Monday, August 31, 2009

Weekend Catchup: Fire, Pipes and Righteous Knickers

Friday night we last-minute decided to go to Festival On Main, a Longmont street fair The Child and I normally attend but I was dragging my feet about this year. We ended up going thanks to her buddy's prodding. "It's TRADITION!" she shouted.

Of course the tradition is that we all go *together* but they ended up hanging with their friends and I stood there like a dope.


That's okay, though, it just meant that I could stand and admire the fire dancers whilst eating Indian food. For at least the last 3 years (I say that because that's as long as I've been going, haha) Festival on Main has featured a troop of fire dancers called Burning Hot Lava!! - no website that I can find, but if you click the name you can see photos. (You can see some video here and here, too. Go watch!)

This year they also had a quartet of drums and pipes as accompaniment on a couple of numbers, so you know I was in heaven - fire *and* piping? Yes please!

And did I remember my camera? No I did not. *sigh*

Oh, and guess where the fire dancers were headed the next morning... and if you said "Poughkeepsie, NY" you are incorrect!

Saturday and Sunday were pretty laid back - I made 2 new pairs of knickers, a mock-up of a bag my mom was looking for, got a bunch of errands done - the usual this and that.

What, you don't make underwear in *your* free time?

One was made with an Old Navy Halloween t-shirt with "Transylvania Blood Drive" as the theme... Halloween undies are hard to come by.

The other used my concert t-shirt from the Penn & Teller show I went to with my mom many moons ago, and I *totally* want to send a photo of them to Penn & Teller, because I can almost guarantee nobody else has these.

Bad photo, I know... stupid lighting!

Oh, and The Kid got the Converse sneakers she's been dying to get - two pairs, yet - thanks to her Aunt Melissa, who spoils her rotten.

Lucky girl!

Did YOUR weekend involve bagpipes? I sincerely hope so. But just in case...

Just gives me chills.

Friday, August 28, 2009

F-Word Friday: FIRST!


Geeks Who Drink Trivia.

Guess who's team got first place?
(And I will unabashedly admit I sat and refreshed the blog every 5 minutes until our post came up this morning. Attention whore, that's me.)

Not pictured: Melissa - see the blog entry at GWD!

So much fun. Thanks to John for his AWESOME final answer - he put us that one point over the top to win big! I really want to do this again... apparently there are tournaments all over the city.

Who knew!?

After we finished up there we went and did Melissa's & my very first Geocaching excursion. I just heard about this recently - check out the website for details, but it's basically hidden treasures you find and report on, with the added fun of take-a-prize-leave-a-prize and/or moving something along to another location.

And they're everywhere! I'm going looking for one that's about 2 blocks from us tonight. OH YES.

Go try it!

This weekend will be craft-tacular. My mom is starting a new business venture with pet supplies and had the brilliant idea of making treat/bag holders for belt loops for dog-owners - so smart! I'm making some mock-ups, plus I have some t-shirts destined to be undies, a birthday present to create for TR (hopefully will not suck, but the jury's out), more baskets to make... and maybe some swimming. It'll be hot tomorrow, so I think that may do the trick.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thrilling Thursday: Lazy

Okay so I know this is like 2 weeks running, but man I've been a busy busy girl!

Tonight it's off to Geeks Who Drink for me with Ms. Melissa...

I plan to kick some ass.

And so! Your lazy, lazy Thrill for this Thursday...

So cool. Click it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wonder Why Wednesday - Just A Number

It's come to my attention that I am regressing. It's not a bad thing.

I've long since realized that I'm not at all what I thought 35 would be but rather some amalgam of various ages I've been so far or observed in others.

Some days I'm 17 and defiant.

Some days I'm 60 and disapproving (usually at work - damn kids and the skateboards).

Age is just a number as we all find out eventually - what is 35 supposed to act like anyway? It's all relative.

This begs the question...

What does our chronological age have to do with anything?

Short answer? Not a damn thing.

Yeah, yeah, we've all heard it shouted repeatedly...

"What are you, 12?" "Grow up!" "Act your age, not your shoe size!"


What exactly is 12 supposed to be like? Or 22? Or 90?

Take Leonard Cohen. He's 74... what does that number say to you?

Old. Crotchety. Possibly infirm. Certainly not schooling the youngins on how it's done, right?

Not so much.

And what about 27?

Young & vibrant? Perhaps coming into your own as an adult? Starting a family, a career, a life?

Maybe not.

It's all about experience & circumstance.

Just lately, as The Child has been getting older and my responsibility for her has lessened, I've felt as if I'm growing younger despite my advancing grey hair population, wrinkled brow and ever-saggier wobbly bits.

Not that I'm not responsible for her, don't get me wrong - she's still just a kid - but I have *less* of the responsibilities that seem to have take up so much of my life the last 13 years.

The Child makes her own lunches, gets herself up in the morning, does her homework without my help... she even sets her own alarm and gets herself to bed on time.

I in turn suddenly find myself going out and doing things without her, something I wasn't sure I'd ever do again - it's been her & me* so long now that for awhile I felt guilty about it, like somehow I should be including her more.

Instead, I've gotten used to it, and so has she, and now I'm free to do things like date a cute guy and eat dinner at 9PM, instead of always living my usual in-the-house-by-6 lifestyle.

It's like I'm finally living my 20's, sorta... but it's definitely not what I would have defined 35 (or 40) as being.

It really is just a number.

* Totally proper grammar - break it down like your English teacher taught ya!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Total Random Tuesday: The Stars Our Destination

Galileo's telescope was invented 400 years ago today!

You know, give or take an week.

Lazy post, I know, but car trouble keeps me on the run.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Weekend Catchup - Back At It

Okay so first...


You know those baskets I like making? I decided to try selling them on Etsy... I figured it was worth a shot and if nobody buys one then I'm out a buck and have 5 lovely holiday gifts all ready to go.

Tell your friends!

Hypnotoad commands you to buy this... or at least to admire it and boost my ego, because you know it's so deflated

So! The weekend!

Friday night was fun, I got to pretend to be young. There's nothing quite like driving toward a city full of lights, it really reminds me how much I love it...

A lovely evening was spent with TR helping (a grand term - more like decoratively lounging) as he continued to get ready for Le Flambe Grande. (Bad French accent optional.)

There's so much to do for this, it's unbelievable... water, food, clothing, music, GETTING THERE...

Just crazy.

I totally want to go. Have I mentioned this a time or two? It's possible I have.

I did *not* get a picture of his awesome home-made speaker, which is unfortunate, but I did get to hear it in action - totally killer. It's made with an empty water-service jug (I don't know what else you'd call that) with a speaker stuck on one end - completely creative and if you've ever stuck your head next to a big empty plastic jug and given it a good thwack (you know, like you do) you'll know how it can carry sound.

Try it! You know you want to.

We also went for a lovely dinner where I got carded (for real, too, not just in that "we card everyone" way - I loved our waiter), and I had a delicious burger and a big fat Mojito which loosened my tongue.

Damned rum... I'm sure I got loud.

Saturday and Sunday ended up being pretty laid back. I managed to watch 6 episodes of Dollhouse (it was hot out and I have a/c) and does it ever kick ass! I had watched the first 4 or 5 and was with everyone else thinking maybe this wasn't going to work out, but Joss kept telling us... Wait for it! Wait for it! Stick with it through episode 6!

I did and I ended up exclaiming with glee about the surprises and twists he threw out there... no really, I did - The Child rolled her eyes and everything!

He's a genius. I always had faith.

Sunday I finished up making 90 little tiny golden origami cranes that will hopefully be disguised among all the far superior versions no doubt being crafted even now by Ms. Dandy and her friends. They aren't *that* bad, but making the beaks on tiny, tiny gold foil 10 degree angles is easier said than done.

They started taking over, too. Look what they did to my cats!

First they lull you into a sense of complacency...


I hope you had a lovely weekend... best of luck to TR on his journey into the dust!

Friday, August 21, 2009

F-Word Friday: Fetching

So you know how The Child is in 8th grade now?

My tears are almost dried.

What I wanted to show you was her 1st day of school photo... except I forgot to take one.


So instead, we have a 2nd day of school photo. It's cuter than the other one would have been anyway.

She's my special princess!

The child took approximately 4000 photographs while on her trip to Oregon/Washington, which I have finished going through in order to delete the over-exposed/up the nose/blurry from-the-car shots. She's a future photographer, for certain.

My two favorites are below, but you can see the rest here if you're so inclined.

I love how the ocean just kind of... goes.

Just such a road-trip sort of shot... just after sunset, fast food detritus at your feet, the plan to stop for crappy gas station coffee in a few hours already implanted in your head...

Lastly, go HERE... take a look and make a comment, and if the jewelry gods are smiling you might win one of her fabulous pieces! Maybe! Unless I win one, then I'll share!

I apologize to my peeps for the exceedingly lazy posts this week; I blame it on Back-To-The-Grind-Itis... it was a pretty lazy summer schedule-wise, and now it's back to normal.



Quickly followed by biting. which was equally quickly followed by licking. Weirdos.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thrilling Thursdsay: Swimming With Sharks

Oh hi!

Didja miss me?

I had my 8TH GRADER at work with me for a little while yesterday, and then we were out and about. It's hard for even *me* to believe, but some things trump my fetish for telling you each and every weird thing that pops into my head (something I'm almost positive is going to drive TR insane, and quickly), and hanging with my kid is definitely at the top of that list.

I mean, she is in 8TH GRADE now after all... I better take what I can get!


I was actually going to have her guest-edit yesterday, but according to her she has "no questions whatsoever".


And so! Thrilling Thursday!

I'm afraid, dear readers, that my week's upheaval has been far too great to come up with anything truly clever to thrill you with today, so instead you get a thrilling video stolen from Ms. Dandy's site, because it was so pretty... I hope she'll forgive me.

Enjoy! :) (PS... do yourself a favor, mouse over when it starts, click the 4-arrow symbol and sit back awhile.)

Kuroshio Sea - 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world - (song is Please don't go by Barcelona) from Jon Rawlinson on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Totally Random Tuesday: Whiny Parent Syndrome

So you know what?

I love my kid. Desperately.

Know what I don't love?

When my kid, who I love desperately, has to get an earful.

For example, just now, she called me, happy as a clam and at the library, probably ready to offer to bring me back a book she found that I might like, or a movie we could watch together, but I had to be MEAN MOM and tell her to get her happy ass home and call me from there, because she's totally in trouble with me.

I can handle a lot.

Being a lazy teenager and not making her bed... *sigh* fine.
Slacking on her homework... well, it's her grade (not this year though - she's got a trip riding on it).
Doing a half-ass job at a chore... I'll just make her do it again, and explain *again* why it can't be done that way.

But lying? Lying just doesn't fly. At all.

I can't even tell you how many times I've told that girl, if you do something wrong and tell me, I might yell. But if you do something wrong, *don't* tell me and I find out later?

Oh girl.

(Insert shaking head here.)

And so now I have to be MEAN MOM, and she just got back from vacation, and is just starting school Thursday.

I hate that, but it's a necessary evil.

I hate more that she's riding home even now, wondering what it is I'm going to yell at her *for*, and having a bad day that started out nicely... on the one hand I feel absolutely justified in making her feel badly (because she really was a turd), but on the other...

She's my baby, and I want her to be happy. All the time.

That's probably where I messed up along the way... but too late now. Now, she just gets the Wrath of Mom.

Sorry, kids, I know my self-pity posts are rare (quit laughing so hard, you!), but I just can't do that John Hughes Retrospective I was going to do today. I will, however, leave you with a clip from my very favorite JH movie, because a) it shows another bratty teen doing awful things his parents will never know about, and b) because it'll make me feel better.

Whiny mom out!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Weekend Catchup: Normal

I had a fantastic weekend, can I just tell you?

The Alan Smithee Pants of Doom were a complete hit (which of course boosted my ego). Alas, no photos, but I'm hoping I can get a shot of them post-Burning Man (their intended venue)... it'll be interesting to see how they hold up!

Friday night I had dinner with TR at Rodney's, a downstairs bar/grill type spot in Cherry Creek with fantastically nice wait staff and bathrooms decorated (subtly) with some amusingly smutty true facts. The food was absolutely delicious, and I was shocked to find I have a bacon limit, which those of you who know me best will understand was blowing my mind a bit because mmmm bacon, but there it was anyway... best BLT ever.

After dinner I tagged along to a campaign kickoff for a friend of TR's who's running for State Representative for his district. I'm nowhere near his district, of course, I'm not even in the same county, but he wanted to donate to the cause, and I'm just nosy... I really like meeting folks who are that motivated to really get in there and get political, something I wish I had the ability to do myself just lately! He was really nice, had a great turnout, and bonus, I got to meet TR's brother and almost-sister-in-law, both of whom I had heard lots about and were delightful (naturally). Hopefully I made a decent impression of myself, I tried hard not to drool or trip or babble too incoherently; the fact that his brother was DJ-ing (and thus it was loud) saved me I think.

Saturday I got a little Denver culture. First we went to one of several restaurants owned by a local diner magnate, Pete's Kitchen, and had deliciously decadent gyros omelets - it was the good kind of gyros, off the spit and served with excelled tsaziki sauce. I could almost feel my arteries hardening, but since we were headed for a walk at the Denver Botanic Gardens I didn't feel too guilty!

Plus, yum, and there's no Greek food in Longmont with the exception of The Giggling Greek, but she doesn't believe in gyros. I asked once, when she had a booth at the Niwot concert series, and she compared it to hot dogs, insisting that she wouldnt serve that if her life depended on it.

I hadn't been to the Gardens here as yet (I always loved Chicago's), and had been wanting to for awhile, so it was nice to finally do that. They have a fantastic greenhouse in which you can get a story or two up into the more muggy, sunny canopy of palms, and there were lots of really beautiful, very healthy and happy tropical specimens, which wouldn't happen in my house, as I am a plant killer.

And they had a poison dart frog! It was in a terrarium, of course, and wasn't actually poisonous anymore, as they feed it special vitamin-dusted fruit flies that inhibit the toxins - and hello new band name! (Vitamin-Dusted Fruit Flies, not Inhibit the Toxins, although that could be the first single. I am nerd, here me roar.)

Outside, we enjoyed watching the bees working hard, and I saw something I hadn't seen in awhile now that I think about it...


They're so cute... I don't want to hold one or anything, but still

I used to be terrified of bees, and still sort of dislike them (you know my rule, 4 legs or less), but in that kind of situation I know they have zero interest in me and can watch them work.

My favorites were the Herb Garden, were I admired a spider (apparently it was my day for multi-legged admiration), the architecture in the education building, playing with the Omniglobe, and the Scripture Garden, which wasn't really all that scripturey but rather just historically biblical, including olive and fig trees and a beautiful reflecting pond. We didn't see everything of course, as it's a really big place (and it was getting really hot), so we're definitely going to have to go back another time, and in cooler weather.

Sunday we had lunch at Annie's Cafe, another popular Denver spot. Good (fresh iced tea, excellent chicken salad), cute (classic lunchboxes!), but it was no Pete's. :)

One thing I have to report about myself, that I'm abashed (sort of) to admit...

I have become a rabid ex-smoker.

I always swore that I would be the understanding, "hey man, I understand the struggle" ex-smoker (because it is a struggle to quit, it's one of the hardest things I've ever done), the tolerant one who wouldn't stoop to dirty looks, who would understand that smokers can't smell what we do, and who would support smokers rights and remember when I was among those treated like pariahs.

Instead, I perk up like a hunting dog at the faintest twinge of smoke, shoot the stink-eye in the direction of the offender and cover my nose.

What a hypocrite!

Strangely I find it's just regular cigarette smoke that causes this reaction (and cigars, too, because gross) - I'm guessing it's what's burning *besides* the tobacco in cigarettes that makes the smoke so acrid, because I love the smell of good pipe tobacco, don't mind inadvertently walking into a 4:20 cloud when the locals have their yearly gathering on campus, and even sort of *like* the scent of my friend Annette's additive-free rolling tobacco (it's vaguely sweet), although I don't want to smoke any of those things myself - my lungs have been abused enough over the years.

How was *your* weekend?

Friday, August 14, 2009

F-Word Friday: Foul-Mouthed

So you know those pants I was making? You know how I was sure the satin would make me cry?

Well it didn't make me cry, but it sure made me use some creative swears... like hair-curling, good-thing-I-was-alone, singed-the-cats-whiskers creative.

There are, as it turns out, a few people reading this 'ere blog on a regular basis, so I won't elaborate. Just trust me when I say they were awful, and I was ashamed...

But I felt better.

No really, there's an article that proves it and everything!

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Cut your finger? Hurt your leg? Start swearing. It might lessen the pain.

Researchers from the school of psychology at Britain's Keele University have found swearing can make you feel better as it can have a "pain-lessening effect," according to a study published in the journal NeuroReport.

Colleagues Richard Stephens, John Atkins and Andrew Kingston, set out to establish if there was any link between swearing and physical pain.

"Swearing has been around for centuries and is an almost universal human linguistic phenomenon," says Stephens. "It taps into emotional brain centers and appears to arise in the right brain, whereas most language production occurs in the left cerebral hemisphere of the brain. Our research shows one potential reason why swearing developed and why it persists."

YES! Now I have an excuse.

Anyway they're done, and hopefully will be covered in playa dust in short order so nobody will notice how truly awful a sewing job I did.

Luckily there are 2 others done with the pattern, the white ones I bragged about (that was probably the cause of my epic failure with the satin, damned hubris) and the blue batik, and they are FANTASTIC and I want to keep them (I'll have to settle for making myself some soon).

Happy Friday, have a wonderful weekend! I have absolutely no idea what I'll be doing with mine, but I am happy to report that The Child will be home Monday night or Tuesday.

Good thing, I miss that kid.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thrilling Thursday: The Means Of Knowledge

I've been watching John Adams, the series HBO did recently. This might not thrill *you*, but it certainly revved my engine!

It was incredible, go watch it as soon as you have several hours to devote. I learned a lot, and although of course I took most of it with a grain of salt, there were some really interesting facts that I hadn't known before (always a thrill for me).

For example, did you know John Adams & Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, 50 years to the day after the final signed version of the Declaration of Independence was issued? That's just crazy.

(Oh, did everyone know that? Ah. Well. Moving on.)

Lots of the stories we've heard in our oral - and subsequently written - history about what they did then were a bit exaggerated (not a shock), but the ones that surprised me most were that a) apparently Ben Franklin was the original hipster doofus and b) there wasn't a big "Signing of the Declaration" moment in Freedom Hall - there was a war going on, and everyone just sort of signed as they came in and out.

Not quite

What's *truly* amazing, though, is how relevant to our current times the events of nearly 250 years ago really are to today's politics and state of our union... we haven't really changed, we just got bigger.

Some favorite quotes of his:

Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.

(In other words, pay attention.)

I have accepted a seat in the House of Representatives, and thereby have consented to my own ruin, to your ruin, and to the ruin of our children. I give you this warning that you may prepare your mind for your fate.

(Why aren't more politicians this honest?)

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.


And my favorite...

Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.

(And how.)

Watching the series really renewed my respect for the founding of our country; I wonder if any of our politicians today would have the courage to do what they did.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wonder Why Wednesday - Mariposa Mimosa

I am currently hip-deep in a serious crush.

(I know, you're retching out there in reader-land, but I swear I have a point.)

It's a strange sort of situation because unlike the usual swoon-from-afar sort of thing we've all experienced - where there's no hope and you just sort of spy on your intended and (thank you, internet) Google-stalk him and/or lurk on his Facebook page - in this case...

He likes me back.

He's not supposed to like me *back*, right? What exactly am I supposed to do with that?

I feel like a cat who finally caught the fly that's been buzzing around the house for 3 hours solid... Now what the hell do I do with it?!

It's utterly foreign territory.

This (see, I told you there was a point) leads me to my Wonder Why of the day...

Have you ever found yourself in a situation so completely opposite of what you were expecting that you just didn't know whether to (to use the vernacular) shit or go sailing?

We've all been there.

A new job where you aced the interview, but you show up and you're pretty sure they're speaking Gaelic.

A new school where you swore you were going to be the mysterious new kid everyone wants to befriend, but where you find you've shown up halfway through a semester where everyone knows the score but you.

You buy your kid a viola, let's say, and have visions of her becoming the next William Primrose, but find you can barely get her to practice.

We daydream about the little things that make up the larger whole of our lives, but things rarely pan out the way we were expecting. This doesn't mean, of course, that the outcome will be less than awesome, in fact that polar opposite is often to our benefit, but it's so hard sometimes to let go of the carefully tended and tightly-held ideas we've come up with, to adapt and re-start with whatever it is you've been handed.

But you do.

You learn Gaelic (or Unix, whatever) and become the fastest-promoted programmer in the history of the company.

You help a cute guy with his math homework during a group study session, having discovered that you already did the work at your old school, and suddenly find yourself with a date for prom.

Your kid learns to love the viola and plays her best, and gets an A in the class and praise from the teacher, and you couldn't be prouder than if she played Carnegie Hall.

In other words, you suck it up and adapt, and enjoy the adventure!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Totally Random Tuesday: Sunday Sunday Sunday!!!

I work at a University, and my office faces the football stadium, which they are currently rehabbing the crap out of, despite our current state budget woes, but don't get me started on that.

(Grammar Junkies: Would that more properly be stated as "out of which they are rehabbing the crap"? It doesn't sound right. Hm.)

One of the new features is a magnetic fence system, wherein there are metal discs in the pavement, and large poles every few feet, onto and between which they'll be snapping cattle-pen type fencing on game days.

This sounds like a recipe for disaster, but whatever.

Another new feature is the enormous new lighting system they're current rigging. The light bar for this thing had to be dropped in BY A GIANT CRANE.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love huge construction equipment?


Why are you looking at me like that?

Anyway, a giant crane delivering enormo-lights, and the subsequent installation of everything, naturally means Ms. Mimi Rickets looking out of her office window a lot more than she ought to.

Now, you would assume that the internet would be chock-full of things to delight the large-equipment enthusiast, right?

Well, yes, but...


Oh, just watch.

Possibly the coolest thing on the internet

Monday, August 10, 2009

Weekend Catchup: Words Fail Me

Okay now you know I don't get political on here, but right now there is something terribly important afoot that affects every last citizen of this country.

There is a *lot* of intentional misinformation being passed around about the Health Care Reform bill, with the majority of that being done by the insurance companies (who stand to lose their large incomes if they can't hold all the cards anymore) and I promise, nobody's going to take your rights with this, or force you to use the plan, or degrade your health care or any of the goofy rumors being perpetrated. All that will happen is that the ungodly portion of the US citizenry that currently can't even get their blood pressure taken will be able to get some basic healthcare.

I promise, that' s all there is to it.

Anything else you've heard... well I can't convince you myself but if you read the bill itself you'll see the truth of the matter. If that's a bit much to digest (it is!), there's a more truncated list of rumors that were recently addressed by President Obama, and you can read it here, but the main points are that most of the bill is centered around reigning in the current practices of the insurance companies.

Hm, I wonder why the insurance companies want this to die?

Please call your local congress-person and senator and ask them to support Health Care Reform. Encourage your friends and neighbors to do it too. They really do listen, and need our support right now.

ANYWAY... off my soapbox.

I love you, Internet

My weekend was...


If you could see me now, you'd see me looking into the word-pool, trying to fish out something appropriate - why this involves me tapping a single finger against my chin I don't know, but it does.

Eventful doesn't seem to cut it, though there were some delightful events and I got stuff done.

Interesting is too bland a term to really encompass it.

(tap tap tap)

Ever have something that was impossible to describe without sounding like you just ate a handful of something illicit?

Bad-poetry-inspiring, mood-altering, but all good, don't worry!

Friday night I crashed a bit early after a 2-hour gabfest and getting a small bit of sewing done on some lovely blue fabric (just a hem, but it was a LONG hem). The gabfest is an on-going thing; every time I get on the phone I hit a wormhole and 2 or 3 hours (and an entire battery charge) seem to zip out of existence.

Any excuse for Hanna-Barbera

Saturday morning involved a lot of boring running around in an attempt to be productive. The Child is out of town at the moment, and many years spent with her as the center of my universe have left me - as she has been getting older and, subsequently, her own life - having to learn to entertain myself. Luckily I have some lovely friends who are willing and able to help me out with that. She's been too busy in Oregon checking out whales and driving boats and looking at starfish butts and playing in the Pacific to CALL HER MOTHER, which is as it should be.

Doesn't she look like she's having a BLAST?

You thought I was kidding

Why am I not in this picture? No fair.

The evening was much more fun than my grocery store/laundry/vaccuming-filled day, involving a never-ending thunderstorm (unexpectedly with its own soundtrack), the bitchinest van on the planet, and Connections, which I really wanted to watch more of but didn't because it was like 1AM and I was falling asleep (surest way to put me out - no lights and the television on and an arm around my shoulders).

Seriously, though... the storm was incredible. Colorado weather is funny, especially where I live along the mountains. Because they're so vast and tall and different depending on where you are, they actually *change* the weather on a regular basis. It can be clear and sunny where I am, and snowing an inch an hour 80 miles south. It could be raining buckets on my front lawn and dry as a bone 10 miles east.

The storm on Saturday night was way out on the Eastern Plains, but it was large enough that a quick drive out into the fields (Longmont being a little island of city in the middle of a *lot* of country) brought us an unobstructed view that involved, amongst other things, a huge moon painted orange, only visible for a few minutes before being buried behind giant thunderheads, only to re-emerge an hour or so later, illuminating the tips and tops of what was left behind as the storm headed for points East.

Sunday involved some really, really needed sleeping in, plus I got to flip through this book, generously lent by its owner. I'm not sure if I'll ever get the chance to go myself, but I'd like to once in my life, for the art and creativity of the attendees if nothing else! They do some amazing stuff, and as with many things, photos only go so far.

Wouldn't you love to see this up close, and maybe walk around inside? I bet it smelled good.

Here's hoping you had a weekend that was as fun as mine... Tonight I'm planning on bringing the satin pants into existence. Wish me luck!

I have Kleenex at the ready to mop up my tears...

Friday, August 7, 2009

F-Word Friday: Far-Flung

First, before I do anything else, I want to add myself to the ranks of those who have participated in Spin A Web Of Gratitude thus far, an idea by Elle Bee, and propagated by my buddy Dawn.

If you've read much of my blog, buried in all the sarcasm is a serious desire to be positive. I try to surround myself with positive people and help others find that silver lining that is so often hard to see. We live in an imperfect world, but it's not without hope or happiness - not by a long shot.

Here is my list of blessings and things I'm grateful for - incomplete for sure, but full of joy nonetheless!

My kid, who still writes me love notes even though she's a teenager
Someone lovely to be with who's kind and thoughtful and really cute
Friends who I can see and friends I can't and both are equally fantastic
A family that's insane (yes, I'm really grateful for that - normal is overrated)
A personal history that mingles with those of others
All my faculties, which all work reasonably well
The smell of cookies and bread and spices and pine and fresh laundry
Cats and long hugs and soft sheets and warm sun and cool breezes
A house filled with books and crafts and enough food to not be hungry
A car that runs and doesn't eat too much gas
A job that allows me slack time
Being well and happy

And so, on to today's F-word... Far-Flung. Okay, it's more of a phrase, but I'll take liberties if I wanna!

I lived in Chicago, with a brief period in Denver when I was 3, until 5 years ago when I moved to Colorado, which I do not regret at all except sometimes when I do, although it's always brief and usually involves people, food, and the lake.

I've talked (at great length) about this, but as with everyone's home towns, it's so hard to describe what it is you're missing if the person you're describing it *to* hasn't ever lived in or experienced that place.

Enter this gem, found by my mother, about Chicago - watch for the red building at 3:14 - I used to work there, and didn't know it was so old! (It was originally Bennett Brothers' Warehouse, and was built in the 20's - thanks Mom!)

I've always been strangely nostalgic not only for my past, but for that of my mother and *her* mother, and this made me wish I could have seen it in person. It's mostly still there, under different names, a little dirtier, a little more worn, and now surrounded by steel skyscrapers the heights of which couldn't have been imagined then.

To everyone else, this just looks like an old city - to me, it's home, and always will be whether or not I ever have an address there again.

There are a *ton* of these TravelTalks reels on YouTube... go look!

Florida in the 40's just seems so glamorous, doesn't it?

Lovely... but sorry kids, Chicago's still prettier.

Have a wonderful weekend... mine will involve my sewing machine to a large degree, I'm sure, along with the first 2 discs of Dollhouse, which just came out... lovely.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thrilling Thursday: Princess Pantha - Badass

I'm sure he had it coming.

He probably looked at her funny, or wolf-whistled, or tried to take a leg... I'll have to go with the latter because the first two would just earn him a busted jaw beat-down, not a full-on skewering.

You have to take your lumps when you mess with THIS girl.

Actually, upon further inspection, I'm starting to suspect the real problem here was the fact that this was no ordinary gator... look at those feet! This was clearly more of a Subterranean Lizard Man than a natural inhabitant of the Okefenokee of Lower Africa.

Either way, homeboy's gonna be spitted and served up with hot sauce later, and I know a certain Jungle Princess who will have a nifty new handbag and pumps to wear to that Gala Cave Opening next week.

Waste not, want not!

Wonder Why Wednesday - Running Up That Hill

I need to show you this:

Click it, I command you!

My mom made that. She knitted it, with her own two hands, WITH FRIGHTENINGLY SMALL BEADS, in under a year which would never happen in my house. She even blocked it (thus the foam board and pins), proof that she is the least lazy person I know. (I specifically look for projects that don't require this extra step. I know this shocks you.)

She didn't even frog it when the yarn proved to be slightly faulty...she just dyed it when she was done.

I came by my craft crazy honestly.

Today's Wonder...

What makes some projects and accomplishments so irresistible that we keep plugging away at them even when sense seems to dictate we stop?

There are the obvious ones, of course, like parenthood - if you're a parent (well, a good parent), you have to keep going even if you're tired and broke and upset about it all and wish you could be an unfettered, independently wealthy woman with a boat and a mountain cabin.

But what about the ones where nobody would lose anything by you quitting, like climbing a mountain, or running a marathon, finishing a killer shawl with unintentional stripes or making yourself write something interesting in a blog each day that only a few people read besides yourself?

Is it the challenge, or is it the sense of accomplishment when the task is complete?

The satisfaction of completion is the natural end to a tough-but-finished project or task, but I think it really, truly is just the challenge of the thing driving us more often than one might think... billionaire playboys do things for satisfaction, but you and I do them because it gets us out of our heads for 5, 10, 20 minutes a day.

That's worth the struggle.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Totally Random Tuesday: Go Bulldogs!

So my friend Nova calls me this morning and says "You know you have more people reading your blog now?"

"Right," I said, "I just make friends EVERYWHERE I go, what with my winning personality and charming wit."

(Editors note: Totally made that part up - I don't remember what I said but it was probably akin to "Guh?")

"No seriously, there are women in my mother's office who apparently love your blog."

Well you all know I am a total attention junkie, so that completely made my morning.

And of COURSE, because I'm a nerd for my blog, in honor of the fine, fine women of Streator High School, today's Totally Random Tuesday is dedicated to their fabulous town!

First off, I have to say the website for Streator HS is great - I checked it since I had to make sure I was getting the team name right - the picture makes it *seem* obvious, but it might have been the Streator Rabid German-Inspired Pitbulls or something, you never know. It's best not to assume.

What if it's just a really aggressive hamster?

In looking around their site, I was amazed at the amount of clearly-labeled, easily accessed information they really have. The Child's school district can barely get you an email address without having to pester the principal, much less provide a searchable staff list.

You know why I love Google? Things like this:

Possibly haunted

I've written about Streator briefly before, as Nova's mom and dad live there and so of course we've visited and gotten to avail ourselves of a couple of their local goodies and traditions, like their theatre and 4th of July parade and a couple of their local restaurants like Chix (yum) and Planet Pizza.

I have to ask... who speaks Hawaiian at Planet Pizza? I'd really like to know. Is it the same person who came up with the beef rolls? Because I'd like to extend a huge MAHALO to them and beg for the recipe. I won't share it I SWEAR. If they could just, I don't know, ship me some frozen I'd be happy too.

Mmmm, beef rolls.

Sorry, got distracted.

In looking up Streator I found a whole Wiki devoted to it, and it's really thorough so I won't list everything out here, but I must note a few of the more interesting points...
  • Streator was named for Dr. Worthy S. Streator, an Ohio industrialist who financed the region's first coal mining operation.
Why are there not more people named Worthy? Also, this made me get an earworm, which is now yours to enjoy as well.

You're welcome
  • The city is the hometown of Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered the planet Pluto in 1930.
  • Burt Baskin, co-founder of Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlors was born in Streator.
  • Author Clarence E. Mulford wrote the Hopalong Cassidy series of books. The Hopalong Cassidy River Trail winds along the banks of the Vermilion River which passes Mulford's boyhood home.
  • Music composer and director Ed Plumb ... was the musical director for Disney's Fantasia and score composer for Bambi.
That's a lot of famous all in one place, but I think this is the coolest thing on the whole page:
  • Many of Streator's immigrant coal miners were trained in glass blowing...Through the 20th century Streator was known as the "Glass Container Capital of the World."
Why is this not on t-shirts? Seriously.

I think the most interesting thing about Streator, though, is that as with many of these small, slightly isolated old towns in the Midwest and West, it's mere existence is a miracle. So many of these towns cropped up and died away when factories and mines and farmland weren't fruitful anymore, and it couldn't have been an easy life to maintain, so the ones that are still around are a testament to the resourcefulness and determination of the folks that have lived there in the past and continue to thrive there today.

Thanks for sharing your town with the world, and I am totally serious about the beef rolls.

I'll even pay.

Go Bulldogs!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Weekend Catchup: Plotted Pants

I had an awesome weekend.

Take that, reality!

Friday night, as previously noted, was pizza night at Chez Mimi. The Child and I got our new favorite (sausage and onion) from Nicolo's - the closest thing to Chicago pizza in town, mainly because they cut the pie into squares instead of wedges - and managed to snag a copy of Coraline much to her delight.

I was so proud when I got home, though, because Kid had been incredibly crafty all afternoon... she rode her bike to the quilt store, bought a fat quarter, came home and stash-dove, and proceeded to design/whip up a purse she can use on her bike handles without having it bang into her legs. I exclaimed mightily, as you might imagine, and she was seriously proud, as she should be.


Saturday morning we slept in a bit and then headed out to our respective destinations after brief stop at DSW, which is her new FAVORITE PLACE EVER OMG - she's such a shoe junkie, and is now the proud owner of a brand new pair of Chinese Laundry flats. (Insert awed admiration here, please... she'll appreciate it.)

I, of course, found nothing, because I have bizarre feet and am stuck wearing Crocs until I win the lottery/get a book deal and can afford Dansko and Keen. Stupid feet!

Anyway, after our brief foray into consumerism and regret (as in I should have known better than to open that can of worms), I dropped her at her grandfather's house for the night and made my way down to Denver.

And so... Denver Fabrics. No photos because I'm lame and forgot my camera, so you'll just have to trust me when I tell you it was large and amazing.

I think we spent about 2 hours in there, fondling various bolts of this and that and finally ending up with an ungodly amount of fabric - all of which came home with me, as I am in charge of making these:

There is a whole, very dangerous catalog of this brand's patterns - don't say I didn't warn you

As there's a bit of a time-crunch involved, the jacket will have to wait - there are some alterations to the pattern that I'm not confident enough in my abilities to pull off without involving consultation with others with more skill than I currently possess and/or uncontrollable weeping - but the pants? The pants I can totally do.

And did, in 3 hours flat Sunday afternoon.

And they're perfect.

Please ignore the need for ironing, and instead concentrate on the beautiful crisp cuff, because it is awesome

They may need some tweaking for the intended wearer, but it's easy tweaking that even I can manage without screwing it up too badly or involving the previously mentioned potential for crying.

Once we get the pattern to the his liking, I'll be making 2 more pair (for now)...

Do other people photograph fabric? I hope so...

On the left, awesome palm-tree batik (it's even better in person), and on the right... satin. I know, I know, I'm asking for pain and misery on that one, but they'll just be so FANTASTIC that I'm sure the craft gods will smile upon me.

Do tears stain satin? I hope not.

Anyway, to say thanks for whipping up pants, TR gifted me a couple of fabric yards, one of which is destined to become what may well be my favorite purse ever:


There were other versions but this was the best... I love it so much I'm going with this pattern just so I can make two - one where it's the outside, and one where it's a fantastic surprise liner.

Then he sprung (sprang? sprong?) for Thai food.

THAT is how to win a girl over: food and fabric. (Well, this girl anyway!)

And then there was this:

Not only was this a good story (survey says it's a traditional Chinese folk tale), it also had some of the absolute best, most t-shirt-inspiring subtitles ever... I gather that subsequent releases of this very popular and award-winning movie have been re-subtitled in a more general-audience-pleasing manner, but I thought the literal translations were equal parts charming and hilarious, so I'll stick with the original.

It was a fabulous day from start to finish.

Sunday (after my last virtual trip to Telluride for now - they'll be assigning me something else shortly) I made the Pants of Glory and did a lot of laundry... I'm getting The Kid ready for a 2-week road trip with our friend Nova (& family) to points North-West (she gets to go whale-watching and I am totally jealous) so we've got some seriously creative packing to do.

Here's hoping your weekend was equally delightful!