Saturday, December 29, 2007
(Amazingly, he considers posing in them for a picture for the blog to be WELL outside of our marital vows--he mentioned something about "human Ken doll" before fleeing the room....)
The missing material is for the sleeves for the shirt, and now I am not only unable to find the material in any stores, it turns out I am unable to locate where I hid the shirt in progress.
Because I made them in November, I wanted to hide them somewhere Andy would never find them. Well, it worked. Even after a rather exhaustive search of the house, we can't find the shirt. Luckily, for some reason known only to myself at the time, I did not hide the pants in the same location, so we have those. We're hoping to find the shirt sometime before NEXT winter at least.
Some days I amaze even myself, but not often in a good way.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
All I need to complete Andy's Christmas gift is one yard of this fabric. I found it at a Joann's store in Ontario, Oregon. It is a 45" wide flannel. Between my friends and I, we have been to 9 stores (Idaho, Oregon, New Jersey, and California) looking for one more yard and have not found it! Uranium is easier to find.
If anyone can find it, I need one yard and I will send you the money and a knitted hat or scarf as a Thank You. I just need sleeves!!!!
Friday, December 21, 2007
In order to prevent more of your kind experiencing a similar fate, we have put bells on both cats. Since they have continued to remove members of your community fairly regularly, it has occurred to me that perhaps you have not yet realized the significance of said bells. So, henceforth, if you hear a jingling bell, it is not the arrival of Santa. It means probable death. Please pass the word along, and take appropriate evasive action, especially amongst the bird community. The feathers never go away, no matter how often I vacuum.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
OK, there has been a bit more spending. We needed a few items to finish Christmas gifts--most notably google-eyes and fabric paints for the puppet kits. Then the mad wrapping binge, which I am proud to say was done without tempting purchases like gift boxes, gift tags, and gift bags. Four hours later and:
At least we are doing our part for the economy via the United States Postal Service.
I thought there would be a huge temptation to buy lots of "impulse items," and though it has been fun to look knowing we could buy things, when you look at something and have to ask yourself, "Is this worth waiting a month for?" the answer is invariably "no." So our spending has still been quite moderate--with one exception:
New tires for Andy's truck.
We are wild, I tell you--just wild.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I started the day with these two gentlemen:
First thing on our agenda:
They're even knitting stamps--it just doesn't get better.
Then I went hunting for the missing material for Andy's Christmas present:
Nada. Nothing. Zip.
Not just one store--I checked all the local stores. At the last one, a clerk asked if he could help, so I described what I was looking for, that I'd been to several stores looking for this particular material, and that this was the very store the material originally came from, hoping for something.
"Yeah, that happens."
OK, I should have been more specific--I was hoping for something HELPFUL!
My next call was to "America's Best" Eyeglasses--heavy stress on the quotation marks--asking if they could order another set of frames for my glasses, as the lenses are still fine. Not only did they not still carry them, they do not fix, take special orders, or in any way do anything helpful except sell new glasses. Long live the capitalistic spirit.
The next call located a lovely gent, who for only one of my Mr. Hamiltons, restored me to a working, somewhat less attractive, set of glasses:
The picture is a bit blurry, but my last few days have been pretty blurry, so it seems fitting.
The next purchases are surprise Christmas gifts for Andy, and cannot be pictured here....
but after a soda, I ended my evening with
How Andy spent his $40:
The gloves are for me (how sweet is that?!), THE EPOXY, headphones for his iPod (his last ones stopped working a few days ago), hinges, a switch box, a light switch, superglue, a plug in, and a switch plate. As he was positively gleeful tonight, these things are apparently of high interest to the male population--go figure.
Side note: I got home tonight to find this from Joann's Fabrics:
I have news for them--I tried REALLY hard to buy something from them today. If their sales are down, they have no one to blame but themselves.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I have been thinking about this for several days, and decided it would be a great chance to use a variegated lace yarn. Variegated yarns are sort of like summer hats--they look great at the time, but one never knows exactly what to do with them later. If you use them for shawls and scarves, the changes in color can detract from the lace pattern you may be using. But, like hats, they look fabulous in the store and I am convinced to buy them, only to have them take up permanent residence in the back of my closet.
Probably a year ago, I bought a colorful yarn that I absolutely loved from Knitpicks. It's bright purples & pinks & turquoise and I even had a shawl in mind when ordering--which doesn't happen very often. Of course, as the shawl I picked out involves a very detailed pattern, the yarn didn't look good and I frogged (ripped) it out. So, last night I dug out the yarn--marveling again at how much I love the color--and then it hit me.
If I use this yarn for a project, I won't have it in the stash any more.
A very sobering thought, for even though I haven't done anything with it, and rarely even see it, I know I have it. Even if the shawl doesn't use all I have, I won't have as much as I have now.
This was a problem.
Part of what leads to SABLE (Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy) is the knitter's secret belief that while there may always be yarn, there may not always be THIS PARTICULAR yarn, and there is, of course, no guarantee that there will always be yarn AS GOOD AS this yarn--hence the knitterly compulsion to hoard. Knitted objects we are willing to share, but yarn itself....that's a bit of a different story.
Then I remembered--THE SPENDING BAN IS ALMOST OVER!!! I can order more of the same yarn!!! This was such a relief that I actually went on line to see if the yarn was still in stock and to move some to my shopping cart in preparation for Thursday....and then that little voice of reason piped up,
"Are you out of your mind?!!" (my little voice of reason is often quite loud)
As my little voice was perhaps trying to remind me, I already have FAR more yarn than I am willing to admit to on this blog, and this is one of the few projects that might look good with this yarn. Not to mention, there was the thought of standing in front of Andy Thursday night, with my broken glasses dangling off my nose, that after a month of no spending, explaining that the thing I really needed most was yarn. Pride may goeth before a fall, but it does sometimes keep you from making a colossal fool of yourself in front of your spouse.
And the Pi shawl is begun.....
Monday, December 10, 2007
Greetings! As December approaches, it’s a time for reflection—what did we do, what did we learn, and what are we willing to admit to in the Christmas letter?
Christmas letters are traditionally the time to brag about one’s 3-year-old son who just won the Nobel Prize for physics, how wonderful a 2-week stay at a private
The Yearly Update:
Toni’s employment: selling business telephone systems for DataTel
Andy’s employment: let's just say “pending”
Finally, a sequel: For years people have asked me about doing a mid-year Christmas letter update, and while recoiling at the thought of the constant envelope-licking that would involve, I did finally join the technologically “with it” and created a “blog” (web log), http://catanova.blogspot.com/. There you can find the Vermin Adventures, examine some lovely décor options we’re considering, view our wedding photos, and read about our latest experiment: NPR has been running stories about a family who decided to spend no money for an entire year, which inspired us (with the threat of impending job loss) to adopt a “can’t buy anything new” program for one month, beginning November 12 and ending on December 12. We are currently about halfway through the month, and have discovered that while the “true necessities” of life aren’t things at all, there are a lot of things that would really be nice to have right now—like epoxy, address labels, and postage stamps. We have not yet decided what our next “for a month” adventure will be, but we would be willing to try “living on a private yacht while cruising the
Christmas in the
This year we have learned:
- If presented with the alternative often enough, you will greet gifts of dead rodents and birds with sheer joy.
- Men do not consider comparing 37 slightly-varied paint chips as a “togetherness” activity.
- Some people would find being treated as a surrogate parent by a cat cute and touching. I am not one of them—especially not at 4:00 AM.
- As adults, it is not socially acceptable to say, “Go away and take your flying monkeys with you.” That’s what attorneys are for.
- The 15-year-employment anniversary gift with Micron is a stereo. The 18-year anniversary gift is a lay-off.
- A lot of marital stress can be avoided by having his & her tubes of toothpaste.
- Hearing flapping near your head an instant before a cat leaps onto your chest may actually be the worst way to wake up ever.
- If you hate white walls enough, an evening of painting can be a good date.
- If you join a group called the “Mystery Stole,” you may or may not like the result. Hence the “mystery” part.
- Every couple has things which challenge the concept of “share and share alike.” Ours are blankets and pea pods
- Our national security is a tad lax at the Canadian borders, as Andy was able to travel in & out of our country with his driver’s license and my passport, or perhaps he crossed at a spot that gets a lot of female impersonators.
- When you send a child through a social graces class, it is advisable to ask about the curriculum beforehand so you will be prepared when the child refers to the correct way to eat a parfait.
- Anything can be fun if approached in the right state of mind. Sometimes that state of mind requires alcohol.
- Cat doors were invented by people who never owned cats.
- Do not ask your spouse to always explain his or her behavior.
- Voles are neckless mice and here in
they are unlikely to carry rabies. Idaho
- No matter how many times one is proved wrong, one always approaches a garden with optimism.
- Always be flexible when baking—it might be a rotten cake, but it could make decent brownies.
- If you’re putting things away “for safe keeping,” it should probably be done by the one with the better memory.
- A blog may take up some of your best Christmas letter material.
- Life is an adventure.
We hope this finds you healthy, happy, and enjoying a wonderful holiday season!
Best wishes, Toni & Andy
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Maybe I'll start addressing our Christmas cards as having been sent from "Limbo Land."
Saturday, December 8, 2007
The first thing I'm buying is the yard of material for Andy's Christmas gift. I almost stopped by the store today to see if I could put it on some sort of layaway, since fabric stores tend to change their inventory, and if I can't find the same material I have not yet conceived a back-up plan. I'm going to be stressing over this until I whip out the Visa on December 13. I'd like to say that I will have learned my lesson about double-checking after this little episode, but while hope springs eternal, it doesn't winter very long.
Friday, December 7, 2007
It gets worse--I was going to suggest making Christmas cookies--which in my world means decorated sugar cookies--but that will be postponed until we can purchase the metal decorating tips I had promised last year.
An adventure--an obsession. It's such a fine line........
Thursday, December 6, 2007
2. Stay away from Amazon.com.
3. Fall behind on writing the annual Christmas letter. Start stressing about it.
4. Take a really time-involved quilting class that makes you want some serious time apart from your sewing machine & all things fabric-related.
5. Start overbooking social engagements.
6. Remember what retail areas are like during the holiday shopping season.
7. Regularly visit the respective yarn & wood "stashes" and mentally inventory the number of "potential projects" you already own.
8. Commit to daily blog updates.
9. Tell other people about your experiment. Fear the thought of the public shame of giving up 5 days early.
10. Run out the door forgetting your wallet anyway.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
2. Andy is having dreams about shopping, which may get his testosterone revoked.
3. Our mail carrier is developing hernias from delivering 4 pounds of catalogs every day for absolutely no reason.
4. I wouldn't go to the Indian spice store to pick up ingredients for a new recipe because it "felt like cheating."
5. Joann Fabric's is sending me twice as many sale fliers as normal--their sales are obviously down.
6. Grocery shopping has become exciting.
7. We can't send Christmas cards until AFTER December 12.
9. Andy is looking forward to being allowed to buy a $3 tube of epoxy.
10. I'm starting to look longingly at stores--even Walmart.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
And that's when the universe gets you.
This morning I discovered that my glasses had fallen off the nightstand & sometime in the middle of the night, I must have stepped on them, or something that was on top of them, because they are broken today. Most of the day I wear contacts, but I am now reduced to being blind as a bat first thing in the morning and at night--or at least until the stupid little experiment I dreamed up is over. Repairs might have been allowed, but we're at the "new frames" stage, and that qualifies as a "thing" and can't happen until December 13. Rats.
"Piece of cake." What was I thinking?????
Monday, December 3, 2007
Today's winner in the useless-items-we-will-never-buy category: sock yarn that has to be washed by hand. For the nonknitting public: socks are, for some insane reason, fun to knit. Yes, I realize you can buy 6 pairs for $6 at any store in the country, but there is something about turning a heel that makes a knitter feel brilliant. (This is inherently satisfying since much of knitting involves getting the knitter's tail kicked by the brilliant physicist who designed a sweater that would only come out correctly if the exact gauge were achieved at the precise moment in the lunar orbit....knitters will understand this.) So, socks are lovely, lovely projects. They are portable, generally require no seams, and are faster than sweaters. HOWEVER--I don't think I am a lazy person, nor am I unwilling to lovingly handwash the lovely alpaca sweater I made my husband to celebrate our honeymoon. But socks?????? Pure wool socks--which will shrink to the size of baby booties if one were to accidentally wash them with the normal socks--this I am supposed to invest $20 and many hours of my life??
I think not.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
2. Decorate your house with mismatched decorations.
3. Finish projects that you've long since lost interest in, just because you can't buy new ones.
4. Try a new bread machine recipe--provided you already have the ingredients & the bread machine.
5. Fantasize about what you will buy when the spending ban is over.
6. Do laundry.
7. Play board games, even if "Payday" and "Monopoly" feel like cheating on the "No Spending" rule.
8. Put up outdoor lights that look like you hired a color-blind decorator.
9. Ridicule the 37 catalogs you receive in the mail each day.
10. Discuss what other strange "experiments" one can do for a month.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Mr. Flurry was finished this afternoon. Total cost: hard to say, though well under $5 as I already had the yarn & he doesn't take much.
Being done ahead of schedule......Priceless, and frankly shocking.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Well, rats. The majority of our Christmas cards will be going out AFTER December 13. Any way you look at it, the weekend of December 14 is going to be very expensive for us.
On a side note, last night we took a cooking class on Basque holiday appetizers with some friends. We had a fabulous time, tried a few Spanish wines, and learned how to make Croquetas, which are deep-fried gravy balls. Now, as my ancestors were, among other things, Irish, I have no room to talk about the food choices of other ethnic groups, but were the Basques really that desperate to contract heart disease? I admit, I live in a country that deep fries Twinkies, but shouldn't food have a trace of nutritional value? Or at least not require angioplasty on the side?
Thursday, November 29, 2007
We have promised to let them know well in advance when we try this for a longer time period, as they may want to purchase a few extended warranties or invest in a team of sled dogs.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
One thing we have both noticed are the emotions tied to shopping--both the thrill of buying something new, as well as the emotions that tend to cause one to buy something in the first place. The marketing world has long known and used the emotional connection to shopping--women in bikinis selling basically anything to men, ads of men fawning all over women because of their brand of lipstick, etc., --but it has been very surprising to learn that the emotional response isn't really being caused by marketing; marketing is simply exploiting something that already exists.
To get a little "retail fix," we have started alternating grocery shopping, but I'm not sure a head of lettuce packs the same sort of excitement that new clothes, a new tool, or a new DVD would, though maybe if there was a bikini involved......
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
We can now add longer extension cords to our list of "things we would have bought by now." I admit, we had been coasting along pretty easily the last few days, and had been toying with the idea of trying a 3-month "buy nothing new" project next year (anything sounding good when it's a year away). If we learn nothing else from this experiment, we will learn better planning skills.
Friday, November 23, 2007
He's cute, he's inexpensive, and he can be done by December 12!
Thursday, November 22, 2007
I read an article earlier about a woman who is 24, attending college and working part time, who looks forward to the big shopping day all year, and who is planning to spend $1500 tomorrow. Granted, I have spent $1500 in a day before, but have generally ended up with a house or car at the end of it. She either saves all year or has a lot more money than I ever had in college--I would have been lucky to be able to spend $150 in a single day without selling blood plasma.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
We've decided we each get $40 that morning, and we can do whatever we choose with our money--no questions asked. As it is a work day for both of us, a mad dash to the mall seems unlikely, even if it weren't against the very core of my being to venture to the mall between Thanksgiving & New Year's Day. Andy is undecided as to what his first purchase will be as I just suggested the one thing on his "wish list" to someone as a potential Christmas gift. Mine will, without question, be the stupid yard of material to finish Andy's Christmas gift. As it isn't really for me, Andy thinks that doesn't really count, but as being unable to finish a project because I was off by a measly 3/8 of a yard (13.5 inches for the non-fractional) is causing a tick above my left eye, I have persuaded him that I will be a nicer person to live with if I can go get the missing material, finish the darned gift, and get on with my life. Um, not that it isn't a labor of love, of course...really. Maybe if I paid more attention to the stupid pattern in the first place it could have been more about the love & less about the labor, but.....it really is about the love. Really.
Monday, November 19, 2007
How exactly are you dressing if THIS coordinates with your ensemble???
Personalized items are always big at Christmas, though I think this maybe takes it one step too far:
Can't you just carve your initials into the mashed potatoes???
And for the hard-to-buy-for child on your list, we have:
Bob Mackie Cher Barbie. Wrong on sooo many levels.
How about something for the home to give it that nice, welcoming feeling?
Or, for the woman who has everything except, perhaps, a life....
It's the Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure.
Or maybe you feel that your children are enjoying too many happy stories and fairy tales, and you want to give them a nice dose of realism for Christmas.....
These are supposed to be Christmas gift ideas, though perhaps they are aimed at the Osbournes. I don't know, perhaps I am too much of a traditionalist, but somehow this
just doesn't say "Christmas" to me.......
May the Festive Force be with you?
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Our experiment might be making us a little odd--today Andy left the oven door open for a while, and I made a point of closing it--not because it was a waste of electricity--but because if the bulb burned out, we couldn't replace it for a month.
Our experiment also made browsing the pre-Thanksgiving Sunday paper--the one with 3 pounds of ads promoting the biggest shopping day of the year--a very surreal exercise over the morning coffee. Do retailers offer things that the public demands, or is the public demand driven by the promotions done by retailers? This is a very deep conundrum to ponder over decaffeinated coffee--we had to break down and brew some fully loaded java. John Maynard Keynes did probably not drink decaf.
The things we are wanting to buy most:
* epoxy (you could see THAT one coming, couldn't you?)
* the missing 3/8 yard of material, most likely now stretched to 1 yard because that's the way patterns work
* spice jars (we have some spices in baggies that I didn't get transferred yet and bags don't sprinkle well)
* towels - we have returned 2 complete sets of towels to Macy's because the colors bled, and still own the most pathetic collection of towels that any newlyweds ever dried with.
And what will actually happen on December 13? Hard to say on only the seventh day, but one idea is to set a small monetary amount and each purchase one item within the limit. After all, what would be the point if, after all of this, we ended the experiment with a day of unrestrained spending????? Oh yeah, it would be called "Christmas Shopping."
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
There has been a slight change in plans...
We are going to have our Secret Santa Party on Wed the 12th instead of Friday the 14th.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks!Did those more familiar with the immutable laws of the universe see this one coming or what?
A reminder, we said November 12 through December 12. So, it's back to the drawing board.
The universe also does not like conspicuous non consumption. Daily we receive a stack of catalogs offering everything from Big Foot statues being passed off as Christmas decorations, English muffins and crumpets, caviar and foie gras (complete with pictures of enlarged fish eggs and fatted duck livers that just make one want to scream "VEGAN!"), "authentic" Harry Potter wands and Sorcerer's stones (presumably less authentic), decor options of every kind, pajamas, personalized wine bottles, cheeses, furniture, rugs, office supplies, gardening tools and equipment, movies, meat, kitchen items and appliances, faux fur everything, sporting equipment--the list is endless--all of them hoping to lure us into buying things we don't need and often didn't know existed. But we look through them, and sometimes have ordered things--things we weren't actively looking for, but would make a good gift or would be fun.
[Side note: Our settee is from the same company that offers the Big Foot statue as well as an entire gargoyle collection, and if we are willing to look through THAT catalog, we will look through almost anything. To be fair, we did actually need another piece of furniture for people to sit on or we needed to start inviting fewer people over at a time, but I think you get my point.]
Take away housing, groceries, some personal items, and transportation and the rest of our economy is based on things no one actually needs--televisions so large that the neighbors can watch movies from across the street, appliances that simplify things we never knew were difficult (was it really so difficult to heat up hot dogs or to shake a martini???), devices that make all our bad habits portable, boots and coats that can't get wet, clothing to humiliate our pets, vehicles that are larger than some HOMES used to be--and the products just keep coming. And leading the way for totally useless ways to spend money.....
And yet, I'm oddly tempted to sign up to receive their catalogs.......
Thursday, November 15, 2007
For gift one, I have some lace Christmas ornaments I have already made using my embroidery machine. Realistically, there was a price involved in making them, but I don't know exactly what it would be, as I made them a while ago. Machine embroidery thread is expensive, and these use a lot, so to be fair, I'll say I've used $2.00.
For gift two--that one I'm going to have to make--no questions there. That wasn't the solution I was thinking of.
For gift three--I CAN SHOP!!!!!!! The Secret Santa exchange is on Friday, December 14, and the "no spending ban" ends on Thursday, December 13. Whoo hoo! OK, it will not be the most thoughtful, well-planned gift I have ever given, and will, in fact, be purchased at Fred Meyer on the way home from work on the 13th, but I have only one gift to make!!!! YAY! I have NEVER been this excited about going to Fred Meyer in my life!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM.....
How do you bring anyone a gift, let alone 3, if you can't spend any money????? What idiot came up with the bright idea to do this during the holidays?!! Oh wait, that would be me.
I really, REALLY wanted to ask for an exemption on this one, but there is a family somewhere doing this for an entire YEAR and I can't last 3 measly days?????? No, we will work around this. I can make gifts--we will find a way!
Andy says if he didn't get an exemption for epoxy, I don't get one for Christmas gifts. On December 13 I will be buying the man a CASE of epoxy for Christmas. Ho ho ho.....
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
We have a few more details to sort out. Andy thinks that since we are calling it the "don't buy anything new month" that used things could count. I'm more of a stickler for "non acquisition." We hadn't thought about borrowing, though I did veto Andy's idea of giving someone ELSE the money and having them send him epoxy.
My biggest adjustment so far is not having errands to run at lunchtime. Generally, I refuse to go anywhere near a store on weekends, so I have long been in the habit of picking up anything that we need during the lunch hour on weekdays. Yesterday was positively disconcerting--I may actually sit down and have lunch with someone during all this free time!
Monday, November 12, 2007
NPR recently did a story about a family that decided to buy nothing new for an entire year. I believe they are writing a book on the subject, presumably with borrowed pencils and scrap paper. While we are adventurous, a year seemed a bit drastic, but we were certainly up for a month. So, today is DAY ONE.
Rules: food is exempted, as is toothpaste & the whole "personal care" product line. I realize shaving with an old razer blade for an entire month might indeed make a point, but I think that point would be "I am a very foolish person and I now need a blood transfusion."
Time: November 12 to December 12.
Last week we made a list of things we needed to acquire before the ban set in--the rest of the paint for the living room, paper for the printer, and our possessions decided to chip in with a few requests--Friday my curling iron simply exploded into non repairable pieces, and yesterday my 8-9 year old car battery decided it had lived quite long enough, getting in just under the wire. The VCR also seems to have expired recently, but that wasn't caught until this morning, so it missed the deadline and will simply not exist for the next month. Rather a bummer as I was taping a sewing show each week, and can't watch any of the existing sewing videos, but I am not going to cast off a resolution this early because the makers of JVC don't show much pride in their workmanship.
We are strong! We are committed! We will be taking EXTREMELY good care of the furnace this month......
Monday, November 5, 2007
2 hours later, I was one seam ahead of where I started out.
Step one: sew the sleeve hem in place, using a knit-friendly, ripping-out-hostile jagged seam, only to notice seconds later than I misread the directions and must rip out BOTH sleeve hems.
Step two: rip holes in fleece with seam ripper. Spend 20 minutes fixing holes with fabric glue & tweezers.
Step three: pin the sleeves correctly, sew hem. Sew cool decorative stitch using embroidery thread as described in the newest sewing book acquisition.
Step four: rip out decorative stitch that looks nothing like the pictures in the newest sewing book acquisition, and looks like embroidery done by a drug addict.
Step five: Still unwilling to do the suggested blanket stitch by hand, experiment with decorative threads in the serger, feeling VERY proud to have remembered to disengage the knives.
Step six: serge the edges
Step seven: rip out the serged edging, as it looks stupid and uneven.
Step eight: Admit that, for the day, the only thing I can successfully work in the sewing room is the CD player. Go get a nice, simple sock to knit.
Monday, October 22, 2007
* Some companies possess the chutzpah to tell employees their jobs are being outsourced to a foreign country, then ask the employees to stay on another eight months to help transition themselves out of their jobs.
* If you're from Idaho, "wide stance," "super tuber," and "I am not gay" will permanently be part of your life.
* The "Mystery Stole" does not get more attractive even after "time apart."
* Being able to shock a divorce/custody attorney with the antics of an ex-wife is the legal equivalent of having an operation that is so unusual that other doctors will want to observe.
* Sometimes sales requires going beyond persistence. Sometimes you have to be in it just for the sport
* There is a reason normal people rent Halloween costumes
* It is best to check the house for dead rodent/birds BEFORE the cleaning people arrive.
* You might as well test the "for better, for worse" part of the marriage vows early. Why live in suspense?
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Having hosted pajama parties, Christmas parties, soup parties, murder-mystery parties, birthday parties, going-away parties, and the most-notable "Farewell to the Orange Carpet" party (explanation for another blog entry), I have never hosted a true Halloween party, so this year the "no-parties" embargo is being lifted with a Halloween bash. In true over-achiever fashion, I am making our costumes--having fully recovered from the experience 2 years ago. I admit, I am deliriously proud of myself for starting AHEAD OF TIME . My costume--Dorothy of the Wizard of Oz (movie, not book)--is done, washed, and hanging in my closet where it has been for a month and a half. My smugness would be hard to live with if I hadn't saved the more difficult costume for October.....the Pirate.
I am sure that the Simplicity pattern company does not actually employ sadists who think that messing with people's minds is second in fun only to driving people to alcoholism....BUT, they may wish to reconsider the employment of some of the people who write directions for their patterns. Or, perhaps, let them spend time with the people who create the drawings to accompany the written instructions. I think they should at least introduce them. A nodding acquaintance might be helpful. The pants & shirt have so far been enough of a struggle that I am doing a prototype of the jacket before attempting the "real thing" in velveteen (a really unforgiving fabric). While fashions come-and-go, I didn't see Andy wanting two pirate coats, so there was no point in wasting good material for the prototype, so I found the most inexpensive fabric available at my local Joann fabrics--a print so ugly that I paid less than 50 cents a yard for:
Personally, I think it will look stunning as a pirate coat--possibly worthy of Elton John?????? Once he's senile?
Theo, of course, finds the whole costume-making project exhausting....
I'm not nervous just yet--the pants are almost done, the shirt was finished tonight, and I have 23 days to finish the jackets. I think, worse case scenario, Andy could go as a golfer pirate....We could even rent him out to miniature golf courses as an added attraction......
I'll have to run the idea past him.
Monday, September 17, 2007
It turns out, customs may be sexist.
Example one: Toni, taller than most residents of Mexico and paler than most residents of anywhere, has to keep filling out form after form on their honeymoon because she is traveling with a birth certificate and driver's license instead of a passport.
Example two: Andy, scruffy & seriously filthy after 10 days in the Canadian wilderness, reenters the US without even having to explain why he has a woman's passport and is asked only for his driver's license.
Don't get me wrong--I'm delighted they let him back into the country & will be really glad when he's home, but some tiny part of me is a little chapped that I seem to be the more suspicious character in this marriage.....
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The trip was going fine--they were seeing lots of the country, neither car had any problems, no big road construction--then Thursday Andy sent me the following text page:
"The passport I grabbed was yours! Fortunately, they let me into Canada anyway. Not sure if I will make it out again in ten days. Andy"
Canada must be a lot more relaxed than we are in the States, or perhaps gender-confused canoeists are high on their list of desirable immigrants. I text-messaged Andy back suggesting that he tell the border patrol that he went to Canada for a sex-change operation, and that the passport HAD been valid when he left. We'll see. So far my impression of the US Border Patrol is that they are singularly without a sense of humor.
I don't think I'm really a "worrier," but I am a double- and triple-checker. I would have checked to see if I had the right passport in, say, our own home. Maybe again on the outskirts of Boise. And probably one more time before getting to Minnesota. Definitely before Canada. Actually, I wouldn't have needed to check, because Andy's passport is a little creased, has stickers on it, and has obviously spent lots of time being carried around in back pockets. Mine is pristine. When I applied for a passport before our honeymoon to Cancun, mine was delayed until after our return because my first photo was rejected as being too "washed out." (One could actually argue that if I am THAT pale, there are only so many countries I could really belong to, which should lessen my need for a passport, but I digress....) By the time Kinko's took my picture a second time, assuring me that they had never before had a picture returned, and we resent my application, we had already traveled to & from Mexico with the aid of my birth certificate and driver's license. So, my passport is (was) without a crease, fold, sticker, or mark of any kind. I had rather assumed that I would be the one to use it on its christening adventure, but maybe my husband & passport will send me a postcard from Canada. Or several, as their stay may be indefinite!
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Then you notice the big things--the pattern is not just repetitive, it makes you want to remove your brain and beat it against the wall; Mr. Maybe is a boor who does everything really loudly, and condescendingly explains that to "patronize" means to talk down to, without seeing the obvious irony. Working on the project makes you want to stab someone with a knitting needle--being around Mr. Maybe makes you want to stab HIM with a knitting needle....
This is where Mystery Stole, currently referred to as the "beaded knitting abyss," and I are in our relationship right now. Most lace--in fact, most knitting, is repetitive. The problem is, I don't like the design. In knitting/dating, there has to be chemistry and I find the "wing" version about as attractive as Elmer Fudd on the dating front. Some people are just more open-minded than others--I never dated men with long hair, and I don't like asymmetrical projects. Not that there's anything wrong with either one, but they aren't for me.
Until I can be a bit more free-thinking, I have temporarily banished Beaded Knitting Abyss, and am making socks for Andy.
There are some relationships that are meant to last.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
The cats spent our first night alone squabbling over which one was going to sleep on my head. Last night Theo decided if Andy wasn't sleeping beside me, a mostly dead bird would be a good substitute. I'm not sure what that says about his opinion of Andy, but the cat & his gift were promptly locked out of the house. Since the bedroom windows were open, I was a bit worried that the neighbors might have heard my "I-have-just-rolled-over-onto-a-dead-bird"shriek, but I either live amongst heavy sleepers or they're not a very conscientious group....
Thursday, August 23, 2007
But, like many things, when you get a little closer, you start noticing
little pock marks all over. Some aren't even so little. Without admitting REALLY publicly what we spent on this item, let's just say that we are MUCH closer to a free flight with Southwest Airlines right now. For that amount of money, we're thinking we'd like to make our own dings in the thing.
Even thought I don't generally follow such things, even I realize that the "distressed" look is very big, though in my naiveté, I did not realize there was a subcategory called "distressed formal." While I will admit that hosting formal parties might be a bit stressful, I'd like our furniture to be able to take it in stride.
A gent from the store will be arriving on Saturday to either make arrangements to replace it or to take it back. Being so obviously not "with it," I did not know I should specify that I would prefer the non-beaten look. We will make sure we ask in the future.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
This is the fantasy.
Toni puts a frozen roast in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours and leaves for work. Andy gets home to find a large dog's chew toy in the slow cooker with 2 hours left to cook. While Andy is willing to attempt to consume anything Toni fixes, Toni is not willing to shoe leather and orders pizza for them.
Toni tries her favorite soup recipe in the slow cooker. Four hours later, the mulligatawny is lukewarm and the vegetable are only starting to soften. It's crunchy soup for lunch--and not in a good way.
A slow cooker recipe book suggests a chicken and rice dish, and following the directions exactly, Toni puts the rice and chicken in and leaves for work. She is greeted by chicken breasts in rice pudding. She calls it "British Cuisine" and serves it anyway. Desperation is, if not the mother, at least the great-aunt of fiction.
Thinking she has this figured out now, she puts the chicken in the slow cooker but asks Andy to add the rice when he gets home, leaving it two hours to cook before dinner. In a splendid show of nonconformity, this time the rice stays crunchy until 9:00 PM. Toni apologizes for the disparaging remarks she made about the inventor of the crockpot--she realizes he probably does not do things simply to "mess with people's heads."
Toni starts to develop a tick above her left eye every time she sees the works "easy" or "convenient" in reference to the slow cooker. While not ready to admit that she's getting her tail kicked by a kitchen appliance, she is willing to admit that they may need some time apart, and perhaps a little precooking counseling. In the meantime, she intends to see more of the cute little ice cream maker she found in the back cupboard.....
Sunday, August 12, 2007
OK, only one side is a wing.
The Mystery Stole's theme is Swan Lake, and the black stoles represent Odile, the daughter of the evil sorcerer, Von Rathbart, who turned the princess Odette into a swan in the first place.
I love ballet, took lessons for 10 years, and love Tchaikovsy's music. I love knitting and new challenges, and am so hooked on the beaded lace idea that I've been half tempted to add beads to everything I'm working on, which worries Andy as one of the projects is a sweater for him and while he may admit to being more in touch with his "feminine side" than most men, beaded clothes seem to fall in the "When He__ Freezes Over" category. HOWEVER, I now have a mostly-finished stole with, though it isn't supposed to be one, a rather evil-looking face on one side, and what will be a wing on the other end, representing an evil ballet character. It may be just me, but does that strike anyone else as being not very high on the gift-giving possibilities???
Our youngest cat, Prometheus (Theo for short), has apparently been so thrilled with the whole wing concept that he brought a small bird on Saturday, which he immediately released in the sewing room, and which my loving husband caught after racing up the stairs to see why his wife was shrieking like a banshee. Not to be outdone, the other cat, Calisto, promptly presented us with a grasshopper. Guess which cat received the catnip.....:)
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
This is my Mystery Stole so far:
I am using a "cobweb" yarn, which in nonknitting lingo means, "this knitter has obviously taken leave of her senses." Picture the Kate Moss of yarn and you get the idea. Shawls knitted in cobweb yarn are often so delicate that they can pass through a wedding ring. Mine will have to be blocked (picture the knitting equivalent of "the rack") before trying anything like that, but might be a future party trick at Chateau S-G.
The "theme" is still unknown (hence the "mystery stole" name, but speculation has been rampant. I'm not sure what everyone else's stole looks like, but looking at mine from the right angle......
I think mine looks like a face.
Now, we were told what size of beads to use, but the color choices were purely our own. I, thinking they would look cool, chose a blackish red. They do look cool, although with a red bead in each eye, I'm afraid my stole is looking a little....well.....demonic, frankly. Not that there aren't people who would appreciate that sort of look, but I just can't think which of my friends would consider glowing red eyes as a fashion option. Of course, this is not the actual theme, so perhaps when I learn the actual theme, I'll see something different. Maybe I can convince one of my friends that it's a friendly red-eyed face.....
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
9. It might be lonely to go to the bathroom without at least one cat.
8. How else would I be known as God of the Doors?
7. Because finding a mouse that somebody lost interest in as it scurries out of the laundry room is REALLY invigorating.
6. If all your furniture is covered in cat hair, you have an instant decor scheme.
5. Otherwise, a house without children would be too calm & quiet.
4. I wouldn't realize how positively frightening the lawn mower, vacuum, garbage trucks, and my husband actually are.
3. I might not realize how many of my possessions are simply toys in disguise.
2. I would not know the difference between mice and voles.
1. Nothing says Love like a dead mouse in the bed.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I downloaded Clue 1, dug out some black laceweight yarn & began. And hit
Problem #1: My smallest crochet hook was too large to be able to thread the beads with.
Next day: Visit to a yarn shop to find the smallest crochet hook they have. Get waylaid by some lovely rosewood needles. Leave $30 behind, but emerge victorious
Arrive home. New crochet hook STILL too large. Decide to not waste anymore gas driving around trying to find minuscule crochet hooks that no one is likely to carry anyway as they are too small to crochet with anything bigger than thread. Go online and order an even tinier crochet hook AND new beads (not taking any chances now), followed by several bead options just in case I didn't like my first choice of beads, and frankly because I was having lots of fun. $35 later, and my beads and hook are on their way.
Three days later: Victorious! The new hook will work, and the reddish black beads will be lovely on the black. Added bonus: they are amazingly aerodynamic. When trying to wrest the plastic lid off the cylinder they came in, I was able to scatter them into every corner of the sewing room. Luckily I only need half the container. Unluckily, that is all I can how locate.
A week later:
Toni: Son of a B@$#)!
Andy (from another room): What happened?
Toni: I just scattered beads all over the living room
Andy: I thought hobbies were supposed to be relaxing
Toni: I am relaxed, damnit! (muttering as she crawls around on the floor) Stupid beads!
Andy (in the interests of marital harmony): (silence)
Today: I am in the "slow" group. I am still working on Clue 1 and Clue 4 will be released on Friday. Several overachievers regularly post pictures of the progress they have made on the 3 mystery shawls they are making simultaneously, and debate whether to regrout their kitchens or retile their bathrooms while they wait for the next clue. I am growing as a person and will not think evil thoughts about them. It isn't difficult knitting, but it is "fussy" knitting. In order to work on it, I must have at least 30-40 minutes to make any real progress, because 15 minutes of every session is devoted to picking up beads from wherever I have currently launched them before I can start knitting. Still, at some future point in time, I will have a shawl beaded with the most aerodynamic beads ever created--and hopefully I'll like it!
Since we hadn't had a weekend to ourselves since our honeymoon in November, I decided that an extended weekend trip was in order, and started looking for potential destinations. Since Andy's birthday is in July, “north” seemed like a good general direction, and I settled on
In a big dramatic moment, Andy found out where we were headed when I checked our bags in with the Skycap. OK, not very dramatic, but with the tightened security in airports, trying to arrange a surprise or making oneself stand out in any way seems like a good way to end up on a surprise vacation hosted by the TSA and Federal Marshals.....
Since our hotel was in downtown Seattle, we were able to walk down to Pike Street Market Friday afternoon, where Andy got to see the famous chuck-a-fish stand (which is fun on vacation, but I think I’d be seriously annoyed if Fred Meyer started throwing my fish orders at me…), we enjoyed coffee & crumpets, bought several flavored jellies we are hoping will be good with fish and chicken, watched street musicians, and generally reveled in the feeling of being on vacation while everyone else is at work.
Saturday morning we got up early, went to Pike Street Market for breakfast, then walked to
Sunday evening we went on theSpirit of Washington dinner train—a 3 ½ hour excursion involving a 45-minute stop at the Columbia Winery, which doesn’t actually give you time for the tour, tasting, and subsequent wine purchasing that I think they intended, but I don’t think anyone was left behind. We shared our table with a young couple who were obviously newly dating—she seemed to be embarrassed by everything she said or did, and he was tentatively progressing from holding her hand to an arm around her shoulder. There are perks to getting older.
Monday we started the day with the “Ride the Duck” tour—an amphibious tour of
and costume changes by Captain Dan. Perhaps the most memorable part was quacking at passers-by with our duck whistles. Oddly, when Andy picked up our tickets, he managed to not get a duck whistle for himself. I suppose when it’s your birthday, you are
allowed to spend the day sans all fowl-themed noisemakers, but I reserve the right to reintroduce the duck whistle at a future time….
The next stop was the Space Needle, including a wonderful lunch in the restaurant that rotates above the city. Children amused themselves (and us) by leaving messages on the window sills & waiting for others to reply.
(If something seems wrong with these pictures, it’s probably the idea of sun in
At the base of the Space Needle are 2 museums courtesy of Paul Allen (Microsoft): the Experience Music Project and the Science-Fiction Museum & Hall of Fame. $15 gets you in to both. $15 gets you in to one. Amazingly, we went to both.
Depending on who you ask, the EMP may be a tribute to Jimi Hendrix. Depending on how much alcohol you have consumed, the building is supposed to resemble smashed-up guitars. Viewing it from the ground, from the road, from the back, and from the Space Needle, it looks like a big, metallic blob. Inside the blob, you can make your own recording, try different guitars, and buy non-Starbucks coffee.
Yep, the bathroom sign. It’s the only picture I took in the entire museum.
Not perhaps the most picturesque way to end our adventure, but maybe it’s appropriate for our life together—it includes all possibilities……
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