Friday, December 30, 2005

It’s a Scarfapalooza!

Finally, the long promised pictures of my fantastic voyage into knitting.... rectangles. Although I am knitting now I haven’t the courage to venture beyond the basic rectangle... the scarf. All ends were woven in and all that were intended for Christmas gifts were completed.... by Christmas morning. Yes, after spending the mornning with mom, dad, brother & sister, I went home and finished knitting scarves.

First up, black and grey wool. This was intended to be a Christmas gift for my father until a coworker advised me that it was too skinny for a man, that I should make it thicker for it to be more masculine. So, this will be going to... someone else. I’m just not certain who or for what occaision yet. Perhaps I'll keep it for myself....

Second... based upon the “Classic Stripes” from “Knit Scarves!” by Candi Jensen. This is for my pseudo-brother-in-law, Jeremy (he’s married to my dear cousin Erin, who is like a sister to me). It’s Lion Brand Wool Ease, yes it is an acrylic blend, but I really liked the colors.

Here, we have a scarf for my cousin Holly. It’s Plymouth Yarn Company Baby Alpaca Grande, and I LOVE IT. It’s incredibly soft, plush and cuddly... and its super bulky which means it knits up REALLY quick. I love that in a yarn. I threw some cheap fun fur on the ends for cuteness.

Now, a scarf for Meghan, Hollys younger sister. It’s basically the same as Hollys, made with the same yarn just in pink instead of blue. I have some of the pink, blue and white yarn from these two scarves left over and I do believe that it is enough to make another scarf.... and I do have a friends birthday coming up in two weeks.... I’m just saying.

This is the scarf that scared me. It’s “Mohair and Lace”, also from “Knit Scarves!” by Candi Jensen. This one is for Erin. Thanksgiving evening, after dinner, I had Erin & Jeremy look through the “Knit Scarves!” book and pick out scarves for themselves. Jeremy chose “Classic Stripes”.... no problem - its knit and purl - easy as pie! Erin, however, chose “Mohair and Lace”. I looked at the pattern and developed an ulcer. It has decreases, yarn overs, and this lacy pattern at the ends. I did not think I was going to be able to do this considering my remedial knitting skills. But, I wasn’t going to ask her to select a different pattern. I would just bitch about it to everyone who would listen. Even those who wouldnt understand what I was talking about.. “It has YARNOVERS!” “It has this WEIRD thing where you insert the needle into the next stitch, wrap the yarn around it FOUR times, bring all the wraps through and somehow SOMEHOW that magically turns into LACINESS”. Eyes glazed over in boredom.
So, I knit Erins scarf first to get the nastiness over with. Much to my suprise, it wasn’t that hard. The first row of magical laciness went a bit slowly while I caught onto its trickery, but after that it was much much easier (and A LOT quicker) than I thought it would be. For this I used Angel Hair from Jo-Ann’s, an acrylic, wool, nylon blend. Yes, its another cheap yarn BUT it knits up soooo soft and cuddly and cozy. The best part? She loves it, immediately put it on and wore it for the rest of the day.

Now, for a work in progress. I started this, intending for it to be a Christmas gift for my father. However, I’d purchased the yarn last Saturday afternoon but by the time I realized that I didnt have enough yarn to complete it on Sunday afternoon, my LYS was closed and I would have to ship his gift off Monday in order for it to reach Boston in time for Christmas. I ended up doing some shopping Sunday night.
Luckily, his birthday is in 3 weeks so he’ll still be able to enjoy it this winter. I don’t remember what brand it is, but its a bulky merino wool. I’ve considered felting it, but don’t think I will. First of all, don’t felted items reduce in size by something like 50%? Second, I’ve never felted before and don’t think I want to experiment with my fathers birthday gift.

In addition to knitting, I’ve also been crocheting.

First up, an afghan for my friends Shauna and Jesse. Shauna and Jesse married last April and moved to Salt Lake City. I visited them there last month and helped them move into their new home. This is their belated house warming gift. I had meant to take it with me when i went to visit them, but forgot it at home and didn’t realize that until about Reno.
I met with Shauna and Jesse for lunch on Christmas Eve day, they were in town visiting her family, and was able to give them the afghan then. Shauna said it was very warm and snuggly and that she looked forward to using it on the couch in front of their fireplace. Its made with Lionbrand Homespun. Another cheap yarn, but when you're using 8 skeins....

Last, we have some bootie slippers. My little cousin Janae saw me crocheting some Ugg-style booties from another Candi Jensen publication, “Candy Babies”, and immediately started in “I want some boots. make me some boots too. PUHHHLEEEAAAAASSSEEEEE!”. Considering the pattern calls for Berrocco Suede, which is ribbon like in its thickness, I had no clue how I would make booties for a 5 year old from a pattern thats written for a 3 month old. I can adapt patterns, but not THAT well. Then I realized.... CHEAP YARN! I picked up some Lion Suede and traced Janaes feet. By using the bulkier Lion Brand yarn and 1 size larger hook than the label recommended (K instead of J) and adding 1 round to the soles, they should be a perfect fit. I know that a lot of knitters and crocheters scorn the cheaper acrylics and acrylic blends, but they can be great. Since Janae can be a bit of a diva, I went with hot pink. However, its taken on a reddish look. Are they too much like Santa boots?
She likes them, but I need to make her another pair - theyre a little too big around the ankle, so they slip off her feet rather easily. I have some purple Lion Suede so I think I'll make another pair and just add a row or two of decrease to the top of the foot before beginning the ankle. They work up very quickly. I was able to complete both of the original booties while watching Mr & Mrs Smith.

One thing I've noticed loading up these photos.... my digital camera sucks. Now, I have something to shop for with all of the overtime money I'll be making this next month. January is a crazy month at work, with new accounts starting and I'm sure I'll be working at least one Saturday, if not more.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

QUICK! Someone issue an Amber Alert....

my Christmas Cheer is missing.
I USED to be one of those annoying people.
The day after Thanksgiving I didnt take the day off to go shopping... I would go to work and spend the day decorating my cubicle for Christmas. I participated in the office cookie exchanges, the Secret Santas, all of that stuff. However, I never went as far as to wear the tacky Christmas sweaters and jingle bells. I’d have my holiday shopping done early and would spend the extra time making personalized gifts for my favorite neighbors and coworkers: ornaments, scented bath salts, cookies, fudge... whatever.
The last few years though, I can’t get into my holiday groove.
The first year that it happened, I understand why. My grandfather had died a couple of months before hand and I did not handle that loss very well. He had, and still does, meant so much to me that I was afraid that if I started crying over his death I wouldn’t be able to stop. As a result, I jsut kinda went numb. For a LONG time. I went through the motions of that holiday season, minus some of my usual traditions. I didn’t decorate, I didn’t make personalized gifts for everyone. I did make some special items for my neighbors who had helped us so much after my grandfather had his first stroke and after he died but other than that I was numb.
I did eventually come to terms with my grandpas death, but since then I still can’t seem to get into the holiday spirit. I’m enjoying the holiday season, especially watching my little 5 year old cousin, Janae, get excited about Santa coming. Other than that, I’m not feeling it.
I’m trying to force myself into the holiday spirit. I’ve decorated my cubicle, I’ve made a good portion of my gifts, joined some of my coworkers in adopting a needy family and am participating in the office Secret Santa. With all of this, I’m doing a little better than the past couple of years but I’m still not back to my usual seasonal self.
I wonder if this is something that will pass. If I will regain my Christmas Cheer. I miss feeling the magic of Christmas, the giving spirit and the kindness that so many people seem to acquire this time of year.
I can only hope so.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Procrastination Central...

So, I've been a little lax on the blogging lately.
I have been busy trying to prepare for the holidays. Note that I said
Since Christmas I have completed 2.5 scarves. The first one that I
completed needs to be shipped to my father in Boston before it gets so late that
I have to spend 3 times as much FedExing it to him. But, before I send
that off, I need to find something else for him. Problem? I have no clue
what to get him. He has everything he wants, and on top of that he lives on his
sailboat so space is limited. Any suggestions?
I was going to go to my first SNB this past Sunday morning. I was
invited to join the group last Friday night, and I got up Sunday morning, was running a little late to begin with, then traffic downtown was insane because of
the California Marathon. By the time I got to the part of town where the
SNB was being held, it was only about 20 minutes before it would be over and I
would have still had to look for parking. I'll drag my butt out of bed
earlier next Sunday and make it there on time.
Since I was unable to make the SNB Sunday I tried to do a little
Christmas shopping. I went into the stores and walked around but just could not
find anything I want to get for anyone. I have hardly any of my holiday
shopping done.
I have gotten my christmas cards and they are all addressed and just
waiting for personal notes in each one before they can be sent off. Theyve been
sitting on my dresser like this for a week and a half now.
Work - hasnt been too bad actually. I'm in the calm before the storm
though - January will be absolute madness. Tonight is our office holiday
party though, and tomorrow morning I've agreed to help do the year end
preparation training for the department I used to work for. The morning
after our office party I have to be here at 7 am and I have classes all
the way up to 2 pm. I havent prepared all of my handouts and exercises for
the class yet and I'm leaving work in 2.5 hours.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A MeMe!!

I promise, photos of my recent knitting and crochet projects are on their way.
In the meantimes, a meme!

TEN random things you might not know about me.
1: I completed the March of Dimes walk-a-thon when I was 10 years old. It was 20 miles long. I was the only person in the group I was with to finish it.
2: I was a complete drama nerd in high school and still listen to show tunes all the time while in my car and sing along at the top of my lungs.
3: My great grandmother taught me how to crochet (basic chain and single crochet only) when I was about 6. I didnt crochet for YEARS until she passed away. About a month after she died, 10 years ago, I started crocheting again and taught myself all the rest.
4: When I was a little girl I want to be an Olympic figure skater when I grew up.
5: I studied fashion design at FIDM in San Francisco for a semester. I dropped out because I couldnt afford to live in the city so I was commuting from Sacramento twice a week while also working full time in Sacramento. The stress got to me and I just couldnt handle it all any more.
6: I worked as a commercial portrait studio photgrapher while in college
7: When I was 10 years old, a painting I did won 2nd place at the California State Fair, Junior Exhibits.
8: Despite all of these creative tendencies and abilities, I now work in payroll. How the hell did this happen?
9: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is one of my all time favorite books. It STILL makes me cry.
10: I have an unnatural fondness for leopard faux fur. It's tacky as hell, but I love it.

NINE places I’ve visited.
1: Portland, OR
2: Salt Lake City, UT
3: Scottsbluff, NE
4: New York, NY
5: Washington, DC
6: Orlando, FL
7: Quebec City, Canada (SO SO SO BEAUTIFUL)
8: Montreal, Canada
9: East Hampton, NY

EIGHT ways to win my heart
1: bring me flowers
2: hold on for that extra 3 seconds when you hug me
3: bring me coffee just because
4: be kind to senior citizens.
5: Get me useless trinkets with my name on them. When I was a kid and everyone else had the little license plates with their names on them on the back of their bicycles I could never find anything with my name on it. Vanessa was not a very common name in the early 80's. It left some kind of an impression on me.
6: humor my irrational fears and idiosyncracies
7: kiss me on the cheek
8: compassion

SEVEN things I want to do before I die
1: Fall head over heels in love
2: Kiss The Blarney Stone
3: re-learn French and put it to use on the streets of Paris
4: Quit smoking
5: Lose the weight
6: learn to snowboard
7: ride a gondola through the canals of Venice. The city, not the Hotel-Casino.

SIX things I’m afraid of
1: having my heart broken
2: dieing alone
3: walking through parking lots alone at night. When I worked in the mall during college one of the girls from the shop next door was attacked walking to her car alone at night - it's freaked me out ever since.
4: Dealing with the whole dad v. step-dad thing and who walks me down the aisle, first dance, toast, etc. if I ever get married.
5: spiders
6: needles - I HATE having my blood drawn but I still donate blood every 8 weeks because I'm O- and am a perfect match for pediatric blood donations so I get guilt trip voicemails from the blood bank when I miss an appointment so I donate anyways.

FIVE things I don't like
1: Bloody Marys. Tomato juice, blech!
2: cleaning out the cats litter box. My LEAST favorite household chore.
3: turtlenecks. I feel like I'm being strangled.
4: narcisism.
5: driving the speed limit. I have a lead foot - I got my 1st speeding ticket 2 days after I got my license. I got my most recent one 3 months ago. I don't want to add up how many I've gotten inbetween

FOUR ways to turn me off
1: be rude
2: have those weird lobe stretching ear piercings, whatever theyre called. I think thats so freaky
3: be condescending to women
4: have not patience with kids

THREE Things I do everyday
1: drink coffee
2: tell grandma I love her
3: email my cousin Erin

TWO things that make me happy
1: baby animals of any kind
2: cozying with hot chocolate by a fire. I know, how very Danielle Steel of me.

ONE thing on my mind right now
1: I'm thinking about going into SF this weekend to see Erin and Jeremy (if she's not too busy with her upcoming law school finals) and do a little bit of my holiday shopping

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I’ve become obsessed. Not that OCD tendencies are new to me or anything.
So, I’ve whined before about not being able to figure out knitting. I’ve crocheted for years, so its not like yarn baffles me or anything. Many times over the years I had picked up yarn and needles and tried to crochet a scarf or something. I could get by if it was a simple garter stitch, but it still didn't look right. Purling? Don’t get me started.
Anyways, I recently got four of the Candi Jensen crochet books: “Candi Babies”, “Candi Tots”, “Candi Blankets” and “Crochet Scarves”. This led to me purchasing another one of her books, “Knit Scarves!”
Why would I purchase a knitting book when I can’t knit?
Glutton for punishment? Maybe.
But I decided that I would knit a scarf. I went to my LYS, got some nice yarn (a 50/50 angora wool blend), some nice needle (Takumi bamboo - NOT metal like I’d always used before), and somehow I managed to knit a scarf. A very basic garter stitch, but still, I KNIT A SCARF! So, I knit another scarf using a very basic rib stitch pattern. Now I’ve knit another scarf from the same rib stitch pattern to send to my father for Christmas. I decided that I was on a roll and would make some more scarves for Christmas gifts. I had my cousin Erin pick out a pattern from the “Knit Scarves!” book and she picked out a bit more of a difficult one than the rib stitch that I’d become accustom to. She chose one called “Mohair and Lace”. It has a pretty lace pattern on the ends, decreases, yarn overs, I had no clue what some of these terms meant and silently I was cursing her for choosing what I read to be a difficult pattern. But I decided to challenge myself and along with the pattern book I’ve kept “Knitting for Dummies” open. Somehow, I’ve managed my way through the first part of “Mohair and Lace”. I’ve made the lace edge and made it through decreasing and yarn overs and... and... and... its actually coming along just fine! I haven't exploded with frustration. I haven’t thrown a tangled mass of mohair blend into the far corner of my closet. I actually have approximately 9 inches worth of scarf. I may have quite a bit more to go before its finished but it’s actually turning out okay.
Anyways, this luck I’ve had with the knitting and stuff has led me to purchase enough yarn to keep me busy for a freaking year! Seriously, my stash is out of control. I have to stop - or find a 12 step program or something. I’ve got yarn scattered all over the place. I don’t discriminate either. I have acrylic, wool, wool blends, cotton, boucle, mohair, thin, bulky.. every kind imaginable. Its a serious problem, but I think I’ll enjoy thinning the stash down.

Also, I hurt myself today. It was raining, not too badly, there was no thunder or anything like that, but my Grandma’s poodle got underneath the back porch and was too scared of the rain to come out. So, I got to crawl under the porch to get him. I emerged, absolutely covered in mud, cobwebs and who knows what else, and somewhere in the process I think I pulled a tendon in the back of my leg. On the backside of my knee it hurts like you can’t believe if I try to straighten my leg. I know Its not my hamstring because the pain doesn’t extend along the length of the hamstring - its just isolated to that one area behind my knee. I’m okay if I keep my knee bent, but straightening it to any degree - even walking - is so painful! At what point do I give up on self medicating with Salon Pas, Ben Gay and the like, and actually go to a doctor? Theres not much that a doctor can do for something like that, is there?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

I'm Clueless...

As to how I'm going to get everything done...

Christmas is only 29 days away. TWENTY NINE days!
How the hell has Christmas creeped up on me so quickly?
Now, if I was SMART I would have started making all of my Christmas gifts back in September. However, I'm a dumbass who thought "Oh, I've got three months until Christmas to get this all done."
Lets see what I have to do...
1 afghan - this is about 95% done so it shouldnt be a problem.
1 afghan - this is about 20% done, but its worked on a Q hook with 2 strands at a time - I think this one will go quickly.
3 knit scarves, one of which is about 50% completed, I'm hoping to complete this one tomorrow. The second one should be a quick knit - a few color changes but I think I'll be able to get it done quickly. The third scarf is the one that has me worried. My knitting skills are remedial at best. I can knit & purl, but thats about it. The scarf I have to do has a lace pattern to it and I'm not sure how well I'll be able to get it done or how long it will take me. The second and third scarves have yet to be started - I've bought the yarn but havent cast on a single stitch yet.
1 pair of baby booties - I have one bootie 95% done and the second bootie about 50% done. The first bootie was 100% completed but its trimmed in a super plush white yarn and got fondled so much the white trim has gotten fairly dirty so I need to rip that part out and redo it before I give it to the expectant mother.
1 pair of slippers. My 5 year old cousin, Janae, saw the booties I'm making and wants a pair. Everytime she comes over and sees that I have yarn out she asks me where her boots are. I can be rather indulgent with her so I am going to try to make them - I'm just nor sure how I'll adapt the pattern for booties made to fit a 6 month old large enough for a kindergartener. I've gone with larger yarn - instead of Berrocco suede, which is ribbon like in its thickness, I've purchased Lion Brand Suede. Its much thicker and the colors are brighter, which Janae will like. I'm hoping that the thicker yarn used with a much larger hook will make adapting the pattern easier.
1 poncho - again, I've purchased the yarn but haven't started a single stitch. This is crochet though, so it should go much more quickly for me. I am much quicker and more adept at crochet than knitting.
Baking for a bake sale fundraiser. I've promised at least one cake and 1 batch of cookies. This needs to be done by December 6th.
General crafts.
I like to give small token gifts to a few of my coworkers. One thing I've done in the past that went over well was hot chocolate jar gifts. I just go to the local dollar store and get a few jars and coffee mugs. Then I'll make some chocolate covered spoons (incredibly quick, but it looks really nice and decadent) then I'll make some hot cocoa mix by mixing powdered cocoa, powdered creamer, some sugar and a little bit of cinnamon. Fill the jar with the mix and put it in a gift bag along with the coffee mug and a couple of the chocolate covered spoons.
Another successful gift I've made in the past for my female friends and family members have been sugar scrubs. Again, just go to the dollar store and get some jars or pretty containers of some sort. Then mix together sugar and almond oil, then stir in essential oils in various scents.
This year I'm thinking of also making herbal soaps. I found a recipe on that looks REALLY easy. It may be cheating a little, but instead of making the soap from scratch, you just melt down some plain unscented glycerin soap and mix in dried herbs then pour the mixture into soap molds and let it set. It sounds quick and easy so I think I'll try this for the women in my extended family and my female friends.
So, I'm wondering how I'll manage to get this all done. In addition to working full time Monday through Friday, I have at least one Saturday work dat in December. I've agreed to come in on a Saturday and do some training for another department. The night before said Friday I also have a holiday party to go to.
All of this is why coffee is my friend.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Black Friday

Well, unfortunately theres no photos of the crazy relatives for you today. We had a bit of excitement at my aunt and uncles house last night. My younger aunt had some sort of allergic reaction to something (we have no clue what) and it caused her to have great difficulty in breathing. Paramedics were called, and she was taken to the emergency room. All is well, they took great care of her and had her discharged and on her way home within about 2 & 1/2 hours. The bright side? Hot firemen and paramedics at Thanksgiving dinner. Damn I wish I had taken photos.
I'm back at work today. I don't get to sleep in, I'm not going shopping today, I just get to play catch up at work today since it's so slow. Oh well - I need the slower pace of today.
I do need to start thinking about what I will do for Christmas gifts this year.
I have yet to purchase or finish making a single gift.
I didn't say I haven't started a few - I have - I just haven't FINISHED any and I have no clue how I'll get them all done in time. ARGH!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm home from my trip to Salt Lake City.
Last spring a dear friend of mine, Shauna, moved there with her husband, Jesse, and Friday I drove out to visit and to help them move into their new home. We were so busy moving that we didnt do too much in the ways of fun stuff, but we did go to The Bakery for dinner when I got there Friday night. I had the best canoli there that I've ever had outside of Boston.
Also, since we were moving the entire time I didnt get the chance to take many pictures but we did get one of me with their new Beagle, Chloe.

She's such a cute sweet puppy. I MIGHT have taken about a half a roll of photos of just her. I'll see how those come out when I get the film developed.
The 10.5 hour drive back to California is long. And boring. Dear God is it ever boring.
As boring as the drive was, I made it home safe and sound. Obviously. Now I'm at my aunts house in Fairfield for Thanksgiving dinner. This is the 2nd year that my aunt and uncle have hosted Thanksgiving. My Uncle Mike loves to cook and he always tries something new for Thanksgiving dinner, whether its a new side dish or a new way of fixing the turkey. From what I can see so far, we're having mashed potatoes, yams, Turkey, my aunt made some deviled eggs and a cranberry rum bundt cake that looks wonderful - I might have snagged a wee bit of the icing and it might have tasted heavenly.
The rest of the family hasnt arrived yet. So far its just my Aunt Marla, Uncle Mike, cousin Erin, her husband Jeremy, and myself. We have a little bit of quiet time left before the rest of the family arrives and the chaos begins. Today, I think I'll be taking some pictures of the crazy people that are my family...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Images of Forest Grove..

As promised, a happier post than Mondays. A little later than intended, but I went out tonight and talked with my chaplain. Thats right, I have my very own personal chaplain. Not a priest, minister, rabbi or pastor, a chaplain. Technically, he’s a fellow patron at my favorite watering hole, but we toss back a few and get philosophical.
The trip, very nice. Except....
It finally cleared up the day I was leaving. Figures.
Also, I didnt have my camera with me at the most picturesque moments. Like when I woke up to find 5 deers making breakfast of the front lawn.
But, here is the view from the patio.....

And the bird feeder I helped Grandpa build when I was about 11. Actually, it was more like “Hey Ness, hand me that piece of wood.” and “Hey Ness, hand me that nail.”

Also, Grandpa has a new weather vane that is so cute I just had to take a picture of it. A deer kissing a kitty, awww....

Heres the view from the top of the driveway...

Saturday night we had a BAD storm with 40 mph winds. Sunday morning my uncle woke me up so that I could help clear out two 100 foot trees that had been knocked over in the storm. Heres some of the aftermath of the storm -my uncle was monitoring a controlled burn of some of the debris. You can BARELY make him out to the right of the tree without trees. At this point we’d already cleared out the trunk of the tree and were burning the branches that wouldnt be suitable for indoor firewood. In the foreground to the left is my grandpas dog, Daisy Mae.

The house...

And, where would we be without some gratuitous kitty pictures?
This is Bitsy, my grandmas kitty. She’s so cute, she doesnt meow. She squeaks.

And this is Bucky. Grandpas kitty. Bucky thinks he’s a dog in that he likes to follow Grandpa through the woods while he goes out and works.

No worries, both cats are kept indoors at night so that they are kept safe from coyotes and other wildlife.
I did get to do some shopping while I was there....
There was a great sale at the local Craft Warehouse so I picked up 4 skeins of Cascade Yarns Peruvian Highland Wool - 1 charcoal grey, 1 light grey and 2 black. A new set of jewelers pliers. 6 skeins of Indulge Yarns wool.

A sweater with matching scarf from Ross, 3 new DVDs - Guess Who, Crash, and Hotel Rwanda (they were 3 for $25 at Hollywood Video), and a Starbucks coffee mug.

A messenger bag (its the perfect size to hold my laptop) and silver photo frame from a local thrift shop. Some beads (red and clear) and Takumi bamboo knitting needles from Craft Warehouse.

This is my Uncle Ron. He rents the downstairs portion of the house from my grandparents and helps them out around the place. He likes to claim that I was a complete hellian as a small child and says that he’s suprised I’ve “turned out okay and am not the dicator of a communist country by now.”

And my grandparents. I adore them. Technically they are my mothers exhusbands parents. My mom and step dad married when I was 3 years old and divorced 10 years ago, but theyve never referred to me as anything other than their oldest granddaughter. Grandmas hair has grown back in some. Whats weird is that her hair has always been straight and although you can’t tell in the photo, it’s growing back CURLY. I’ve heard that this is common after chemotherapy though. I crocheted a “chemo cap” for her out of Classic Elite Yarns Lush Angora Wool blend that is SO soft and cuddly, but... i forgot to take a picture of it. I’m about 1/2 way through a scarf I’m knitting for her. This is my very first knitting project ever and my tension is a little wonky, but its coming along okay. I’ll post pictures of that when I’m done.

Monday, November 07, 2005

I’m on my way home, sitting at the Portland airport and enjoying a chai latte while I wait for my flight.
All in all it was a good trip, I got to visit my grandparents and relax. Those are always good things. It stormed every day I was here, so we stayed in for the most part. Saturday night the storm was so bad that it knocked down two 100 foot trees on the road so I did get to participate in some heavy duty clean up on Sunday.
Although it was a good trip, it was also a hard one that has taken an emotional toll on me. My grandma has inoperable cancer and has been on chemotherapy for 14 months now. I last saw her eight months ago and she had lost a little bit of weight at that point, maybe 10 lbs., and would get tired after being up & doing stuff around the house after about 30 minutes or so and she’d lost her hair, but overall she was doing alright and looked okay. I was not prepared for how she’s doing now. Shes down to 100 lbs, is tired after walking to the bathroom, sleeps 12 or more hours a day and spends most of the rest of the day lying on the couch. I wasnt ready to see her this weak and fatigued. She’s always been so energetic and gregarious. Every time I’ve come up here to visit her before we’ve always done at least one day of “marathon shopping”. We went shopping Saturday, but after walking into the store and looking through two clothing racks, she was spent.
Her spirits are still up, but her body is slowing down.
The slower pace of this trip allowed me to really see in depth the tenderness between my grandparents that I’ve only caught little glimpses of before.
Both were raised on farms in south western Nebraska, and my Grandpa was raised with the belief that you show your love of your family by providing for them. Giving them a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, and food on the table. Although he’s retired from GTE (now Verizon) he’s returned to his farming roots and raises trees here outside of Portland so every time I’ve been up here to visit he’s still outside working to be sure to provide for his wife although their retirement savings are sufficient. This trip, I can see that he has slowed down his own pace to match that of grandma. In the mornings, he gets up and makes his pot of coffee and does some of the household chores and drives down to the mailboxes to pick up the newspaper. After he’s back, once he hears Grandma start to wake up he makes her a pot of tea and toast for breakfast. Throughout the day he also makes her lunch, dinner, and snacks since the Dr. would like to see her put some weight back on before she starts her next round of chemotherapy. He calls her “Beautiful”, “Gorgeous”, and my favorite, “Lovey”.
In addition to the cancer, Grandma also has Macular Degeneration. She can still see well enough to read large signs, but can no longer read the books that she has always loved - even in large print. Every night, Grandpa will read to her so that she can still enjoy the stories that she has always loved.
Its good to know that after 50-some-odd years of marriage they still share this tenderness and affection for one another. But at the same time I’m heartbroken. I know that the love they have for one another is infinite, but these moments of tenderness and caring are finite. Thats been the hardest part about this trip. This weekend I saw my grandfather cry for the first time that I can ever remember. He said that he’s not ready to say goodbye to his wife. Thats been the hardest part of this trip. Seeing how much of a toll this illness has taken on both my grandma and my grandpa.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

My "Charlies Angels" Lunch Hour

I had an interesting lunch hour this past Monday.
On my lunch hour I went to the bank to make my car payment. The bank is on a corner and has a little alley-like driveway that runs behind the bank and is a driveway to the parking lot from the side street as well as bank employee parking. On my walking into the bank I saw a man walking out of the alley way towards the front of the bank, and he was acting a little crazy mumbling to himself and as I got closer it looked like he was carrying a knife but I wasnt really sure. I just kept an eye on him, not sure if he was crazy or planning on robbing someone at the ATM, and intended to tell the security guard inside the bank.
I get inside the bank, and the security guard thats normally inside the entrance isn't there so I thought I would tell the teller. There was no one in line so I was able to go straight to the teller, when I got up there EVERYONE was at the window facing the alley and one woman was CRYING "he's beating up my car!" and someone else was on the phone calling 911 and was telling them that he had a knife, so I took care of my car payment and the teller told me that he was back there just beating on one of the employees car. As I left another customer was walking out at the same time I was, so I felt a bit more comfortable leaving just in case the crazy guy was no longer in the alley and was now in the parking lot.
But, this was no ordinary customer I was walking out with. This was an absolute idiot. He goes over to the alley way and yells at the guy "Hey, theyre calling the cops on you in there" because the last thing we want to do is get a violent crazy person off the streets. We want to give them warning so that they can get away. I get in my car and leave and as Im pulling out of the parking lot I see crazy guy cross the street and run down another side stret. For some reason I decide that I CAN NOT let this guy get away and that I should follow him so I turn around so I can go down the side street that he's now running down. After I turn around I see one of the tellers from the bank crossing the street to run after him. She was a small woman and he could run fast and I just didnt think that it was a good idea for her to be following him on foot in case he decided to turn around and come after her, so I rolled down my window and told her where he was and to meet me on the corner and we'd follow him. Once she got in the car she used my cell phone to call back to the bank and tell them that we were following the crazy guy and where we were so that they could tell the police once they showed up. We stayed within eyesight of crazy guy, but not sol close that we couldnt get away quickly if he decided to come towards us. He was in a small shopping center, opening the door to a bar and then kicking it over and over again. As soon as he heard the police siren he took off running. As he started to take off, I was able to grab a pic with my camera phone....

Yes, he is shirtless in red track pants with a backwards ball cap.
There were 2 police cars as well as 2 officers onn foot who chased him down the street about a block, under the overpass for a major street, Howe Avenue, up the embankment and when the bank teller and I drove down the street and turned around we saw that the police had stopped traffic on Howe Avenue and were arresting him in the middle of the street. As I took the teller back to the bank she told me that the womans car he was beating on was a good friend of hers who was also one of the branch managers and that shed just gone through a bad divorce and as a gift to herself once the divorce was finalized she bought a brand new Mercedes just a couple of weeks prior and now it had been vandalized by a crazy shirtless man. I gave the teller all of my contact info in the event that the police needed to talk to me for any reason. I havent heard anything yet from the police or from the woman who's car was vandalized, but will update you if I do.
I got back to work a little late and when I told my boss why she said, "Nessa, you're like Charlies Angels, chasing down bad guys on your lunch break!" She said that in her version of the story, I'm tossing my hair like Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith.

In other news - one week from today I will be in Oregon visiting the grandparents. I am looking forward to this trip like you wouldnt believe. Five days to relax on my grandparents property. Their house sits on top of a small mountain (technically, I think its just a really big hill, but my ears pop going up the driveway, so I call it a mountain), 50 acres of which is theirs. The nearest town is about 10 miles away and I think its population is about 2,500. While there, I'm hoping grandma will help me perfect my ability to make butterballs. Butterball soup is a recipe that my great grandmother, and probably her mother before her, used to make. As the name suggests, it definitely is not the healthiest of soups, but it is so yummy. I'll post the recipe after I get it from her. I don't know the exact quantities, but you mix together bread crumbs, melted butter, egg, salt, and I believe either a tad of cinnamon or clove and make little walnut sized dumplings out of them, then cook them in chicken broth. The original recipe had them in a chicken noodle soup and included the recipe for home made egg noodles, but grandma generally leaves out the noodles. Somewhere between now and next Wednesday night I have to find the time to do laundry for the trip as well as decide which crochet projects I'll be taking with me. I have quite a few going right now - some Ugg-like baby booties from Candy Babies by Candi Jensen and a baby afghan for an expectant friend, an afghan for my friend in Salt Lake City (I don't think I'll be taking that with me - theres 6 skeins of Lion Brand Homespun), the Crazy Aunt Purl Poncho (it's the pink and black one) by The Crochet Dude as well as another Crochet Dude design... Do Your Vest, just to name a few. Seriously, The Crochet Dude, his designs are amazing. I strongly recommend them. I'm thinking that to save on space in the suitcase I'll just take the booties or the baby ghan, or something small like that, and if I finish them while I'm there I guess I'll just have to explore the greater Portland area's LYS's. Although granny isn't into the fiber arts I know that she does like craft stores and she told me that she plans on resting up the days prior to my visit so that she feels well enough to do some serious shopping. Now that I think about it, since she's lost her hair from the chemotherapy, I may need to make a hat and matching scarf to take to her as a gift. I saw, and fondled, some GORGEOUS baby alpaca yarn the other day.....

Friday, October 21, 2005

So much to look forward to in November.....

As I mentioned a week or two ago, I LOVE MY NEW JOB!!!
The department I work in now? So wonderful
My new boss? LOVE HER!
My new coworkers? So welcoming!

Overall my week has SUCKED because Ive been sick all week. My daily routine has been this:
1. Wake up & go to work
2. Come home & take Nyquil
3. pass out
repeat 5 times

Monday morning I went into the office and as soon as my boss saw me she said "Nessa, you don't look like you're feeling very well today" then she felt my forehead and cheeks and then said "oh honey, you're a smidge warm. I think you should go home" I finished a few things up and left by lunchtime, went home and began the Nyquil/pass out process.

One of the best features of the department I work in now? They actually let me take vacation days! I am so excited.
In the department I worked in previoiusly I could never take any time off because there was always someone else who had child care issues, or a kids field trip that day and since I am without child I could never get time off. Not for lack of trying though, this is an actual conversation I had with my previous boss and another manager one time:

Me: I'd like to schedule a vacation day next friday
Boss Lady 1: I'm sorry, coworker 1 has that day off for their kids field trip
Me: what about the next friday
Boss lady 2: cant do that either, coworker 2 has child care issues
Me: but I have childcare issues too
BL 2: um, Vanessa, you don't have children.
Me: my inner child. she's not being taken care of. she wants a day off.
BL 1 & 2: hahahahahahahahahahahaha. answer the phone.

Scheduling vacation days in my new position? EASY AS PIE!

Me: Hi Boss Lady! Can I schedule November 3, 4, and 7 off for a 5 day weekend?
Nice Boss Lady: No problem Nessa!

later that night calling my Grandma in Portland:
Me:Guess what Grams, Nice Boss Lady gave me 3 days off so I can come visit you for a F-I-V-E day weekend!
sidenote: Grams is so happy because she has inoperable lung cancer & has been going through chemo for over a year now and isnt feeling well enough to travel all the way to Sacramento.

And for ONCE, my great skills in procrastination have actually worked in my favor.
Before I requested the time off to go to Portland I looked at Southwests website & flights from Sacramento to Portland were $50 each way but I didnt purchase them right away in case I wasnt able to schedule the time off. Once the time off was approved, i kept forgetting to purchase my tickets. UNTIL I got an email from Southwest saying that they had gone on sale for $34 each way. I AM NEVER THIS LUCKY!

Right at the same time that I was able to schedule the time off to go visit my grandparents in Portland I was emailing back and forth with my friend Shauna who moved to Salt Lake City 6 months ago. She was telling me about the house that her and her husband were looking at buying and saying how much she wants me to come out to visit and I was saying how much it sucks that we can't go Halloween costume shopping together anymore (we've been costume shopping buddies for the past 5 years in addition to working with each other every day for the same length of time), then she was mentioning how her cousin is trying to move to SLC also but doesnt have a car and would I be willing to drive her to SLC for $200 in gas money? I SO WOULD! But, cousin was wanting to move to SLC the weekend that I'm going to be in Portland.
This past Wednesday Shauna tells me that their offer on the house was approved, and escrow should close on November 14 so they should be able to start moving in shortly afterwards. I told her that if her cousin still needed a ride out there and was still willing to pitch in for the gas that I would drive out there that weekend and bring along some of the stuff that Shauna had to leave in storage at her parents out here when she moved while I'm at it. Sure enough, cousin still needs to get out to SLC. Now all I had to do was get the time off.

Me: Hi Boss Lady! I was talking to Shauna this week...
Nice Boss Lady: Oh! How is she doing?
Me: Great, her & her husband are buying a house and should be moving in next month.
NBL: That fabulous, tell her I said Hi and Congratulations.
Me: Will do, in fact, I was wanting to know if I could 2 days off to drive her stuff out to her.
NBL: Sure!

HOT DAMN! I am getting TWO mini-vacations in November! A five day weekend to fly up to Portland to visit the grandparents and a 4 day weekend to hitch a trailer to my truck and drive out to SLC. On top of all this, Shauna asked if I would teach her how to crochet while I'm in SLC. Not only do I get to visit a close friend but I ALSO get to crochet... YAY! Shauna said that since she's married now, is buying a house, and will most likely will start trying for kids next spring or summer, she needs me to teach her how to be domestic. I've never taught anyone to crochet before and certainly hope that I do as well as my great-grandma did when she taught me. Shauna was asking me what she should start with as her first crochet project

Me: Hmm, I'd say something basic and easy like a scarf
Shauna: Wooo Hooo!!! Everyones getting scarves for Christmas this year!

So tonight I went to Barnes and Noble to look at crochet pattern books for some simple scarf patterns and ended up getting THREE Candi Jensen books. Candy Tots, Candy Blankies and Crochet Scarves! I already had the Candy Babies book so there was no need to buy that one, but I think I also want to get her Crochet Bags! book and as soon as I can knit quasi-decently I think I'll get her Knit Scarves! book.
But I digress.

My new job... I'm so much happier. Within a week of starting all of my friends and family were saying how much my demeanor has changed. How I'm so much happier and upbeat now. I feel the difference to. I no longer dread going in to work every morning, and that is such a wonderful feeling.

Monday, October 10, 2005

My weekend, part 1

It was a great weekend. But, then again, what weekend isn't a great one?
My friend Phyllis' birthday BBQ was Saturday evening, and I kicked off my weekend by trying to bake the birthday cake. However, I am not the best baker in the world, and it ended up going to cake heaven. Thankfully, theres always Costco with their yummy cheesecake mousse filling

Our hostess, Jeanette. Also known as "Virgo 1". She and I share the same birthday, August 26, born just a year apart AND at the exact same hospital. Since I'm a year younger, she calls me "Virgo 2".

The guest of honor, Phyllis, and her beau Charlie.

Erin & Jeremy came up for the weekend and joined me at the pub after the BBQ.

It was great to see them again. I haven't been able to get down to San Francisco to see them as much as I would like, and Erins course load at UC Hastings doesn't let her make it up to Sacramento very often. But, we did have a great time Saturday night consuming massive quantities of beer with a couple of our favorite bartenders..

and John...

and getting into arguments with a pompous windbag over whether or not a man deserves to be hit for grabbing a strange womans chest.
Meet Pompous Windbag.

Sunday, we enjoyed an early lunch at Paesanos and then visited a mutual friend in their new home before Erin & Jeremy had to leave to head back to San Francisco. Me? I spent the rest of the day recovering from Saturday nights festivities.

More photos coming, just as soon as Virgo 1 emails them to me.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Halloween's a coming.

I just realized how close Halloween is after reading Glitters blog. I still have no idea what I'll do for Halloween, I do know what my costume will be for work - my manager will be dressing as Snow White and my associates and I will be various dwarfs - not the standard Sleepy, Dopey, Grumpy, et al. We'll be dwarfs that are suited to each of us individually - because I am a coffee addict, I will be Jittery. Cute, but not what I want to dress as for any parties or other social functions outside of work.
To make picking my costume THAT much harder, I've lost my Halloween shopping buddy. Last April my dear friend Shauna got married and moved to Utah. For the past 5 years she and I have always gone costume shopping together. This year, I'm on my own. It's so sad. So, I was just looking online to get ideas of what I'll dress as for Halloween this year and these are what I have in mind so far.
I don't know which one I'll go with, I'll have to see what there is at the local costume shop. I was just looking for some ideas and suggestions.

Also, I wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone here who has been so encouraging and supportive the last couple of weeks. It's been great to read everyones comments.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A Long Week....

I've started my new job. Well, technically it's not a new job, I'm with the same company just a new position in a different department. I've completed the training and amm starting to get clients. So far, I like it. My new supervisor is awesome and the people I work with are all great - they have all made me feel very welcome in my new position. As much as I enjoy the position, it's a bit of an adjustment -- I've taken a few steps down the learning curve, but I think I'm doing alright.

Yesterday morning was Weight Watchers. I've lost another 2.8 lbs for a total of 11 lbs now. WOOOO HOOOOOO!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

the first weigh in

I had my first weigh in and have lost 8.2 lbs.
Pretty good for 1 week, I know a lot of it was water weight but it's a good motivator to have lost that much in 1 week

Friday, September 23, 2005

I'm so glad it's Friday.

I am a little nervous about my first weigh in tomorrow morning - not sure how I've done this week and I am wanting to participate in my usual Friday night ritual - a beer with friends at my favorite Brit pub. i just don't know if that would affect anything tomorrow morning.
That is the least of my concerns though.
Hurricane Rita is a concern to me. I pray that the people in the path of Rita are able to find safe shelter this weekend.
I have family in North Eastern Texas and they are all in my thoughts this weekend.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Just a little late.....

As I said three weeks ago, i have photos from my 29th birthday celebrations.
I'm not sure what arrangements were made, but I constantly had a fresh Newcastle Ale in front of me. And, it shows.
Erin, Jeremy and I on the back patio at the Bonn Lair

Megan and I....

and Kat and I

There were numerous other photos of myself with friends, but I looked so bad in them that I am NOT hoing to post them in a public forum such as this.

Also, heres a photo of my BABY brother and I taken a week later at my moms dinner for my birthday. No, I did not realize that I was wearing the exact same shirt. But I have to point out that this is my BABY brother. BABY. He's twelve and a half years younger than me. Can you believe this? Its insane that he's only 16 and is already 6'3" and a beanpole on top of it despite eating NONSTOP. NONSTOP! Meanwhile, I'm this short round thing. Genetics can be SO cruel!

Meanwhile, I'm already thinking of how I will spend my 30th birthday next year.
One of my friends is turning 30 just 2 weeks before I do. We had both discussed going on trips for our 30th birthdays and decided that since we have mutual friends we would combine our birthdays for one big trip of about 6 of us girls. We haven't decided on exactly where though. Boston is currently in the lead but other contenders are Chicago, Philadelphia and Austin. We're not sure where we'll end up, but we have 11 months to decide...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

I went.

I did go through with what I said last night and I joined WW this morning.
The first weigh in was daunting. I knew that I'd gained back most of that 60 lbs I had lost last year. I estimated that I'd gained back 40 lbs based upon what size clothing I'm wearing now, but I was curious to find out exactly how much I'd gained.
I havent gained 40 lbs.
I've gained 65.
So depressing.
This afternoon I thought about how brave I would be as far as the extent of my contact about weight loss goes.
Will I put my starting weight out there and update along with my current weight and total loss each week?
I can't do that.
I'm not that brave.
So I've decided that I'll just be updating how much I've loss each week.
Maybe one day when Ive lost a considerable amount I'll be able to put my starting weight up here, but I just can't do that now.
I'm also going to be setting mini-goals for myself and rewarding myself along the way. Nothing big - just little treats here & there.
My first goal - to lose 20 lbs. I'm not positive of what my reward will be then. I'm thinking a manicure and/or pedicure but am open to suggestions.

getting back on track.

2 years ago I had joined Weight Watchers. I followed the plan for about 10 months and lost 60 lbs - and by "followed the plan" I mean I cheated like Newt Gingrich did to his wife at Christmas, Thanksgiving and a couple of other similar occaisions. I was doing fairly well, following the plan, I had started going to the gym. I was trying to be healthier. Yes, I was still smoking and drinking occaisionally, but I was eating less and moving more. This was good progress. And I had 2 great sources of support - my lovely cousin Erin and my dearest friend Caren.
Then, it happened.
A little over a year ago I got my 3 younger cousins to take care of while my aunt got her life straightened out.
I went from being single with no children to having 3 of them ages 4, 12 & 13. All of a sudden I couldnt even go to my Saturday morning WW meetings because I couldnt leave the girls at home alone without supervision for one hour to go to a WW meeting and I wasnt about to haul all 3 of them with me. I thought I could still follow WW on my own.
I had to shuttle them between karate, gymnastics, band practice and performances, daycare as well as my own job that can be very demanding and require overtime and weekends at times. I was overwhelmed with the responsibilities. I'd be picking them up from whatever function one of them had that night and at some point a voice would pipe up and say "Nessie, we're hungry"
What? You mean in addition to driving you everywhere, helping you with homework and doing laundry I have to FEED you as well?
Drive throughs and pizza delivery became more and more convenient.
I can't exactly pinpoint it and I haven't figured out the algorithm yet, but I do believe that there is a correlation between the convenience of drive throughs and pizza delivery to the voluminosity of ones ass.
I've gained back probably 40 of the 60 lbs that I had lost.
It's so depressing.
But, I'm tired of being depressed about it and Saturday morning I am going back to WW.
I have reservations about going to a Saturday morning WW meeting. I'll most likely have had a drink or 2 the night before. Hell... I had 5 or 6 tonight. BUT, the last meeting on Saturday mornings.... the group is cool. At least, it was when I went there. I've thought about it and 11 am on saturday mornings you're going to have an interesting crowd. Based upon when I went previously, the super early morning meetings were not the groups that I could relate to. These were the types who woke up at the ass crack of dawn on a saturday morning to go jogging then go to the WW meeting. I do not understand these people. The others at the early morning meetings were old ladies who like to talk about their favorite types of flavored teas. I'm sorry. I LOVE tea, but I don't like to discuss teas for 30 minutes on a saturday morning while I'm half hung over. The 11 am group was fun. These were the men and women my own age who want to sleep in a little bit on a Saturday morning, show up in their jeans or sweats and t shirts and want to know the IMPORTANT information....
How many points are in an entire bottle of wine?
How many activity points can you get from sex?
I understand these people! I understand the curiosity of how many points you may have drank if you went to have one glass of wine with friends after work on Friday night and perhaps ended up having 2. Or 4.
I understand the desire to find alternate ways to earn activity points other than going to the gym for an hour or bicycling along the river. By the way, according to the leader at the meetings I went to, you don't get any activity points THAT way. No matter how you do it. So disappointing.
Anyways. I've grown tired of my constantly expanding ass. I've gone back up 2 jeans sizes and I REFUSE to go back to the size I was when I first joined WW 2 years ago. I am done. I have to do it for good this time.
And guess what.
I'll be telling you all about it the whole way through.
Every Saturday you'll get to hear about that mornings weigh in and meeting.
I'm thinking that this will keep me honest and keep me going if I'm putting it all out here at least once a week.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Last tag? Maybe?

ten years ago: I was 19 and would soon be moving from Sacramento to Boston.
five years ago: I was back in Sacramento and was just starting my position with my current employer.
one year ago: I had recently taken in my 3 younger cousins while their mom got her life back on track
five snacks:
red bell pepper with TJ's spicy hummus
reeses pieces
beer (it is TOO a snack!)

five songs I know all the words to:
Amazing Grace - ALL of the verses
a # of selections from Les Mis
Crush by DMB
I've Got What It Takes by Banu Gibson
and American Pie - something that has gotten me into trouble, namely the time I was in NYC with a friend and we were in a bar where there was a live musician playing the guitar and singing - we asked him to play American Pie and he said that he'd play but I'd have to get up on stage and sing it. Thankfully, I'd had a few drinks by then so the stagefright wasnt too bad.

five things I would do with $100 million:
buy an old victorian in SF
take care of grandma
take care of all of my cousins & siblings college tuitions
start a business of some sort to generate steady income

five places to run away to:
grandparents in OR

five things I would never wear:
halter top
white jeans
those weirdo arm warmer things that have been in a lot of knitting magazines lately

five favorite TV shows:
Sex and the City
Six Feet Under
Extreme Home Makeover

five biggest joys:
My family
my pets
getting something in the mail from ebay
relaxing with friends
winning trivia night at the pub I frequent

five favorite toys:
yarn & a crochet hook

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Tagged again.....

7 Things I plan to do before I die:
1. Kiss the Blarney Stone (While in Ireland, I also want to follow the McCarthys Pub rule of travel - never pass a bar with your name on it. My family name is Irish... this will be fun)
2. Own a home
3. Lose the weight
4. Travel somewhere that requires a passport
5. Have my photography shown
6. Quit smoking
7. Complete a charity bike tour

7 Things I can do:
1. Most things creative and/or artistic - pottery, stained glass, photography, beadwork, crochet, embroidery, etc....
2. Make a kick ass omelette
3. According to some, my swearing can make a sailor blush
4. Change a flat tire, jumpstart a car & check all my fluids - dad made me do all of this before he would let me get my learners permit when I was 15
5. Know when something is over my head and ask for advice
6. I can do comic imitations of some of my family members very well - namely my grandmother, brother & sister.
7. According to my younger cousins, I can fix ANYTHING - theres A LOT of pressure when someone has that much faith in you. Even if they are only 14, 13 & 5 years old.

7 Things I cannot do:
1. Balance my checkbook
2. Bypass the clearance section at any craft store or Target
3. drive the speed limit
4. say no to someone who asks for my help
5. get rid of books - I feel bad cleaning out my bookshelves even if I'm donating the books - I feel like I'm letting go of some source of knowledge or cultural value even if its a bad novel.
6. Play poker - I'm horrible at it.
7. Ignore the Krispy Kreme box

7 Things that attract me to the opposite sex:
1. Intelligence
2. Sense of humor - especially a sarcastic wit
3. Kindness
4. Compassion
5. Eyes
6. easy going
7. artisitic appreciation

7 Things I say most often:
1. Holy crap!
2. What the eff?
3. Hence, The Crazy
4. blah blah blah
5. yeaaaaaaaah, anyways....
6. shut it
7. huh?

7 Celebrity crushes:
1. Jon Stewart - Super smart AND hilarious!
2. Adrien Brody - LOVED him in The Pianist
3. Zach Braff - so cute & goofy on Scrubs
4. Chris Noth - Mr Big from SATC.
5. Nicholas Cage in City of Angels
6. Craig Ferguson
7. Goran Visnjic

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

New Orleans, you're in my prayers.

Last July I took my 13 year old cousin Holly to New Orleans for a 2 day karate tournament.
Since I had never been to New Orleans and Holly had never been outside of the state of California I decided to make a vacation out of it and spend a whole week there.
We stayed on Canal Street, walked the French Quarter and the French Market, toured the Garden District, took a dinner jazz cruise on the Mississippi, went to the Audobon Aquarium, visited the Laura Plantation and did a swamp tour, and every night we would walk from our hotel to Cafe du Monde for beignets and cafe au lait and watch/listen to the street performers. Considering I had a 13 year old with me who was nervous because she'd never been outside of California or away from her mother before, I didn't get to experience the nightlife, but I enjoyed the trip enormously.
As countless others have done before me, i fell in love with The Big Easy. I vowed to come back with friends, without a child where I could walk down Bourbon Street and enjoy the night life, I vowed to come back for Mardi Gras one day, considered what it would be like to honeymoon there if I ever get married and thought about spending my 30th birthday there next year.
One day I will return to New Orleans to enjoy the hospitality and vivaciousness that make the city as beautiful as it is. Until then, New Orleans, Biloxi and everywhere affected by Katrina, you are in my prayers.

Friday, August 26, 2005

My birthday, thus far...

Today is my 29th birthday, and so far it has been a good one.
First, yesterday I came home to find this in my driveway...

I knew that there was a peacock running around the neighborhood, but I'd never been able to get close enough to get a photo of it.
Then, this was in the mail for me....

WOOOO HOOOO!!!! A Crochet Dude pattern!! YAY!!!
So, since I took today off for my birthday did I go out with friends, see a movie, visit the local rose gardens? NO! I HAD TO GET YARN FOR THE VEST!!!
I spent my birthday going to a couple of local yarn shops to find yarns for the vest and further increase my stash.
First stop, The Fuzzy Penguin in Sacramento, where I got some crochet patterns as well as cross stitch patterns.
First, a pattern book for crocheted scarves. i'm not sure which one I'll make first, there are some really cute scarves in there.

Then, another crochet pattern book of "Purses for Sassy Girls". I'm thinking this will make a cute Christmas present for my little 5 year old cousin Janae. She is DEFINITELY sassy.

I'm leaning towards making her the bunny purse, but I'm not sure.

I also found a couple of Celtic knot patterns. I'm not sure what I'll do with these, I just love celtic knot designs though, so I had to get them.

And a fish pattern - this will go GREAT in my moms bathroom.

I FINALLY found some yarn....
First, I've been looking for some Red Heart Casual Cott'n, but EVERYWHERE I went didn't have it. I found it at Beverly's in Fair Oaks and got this great red colorway...

And I found the yarn I'm going to use for The Crochet Dudes Wooly Vest. A creamy white with a pink & cream novelty yarn for the trim. I'm thinking this will be for my aunts christmas gift...

But, my birthday is not over yet. My cousin Erin and her husband Jeremy are taking the train up this evening where I'll pick them up downtown and we'll be going to dinner and then hitting our favorite Brit pub here in Sacramento. More photos tomorrow after I've recovered...