Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Tracy

And I almost forgot!
Happy Birthday wishes go out to Tracy!
She's turning the big 3-0 today.
Guess what she did this past weekend - went skydiving.
Here she is getting her gear checked:

And there she is up in the sky - that little speck:

What a way to close out your 20s.
Happy Birthday - enjoy your 30s!

Exciting Syllabus News

You say the word "syllabus" and some people start falling asleep and drooling.
That's because they are bored to tears by the very thought of school.
Not me, I love a first day.
And I love the end when the final paper or project is turned in and you look forward to the next semester.
It's the middle that really sucks.
Mostly I love getting my new books.
They always hold so much promise.
It's amazing.
So last night we got our iPods - how cool is that???
We don't get to keep them - we turn them in when the semester is over - but we will be uploading music during the course and other files. It is still kind of a work in progress thing, but I have to tell you I just love my professor.
Not in a girl-crush kind of way - no - but because she's so enthusiastic about children's and young adult literature. And she sees this course as a learning opportunity for her too.
Way cool.
The books we read this semester (and this is for you Caroline Cool):

The Catcher in the Rye
A Room with a View
Weetzie Bat
Out of the Dust
Girl with a Pearl Earring
About a Boy
145th Street

Meg, my professor, said that the books are not that onerous because she wants us to really focus on the media. I know that this list does not contain 20 Newberry winners, like Caroline had to read for her class but this is a pretty good cross-section of books dealing with disaffected youth and problems girls encounter. If you haven't already read Speak, you should. It's not a long book - none of these are really - but what happens to the female protagonist is devastating. Kids - and boys - can be cruel. We're also reading an excerpt from Reviving Ophelia which I read years ago when DN1 was younger. And to her credit she is a science major! If you've read the book you'll know this is an enormous achievement and she is going against the grain of society.
That's my girl!
Anyway the grad students have to provide a presentation to the class called "Bandleader Presentations." We have to prepare a 30 minute presentation about a particular book, identify and upload songs from that period, identify slang or fashion associated with the music, and so on. Out of 8 grad students only 5 were there last night. I so wanted to sign up for Persepolis - because the music of that period is punk/Iron Maiden/Kim Wilde/Michael Jackson (those last three are mentioned specifically in the text). A veritable cross-section from one spectrum of music to the other. Plus I remember the fall of Iran - one of those viable memories from when I was 15 or 16. And then later I served with two Marines who were held hostage by the Iranians after the fall of the Embassy, so that time means something to me.
So after we all started making choices, guess who shouted out, "I'll take Persepolis!"
(Obnoxious older student that I am.)
I'm so psyched.
If you haven't read Persepolis, get to a library or bookstore and read it.
It is a graphic novel (yes, meaning like a comic strip) and should take you 1 1/2 hours - or 2 if the kids are interrupting.
Anyway, enough exciting news about books.
Now it is time to get ready for work.
What a drag.
Perhaps later I'll actually have knitting photos.
Wouldn't that be something!

Monday, August 27, 2007

The 9-Month Long Beer Pong Tourney Has Officially Begun

Classes are in session starting today and the college students are back.
Friday was mayhem - both during the day as the students moved in and then Friday night as the partying began.
Beer pong tables were taken out of storage, plastic cups placed just so on the table, and there was a run on ping pong balls at Wal-Mart.
Not to mention the amount of beer that was consumed, as well as the traffic through town going to buy said beer. I'm sure only by students who are 21, of course.
Last night I was outside about 10:00 PM and I thought I was in the midst of a controlled burn.
And I'm not talking controlled burning of forests or shrub areas, but that other kind of controlled burn where the substance is still not quite legal.
Yup, they're back.
I'll have to check with Sheri to see if her son got moved into his room.
My YA literature class starts tonight - I'll let you know the reading list, once I get the books.
Just in case anyone is interested.
I know Caroline would be - because she's cool like that.
I do know that my course is "plugged in" so we'll be accessing and uploading stuff via iTunes University.
I'm anxious to see how that will work out -- I feel so cutting edge!
Purchased some yarn on Saturday but I've been too busy knitting (Yea!) to take any pictures.
Talk to you later!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Doing What Makes You Feel Good

There are several things in life that can make you feel really good.
This is a clean, family blog, so no we're not going there.
(Pointing a finger at Jean, Sheri and Kat.)
I'm talking about two specific things that really work wonders:

Buying new lipstick
Coloring your hair (which you know I desperately need to do)

Okay, the list could continue with things like having a good mail day, buying new yarn, making significant strides on a project - well you get the picture.
Yesterday was a hard day at work.
Not bad, just very busy and I know I'm going to have to get in there early today in order to get some things accomplished before a meeting with my boss at 10:00.
But tomorrow is Friday and then next weekend is Labor Day - so that's all good, I have a class starting on Monday (Young Adult Literature) and SN2 made the Varsity soccer team at school yesterday - he's totally psyched about that and we're all very proud of him.
Where did my summer go?
I do have a point to this post -- it is to tell you about my crappy day and how I made it better.
I bought some new lipstick at Macy's!
This is exactly why you are tuning in here, right?
Doubt it - but bear with me - I need to purge my bad day and this is the best way I know how.
So here it is -- it's Lancome Femme Magnetic and it is really not as dark as it looks:So when I go to work today, things will be looking up for me and I will feel strong and powerful mostly because of the armor I wear (which is really my new lipstick).
If I really want to feel powerful today I can always wear my Bee Goddess necklace:
Well I don't know, I don't need to run the world, just find a way to get through Thursday.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Transferring the Curse

So my knitting curse has been lifted!
Well at least with regards to my Chevron Scarf.
I haven't knit on that in over four weeks, primarily because something was wrong, I hate tinking, and the operator has an error.
How did my knitting curse get transferred?
Well the way I figure it, it is because my microwave died.
Major Knitter gave me this microwave in 2002 - do you remember that?
It has worked perfectly since then, but all of a sudden it started sparking - on the inside.
And before you ask, no, there was no aluminum foil or anything metal inside.
I think it just went the way of all good microwaves in their planned obsolescence years....it died.
We are now sans microwave, but I want to see how long we can go without one.
There has been a microwave in our household since DH and I bought our first one in 1985.
We don't use it much anymore except for reheating food and cooking frozen vegies.
Of course SN2 doesn't care about my experiment - he wants his Hot Pockets! - so he wants a microwave now!!!
We'll see.
Anyway, that's my theory about the lifting of my curse.
You may scoff and say, oh it was just hard work, studying the pattern and the knitting, and plenty of patience.
I say you are wrong!
My microwave took the bullet for my crappy knitting skills and volunteered itself up as a sacrifice for the greater good of my Chevron Scarf.
Good old Emerson.
We'll miss you.
I do have to find some way to fix my other screwed up projects.
Hmmm....how long do you think we could live without our refrigerator???

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Things Your Hairdresser May Say

Things your hairdresser may say that you just don't want to hear:

"Wow, look at all that white in there!"

Followed by:

"Now that it's shorter all those white hairs won't show as much."


Monday, August 20, 2007

My Awesome Consumer Power Has Caused the Summer To Come To An End

We live in a very old house.
150 years old to be exact.
You would think with the 10 foot ceilings the air would circulate rather well and it wouldn't be quite so hot in the summer.
At least that was my rationale, because it is so tit-freezing cold in the winter that I thought, well we'll have it nice in the summer.
Apparently not.
The hot air just gets trapped inside the house and all one can do is sit on the couch and sweat like a pig. (And for me, bemoan my lack of knitting ability. Again.)
Or we could go hang out in the basement but I'm not going down there. Never.
So we got the opportunity to buy two used air conditioning units for $45. They are only one year old and the guy who sold them to us is a friend of my mother's and he bought them for his house last year and then this year decided to get central air.
We only put one air conditioner in the window in the living room because it started getting kind of chilly and we thought, well as soon as it warms up we'll install the other.
Since then we've run it twice.
It works, yes, without a doubt it cools the room.
But the thing is, Mother Nature has taken care of ending summer here, and I think she is putting the blame on Mame. Or us.
We purchased air conditioners, ergo, she let summer come to an end.
And it's only August!!
As I sit here in my living room at 6:00 in the morning I know that it is only 59 degrees outside (because The Weather Channel told me so).
Looks like we're not living in the South anymore, Toto.
Yesterday felt like a mid-September day and if I'm not mistaken it is still mid-August, right?
I don't know, I just can't figure it out.
Do we need a jump-start on winter? Perhaps Mother Nature thinks so but I don't.
Because it's not like our winters are unnecessarily harsh or anything!

(For the record, this is actually a picture of the Oswego area, and they are around the lake from us about 100 miles or so. They get dumped on because they are at the eastern-most tip of Lake Ontario. We do get a lot but we're south of Ontario province and get a lot of the residual Canadian snow, but not necessarily "dumped on." Sometimes it just depends on what county you live in. Regardless, I'll still take the blame for the early end of summer. I'm sure it has to be my fault somehow.)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Anxiously Awaiting the Sequel

How many of you out there will be watching High School Music 2 tonight?
I have a date with my daughter to watch it.
My son is going over to a girl's house to watch it with her, although why she couldn't come over here is beyond me.
(Perhaps because his mother is crazy? That could be it. And probably because her house is cleaner than ours.)
I'd love to know how many households will be tuned in and watching the romance between Troy and Gabriella.
Sad that I even know their names, right?
But I have a date in front of the television tonight at 8:00 with DN2.
DH doesn't know it yet but so does he.
Why? Because we're all in this together.
Ha ha ha!!!

I seriously crack myself up.
(If you don't get this reference then you need to get out to the video store or tune in to Disney Channel and watch High School Musical the first.)
While it's on I'll be working on either some cross stitch or burning sage and removing pins from a voodoo doll in order to break my knitter's curse.
Any big plans this weekend?
After the big premiere tonight I'll be catching up on Ryan's Hope, watching movies and grocery shopping for my mother.
And as for cleaning - What's that?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Remembering Elvis and 1977

I remember 1977.
August 16, 1977 to be exact.
Elvis was dead.
We were on our way to Boston to see my oldest brother get married.
The two events are connected forever in my mind - being in Boston in 1977 and Elvis being dead.
Now I was never a fan of Elvis' music but you couldn't help reading about it in the papers as they dissected the death of a legend...of the King!
Back then my taste in music ran more to Z Z Top, the Stones, Alice Cooper and The Beatles.
I've always been eclectic to say the least -- I even used to sing along with Mitch Miller!
But not to Elvis.
I didn't really appreciate the music of Elvis and it just wasn't cool to say you liked him. At least not in my town, and not if you were me.
His movies, on the other hand, I adored.
Viva Las Vegas anyone?
But I still didn't really talk about it.
Watching Elvis movies was something that you did on quiet Sunday afternoons back in the day when we had only 3 television stations, monster movies every Saturday afternoon and Hee Haw on Saturday night.
But now that I am older I can appreciate the magic of Elvis and realize the sadness surrounding how he lived...and died.
So here we are 30 years later remembering Elvis, remembering 1977, and for me at least, thinking about Boston.
Take a listen to my favorite Elvis tune and let a legend (with a little remix) help you get your day started.

Ken - Pass on a Big Hello to everyone in Boston!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Snail Mail Day

I was just over looking at pictures on my friend Caroline's blog and I left a comment letting her know I had received her package.
She sent me a book over a week ago and I was remiss in not letting her know immediately that I had received it.
Shame on me - 20 push ups as punishment.
But really I wanted to send her a letter and thank her.
And I have, because I love sending and receiving letters.
How many of you miss receiving letters in the mail?
I know that the immediacy of email is fantastic and we are really able to connect with people all over the world but I do miss coming home and finding a letter waiting for me.
I still do get some from, and send them to, my elderly aunts, but at 86 and 93 how much longer will they be writing to me?
Sometimes it is nice to sit down with some good stationery and a nice pen and write a letter.
My friend Joani sent DN2 a card the other day. Joani makes her own cards and they are gorgeous! I try but it's really just me, a stamp and some colored pencils - I could rip out a page from a coloring book and it would be about the same. But Joani has ribbon and attachments and stamps and her artistic placement of these is lovely.
So Joani sent DN2 a card just because.
And we live in the same town!
I thought it was a wonderful gesture, and DN2 got a kick out of it too.
Anyway, I propose that we all sit down and write a letter (or send a card) to someone - anyone - and just make their day.
It doesn't have to be long, just a note to say you're thinking of that person.
With all the bills we get in the mail it is always nice to have a good mail day, even when it arrives via snail mail.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Something to Remember

Whether you agree with the war in Iraq or not, this is something important to remember (emphasis mine):

"I am upset with my actions over there for not stopping what happened, but at the same time, I don't think you guys understand what is going on over there," he said. "This is a war, and the other side, they don't have rules. When we do finally get the intelligence and we do have enough to get someone, it's very rare to actually catch them in the act." Cpl Marshall Magincalda

Ideas on foreign policy are clean, safe and idealistic when they take place from the comfort of an armchair, but let's not forget that there are men and women in uniform making decisions, some right, some wrong, in the midst of chaos. Let's remember that as we head out for a safe, fun-filled weekend and say a prayer for all those serving in harm's way.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

She Gets a Commission, I'm Still in the Red

So my youngest daughter is making bracelets.
She's only 8 and using stretchy cord to tie them up, but I think she shows a surprising talent for putting colors and textures together.
I'm a bit biased anyway.
But last month she and I went out to dinner at TGIFriday's with my friends Jean and Sheri.
All we did was laugh throughout the entire dinner and DN2 became enamored of these friends of mine. After all they were FUN!
And they both wanted her to make them bracelets.
Right after the dinner (which was at the mall) DN2 and I went over to Michael's and she picked out some more beads.
Ergo, there's me going into the red spending the money, but hell it's a creative, crafty activity and beats playing XBox 360 games.
So then she kept bugging me asking, "When are we going to give Jean and Sheri their bracelets?"
I took a couple of days off to spend with her, although yes I do have other children but none of the others are quite as concerned with monopolizing my time. Anyway we made plans for Monday to go out to the hospital where Jean and Sheri work, have lunch and deliver their bracelets to them.
All DN2 did was laugh throughout lunch.
And marvel at the fact that Jean and Sheri know everyone in the hospital (except the patients).
So it was good fun.
But it was during lunch that DN2 realized she was a paid artist as Jean and Sheri both gave her a commission for making their bracelets.
She was thrilled!
Did any of that money go back to good old mom who is footing the bill for the beading supplies?
No, but that's okay.
There's an arts and crafts festival this weekend.
Maybe I can get her to set up a table and recoup my investment.

Monday, August 06, 2007

My Crap Yarn Cup Runneth Over

So it's Saturday night and what do you do?
If you're me (and trust me you don't want to be) you organize your yarn.
And that's what I did this past Saturday.
I decided enough was enough, I was tired of digging through X number of plastic bins to find something and then not being in control of my stash.
I sorted it according to those high standards of mine:

One bin for crap yarn - anything made entirely of acrylic

The exception being - one bin for novelty yarn

(And yes, I'm counting mohair as novelty and not wool. This is the Julie Decimal System, deal with it.)

And the other exception being the one bin for LionBrand yarn - some of this may be "crap" yarn, but it should be sorted separately; don't ask me why, that's just what my Saturday evening, wrapped up in listening to The Prisoner of Azkaban brain told me to do

Then a bin for wool - and this is primarily 100% wool, not wool blend

A bin for lace yarn - I really, really need to start knitting lace (first step, get organized - Check!)

A bin for kitchen cotton - because as Purl says, sometimes when your knitting is jinxed or cursed, knit a dishrag!

There's a bin for cotton - like KnitPicks cotton, etc.

And finally a bin for sock yarn - lovely, lovely sock yarn - it's a small container, but filled with some jewels - now I just need to get busy

From all this work I realized several things.
One, I have some really nice yarn, and my stash is not necessarily out of control just not exhibitive of well-planned purchases.
Two, I really need to find another book that helps me deal with those odd bodkins* - the single skeins of Homespun - honestly, how many scarves can I knit for bus drivers?
Three, my crap yarn cup truly runneth over - I can't even get the lid on this bin!
But at least I'm organized and can now find what I need in the future.
As long as I can remember how I categorized everything.

*Yes, I know this is not the correct usage of this idiom but I felt like throwing it in there. Please do not sic the grammar police on me.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A Plethora of Buttons

When I was growing up my grandmother used to have an old Singer sewing machine and one of the drawers was filled with buttons.
I used to love running my fingers through the buttons and I've always wanted my own collection.
I don't know how to sew, I'm sorry to say, but I'd like to have the buttons just so I could play with them.
My apologies in advance for the blurry pictures, but here are some pretty buttons I found on sale at Wal-Mart with which I am starting my collection:

And these are for whenever I get around to making someone a sweater:

I got these because you just never know when you can use shell buttons or plain plastic ones:

The shell ones in the middle would actually work for a felted handbag.
I had to go on eBay to find buttons I thought would work for my first felted bag.
First I found an old button that looked like it might work:

It really doesn't.
This next one has a dragonfly on it:

It's not really what I was looking for.

This one is what I was looking for.
It's not as big as I thought it would be but even still the colors are perfect.
And no, it is not embedded into Benno's fur.

This is the bag in question.

I think Benno agrees with my button choice.
Now as long as he doesn't shed all over my bag...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Looks Like We're Going, Sheri

DN1 went on the internet before 10:00 this morning and was able to buy two VIP tickets to see Tori Amos in Syracuse.
Tickets went on sale at 10:00 and DN1 was there pushing buttons making sure we got ours.
Don't ask how much it cost, you don't want to know.
But we got them before the network crashed, which happened when they were on sale last week.
This will be our third time out seeing Tori in concert.
It should be an excellent time.
Now we just have to wait for October to roll around.

Update: 10 minutes later all the tickets were gone.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Another Year Older

Happy Birthday, John.
This one's for you.

Ballard Street