December 11, 2012

Cue the Music, the Holidays are Here

The holiday craziness is in full force. I'm so behind it hurts but I'm not stressing about it too much. There isn't anything I can do about my timetable. December is always financially tight because of gifts and travel but I got hammered with a huge auto repair bill (time to start thinking about a new car!) and then a vet bill. Nothing too bad happened to any of the furkids. We were doggy sitting adorable Cookie this weekend and in the midst of showing off, Frankie hit something and tore the skin on his shoulder. That is a common thing that can happen to greyhounds because their skin is so thin and they don't have a standard doggy coat to protect them. He wasn't hurt badly but it did need to get sewn up and he's on antibiotics. This has resulted in a re-prioritization of where the money goes this month. I was leaning towards making most of my gifts anyway and now it looks like that is exactly what I'll be doing. So the elf worktable is in full force in an effort to get it all done before I travel back to Arizona for Christmas.

This is adorable Cookie. It was almost impossible to get a shot of her that wasn't blurry because she was moving most of the time!

I saw some jewelry made out of dominoes which inspired me to personalize some domino sets for the gamers in my life. I've never done this so I really have my fingers crossed that this will work. I don't know what the dominoes are made of but it must be a kind of plastic which doesn't usually paint well. So I'm sanding the surface of the domino backs and sides hoping that will provide a little grip for paint and I picked up a high quality acrylic paint. I really hope this works. It totally sucks when I get an idea I don't know how to execute. That's all my eggs in one basket there. I have some great ideas for design and if I have time I'd like to sew matching bags for the dominoes rather than the ugly tins they normally come in. Pictures when I have something more interesting to show than a sanded domino.

I'm also finishing up Grandma's socks which will make her happy because that is all she ever wants from me. Not any other knitting though. So much of my family live in areas where they can't wear wooly items that it really limits the knitting I can do for them. My family that do live in colder climates are well set with wool so I can't really bestow any more on them. At least this year. I may be able to get away with hats next year.

Wee sweater ornament I knitted up. It just needs little beads for the buttons. It is kind of hard to see but it is hanging from the spiral on a spiral notebook if that gives you some scale. I should have taken a picture during the day in natural light so it doesn't look so harsh but have I mentioned before how dark it is in Oregon this time of year?

The house is finally free of Halloween decorations (Yes, it took me forever. Oct. through Dec. is always nuts for me) and I have a few Christmas decorations up. I don't do a lot because I'm gone for the holiday and it just ends up being something else I am late to take down so I mainly focus on cleaning (because it is SO nice to come home from vacation to a spotless house!) and decorating for Winter. It is so dark in Oregon in the Winter and my house is dark on top of that so I like putting up a lot of candles and lights to make it cozy rather than dim. Personally I think we should be allowed to keep up Christmas lights on the house until Spring because it is so dang dark when I come and go to work but I'm in the minority in my neighborhood and I have really lovely neighbors so I don't like to be difficult. They were very sweet when my yard got rather out of control this summer as I tried to find a new yard guy.

So decorations are simple, and a little sparkley.

Scarlet kitty is really thriving. She has been such a wonderful addition to our furry family. She is very playful and likes to move things around. I come home from work and find one of my socks in the guest bathroom and another sock in my shower. For a while she was stealing skeins of yarn and I found her stash of them in a corner under a chair. She loves water and her favorite thing is for me to turn the faucet on in just a little stream and she plays with it. She bats at it, bites at it and generally puts her entire head and body under it.

I'm determined that this is the year I get to update my bathroom so I will no longer have the blinding yellow counter.

She isn't really afraid of the dogs anymore and is learning how to cuddle with me.

And this is why we don't take our kitties to work.

I'm sure I won't post before the holiday so have a safe and happy holiday season all! We'll be waiting right here for you. In our napkin holders special seats.

September 20, 2012

Swimming For Your Life

When I was about 4 or 5 there was a commercial running on television. I remember it as a commercial for the Olympics which would have made it the 1972 Olympics. (When I realized today which Olympics it was it shook me up a little. Putting our memories in a larger context can be strange.) This commercial featured slow motion footage of a swimmer doing the butterfly. I couldn't find the commercial online anywhere and knowing how popular Mark Spitz was at the time it could have been a commercial for anything featuring him.

Anyway, what I'm leading up to is this was the year I was going to get to take swimming lessons at the YMCA. I remember watching those commercials intently. I took in every detail and memorized the movement. When I finally got into the pool with my class and new swimming teacher, I announced to the teacher that I could swim. The teacher asked me to demonstrate so I made a valiant attempt at the butterfly. If anyone has ever done the butterfly they know it is a rather brutal swim stroke that taxes most everyone let alone a 4-year-old kid who can't actually swim. So I sunk.

I remember being under the water, still trying to butterfly, thinking, "hmm, this isn't going the way I thought it would." The teacher pulled me up, placed me with the rest of the class and proceeded with the lesson. I didn't say anything about what I had just done or cry or even be afraid. Actually I wasn't afraid at all. Even after that. It seems odd. We'll not explore it...

I ended up being a very good swimmer and have spent most of my life in the pool. I grew up with pools in the backyard and even swam on a swim team in high school.

I haven't swum in a few years. You don't really want to prance around in a bathing suit when you are overweight and since I don't have a pool anymore I have to swim in *gasp* public pools.

Now I have lousy knees. I am fairly young but with "really bad" arthritis, no cartilage and a torn meniscus, I'm finding my workout routine very painful. My doctor said I should swim. I wonder why that never occurred to me! So I joined a health club that has a nice pool (as well as swimming coaches).

It was important to me that I get a really good workout so I researched swimming workouts and swimming drills. I found a core workout from a tri-athlete that looked pretty good. I knew the tri-athlete was likely at a different fitness level than me (said tongue-in-cheek!) but I figured I could get through it if I went much slower and took breaks. Also I figured that even if I didn't finish it I would still get a great workout which was the goal. So I wrote out this workout (in giant letters so I could read it without my glasses) and slipped it into a plastic sandwich bag (so it could get wet) and trooped over to the pool early this morning.

As soon as I set off I felt it. By the time I was halfway across the pool I thought I might be having an asthma attack and then realized I was just breathless because I was exerted already! I powered through and on the return lap I realized I wasn't even going to finish the warm up. I was just repeating history 40 years later! Actually that first swimming lesson was pretty indicative of how I would run the rest of my life. I'm just not afraid to try and I'm often in over my head (figuratively and literally).

Some things never change. But I do believe that when you work out, go big and fail big. No one is looking.


September 04, 2012

Like sands through the hourglass...

Time off from writing in general. I kind of needed it. More life adjustments. I finally decided I needed to either commit completely to my own business or look for a permanent position. I picked up two clients pretty quickly for my business and I'm glad I had that experience. It is cool being your own boss but that also means I'm the financing dept., sales, HR, etc. That kind of sucked. Especially since client #2 was very slow to pay their bill. That helped me decide I was probably not ready for my own business. If I'm going to do it in the future I'm going to get funding or a loan or something and do it right. If I had another income that would provide some security then I could do the slow business build up but mine is the only income and thus a shaky foundation that can be knocked over by one reluctant-to-pay client.

So I whipped up the perm position job search and with the market being so much better I was successful. Super successful actually. I had three offers at the same time so I had the luxury of negotiating a little and selecting the right fit for me. It wasn't easy because all three offers were great and with orgs I was interested in. Fingers crossed that I made the right decision because seriously, if I get laid off in 6 months again or find I'm working for an idiot psycho again, I don't know if I can hack it.

Anyway, so far the new job seems great. I adore the people I'm working with and I've been very impressed with everyone I've met so far. Usually in a job you interact with people and pretty quickly you find a couple you realize are idiots. Well, maybe that is just me. But so far everyone I've interacted with has been super cool and whip smart. I love the project I'm working on and I think I can be really successful at it. That is a nice feeling!

So random updates:

1. The puppers are doing well. I think we've been holding our breath for a while since the last year had so many losses. Both dogs are due for shots but dragging myself to the vet after everything we went through just since last October (losing Daisy, Sapphire and Suki) was just too much. We needed a break. All of us. I'm even considering getting a kitty this weekend. There has been some advantage to just the two dogs but I miss living with a feline so I think I'll go to the shelter and scope out the kitties that they are having a hard time placing and bringing them home. We'll see. I'm still kind of raw.

2. Still kickboxing. I am still having a ton of fun and now I've been doing this for a year. My knee trouble has increased lately and my last doctor was no help at all. She did an x-ray and told me I had "some arthritis." That didn't really fit with what I was feeling. I could tell I had some achy knees but there is something else going on in the left knee. At times a sharp pain and some real weakness in addition to some catching when I bend the knee. So I dumped my old doctor (I was less than satisfied with her in general. She has also blown off my anemia which can be down right debilitating some days) and went to a new doctor. The new doc ordered an MRI which actually showed us that I have no more cartilage in my left knee as well as a miniscal tear. Ouch! She sent me right over to a surgeon who took one look at me and dismissed me as "fatty with knee pain." So no one is going to do anything right now. I still have a follow up with my primary doc and maybe she can give me a cortisone shot and a brace or something. Because no one was going to do anything I just went ahead and signed up for the next UBC session and I'm just being gentle to the knee as much as possible. It seems like everything makes it hurt so I might as well keep going.

3. The knitting has picked way up. Such a soothing hobby that I really feel more stress if I don't get some time with the needles and wool. I'm also a little overwhelmed with the amount of yarn I have and frustrated by the ginormous volume of works in progress. I have to keep buying new needles because all my needles are tucked into some bag, basket, or box on a project I abandoned for some reason. So my big thing right now is finishing or ripping out. I've tackled some scarves that I still loved and wanted and had just got set aside for something sexier. I'm finishing up one of my blankets I started a few years ago. I'm on the last square so I could probably sew it all together this weekend. I think it is going to end up rather spectacular. I'm very excited because this blanket has been just for me from the beginning. I stuck with blues and browns because I'm so enamored of that color combo. I picked up yarn I loved and adore and I've had a lot of fun with each individual square. This will look stunning on my bed.

4. This has been a great summer and I'm trying to get ready for Fall. I neglected a lot of basic yard work and household chores so I'm sort of paying for it now with a large To Do list. If I can knock out one big chore a week, I might be OK. This week is getting my air ducts clean. I think I'll also try to get a yard crew in to do general clean up. I never like how they prune or clean up the plants themselves so I'll have to do that myself but I really need to get lawns mowed and trees trimmed. Oh and roof cleaned, windows washed, grass pulled, mulch down. Ugh. On and on. Also, I have back yard dilemma that I haven't been able to solve. At some point (before I moved in), the grass in my backyard grew kind of clumpy and the soil started eroding between the clumps. The result has been a wildly uneven ground in the backyard. I mean it is a real ankle breaker. Some of the valleys in the yard are as deep as a tennis ball (I have mowed the grass right over a tennis ball and never touched the ball with the mower blades). I've had multiple people in to consult on it and offer suggestions and most everyone kind of throw up their shoulders and don't really want to take it on. What really needs to be done is the whole backyard rototilled, evened out and lay down some sod. That will be thousands of dollars though. That isn't really in my budget. I'm thinking I'll just get a load of dirt delivered, have the neighbor boy spread the dirt out over the yard over the grass and everything and then just seed it and let the old grass come up too. I don't need a perfect lawn because this is the dog's yard. This is all too much information for you but you can see how frustrating it is and how much time and conversation has already been invested in it. I just want to have a usable yard!

5. Things I've discovered I love:

  • The Geek & Sundry channel on YouTube. The Flog and Written by a Kid are very entertaining.

  • Sally Hanson nail decals. I had some friends visit who were wearing them and they looked so cute. So now I wear them pretty regularly. I keep my nails short but these do help keep my nails from peeling. Today my nails are tie-dyed. It is a little disappointing to me how much I love sparkly nails.

  • The Vaginal Fantasy book club on As scintillating as it sounds, it is actually pretty tame. This is a book club led by some very cool geek girls and mainly they read urban fantasy/romance. I've never considered myself a romance fan at all but most of the books we read are much smarter and more interesting than the old-school romance. No heaving bosoms or straining breeches. Instead I've found some steam punk series and sci fi books that I ended up enjoying a LOT. Some of them have a little smut in them and I guess that is the romance part but I've never minded smut so I'm having fun. Because I check out all my books at the library I'm not committed to this genre I don't know well and it has been really fun to step out of my comfort zone.

  • Mike and Tom Eat Snacks podcasts. I keep recommending them to people for commuting because they are about an hour long. Two guys (Michael Ian Black and Tom Cavenaugh) eat snacks and rate them. Oh, they also improv silliness which may work and may not work. Either way it feels like you are hanging out with two comedians as they entertain themselves and it entertains me as well. It also makes you want to snack so be careful.

I'll try to get back to regular posting now that I'm not self-employed. But keeping in mind random update #4, it may be closer to the holidays before I have more free time.


April 20, 2012

I'm Done Lurking

I've been putting off writing an update for a few reasons:

1. Recovery from the holidays. Seriously. I must be getting so old but I just needed to shut. down. for a good long while.

2. I lost Sapphire. She was 15 so this is not unexpected but it was truly dreaded. She finally lost the use of her hind end and she would never ever be one of those dogs that tolerates the little wheelie deals even though I would totally be one of those owners that would rig something like that up to keep my beloved pookie a while longer. Sapphire was my first greyhound, my partner for the last 12 years and one of those presences in your life that truly influences it. Even though she was a dog. She was the perfect woman. Girly, tough, loved harder than anyone else, played harder than anyone else, and completely in charge of all that surrounded her. I miss her to bits.

3. Job change. My contract ended so I'm rustling up new sources of funding. I'm also feeling like it is WAY past time I just got my own business going. This is silly. But it is so comforting when someone wants you in their organization and you have pot lucks and Christmas parties and lunches with people. If I can hurry up and get a few multi-million dollar contracts I can hire people and start having those again. Tell your friends.

That's it. Those are the only reasons. Not great but there you go.

Knitting has slowed way down as I try to get caught up on life things. (my Christmas lights are still up) I had a bunch of books on order at the library and all of a sudden everything came in at once. So I read the first 4 books of Game of Thrones in epic time and I'm now trying to fit in American Gods and my monthly book for my Vaginal Fantasy book club. Not to mention a gazillion little Mrs. Jeffries books that are like book popcorn. Light, easy and always good. I can knock those out in a day and still get a fair amount of work done.

The rest of the dogs are good. It is just Frankie and Oscar now. A name theme and I didn't even mean it. Plus they are boys so the whole weiner thing works a couple of ways.

Weight is down a bit. The weight loss is dragging out. Man, it is true, you do lose so much slower when you get a little older. I'm down over 20" all over so that is lovely. I can see it in the fit of my clothes finally. The trouble is, you lose weight from the top down so that means none of my bras fit and now my belly sticks out farther than my chest. Not fair. Plus, my rings aren't fitting now. I think I'll need to lose some more before I can just pop the ring on another finger.

I'm still kickboxing and still really enjoying it. In fact, in a "what has happened to me" moment, I asked for a medicine ball and a Bosu ball for my birthday and was really excited to get them! Plus my dojo got some new dummies and I managed to score one of the old ones so I have it set up in my garage and can punch and kick whenever I fancy! Hooray. But also, how strange. When did I turn into this person?

January 15, 2012

Random Bits and Pictures

Goodness! I was absolutely positive I had posted after Christmas but either that post disappeared or I'm imagining things. My money is on the imagining. Since I have so much catch-up to do and nothing planned out for this post, I'll go with the random format and random pictures (hold cursor over picture for caption).

Random bit #1:

I did finally get all the lights up and it looked adorable. However, I have very irritating neighbors who got their lights up the day after Thanksgiving and took them down the day after Christmas. I looked like a slacker getting them up and a slacker today since they are still up. I like lights during the winter months because they brighten up the grey scenery. However, I think I'm starting to look foolish. I may have to venture out today and take them down. Sad face.

Random bit #2:

Christmas with the family was lovely and I enjoyed myself immensely. I absolutely hate the drive to Arizona because I hate driving but I'm so happy that is all over that it almost makes up for it. I scored some great stuff for gifts and managed to hit a bullseye with almost all the gifts I gave. That feels really good.

Random bit #3:

The dogs are great, even Sapphire. Her spirits are high, she is eating very well, she is still shaky in the hind end but everything else is strong. I love her to bits and am glad for every good day we have. It turns out Oscar is petrified of the fire in the fireplace. This is a nuisance because we had a wee bit of snow today and the family room gets a chill that only the fireplace can help. I have a good heater but that room has old sliding glass doors and a cat door so I think a lot of cold air gets in there. I had a fire yesterday but the poor boy spent the whole day trying to get in my arms and I finally felt guilty. I didn't want him to be miserable but her certainly was. I am working on a new strategy.

Random bit #4:

I managed not to gain any weight over Christmas. This is huge because I wasn't careful at all. However, I haven't lost any weight this week and I'm starting to wonder if I just need to stay away from the scale all together. I've been eating super healthy and I feel pretty good but I find myself falling into that old "diet" mindset that really just results in a shame spiral for me. Hate those.

Random bit #5:

I have to buy a new phone and a new TV. I really don't like buying toys that cost that kind of money. I have the money, that isn't the problem but I just don't enjoy it like I always thought I would when I was poor and couldn't afford anything. I don't know why I rain on my parade like that. I just want someone to tell me what I need and then I'll do it. I have to stop reading all the product reviews and agonizing over it.

Random bit #6:

I feel like I've been grumpy all week with companies for being stupid. Grumpy with Comcast because I got a phishing email with someone using their name and account. I forwarded it to them because I used to work at one of the largest online companies in the world and I specialized in that kind of abuse so I know that they need to jump on this but their customer service agent didn't read my email and just sent me an email educating me about phishing. I stayed very polite but since one of the things I do is customer service training, it chaps my hide when the agents don't completely read the email. They just skim for keywords and then send an unhelpful response. So that irritated me. Then I had a really rude call from PayPal because I had a negative balance. They had their Collections people call me. I asked why an automatic email wasn't generated the second I went negative. The agent couldn't answer that. She just kept repeating her shpiel about they weren't designed to hold a negative balance. Seriously. That kind of crap for $45 over 9 days. I could have fixed it in 3 seconds if an email had just been sent. She also wanted me to pay over the phone and I told her there was no way I was giving card numbers to someone on the phone. Irritating! This is on the heels of them freezing my account over Christmas because I used the card at gas stations on my road trip. Somehow that was suspicious behavior. Really? No one travels over Christmas?

Random bit #7:

The above paragraph made me grumpy again. So I'm going to focus on the snow falling outside (yay!) and some hot chocolate. I got all of my errands done yesterday so I don't have to leave the house today. I can just putter around and nest. I love that.

June 07, 2011

Climbing Vines and Willow Furniture

I'm not crazy about hot weather. I spent too many years in Arizona enduring it. I seem to have little tolerance both emotionally and physically. One look at my fair skin and red hair and you really understand that I'm genetically predisposed to bogs or moors rather than deserts. Moving to the Pacific NorthWest had been the plan since we moved away when I was 9. I knew I wanted to live here and it only took me over 30 years to get back. I don't mind the rain and gray. Well, there is a point in the Spring when I think even the most web-footed of us are ready for some color and dry weather. Once Spring starts giving us greenery, I can forgive the rain again. Now that we are solidly ensconced in June I'm feeling Summer knocking on our door with these gorgeous peonies.

Last weekend we had two days above 80 degrees. Most Oregonians were thrilled. While I was thrilled for some dry, sunny weather, I was not thrilled for the heat. It did make everything in my garden spring to life so I sucked it up and enjoyed the beauty around me.

The honeysuckle are busting out as well as my wee Clematis. The Clematis is my new favorite vine. I have these terribly ugly metal supports for my porch. The big 70s curly-cues. I hate them and I've started trying to hide them with flowering vines. One support is completely hidden by a monster honeysuckle that may take over the entire porch. I had a jasmine that was killed off this winter by an unusually long freezing spell. I've tried Morning Glory there a few times and had no luck. A few weeks ago Trader Joe's had these lovely little Clematis plants. I couldn't resist. I love these showy, almost gaudy, vines. I know they can get enormous so I put it two supports over from the honeysuckle hoping they wouldn't fight each other. I was starting to feel sorry for myself as it just sat there. I know, logically, the roots are getting established but I admit I had high hopes for this little vine. Yesterday morning I noticed that suddenly, the Clematis has grown over a foot in a week. She is starting to shoot up and bless her little flower-heart, she has grabbed a hold of the ugly curly-cue supports herself and is twining around happily. I can't wait. She has also put out a couple buds so I'm back to singing the praises of Clematis.

I took a willow furniture making class. This was something offered by my local nursery and I thought it sounded like fun and is certainly not anything I've ever done before. So I signed up and had a really fun day! It was absolutely exhausting because my poor hands and arms are used to being at a keyboard all day making very fine movements. I'm just not used to hammering at all. It was a bit brutal to be outside building furniture in the heat but totally worth it. I'm so pleased with the final product.

One of the things I appreciated about the class was the combination of beauty and practicality. The instructors guided us in the building so everything we created is structurally sound. All the furniture has little touches like the bottom of this table. You probably wouldn't see this until you bent down and really looked at the base of the table. Adding to the strength of the piece is this lovely bit of curly willow bracing the bottom base.

I spent way too much time playing with the different woods and colors getting as much color variation as possible. I'm told these will weather to a brown but I can't believe it would all be the same brown since they are different woods. There is alder, maple, and willow here. Everything is amazingly sturdy

And finally, I'll close with the obligatory dog picture. Frankie basking in a wee patch of sun after tearing up the tidy futon to make it more comfortable. My dogs seem to be against folded blankets of any kind.

May 17, 2011

Catching Up

Spring in the Pacific Northwest can be a frenzy of activity. The world around us springs to life so quickly that I frequently can't keep up (I'm told by many that they can't either). We tend to have a lot of rain but the temperature is mild so the lawn grows five inches overnight (I'm only exaggerating a little), the trees burst into bloom, the crocus, daffodils, grape hyacinth, and tulips put on a dramatic show, and I'm racing about trying to get seeds planted for the summer. These tulips are very typical of my Spring experience. Stunning beauty while I'm still trying to cope with the challenge of Winter/Spring (note the mess in the background from multiple, muddy dogs). This can end up being really stressful for me because, while I'm a casual housekeeper at best, I don't like things dirty. Messy is OK, dirty bothers me. And in the Spring, with all the rain and mud, my house is dirty.

I've learned to prioritize and get help. I decided to bring in a lawn crew to help me get caught up (once you get the grass cut the first time and get the weeds out, it doesn't quite grow in such a frenzy the rest of the season). This is kind of hard for me because I enjoy doing the yard but there is just too much between both yard and inside and outside the house (it is also time to do the roof and gutters).

I've also jumped on a Groupon for carpet cleaning. I need to do this about twice a year during our rainy seasons (yes, believe it or not, Oregon has rainy seasons when it surpasses the normal, lovely drizzle). The hay has helped tremendously and was one of the smartest things I've ever done. I'll be doing this again for sure. It really reduced the mud coming in and is mulching down nicely into my lawn. My poor lawn is almost solid clay so it really needs the organic matter.

I wish I could say I'm consoled with my knitting but that has slowed way down. Part of it I think is just that I'm busy with other things and part of it may be these socks. These were my April socks so I've missed my first deadline.

There is no reason for stalling on these socks. I love the colors, it is knitting into a heavenly, soft fabric; there are a lot of color changes that should entertain me to no end. There is just something I'm not enjoying about knitting with this yarn. It isn't very stretchy so I'm wondering if that is part of it. My hands to seem to hurt a lot when I work on them but I don't know if that is because the yarn hurts them or because I'm bored and don't want to work on it. I'm so close; probably three inches away from starting the toe so I need to suck it up and stick it out. These are supposed to be my socks and I'm really looking forward to wearing them.

I'm starting to feel oppressed by my "things" again (this happens in the Spring and Fall) so I've been going through my baskets and bins thinking I really need to have an epic organization of these and get them under control once and for all. I think there is a lot I can get rid of and never even miss them. That in mind, why I succumbed to these lovelies the last time I was at the Knitting Bee I'll never know. I just absolutely fell in love with them and have kept them close by to pet often.

I think if I clear out the long grass, weeds, gutters, dirty carpet, and some of the stash, I will feel like I can breath again and focus on creating rather than just fixating on removal.

April 21, 2011

It's a Hard-Knock Life

By all accounts, I should have an easy life and a clean house. After all, I'm single so I should only have to take care of me. I don't have children so the way I leave my house is the way it should look. I'm a working professional so I should have disposable income for small luxury items. My responsibilities are few and I can just focus on me. Wait...something is wrong here. Why are none of these true and why do I feel like a harried single mom? I decided to write out my day to see what I'm doing all day and try to figure out why I am always a day late and load of laundry behind; kind of like a "time budget."

5:45 am - It is getting bright outside so Oscar the Guard Beagle thinks we should be getting up. He knows he isn't allowed to actually get us all up so he starts making a lot of noise. He sighs, groans, licks his paws, shakes to rattle the tags on his collar, whines very quietly, and just generally walks about the bed making it impossible to sleep anymore. Any sign that I might be up and all bets are off so I try to stay still and breath heavy for as long as possible. If he catches me peeking or stretching he starts bounding around the bed licking me and walking all over me. Oscar the Guard Beagle is quite overweight so you don't want him walking on you at any time. Last night I dreamed I had a small elephant. That should tell you what it feels like to be stepped on by him.

6:02 am - Sweet Old Girl has an accident so I have to jump out of bed and get all the dogs outside quick to minimize the poo in the house. That is always the goal. Less poo in the house is a plus! I keep an eye on Sweet Old Girl for a minute to make sure she can walk around and squat OK today. Her back end is getting shaky. I have that moment of, "I don't want to lose Sweet Old Girl."

6:05 am - Run back into the bed room to gather up everything that got pooed on. This isn't unusual so basically my bedroom is draped in fleece blankets. This means I just have to gather up all the fleece blankets she walked across and take the cover off the bed. These all go into the washer immediately to minimize the smell in the house. This is our second goal. Stinky houses suck.

6:08 am - Go back down the hallway on my hands and knees with a wipe to get any droplets. Yeah, my life is glamorous. This is what I worry about instead of what martini bar I will hit tonight.

6:13 am - Run outside to hiss at Oscar the Guard Beagle to stop barking. He protects us from terrorist squirrels. I never have to worry about terrorist squirrels with him around.

6:14 am - Run back outside to hiss at Frankie to stop barking. Daisy does not want to play with him first thing in the morning. She is not a morning dog and he is being obnoxious.

6:14:30 am - Hiss at Frankie to stop barking at me. I do not want to play with him. No one wants to play with him. Shut. Up.

6:23 am - Herd the dogs back inside and make mental note not to eat any Christmas cookies from my neighbors. If I was them, I'd lace them with something to take me out.

6:24 am - Clean out the water bowl and food bowl and fill both. Go get Pepto tabs for Sweet Old Girl and pop them down her throat. Usually she gets a special breakfast of canned food to help her put on weight but after this morning, I think we'll give her tummy a break. Sweet Old Girl is very disappointed. She loves her special breakfasts. I live with the guilt that I have denied my Sweet Old Girl something and she is so old and decrepit she deserves whatever she wants.

6:25 am - Lay down clean blankets in Family Room to replace soiled blankets from yesterday. Open up house for the day.

6:27 am - Sit down to check email, Facebook, and Twitter. My time on these is limited at work so I like to get a peak before the whole day goes by.

6:45 am - I'm starving; breakfast.

7:00 am - Try to get a few things done before work. I have Mother's Day order confirmations, change Mom's Netflix address, researching ultrasonic mice repellers for Mom's beach house, I need to find some documents for the bank, etc.

8:05 am - Frankie lets me know I'm late to go get ready for work. I jump up and we all jog into the bedroom. For some reason the dogs love this routine. They don't get to do anything fun but they just love when we all go somewhere together even if it is just to the other end of the house.

8:32 am - Let the dogs out for final potty before I leave. Again, watch Sweet Old Girl to make sure she can walk and squat OK. This is a minute by minute thing folks. I also check my hanging baskets to see how dry they are. I've planted them with seeds. I try to do this every year to save money and I never get good results. I'm determined this year. I'm determined every year.

8:34 am - Hustle dogs inside, muzzle Frankie and Daisy (Never a good idea to close up two healthy, young dogs with an old dog without protecting that old dog. But these are greyhound racing muzzles so they are loose around the dogs snouts. They can eat and drink with them on. I also need to protect everything in the house from being chewed by the dynamic duo. I'm tired of replacing phones and remote controls). Put food up to prevent Oscar the Guard Beagle from eating his weight in kibble. Change TV to HGTV so the sounds coming out won't distress doggies with sirens or dogs and cats crying etc.

8:35 am - I'm running late! I baby gate the dogs into the family room. I check the no-slip rugs in the kitchen so Sweet Old Girl won't slip in there and be unable to get back up. Grab my bags and run out the door. As I walk out I notice the orchid buds are dying rather than opening up. Damn. So much for staging the dining room table to look charming when someone comes in.

9:00 am - In my seat at work. Phew! Just made it. The day proceeds with worky stuff. I get out of my chair too infrequently and am stiffening up. Ugh.

11:30 am - Run to the post office to mail something. Grab some food on the way back since I won't have time to grab something in the cafeteria. I'm mad at the cafeteria anyway for charging me $1.75 for a Diet Coke. Bastards.

12:30 pm - Back to worky stuff. I didn't have time to knit during lunch again. Shoot. I did have a few minutes to make my next play in my Scrabble-knock off game I play on my phone. I somehow craft a respectable word out of AAIYYVQ. Respectable, not great.

6:00 pm - The advantage of working a contract is that I'm hourly and must leave at a specific time. This is awfully nice after years of having my time abused by my former employer. I couldn't remember what a 40 hour work week looked like until I left there.

6:30 pm - Home! The dogs howl and bark in delight. I wade through them keeping an eye on Sweet Old Girl so that she doesn't get knocked about too much. She wants to be a part of the crew too and is leading the welcome with her high-pitched barks she does when she is happy. I get to the back door somehow and let them out. They all thunder out, even Sweet Old Girl. I keep an eye on her to make sure she can walk and squat OK. You get the picture.

6:31 pm - Yes, there has been an accident today. Not huge. The Pepto is working for Sweet Old Girl. I gather up the blankets and towels and take a cover off a dog bed. I move this morning's wash to the dryer and put in the new, poo-y load. Minimize that smell, remember?

6:33 pm - I finally get to go to the bathroom where I shed the worky clothes and put on sweats and put my hair back. It is all business at home.

6:35 pm - Run outside to shush Oscar the Guard Beagle. Tell him he doesn't need to bark like that while Frankie and Daisy play. Shoo Frankie away from Daisy who has clearly had enough of his shenanigans. Tell Sweet Old Girl to stop eating dirt. I'm starting to understand where the bad tummy has come from.

6:36 pm - Herd them all back inside because no one will stop barking or stop eating dirt.

6:37 pm - Put the food back down for everyone. Straighten up the beds and blankets that have gotten dragged about and shoved off the beds. Pick up and put away a few toys so I can walk through the room. Retrieve my shoes that Daisy has already fetched from the bedroom and brought to a bed in the family room.

6:40 pm - Check mail to make sure I don't have to do anything immediately. Put away stuff I dropped all along the way from the door to the dogs when I got home. I'm worse than a 16-year-old.

6:45 pm - Close up blinds and turn on lights for the night. It is still bright outside but I'm up so may as well do it now.

6:50 pm - Check email, Facebook, and Twitter for anything I need to do right away.

6:55 pm - Talk to Mom on the phone. I order Grandma's Mother's Day present online for her. I look up a few things for her and "fix" other things.

7:10 pm - Hang up with Mom and go back to catching up on all the social media I hear so much about from the youngsters these days.

7:15 pm - Talk to Grandma on the phone. Re-confirm our plans for Easter and promise to make reservations for what she wants to do on Mother's Day.

7:25 pm - Look up reservation phone number. Find out the business won't be open on Mother's Day. Dang, now I have to disappoint Grandma. Feel guilt because I love my Grandmother and she is old and deserves whatever she wants.

7:30 pm - Can I have dinner yet? Depending on how tired I am or how depleted the cupboards are, I make and eat a dinner.

8:00 pm - Change out laundry so I have clean towels for dog messes. If I'm lucky I actually get to do a load of my own clothes so that I have clean clothes to wear.

8:10 pm - Clean up kitchen and make a feeble attempt at cleaning something else in the house. A bathroom counter, my nightstand, take out the garbage, anything to keep some of the filth at bay (but I walk by a lot with a blind eye. We don't even want to discuss the tumble-fur accumulating along the baseboards). Straighten up the dog beds and blankets in my bedroom for tonight so I can walk around in the dark without tripping and killing myself.

8:30 pm - Sit down at my desk to get some work done. I have some resumes for friends and family that I've promised to polish up. I also need to write a blog post, gather documents for the bank, clean up some of the desk so I don't lose a bill (I'm always losing bills), do some development work for a non-profit I'm working for to help get my own consulting business off the ground, and do some research for a program I've developing. Make mental note that if I want to write a book like I've been planning I need to actually spend some time writing.

9:45 pm - Gasp at the time. Find someone has yakked on one of the blankets. Scoop it up, put it in the washer and replace it with one of the many other blankets I don't even bother putting away anymore. I just leave them folded in one of my family room chairs. Sit down and just veg.

10:00 pm - I'm done vegging. Get the dogs out for last potty. Watch Sweet Old Girl. Put away the shoes Daisy has stolen again. Close up the house for the night. Herd everyone back into the bedroom.

10:15 pm - Put away clothes flung about the bedroom from this morning. If I've managed to do a load of my own laundry this is when I fold it and put it away. Clean out and fill the dogs' water bowl. Make sure everyone is situated OK. Sweet Old Girl has a bed, she doesn't have her bad leg folded under her wonky, no squeaky toys (because there is nothing worse than being scared out of sleep by one of those being squeaked during the night). Make a half hearted pass at the bathroom mess from this morning.

10:34 pm - Fall into bed.

10:34:30 pm - Remember I didn't plug my phone in to charge (or give a dog medication, or turn on dishwasher, or hear washer bumping around from uneven load, just put something here) and have to get up quick to do it.

10:40 pm - Fall into bed. Try to read. Listen to Oscar the Guard Beagle snore contentedly next to you. Think about waking him up as revenge for this morning but reconsider because he is so darn cute.

11:00 pm - Finally pass out.

Good gravy, no wonder I never had time to get married and have kids. When does anyone else have time to do that? OK, so clearly we can see where all the time goes but I don't care. Totally worth it. Who wanted glamour anyway?

April 08, 2011


photo from here

I've been thinking a lot about the animals I've lived with over the years and remembering things that make me smile. I decided I wanted to capture some of those moments and I'll share some of them as I go.

I grew up with a siamese-mix named Kit. We actually stole Kit. Well, not so much steal as kitty-sat for my piano teacher and didn't give him back. I don't think we went quite so far as to refuse to give him back but when my piano teacher said they were thinking they couldn't keep him we took advantage. Kit was an outrageously funny (without intending to be as kitties often are) slightly twisted kitty. Most everyone that we grew up with has a Kit story and likely a Kit scar. One time, when I was at my piano lesson, he jumped into the piano and started playing about so that the keys were moving on their own. I was enchanted. At another piano lesson, we heard this thump thump thumping coming from the kitchen. My teacher went to investigate and discovered the noise was coming from the refrigerator. When she opened it, Kit jumped out.

Going after food like that is a characteristic of Kit that would continue through his life. He would jump up on the counter and grab the ham/chicken/roast that was our dinner and try to run off with it. I say try because frequently, his catch was larger then himself. Towards the end of his life when his poor teeth were falling out he grabbed a chicken breast from a plate on the table and dragged it under a chair to eat. When I went to grab him and the chicken he hunched his shoulders and growled. I picked him up but he kept hanging onto that chicken; even shaking his head a little like he needed to kill it. I absolutely adored him for that spirit in his old age. I hope I'm just as hungry and fierce through my life.

Much like a family dog, Kit would run around the yard with us kids as we ran shrieking and laughing. Sometimes Kit would hide in the bushes in the front yard and when someone would walk by he would run out at them, attack their calf and then run off. He must not have really hurt anyone or they were too embarrassed to admit they had a cat pounce on them (I like to think they all thought it was funny too) because no one ever complained. I thought it was hilarious and watched from the front window to see what would happen.

When I hear scientists talk about discovering animals' higher brain function I just roll my eyes. I can tell them that cats have complicated cognitive abilities. I've seen them pretend and even do things for a laugh. We had a pool (we lived in Arizona, it is necessary to have a pool for survival) and one afternoon we left in innertube next to the pool. Kit had more fun with that innertube. He jumped inside and peered at us just over the top of it. I think he thought he was spying on us. He laid his ears flat so we wouldn't see them (we did though, we could see the whole top of his head) and tilted his head back as he peaked over the edge of that tube watching my Mom do yardwork. I don't know what he was plotting or thinking but he skulked there for nearly an hour before he lost interest and walked off. He came back to that innertube frequently enough I believe he considered it his lair.

My absolute favorite memory of Kit was his wicked, slightly sadistic, sense of humor. It was well known in the house that Kit liked to be on the bed with you but liked having his own space. If you made the mistake of putting your feet too close to him, he would reach out bite your big toe. He wouldn't bite it in the traditional sense, he actually would just take your toe in his sharp canines and sit there looking at you with a deadly gaze. If you tried to pull your toe out of his grasp, he would ever so slightly bite harder. It was not uncommon to hear a family member laughing and hollering from their bedroom, "Ow ow ow ow! Help, come get Kit!" and someone would have to go to the rescue. It was also not uncommon that one of us would stand in the doorway, laugh, and walk off leaving them to their punishment. Kit would hold the toe until he thought you learned your lesson and then he would let go and I swear he would smile triumphantly as he looked away. He never broke the skin but to this day I can't help but curl my toes when I'm barefoot and near a cat.

March 28, 2011

Items of Note

1. Yesterday I bought groceries and dog food and I think my bank account wept a little. I moaned that it was expensive to be me.

2. Mud in the backyard is epic. Dogs look like they are wearing 4 black socks all the time.

3. One dog got a bath Sunday and no matter how long I ran the water on his paws, the water never ran clear.

4. I curse the idiot who installed champagned-colored carpet. I will look into mud-colored carpet as soon as I recover from grocery/dog food bill.

5. One of the dogs got into the garbage and has an upset stomach. This has added additional colors to the carpet and a smell that may eat away all adhesives in the house making carpet replacement easier.

6. Got the bright idea to put down hay across the muddy back yard. There is a chance the hay will just turn my backyard into an adobe brick. I'm not completely opposed to this idea.

7. Am told I can only get hay at feed stores. I have never been to a feed store but I dreamt I had two horses so I guess I'm ready to visit the feed store.

8. Found a feed store. Bales of hay are only $6 each. Today, it is not expensive to be me.

9. My car will only carry 3 bales at a time. Decide against two horses.

10. Bales of hay smell wonderful and have improved the car. Am thinking of covering the floors in my house with bales of hay.

11. I don't have a pitchfork for bale of hay. I'm wondering what will be a suitable substitute. Barbecue fork?

March 23, 2011

Mo' Money

I find money management a challenge. It wasn't anything that was really taught or was even discussed when I was growing up. Not that we were wealthy or didn't have to think about money; quite the opposite. We struggled and we were well-schooled in hiding the overdraft letter from my step-father if we got the mail first. Clearly, money management deficiency is a proud family tradition.

Over the years I've gotten myself into real financial pickles. These days the wisdom of college kids + credit cards is questioned but when I first went to college it was a credit card free-for-all and I blew it with the best of them. (For the love of Pete, why don't they teach basic finance in schools? I hear some people did have this in their high school curriculum but it should be standard for all high school students. Basic finance and basic car care.) Each time I've gotten myself into a mess I've learned a little more and gotten myself out of the mess. I've purchased homes so I do point myself in the right direction in general. But I still catch myself going down the stupid road.

Budget has become a big thing for me. Everyone who manages money successfully say the secret is a budget. It sounds too simple to actually work so I've been slow to the party. I guess believing the solution must be hard helps to rationalize the craptastic way I've managed my money in the past. If the solution is simple, then I'm just an idiot. I'm trying to put that realization off as long as possible.

I had an epiphany one day (shut up, we all have epiphanies that aren't exactly brilliant) that a person who has no idea what her disposable income is every week or month or even what her water bill generally runs, doesn't really know where her money is and is probably not being smart with what she has worked so hard to earn. In other words, I realized I was pissing my money away and I can't point my finger and laugh at any of those big stars who were rich one day and bankrupt the next because I'm no better at managing my money. I just have less to lose (and less resources to recover!).

When you first start earning money it always comes down to, "If I just made _____ amount of money..." and we work like crazy to get our first salaried position. Then we are always looking at the next salary bracket and thinking, "If I just made a little more, I would be able to do such and such." There was a point when I looked at my salary and realized I was living the same way I did when I was 19 and had an hourly job. I had bigger and more toys but I still lived from paycheck to paycheck and still bounced checks, missed bills, etc. There was no difference in how I managed my money. I have friends who make the same money I do but they have savings accounts (with money actually in them, I've found that just opening the account does not mean it will fill itself up) and can buy appliances, take overseas vacations, give to charities, etc. I was feeling good if collection agencies weren't calling me at the moment.

So I reluctantly made a pathetic stab at the budget. It was more like recording what my bills were for each "category" every month but even that was a revelation as I saw the dining out category loom over everything else. For someone who rarely eats out, how could that category suck up so much of the paycheck? It turns out that grabbing something at the deli on the way home or ordering Chinese food counts as dining out even though I'm doing loads of laundry between bites. This was my first indication that some spending can get really out of control when I'm not looking. (Shut up again, this doesn't come naturally, OK?)

Another lesson I've learned is that banks are not your friend and are not there to do anything that actually benefits you. Regardless of what they tell you or advertise. I cannot begin to list all the ways banks have screwed me and done things that seemed shady and even on the side of wrong. I can only say I was not at all surprised when the Federal government recently shook their finger at the banks' methods. They didn't actually do anything to stop them or protect the consumer but at least I had some validation. This was also when I admitted to myself that even though I signed up for notification emails from my accounts when they got below a certain point, my banks would much rather have the overdraft fee. I never get emails from my banks when my account drops below a certain level or the "email" they send you is internal to the site so I can't get it unless I sign into my account. But duh! If I sign into my account to get "alerts" then I'm already seeing what the balance is. Useless.

It was this small feature that led me to Disclaimer: This isn't a plug for this company, I'm just sharing what seems to be working for me at the moment and I still never trust any organization that has anything to do with my money. Mint isn't a bank where you put any money but you do have to grant them access to your accounts so they can "see" what is going on in there. I'm not crazy about this and I warn everyone I tell about Mint that they will have to give them highly sensitive data. This is really dangerous because even if they have amazing online security there is the human element that every organization has and there is no telling who the next doofus is who leaves a laptop in their car to be stolen or does the stealing themselves from the company. So users beware, in a perfect world, I would not have given this information to anyone.

That being said, is a site that monitors your spending and funds and gives you a heads up when something is going down that stupid road again. It will actually email me when my account gets below a certain level. An actual a timely my email inbox. Amazeballs.

But the other feature Mint has that I'm loving is their budget tool. They have a default "budget" that they will apply if you don't set your own budget amounts and they give you a visual of how close or far you are from your monthly budget amounts. This was really helpful for me because I didn't know where to start. I know what I'm spending monthly on groceries but should I be spending that much? Should I be spending less? What is the average? You can go in and change those amounts as needed and adjust the categories. You also tell them what category an expense may be (for example, the charges to the cafeteria at work should go into "dining out.") so every charge coming through your account is getting applied correctly to the budget. I've gone in and refined the budget so it reflects what I believe my monthly expenses should be (gotta add the pet food expense!) and with my phone app, I can see at any time how close or far I am from budget. If I go over budget in any category I get an email. I love it.

This really has helped me understand where my money is going and where I need to make changes. But it has also become a bit of a game. Can I stay on budget in every category this month? Games are great but apparently I cheat. I recently had a hefty veterinary bill and I found myself giving the vet a different card the other day so it wouldn't show up on my Mint budget and make me over in that category for the month! I'm cheating on my budget. I'm cheating on myself!

Proof that no matter how well-paved someone makes the road to fiscal responsibility, some of will still say, "Stupid road, here I come..."

February 06, 2011

Vinegar and Chocolate

I hate grocery shopping with a passion. I will scrape crumbs from the cupboard before I drag myself to the store. But this weekend I had eaten all crumbs so I sucked it up and went shopping Sunday morning. I did it early so I wouldn’t have time to get comfortable and talk myself out of it (yet again!). The advantage of hitting Trader Joe’s at about 9am is that the rest of the people there are actual shoppers. These are people getting their groceries vs. what I call the Trader Joe’s “tourists.” Those are the folks that think it would be nice to get a few things but since they aren't in there a lot they mosey down the aisles with their sample of coffee looking at everything on every shelf. These people are hard to get around with the cart and they always seem to plant themselves in front of the shelf that has the polenta I want. If you really want to punish yourself, go during the holidays around lunch time. The tourists are thick and your shopping is guaranteed to take twice as long as normal.

I do love how Trader Joe’s did Super Bowl Sunday though. They had vegetarian chili and blue corn chips on one end cap and the fixins for Thai coconut curry on another end cap. When I saw that I realized that curry is actually the perfect Super Bowl food! It is lively with a little kick. It isn't unlike spicy buffalo wings. Maybe if there is ever a Super Bowl I care to watch I'll throw a curry feast.

For Sunday's grocery shopping trip, I made the rookie mistake of going to the grocery store hungry. I had a list like all the experts suggest you do to prevent impulse buying but I would have put the list to better use if I had just eaten it and curbed my hunger. I completely abandoned all weekly meal plans and went on a flat-out impulse shopping trip. I’m not even entirely sure what I ended up with which means a week of either pleasant surprises or confusion. Judging from past experience, I would put my money on confusion.

Impulse buying really means I make imprudent decisions in more way than one. For example, I like to have a little bit of sweet about the house so I looked for my chocolate meringue cookies which are deliciously chocolaty but I also can maintain some semblance of control around them. There were no meringue cookies so I settled on shortbread cookies with the chocolate drop. These are cookies that will be gone by the time I go to bed tonight. *sigh*

Well, at least I made the trip, I have food in the house again, and I was back home by 11am enjoying a Top Gear marathon and knitting socks wondering how I was going to turn Orange Muscat Champagne vinegar and frozen waffles into a dinner. I haven't come up with anything yet but I'll be sure to share the recipe when I do.

January 07, 2011

Getting a Grip on Gifts

Every year, starting in November (or October), I start a mad panic to knit the Christmas gifts I intend to give. I don't give a lot of knitted gifts but my Mom and Grandma want socks and then I have some relatives in cold climates so I like to make them knitted goods. But I just don't give myself enough time, I rarely knit what I would like to give and I actually end up hurting my arms and hands because I'm knitting too much in a short amount of time. On top of Christmas (because that just isn't enough) there are a lot of birthdays in the first few months of the year that require a knitted item. There are birthdays for Mom and Grandma, who would like another pair of socks but they just don't get them because it is too close to Christmas, and birthdays for more family members in cold climates who deserve wooly love from me.

I've decided to plan out some knitting for the year. Sort of like a sock club but not restricted to socks. My personal program does end up being a pair of socks every month but that is because of the overwhelming sock demand from family and myself (who has not been able to knit a pair of socks for myself for three years). I'll also be fitting in a fair amount of hats since that is item number 2 everyone wants.

Anyone else want to join me? You don't have to knit the same project as me, you can plan out the gifts you would like to have done at the end of the year like I did and then use those as your monthly project. I'll be posting my project details here if you need inspiration or like the ideas. Depending on the interest of this, we may create a public area where we all post project details to inspire each other.

Just make out a list of the gifts you have to give during the year and who you have to give them to. Christmas, birthdays, Mother's Day, etc. and note which ones you would like to be a handknitted item and what that item is. Map out when that gift needs to be completed, so depending on the gift, you might knit it in the month or two before you give it. Take into consideration what you have going on in the month. If you have finals that month or a crazy work schedule, move either the project, or the more complicated project back so the two things are not conflicting to make your life miserable. I've also made sure I'm knitting cotton or light items in the summer instead of wooly items.

Last night I took a big ziploc storage bag for each month and put the project, pattern, and note who it was for in each bag and lined them up in a basket. I even included next January since I won't even be thinking about doing this again until well after the holidays but I still have February birthdays.

The first project will be a pair of socks. Mom's birthday is in early February and all she got from me at Christmas was a skein of yarn and a promise for socks. How lame is that? I'd like to be able to hand her a pair of socks on her birthday so she is the first gift up.

The pattern is an eyelet rib sock which is super easy but still a little entertaining. Plus it features the yarn well. The ball bands for the yarn is long gone (I've had it forever with the intention of making socks for her out of these) but it is a blue self-striping/jacquard style sock yarn that will be great with jeans. I think I picked it up at a clearance sale so it may not even be available anymore. It looks something like the denim jacquard here. This is the pattern I'll be using. I've been sitting on this forever intending to knit it because it is so cute.

I'll track the projects and provide project details on Ravelry. I'm psychobunny there and the first month's project is titled January Socks. If enough of you seem interested I'll create a group for the monthly holiday knitting group or something. It could end up being a great source of inspiration for gifts.

UPDATE: I knew Ravelry wouldn't let me down. There is already a group for this and they look like they rock. Plus they check in every month so they hold you accountable. Just exactly what I need. Hooray!

December 15, 2010

I Will Never Wear a Tiara

mugI accept that life will smack me down when I need it. That I will be kept humble and it is a good thing. Life does you no favors when it lets you think you are a priceless princess who should wear tiaras. So I thank life and its little lessons. I really do.

But I've had a few lessons lately that seem unusually humiliating and on top of not having a steady job and income and no money for Christmas, etc., seem like overkill. I get it life, I'm just like everyone else and I should keep a sense of humor about me. But life, it is OK if things are not so friggin hilarious all the time!

We'll take last night to start with. I received a lovely gift basket for Christmas and after I had run around the house feeding everyone (except me) and doing evening tasks (close the blinds, turn on the lights, look at the mail, empty and load the dishwasher, fill the water jug for the dogs, etc. ) I decided to reward myself with a goodie. "Just a little sweet" I said. "Just a taste." So I picked out a rather small box that had a picture of two chocolate candies on the front. "Perfect! A couple of chocolates." The picture was gorgeous and showed one of the chocolates cut in half to demonstrate the delicious goodness inside the shell of the candy. Yum, yum, I couldn't wait!

So I sat down on the couch with my laptop and my kitty and my knitting right at my knee. I had worked all day, gotten everyone settled and taken care of and a chore or two done. I deserved this moment. Even in this moment I was going to pay a few bills and continue working on the Christmas presents I'm making. What a productive woman I am! But I get rewards. I'm not a marter. Here is my chocolate. I opened the box which had a foil packet inside. Everything in this gift basket has been in a foil packet so this does not set off any warning bells for me. I open the foil packet and then tip it over to drop the candies into my hand.

Instead of the candies they show on the box, I've just filled my hand with chocolate powder. "What the f***? What happened to the chocolate? Is it old?" I look at the box again. It has a picture of two pieces of chocolate and big letters that tell you how sumptuous and delicate it is. Then I see it. There, below the picture in little letters, "hot chocolate."

Has anyone ever told them a picture of a mug with a little steam coming up would represent their product better than a chocolate candy? "Criminey!" (only I didn't say criminey)

I've poured hot chocolate powder all over my hand, my lap, the couch, my cat, my laptop and cascaded it down into my knitting basket which is full of yarn. It doesn't really brush off so much as brush IN to the fabric. As I'm trying to get it off me and the cat the dogs come over to investigate and begin licking the couch. "This is awesome" I think. "I can laugh at this." I also now have to get up and get the vacuum and lose all hope of those relaxing moments on the couch before I start laundry, dishes, dinner, etc. Awesome.

That was last night. Today is a new day!

At work I have one of those laptop docks that lock. Work requires me to lock it and take the key. I always put my key in the same pocket. I'm absolutely anal about this because they give you little "tickets" here if they catch a security breach like the key in the dock and I know if I lose that key I'll have to spend the night at work. Not really but I'd have to admit to someone I'm a dumb ass and my life's mission is to admit that to as few people as possible. I think it is a pretty noble goal.

So this morning I dock my laptop and put the key in my pocket. A few hours later I realize my car keys are still in my pocket so I take them out and put them in my purse. I remember that yesterday I did the same thing which accidentally dragged my dock key with they car keys into my purse making me scramble frantically before I figured that out. So I check my pocket and, sure enough, no dock key. No problem, I just did the same thing as yesterday! I grab my purse, pull out the car keys and look. No dock key. I start searching my purse thinking the dock key might have dropped into another pocket or part of the purse. No dock key. Now I'm checking all pockets, the floor, the desk, the purse again, everywhere. I'm looking everywhere and can't find the dock key. I stand up and move around to see if I'm sitting on it, etc. No dock key.

I have no idea where this thing could have gone. I decide to go to the bathroom to check all my clothing. I go in the stall, check my pants waist band, my torso, etc. Nothing. At this point I figure going the bathroom isn't a bad idea and will give me time to think. I take the seat cover that ensures my fanny will not touch any area anyone else's fanny has touched. I place it on the seat. As I place the seat cover on the seat the dock key drops out of my right sleeve and into the toilet. I freeze.

I'm hoping that what just happened did not just happen. I'm also listening to the other person in the bathroom hoping they did not just hear that and instinctively know I just dropped something into the toilet. Because, ew, gross!

"What the hell?" I've checked everywhere and it was in my SLEEVE? The whole time? The pocket I keep my key isn't even on my right side so my friggin right sleeve never even went into my friggin pocket that held the dock key. Only I didn't say friggin.

I just stood in that stall for a few minutes thinking. Would they give me a new key? How many people would I have to admit this to to get a new key? Will anything else drop off my person? I finally yank my sleeves way up and just suck it up and stick my hand in the toilet to get the key. Which is, of course, way far into the toilet. I take the key and my cootie-ridden hand and wash everything like crazy. I hold the key all the way back to my desk because, clearly, I can't trust my pockets anymore.

I figure the only way to laugh at this situation is to share it with you. Otherwise I'll just sit here and feel ridiculous.

Wanna shake my hand?

February 05, 2010

In Which I Tell A Story

Several years ago while visiting England, I discovered that I may be a bit of a bad-ass. I don't say this lightly or even all that happily. I've always seen myself as extremely mild-mannered and gentle. It is hard to get me riled up and I'm so uncomfortable with confrontation I've never been able to watch most reality shows and even sitcoms where the characters argue a lot (I'm not sure I've ever been able to watch an episode of All in the Family all the way through).

Nothing in my personal history gave me reason to believe I could be a bad-ass. For example, just out of high school I worked at a popular record store where one of our favorite past-times was catching shoplifters. I didn't catch them myself but I enjoyed watching my roommate and friends chase the kids down and getting back our merchandise. One time a young woman was caught shoplifting. She was in the back room waiting for police when she decided she wasn't going to wait around. She simply got up and started walking out the door. The store manager and several male employees jogged along trying to get her to stop but they were afraid to grab her or physically detain her. She was almost at the door and would have walked out.

In a panic I stepped in front of her blocking the front door. I looked her right in the eye and just tried to look calm and resolute. She looked at me and hesitated for a moment. Just a beat; a few seconds. But it was a face off and I was hoping desperately she wouldn't call my bluff. Inside my head I was thinking, "Oh God, oh God, please don't step forward because I will step aside and let you go. I don't know what to do!" She turned and walked into the back room with the store manager. I think my knees wobbled and I know my stomach was flip flopping nervously (as it is now just remembering this and writing it down).

I realized later that I must have presented quite an intimidating physical presence. I'm six feet tall and though I wasn't as "big" then as I am now (all right, fat) I have never been willowy. Even at my thinnest I look athletic and strong. I have a gigantic mass of red hair but I have dark eyes so I look more like a Scottish Highlander who might go on cattle raids rather than a whimsical Irish lass. I'm sure I looked like more than she wanted to handle. And if my poker face was any good I probably put up the appearance of a bad-ass.

But it wasn't until that visit to England that I discovered my bad-ass potential. I had talked the family, mother, step-father, and brother, into getting on a bus and just seeing where it took us. Neighborhoods started to look sketchy and when we hit Whitechapel (which I associate with Jack the Ripper) we decided we had better get off and find our way back.

My step-father, not always a savvy traveler, insisted on wearing a fanny pack even though he was always leaving it open. It was full of wads of cash and receipts but regardless of our lectures, he absent mindedly persisted in the habit. As we were coming up to a stop, he was standing near the door and I was on a seat facing him. We likely did not look like we were together. I observed a man standing next to my step-father pick-pocketing the fanny pack.

My reaction was immediate and fierce. I had such a rush of anger that I acted without thinking at all. I stood up and grabbed the man's wrist in a grip that probably hurt a lot. Luckily the pick-pocket was quite a slight man and I towered over him by at least a foot. My hand completely circumvented his wrist and he looked up at my face in surprise. I grabbed what he had taken and threw down his hand. I was so angry I wanted to hit him. In fact, at that moment I was struggling not to get more physical. I wanted to shove him and kick him. I was shaking with rage. Luckily for him the bus stopped at that moment and he scrambled off. (I look back and wonder if I looked a bit like the Hulk breathing heavy with eyes full of rage. OK, too much TV.)

My step-father, still oblivious, got off the bus and I followed. My brother had exited out a different door but I quickly told him what just happened. I saw the pickpocket scramble back on the bus and I decided to let him go. I'm sure he had a small accident in his pants when he saw me talking to my brother; who stands 6'4" and is built like a line backer with a shaved head and goatee and who immediately turned back around to face the bus with a scary look on his face.

I was absolutely shocked at my anger and immediate urge (instinct) to do someone physical harm. I honestly thought I didn't have it in me. But, it appears, I will protect my own. Even if it is just for a handful of receipts from a carelessly left open fanny pack.

Bad warned.

August 21, 2009

Random Friday

I know, I've neglected you. I think in blog terms all the time because, inherently, I'm a writer. And I tend to craft my thoughts into writing form. Annoying. I should at least be able to get things down on "paper" if I'm going to think that way.

I will at least bring back Random Fridays. Since my life seems pretty random anyway.

I was looking over some old posts (some of them are pretty funny. <back patting>) and this one really struck a chord with me. No pun intended. It was just a meme but I had a lot of fun with it and as I look over the answers I think they are still valid. I don't have my iPod with me today so I can't do this again but I like these answers. I think they actually work. It is a fun meme. If anyone is still reading this, consider yourself tagged.

I'm working my way through Torchwood Season 2. What a fun show. I am enjoying it so much and I'm really disappointed that I don't have a bunch more seasons to go through. How come great British shows don't seem to last? The actors all start leaving in droves after one or two seasons. I don't know if it is because the BBC doesn't want to pay them well or if they feel like they should leave for bigger markets. MI5 (called Spooks in the UK) did this but I didn't see the actors in Hollywood so I wasn't sure why they left.

I've been working hard to finish my Fitted Cardigan (or as I've come to think of it, the Everyday Cardigan. #241 on the linked page) because it will be a really practical cardi that I can get much use out of. However, I hate knitting sweaters for myself. I'm not a big fan of adult sweaters in general. They are a bit past my attention span and my sweaters especially. I'm very tall, long arms, broad shoulders, big rack, big bottom, etc. It is a.lot.of.knitting. But I want this one. So I keep working on it. I'll tell you what though, I'm slogging through a sleeve right now and I'm not sure there is enough Torchwood on the planet to get me through it. Curse you Torchwood for being a newish series!

I made the BEST batch of strawberry jam last month. It was a little late in our strawberry season. But this is why I adore living in Oregon and especially in an area that is still relatively rural. I just pulled over to the side of the road one Saturday and bought a flat. They were really ripe. As I was cutting off the tops they were squishing in my hands so they weren't even going to last another day. And the color was such a rich red it looked fake. But I thought the flavor was probably maxed so I cut the jam's sugar in half and it turned out to be the best batch I have ever produced. Jam is a gloriously easy project. A lot of bang for the buck. The most work is sitting in front of the TV and cutting off the tops (or pitting if cherries). Otherwise it is boiling and spooning. Love it!

see how saturated the color of the strawberries is

I found SCRAP in Portland. I think this is old news for other Portlanders but I had not heard of this before I and shall make this a regular stop for my crafting needs and donations. First thing they are getting from me this weekend is a boatload of yarn. This is a bunch of Bernat I bought at a Ben Franklin that was going out of business. Bernat is a pretty good acrylic actually. And the colors are great. But I've just admitted to myself I will not get to that afghan in this lifetime. I already have two afghans in progress that I'm more interested in. Someone else can use and love this yarn. At the Sock Summit Luminary Panel someone brought up the lack of diversity in the attendees. And I thought that was a really interesting point to bring up. If we feel knitting is a valuable part of our lives and enriches it then it makes sense to share that with others. Especially a socio-economic group that may not have the disposable income I have for yarn and needles, etc.. So SCRAP feels like a really positive step in that direction. Do something fun, create something useful. They offer classes so I thought I would explore what they have and see if I can bring anything new to their curriculum.

I have a shocking lack of pictures to share. I've been taking them, and downloading them and then not doing anything else. Maybe this weekend we'll get a picture catch-up.

July 27, 2009

Explaining Technology

My parents and grandparents keep asking me what blogs, Twitter, and Facebook (or MySpace) are. They hear about them when they watch their local or national news but don't quite understand the technology. I found some great movies that explain these and thought you might want to share them too.

November 11, 2006

Somebody stop me!

I now own the cutest shoes on the planet.

plaid vans

I'm never. taking. them. off. EVAH!

(nyah nyah Amy, they fit perfect!)

Today was an orgy of sensory stimulation and shopping. My friend Amy is a kindred spirit so she knows when I would like something and took me to a great shopping area on Hawthorne. I pretty much handed my card to every shop keeper along the street. But my rationalization is that many were Christmas presents. Well, a few were. OK, maybe only a couple but how could I live without these shoes? And if you saw what I left behind.... I didn't take home any of this (and that wasn't easy!) and I didn't take home any of these (and it durn near killed me) and I...OK, I need to simmer down. This is worse than a sugar high.

But there is a good chance I'm wearing my new shoes to bed. Just so you know.

March 30, 2004

Too many socks, mock oranges and Grandpa

I'm just SOOO close to getting MovableType up and running on this site so if anyone is actually reading this and you see funky stuff over the next couple of days, please be patient, I am working my tushy off to figure this all out and get it up and running and looking like I want it to look.

First, if anyone is actually paying attention, I have removed the Hazy Cable sweater from the "On the needle" section on the left. Yes, I'll call it a UFO until I pick it back up. I had wanted to knit it in the round and I found a great book that I think will help me out with this. In the meantime I had a couple projects I had to finish so I've set it aside...for now.

I cast on Grandma's socks she has been wanting. She has worn the first pair I made for her for her birthday non-stop and they are kind of wild for her so I'm doing another pair for her that are more her style. She picked out the first yarn but I think the soft neutral colors of the Lorna's Laces aslan yarn will please her. I'm doing some cabling just for interest.

I also am casting on some socks that will be a gift. Since the yarn is pretty much solid, I'm going to try out the Blueberry Waffle pattern for interest. They look adorable.

I finished the Winter Eclipse socks finally! I don't go as fast on the socks when I'm not watching movies.

So that is the too many socks part of my title. Now the second part isn't me advocating poor treatment of oranges. It is about the Mock Orange trees growing around here. This beautiful tree is right off the back porch.

And across the river we are getting quite a show from either a huge tree or multiple trees. The CDC does not do it justice of course but any dear readers that would be reading this crazy blog of mine has a wonderful imagination and will be able to picture the lovely white blossom show.

And Grandpa. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I have a weird Grandpa. No matter what logic is placed to him, he still does some of his weird little things. One of the things he loves to do is take food out of the refrigerator and put it in a cooler on the deck. He is a little clueless when it comes to food spoilage but this doesn't stop him. He just LOVES to do this. I was out on the porch taking picture of the knitting and when I turned around I saw this:

There we go again. Everything was fine in the fridge but I left him alone for awhile and he started taking food out and putting it in the cooler (or in this case next to the cooler). It is about 54 degrees today so I don't know what it will do to the milk. I think he worries that I overload the fridge and that is why things freeze in the back but things freeze in the back because the refrigerator is over 40 years old. Ah well, the good side is he forgets what he puts out there and I can move it back or throw it away as I see fit.

March 29, 2004

Assassin Bees

I almost finished one clog and I am starting the toe decreases on my Winter Eclipse socks so I don't have anything interesting to show or talk about.

But I went past one of my favorite restaurants in Seaside, OR this morning and it reminded me of the assassin bees so I thought I would share.

I was standing outside Corepeny's one afternoon talking to my Mom and this bee would not leave my foot alone. My right big toe to be exact. He kept flying around it trying to land on it. I moved my foot, waggled the toe, waved him away, shooed him off, and on and on. He just kept going for the same big toe. Finally, when I looked away for a second to respond to something Mom said, he managed to land on the big toe and stung me!

I don't know what was so enticing about my big toe. Was it so sweet smelling and looking that he was mistaking it for a lovely flower? Did I unknowingly step on his buddy and he was out for revenge? Was he just ticked that I took his place in line to go into the restaurant? I'll never know. I think he was hired by some vengeful, bully bug family that I ticked off and I was being made an example of. Anyone else on the sting list?

March 18, 2004


I'm a hedonist. A full-blown, card-carrying hedonist. Of course, my idea of hedonistic activities include ignoring the tax worksheet I have to finish before Monday's appointment with the accountant, turning a blind eye to the dirty dishes in the sink and the filthy floor, and sitting down with my knitting to watch four successive episodes of Upstairs Downstairs. Sex, drugs and rock and roll are too much work for a true hedonist.

I had about 4 inches of the Suki bag done when I realized in my sleep (swear to God) that I had forgotten to finish the increases in round two. I did one, put the knitting down to walk the dogs and never did another increase. So now I have to rip everything out (might as well start over). That bums me out a little so hence the movie-fest.

I also want to tackle my Hazy Cable sweater again but in looking at the back I can't help thinking it is going to be a little snug. Bummer. That has kept me from picking it back up. I will probably order more yarn so I can make the next size up so this project gets put on the back burner.

So I'm breaking out a kit I ordered on impulse and is filling up one of those Space Saver bags that horrified my Mom. It is a Herrschners kit I bought on impulse. It was the right price to rationalize a large yarn purchase and I really want a knock-around, washable, long cardigan like this. Especially at the beach where even in the summer you need something in the evenings and early morning. I also like the color of this and thought (big surprise) that it would be cute with jeans.

The kit was on close-out I think because I can't find a picture of it online anymore. The yarn is Bernat Soft Boucle in a navy with hints of a dark colonial blue. Here is my usual pixilated picture.

Bernat yarn and pattern

I'm not going to declare it officially On The Needles until I've tried it out a little.

March 16, 2004

Horses and Being a Good Doobie

It was a bit of a hellish weekend as I had to put everything else aside and finished a paper for a graduate class I was taking. But yea yea yea, I'm done and initial reaction from the instructor is that it looks good.

Now I have more freedom to work on the knitting! I'm a good doobie because instead of casting on a new project I pulled this out of the bag where it was in danger of becoming a UFO.

Berroco Optik scarf

This is a Berroco Optika yarn that is heavenly and I'm finishing up The Shaply Scarf out of The Knit Stitch. This pattern seemed better with this yarn because it just looks a little dressier. It is a scarf as an accessory to an outfit rather than to keep me warm. It is stratight garter stitch but the yarn is a twist of sparkly cord, shiny boucle, and a soft homespun. This slows me down a bit because I can easily split the twist.

And I got yarn for another project today, I'll post pictures tomorrow. It feels so much better to have more than a few things going. I don't know how other people do it when they are disciplined enough to work on one project at a time! Crazy people!

I have to include a quick little bit about the horses. These horses belong to my neighbor but the field is right out front from my house. And the horses visit me a lot as I'm an excellent source of carrots and apples. Here is the view from my front door. You can't see it in the picture but there is a fence there.

Telina and Marika at fence

That is Telina on the left and Marika on the right. And this is Marika shaking me down for treats.

Marika's nose

March 12, 2004

Living in the Country

I swallowed a bug yesterday. I opened my mouth, inhaled, and saw the little sucker go in. I tried to be cool and not gag and hurl in an over reaction. Best I managed was some coughing that covered some of the gagging.

I like living out in the country for the most part. Especially now with spring making little leaves and buds appear everywhere.

New Leaves

We have moles too. I can't help but think of Moley in Wind in the Willows but I don't think my neighbors would agree. Ever seen what a mole does to your yard?

Mole holes

They aren't so much holes as a running mound with little spurts of dirt mounds. They make the ground very soft and squishy. I'm afraid to step on these mounds because I'm afraid the mole is in the dirt underneath and I'll squish him in a horrible death!

The mole isn't in our yard too much anymore. Maybe because dogs and I are there a lot. But he sure had fun in our next door neighbor's yard!

We saw the mole once. The dogs and I were outside for a walk and he popped out of one of his mounds right in front of us! He seemed to know he was in trouble right away. Smelled the dogs or something I am sure. But instead of making a great escape, he ran right towards the dogs! So they weren't exaggerating when we were told moles are blind! My dogs were too surprised to do anything and I started whooping and hollering and pulling the dogs away. I didn't want the mole to get hurt and I didn't want the dogs to muck with anything.

So I guess I'm actually responsible for the mole work in my neighbor's yard?

Beeble Beeble Beeble

I'm so depressed. My entry for March 10 somehow got completely erased. It had absolutely nothing interesting in it but I'm bummed it vanished anyway.

On one hand the vastness of the digital world is kind of cool because you can burn monstrous amounts of stuff onto magic CDs. Then you are reminded that the digital world is nothing when in a poof something is gone.

OK, so what did it say? That I had been staying at the beach with Mom and got offered a job at the local LYS (local yarn store) by the beach for the summer. It was probably karma that it got erased because I made a derogatory crack about hourly jobs.

March 05, 2004

Bumper Sticker in Parking Lot of Local Community College

Jesus votes Republican

I never knew...and here, I would have bet he voted all humanitarian causes. Do we even have a political party like that?

Spring is Here!

Whether you like it or not! The evidence is everywhere.

Have you seen the Quiznos commercials with the creepy little 2D singing things? The first time I saw that I thought I must have stumbled upon a Saturday Night Live skit. But then I kept seeing them. I checked the Quiznos website and they think their new commercials are fabulous!

They also think those things are monkeys. Have they ever seen a monkey? Those things are rodents. Hamsters, gerbils, I can't quite tell because of the creepy eyes and hats. And they don't move so they look like they took pictures of dead rodents and tried to animate them. One of them even has its little feet curled up next to its body like a little dead rodent.

Why would a restaurant want a dead rodent hawking their food?

March 04, 2004

Watch Out I'm Getting Personal

Multnomah County in Oregon has begun issuing marriage licenses for same-sex marriages. I'd put a link to the news story here but it would break in a few weeks so you can just to to and do a search for the story.

I don't know the mechanics of how it was done. There is some debate on the city council making decisions in secret. Whatever. I'm so proud of Oregon government for doing this! YEAH! It is about time!! I just don't understand the ferocity behind opposing this. People seem to honestly believe that this will destroy the sanctity of marriage. If they want to ban same-sex marriages on that basis, then they had better ban adultery. And they won't do that because we know how "busy" those politicians are! Yeah, power is an aphrodisiac, yeah, yeah, yeah. Bollocks!

And wouldn't prenuptial agreements also fall under this umbrella? Did anyone picket Donald Trump when he did his shitty little move with Marla (not that what he did to Ivana was any less shitty) divorcing her just before a deadline that would mean she got big bucks from him? What about Mick Jagger? His "ah ha! I didn't file the paperwork you aren't really my wife!" trick was quite a testament to marriage! Yeah, a gay couple is going to bring down the institution.

I know people believe it is a mortal sin. And I totally accept their belief (I don't agree with it, but that is beside the point). But then why picket and scream horrible things at another human being. If it is a mortal sin, then the person committing the sin will be the one to pay. It is The Higher Being's job to judge, not ours.

*sigh* I'm just so happy for these folks who have been in loving, committed relationships, raising children, and contributing to our community. They deserve the same legal protections in our society. Actually, they deserve more. They deserve to have their unions celebrated also.

It was so sweet to see all those couples lined up outside the courthouse waiting for it to open so they can get their licenses (over 400 couples showed up). All they want is to get married. That just shouldn't be denied.

March 02, 2004

Abusing Customers

I hate it when a company I have done business with takes the opportunity to pester me. That is apparently how they thank their customers, they come back at them for more. I bought something from a large, well-known company who sells steaks. They have a wonderful product, I have always been happy with the results and I consider it a special gift for special occasions when I go to them. This company has started calling me to sell me more.

I'm astounded that that is the way they thank me for my business. Now I have to have the awkward conversation of "I'm not interested in really good priced steaks right now, please take me off your call list." In actuality, I probably would be interested in well-priced steaks but I will never buy anything from a telemarketing call and I will never buy when I'm directly marketed to. The presumption offends me. It is not an opportunity for me. It is an opportunity for them.

The cable company is a good one for this! Buy one of their services and they will keep calling you to upgrade you. Even right after you get your new service installed. My mortgage company hammered me with junk mail about insurance. And who is it that sells the information that you are a new homeowner? Don't I get any say in living someplace for a little while before the calls and junk mail start up again right away? I get to give you my life savings, AND part of my paycheck for the next 30 years and you STILL are going to sell my information?

And how about when you do business with one company (lets say buy bulbs from a catalog) and now you are getting junk mail from many many gardening companies. Gee, I wonder who pimped my information around? It isn't enough that I gave them money they want to make more off of me. "Thanks for your business, we'll be abusing that privilege now." And the joke is, the latest junk mail I got was for environmentally-friendly equipment.

It has the distinct feeling of being screwed and not getting dinner.

I'm sorry David darling, you shouldn't be right under this rant.

Brain Buzz

Now this is a hottie. He has the nose and the great chin. Yes, David Wenham deserves a growl...

I'm on the hunt for the perfect eggplant colored cotton yarn. I saw this darling pattern and now I want a whole sweater in that ribbing, those colors and that random striping.


I decided I keep track of what I'm doing enough around here I don't need to do it in the blog also. So that little feature is GONE! Just move the eyeballs to the left to see what are on the needles.

I couldn't resist the pansies and primrose today at our local BiMart. 88 cents! I am proud I managed to not fill the cart. I just filled the seat part. So I enjoyed the rare, beautiful NW sunshine and did a bit o' gardening. Got the nails dirty, prettified the front step, managed to get out of my "I'm-not-working-I'm-a-loser" funk for a little while.

I was having a little bit of a Viggo craving yesterday. Viggo is an interesting character. He isn't actually my type usually. He is too good looking and I like a bigger nose on a man's face. Anchors it, gives it character, yadda yadda. But any man who is so open to artistic endeavors without the pretension and says his teenage son is his best friend has peaked my interest.

Now if he just did something in drag I would put him on my "future husband" list. There is something so sexy about a man confident enough in his masculinity to dress in drag...

Anyway, so I was craving a little Viggo and I rented some movies he did a while back. Daylight and Prophecy. Let me save you the time. Not good. Not good at all. I almost feel like Viggo owes me one for watching them. He was good in them. He really was. But the writers for those films need to do some hard time.

Today, we are saluting great cameo appearances. Especially the ones where the actors play themselves. I saw the Will & Grace that Kevin Bacon was on the other day. He was SO funny! He did the Footloose dance. One of the better episodes in my opinion! And how about the Seinfeld that Raquel Welch did? Where she beat up Kramer and Elaine in separate fights? Another beauty. And Ron Howard's in the Simpsons. Heck, any star appearance in the Simpsons is good stuff. They are satirized really well.

Hats off you guys! I respect you a heck of a lot more when you roast yourself so well. You have more credibility in my opinion.