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Friday, March 30, 2007

So, So Wrong...

Okay, Kristin finally posted the photo of the incredibly inappropriate bunny pen from Target. So naturally, I stole the photo from her site and am posting it here for your perusal. Is it just me? Or is it really as bad as my perverse mind made it out to be?

Happy Easter...?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Big Loser

Phew! I seem to have finally broken my weight gain trend... I am down another 1lb+ today, as of weigh in. Just goes to show that following the WW plan really does work. I've been back on track the last two weeks (tracking and everything!) and it's paying off. I hope I don't blow it all next week when I'm on vacation!

In other news (there really isn't much going on around here), I joined the no-end-in-sight-ripple-along. See the snazzy new button gracing my sidebar - it's clickable! Anyway, I found the blog last weekend and figured that in the spirit of my no-new-craft-purchases-during-Lent, this was an ideal project to work on. I don't have to buy any new yarn, and I'll get a big old afghan I can toss over my bed in the wintertime. (I don't have too many blankets here. I keep making them and giving them away! I have one that I keep on my couch that I made for myself a few years ago.) Anyway, since it uses all the random yarns leftover from old projects, I'm not sure what it's going to end up looking like. Hopefully it won't be hideous! It will be containing random stripes and different textures (I posted more detail on the CAL site, if anyone is interested)'s what I've done so far:

And, since it's a never ending project, I don't have to worry about making any deadlines. Which also means that I can pick it up and put it down at will. (Christyn, you'll still get your baby blanket.) And on the very off chance that I run out of yarn, it's random anyway, so new stuff that comes in can just transition into the (non) pattern.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

I didn't have a very eventful weekend, but sometimes I like it that way. I spent most of this particular weekend engrossed in The Masque of the Black Tulip. It's the sequel to The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, which I picked up out of a bargain bin a few years ago and devoured. I just really enjoy the author's writing style (Joie - I think you would enjoy these - part historical spy/romance, part comtemporary chick lit) and the characters. Now I need to get my hands on the third one. I think the library has it.

I meant to do laundry this weekend, in preparation for my vacation, but didn't get to it. (Not motivated enough. I did fold the laundry that was still sitting in the basket from last week though.) I guess I can do a few loads next weekend instead. How I wish I had a washer and dryer in the apartment! Not that that would really have motivated me anyway.

Tonight, I went to dinner with Kristin, and then to Target. We were probably overly-amused at Target in the dollar section... They have this cloth covered bunny pen that is just so inappropriate...I can't describe how wrong it looks...but we laughed so hard about it that Kristin had to buy it. I told her she would have to put it on her blog, so check her link above to see if she has. (You can comment and ask her for it, if it's not there.) We were both laughing hysterically in the aisle, saying how neither of us had our cameras, and then her phone started ringing. She looked at it to see who was calling, then looked at me, still laughing so hard she can barely speak. "How are you calling me?"


I opened my purse and notice it's all lit up by my cell phone, which has randomly dialed Kristin from inside my purse (okay, so I'm sure buttons were pressed while the purse was pressed against my arm, but what a coincidence!). That only made us laugh harder. And then we read through greeting cards, which kept the laughter flowing.

Yesterday (March 24) was my 1 year blogiversary! It sure doesn't seem like I've been doing this for that long already. 165 posts (this one makes 166). I like having this creative outlet (not that I'm always that creative...). And surprisingly enough, I even have a few regular readers.

So, thanks to all of you who still read me. :)
(Even when my creativity is lagging, like tonight!)

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Today's horoscope, per Yahoo: "Stress is not always a bad thing -- in fact, it can bring out the best in you."

Let's just hope that's true!! I was "spoken to" again today about my chronic lateness. Usually 10-15 minutes, which wouldn't be a problem if my start time wasn't 9am. It looks like the department is going to be cracking down (again) on the tardiness factor and my direct boss wanted to give me a heads up (which I do appreciate). I'm not the only one with a tardiness issue either, and if they want to discipline anyone in the department for it, they have to discipline everyone. So, I need to really work on it. And it is a major problem for me to get out of bed! (Very sad for one of my advanced years, I know.) I actually asked one of my co-workers to call me in the morning tomorrow to make sure I'm up. It's helped in the past. Wish me luck!!

In other news, I've still been working on The Purse, and have decided that guage swatches are totally misleading. If you remember, I actually made swatches until my chosen hook made the desired guage called for in the pattern. Then I started the purse, second guessed myself, started again, screwed up, and started again (not sure how many times now). After all that, I thought the purse still looked gargantuan, so I decided to measure it... (See massive base below.)

Nineteen inches!!! If I keep going on like this, I'm going to need WAY more yarn. And of course, it won't be cute anymore, because it will be bigger than me. So, yet again, I've decided to rip this puppy completely apart again and start anew. And the rows that I've worked and reworked a thousand times have worn the yarn down to a nice nubbly old sweater, I think I'm truly starting fresh this time, and not reusing that half-skein that's already in there. (If I need it towards the end - yes, I am determined to finish this!! - I will use it to join the handles to the purse.)

Okay - back to Ugly Betty. :)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday Mind Dump

I appear to be lapsing back into my working late ways...I was at work until 8pm tonight and last Friday too. Yes, I know. I really need to get a life. At least I'm not working through lunch. And the sad thing is, I tend to really get into a file around 5:30pm, 1/2 hour before I'm scheduled to go home. I lose track of time then and end up working way too late (though working until 8pm really isn't the norm for me). Anyway, I am just hoping not to get sucked back into the depths of the stress cyclone. I do not want to relive January! And I really need to keep on top of my loans so that I don't fall behind when I'm on vacation in April.

That's right. I am taking a vacation. 6 whole consecutive days! (Okay, so two are a weekend, but still!) Woo hoo! Yeah, I obviously need this vacation. Can you tell? Anyway, I'm flying out to Atlanta right before Easter for my godson's Christening (if I'm still to be his godmother...for all I know my friends have changed their minds - I'll find out won't I? At least I'm still invited, so that's good!) and staying until the Tuesday after. It should be fun - I haven't seen these friends since Christmas and I've never been to Atlanta. Okay, that's a lie. I've been through Atlanta - but my stays have always been confined to the airport. (And I'm staying with my friends, who live in Marietta.) So, I'm excited. Yay!

Of course, two days after I booked my flight and dropped my huge wad of cash on the tickets, I decided to tell my Dad about my plans (he asked if anything was going on, so I told him). Come to find out, Dad has about 100,000 frequent flyer miles with United that he needs to use before losing, and he would have gotten me a flight for free. Why didn't I even think to ask him first?? (Okay, here's why - it didn't even cross my mind that he would still have any miles left since he doesn't travel like he used to before he retired. Also, even when he travelled all the time, I always felt like I was being greedy if I asked him to get me a flight for free. If he offered, it was a totally different story.) AND, what was I thinking being all independent and all?

Um, so that being said, anyone want any out of town visitors? Just kidding (unless you live somewhere really awesome...)

My friend Jodie finally had her baby - Cooper Alexander (last name omitted) - on Saint Patrick's Day at about 12:35 am. She ended up having an emergency C-section, and both mother and baby are recovering in the hospital. I'm not sure when the baby is going in for his surgery, but am still offering up my prayers for his health and strength. Keep sending those positive vibes! :)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Wearin' o' the Green...Part I

Seeing as it's Saint Patrick's Day, I thought it a fitting day to share more of my photos from Ireland. The following are all from a trip to Blarney Castle in 2001 - during the two weeks I spent in Ireland for a friend's wedding.This one, of course, is the castle ruins. We've just arrived and are approaching the castle. The grounds are lush and green!Getting closer. Doesn't it look imposing from below? I read that the outside walls are actually sloped inwards to make the castle look taller from the ground. Sneaky, eh? If I'm remembering correctly, this was one of the first things we saw after climbing the very narrow stone stairwell up, up, up... I guess they really did rain down the terror from Murder Holes. This is a floating fireplace that fascinated me, for some reason. Okay, so way back when the castle still had intact floors, it wasn't floating, but it appears to be now. You can see where the floor used to be though. Here we have more of the interior. The room at the bottom there used to be the family room. The room in the middle was the banquet hall. The top most level here was the chapel. You can see where the floors used to be. Now, I'm curious as to what kind of floors they used (I'm assuming wood, that has since rotted out) and what kept them up (I don't see any pillars or posts or anything...) The castle was definitely not wheelchair friendly, so Kerri (who is the one that convinced me to go on this trip in the first place) waited outside the castle walls. Here she's patiently waiting for me to finish my traipsing about. Hi Kerri!
View from the top. Pretty, huh?

Same spot from the ground. I liked the little stone bridge in the distance. Didn't have a chance to explore the grounds too much though - it's hard when you're with a large group and there's a lot to see. We visited the castle in the morning, and then headed over to Blarney Woollen Mills, conveniently located across the road from Blarney Castle.

And for all of you wondering...No, I didn't kiss the stone. First of all, I don't think I need any help in the gift of gab department...Secondly, did you know you have to hang upside down to kiss that thing? I think not!! Thirdly - I hear the locals sneak into the castle and defile the stone (or rather, treat it as a urinal) and though this may not be true, would you really want to take the chance?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Grandmothers and Deliveries

How unexpected was the end of Gray's Anatomy?? I didn't really see that coming...Did you?

Okay, now that that's out of the way, on to more substantial topics...

Grandma Purl (Crazy Aunt Purl's grandmother) got her blanket last Saturday. Laurie put the story on her blog with plenty of photos and narrative. Check it out! The last photo (grandma opening the box) is priceless! I'd have posted the photo here, but I wasn't sure Laurie would appreciate me stealing her family photos... Also, I didn't think I could do it justice in my own words. Go visit - it is both heartwarming and amusing!

In other news, my friend Jodie, who I mentioned had been in labor for 36 hours already in last Tuesday's post, has still not had the baby. Little Cooper does not want to be born yet, and after 2 days (yep, 2 whole days) of labor with no progress towards birth, the hospital sent her home to rest. She gets to go through the whole inducement process again tomorrow. Poor Jodie!! So, again, I am wishing her luck, and a never-ending supply of pain killers... And I'm also hoping that Cooper is born strong and stubborn (no people, not because I wish a difficult child on Jodie, but rather so that he is in good shape for the surgery he will need to correct his diaphragmatic hernia). Cooper will be in the hospital for a while after his birth, and I think that Jodie and her husband would appreciate all of your prayers and support.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Random Ramblings

How is everyone's week going? So far so good for me, except that today I seem to be feeling like crap, and was running a low grade temp when I got home from work. I'm not sure if I'm getting a cold (which is what it feels like) or experiencing allergies (which very likely feels the same).

In any case, I had a pretty busy weekend. Kristin and I went to a potluck picnic in the park on Saturday, with a group of people from one of the yahoo groups (newcomers). It was pretty fun for the most part, but it's hard socializing with a bunch of strangers (for me anyway). I brought along a mozzarella/tomato salad, kind of like a caprese, but not quite. I think it tastes like spring. And even though I don't much care for raw tomatoes, I love this salad! My Dad makes it a lot. Very very simple, and tasty. (If you're interested - chopped fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, chunks of fresh mozzarella, coarsely chopped fresh basil, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt/pepper to taste.)
After the conversation died at the picnic, and people started getting sporty (I don't do volleyball, and that's what they pulled out), Kristin and I hung out and went shopping (no luck for either of us there) during the afternoon, and then met some friends for dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory in Concord. That was fun too - but I tend to enjoy myself around food, don't I? I was glad to hang out with Pearl and Jim, who are moving to UT in about a month. I don't see them very often as it is, but I have to say, if I ever start a career in stand-up comedy (not bloody likely), I want Pearl in my audience. (Others for my audience would definitely be Kerri, Yulia and Maryam, who just seem to think I'm hilarious. I am going to tell myself it's a compliment.) And Jodie and Mark came out as well, possibly their last dinner out before the baby comes.

Speaking of which, Jodie was getting induced today. Her appointment was at 8am, but so far there hasn't been any baby news, so she's most likely still in labor. I hope it is all going well with her and little Cooper (that's the new baby's name) and that there aren't any complications.

After dinner on Saturday, Kristin and I headed over to Dan's to see one of her coworkers perform in his band. It was his first gig with them, and I thought they were pretty good. I enjoyed the mix of music they played, which was mostly 80's/90's rock, with some current rock thrown in. All of the singing along left me pretty hoarse though. And I'm wondering if that's why my throat is sore today (or if it's a cold/allergies...etc).

Friday, March 09, 2007

Family Resemblances

Everyone says that my little brother looks just like my father (which is basically true). But, Dad sent me the following photo today of me and Gino, and I have to say that I'm seeing a slight resemblance between the two of us, even having different mothers (only he's way cuter, of course). I think it's the fact that without even looking at each other, we managed to make almost the exact same facial expression at the moment my father snapped the picture...What do you think?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

She's Crafty...

Okay, so even though I've given up buying anything craft related until after Lent is over, I think I can manage to keep myself busy. Since finishing the blanket for Jodie, I've picked up the the cable purse again. After hearing back from the designer about the pattern correction, I completed a few more rows and then realized that I'd been increasing by 1 stitch per row somehow, and ended up ripping it almost completely out again. But I think I'm back on track now... I am definitely determined though!

In addition to that, I've volunteered to help Kristy sew up extra squares from the Knit a Square for Grandmother Purl project. (See the first finished blanket here, which will be delivered to Laurie this coming Saturday.) I should be receiving a package of loose squares soon and will get cracking on the sewing up.

I am glad to help and to offer some support to Kristy, who organized the whole thing out of the goodness of her generous heart, and sadly had some pretty traumatic events happen in her life over the past few months, which set the project back a bit. There have been some pretty nasty comments on the Knit-a-long site about how disappointed people are that the blanket hasn't been delivered yet. I was pretty upset to read them myself, as I know that Kristy has not had an easy time of it since we got together to sew squares the first time. I feel for her and think people need to realize that this she is an individual, not a corporation or a large charity, and life happens. She, as an individual, does not have the resources and support systems to complete a project of this size while grieving, traveling to funerals, and recovering from multiple surgeries. (Not to mention working full time when physically able to do so.)

Luckily, there have also been some very supportive comments to back her up as well. I'm hoping she has more supporters that simply haven't spoken up. (Sadly, people are more likely to speak out when they have a negative comment than a positive one.)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Oh Oh It's Magic...

I have truly found a magic wand. That's right - a hair straightener that actually straightens my hair without just poufing it out! It's a miracle, I tell you!! And here it is: The Remington T-Studio Collection 2 1/4" Digital Flatiron. I would definitely recommend this product. And FYI - it's cheaper at Target (or I wouldn't have bought it in the first place). It managed to turn this frizzy poufy (scary) mess:
into this sleek and straight style:
Now, I know my natural wavy/curly/frizzy hair doesn't look like it would really be that much of a struggle, but believe me - it is. Ask Kerri, she's witnessed hairdressers having difficulties with it. I've had hairdressers tell me that I have difficult hair (they don't tend to believe me when I warn them). I guess the strong personality has seeped from my brain into my hair.
I have gone into work with straight hair for the past 2 days, and have gotten a lot of compliments. (Now, I'm going to take that positively, instead of twisting it to mean my usual 'do is crap...) I love how smooth and soft my straightened hair feels, but at the same time, I'm not used to how it looks at all. I guess mainly I am noticing how long my face is...And just how much forehead I have!
Anyway, I'll probably keep straightening it until I get lazy and the novelty wears off. Or until it gets really hot out and I don't want that kind of heat near my head. Or until I get all self-righteous and annoyed at myself for fighting nature.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Shower Season

Shower season has begun - only this year it will be baby showers instead of wedding... I have 3 friends that are expecting. And they're due in March, May and June. Perhaps my lenten sacrifice (no more buying for crafts until Easter) wasn't timed well.

Luckily, I had already purchased the materials for the first afghan of the season. I made the Diagonal Baby Blanket pattern offered on the Lion Brand Website. I really like how it will stripe diagonally with a variegated yarn (I used Homespun in Delft). Here's a shot of the finished blanket:
And amazingly, I finished it in time. I ended up ripping out the first half, since my guage was too tight and it was going to end up way too small, even for an infant. (Which is why I should have done a guage swatch.) I ended up using a hook 3 sizes larger to get the size right. I then ended up ripping out half of the second half, since I read the pattern wrong and wasn't decreasing enough per row. But, I still had time to try a nifty technique I stole from someone else's blog, and I made a label for it, of which I am inordinately proud. Here's a picture of the tag on the blanket.
The shower was Saturday, when I presented the blanket to expectant mother Jodie. She seemed pleased with the gift. So, I am too. Even though I'm not impressed by how I attached that label. Oh well. :) The shower was fun, and so was the food (always an important part of a party). It was mostly Jodie's neighbors (most of whom are pregnant) and a couple of friends. Her sister and step-mother were the hosts, and I'd say we were a pretty lively group. I'm so used to being one of the organizer/hostesses that it's almost weird to just be a guest! I did stay and help a little with the clean up. And possibly overstayed my welcome (I hope not though).

So, to close, here's a shot of me and the expectant mother. Let's all wish her a healthy delivery of her little baby boy!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Caught in the Act!

This photo I took last night incrimates all the inhabitants of my household...Me, for finishing off the ice cream the night before weigh in, and my cat, for viciously attacking the carton of deliciousness as soon as it hit the table. Don't worry, I whisked it away from her after getting the picture.
As for the weigh-in, I still don't know how much damage I did over the last week, as I ended up working so late that I missed the WW meeting. Oh well.
In other news - did anyone else feel that 4.2 earthquake? I did, and it felt a lot stronger than 4.2 to me. Scared my kitty too (okay, and me as well). As I sat frozen in fear on my couch, all I could think of was the quake in '89 (Loma Prieta), and was wondering if this was a big one further away. Luckily, there was not. And my earthquake strength guage is way off, since I was bufferred by the full force of the '89 quake by the shocks on the van I was in on the road. Because of that, most of the aftershocks felt worse to me. But, this one that happened tonight seemed to go on for a while. I kept waiting for more after the shaking stopped, but it was truly over. That was fine by me.