • Please don't assume that because you don't see the item you're looking for we don't have it. Ask us. It may be in a spot you don't expect. That person behind the register is there to provide a service to you, the customer. If they look bored, perhaps they're hoping for something to do.
  • If you like the look of our store, tell us. If you think it's really clean, or you really like the way something is displayed, tell us! We like getting kudos even more than complaints.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of the person behind the register. Yes, your total probably is the amount on the screen. No, they cannot haggle with you. You can try and negotiate the cost all you want, but they are not authorized to change the price of the items you want. If that person says your order is $7.69, then that's what it is. This is not a flea market, it's a store.
So now that I've gone over some basics for you, I hope this will help make your next visit to a convenience store more enjoyable; no matter where it is.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Rainbow Filled Summer

Summer is a busy time for a lot of folks. Same thing here.
We had a couple of big things a handfasting.
I hear a few of you out there, "A what?"
A handfasting is a very old form of marriage. The first marriage, I suppose. Traditionally, a handfasting joined a couple for a year and a day, to see if they were compatible and could live happily together. These days, it has become an interesting option for same sex and Pagan couples to wed when a church wedding is out of the question, for one reason or another. For us, a church wedding was not an option. So we made arrangements with the local parks people to have our wedding there. A friend of ours performed officiant duties and two of our closest friends were persons of honor. Their jobs were to help us pull everything together and keep us sane.

This is Tammy (behind us). She had to bring me back to earth a few times.

Lorraine was Betty's person of honor, but for some reason I can't find her picture today. I'll share it with you another day. (Sorry, Lorraine)

We were surrounded by friends and family, greenery and kids. The rain held off after torturing me with just enough rain that we had to break out the umbrellas. (Thanks go out to Laura for bringing those). Afterwards we went back to a local watering hole, celebrated with beer (juice and pop for the kids), a bloody good picnic potluck and music. I didn't want it to end, and even though we were there for a couple hours, it didn't seem long enough to hang out with my friends.

For our honeymoon, we stayed in Toronto for Pride Weekend, watched both the Dyke Parade and the BIG Pride Parade. I took tons of shots, but this is one of the best. We stayed at a B&B on the edge of Cabbagetown, which I will gush about later. We had a great time, realized that three days is not long enough to do and see everything we wanted, and we're goin' back...eventually.

What else ... I worked my behind off at the store, and I think I'll be inventing 10 Rules For Shopping At A Convenience Store. More on that later. Complete with pictures of the store. (I have to close the store tonight, so I may have more to blog about when I get home) Oh, our store was the brief resting place for a pair of twin baby bats! They never came inside, so we left them alone and didn't tell too many people. They were good tenants, so we welcomed them back. We haven't seen them in a week, so we think their Mom may have grounded them.

I'm still knitting, and tearing things back, and re-knitting. We were lucky enough to go to a tent sale, at one of the original yarn mills here in Ontario. Spent lots of money we shouldn't have, made my Mom happy and generally had a good time.

What did you do this summer?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Quoting Thumper...

Remember that scene in Bambi, where Bambi and Thumper go to wake up Flower, and he says..."Is it spring yet?" That's how I feel.
Every time I would talk about getting a bike, it would snow like the devil! We finally got our bikes and rode them home, so I expected it to snow the next day. It hasn't yet, but it was a little nippy to be riding to work this afternoon. So I walked. Most of the way, anyway. Along the way I saw a male cardinal and crocus sprouts, so I guess spring truly IS on it's way.
Betty and I are knitting a Pride Blanket, in panels. To hurry spring along, I started with yellow. (I guess I needed cheering up. Expecially after I heard my store inventory is in 7 weeks! OMG!) We plan on making it a sofa-quilt. Larg enough to cover us on the sofa, but not for the bed, since the dog's claws get caught in anything on the bed. I had started another hat for a kid, this one was supposed to be for charity...but somehow it's gone missing. Seriously...missing...MIA...gone!
What I really want is another sweater. An absolute-must-have-every-evening-because-it's-my-favourite-sweater. In red. With a sturdy cable. Also in red. You see, my current favourite sweater is wearing out. I love this thing to death. It's big, it's warm, it's soft. It's everything you want your weekend sweater to be. Except holey. Every time I think I could do it, I look myself in the eye (No,in the mirror, you think I'm popping out an eyeball?!) and say to myself, "Remember the one-day-sweater that took you nine months? Naaaaaah. Ask Mom."
And then I ask Mom, find out she's incredibly busy and give up on the idea until the next time I realistically face my sweater's mortality.
I wonder if she and I could work on it together, through the mail....

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It Never Ends...

Dress socks...of a sort. These are being made from yarn that I can't decide if it's sock weight or fingering. The first one has proven a pain to knit. Dark blue yarn, similar to knitting with spider silk...oh yeah...laugh a minute. Did I mention I've had to frog and restart twice? I really hope these fit me when they're all done.
I wish I could knit at work. I'd be a happier boss. One of my employees quit today. Over the phone. One day notice.
I had called her to let her know there was paperwork I needed done for head office before tomorrow afternoon, and she said she wanted to talk about her employment with the company. Never a good sign. It seems a beauty supply store had made her an offer. She's taken it, which I understand, because it's more within the field she's pursuing. I get it. But they made this offer yesterday, and she took it yesterday. But she didn't see fit to call me and do the decent thing and at least give me a week to find a replacement. I called her! She didn't even CALL ME! This afternoon, I was angry; now I'm just hurt. I probably shouldn't be, I know the convenience store industry is a liquid and transient one. I expected better of her. Her reference check was a glowing one, her former boss waxed get the idea. So now I have to not only open the store yet again this weekend (this after I had to open last sunday for this same individual because she slept in), but I'm working a 12 hr shift! See, in order to do one of my staff a favour and give him a day off when he asked for it, I scheduled myself to work his shift from 12 to 6. Now I have to open at seven....and work till 6. The very next day, I have to open again and then run a staff meeting till two thirty! Hell, I'm tired just writing about it. Like I said, it would be okay if I could knit at work. Then again, I might get frustrated with all the interruptions and threaten to run someone through with a knitting needle. Probably not good for my career.
Next time, the hat from the neverendingwinter.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sock Knitters and Female Impersonators...oh My!

<----- This is the much wept-over-often-frogged-and-restarted "Dad Sock" This is its fourth incarnation. Sad. But it looks pretty damn sharp, if I do say so myself. I think the needles must be a size too small, because I sometimes think I am knitting with steel. These socks will keep out drafts, believe me. The toes will match the cuff, which is a mottled sandy-oatmeal kind of tweed. Not sure if the heel flap will have the oatmeal tweed yet. I knit like I write. Sporadic. Speaking of writing, I was fortunate to attend a local gathering of lesbian (and lesbian-friendly) writers, performers and musicians last night. It was an interesting collection of personalities. Especially Miss Drew. All I heard last night was..."You should have seen him dance!" He was rather tall in those heels, let me tell you! Hope he didn't twist his ankle on the way to Club Ren, it looked ready to snap off. I missed him because while the first set went on, I stayed out in the lobby and guarded Anne Azel's books. Anne is an author friend of ours, one of the most talented writers I have ever ready, and a damn fine, intelligent and entertaining person besides. I would have taken my knitting, but I already felt a bit conspicuous, being the only one knitting would be even more obvious. Maybe next year, I'll have more of The Anari Effect to read...maybe I'll knit while I read, just to stir things up.
On the reading list beside Anne's wonderful books is "Fire Your Doctor!" I am reading now about vitamins, more specifically the range of ailments and diseases that can be treated with megadoses of specific vitamins. It's fascinating stuff, really. Makes a very good case for paying more attention to one's body. One of the premises the author makes is that we should take more Vit C than we do. Smaller doses, taken more frequently throughout the day. He says, "Vitamin C has shown to be helpful for over thirty major diseases, including pneumonia, herpes zoster, pancreatitis, hepatitus, arthritus, some forms of cancer, leukemia, diabetes, ...etc." While Mr. Saul does acknowledge that "individual needs for vitamin C vary greatly, he suggests increasing one's daily intake slowly. Linus Pauling was a big advocate of Vitamin C too. He's considered a pioneer in the field of orthomolecular medicine. Some also consider his views on Vitamin C to be, how shall I put this...doubtful at best. Whether one buys into Dr. Pauling's views, or those of Andrew Saul, Ph.D., one can hardly argue that, on the whole, most of us don't take care of ourselves well enough. So I'm ready with a cautious mind, but a hopeful heart while I knit some more on Tammy's Dad's socks.
Next time, I'll show you the dress socks.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

So many possible projects, so few hours...

Remember the socks I told you about last time? The one's for Tammy's father? I've re-started them four times! This last time, I got 4 inches done before I realized I hadn't ended the ribbing! So I had this really nice looking oatmeal-tweedy cuff, and a deep blue leg...that was still 1X1 ribbing! If I were a lesser person I might have cried. I didn't. I put the sock in time out and went back to work on that scarf for the homeless box. According to the hordes I fight every day on the bus, scarves that look homemade and have no distinct pattern are all the rage. They look like stash busters, stripes of varying width and colour, and made on larger needles. They look so homemade that it took me a while before I could figure out they weren't. (Remember that I'm trying to figure this out across a crowded bus without staring). They're even a hot topic on the Ravelry forums. So knowing how bored I was of deep purple, I decided to mix it up a bit. I have little balls here and there of ends that either we've hung on to, or that my mother has sent down to enable Shandon's knitting habit, and now I have a purpose for little odds and ends. I mix them up a little, and then go back to purple, resulting a multi-colour stripe on purple. It really looks kind of interesting.

I frogged the dad-sock back to the cuff, picked up the stitches and took a deep breath...again. Now I'm back to a 3" piece. It looks nice, but I can't wait for the next pair now. See the picture up there? That's Apple Pie, in the sunset colourway. It's quite a looker. By all accounts (thank you my fellow Ravelers!), it's a nice yarn to knit with; 65% Superwash Merino, 20% Kid Mohair, 10% Nylon, 5% Silk. It comes in something like 30 different shades, some solid, some self-patterning. I could easily knit projects with this stuff all year and never get bored. So I think that's just what I'm going to do.Tammy's family is going to get a variety of socks and mitts, and maybe matching scarves for her girls, mine will get socks and scarves and hats (and I think I'll finally learn how to knit teddy bears and other creatures for my boys), and...with so many colours, how could I run out of things to knit? With the store nearly ready for inventory, I could easily find myself with a bit more knitting time, which is never a bad thing. So I guess instead of making new years resolutions, I armed myself with a knitting to-do list instead.

Tomorrow, I'll trot out the camera and show you the much-maligned dad-sock.