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Friday, November 19, 2010

Vacation Time!

Yep, as of this evening, I'm officially on vacation. I took three days off of work to hit Disneyland with my family (luckily, my company gives the day after Thanksgiving off as a paid holiday anyway).

It's going to be a busy week, too, starting tomorrow. Due to my usual severe procrastination, I haven't yet packed a, tomorrow will start off with a frenzy of packing, then a drive up to Sacramento to attend the Trans Siberian Orchestra concert with my Mom's side of the family. Rather than driving home afterward, I'll be spending the night at my step-sister's house and rolling out of bed (or couch, as the case may be) way too early to get on the road to Anaheim. Since I'm driving down there with my brother, I expect to be dragged out of the house while still technically asleep. That's okay, though, since I have no problem sleeping in the car.

We have arranged to meet up with my Dad (and step-mother, brother and step-grandmother, who are all driving down together from San Andreas) at a Krispie Kreme along the way, so that we'll all arrive at the park at the same time. You know, I don't think I've ever actually been inside a Krispy Kreme before. They'll have coffee though, and I will need it!

Sunday afternoon, after checking in to the hotel (we're staying on-site at the Grand Californian), we're heading into the park and not leaving until they close on Wednesday night (except of course to go back to the room and sleep). We check out on the morning of Thanksgiving, when the family (and my friend Kerri, who is meeting us down there for the week) hops back into our cars and cruises over to my cousin's house in Newport Beach for Thanksgiving dinner. I don't get to see that side of the family very often, so I'm pretty psyched that this worked out this way.

Friday morning is the long drive back home. I also think this will be the first Black Friday in years that I haven't gone Christmas shopping with my mother at the Folsom Outlet Mall. I'll deal (though I will miss my mother).

As much fun as I am expecting to have on this trip, I do think that I'll need the weekend after to recover. And to upload photos, of course.

I am consciously not dieting on this trip. As I told my co-worker today, this is my last hurrah before re-starting my diet. I've decided that since Weight Watcher's is unveiling their new (re-vamped) program during the week after Thanksgiving, that's when I am going to start all over again as if I were a new member. (I need a kick in the pants on that front anyway, and am hoping that the new plan will motivate me to actually follow it.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Just in time for Christmas!

Mattel introduces the newest innovation for aspiring's "Sucking Chest Wound Barbie!"

After the fairy tale ends, reality sets in...

This toy is labeled "A Fashion Fairy Tale" and there appears to be ties to a movie. Based on this particular doll, I'm assuming this fairy tale was written by the Brothers Grimm.

It seriously looks like her chest is exploding...and it gets worse. If you press her belt buckle, the open chest cavity lights up and emits music. (Like fireworks on her chest.) Here's a close-up - if you look closely, you'll see the lights in her chest.

I just do not understand this doll. But, that being said, I am 99.9% certain that if I was still 9 years old, I would HAVE to have one. (And yes, I was indeed standing in the toy aisle in Target taking photos of Barbie dolls with my cell phone!)

Speaking of when I was 9 years old...I don't remember my Barbies being quite this anorexic looking, do you?

For all of those that are wondering what I was doing in the toy aisle scrutinizing Barbies to begin with, it all started with a search for batteries. Since they've added the grocery section and redesigned the store, I can't find anything anymore! I stumbled upon the toys after the "Twilight" Barbies caught my eye.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Cry for Help

Pick a winner!

Okay, it's a bit less of a cry, and really just more of a polite request. I have made 3 practice swatches of different mitred squares (see above). Which one do you like best? I'm personally leaning towards the stockinette stitch, because I think it looks the best. But, the garter stitch square is the easiest, and results in the squishiest and softest texture.

I have decided to make a blanket for my 6 year old little brother, as a Christmas gift. I usually take some project or other with me when I go visit my Dad, and Gino always asks who it's for. The last few times I had been working on different baby blankets (for different babies), and now he just asks me if what I'm making is for "the baby." Not too long ago, he asked me why I didn't make one for him. I asked him if he'd like me to make him a blanket and he got kind of excited looking and said yes. So, I decided to do it. It's hard to resist those big brown eyes looking up at you!

I did ask him what colors he liked, and while I honestly can't remember the exact color combo he gave me, I do remember that it was a bright and garish selection. He's only 6 - what can I say? I have settled on a palette of greens, cream/brown, and grayish. The yarn will be Loops & Threads (Michael's brand) Charisma, which is a chunky acrylic. I wanted something that would be easy to care for (you're welcome Dad) and quick to work up. After buying a sample skein to test with, I was happy with the feeling of the swatches.

But really, which stitch do you like best? (Keep in mind that the garter stitch square is only that small because I was running out of the sample yarn.)

Thanks for your help!

*Lesson learned while swatching: Always make sure to read (and more importantly to understand) any special stitches to be used in your pattern before getting to the end of your project and wondering why your square is curvy...oops!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

In Honor of Election Day...

...and without espousing any political opinions (this is my blog and I make the rules), would any of you out there allow your husband/wife to fill out your absentee ballot?

A co-worker mentioned to me today that she and her husband both vote through absentee ballots, and she always just lets him fill hers out for her. ???? I'm sure my jaw dropped and my brows hit the roof when she said it. It really shocked and bothered me, even though I know that her husband's political beliefs are closer to mine than hers. I can't imagine handing over my vote to someone else, let alone to someone that I knew had different views. To me, it's like stepping back in time to when women didn't have voting rights. The suffragettes fought for us, don't let them down! Use your American rights to influence the country, and be happy that we live in a place that gives us that right. Don't take it for granted, and don't give it away! (And, don't air your grievances if you didn't truly provide your own input.) Honestly, I think letting someone else complete your ballot is worse than not voting at all, as I see it as akin to stuffing a ballot box.

So, I don't care what your beliefs are - go vote and be heard! (And own your own vote - don't give it away!)

*Please keep your comments non-partisan and friendly - thank you.*

Monday, November 01, 2010

Chop Chop and Other Random Thoughts

After all of my recent baking and the non-stop eating, I decided I need to hop back on the Weight Watcher's wagon. Yes, it's true, I do come to this realization at least once a week, if not more often. Regardless, this time the realization caused me to cook, or at least prepare to cook. One of my co-workers re-dedicated herself to WW last week (she calls it food rehab) and had printed out the recipe for the zero point soup, which I found on the printer. This inspired me, and today I chopped up a ton of veggies and threw them in the crockpot, which I'll leave on low all day tomorrow so I can come home to a nice hot dinner. I did change up the recipe a bit, since I used chicken broth instead of veggie broth, left out the sweet red bell pepper (there is no way I am paying $2.50 for a single pepper - what are these things grown in? Pure gold soil? Crazy.) and the swiss chard. I also finally found a use for that sugar pumpkin I bought weeks ago. I peeled, seeded and chopped that puppy up and threw half of it in the crockpot, too. (I roasted the other half and ate with some butter and brown sugar for dinner.) I hope it turns out okay, but am a little worried that I overfilled the crock... I guess I will find out when I get home, based on how much soup ended up on my counter...

During the chopping session, and pumpkin peeling (what a pain!), I discovered that I must not do enough cooking anymore. Why? Because I ended up with a blister on my pointer finger, right where I was holding the knife. Of course, I just might need better knives. Any suggestions?

Now to randomly change the subject...

I believe that the horde of 2-3 year olds at my friends' party yesterday must have worn me out. I believe there were around 17 little munchkins running around during the party. I don't know where they get their energy, but I swear I got tired just watching them go! And to prove it, when I set my alarm last night I accidently set it for PM. I haven't done that in years! I knew there was a problem when I woke up this morning feeling awake. Luckily, my new boss was really cool about it and didn't give me any grief (I gave myself enough). I also found that I had left a candle burning all night. I haven't done that in ages, either.

As I mentioned, I went to Kristin's party yesterday. I helped her out with some of the planning and stayed afterwards to help out a bit with the cleanup. After the party, I reached up to scratch my head and noticed that I had 3 brightly colored spider rings in my hair (probably what caused the itch in the first place). The spider rings brought back fond memories of my maternal grandmother (which is why they ended up in my hair after I picked them up off of the rug in the first place). Grandma used to cover the screen door on her porch with those artificial spiderwebs and place a bunch of the plastic spiders throughout her blonde hair. The neighbor kids called her the spider lady (only at Halloween, mind you. She didn't do this daily.) My family always had a great time when we visited my grandparents on the night before Halloween, which is when their town trick-or-treated. They called it beggars night, I think. Then we'd go out again in our own neighborhood on the day of Halloween. All of us, except probably my grandfather (usually in the living room watching baseball) got pretty deeply into the spirit of Halloween, and I wonder sometimes if that's why I still enjoy the holiday so much. And the reason why the spider rings always make me smile. I miss you Grandma! (And Grandpa, too, but I can't imagine him with a spider ring in his hair.)

My favorite photo of the spider lady and her husband - 1945