Sunday, January 27, 2008


I haven't been posting as much lately, because I've been working quite a bit. We've been having renovations done at my building, mostly on the weekends, to limit the disruption, and a staff member has to be there at all times while the contractors are in the building. So, in an office of only four people, with at least one person absent at any given time, the people who were around spent a lot of time at the office. So, tonight I've been relaxing on my couch, catching up on my blogs and reading some new ones! First, I've been going through some of the finalists from the Canadian Blog Awards. And, there's the Make-My-Day bloggers meme thing. I've found Juno's and Dr. Steph's lists, and have enjoyed them so much that I will continue to look for others. I could also make up my own list, or do any of the other new memes I saw, but today seems to be more about reading than writing. I also saw the blog for the 52 Projects book, and I'm quite interested. I may have to order a copy for myself. I have been looking at ways to get creative.

I haven't seen a new movie in ages (I did just watch The Kingdom on DVD), but I look forward to seeing this one! I have both of the books, and found them to be quite engaging.

Hmmm, I suppose I should go to bed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


So, I think I've got all of my stash (well, at least the vast majority of it) photographed, entered into ravelry and organised into four bins! Yay!

Bin 1

Bin 1 - animal fibres and mixes

Bin 2

Bin 2 - the rest of the animal fibres, including all animal fibre sock yarn

Bin 3

Bin 3 - non-animal fibres

Bin 4

Bin 4 - My 'Grandma's acrylic' stash - all of the yarn I've kept that I got from my Grandma, that I don't really know what to do with...

Since I don't have many oppourtunities for yarn shopping here, by the time I can buy new yarn, I will have hopefully made more space in the bins. And, I will someday need to decide what to do with Bin 4...



Squares knit for J's blanket project. Individual pictures on my flicker page (yes, I know only two of them actually have a heart motif, but the pinky-purply-yellow seemed appropriate, for some reason).

They're in a colleague's suitcase on their way back to Canada right now. As of Monday, they'll be in the mail on their way to J. I actually have one more on the needles, but I don't see much chance as far as getting it back by the deadline... As you can see, one was sent with the ends not woven in.

I'm most curious to see how the felted one works, if at all. It was a felted swatch that I cut up, just to see. However, I realized just before I sent it that it is not actually square (measuring 5" by 5 1/4"). Sorry J! The other ones are also only square-like, but they are much closer to the 5 by 5" measurements.

Friday, January 18, 2008


... to the Sudan Ethnographic Museum.


I joined up with F, A, M and B as we attached ourselves to a tour organised by the Acropole Hotel here in Khartoum. We were able to visit, in addition to the Ethnographic Museum, the Republican and National Museums as well. I thought I'd add a few pictures of some traditional handicrafts (forgive the blurriness, it was the best I could do with low light, no tripod and a layer of glass between me and the objects), namely, handspinning (with cotton) and embroidery!





I'm at work this weekend, so this isn't really current, but I had written it a while ago and never gotten around to posting it... More daily life soon!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Healthy Eating

So, one of the many things I'm working on right now is eating a little bit better than I have been. It's really not that difficult when my eating habits included mostly packaged food when I did eat. So, the bits that I'm working on right now are
  • Drink more water
  • Eat regularly
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables
Well, I'm working on the vegetables. The main items available here are tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini (if oddly pale), green peppers (which are pretty darn hot for a bell type), eggplant, cabbage, potatoes, and lots of varieties of onions. I can get mushrooms and other colours of peppers at a pretty high mark up, but I'm willing to pay when necessary.

But, the issue I'm having is my protein, iron and B12 intake. I tend to eat a semi-vegetarian diet at home, mostly because I find cooking meat for one to be more work than its worth. I do get eggs, and occasionally, tuna, and dairy products. But, since I only get full fat dairy products, and eggs are not exactly low fat. (Oh, and I have a supply of bacon, but that's not exactly a staple!)

So, I'm on the lookout for good vegetarian recipes. If you happen to have any suggestions, please send them in. I promise to then amuse you all as I try to recreate them here with somewhat limited supplies. (Although I can get more things than I really expected!)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Green Day - Working Class Hero

Mention of Darfur

PS On my satellite here, MTV actually plays videos, much the same way that Much Music used to!

Thursday, January 10, 2008



Voila! I super quick knit, this is my new neck warmer knit in Rowan Cocoon. I started it over Christmas, and after a few times ripping to figure out the shaping, it's (almost) done!


All I have left to do is find some buttons and sew them on to keep it in place. When I'm done cleaning out the office, I'll see what I have, but I may have to order something.


On-going work on the linen cardigan. I'm actually blocking things in the photo here, just to see how things are going. I need to reknit the sleeve cap, but things look good otherwise. Only two more pieces to go, and some seaming, and I can actually wear this.


Slip-stitch edging on the body.


A close-up of the sleeve fabric, knit on 5mm needles for a more open quality.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Not meant to be

So, this is needle number three of ten from the two sets of Brittany Birch needles:


See it, there on the right side? Thankfully they were sets of five. I have two (different) projects, each on three needles, and I'm sharing the last needle between them. Hopefully it will hold until I can order some more needles that don't break when I throw them into my purse (because that's how my socks are most often transported)!

Actually, I'm not at all happy with the knitting that's on them either!


You can see the beginning of pooling here, and it only gets worse farther on (yes, I've actually knit quite a bit more, even though I know it will be frogged because its the only portable project I have right now...)

After frogging tries one and two of a sock on 2mm needles with this yarn (Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, have probably forever lost the colourway to my crazy cleaner who likes to throw everything out... although I admit that yarn labels, either on the table or possibly the floor because of the cat and/or fan do look a bit like garbage), I tried a pair of 2.25mm needles I received from my grandma's needle stash, but the stainless steel(!) smelled bad. I found the Brittany needles, and started on them, but my gauge is incredibly loose on these things (largely because I'm holding them gently since they're pretty fragile)! I was too large for my foot with 60 stitches, and I felt that the fabric was too loose to be good for a sock anyway.

So, I decided to make fingerless gloves, with a girly ruffle at the end, with the slip stitch pattern I'd devised for the first incarnation of the sock.

But, its not helping. To the frogpond they go!


We have a holiday tomorrow (it's Muslim New Year!), so I'm going to use the time to finish organizing my stash (which is all hanging out in the living room right now - I estimate this is 3 (maybe 3.5) large tubs once organised) since my roommate gets back tomorrow night, and continue organising my office so I can eventually work in there.

I'll close with a picture of my charming cat!
Doesn't she look thrilled? I was trying to take a picture of her without flash (as it's the only way to photograph open eyes) but she moves so much this is one of the few clear ones... Good thing I have a digital camera! (you can see an almost FO in the left corner... next time)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

New Year’s Resolutions

I have been planning a post about resolutions, but it’s been a little slow in coming. There was a serious event here in Khartoum very early on New Year’s Day, and life has been sort of turned upside down. I’m actually on restricted movement (which means I can’t travel around town without use of the armored vehicle), which is getting old quite quickly. I haven’t been anywhere other than work since I got home from New Year’s Eve.

First, this year has been a year of incredible change. I look back at the eight months I spent studying Arabic, much of the time with a teacher whose teaching style did not work for me. Then there was the boy, which is still in a state of uncertainty. In the end, I wouldn’t change the time we spent together, but I still often miss him so much I feel it in my body. Then there was the whole move to Sudan, which has been tumultuous, what with a dramatic departure of my predecessor, a car accident, and then a lot of time in charge of the office when I wasn’t out of the office. Well then. I thought it would take ages to sum up this year, but I suppose that’s really about it.

As far as knitting goes, I can’t actually remember any FOs. Well, there were sock pal socks and a pair for me. That’s literally all I can think of that I actually finished. See above.

Now, I’m not one for making resolutions. The simple act of making any sort of commitment to myself about anything makes me instantly want to break it. It’s a pretty sure way not to end up doing something, really.

But, I’ve been sort of feeling for a little bit now that life is sort of getting away from me in a way, or maybe that its living me instead of the other way around. Mostly its in the little things, like realizing that I’ve sat down at the tv and/or computer after work and been sucked in until its time to go to bed or realizing that its time to go home but I haven’t eaten or taken any sort of a break (again in front of the computer). It’s not a work/life balance issue in terms of time, as I do tend to leave work at a reasonable hour and leave work at the office as much as possible. It’s more of an issue with how I go about using the time I have available to me.

So, I resolve to do the best I can to live the life I want to live, to focus on making myself happy and to be present as much as possible. There are a whole bunch of areas that I want to work on (skin, eating, organising, knitting, exercise, spirituality...), but I want to take it slowly, so the main result of my resolution will be that every week or so, I will write a post about one of the many things I'm working on. There will also be a new link on the right hand side to this post so I can keep looking back and reminding myself why this is important.

And, here are a handful of posts I want to keep handy for inspiration:

Friday, January 04, 2008

Another day in captivity

This is the view I see as I sit on my couch (again) and putter away on the computer. (Well, the picture wasn't taken today, but its still the same scene.) (Here's some music to go with, I like the first song)


I have been working on my resolutions post, but am in kind of a foul mood today. I understand the reasoning for the travel restrictions, but it doesn't make me any happier. And, a rib in my upper right back is out, and I have no idea what I'm going to do to get it back in without my dear chiropractor! Even though I've started putting my resolutions into practice, the unveiling, which should hopefully then encourage me to keep them, will have to wait.

Instead, I've found YouTube!

This has some beautiful video of the northern part of Sudan, which I wrote about in my Meroe post.

And, a few random links:

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Holiday Traditions

...late but not forgotten.


I finally got around to baking the shortbread cookies my family has made for Christmas for as long as I can remember. They're simple, and so good. I bought the butter before Christmas, but what with travel, hosting my first ever Christmas dinner (and roasting my first turkey), and helping to organise and host an official event for over 200 people, the baking kind of fell by the wayside.

Mom's Shortbread
1 lb butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp almond extract

Cream all ingredients together slowly (a hand mixer or food processor is very useful for this) until light and fluffy. Drop teaspoons of dough onto a baking sheet, top with slivered almonds or sprinkles, and bake in a 325degree oven for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.


Tonight, I put out the butter to soften when I got home. After a bowl of cereal (yes, I still eat like I'm in university half the time), I mixed up the batter and spooned out the cookies.


We've always done sheets with almonds and with sprinkles, but I've always liked the sprinkles best, so I ignored the almonds today.

It's best to turn on the fan and open a window when baking in a gas oven (especially when the last thing in there was a turkey, and the oven hasn't been cleaned of turkey juice yet).


Mmm... heaven!


(The tea is actually homemade chai, with whole cardamom, peppercorns and cloves, fresh ginger, cinnamon bark, and ground nutmeg and allspice brewed with black tea, strained, and then thickened with milk and a little sugar.)

Sanctions on Sudan...

...and what they mean to me.

Although this is just a tiny, insignificant portion of the whole sanctions issue, its interesting to think about how it affects the individuals within a country.

So, I was reading the internets, when I found this post on Rabbitch, which I followed to this post, and I thought, "I have to spare some cash for that!" So I clicked on the Paypal button, forgetting for a moment that I would soon see this:

Error 3028. You have accessed your account from a sanctioned country. Per international sanctions regulations, you are not authorized to access the PayPal system. For more information about your PayPal account status, contact

(Except in a box with a pretty graphic, I couldn't figure out how to take a screenshot, not that I spent much time trying.)

Luckily (at least from the perspective of providing funds for Phoebe), I can access PayPal from work, as the internet seems to believe that I'm no longer in Sudan at that point, but most people don't have that option. Now it may seem kind of trivial, the lack of PayPal, but the same thing happens whenever I try to use a credit card on-line. You cannot use a credit card in Sudan, not even to purchase a plane ticket or pay for a hotel room (yet there are several hotels where rooms cost in the 200USD-
a-night-and-above price range, which is astounding on many levels). There are bank machines, but you can only use them if you happen to have an account at that particular bank. And my bank in Canada cannot transfer funds to a bank account in Sudan (which is kind of inconvenient, since I still get paid in Canada). It brings the idea of a cash economy to a whole new level.

Anyway, just some food for thought today.

ETA I'm not saying I don't think the sanctions should be there, I'm just letting people know how it affects individuals living here, not just the officials/companies targeted by the sanctions.

This is a good overview, if a bit dated. The effects of the sanctions are being felt more now, as evidenced by Sudan's efforts to begin holding its reserves in Euros.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

I've actually been thinking quite a while about this New Year's Day post. I don't usually make resolutions, as I do amazingly well at breaking the tiniest goal I set for myself. It almost seems counterproductive to make resolutions when that's almost a sure way to get me to break them.

But, this year, I most definitely have things I want to strive for, and I think I would like to use the blog to motivate myself. Its not like I'm doing that much knitting these days, so this will be something else to write about.

So, I've been planning a post for New Year's, and I've got it sketched out in my head. Then, life got crazy. As its known to do. And I haven't had enough sleep, and I'm working today. So, the post may have to wait a bit. But, I'm excited to report that I still made time to wash my face, and enjoy a latte while working this morning, which feeds nicely into those soon-to-be announced resolutions!

My best to you and yours for the new year!