Happy New Year!
And because every year should start with a bit of useless knowledge....click here.
Happy New Year!
And because every year should start with a bit of useless knowledge....click here.
This week I lost a friend to cancer. Cancer really does suck and I'm tired of it. I'm tired of seeing the pain it puts people through and all the suffering that surrounds it.
Anyway, Norma was a fun gal I worked with at the library and she dubbed herself my second mother because she always had to remind me to do things like take my medicine, tie my shoes, get enough rest and eat healthier. She battled cancer for 4 or 5 years, I think and this week she succumbed.
You know when you are really thinking about someone - that person is just constantly on your mind and you keep telling yourself to call that person? I feel really guilty that I kept putting that off. She was really on my mind last week and I kept saying I would call her later and then never did. Sigh. I'll have to live with that now.
Yesterday I went to her rosary service which was really nice. Her children and husband were there and a lot of family and friends. The service was different for me - Byzantine Catholic, I think. Partly in English and partly in Arabic. There were cantors. The music was so....soulful. It sounded both very old and very new. The priest started out with a line from a song about a heart beating for the love of another. Then he talked about the love Norma and her husband shared and how that love expanded and created their beautiful children. The service ended with the priest asking us to remember the power of love and to respect and honor it and to realize the enduring aspects of loving someone fully and completely. He then asked us to pray for the family. It was very touching.
So, in honor of Norma and in honor of love, here's this Friday's five from Etsy:
In honor of Fat Tuesday I tried on all the clothes that no longer fit. Laissez les bons temps rouler. Fat Tuesday, indeed. Somebody pass me a hurricane.
I've spent the last few days listing my
crap treasured possessions on eBay and have had very little interest. I still have a ton more stuff to list, but now I'm wondering if it is worth it at all. I should just set the stuff in my laundry room and leave it for the vultures like everyone else does. I've been crawling the want it now section (which is way cool, BTW) but still no bites. I'm getting ready to go through my bead collection to clear out some of that mess.
Last week I had a hankering for an old comfort food of from my college days:
Mmmmm. Ding Dongs! That plastic-y chocolate coating and waxy creamy filling. Add to that a name that makes you giggle like a pre-adolescent and you've got the makings of a perfect snack food.
You can't enjoy a culinary feast like this from the bag like a common peasant, could you? No, you need a fancy-schmancy plate. Recognize it, Kath? It's still one of my favorite pieces of dinnerware - I can't believe I had to dig it out of your trash can.
Slice your Ding Dongs (tee hee!) in half (tee hee!) and lather generously with Skippy peanut butter. This may be difficult because the Ding Dongs (tee hee!) want to crumble. Viagra-ize them in the fridge first, if you have the patience.
A stern word of caution: Foods that you liked when you were 18 may have grown much more sugary than you remember. What was good then (when you had eighteen term papers to write in three hours) may not be a wise choice now....because you're old and your system can't take that crap anymore. So have a nice cup of Postum and enjoy some Lawrence Welk reruns instead, okay?
First I sort my laundry: dark, light and delicate. I check pockets (even though pockets are emptied prior to going in the hamper), zip zippers, unfold and match socks, hook hooks. Lingerie items are sorted. Light colors go into a small lingerie bag (not so many of those) and dark colors go into the larger lingerie bag. I put everything in my rolling laundry cart, keeping the color separations.
I grab the laundry essentials - soap, quarters, Oxi-clean, scrubby brush, screwdriver. I go downstairs to the laundry room. I only use three of the eight washers. Why? Because we have front loaders and have to put the soap in this compartment thing that will run water through it carrying the detergent into the washer bin. Well, I have noticed that the water doesn't always rinse all the residue away and there is often fabric softener congealing in the tray. Not only that, but because the lid to the soap tray is supposed to be closed all the time, none of that water has a chance to evaporate. So the soap tray is a petrie dish of spores and mold. I discovered this after several months of mystery spots on my clothes and strange rashes in stranger places. I've told the HOA and they don't seem to care - they get someone out every couple of months to run a handiwipe over the tray and call it done. So now, before I launder, I have to unscrew the soap compartment and scrub away at it with my scrubby brush. This is why I can only use certain washers.
That done, I put my clothes in the washer, careful not to overload. I put in the recommended amount of OxiClean (it really does work!), insert the quarters (3), press the recommended temperature and wait until the water is running through the soap tray. Then I pour in the liquid detergent.
When the wash cycle is complete, I remove the wet clothes, shaking out each garment so socks don't get trapped in pant legs and I'm not putting a ball of wet, wrinkled items in dryer. I clean the lint traps in the dryers.
I do another sort. Some clothes I don't like to dry in the dryer - pants and sweaters because they often require drying, lingerie because it shortens the lifespan (of the lingerie, not me) and some items that were actually supposed to be handwashed. These items I either count, or place into the dryer for the first 15 minutes. If they are in the dryer by themselves, I do that first then continue getting the other clothes out of the washers. If I am going by count, I put all of that load into the dryer and after 15 minutes I pull those counted numbers out and bring them upstairs to dry on the hanger while the rest of the load completes the cycle. If an item has a stain that didn't come out, it doesn't get put in the dryer at all. The dryer is .75 for one hour. Each load gets a dryer sheet.
Hopefully, if I don't get distracted, I will go down to check on the dryer after thirty minutes. Some things will be dry and can be removed. Less clothes in the dryer, faster drying, right?
Finally, the dry cycle is done. I take my cart back to the laundry room, clean the lint traps again, fold the clothes and bring them upstairs.
Total laundry time: 2+ hours (depending on how dirty the soap trays are.)
Balls all his like colored laundry together in a basket. Brings it to the laundry room. Stuffs laundry into nearest washer. Pours in unmeasured amount of soap. Drops in quarters, hits "normal cycle".
Returns 30 minutes later and grabs entire load in one grab and stuffs it into one dryer. Drops in quarters, hits "whites".
Returns 45 minutes later. Puts plastic laundry basket under the dryer, opens dryer door, reaches an arm into the dryer and pulls out clothes so they fall into the basket. Leaves 15 minutes on the dryer.
Total laundry time: 1.25 hours.
I've been having a trouble with the service industry lately. I don't know why. I'm a nice person. I realize how hard it is to work behind a counter and with the public. I recognize the amount of restraint it takes to hold yourself back from some moron who asks where the non-fiction section is (bookstore) or why they have to pay overdue fines for books they checked out for their roommate who then ran off to Rio (library), or get yelled at because the size 14s are all cut too small for their size 20 bum (Nordstrom). Please. I've spent 15 years in the service industry and I know it ain't all pretty.
But seriously, can these companies start paying a little more than minimum wage and hiring people who are slightly smarter than plankton?
Me: I would like three copies of this on glossy cover weight paper.
Plankton: Three copies. On regular paper?
Me: Glossy. Heavy. Cardstock.
Me: Yes, cover.
Plankton: Okay. It'll be about 8 minutes.
Me: Okay, how about I run an errand and be back in 20 minutes?
Plankton: It'll be ready
30 Minutes Later. Plankton is talking to a couple I assume are customers. He talks to them about 10 minutes while I'm standing there. Just before I leave I find out these aren't customers, but employees who came in to chat on their day off. Nice.
Plankton 2 can't get the register open. Leaves the cash tray sitting on the counter and goes to another station in the middle of the store where he says he can help me over there. I go to him and he can't actually help me because the other guy is the one working on my order.
Plankton 2 realizes that Plankton 1 is busy talking to Planktons 3 and 4 and I think my withering glare is starting to make him nervous. By now about 45 minutes have elasped since I dropped off my original. Guess what? Nothing's been done! So Plankton 1 gets back on the job.
Plankton: Here. Oh wait, this printed on the wrong side. (Pause) Did you want this on the glossy side?
Me: Um, yes.
Plankton: Oh. (Goes back to make another copy, brings me a copy that half the color is rubbed off on.)
Me: The color isn't complete.
Plankton: Oh. Puts my copies on the on the desk.
Plankton 2 comes back around, see my "copies" and wants to know if he should ring me up.
Plankton 1: She doesn't like this (indicating where the color hasn't printed on the paper, making it seem like I am asking him to print a lifesize copy of the moon.)
Plankton 2 makes another copy and brings it to me. It's on the wrong side again. He gives up and walks away.
Plankton 1 tells me the paper is too glossy to hold the color and the rollers that apply the color are, at the same time, removing it. He gives me a sample book to choose a different paper. I choose one - he's standing right there. He goes over to the giant wall of paper and says, "what number is it?"
Me: Er, 'CB'
Plankton: Um, we're out.
Plankton: We're out.
Plankton: Uh, we're out.
Me: How about you bring what you do have?
Plankton brings out two sheets of paper, one of which looks very much like number CB. I request a copy on each to see which one will work better for my needs. He brings back one of the copies.
Plankton: Do you need to see the other copy?
Me: Yes, please. Thank you. (When I get ultra polite, it's time to work a little harder to make me happy, know what I mean?)
I choose the better copy and one hour and twenty minutes later I am leaving Kinko's with my three copies. After I have to ask for my original back. And the other two copies.
Is it just me, or would this frustrate you, too?
So I'm trying to log into my yahoo groups and I always forget my yahoo ID. I've had to create a new one each time I go in. Well this time I create my new ID and try to sign it with it, but it says there are no groups under that name or email address. So then I have to transfer the one membership I had to an existing email address. Did that. New profile created. All looks fine. Now I go to sign in and it says that profile has no groups. I think maybe I've not done the completed the new profile transaction so I start it again. It says that yahoo ID is already taken. Is it just me or does anyone else find this process frustrating? A smart girl would write down the ID, right? Well, I tried the one that was written down first, but it didn't work!
I started on my little bag - the one on the cover of that Last Minute book - which is to be knitted with size 6 circs. Can't find the size 6 circs and am reasonably sure I only have one. I've looked all over my usual casting off spots - sometimes when I'm really excited to complete a project I sort of just fling the needles. Anyhoo, can't find them anywhere. So I thought I might as well just buy new ones. I check the Evil M-pire website for the store I'm going to. Says they carry clover needles. Swell. Pop right on over, fork out some cash and home again before you can see jiggity jig. Easy peasy, right? But NOOOOOO! In a half aisle of knitting needles, there was not a SINGLE circ in less than 29". Rats. And so their eviltude lives on.
On another note (but still the same song) I stumbled across a bag of mohair whilst looking for the runaway circs. Please tell me it doesn't just happen to me. You sometimes come across say, 1 or 2, maybe 11 balls of mohair that you don't remember buying in a bag stuffed behind your yarn stash, right?
I'm packing for my trip. I'm a bit stymied on how much knitting needs to go with me. What if I run out? What if there isn't any room for the 5 pairs of shoes I bring on every excursion? How many sequined ball gowns does one pack for a 3 hour tour? Oh the decisions I'll be deciding in the next few hours.
Anyway, I've got to post ahead for the days I won't be here. Look for BIG news on Saturday....
Seems my trip and the migration of the Painted Lady butterflies crossed paths in a wicked way. There were so many splattered across my windshield I had to stop just about every 1.5 hours to clean them off. The pictures don't do justice to how many butterflies kamikazied to their deaths on the beautiful Al Green (that's my car...the Reverend Al Green). I had to pay $15 at the car wash to get them out from underneath the car. I still haven't taken a look to see what bits of orange are splashed across my engine. I think that's a look of disgust on poor Hello Kitty's face. I'm afraid the trip was quite harrowing on her. She jumped in fright every time one of those bugs slapped the window. Poor dear.
Here's my favorite part about Arizona
I'm addicted to The Sims2. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right?
I played for SIX hours the other night. Admittedly some of the time was spent trying to figure out everything, but really - I DO NOT have a spare six hours lying about to use whenever I feel the need!
If you are not familiar with The Sims, the original game came out about 5 years ago and basically, you get a family in a neighborhood and you move them through life. They could marry, get a job, have children, die, etc. But they didn't really age. They babies became children, but unless you had the magic potion they would remain children forever. You could download new furniture, houses, clothing, people from one of the millions of fansites on the web. It never really got old.
Now, with The Sims2, the Sims have a life cycle and issues and aspirations. They age and die. They marry, cheat, move, divorce, have children, and everything. The coolest thing I've played with so far is the custom looks. You can build a Sim to order. Make a wider nose, narrower jaw, tilt the outer corners of the brows down, give them facial hair and more. Unlike the original, you can change and update their looks as you want to. The children will carry the little Simmy DNA of their parents throughout generations. The kids grow up, move out and start their own families. Cool, huh?
So I spent some time and created these two Sims: Griffin and Zuzu Othello (there's a Shakesperean theme going on in the neighborhood). I love them.
Aren't they cute? So they're getting along really well. Griffin's aspiration was to attain knowlege and he worked in the science field. Zuzu's popularity aspiration made it difficult to keep her fun score up, but she and Griffin were in love. They decided to have a baby. Zuzu wakes up one morning and runs to the loo. Pukes her spine up. Griffin, supportive husband, stays by her side. His hunger score is waaaay low. But the carpool arrives and he goes to work. Zuzu goes an hour later.
You will sometimes get a popup screen that gives you a little work scenario and you choose your Sims course of action. How you answer will directly affect his job. He may get fired or demoted. He may get promoted. Griffin comes home early with a promotion, a bonus and a powerful hunger. Collapses on the sidewalk and DIES! No one is home to bargain with the Grim Reaper for his life. Zuzu gets home and there's a headstone in her yard.
Hello? Where's the fun? What the heck? Poor Zuzu is pregnant and alone. I'm nonplussed! I'm bewildered! I feel like I've lost a good friend! It took a long time to get Griffin's chin and jaw just right, you know. Had to be a little on the wide side, but not too wide. Don't even talk to me about the nose. Heck, I think I spent more time designing him than playing him. That's just not right.
Kari Chapin: The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-Line
There's a lot of books out there about selling handmade crafts, but this one is the easiest to read and has the most updated information. Read it, study it, commit it to memory! It will make a difference!