Monday, December 24, 2007

What Are You Up To

We're watching Winged Migration and researching why birds fly in V formation. I've decided that crabs are mean, and that birds can be really smart, but really stupid all at the same time. We may or may not be going to a candle service at church later. Jean and Dan are going, but I don't think that Jeff wants to go. In his defense there are a lot of tamales to be made. He's got two fillings almost sorted out, but we still need to form the tamale and then steam them for a couple of hours (hopefully without filling the house with smoke his time.)

Merry Eve

I'm finally starting to wind down from my last week of f-ing hell at work. I'd go into detail, but it's inane and would just start my brain aching again. We'll just say, one of my co-workers threw a fit like a child of 48 and that I was not impressed.

So now it's Christmas Eve, and I've caught up on all my blog reading. Everyone is working on something, except me*. :) Jeff is cooking up some pork so that he can make his first batch of unsupervised tamales, Dan is putting together a shelving system, Jean's getting ready to wash the car, and I'm hanging out on the couch listening to Christmas music. I'm really enjoying the Christmas music. It used to kind of get on my nerves, but I think that not being out in stores that were blasting the music, and not listening to radio spared my brain from the onslaught. I was actually complaining the other day that I hadn't heard any Christmas music. Now I've heard it all morning, and it's been great.

We got in really later Saturday than I had planned. The car had to spend time in the shop, and between that and the stressing out from work that Jeff and I both did, it caused us to get behind. Heck, we still didn't have a present for Brandon until yesterday (but he got an awesome one, so that makes up for it.) I think we got to Jeff's parents house around 6:45pm. We saw tons of traffic headed southbound, but it was almost entirely smooth sailing going north.

All the kitties are hiding, except for Elfstar. She has finally stopped growling at Muttly when he enters the room, but she still won't tolerate him anywhere near her. It's actually pretty funny, because she doesn't have front claws. She hisses and growls and baps him repeatedly in the face, and he just kind of looks freaked out. He got pissed off once, but he's been behaving pretty well, so no big battles yet.

I'm not sure if we're going to try and go out into the wide world and get another gift for Jeff's dad, but I know Jeff needs to go online and get him  a new magazine subscription. Other than that all the gifts are wrapped, and everything is good. Chai chocolate and cayenne cashews... As soon as Jean pops open a bottle of wine my day will be made. (She declared that post-noon was wine time. That's something we both agree on.)

I hope that you're all warm and happy and with the people that you love. Give your favorite person a squeezy hug for me and wish them a Merry Christmas.

*I did help clean the kitchen this morning with the dishes from breakfast, and last nights dinner, so I haven't been a complete bum.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Quite Simple Really

If someone happens to get a spot of shit in your day, I have a remedy.

Step 1: Make cocoa (with at least some real dairy in it)
Step 2: Turn on the gas stove
Step 3: Roast marshmallows at the stove whilst sipping the cocoa

Unless you hate chocolate, marshmallows, or happiness, then it's bound to make you feel better.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's Not a Hamster

Jeff just showed this to me this morning, apparently I'm behind the times. This is the version that tickled me most. Enjoy.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Joke Is What You Make of It

Children trying out a newly discovered thing called humor are kind of
surreal. I'm sitting here while Jeff finishes up some work at a
client's house and overheard this -

Child 1: Are you allowed to eat ice cream whenever you want?
Adult: No
Child 1: Then why do you live in ice cream?
--silence--
Child 2: We don't live in ice cream!?!
Child 1: It's a joke!
Adult: Ohhhhh...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Good and The Bag Ugly

Good: Last night I finished Iza's prezzie, so that's another notch in the old FO belt. My best guess is that I am over halfway done with the Quant, and I'm still on my first half a ball of yarn. This means it is knitting quickly, and that I shall have plenty of yarn. El yay on both counts.

Dog: This morning I heard a strange crunching from under the table. When I looked down I found Muttly eating a stick. Since I don't think he should eat sticks in general, I took it away. That's when I realized that the stick was rather round, and had some cryptic writing on the side "Clover US 10". Further investigation revealed another piece which, while a bit chewed, was still recognizable as a knitting implement. Luckily for the dog that's not the needle I was using for my project, and I don't think I have any in the back of my mind that would require that paticular needle either. Still, I really wish he wouldn't eat anymore knitting needles.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Truckin Along

I always worry during the Christmas knitting season about the lost time between completing one project, and the time to start the next one. There's usually a bit of time taken up by trying to determine what to make next and for who. This year I had already planned out a couple of gifts, and that's minimized some of the strain. I'm also using a couple of yarns that I've knit with before, so I can actually start a project with a reasonable expectation of gauge. Still as I get nearer and nearer the end of a project I automatically start brainstorming as I work to try and think ahead of that gap.

Yesterday was one of those great moments when I didn't have an idea, but then I got one, and it was good. I had only a few minutes to take a break from cleaning my home and garage. I decided to take a peak at the latest patterns for the Winter Knitty. I stumbled upon the pattern for Quant, and although it's knit from some other sort of yarn I immediately thought of the leftover Noro Silk Garden that I have stashed away. I've only done just enough to know that the gauge will work, and that it's going to be awesome. I haven't knit enough to know for sure that I have enough yarn, but I think it'll be okay. See I have two half balls of the same colorway, and I figure that once I finish one half I'll know. If it seems too short then I'll do a few rows with a different Silk Garden colorway and then hop back in with the second ball, if it's enough then ... yay! I'm thinking maybe this will be for Tricia, but I'll need to work it a bit more to know for sure.

Meanwhile I'm almost done with Iza's present. I've got a few hours to go, less if I hustle maybe. I've started piling the completed knits in a chair (locked away from the chewing/shedding beasties) and I'm pleased with the frequency that I get to add new items. It's possible that I may actually get done everything that I'd hoped. Of course this would all be easier if I could just quit my job (at least until after New Year's Day) and stay home to knit, and work on wedding planning.

Speaking of wedding plans, we've made progress! We selected a baker yesterday, and we even have a preliminary idea on what the cake will be and look like. I'd tell you, but that would ruin the surprise for too many people. I promise that it will be tasty, and maybe even nice looking. We also picked up my wedding ring, which is all the right size now. I love my wedding ring, and I can't wait until I get to wear it all the time. I hope that we can find one that Jeff's likes for himself almost as much. He's not much of a jewelry person, so we might have to settle for one that he likes half as much as I like mine.

Whoops, back to work!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I Swear, I'm Getting Ready to Work


I can't remember where all I've heard of Jonathan Coulton before, but I know I have. I really liked this robot video that I spied on Neil Gaiman's blog, so I thought I would share it with you.

You can listen to pretty much any of his songs for free, and some of them are quite good, while others are certainly interesting, and yes there are even bad ones. I think my first experience with Jonathan Coulton was a You Tube video for the song Creepy Doll. Okay, I'm running out of time to get dressed and have a bit to eat, so I suppose it really is time to get away from the computer.

Hopefully the Last Move of the Year

We moved Tim and Julie into their new home Saturday morning. I made a few blood sacrifices, to keep everything going smoothly. That photo is the worst one. It still hurts like a bugger this morning. I have two small cuts on top of my hand on the same arm, and lovely cut/bruise combo is on the back of the arm. It's really hard to sleep comfortably when the front and back of your arm hurt. I found one angle to lay at that worked, but every time I rolled over I would wake up and have to get back to that position. Honestly, as long as nothing touches that bit of my arm it doesn't hurt, but the hand keeps stinging. I think it's because I've continued to abuse that hand, and cats and dogs alike seem to want to stomp on it.

Yesterday was crazy! We went to Tim's parents' just after 10 to get everything from there and move it to the new house. We finished around 3ish? I don't remember exactly, because of the sheer amount of fun we had with UHaul *coughfuckerscough*. It all worked out fine, but they tried to screw Julie out of another $40. Once that was done we grabbed the pizza and headed back to eat, drink, and be merry. Jeff and I ate pizza and drank beer with Tim, Julie, Bill, Brandon, Erin, Anna, and Sean. Eventually Jeff and I had to leave, because we had two more parties to go to, and honestly we needed to wash up first.

We went to Kathy's to have a knitters holiday party. I was unsure what to expect, but we had a good time. Everyone brought some sort of snack, and mostly there were strange foods I was unfamiliar with. A lot of it was vegetarian, which I thought was strange... I mean, I don't think it's strange to be a vegetarian, but I think this is the first party I've been to where even the eggnog was soy-nog. (I didn't try the soy-nog because it looked watery, and I prefer the thick viscous nog that leaves a hazy film clinging to the glass when you're done.) I ate a bit of some sort of fried pocket of vegetarianism, and some rice (brown I thinks) with some vegetarian red stuff that looked like marinara, but tasted different. I was afraid of the spinach ball (big green balls of spinach) but the peanut butter balls with coconut on the outside were good. The big difference between a knitter party and other parties, is that at some point we all pulled out some knitting and chatted and sipped while working away on various projects. I was able to verify that Hill Country Weavers has ordered some amount of the new Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn!!! (I'm way excited, sorry.) Of course they don't know when it will come in, and it will likely be in January. If you knit, or like yarn a lot, click on those two links and you'll probably know why I'm so excited.

We stayed at Kathy's until 10 ish, and then headed to Sean and Lacy's for their after-party. They had rented out a skating rink and had people over to play broomball. Evidently this was tons of fun, but I'm sure that it would have been too much work for us, after our already long day. Lacy had tamales, chips, queso, salsa, and of course more beer. We ate and chatted, and generally lazed about with the folks who were tuckered from their game. Just before we were going to leave Lacy got everyone together to play a game. She had wrapped gifts (of dubious character) in tons of paper and tape, and then we all sat around a table. You take turns rolling a pair of dice, and if you get doubles you get to start unwrapping the present (as fast as you can) and then when the next person gets doubles they take it away from you and continue the unwrapping (as fast as they can) because whoever gets all the paper off gets to keep the present. I got the first present of the night, and seeing as how it was chocolate I believe I won. It was definitely one of the top 3 gifts. There was also a monkey that you could shoot like a sling shot, and a hand crocheted hat that Lacy had made from a zillion different yarns. These were good gifts. The slinky was okay, but it was plastic, so not completely cool. The "bad" gifts included chapstick (okayish), dental floss (useful), and vaseline (...) I thought Lacy was going to pass out from laughter as everyone fought to get into the package that had the jar of vaseline in it.

I finally crawled into my bed around 1:30 in the morning, and even after a cup of coffee, I still feel like I could use a bit of a nap. It was an awesome day though. It was productive (moving and knitting) and it was loads of fun (even the moving bit). Although I really hope no one else needs help moving before the end of the year, cause I think I'm done with that shit. Today we go to taste cake at Matty's Cakes, and pick up my wedding band from Russell Korman. After that we get to clean the garage, because Kirk is having the hot water heater replaced tomorrow, and I don't want him to ruin/break/whatever all the various things we currently have stored out there. *whew* I've got another long day ahead, so I suppose I should get busy.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Canadian House Hippo

I love this video. I wish that I had a house hippo of my own!

I'm Not Dead Yet

We successfully made it to and from Houston for Thanksgiving. We cleaned out the guest bedroom* and we cleared half of the garage. We helped Travis and Ashley move, and we got caught up with our DVRd Torchwood and Stargate Atlantis. We even found some time to hang out with Erin and Ian one night, though I'm not sure where that time came from. I've finished my dad's Christmas knit, and I'm plowing head long through Jeff's mom's present. I really should have made hers a priority, because it's felted and that means there is a greater risk that I will knit the entire thing and then it will end up too small. It's going quickly though, and even if I don't finish tonight I'll know before the end of the weekend if I need to knit/purchase something else for her.

I'm still struggling through the days at work, but we're back down to 8-8.5 hr days, so it's not too bad. We've only made it to the gym once since I started working the crazy hours before Thanksgiving, but if we go again tonight I think we'll be back in the habit of it again. There are simply not enough hours in the day.

Meanwhile wedding planning is consuming time I don't have, and we're still not getting anything done. We can't seem to make up our minds about the honeymoon (which has to be done in time to use soon-to-expire airline miles for the tickets) and I'm freaking out because whythehellareweplanningahoneymoonwhenistillneedtoplanthewedding?!?!? Okay, I've got that out of my system. So, off to a meeting with me. If there's one thing I never get tired of it's meetings that don't accomplish anything! Hooray!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Jeff and I are enroute to Houston for Thanksgiving. This is just about
the only time that we see some of his family. It's always been fun and
I'm sure this year will be the same. I'm done with work for four days,
so there's not much that can spoil my mood.

Jeff and I hope that whatever you get up to during this holiday
weekend that you're safe and have a wonderful time.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

PI is Suck

sticks the group shot
sticks the group shot,
originally uploaded by Tara DuBose.
We've had quite the rough time with this new inventory management software change over. We've been putting in 10-12 hour days since last Wednesday, and I'm working all weekend.

I've started relieving our stress and boredom by drawing stick figures killing themselves, and in a few cases, each other.... Don't worry we're not really going postal, it's just good ol' fun.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Shamelessly Stolen

cash advance

I stole the link for this from Julie's blog. I'm finding it pretty funny.
While this result seems highly unlikely, I figured what the hell. Why not post it anyway?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fair Warning

I just got this in the mail:
Greetings-
This confirms that we have received your 2008 Sock Club Registration Form.
Welcome to the club!

I've envied the members of the Blue Moon Fiber Arts "Socks That Rock" sock club for a long time. I actually went and joined their mailing list, just so I would know when sign ups became available. This means that there is a pretty good chance that I'll be posting about knitting socks even more than I already do. If you're lucky maybe I'll even manage to take some pictures.

I'm currently knitting away on my dad's Christmas socks. I've enjoyed them, but my next project(s) are tantalizing me. I can't wait to get started, but they are a secret, and I'm not going to show or tell until it's done.

Now if only I had time to blog or take photos. Yeah, time would be good. If anyone has some spare time that they'd consider giving me that'd be cool.

Another Fine Show

You need to make time to go see Little Murders, if you haven't already. The play is hysterical and the cast was great. The wedding scene scared me, but that's only because we're in wedding planning mode right now. I had no idea that I needed to worry about my dad punching Jeff repeatedly in the kidney, but all of a sudden it seems like a valid concern. As funny as it is, it's probably even funnier if you don't have a potential wedding nightmare looming in the back of your mind.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Loaded Murders

Loaded Gun Theory is doing the Jules Feiffer play Little Murders. You can use the button on the right there to go buy some tickets, and see what looks like a really cool play.

Also, heads up, because there's a party on Saturday night after the show that will feature a free keg of beer. Yum! You can't lose with free beer!*

Some show details ripped right from the LGT page:
The Newquists are your typical American family: Mom is overbearing and belittling, Dad is milquetoast but don't call him Carol (even though it's his name), Brother likes to wear Sister's shoes and Sister wears the pants in her relationship with her fiancée Alfred, who knows how to roll with the punches: he figures if you daydream while being mugged, it won't hurt so much. As their neighborhood is besieged by snipers taking out random citizens, the real violence goes down in their apartment. Join LGT for their first foray into non-original work with a script that still has that LGT edge.

*I lie, you can lose with free beer, but this is good free beer, so you won't lose in this case.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Okay, She Was Talking About Me

In case anyone was still wondering what Julie was talking about at the end of this post, she is talking about my nervous breakdown. ... Seriously, Jeff and I are going to get married. We don't have a venue or a date set yet, but I do have a dress and it is beautiful! So, there, I've officially said something, and now everyone (that reads this blog) knows about it. After 7 years of dating, followed by almost 5 years of engagement, we are finally going to make it all legally binding.

This level of stress, which involves me not sleeping much, would be the reason that I've not been blogging. Pretty much the only post that I've had in my brain is, "AAARRRGH" and that just isn't interesting to read. If you see less of me lately, then you can assume it's because I'm off in a corner rocking back and forth as I mutter over a calculator. If you see Jeff and I in public, you'll know why we have a glassy-eyed stare. Pity us, and try not to ask questions that involve complex answers, like things that aren't yes or no.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pictionary

Pictionary
Pictionary,
originally uploaded by Tara DuBose.
This was how I finally communicated to my Korean co-worker what I
meant by "pot sticker".

Monday, October 8, 2007

What a Ride

I had a great time with the bus trip yesterday. The bus left Hill Country Weavers at 9am and I got back at 6:30pm, with more yarn, a decent amount of knitting accomplished and a growler of beer. Over the course of the trip I got to know Cyndi better, who I had met before but not had hours to socialize with. I also spent a pleasant lunch break with Sue and Dee, and at that fantastic gas station barbecue.

I don't think that there is any way that I could actually blog about our trip in a way that makes it interesting to anyone that doesn't knit/crochet/or at least collect yarn. We were rowdy in a controlled manner, and nothing was defaced. We knit all along the highways and byways between stores, and I've almost knit an entire sleeve for the big purpleness that it appears will be too small, but that's likely an entire post to itself, and a boring one at that.

I really had a great time in Boerne. If you're ever in town there are 2 other places that you should check out that are not in the gas station. The first is the yarn/toy shop Ewe and Eye. The proprietress is a hoot and the shop is beautiful. She has great yarns for the crafters, wonderful samples knit up for everyone to admire, and a terrific selection of toys and even some children's clothing.

As we walked from Rosewood Yarns to the Ewe and Eye (they're super close by, maybe two or three blocks) we passed by the Dodging Duck. Okay, if you click on that link you should know that I didn't see any wait staff dressed that way, there were in screen printed t-shirts and blue jeans. Still, I had quite a surprise at the Dodging Duck. I ordered a "ducks in a row" sampler without even knowing what beers I was going to get. Of course it showed up with some porter, and I didn't have a Jeff to trade it to. Being as I cannot in good conscience let beer go to waste, I tried the Sir Francis Drake Porter... and I liked it. I liked the porter enough that I ordered a half pint to see if I would like it in a larger quantity. I liked the half pint enough that I bought a growler to bring home to Jeff. Let me tell you, if you're worried that you've bought too much yarn just bring home a half gallon of beer, and all is forgiven.

So on top of all the expected fun and yarniness of the day, I came away with a new taste for beer. Who'd have thunk it?

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday,
originally uploaded by Tara DuBose.
You gotta love it. DG has a birthday and I get cake!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Boerne BBQ

Boerne BBQ
Boerne BBQ,
originally uploaded by Tara DuBose.
All these folks are standing in line to get BBQ at a gas station. The
line was pretty much this long the whole time we ate there. That was
some kickass brisket. The beans need work, but the meat was tender and
delicious.

The Wheels on the Bus

The Wheels on the Bus
The Wheels on the Bus,
originally uploaded by Tara DuBose.
We're almost ready to go. Everyone get on because we're getting ready
to roll.

Am I Hardcore or What?

Well in a few hours I'll be boarding a bus with a horde of knitters, setting off on a quest for new adventure. We shall descend en masse upon the distant yarn stores of faraway lands, and we shall claim our rightful prize... of yarn.

Okay, I'm done with that. Hopefully there will be some food to grab in Boerne, because all I have for lunch are a couple of apples and some diet soda. That's not enough to get me through 10 hours of travel with a bunch of women. I wonder if there will be any men at all? Jeff isn't going to come with me. He's going to stay and hopefully get a little work done, but also get some hanging out time with his dad. The current plan is for them to grab some Indian food for lunch before Dan leaves town.

Time to see if I can get back to sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night, and after I got a glass of water I was too awake to fall back asleep. Don't you hate that? So I came in here to goof off, but actually stopped to balance my checkbook and pay bills. Yay for taking care of bills before they are past due and I'm out of funds! So now that I don't have that hanging over my head, and I'm not thirsty, and the cats have been fed a late night/early morning snack so they won't stomp on my head, maybe now I can get a couple more hours of sleep.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Get Out of Jail Free

I am just so excited! This is my scheduled weekend to work and cover our area here at work. We have a schedule that is drawn up for a few months at a time, and that's how we determine who works when. So all of a sudden my weekend snuck up on me. There are so many fun things that are going on this weekend that I was really bummed when I figured out how it was going to line up with each other. Working from 7:30-3:30 really isn't too bad for doing most things, but it is limiting.

I have been freed from my shackles of workitude though. Now I have an entirely new dilemma. There are too many fun things to do, and I am limited by the fact that I can only be in one place at one time. I do have to work from 8-12 on Saturday, and I have a nail appointment Saturday evening at 5, but I don't have to work Sunday at all.

Fun things:
1) Jeff's dad is coming in town - We are definitely having dinner with him Saturday night, but other than that I have no idea what his plans are. I'm not sure when he's coming in town, or when he is leaving. I hear that he may be camping out some place Saturday night instead of staying with us, but I'm not positive.
2) Yarn Shop Hop - I may actually be able to hit 5 shops and qualify for the drawing. (Not to mention pick up enough free yarn to be able to make a decent shawl.) There's a bus driving to San Antonio and Boerne on Sunday that I could get on, maybe. This is fairly dependant on Jeff's dad's plans. Will he be here Sunday? If so we'll likely hang out with him instead. If he's driving home Sunday morning after camping some place else, then there may be yarning in my future.
3) Octoberfest - I've missed this event every year, and I think I need to go. Saturday night is probably out unless Jeff's dad wants to go, and wants to spend the night with us instead of driving to a camp site in the middle of the night. The event ends Sunday at 6, so it might be difficult to cram this in with a yarning trip. I for sure couldn't do it if I get on the HCW yarn bus, because they are estimating that they will get back to Austin between 5 and 7pm.
4) Other miscellany - hanging out with peeps, drinking some beer and/or wine, watching DVRd tv, knitting, playing video games, cuddling cats, etc.

There's just so many things to do, and although I'm not a huge fan of the super-busy weekend I feel compelled. I think it's the fact that prior to this afternoon I was sure I could do none of what I wanted that makes me want to do it all now. How can I bend space and time to be able to have all the fun I want without going insane from the stress of trying to cram 3 days of fun into 1 and a half days???

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Red Velvet To Go

Jeff and I stopped by Hey Cupcake today, since it is conveniently parked next to Hill Country Weavers. I had a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing, and Jeff had the carrot cake also with cream cheese icing. I tried to get mine filled with whipped cream, but they had run out, so no dice.

I want to say that this was the best cupcake that I ever ate, and that it's worth driving across town to get a $2 cup of heaven, but that wasn't my experience. I do heartily recommend that if you are nearby, when they are open, and they aren't sold out of cupcakes, and you like carrot cake, that you try the carrot cake cupcake. I couldn't get too into it, since I don't like raisins, but the cake around the raisins was superb.

The red velvet was pretty much on par with red velvet cake that you get anywhere else. There are red velvets that are horrid pieces of red dirt, and it wasn't like that. It's just like any other not sucky not great version I've ever tried. They have vanilla and chocolate cakes and vanilla and chocolate icings. I believe I heard the woman inside telling a woman on the outside that the vanilla icing is pink. (It matches the cupcake on the roof.)

So there you have it. It's surreal to get trailer-cakes, but not all that mind blowing. Who knows, you're mileage may vary.

Lord Help Me

11 Balls of Purple
11 Balls of Purple,
originally uploaded by Tara DuBose.
I've almost finished the Hexagon Bag, and I fell down into a yarn buying fit at Hill Country Weavers today. The 1st Thursday sale was for sweater yarn, and I happened to find this purple pretty on the list. I've now bought a sweater/cardigan pattern (only $5) and 11 balls of this yarn (2 were technically free with the 20% off sale) to knit it up. And I'm going to Christmas knit when???

I could claim that I'm going to wait and knit it after the Christmas knit is done but that would be a bold faced lie.
1) I need it before Christmas, because it's usually cold before December.
2) I signed up to take a finishing class on October 15th to learn tips and tricks for seaming and whatnot, and I plan to have a seam to sew.
3) How can I ignore11 balls of variegated purple yarn?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Patience is a Virtue

Last year I decided to make Jeff a laptop bag for his birthday. Jeff's birthday happens to be March 29th, and when March 29th rolled around I was no where near done with the bag. It was quite sad how much faster I thought I could knit. I still have some delusions, but I am much closer to realistic these days, and I've already begun the Christmas knitting.

Anyway, sometime during the knitting of the laptop bag, Jeff's laptop bit the big one. Once there was no functional laptop to squeeze into the bag time was less of the essence. I believe it was in October of 2006 that I finally completed the knitting and seaming together of the bag. This thing was monstrous, although I haven't got a clue where I might have hid my notes on it's production. Still, there was no reason to felt the bag, since I didn't have a working laptop to fit it to.

Well just a month ago Jeff tore apart the bag he'd been hauling his computer support gear around in. Then a couple of weeks ago he got his new MacBook, then the free bag that used to be my knitting bag started falling apart on him, and that's when he remembered that I still owed him a handknit machine felted laptop bag. That boy is persistent when you've promised him something that he wants.

Today I finished the final stitch work and I think it looks pretty good. So only a year and a half from start to finish... could have been worse. I could have insisted that he wait until his next birthday.

The pattern was based on the Candy Stripe bag in Stitch N Bitch Nation. Jeff wanted a messenger bag style flap instead of a zipper closure, and the wanted a real strap as opposed to a knitted and felted strap, so a strap was purchased from REI, and just clipped onto the sewn in D-Rings. All the knitting was sewn together before felting. The D-Rings and pocket separation seam were sewn after felting and drying were complete.

Yarn Shop Hop

Columbus Day Weekend: October 5-8, 2007
7 Hill Country area yarn shops

To participate, buy a passport from any participating yarn shop for $5. This makes you eligible for a free ball of yarn from the designated basket at each shop. You can use the yarn to make a shop-hop shawl (free pattern provided). To be eligible for the Grand Prize of over $250 in gift certificates and merchandise, you must visit at least five of the seven shops and get your passport stamped. Turn it in at he last shop you visit. The winner will be drawn at Yarnivore in San Antonio on October 10. (Winners will be notified; you do not need to be present to win; you must be at least 10 years old to participate.

Shop Details
Hill Country Weavers..........M,Tue,W,F,Sat 10-6
1701 S Congress Ave.........Th 10-9 (special 1st Thursday hours)
Austin, TX 78704................Sun 1-5
512-707-7396

Bluebonnet Yarn Shoppe ................M-F 10-6
2800 E Whitestone Blvd, Suite 127 ..Sat 10-5
Cedar Park, TX 78613 .....................Sun 11-5 (only for the yarn hop, normally closed on Sundays)
512-259-4646

Yarnivore ..............................M,W,Th,F 10-7
2325 NW Military Hwy #109 ...Sat 10-5
San Antonio, TX ....................Sun 11-5
210-979-8255 ........................Tue Closed

The Yarn Barn .........M,W,Th,F 9:30-5:30
4300 McCullough ....Tue 9:30-6:30
San Antonio, TX ......Sat 10-5
210-826-3679 ..........Sun Closed

Rosewood Yarns .............M,W,F,Sat 10-5:30
455 B South Main ...........Tue,Th 10-8
Boerne, TX 78006 ...........Sun 12:30-4:30
830-248-1195

Ewe and Eye .........Tue-Fri 10-5:30
512 River Rd ..........Sat 10-3
Boerne, TX 78006....Sun Closed
830-249-2083

Stonehill Spinning ...........M-Sat 10-5
104 A East Ufer Street ....Sun Closed
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
830-990-8952

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Madame Mam's - A Review

Jeff took me out to Madame Mam's for some Thai food this evening. It was a great chance to use my iPhone. Hahaha. I took pictures of the food as it arrived, and made notes while we were there. It's always been a dream of mine to be an amateur food critic, and now that dream is a reality. Aren't you pleased? I know I am. All the photos linked to below were taken with the iPhone, in case you were curious.

For an appetizer we ate from the specials menu, and had Tod Mun Chicken. The flavor is really terrific, but the texture left a lot to be desired. It was rather spongy, and Jeff probably wouldn't want to split it with me again. I would totally eat it again though, because even though it was strange it was some of the most delicious stuff I've ever put in my mouth.

For dinner I had Mam's Special Penang Beef Curry. This was also wonderful. It was very spicy, and the sauce was rich and creamy. You could taste the undercurrent of sweet from the coconut milk just barely, along with some lime and basil flavors. The beef was so tender that tearing apart the long flat strips was no trouble. I really enjoyed this, and Jeff will probably have fewer problems getting me back to Madame Mam's after tonight's experience.

Jeff had Yum Guay Teaw which is flat rice noodles and shrimp in a special sauce with peanuts and fried onion. The fried onion is little tiny pieces piled on top of the dish when you first get it, and the special sauce is billed as lemongrass, roasted chili sauce, lime juice, and honey. What you taste is a clean feeling sauce with spice and honey. I think I would like to try this again with chicken instead of the shrimp, because although the flavor was good, I wasn't interested in eating a bunch of shrimp and it was kind of boring just eating the noodles. Also, it's hard to eat rice noodles that are in a slippery sauce with chop sticks. I'm just saying is all.

After dinner we headed over to Amy's Ice Cream and split a small, which was the perfect size for us. We had Italian Cream Cake ice cream. The ice cream was great when we sampled it, with all sorts of yummy stuff like walnuts and coconut (wow that was a great typo, I don't think I want cococunt in my ice cream). To get back on topic here we decided to go ahead and add a crush'n and decided that Whoppers might just do the trick. We ate it on the way home and finished it right before pulling into the driveway.

So that was our night of dining, and I had a great time. It's always fun when everything you try tastes great. The service is lovely, and you haven't got a thing to complain about when you get home.

No Pox Just Hexes

I'm knitting the Hexagon Bag from the Fall 2007 Knit Simple magazine. It's really fun to knit, especially since I haven't repeated the error I made on the first hexagon. Somehow I just totally neglected a row of decreases on the outside edge, but it all came out okay. It doesn't seem too much different size-wise than the other hexagons I've completed, so hopefully it will come out okay.

Yarn details: The borders of each hexagon are being done in Cascade 220 colorway 7809. The hexagons are all being done with Lang Yarns Mille Colori. This purple one is colorway 0010. I'm using a pinkish one that is 0064, and a blue based one that is 0034. This is a fun knit, and the pattern is really easy to memorize, so it's good travel knitting.

Mad Blogger Unleashed

That's mad in a hatter kind of way, not in a postal kind of way, if you get my meaning. I really feel pity for anyone that keeps up with this blog. I have a horrible tendency to post so erratically with tons at times, and then long dry spells.

Here's hoping for fewer dry spells. I still have to make the time to post, but I am feeling the inspiration. Jeff and I both acquired iPhones this weekend. This acquisition involved handing over some monies to the Apple store, and first driving home with my purchase I wondered if we'd made some terrible mistake. I mean, Jeff claimed that he needed one for work. Several of his clients have them and he can learn new tricks and charge them money to learn these tricks, or at the very least have experience with the product when they have issues/questions. I on the other hand have no business need, and in fact it is probably against company policy for me to have one in the building since there is a built in camera. I just wanted one because they are cool, and I would go insane with jealousy if Jeff had one and I didn't.

Now that I have the iPhone I am completely smitten. It holds all the music that my 4Gb iPod did, plus it holds photos, and audiobook, checks my email, surfs the internet, has all sorts of crazy contact information, takes pictures, knows the weather.... It is just so cool that I have been crooning about it all weekend. Today I just looked at Jeff and giggled, "I love my iPhone." It's perhaps sad or weird, but I do love technology, and this is doing all that I ask of it.

I've uploaded several pictures to Flickr today that were taken from the iPhone, and I think they look pretty good. It's kind of fun to take a picture and just send it in complete with title, description, and tags. I take that back, it's not kind of fun, it's really super fun. Heck, I bet I can even update my blog from that thing... Ooo scary isn't it?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bad Blogger Alert

Sorry for the lack of the posty. I've been absolutely swamped at work. I was starting to have things pile up before I missed a week, so you can only imagine what it is like now.

I have several things I'd like to post about, but for the most part I'd like to have a picture to accompany the post, so I don't post. Instead I shall write a worthless post about not having anything to see and then I'll run off for the weekend.

This coming weekend is my dad's birthday (Happy 61st Dad!) and we're going to Dallas to see him and the rest of the gang. Hopefully Iza's socks will fit, and hopefully my dad won't notice that I didn't get him anything. He's just so impossible to shop for, and although I have great Christmas plans, that did not translate into any decent birthday plans.

Jeff will be going with my dad, Brandon, and Ken (Traci's boyfriend) to some drag races on Saturday. Hopefully they'll all get along together and come back with some awesome stories. I'm going to hang out with the girls, and try to help Traci take care of the little ones that aren't going to the race.

Well, I suppose I better get back to it. I have a couple more things to take care of before I can get out of here, and then it's time to start the weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

And It Was Good

Jeff did save my bacon on Monday and grabbed me some knitting. It was pretty much just Jeff, Karen, and myself, but other people stopped by to say hi for a bit. We hung out and knitted for a couple of hours and then all ran off to get some dinner. The original plan had been to order some pizza, but since Karen already had dinner plans that meant pizza for just Jeff and me, and well... we can do that without yarn in our hands. Karen has declared that we will knit every Monday for a while since picking a certain week hasn't worked out so far. If anyone wants to come by let me know and I'll get you some directions.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Poor Planning

Hopefully Jeff will be able to drop back by the house today and pick up my knitting, or else I'm going to be pretty bored at our first knitting group. Karen decided a long time ago that we should have a knitting group, since there are 4 or 5 of us that knit (and one that crochets). She's been busy and never managed to actually pull it together. So two weeks ago she decided that we should have a meeting on the first Monday of the month, only we'd just missed the first Monday so September was to be on the second Monday. On the second Monday I was at home sick and Lacy forgot to bring anything with her, so it was postponed until this Monday. I knew about the meeting, and I even saw it on the calender at Karen's on Friday, but still I forgot. I didn't bring anything to knit because I didn't have anything that I felt like working on at work, and ever since my fever I've been slightly more car sick than usual so I don't feel much like knitting on the drive home. I figured I'd just leave it instead of carrying it around all day for no reason. ... Well, except now we know there was a reason, I'd just forgotten it. Jeff is the one that remembered and he volunteered to try and go back by the house before I get off work if he is able to make the time. If he isn't able to then I suppose I'll just sit around being stupid and eat some pizza or something.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

So Sick it Sucked

**Just to note before getting to the subject I intend to write about: I feel fine now, and I'm pretty sure that I'm completely well. This took place on Wednesday, and since sometime Thursday night I haven't run a fever.**

This is my public service announcement to all you out there. If you are on day 7 of a fever, do not call your significant other to tell him that you've just upchucked your guts and then get into a 30 minute shower. While hanging the cell phone just outside the shower may seem like a smart solution to the potential call back situation, you still will not hear it ring. In fact it is possible that when you do finally switch off the shower you will realize that the phone is ringing, there are 3 messages, 11 missed calls, and that the dog is barking because someone is knocking at your front door.

I answered the phone to tell Jeff that I was okay while grabbing a towel to hide my nekidness. He informed me that he had called 911 and that we should probably call them to tell them not to send an ambulance (too late on that one). Still he hung up to call them while I sent the Mutt to the backyard and hollered to the front door that I was coming.

I was surprised how easy it was to answer the door dropping wet in nothing but a towel. The female EMT seemed more shocked than I was, but both of them were really nice about the mix up. They even told me that they had heard that my fiance was on his way over and that I should make sure to call him and tell him that I was alright. I assured them that I was fine, well I was sick, but that I wasn't in need of any emergency medical attention. They headed off and I let Muttly back inside and rushed to the bathroom for a little more barfing.

I talked to Jeff again, and convinced him that I was really really okay, even if he did hear me barfing while on the phone this time. (poor guy) Sick people should never be forced to sprint through the house even under the best circumstances. I laid down on the bed to relax a bit, and think about the humor of the situation. It really was kind of funny now that no one thought I was lying unconscious having seizures or worse. Of course, that's when the next knocks on the door came. I tossed Muttly out back again, and still in a towel, answered the door to 2 police officers... Well at least this time I didn't run, and I didn't get sick.

I decided that maybe I ought to put on a robe. I mean, after 4 complete strangers see you mostly nekid it might be a little late. (The cat's kind of out of the bag at that point, you know?) Still, I was worried that perhaps the fire department would be next, so I went ahead and put on a robe before I laid back down on the bed.

I was glad to have a robe on when the next door knock came, because Jeff had called our landlord and asked him to check in on me (when he still thought I was dying) and hadn't thought to call him to tell him not to, or to call me and warn me he was coming. Of course, I suppose Jeff had no reason to expect that I'd be opening the front door in a towel either.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Fascinating

Baby Countdown
I encountered someone who had this on their blog showing how many days until they were due, and an estimate of what their baby might look like if they were having some sort of CG baby.

You can only claim to be having up to 10 babies, but it's kind of cool. Even if it's not the sort of thing that you want to display, or if you're not preggo, you can go plug in some numbers and play with it. Jeff was disappointed that if you put the due date a couple of years into the future that it doesn't turn into sperm and egg. It never goes back further than something that looks vaguely babyish...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Not Good at All

I am ill. I woke up freezing last night around 4:30 am, and didn't get back to sleep until after 5. When the alarm went off at 6 I had a 100 degree fever. I also had aches in my muscles, joints, and a throbbing headache. I waited a while and slowly got ready for work. My fever started going down on its own so I took some ibuprofen and went in to work. I mostly felt okay. Around 1 ish I started feeling achy again, so I took a couple ibuprofen, and was doing pretty good after that. I continued to be a tiny bit achy, but nothing really whine worthy.

All of a sudden tonight around 8:30 I have another temperature of about 100. My torso is burning up and my hands and feet feel like ice cubes. I take two ibuprofen and over the next hour it climbed to 101. I just can't get it to go down. Finally, now 3 hours later, it's down to 100 again. I'm going to go chill in the living room (the coldest spot) and keep drinking fluids. Seeing as how it's almost midnight I don't think that I'll going to work tomorrow. Even if I don't have a fever anymore I'm not sure I'll be able to stay awake.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that this damn fever goes away and stays away. I have a birthday party to go to on Saturday, and I'd really hate to miss it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Urban Cowboy

A co-worker emailed me a link to this video. I can't imagine how this scene might play out in Austin....

Hope You Had an Awesome Weekend

What a weekend! So chock full of fun and productivity that I feel like I need another weekend to get around to the relaxing part that I missed the first go round.

On Saturday we went to see the Holmes new old place, as it is now on the market, and if you want a condo in Austin you should totally go check it out and buy it from them. There were lots of tasty snacks and several different meats and even one fruit that made it onto the grills. Oh yes, there were multiple grills being put to use, it was awesome. Everyone had a grand old time sippin' beers and snarfing the snacks. I mostly hid inside with the air conditioning, but I did voluntarily escort Henry when he wanted to go outside for a bit. He was a doll and even listened to me when I hollered the wrong name. (my bad) From there we headed over to Lacy's for what was supposed to be another cookout. There were all manner of bizarre party games, and everyone got bit by the ants in the yard. Luckily there was plenty of beer to dull the pain, but there was no grilling. This means that we went home with the same 4 pounds of sausage that we came with.

Still, I had thought ahead and started inviting people to come over to our place on Monday when we were at Travis and Ashley's. So I knew that I'd get out of having to eat 8 sausages by myself. Unfortunately the second party had culminated with an excess of beer, some karaoke (despite Sean's best efforts*), and far too many pixie stixs for someone of my years. As a result I was worthless on Sunday. We worked like mad on Monday morning. We cleaned the place top to bottom (except for guest room where I hide the dog) and we went grocery shopping, and we had a great little shindig. We were ready roughly 45 minutes late, and that happily coincided with our first guests arriving. The last guests left fairly late after we finished catching up with all our recorded episodes of Who Wants to be a Superhero? The season finale is on this week, so I figured we ought to get them done. Jeff and I cleaned again and then sleepily crawled into bed. It was a full weekend, and I had a blast... well except for the bits where I felt a bit crappy. Still all in all it was worth it.

*When karaoke came up Lacy declared that they had the game and we should play. Sean told everyone completely dead pan that he had traded it in. When Lacy found the game he said that the disc wasn't inside, but it was. Then he tried to say that he had sold the microphone, but Lacy found the headset. Sean pointed out that the headset sucked, and that you still couldn't play without the microphone. Once Lacy had the microphone in hand he gave up and let all the women folk, and some of the men, commence with making asses of themselves in his living room.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Trekking Along

I've completed the first hiking sock for Iza, and I'm onto the foot of the second one. I had hoped to devote enough time to knitting this weekend that I'd get them both finished, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen. I think I've actually managed to start the second sock in the right place on the yarn so that I'll two practically identical socks. I've never bothered even trying before, but the patterning on this one was pretty easy to figure out, and I'm not worried about running out of yarn so I could afford the waste.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Oh Romeo

I had the quickest highlight and haircut appointment ever yesterday. It was almost so quick as to be a blur. I was definitely a bit dazed at the end. I got there just after 4:30 and I was out of there by 5:15. I think that the order it happened in was first an essential oil treatment, then the hand painted highlights, then washing, and then the cut and styling. It was a very efficient haircut, without any wasted movements. It's kind of choppy, but not choppy... Those of you who see it Saturday will have to let me know what you think. I think it's not much different than my previous haircut, but yet it is different... It's hard to put into words. I think I like it. I have a completely insane fear that the first time that I wash it and leave the house without doing anything to it that it'll go crazy on me and I'll look mad. We'll see, won't we? :)

Anyways, after the haircut Jeff and I headed home to let the dog out. I didn't want the poor beast to have to spend too much longer in his crate before he got to go out. We chilled at home for a while so that Muttly could have some running around time before we went out to dinner. We decided to go to Romeo's, and everything was delicious. I'm glad that we decided not to get an appetizer because as it was I only at half my dinner, didn't finish the dessert that we shared, and went home uncomfortably full. We started by sharing a house salad and a cup of soup. OMG the soup was so good. I got the tomato basil, and I think it's my new favorite. The cup of soup is also a fairly generous portion, and it's only $3 at dinner (or $2 at lunch). The waitress recommended getting two half orders since I couldn't make up my mind on what to eat last night. She says that they only charge half of what the entry normally costs, and not a penny more, for half orders. I went ahead and got half orders of the Romeo's Shells and Tortellini Sugarosa. They were both excellent, but I prefer the shells. I believe that the tortellini is vegetarian (not vegan) and the shells are stuffed FULL of meat, so that's probably why I liked them better. In retrospect I would take advantage of the fact that you can get a half order and just get a half order. It basically gives you the lunch prices, and it's still a good amount of food. If you're still hungry I suppose you could order another half or take advantage of their tiramisu, and it is excellent. The tiramisu was so full of mascapone we were in heaven.

We also ran into the lesser known 5th Baldwin brother, Bubba Baldwin, at Romeo's. That's what Jeff called him and it fit so well that that's how we referred to him for the rest of the night. He was all sorts of freaky. He greeted us at the door and showed us to our first table on the patio. He kept randomly exclaiming "Haha" all loud and strange, and he had some tomato sauce on his face. Bubba Baldwin sat us at a table that was all wobbly and right in front of two loud fans, so our waitress helped us find a better table. I seriously almost considered leaving, because I was worried that he was going to be our waiter. The dude is weird. I'm glad that we stayed because the food was terrific, our waitress was great, and the weather was really cool. When the rain started to pour down we were glad not to be in front of the fans anymore. It was strange because we could hear the rain, and if you looked into the street you could see it against the car headlights, but it was almost surreal. The patio is really well rain proofed and was quite pleasant even during the worst part of the brief storm.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's Not Safe Out There

My virtual neighbors are a strange lot. I've never hit that "next blog" button at the top of the page, and I was curious. I pushed that button twice, and I'm not sure that I want to try a third time. My first attempt to find some new blog reading resulted in a host of pop-ups coming from a blog titled Office Sex. *sigh* I quickly closed that one down, lest some cyber cooties cross over to my blog. Still, we all know the internet was made for porn so I was willing to let bygones be bygones. I mean it's reasonable to assume that any link you click might result in something at least mildly NSFW. I tried again to see what would happen, is it random or will I always be "next to" this human resource nightmare? I suppose it's random because this time I came across a normal blog. The thing is the latest post was lamenting the fact they forgot their camera on chicken butchering day. I caught a reference to 44 broilers and decided that I didn't want to hear about that much chicken chopping. From the title and their description of themself they seemed okay, but obviously we have much different tastes.

Have any of you other blogger bloggers tried out that button? Who do you live next to at any moment in time?

Nothing to See Here

So my hair appointment had to be rescheduled. Apparently they were in the process of demolishing a building behind where the salon is located when they knocked down a power line and killed a transformer. Well, maybe not killed, but Giacomo said there were two explosions and I imagine that's enough to at least severely maim the works. They'd been without power for a couple of hours when he called this afternoon and rescheduled for me to come by tomorrow after work instead. Hopefully the power will be back on and everything will be great. I'd like to have my new hair cut before the party. I'm starting to get quite shaggy, and I'm sick of my bangs being long enough to creep into my nose holes.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's Going to be Hard

I have indeed had to rip back the sock I'm knitting for Iza... two or three times actually. I finally decided on 56 sts around sometime after I got home for the day. I slid out my needles, and then re-inserted them into the knitting back at the toe where I only had 56 sts. This is the first time that the operation went off without a hitch. For the final time I ripped out ... rows. I refuse to contemplate how many.

Since that time I have eaten dinner and knitted away while watching Hannibal Rising. I've done the foot and finished the heel. This is my stopping point for the night. On a normal day I'd probably be able to finish up the leg tomorrow night, but tomorrow isn't normal. I'm getting my hair done, cut and highlights, and that's going to eat up precious knitting time.

I am so in love with this yarn. I really wish that I was keeping these socks, and my only solace is that I may still be able to squeeze out another pair from this skein. The second pair would likely have to be shorter in the leg portion, but if I knit them toe up, and two at a time at least I won't run short for the second sock or not be able to finish.

Yarn details: Trekking XXL (Zitron, 75% superwash wool & 25% nylon) The color number is 154, and it's got these great blues and greens with yellow, and I don't even like yellow, and these white and blue spots that are like clouds. I really can't wait to show you, but the camera batteries are dead (and charging). It may not be a colorway for everyone, but they are Iza's favorites and I only pray that they fit well, because I know that she'll adore them every much as I will.

Oh, and Hannibal Rising was good. I liked it anyway. Jeff was disappointed because the character wasn't as polished as Anthony Hopkins version. We discussed it, but I think he was hoping for a different movie. I'd seen enough trailers and teasers that I pretty much knew what it was going to be. I found it interesting and gross, which was everything that I had hoped for. Still, I do kind of wish that I hadn't chosen it to go with a spaghetti dinner.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fancy Feet

I finished Potatomaus last night, and they're on my little feets right now. They are comfortable and quite stylish. I wish that I could walk around in my sock feet at work so that more people could see them, but even if it were allowed the ground is no where near clean enough for that. I think that this pair took just over two weeks. I don't really have great pics of them yet though, so maybe later I'll post them.

I've started a new knitting first. Iza asked me for a pair of hiking socks, and she's in Brazil right now. That means that I am knitting a sock for someone, and I can't have them try it on as I go. I'm not quite knitting blind though, I did measure her foot the last time we were in Dallas. Hopefully I'll do well. I'm planning on trying to error just on the loose side with ribbing to snug it up. I'll put almost a half inch of negative ease into the foot and hope for the best. It's a shame that her feet aren't the same size as mine, because that would make life easier. Her feet are thinner and longer than mine. On the plus side I can certainly make sure that they aren't huge. My first line of defense is the ruler, but as I am ruler challenged I also have a second line of defense, and that is my foot. IF this sock is too big around for my foot then I have done something horrible and I will have to rip it back.

In other news my dad asked for detailed specs on my new machine, and might tot off to the store to build himself one over the holiday weekend. He was quite impressed at the reasonable cost. I think that he really wants the new iMac, but he's just too frugal to spend the $3000 that he wants when he can get a good functional machine for much less. He already has a really nice monitor that he uses to make his laptop screen more livable when he's home.

I can't believe that August is almost over. It's just about time to start the Christmas knitting. I certainly don't want to have to go into knitting overtime like I did last year. I figure I'll knit these socks for Iza, and then alternate between trying to finish the Hell Socks, my jackety thing, and various gifts. I've had requests for socks from some people, and purses from others, and Jean wanted a felted hat. I've got a fair amount of the yarn already stashed, I just have to get it knit up.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Why So Blue Panda Bear?

Sometimes I wish that I had done something that made me famous. I'm pretty sure that they do not let "normal" people hold baby pandas even if they are wearing smocks, gloves, and feeding the nice panda fresh bamboo. But it'd be a lot cooler if they did....

You can see more photos over at Neil's blog.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

It's Kind of Hot Outside

Once again Jeff and I made the trek out for the hot sauce festival. This year was the 17th Annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival. We've been a couple of times, and there have been good years and bad years. One year it seemed like everyone had brought a peach pico salsa, and nothing had any heat. This was a well balanced year I think, and there was a lot of nice pepper heat. (The sun heat I could have done without, but it's August so what can you do?)

We almost missed out this year, because although I'd been wondering when the festival was going to happen I hadn't heard any press about it. Luckily I got an email from Matt's El Rancho that they would be there and that tipped me off. Still, I'm a bit of a homebody and finding out about an even the night before usually means that I don't go. I think the little bat mascot won us over. I mean, he's so cute and he's got a flaming pepper. It was worth the trouble.

In case you're interested, here's what we bought today. As always we enjoyed the Winston's Hot Pepper Sauce (hot), so we picked up another bottle. I'm pretty sure that the last time we got mild, but Jeff called me a pussy or something, so we got the hot this time. This stuff has tons of uses, Jeff likes it on hot wings, and I like it in deviled eggs. A new one for us was Big Daddy's Amplified Heat Mean Smokin' Green Hot Sauce. This Houston company has the slogan of "Hell Goin' In, Hell Goin' Out"and quite the interesting art to depict it. The green sauce has a nice smokey jalapeno flavor and makes me wish more green salsas in restaurants were made with smoked jalapeno instead of nasty little tomatillos. Our third purchase was from Austin Slow Burn. We settled on Habanero Jelly because I had tasted so many good jams and jellies that I needed at least one. This was the one that Jeff and I liked best of the ones with heat. I tasted lots of sweet stuff from other vendors, but I was determined only to purchase spicy stuff today.

I really didn't taste any salsas that I thought were very good this year. There were a few that we okay, or interesting, but nothing that really stood out. I think I'm just really really particular about salsa, so it's hard for anyone to compete.

Other places that we stopped at and found tasty enough to grab a card from: The Peruvian Hot Pepper Sauce from Rancho Bravo. It had a nice spice, but just didn't place high enough on our taste trip to be purchased today. Then there was the Crazy Cranberry from Beanie's Home Made Salsa. There was a nice cinnamon in with the cranberry, it was a liquid kind of sauce, but I just wasn't sure what to do with it so we passed. We had fun eating some salt over at the Spiceburst table. I don't know that I'll ever actually buy any of their salt mixtures, but they are good. It always a nice palate cleanser at the hot sauce event to get a bit of salt on some cucumber. Then I almost lost my resolve at Meier Ranch Foods. I know I vowed only to purchase spicy foods, but the Amaretto Peach Pecan jelly/jam whatever was AWESOME. I swear I could have just eaten that stuff with a spoon. I may end up ordering some online, we'll just have to see.

Wii Are Excited

I wish I had a video or audio recording of Jeff when he realized that there was a copy of the new Wii Metroid game sitting on our doorstop as we got home yesterday. His reaction went from "what's that on the doorstep" to "is that a Wii game" to "OMGITSMETROID". Of course the next step was to call and thank Brandon who had to be our mysterious benefactor. Due to the inordinate amount of time that it takes to get a new pc up and running the game has been opened but not turned on yet, but I can't wait. I'm not sure how much I'll be allowed to play, but even watching it will be fun. The added bonus of Wii games is that there is always a chance that his arms will get tired and then I'll get a turn.

I am Weak

I has new computer! It's spiffy:
Intel Core2Duo 2.33
(some mother board with no IDE capability, but it does have a floppy drive connector.... ??)
2GB Ram
GeForce 8600GT 256MB vram
400GB hard drive
Coolass CD/DVD drive with Light Scribe (can't wait to play with that)
A cute little mini-atx case with 600 watt power supply (rawr)
And of course a windows operating system (XP Pro, because of the Core2Duo)

All together I spent just under $1000, after tax. It was actually less expensive than my initial pricing, because there were deals and sales and flat out price reductions.
I didn't even have to sell a cat for it, because Fry's gave me ass tons of credit. Of course the interest rate is complete shit, so it kind of needs to get paid off quickly. Although they have some crazy thing where if something has a triangle next to it then it automatically gets 12 months no interest financing, so only the first $600 has to be paid fast, and that's easy peasy. According to the sales person that I questioned there is no rhyme or reason to these financings, but apparently you can also find the triangles in the ads that come out? I don't get a paper, so I wouldn't really know.

So now I can play World of Warcraft again, without my computer melting, and I still have liquid assets should an emergency arise. Man, it's cool to be an adult. It didn't even occur to me until yesterday to even consider getting a card to make this purchase. I love my store specific credit cards, because I don't go shopping enough to actually get into trouble with them. At the same time if I have a panty crisis I always have the trusty Victoria's Secret card to fall back on.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I'm a Toys R Us Kid

I can't believe it. I had a post in my head, and then I forgot it... but I remember once more! It's all about me debating whether or not I am a completely responsible adult, or whether I like new toys more than I like being grown up.

I live among the masses that are paid every two weeks. Most of us in this group (or at least most that I've ever talked finance with) pay our bills every two weeks. You work a bit and you're able to kind of have a 1st half the month and 2nd half the month billing cycle, and then every thing's all tidy and you still have money for food and gasoline. The thing is, months aren't exactly 4 months long all the time, and as such every once in a while you get paychecks that are in between bills. This isn't as good as when you get 3 paychecks in one month, but it's close.

I get paid 8/24, 9/7, then 9/21. I acknowledge that I do have a $200 loan payment that I need to make to my Dad with this check, but everything else could technically wait until the next checks come in. I've been wanting a new desktop, and with the money that I wouldn't be spending on bills... and some of the bills won't actually be ready for paying until after the 7th anyway.... although there might be one due on the 5th... but I'm sure they'd wait 2 days....

I priced out a computer at Fry's and I could do it this check, or at least I think I could. Especially if I was able to cannibalize some pieces from my old desktop to use temporarily. I mean, I've got two CD roms in there, I could wait to get the spiffier one, you know, stuff like that. I don't know.

I suppose I'll dig around in the budget tonight, and re-examine the notes that I took on my Fry's excursion, and of course consult with my chef. I know, it's odd to ask a chef about financial matters but when you're engaged it kind of entitles him to some input. It would be nice to get a nice new powerhouse to play with. *sighs wistfully staring into space* And the case is so cute!

Observations

1. It sucks to be awake at 1:30am and unable to fall back asleep because of joint pain.
2. It is sad yet appropriate that my 100th post was about cat poo.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

No Poop For You

Well I did both cat boxes, even though I tried to whine and cry my way out of having to do the second one. (It needed it, so it's a good thing that my pleas had no effect.) I also did the vacuuming, so now I can safely knit away the rest of the evening without a shred of guilt.

Scenes From a Supermarket

The dolphin was tethered to this mortal coil by the mighty weight of his tootsie rolls.

I've Got the Blahs

I can't seem to think of anything to post about. I'm still knitting Potatomaus, although I'm on to the second sock now. I still haven't taken any photos, but that's how it goes. Pretty much I go home and flop on the couch, knit and watch tv a bit, then I go to bed. I have managed a little laundry, but I'm not quite keeping on top of it. I've done my best to keep from trashing the house, but I'm not really working to improve the cleanliness of it this week. Of course today I get to look forward to Cat Box Day. Man, that is my least favorite day of the week. Woohoo I get to play in the Sandbox of Eternal Stench. *sigh* I should also vacuum, since I have no intention of doing any other housework today, but I don't know if that will happen or not. Maybe I'll just do the back half of the house. Since that's the half that didn't get done last weekend it needs it more.

Am I boring because I'm bored, or am I bored because I'm boring?

Work is going well. Every day I'm getting more and more comfortable in my duties. I'm still not totally with it, but at least I don't feel completely lost anymore. There's so many things to keep an eye on that every once in a while I lose track and some area piles up, but day to day it's not too bad.

Rumors abound with the purchase of The Company by The Other Company. The earliest rumors were that The Company was going to be handing out raises soon. Why this would happen the rumor doesn't say. It's probably just wishful thinking on some random person's part. The rumor that I heard yesterday has to do with the fact that we become owned by The Other Company at the end of September, beginning of October. Rumor has it that The Other Company will be gathering all the employees (all shifts) at one time somewhere off-site for a meeting on Columbus Day. Supposedly the originator of this rumor worked at another company that was bought by The Other Company, and when they had this off-site meeting it was to tell everyone they no longer had jobs. Pretty much any time there is a change at The Company about 2/3 of the work force turn into the human equivalent of Chicken Little, so who knows how much truth is in the second rumor either. I suppose on both counts it's business as usual and wait to see what happens.

I promise that when I know more, you will know more. Of course if you knew more first you'd tell me right?

Friday, August 17, 2007

I Knit Therefore I Don't Kill

I am continually amazed by my fascination with knitting. It can be therapeutic for me. Sometimes when work is especially stressful I'll place my current portable knitting project on my desk where I can steal glances at it, and pet it if the need arises. I've been blessed with the ability to sit at my desk during lunch and knit away over here. In my old job I had to creep outside and sit on the concrete either sweating or freezing if I wanted to get in some knit time. Over here I get the occasional emergency* interruption or interested co-worker that stops by, but for the most part I'm quite free to spend 30 minutes knitting away.

The best projects for at work stress relief are of designed with colors that I adore and soft pettable yarn. The project has to be easy to pick up without having to spend too long trying to figure out where I am or what step comes next. The project also has to be easy to put back down in case one of those emergencies happen. I'm currently working on a pair of Pomatomus designed by Cookie A. (see a picture of her sock to the right) Mine are being knit in a yarn so full of purples that I couldn't love it more. The pattern looks really complicated at first, and that's why I've never knit them before, even though I'd had the pattern printed out for ages. It turns out that it's really not that complicated once you get it started. I'm making small changes, like doing one less repeat (because my feet aren't big enough for the full 6 repeats around) and I'm going to do a different heel type, because I like my hourglass heel. Soon there shall be pictures of my lovely purples, but that's something I can't quite manage at work, so you'll have to imagine.

When someone appears with a snotty attitude and tries to make me feel like they are somehow better than me there's a little voice I hear whispering, "Yeah but can they make socks?" So far I haven't met very many people here at The Company that can, so it's not real likely. There's also the calming effect that being able to knit has on me when I'm hanging around outside waiting for Jeff to come pick me up after work. If I didn't have knitting I probably would have strangled him by now.

*I've yet to have any of these interruptions fit my definition of emergency, but that's just one of the joys of working with other people. Everyone always feels that their needs are the highest priority.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Finishing Feels Good

So I've completed some new knitting projects and finally worn my green Tofutsies. I'm completely torn on the Tofutsies. They are some of the softest socks that I've ever worn. The fabric is thin yet squishy, but the yarn has absolutely no memory. Even though I'd worked the entire leg in a rib stitch by the end of the day it was all saggy and sad looking. It just doesn't have the spring to keep it's shape, but it sure is soft. *sigh*

I also completed the third headscarf that I gave Traci for her birthday. It was a big hit. As soon as she saw the yarn her eyes lit up. It gave me a big warm fuzzy feeling inside.

Then over the last weekend I completed my Everlasting Bagstopper. It was a quick easy knit. I knit the body in Allhemp6 in Chocolate. There were tons of places were the yarn was tied together, but it was really well done, and the knots seemed sturdy. When I went to Hill Country Weavers to get the hemp I saw the Tartelette yarn and fell in love. Instead of getting a wider ribbon for the strap, as called for in the pattern, I decided to crochet handles with the Tartelette.

Bree helped me work out the stitch pattern since I'm not all that familiar with crochet. I'm quite pleased with the look of the finished product. There are issues though. I had intended to use this bag as a reusable shopping bag. I tried out the bag once already and it will hold plenty, at least space-wise. However it wasn't comfortable on my shoulder, it cut in a far bit, and I'm terrified that it's going to tear. How am I supposed to know how sturdy it is? I'm going to give it a few more shots, but I think I'll try to avoid putting glass in it. That should help keep the weight down, and if it does let loose at least I won't have broken glass all around my feet.

Weekend Photo Albums

I've put a few pictures up for your enjoyment. Feel free to examine them at your leisure.

Circus Pictures : Make sure that you look at the full photos because some of them are lengthwise and are cut off at the tops if you're just looking at the thumbnails.

Traci's Party : Pinata parties are always a good time.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Under the Big Top

I had so much fun this weekend. The kids were mostly well behaved which always makes things better, my dad only screamed at anyone once that I can remember, I learned some crochet while Bree learned to knit a sock, we had good food with good company, and we got to go to the circus. It was quite different from my average weekend.

It is my humble opinion that my dad went overboard with the whole circus thing. We were in the second row of the ring on one end (across from where everyone comes in to perform). The ticket price on the stub was $45, but according to inside sources he actually paid $50 each when he bought them through ticketmaster online. Since there were 11 of us (Dad, Iza, Bree, Traci, Brandon, Danika, Lucas, Jeff, Me, Corey, and Ken) that's quite a bill, and that was just to get into the circus. My dad also rented a limo, and while I'm not certain what it cost him, I overheard him "discussing" with the driver that he had been told it would be $230. He may have ended up paying more than that... so that brings the bill up to $780 for the 11 of us to go to the circus. (The one and a half hour circus.)

The spending didn't stop there though. See, I'd talked up cotton candy to the little ones, so we had to get some. They had 3 sizes: $6, $9, & $12. These are the same size bags that I remember being a dollar or two when I was a younglet. I believe that around $40 was spent on cotton candy by the time we got out of there. We also had two tubs of popcorn, 2 large sodas, 1 medium soda, a few bottles of water, and an order of nachos... Let's see, we'll say $12 for the popcorn, $15 for the sodas, $9 for water, and I'll guess $6 for the nachos. So we had $82 dollars worth of snacks, give or take a bit.

Then on the way out the door the kids all needed toy souvenirs. They were all $16, and there were 3 kids so there's another $48. I mean, he spent around $1000 for us to go to the circus. And of course he's created three little monsters now, and they all want to ride in the limo again. Brandon wants to go to school in the limo, and Danika just wants to go back to the circus. Who knows what Lucas wants, he's only two and the happiest I saw him all weekend was when he was traipsing through the house wearing a pair of red high heels.

Still it was awesome, and we were so close to the action. Jeff and I managed to get some good pictures. It's hard when you aren't using a flash and a 4 year old is bouncing up and down in your lap, but not all of them are unidentifiable blurs. We also have some pictures from the house, like when Traci blew out the candles on her cake. Once I get the pictures onto the web I'll let you know so that you can check them out. Oddly enough, out of all the feats of acrobatics, strength, and courage that we witnessed, I think that my favorite were the performing house cats. I mean, I can't even get my cats to stop breaking glassware and they had these cats running on top of balls, and climbing around on ropes, it was really cool. That was definitely Danika's favorite part, and that's why those photos are the least in focus. Brandon's favorite part was when they brought out the cage ball that the motorcycles ride around in. I can't believe that they got 3 motorcycles rolling around in there at the same time, it was impressive.

Okay, back to work before I get busted goofing off.

Monday, August 6, 2007

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

Well yesterday was movie night, and the last hurrah at Tim & Julie's current pad. The movie was Monster Club and the food theme was horrific. I can't even remember all the good grub that was there to nosh. We brought Children of the Corn on the Cob, and The Stuff. The Stuff was actually raspberry frozen yogurt, and it was delish. It was the first time that Jeff had ever made frozen yogurt (I think) and he did an awesome job. The corn on the cob was roasted in the oven and all sorts of nummy. I ate two ears! There was also some Texas Chainsaw Massacre Chili, and a Pasta Puttanesca (Ian went with whore-rific, but we weren't splitting hairs) and of course there was LOTS of wine. I think I did a good job of emptying bottles into my belly. I should also mention that the movie was fun. It's old and campy and wonderful, so you should check it out.

All in all I had a good weekend. I vacuumed half the house with my new vacuum cleaner. I heart my new suck machine. I finally have a bagless vac so I don't have to replace the bag every time I clean. With 4 cats and a dog + 2 people there's a lot of hair in our carpets, and it fills up bags super fast. I think the old vac was starting to die too. We've had it for years, and done repairs on it a couple of times, but it was time for it to go. The new Hoover is a little heavier, and I'm not sure I like the feel of the hose attachment, but I'll have to cope. I'm also a little iffy on the retractable cord bit. It's great that it winds it up, but it's kind of a pain to pull out. It was only $99 so at least my dad won't disown me. When I told him that I wanted the Dyson he told me that if I spent that much on a vacuum that I would be out of the will.

I also finally got Jeff to air up the bike tires and we took a little tiny bike ride. It was really really short, like we walk that far in about 15 minutes short. omgimoutofshape! It was completely fun, but it hurt my butt, and my legs felt all wobbly when we got back. I'm just happy that I eventually remembered how to work the gear system, and the tires have air in them so we don't have to do that next time we want to ride. If I get us into riding more often then maybe we can eventually go further than 1/2 a block from the house. For now we'll have to stick close to home. At the very least we want to make sure that we don't end up going down any big hills that we can't get back up later.

Okay, time to get back to work over here.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

What a Cute Pair

I have such cute cats. I finished my pair of Life Styles socks and they are better now. The later color changes brought in more grey and purple, and brought everything together in a less scary pink way. They are still very pink, but they don't remind me of a stomach ache anymore.

My pattern was supposed to fit my foot, and although I've checked and re-checked my gauge either my foot is shrinking (or migrating to my ass) or something is really strange with this yarn. I haven't washed them yet, so it's possible they'll fit like a glove after a bit of shrinkage... Here's the project details (or look for Life Pair on Ravelry:

Yarn: Zitron Life Style
Color: 1862
Needles: 2 Circs US Size 3 - length 29"

gauge = 7sts / inch

Finished size 9 3/8" from toe to heel
9 1/2" from bottom of foot to top of cuff
Slightly loose on my size 7 1/2 (women's) foot

Work both socks at the same time, starting with toe-up. These were worked side by side, not nestled one inside the other.

Toe
CO 6 sts - Figure 8 Cast On
Inc each sock @ beg & end of each needle to 56 sts. (4 inc per increase round)
Foot
Knit in Stst until foot length is 7" - then start heel
Heel
[I first separated the socks onto separate needles before starting the heels. I've done it before still all on the same needles, but it's a bit fussy and I didn't want to deal with fussy this time. Besides I had extra needles laying around.]
- Hourglass heel with 8 middle stitches: That's 10 pairs per side.
Leg
Seed Stitch Rib - from Thuja pattern by Bobby Ziegler.
Work leg until it measures 8" from the bottom of the heel.
Cuff
Twisted Rib
K2tbl, P2 rib for 1.5"
Bind Off
Use sewn bind off

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Christmas in July

I forgot to tell you. I got new shoes yesterday, and they are super cute! My pictures may not be the best, but I'm really happy with them. Some of the people that I used to work with had given me a gift certificate for Macy's. There were 4 of them, and they got me a $50 card. I had been planning on just using the card to get face care stuff, but when my old shoes gave out I came up with a new plan.

As soon as I saw this pair of shoes I fell in love with them. These shoes only cost me $4.11 from my checking account, which is freaking awesome! They are Sketchers, just like the last several pairs of sneakers I've shelled out money for. (These are by far the cheapest.) I continue to be happy with how comfortable and cute Sketchers shoes have been for me.