Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nearly Christmas. Oy.

It's been a week of goodies around here.

Cookies, amusing gifts of outdated calendars (a tribute to my annual skunking in the gift swap at work - thanks Ruth!), and mystery presents for The Kid that I may be more excited about than she is have appeared on my desk.

The first Christmas cards have begun arriving in the mail, and a plethora of boxes have been materializing on my front porch.

Lots and lots of holiday lights are up all around my neighborhood, which are all beautiful except for the ones that blink on and off so fast I'm concerned about the drivers who pass by. Your standard twinkly blinky lights are lovely, but those strobe things have got to go!

Always a critic.

So! Things to report!

School is officially done for the month.

My English grade: 102.5%. Is that an A?

My teacher made the following comment: "I am going to miss reading your work." This followed the comment "I have so enjoyed reading your work. You write like a professional, with grade, humor, introspection, heart, and clarity."

Clearly she has not read my blog, but what a compliment!! I was pretty tickled.

My Math grade: 97.09%. I got a 95 on my final, so Ruth's candy and your good wishes did the trick!

Phew. Two A's. I'm not getting cocky though... that's only 7 credits down and 113 more to go until I have my bachelor degree.

But still! Pretty cool!

Also cool... Ms. Hannibal Lexter is getting interviewed for the Longmont paper! She was nominated by her coach, who is a reporter for the paper, as part of a large list of nominees for the "100 Coolest People In Longmont" special section that comes out in March. (That's probably not what it's really called, but it will do for now.) Because she does derby and is generally a cool chick, I feel that she will at least be in the top 5, if not the coolest person on the list.

I wonder if I can make this work for some kind of college scholarship for her...


Anyway, this week will continue to be crazy busy... there are cards to send! Crafts to finish! Gifts to mail! (Only 2 but still...thank goodness for click-n-ship - really if you haven't used this, START.) Cookies to make! I've gotten so many nice treats that if I don't reciprocate I'm going to feel like a heel.

Shortbread and chocolate chip cookies for everyone! The fact that they're easy recipes doesn't take away from the intent right?

Happy Thursday...

PS... Here's something pretty for you to enjoy. TR, you'll appreciate the clouds and windmills!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Please Hold While I Connect Your Blog

Okay. I'm sorry.

I keep saying that but truthfully I've had the most busy, chock-full couple of weeks that I'm amazed I can even type at all much less put a coherent sentence together. Even that remains to be seen... check back at the end.

My favoritest bloggers, Mimi Spartypants (no relation) and Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half, often go ages without a post, so I feel okay with it all, but still! I miss talking to the 5 of you!

Let's see. When we last left off, it was 2 days before Thanksgiving. I was happily anticipating TR's return from Nashville, being excited about his house, and trying to plan a respectable outfit in which to meet his dad on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving was really nice! TR's dad is sweet and nice and complimentary, making a point to say what nice kid Kid is (and she is - he's obviously also very smart). He came through on his promise to "not be too scary," and for that I'm eternally grateful. What is it about "meeting the parents" though?! It's not like I'm some unestablished teen or something. I'm a grown-ass adult! With a house! And a car! And, ya know, debts and other adult-type stuff! I know how to schmooze, how to rhetorically mold myself to any situation and charm the shit out of people! Or something.

I'm not sure if that makes me a mature adult, but whatever.

Anyway he was nothing but nice, El Rancho was fabulous, the turkey was good, the chef was funny, and I looked like a mom for once. As a bonus prize it's located right near Buffalo Bill's grave, which despite living here for nigh on 7 years I had yet to visit, so even though it was freezing and I was in a dress (I KNOW) we trekked over. It was a beautiful sight, TR bought The Kid a pair of awesome purple beaded earrings, and I got to drive a really awesomely fun road back down the mountain afterward. I got to be in first gear and not touch my gas pedal. Yay mountain driving! (I can name at least 3 people who would have been crapping themselves on that drive, but NOT ME MAN. I live here now.)

TR very sweetly arranged a couple of rooms at the very cool Renaissance hotel, wherein lies a pool. He thought it would be fun for me, the Kid and himself to go and relax, enjoy some squashy Marriott bedding and the hot tub which was so hot I think I actually may have damaged myself for a moment. The Kid enjoyed having a room all to herself, what with the TV and snack bag, and TR & I enjoyed sleeping in. All in all it was a seriously stress-free holiday. And no dishes!

Alas that also means there were no leftovers. Old habits die hard, and it being the season for such things, I had put aside a turkey for emergencies. Turkey emergencies are more common than you might think, and just such a thing arose last week! After a long weekend of helping TR shop for furniture (including a successful trip to acquire a washer and dryer) it was time for some tryptophan. And I made the works... turkey, stuffing (Stovetop OH YES), fresh greenbeans, mashed potatoes. Jarred gravy because I'm lazy and would only ruin a roux.

And I discovered something.

Despite all this fancified turkey-making, with all the brining and basting bags and smoking and deep-frying and Turducken madness (though none of those are bad things, except the Turducken but only because I'm not eating anything where the first syllable is "turd"), the old-fashioned, in a pan, buttered & salted & peppered, basted-every-hour turkey is still the best.

And the dishes were minimal, mainly because despite my laziness I am totally OCD when I cook. I do dishes as I go and use my dishwasher as much as possible, so that by the time the food is done my kitchen is still fairly clean. Work smarter not hard right?

Other than that, things have generally been all about school. I'm almost officially done with my first semester of college, go me! My English teacher loves my work, and I did okay in Math, better than I expected to. That's the last step, actually, a Final Exam full of graphing and factoring of binomials (wish me luck). I'm taking it Monday, and then it's NO SCHOOL for over a month! The new semester doesn't start until January 18. I'm looking forward to the break, because even if I'm only doing 2 classes, it's plenty exhausting.

It's not that the work is all that hard, not that I'm bragging. It just really isn't that tough if you pay attention. It's time consuming, sure, but it's time-consuming for a reason. It's forced studying, something I didn't understand in high school. "So you're saying that if you do the homework and assignments and show up, you'll learn stuff and not have to cram and do better on tests? Oh I see."

The thing that sucked me dry was the constant schedule.

When I wasn't actually doing any work, I was thinking about the next deadline. As the next deadline was approaching, I was thinking about the deadline after that. As each test passed, as each discussion was posted, I was making sure I reminded myself constantly to check the content page, check the discussion board, check the calendar. You're never resting.

So trust me when I say that I'm really looking forward to a month with no reminder for myself other than "make sure you get your books and do your taxes and put in your FASFA and apply for scholarships".



Well at least I'll be able to read a book! And the Kraft Krazy, though sorely missed for several months, has begun to re-emerge, so I'll be able to work some of that in as well.

I made TR kitchen towels (well, I embellished pre-existing towels anyway) with palm-tree fabric, which he actually put in his kitchen! I call that crafting success. No pictures, I forgot, but if I remember I'll take one of my signature bad camera-phone shots next time I'm over.

I've also made some kid-toys, for two very cute babies and my very cute baby. She was popping through my patterns one day on Evernote (which I love) and fell in love with Mooshy Belly Bunny. It's really for little kids, but sometimes she likes to be a little kid and who am I to deny her? It's one of my favorite things about her, the fact that she's not all "whatevs, I'm a teen". Does it make her seem a little naive sometimes? Maybe. But maybe that's not such a bad thing. She's been through enough crap in her life, and can take care of herself when needed, and that's all I can ask for. I think the world can indulge her occasional need for footie pajamas, hot chocolate, cartoons and stuffed animals.


Behold, Mooshy Belly Bunny, hanging out with his friend Lopsided Sun-Like Creature Mit Ribbon (he's very avant-garde).

My attempt with ribbon boy wasn't so professional, but I think his attended audience will not care. The photo is crap of course, he's MUCH brighter, but you get the idea.

Behind him are placemats whose pattern is an amalgam of the original jelly roll place-mat pattern I found last year and started but never finished**, and the amazingly awesome lazy-crafter Godsend that is self-binding backing, as demonstrated in the baby blanket pattern I found but haven't yet used.

** You may remember the tale of the jelly-roll bait-ball. Just a reminder - don't ever wash jelly rolls. Plan a project that doesn't require washing, or accept that your project will look weird when you finally do wash it post-project, because if you pre-wash you will be a sad, sorry panda.

My mitered corners are not, of course, as nice as the original, but I gave myself a break because the binding was so narrow I couldn't really do the box-corner thing successfully. They still came out nicely, and frankly they're kind of folk-arty so it adds to the charm, right?

Of course it does.

See how I didn't photograph the corners? There's a reason.

The picture, of course, does nothing to really demonstrate the bright, fun fabric which, though it made me cry during the hours of untangling and de-threading post-wash, still delight me.

This is them:

I don't know who "Sanae" is but clearly he/she enjoyed the 70s.
Or never actually lived them.
Either way.

Aren't they fun? I had a good time matching the colors up, insomuch as you can match screaming orange with wistful green. It worked.

And though any quilt shop would make this face at me if I tried to pass them off as containing anything resembling good binding work...

... I like them. And I think their recipients will like them too.

Or they'll stick them in a drawer and only take them out when I'm over.

Which is fine.

Happy Friday! Wish me luck on my test!