Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to Knittah and all of our Swatchy friends!

Swatchy and Noricum

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Freakin' Awesome

Instead of commenting on Not So Swatchy's excellent post about her road trip, I have to post in response. You see, Knittah LOVES football.

It is family lore that my first word was "football." I adore it. Having grown up in Buffalo (where Not So Swatchy makes her home), I was a Buffalo Bills fan. That is, I was a Bills fan until we lost all those Superbowls (Superbowls 25-28). But I was diehard, folks. I cheered for the Bills in a room full of Giants fans for Superbowl XXV. Scott Norwood, you broke my heart.

Anyway, I still love the game. It is a ritual at Chez Knittah to fall asleep on the couch watching football on a Sunday afternoon. Under a blankie. Unless the Eagles are playing, of course.

See how dedicated I am?

I believe that football should be played outside, not in a stupid dome. I believe that football is even better in the snow. And when I saw clips from the game last Sunday, with a freaking whiteout on the field? I said to Mr. Knittah, "THAT'S what I'm talking about!"

And now I find out that Not So Swatchy was THERE! In the snow! And cold! To watch the Bills play Cleveland (which is ironic since my family is originally from Cleveland and Dad still roots for the Browns).

Totally. Freaking. Awesome. Thanks for being my true proxy, Not So Swatchy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Road Trip!

Howdy Knittah!

Holiday preparations aside, things have been quiet around here, so we decided to take a little road trip for the weekend. In spite of an increasingly messy weather forecast, we hit the road and headed to Cleveland.

After meeting up with some friends at our hotel, we went to the Great Lakes Brewing Company for an early dinner. Not only do they make some great beers, but they're also environmentally conscious about the whole process.

After having a delicious dinner at the brewpub, we went on a tour of the facilities. They only brew on weekdays, so we didn't get to see any of the action, but the setup was still impressive, and the tour guide was equipped with a seemingly endless stream of bad jokes.

We went back to the pub for a few drinks, and by the time we were ready to head back to the hotel for the evening, the snow had really picked up. It was pretty, but just a glimpse of what was to come the next day. What was the next day?

Football! (I admit to not being entirely clear about the rules of the game, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it!) About an hour before kick off, we made our way to the stadium. It was cold, and snowing, but not nearly as bad as it was going to become.

Soon enough, the snow was coming down at a fast pace, and the wind was getting stronger. I could barely even see the field most of the time! (Also, Vicki apologizes for the poor photo quality, as she only had her cell phone on her during the game. With the number of layers of clothing she had on, she could have easily snuck a camera in, but didn't want to risk it.)

We wound up leaving at half-time, because the game wasn't going very well, and we were starting to worry about the drive back to Buffalo. (Some of the wind gusts were so strong that they actually knocked down the pedestrians who were walking around.) After a few hours of driving, we decided to stop at the first hotel we could find in Erie, and continue on in the morning. The roads were fairly clear in the morning, and we finally got home. There is some snow here too - it finally looks like winter!

Hope you're staying warm!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Riding The Santa Bus

Dear Knittah,

In Winnipeg at Christmas time, there is a bus called the Santa Bus. It is a bus that goes around Winnipeg, and all cash fares collected go towards the Christmas Cheer Board. The Christmas Cheer Board is an organization that delivers hampers of food and presents to families in need at Christmas. (Noricum volunteered as a driver for the Christmas Cheer Board once many years back... she hadn't been driving long, and it was an *icy* day... veeeeery nerve-wracking! However, she got lots of hampers delivered and made it home safely. Now that she has more experience driving, she'd be willing to try again, but doesn't currently have a car.)

Anyway, back to my story. On Monday, Noricum and I got on the bus after school like usual. The bus had reindeer on the side (Noricum figured it was a festive advertisement), and the bus driver was wearing a Santa hat (Noricum figured the driver was feeling festive). Noricum put her fare in the box, then took a seat and started working on her sock in progress. About five minutes later, she *finally* clued in to the fact that she was riding the Santa bus! (She can be a bit slow sometimes, but I like her anyway.) Funnily enough, even though Noricum has lived in Winnipeg most of her life, and started riding the bus way back in elementary school, this was also the first time she had ridden the Santa bus. We got to have that experience together. :)

After a few more minutes, Noricum got up the guts to pull out her camera and take a few photos.
Riding the Santa Bus
Riding The Santa Bus
You can see one of the reindeer in the first photo, plus Christmas Cheer Board ads above the windows; the second looks fairly normal.

Although this was the Santa bus, the driver wasn't a very cheery elf. She seemed rather in a hurry, and kept honking at drivers who threatened to cut her off, and also at jaywalking pedestrians. (Even though the bus was still half a block away from one set of jaywalkers... though she seemed to speed up to close that distance!) Noricum decided not to ask the driver to pose for a photo. Instead, she decided to try to get a photo of the outside of the bus after she got off:
Too Slow!
...but she was too slow! (That bus sure was in a hurry, and Noricum's camera is a bit slow, especially when the flash is needed.)

Anyway, it was an interesting experience, and we thought you might like to hear about a bit of Winnipeg tradition. (The Santa bus has been running for 23 years now!)


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Canadian Tire

Canadian Tire Money

Dear Knittah,

You may have read about how Noricum went to Canadian Tire on Saturday. Well, she actually remembered to bring me with her. I thought you might be interested to hear more about Canadian Tire, after having read about it on the Yarn Harlot's blog as well.

I suppose the best way to describe Canadian Tire to Americans is that it is like a small Walmart, about the size of a normal grocery store, but instead of having the clothing focus that Walmart has, Canadian Tire has an automotive focus. About a quarter of the store is stuff for cars and car repair, including tires. The rest has a variety of household, sports, and gardening stuff.

One of the neat things about Canadian Tire is that when you pay with cash, a percentage of your purchase is refunded to you in Canadian Tire money. You can see me posing above with a five cent "bill". It actually has a raised texture just like real money. It's basically a coupon. Once upon a time the Canadian Tire money even had expiry dates printed on it, but it doesn't any more. No one looked at the expiry dates anyway. All Canadian Tire money is in bills, even the amounts less than a dollar. Yes, Canadian Tire money comes with different denominations of bills. The tills in the store have a second cash drawer which the tellers withdraw and put back whatever Canadian Tire money changes hands.

Noricum suspects there are three basic types of people when it comes to Canadian Tire:
1. Those who hoard their Canadian Tire money, like Noricum's dad. (She doesn't think he does it on purpose, more that he forgets to bring it with him.) He has a big wad of Canadian Tire money. He's mentioned that he does bring it in and spends it when he has large amounts. Can you imagine buying something with a big wad of Canadian Tire money? I wonder how long it would take to count out all of those small bills!
2. Those who keep their Canadian Tire money in their wallets, and use what they have before spending cash on every Canadian Tire purchase. Noricum is like this.
3. Those who can't be bothered. There's little donation buckets at the tills for those types, and their Canadian Tire money goes to charities.

Somehow, Canadian Tire money has gotten to be an ingrained part of Canadian culture. Isn't that interesting?