May 9, 2011

6 Months Old!

So........ hi.


I have no excuse other than...

Ooh, look! Pictures!

For Mother's Day, Schondy and the Schondy Tot did a photo shoot. I was there, but I was just the costume and props lady. Anyway. Pictures.

With the Easter Bunny Grandma Judy sent

Easter outfit 1

Easter outfit 2

Easter outfit 3


Yo, ho, ho and your little dog, too!


Surrounded by Lubies

Lulu's never been very good at keeping her tongue to herself.

Hiding under the blanket Mama knit.


Ooh! Blanket!

August 12, 2010

Apologies and puppies

You probably noticed that I'm a few days late with this update. Okay, maybe YOU didn't, but some people did. All I can say is that I'm sorry, but I can't guarantee it won't happen again. Life happened and continues to happen, which is ultimately a very good thing.

And to make it up to you that I missed my usual post time, here's a video of a very cute puppy. Because everyone likes puppies, right? Especially when the puppy thinks she's getting away with something. We keep Lulu's treats in this cabinet and I was getting something out of there and left the door open. Lulu decided that was an open invitation to check out "the source". She's going after a bag of what we call "triangles of happiness" that are just cured pig ears. She loves them. The other bag has what we call "pork rollups", which is exactly what it sounds like. I chopped out the first half of the video, which was much the same. But I will call your attention to the madly-wagging tail, which I thought was officially the cutest thing ever.

See? Don't you feel better?

In other news, Mom and Dad came to visit 3 weeks ago, our mailbox finally got repaired 2 weeks ago, and we started childbirth class this week. And because it's the end of the day and almost the end of a very long week, here's the belly pictures. Discuss.




And just because I love this picture:

Three generations, all together.

July 18, 2010

Okay, so maybe I'm nesting.

Things have been busy around here lately. Not in the "we have a thousand things to do" way, but in the "I just completed my fifty-bajillionth little project" way. I suppose that's the very definition of nesting, I just have to confess that I never really thought it would happen to me, and I certainly never though it would take this particular form... not that I'm complaining.

So I've been a veritable fount of handmade things the last few weeks, resulting in some (possibly) surprising... ahem... supplies for the baby and for its parents. First, we went to the Maker Faire, which always does amazing things for my crafty mojo. It's always a little bit playing with fire to go to the Maker Faire because it always makes me want to quit my job and just go... make things. And this year was no exception, really.

There was a booth there (I think it's there every year) with walls and walls of patches with all kinds of pirate-y sayings and silly little things. And every year, Schondy and I poke at them and have a grand time laughing at them. So it was inevitable that eventually we'd actually buy something:

Because really, What Would Cthulhu Do?

The bag on the left is Schondy's sometimes-camera bag, the one on the right is my backpack. And the patch that's not attached to anything will adorn a bag or other item belonging to our offspring. Because we can pretty much guarantee that this kid is going to be special.

So after we found all these great patches, I was inspired to give patch-making a go myself. I'd seen a great tutorial on patches over at my FAVORITE machine embroidery website, Urban Threads and figured I could use that to guide me. I tried out their tutorial first, mostly because the sample project featured an amazing design that I definitely could get behind:

Yarrrrn. That is all.

And it was so much fun and so easy, that my creative juices just exploded all over the house and everything/one in it, resulting in a few more goofy little things. If they make no sense, it's because you don't know the story. Ask me about it some other time when I'm not staring at a 20-page blog entry already. Anyway, all of these are my own personal custom creations and I'm pretty pleased with almost all of them. If you can't figure out which one is totally messed up, I'm not going to tell you which one it is. :)

Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a picture of an emu?

Craft felt is my new favorite thing ever.

As long as I was doing embroidery anyway, I'd had my eye on this adorable little mousy ever since it was posted over at Urban Threads (did I mention I love them?), and I'd grabbed a pile of plain onesies to customize, so this is what happened:

Note the gender-neutral green. Still cute, even though it's not pink like it's supposed to be, huh?

THEN I was talking to Sapphire about... I dunno... probably babies, shockingly enough... and she mentioned that a lot of her cloth baby wipes were just plain rectangles of flannel with the edges serged and that it probably wouldn't be hard to make some. So I hied myself off to JoAnn, figuring they'd have some pre-cut fat quarters of flannel that I could turn into cheap and cute reusable baby wipes. And I was right. 2 hours later, behold the monster stack of baby wipes for the low, low price of $0.18 per wipe:

I know they're pink. I'm a girl, even if the baby isn't.

I complained a bit about the pink wipes, but if I'm being honest, I used them up because of all the fabric I got, that was the stuff I liked the least. I did them first, so if I messed it up, I wouldn't care. But they turned out fine, so now I have pink and brown baby wipes. Whatever works, I guess.

A while back, I decided I wanted to use glass baby bottles because of all the recent news and whatnot about the frightening contents and effects of plastic baby bottles. Mostly, bottle manufacturers have certified that the bottles are safe and they've removed the scary chemicals, but I kind of feel like you can't be too safe, and I'm okay with paying a dollar more for glass bottles. But I'm also a klutz with tile and hardwood floors, so I'm using up some of my sock yarn to knit baby bottle cozies! I improvised the pattern and haven't decided if I'm sold on that particular style of tie around the top, but this was my first try and I figure I should probably crank out at least one or two more. So I have a chance to make it better:

Ugliest. Yarn. Ever. But the cozy is kind of cute.

I cranked through a quick gift for a swap buddy on Ravelry and it's so cute that I think I might need to make another one and I swear if I didn't know, I'd think it was an heirloom from 3 generations back (really proud of this one) - but that could just be the style. It's pretty old-fashioned, but I do think there are some things that just don't go out of style. I'll be shipping this off to Canada next week along with some California-made caramels for my mommy-to-be swap buddy:

Mmmm. Organic Cotton is so pretty.

And finally (we're getting to the pictures of me in just a second - I promise), I made the baby a blanket. Grandmama said that the baby must have a white baby blanket, and I was more than happy to oblige, turning out my "Ode to Short Rows" over the course of a little more than a month. I cast on the first day we went to the Maker Faire and finished it July 3. I'm so pleased with it. It did turn out quite a bit bigger than I expected, but I figure that's better than having something too small to do anything with. I don't think the picture does it justice, if I do say so myself:

Short rows for days! And days!

Most importantly, I worked all the last few weeks on making a baby. So here's the pictures you REALLY wanted to see:




May 15, 2010

The return of angry cat and other miscellany

In an effort to talk about things other than my expanding waistline (yes, I'll talk about that, too), I've tried to think of what else is going on around Chez Schondy, and I have to just confess that there's not a lot. We're both working too much (as usual), and life continues its usual course, though at the moment we have a house guest.

Jayne, four-legged fuzzy child of Sapphire and Xippy, is staying with us while they're off supervising the high school graduation of Xippy's brother. Jayne is still, even after 2 pervious visits, convinced that she's going to lose her hide while she's asleep. We keep telling her that we've had many opportunities and haven't taken advantage of it yet, but she continues to howl in the middle of the night in hopes of being rescued from this awful place. So we call her "Angry Cat" and she says she hates us. But after 6 days, she's decided that maybe we're not entirely evil and we've even caught her playing with Deliah, but mostly only when she thinks we're not watching.

This weekend is the A La Carte and Art Festival in Mountain View. It's a great place for birthday and holiday shopping because all the vendors are local artists, so everything is one of a kind and unique, which always makes me happy.

Next weekend is the Bay Area Maker Faire and Schondy and I are planning to go. It's also pretty awesome. We usually end up going both days because there's just no way to see the whole thing in one day. When we started going a few years ago, there were lots of people, but it wasn't really that bad. Now, though, it's gotten so big that the crowds are CRAZY, so we try to go early, before the hoards descend.

Anyway, for those of you who are in to such things, we'd love to have to you come visit and go festival hopping with us next year. :)

And now for the pictures, which I'm posting at the <ahem> gentle suggestion of my Mom. (Hi, Mom!) This week appears to be when my little passenger has decided to make his/her presence visible to people other than me. Went to the doctor yesterday and heard the heartbeat, but otherwise, it was the quickest appointment ever. And that's really all I have to report on that front.




January 5, 2010

Called Out!

As if I didn't feel guilty enough about not posting, I have officially been called out. Here I was hoping that I was the only one who'd noticed my lack of progress on my blog and it turns out my audience had gone wanting for updates. I feel terrible. But my loyal fanbase wants pictures of people and I aim to please.

So we went to the Renaissance Faire in Casa de Fruita, just like we do every year. It was, as always, loads of fun and amazing to look at, if nothing else. I found this awesome hat that was super warm and just a little funky. But I wasn't prepared to pay for it what the shop was asking, so I got Schondy to snap a quick shot of it for me to copy it. And I did. But here's the original.

Baby Bee is growing like a weed and was fascinated by all the goings-on at the Faire. Many people complimented us on the lifelike motions and cuteness of the "hand puppet" in our midst. She was a trooper, that's for sure.

I also fell in love with this hat, but didn't buy it either. I've since remedied that situation at the Dickens Christmas Fair, where I found a much more reasonably priced version that looks almost the same and is perfect for my needs.

Schondy found a flying squirrel puppet at a booth with lots of cute little animals. These were particularly great because a lot of them had fully articulated wings/heads/arms depending on how the real animal moves. The flying squirrel was just cute.

And then, at some point between October and Christmas, I had to work on days that Schondy didn't, and he thought a good motivational tool would be to send me pictures of the babies looking sad and bored. I can't say it motivated me to work more and instead just made me sad and want to leave work early. And now we have photographic proof that Deliah doesn't hate the dog nearly as much as she might let on.

...And then there was Christmas. We both felt pretty strongly that we didn't want a chopped-down Christmas tree, and our original plan was to get a Japanese Maple to use for decoration. We have tried twice to plant a Japanese Maple in our back yard, and twice we've failed. So we were thinking we'd get a small tree, decorate it with ornaments and then plant it in the yard in the spring. But given the time of year, this turned out to be not such a great plan on account of Maples losing their leaves in winter. But we still didn't want to buy a dead tree. So we ended up with a couple Dwarf Canadian Spruce trees - two of them because they were so small - that looked absolutely beautiful and will have a permanent home somewhere in the yard as soon as the weather gets warmer.

We had some company at Christmas - Schondy's family came to stay with us for a few days and on Christmas day we had a little Guitar Hero party with our family and the Neighbors' family after we had a big Christmas feast. Mark was quite sure he was going to be terrible at Guitar Hero, but we assured him he'd be better than at least half the people present and he played a couple rounds.

It was so great to see family we haven't seen in ages - the last time we saw Schondy's family was the Christmas right before we got Lulu and she just turned 3. But Lulu took right to her "Grandma" and I daresay the feeling was mutual.

So that's what's been going on. I've been knitting like a fool, but I've also been informed that not everyone finds my knitting as fascinating as I do, so I'm going to make a point of trying to post other stuff from time to time. I'm not saying I'll do very well, but I'll give the ol' college try.

August 7, 2008

Email Forwards - The Interweb's Fruitcake

Okay. So I work all day long on a computer, writing documents, sending email, surfing the Interweb, blogging, whatever. And I get a lot of email. Like... a lot of email. You wouldn't believe how much. Some of it's spam (happily, my spam filter is pretty good), some of it's bulk things that I don't really read much, and some of it's actually useful (yay!). But there's another category - the dreaded Email Forward - that I actually get very little of, which is fine with me.

Email Forwards are those silly little stories or jokes or self-help lists that people generally send around to friends and family to brighten days and generally interrupt the flow of actual work getting done.

Now, my objection to Email Forwards is not necessarily the same as everyone else's. Basically, most people find them irritating just for being. I cannot stand the wacky formatting that seems to be a requirement. I don't object to the content itself, but GEEZ, OH, PETE, PEOPLE! Does every single one have to be in cursive, pink font with 3-inch tall letters? Seriously? Do you think that adds gravity to the fluffy story you're sending? Really? And do you really neeeeeeed to show me a complete history of exactly how this story landed in your inbox (and, subsequently, mine)? I'm talking about the list of forward addresses at the top of the page. Really - I don't need to know the email addresses of all the ladies in your afternoon Mom-n-Kids group.


So I got an Email Forward a couple days ago from a family member that I actually thought was pretty cute, so I've removed the wacky formatting and the email addresses and the 10,000 "Hey, thought you'd find this uplifting" messages that also seem to accompany each story. And I'm not even going to ask you to forward this along to 10 of your closest friends. :-)

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named 'Lucky.' Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.

Mary or Jim would go to Lucky's toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky's other favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It hap pened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this fact , she was just sure it was fatal.

She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her...what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary's dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won't understand that I didn't want to leave him. The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable.

Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home , Mary was so exhausted she couldn't even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap. Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn't come to her when she called. It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.

When Mary woke for a second she couldn't understand what was wrong. She couldn't move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life. He had covered her with his love.

July 1, 2008

Look, Ma! No love handles!

Check it out! Schondy and I took Lulu to the beach!

So Schondy has had something of a job change, and it has meant a lot more time for him spent down south of home, in Scott's Valley. The new office just happens to be nice and close to Santa Cruz - one of the many beautiful little ocean-side towns in this area. This week, Schondy and I are both on vacation, but he had to go into the office on Monday for a meeting. So Lulu and I went with him. And when the meeting was over, Schondy, Lulu and I went to Seabright Beach in Santa Cruz.

Schondy took lots of pictures. He took lots of pictures of me. This was a good thing because it means I now have proof that: 1. I'm not trying to hide anything, 2. I've now lost 42 lbs., 3. I need a tan and 4. Lulu is still adorable.

Up on the sidewalk
:-) I like the lighting on this one.
Diggin' in the sand
Just me... and the ocean
In the shadow of the lighthouse
The baffles are biiiiiiig.

April 2, 2008

See? I can do pictures too!

So tonight, we both got home before it was dark. This NEVER HAPPENS. But today it did. And in the interest of... well, of getting out of the house, we went on a walk. It was raining a little, but not enough to send us home, so we walked along the nature trail with Lulu, and then we wandered through downtown to see which of the coffee shops were open. Interestingly enough, only the Red Rock was open, which is the one we rarely visit. It's a great shop, but when we first started visiting coffee shops here, it had very little seating and was always just too crowded. They've now opened an upstairs area that's very nice and holds tons of people, so they've solved the indoor seating problem. But since we had Lulu with us, we had to stay outside. Luckily, it's beginning to warm up enough that sitting outside isn't so terrible, and by the time we got there, the rain had stopped.

So we were hanging out on the sidewalk, and by the time we made it to the coffee shop, we'd walked 2.5 miles and it had gotten dark. I was sitting there drinking my coffee and realized the interesting lighting that was going on behind Schondy and Lulu. So I pulled out my iPhone and started taking pictures. I'm not going to say that they're great or anything, but they're the kind of thing I usually like taking pictures of (read: people and critters I love), and I thought the pictures were not terrible. I loved the way the iPhone blurred out all the lights and was just generally grainy. I actually really like that look (these are complete unmodified from the originals).

Lulu was being only moderately cooperative - she was way more interested in climbing up on the table to lick my face, my hands or my coffee cup - but even at her most fractious she still looks adorable in pretty much every picture. The worst part was that we were sitting right next to a busy intersection and the headlights virtually obliterated most of the pictures I took. There were tons of these, but only a few of them are recognizable as anything because I managed to block out the majority of the headlights.


I just had to post these to prove that there's more than one artist in the house. :-) (Sorry hon - you know I think you're brilliant.)

March 6, 2008

Do want.

Naked Decor

December 29, 2007

The Knitwit Papers, Chapter XI: Doggie Hoodie

Date Begun: 11/17/2007
Date Completed: 11/18/2007
Yarn: Moda Dea Tweedle Dee in Surf & Turf
Needles: US11 Circular (metal)
Source: Hoodie Sweater from Stylish Knits for Dogs
The Story:
Go ahead. Get it out of your system. Laugh at me endlessly for knitting sweaters for my dog. I'll wait....
You done?
Now. This sweater for Lulu was knitted because she's a very small dog - 15 lbs. - and she gets C-O-L-D!! (You would, too, if you only weighed 15 lbs. and ran around naked all the time) So I've made a couple of sweaters for her, including this one. I got a little tired of everyone saying how she looked "ready for the holidays" in her other sweater, and I wanted something that might keep her a little warmer as the other sweater is made from an acrylic yarn (not known for their warmth). So this one has a bit of wool thrown in and the style of the sweater is such that it'll keep her tummy as warm as her back.

The trick with dachshunds is that they're just not shaped like "normal" dogs. Assuming you've avoided creating a Spherical Dachshund they will have tiny little waists with enormous, barrel chests. Most dog sweaters are designed for dogs that are basically the same diameter from stem to stern with very little space between their front legs. This.... is not so helpful to me.

So I've been on the lookout for patterns that I could easily modify to fit my little dachshund - thus the "holiday" sweater. This pattern, though, for the hoodie, was not so easily modified. It was just too cute for me to pass up, though. The pattern calls for the chest piece to be knitted in a rough triangle, with the base of the triangle around the dog's waist and the top point at the dog's neck.

So I pretty much flipped the triangle over. :-) Base at neck, point at waist. And that worked really, really well. Of course, that meant that the neck line, instead of being this little-bitty hole around which the collar/hood would lie flat, became an enormous (and really funny-looking) gap that I had to cinch up around the front. Thank goodness there was supposed to be a hood. In the first few rows of the hood, I decreased a total of... something like 18 stitches, which means that it looks almost like I meant it to be like that. And it fits her nicely.

Best of all, it's something that Schondy isn't completely embarrassed for her to wear as they're waiting outside the coffee shop for me. He actually picked that sweater out from several.
Oh, now, wait. Don't you laugh at him. He only picked because he knew it was going to happen with or without him.
Fine. But when your dog starts shivering and giving you those sad eyes, we'll see who you call.

September 17, 2007

The Knitwit Papers, Chapter IV: Dog Coat

Date Begun: 06/19/07
Date Completed: 07/01/07
Yarn: TLC Amore in Garnet, Lion Brand Homespun in White
Needles: US8 Circular (metal)
Source: Puppy Knits, Foliage Striped Dog Jacket
The Story:
So before you judge me for dressing up my dog, let me explain. Lulu is a wee dog. And wee dogs have trouble in cold weather, especially when they have short fur. This was extremely evident to us last winter when she was a baby and we were trying to housebreak her when it was below freezing outside. Literally, she would not go out without her coat. She would just stand there in the grass, shivering. It broke my heart.

That was when we bought her a coat that didn't fit her well, mostly because she was sooooo tiny, and also, a wiener dog, and not shaped like most of the dogs out there. It was too long, but it had to be that long to match the deepness of her chest, and that meant it was too big around the neck, so she kept stepping through the collar, and so I pretty much safety-pinned it to her and just prayed none of the pins would pop open. I felt really bad about it - bad enough that I swore to her that I'd find her a better coat before next winter or I'd make one.

So earlier this summer, a friend loaned me a book she had bought with dog coat patterns for knitting, and I found this pattern. I really liked the way it didn't assume she had long legs that needed to be kept warm (she doesn't), and it didn't assume that her body length was "proportional" (whatever that means) to her leg length (it isn't)... because I could knit it as long as I wanted. :-) So I did.

It took me a grand total of about 10 hours to knit the whole thing, accomplished over the course of a plane trip home and it fits her just fine. I did have a bit of trouble with the end of it curling up, so I'll have to do something about that. I also wasn't terribly interested in having a stripy dog, so I eliminated the stripes in favor of a deep red. The yarn was cheeeeeeap (and acrylic, so it's completely washable), but that was okay, because it means I don't really mind if she finds a mud puddle while we're out walking.

I wasn't trying to make a holiday outfit for her, but it appears that's what I ended up with. I've bought another dog coat book with patterns I like so I can make a non-holiday coat for her as well. She loves to wear clothes, and she leaves them alone completely, so long as they don't have tags she can pull on. I think it's mostly because every time we took her outside when she was so tiny, we put her coat on her and she got used to it then. She just likes to chew on the tags.

August 9, 2007

Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?

Holy cow! I have had a WEEK, let me tell you. It's been two weeks since I last posted, but it seriously feels like it's been a year. And here's why:

So I'll start with last Wednesday, July 31, when I took my car in to have it serviced. That wasn't any big deal, but it is a hy-uge disruption to my day, mostly because I had to be there at 9 to drop my car off, and there was this GUY. Older man. Probably very nice. But this particular day.... not so nice. And I unwittingly incurred his wrath when I was helped TWICE! Twice, I tell you! while the nice people at the dealership were trying to figure out what the devil he was trying to do. I don't think they were trying to hurt his feelings, but he was highly wounded. Basically, when I showed up, I waited patiently in line for the Service Rep to help me. And she did. Little did I know (found this out a little while later) that she was supposed to be helping him with... something. ANYway, how was I supposed to know this? I know not.

So, then, after I got all set up, I wandered into the sitting area with the hideously bad TV shows. I think this time it was Maury and he was talking to this couple where he got her pregnant when he was 18 and she was 14, but then they got married, but he still had to register as a sex offender and now they have a second baby and the wife is JUST NOW 18. But I digress. So I'm chillin', waiting for a ride to work, when this very nice older man sits down next to me and, despite my obvious interest in reading my book and being highly antisocial, insists on making comments about the people on Maury to me. Well.

Then they call him up to the desk and tell him that, yes, they'll take him to pick up his fiance, but they're going to have to take these other two nice people (me and another guy) to work first. Clearly something got lost in the translation there, but I didn't realize it until later. So we all piled into the van and the driver asked us where we were headed and I told him and he said, "oh, that's really close, I'll drop you off first." Well. Big mistake. HUGE. Because Mr. Previously-Very-Nice Man was under the impression that he was going to go get his fiance and take her back to the dealership first BEFORE me and the other guy went to work. And don't you know his fiance (Filangela or something) has worked there for 26 years and she can't just leave any time she wants and it's going to be hard to get there and it was right next to the dealership and in the time it's taken to drop this young lady (me) off, we could have been on our way and "I has the diabetus and my diabetics is acting up and don't you know I need medication!?!?". All. The. Way. To. Work. Bless the very nice driver who dropped me off first.

SO. Then there was the annoying part of having to pick up may car, but that was another whole fiasco because they're only open until 5:30, and I'm just getting going at work at 5:30, but that meant I had to leave work by 5, but that meant finding someone to take me to pick up my car. AND they hadn't called me to tell me my car was done, but I decided I needed my car, dammit, so I showed up at 5:30 and waited for someone to either hand me my keys or explain to me why a routine oil change took more than 8 hours. Thankfully, they handed me my keys.

And I think Wednesday was the day I finished my first sweater-type knitted thing. I've done socks, I've done scarves out the wazoo, I've done hats and dog sweaters and... well, all little things. So this was quite an accomplishment. I was quite pleased with myself. I hope to take pictures at some point and when I do, I'll tell you all about the project.

Thursday and Friday were both fairly calm and nothing remarkable happened, which was nice. :-) But on Friday, I was offered a pairs of tickets to see Rufus Wainwright, who just happens to be my favorite singer EVER, on Saturday night. Of course, I said yes. But first I had to make it through the rest of Friday (went to dinner with Schondy) and Saturday morning (obedience school with Lulu) and Saturday afternoon, until we left at 5:30 to drive up with the Mountain Winery to see the show. I don't have the pictures of the show on my laptop or I'd post them. I'll try to put them up later, but interestingly (and annoyingly), the best picture I have is from my iPhone (for Pete's sake!) of the opening act, A Fine Frenzy, who I also happen to adore. I wasn't supposed to have a camera at all, but I smuggled in my little Canon camera, too. I'm such a rebel. So I have a video of the encore. It was quite the spectacle.

The winery was beautiful and Schondy and I would both really like to go back sometime when we're actually allowed to have cameras so he can get some shots of... well... everything.

On Sunday, again it was kind of quiet, except that we HAD TO clean up the yard. It was in a sorry state because we'd been so busy and crazy. Otherwise, there's not much to tell about Sunday. I did finally figure out how I want to do the sewing/guest room and realized I needed to get cracking with selling our old furniture to make room. I posted my stuff on Craig's List, but as of today, no nibbles. I'm pretty much at the point of "Free! You haul!" if they don't sell. At least I TRIED to make a little money. I did get an email from someone presumably interested in them, but I'm not so sure it was a serious offer. One way or the other, this stuff needs to get out of my house NOW.

On Monday, Schondy's new camera arrived, so I immediately began starring in a photo-documentary. We have pictures of me cooking dinner, watching TV, playing with the dog, sleeping, and just about everything else. Schondy seems to have a knack for this photography thing, and I'm all about encouraging it. I keep thinking about how there are pictures of my parents all throughout their marriage. Or at least there seem to be. And Schondy and I have, like, 5 pictures of the two of us and that just seems sad to me. If we ever decide to have children, I'd like them to know that we haven't always been party poopers or hopelessly outdated.

And that brings us to Tuesday, when the WHOLE WORLD EXPLODED!!!!! Each time Schondy and I have travelled, we've had to make arrangements for the care of our babies while we're gone. Before Lulu, if we were just going to be gone a couple days, we'd leave the cats in the house and just ask someone to drop by once or twice to make sure everything was still standing. If we were gone longer, the cats would go to stay with either the vet or The Neighbors (who are SAINTS for helping us out, and, I would like to mention, OFFER to take the cats. I haven't asked them to do so in ages, and have, in fact, made other arrangements, only to have The Neighbors assure me they LOVE to keep the cats and, hey! Free pet care! Don't have to offer twice.) and it was all good. Now that we have Lulu, it's a tiny bit more complicated, but only because have to get Lulu to the PetsHotel and... making the same arrangements for the cats as what we've always done. See how this works? Cats to vet or friends (the cats don't care where they are, so long as there's occasional snuggles and food and a litter box), and Lulu to PetsHotel.

So apparently we are unusual in this respect that we wish to not inconvenience others with our extremely active and demanding little dog. Because a friend (Jim) at work left for Japan on Wednesday and needed someone to watch his dog while he is gone. And I? I am an idiot. Seriously. Because I said I'd take "Pochi" for a couple days, until I pass him on to the next poor sod for the weekend, who then passes him on to the last person, who keeps him until Jim returns. Now, Pochi is very, very sweet. He's a 7-month-old dachshund-black Lab mix (Yes, you read that right. Work on that visual for a minute.), so he's relatively small - only about 20 pounds - and he definitely has the dachshund face and the long dachshund body and tail. But he also has the black lab hyper-activity, plus the puppy hyper-activity and the DESPERATE NEED for ATTENTION NOW NOW NOW NOW!!!!! And given that he's a slightly larger dog, he needs to run, which, if you've seen our backyard, you know, is not something we can provide space for at home. Lulu = tiny, so it hasn't been a problem for her. She could be quite happy running laps in a baby pool.

But, see, the crazy attention hogging and the lack of running space aren't the biggest problems. The biggest problem is that Pochi is currently being treated for Giardia, which, by the way, is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS to.... wait for it.... cats, dogs and humans. And it means we're dealing with the most friendly and demanding HAZARDOUS WASTE-PRODUCING dog ever. I think Jim's exact wording was "don't let your own pets get too cozy with him". But did I mention he's part Lab? And friendly? We couldn't keep him from getting cozy with Lulu if we TRIED. So I'm thinking next week after Pochi is gone, I'll be taking Lulu to the vet and asking them for some preventative antibiotics. Happily, Pochi goes on to the next victim tomorrow. It's been nice for Lulu to have a playmate, no doubt, but I won't miss the 6am barking or cleaning of toxic messes. And the cats are SO looking forward to being able to walk around the house again. They've decided Pochi = evil, and I can't say I blame them. CLEARLY he does not have any cat-siblings at home.

The Lulu-playmate thing has been kind of nice, and yesterday, we took Lulu and Pochi to the park and let them run while Schondy practiced working with his camera to get action shots of them being dogs. Some of the pictures he got were really awesome. I'll try to grab some and get them posted here so you can see.

So now it's Thursday. The office is relatively quiet today, which is nice, and I have a ton of work to do, but I'm avoiding it in favor of documenting the last week (holy cow!) while I have the headspace and time to do so. Tomorrow is end-to-end meetings and, come this weekend, I'll be too pooped to lift my arms, let alone type a blog entry. Lulu graduates from obedience school Saturday morning, and I think that's pretty much the end of the line for her schooling. We're talking about sending her to Doggy Day Camp once a week or so after school is over so she can continue to get the social interaction. But I'm definitely going to enjoy having my Saturday mornings back for the sleepin'.

And that's why I've been terrible about calling. Or responding to your emails. I'm very sorry. It doesn't mean I love you any less. It just means I'm tangled up in leashes right now and will get back to you as soon as the dogs stop playing May Pole.

May 22, 2007

Miscellania, Laptops, Literary Journals, Faires, Wiis and Slimy Things

(In no particular order)

Things at the Peanut Gallery headquarters have been rather interesting of late. Interesting enough that I haven't had a great deal of time to post Blog entries, but only a couple of the goings-on are especially earth-shattering. In the category of low-impact excitement, we have:

  • I've resumed my knitting. Hope to have my current project finished in the next couple weeks so I can start on something else. The interesting bit here is that my current piece is by far the largest thing I've ever attempted, so I'm pretty pumped to finally finish it.

    Side story: Somehow (and I'm not sure how this happened, so if anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them), I have gained the reputation at work as a FANTASTIC knitter. Now, I'm flattered beyond belief that anyone would think I was anything but an average beginning student of knitting, but I have to admit pure bafflement as to how my co-workers know I can even put sticks to yarn. I have given two of my co-workers hand-knit scarves as gifts, neither of which was especially fancy, so I can only conclude that this is the source of my fabled knitting prowress. Did YOU tell them?

  • Lulu is still very much Lulu. Deliah thinks Lulu's a great playmate. Miles thinks they're both annoying, but is greatly pleased by the pot of catnip growing on the kitchen counter.

    Nothing especially new there, except that Lulu and I have been continuing our dog classes. I hesitate to call it obedience school, though I suppose that's technically what it is. At the moment we're learning to Heel, Go to Bed, Wait and Stay (from a distance). This is the intermediate class, so it's not as much a goofy/happy/fun time, but Lulu still loves it. Not sure what we're going to do after this one, whether we'll continue on to one of the Advanced classes or if I'll go find the Santa Clara Dachshund group or what, but I'm pretty sure Lulu will be most upset if we don't continue this learning thing.

  • In 1 month, I will be attending my 10-year high school reunion. It should be.... um.... interesting.

    I hemmed and hawed for weeks, only to decide after the deadline that I really did want to go show off a little. I don't get to do that much, given where we live and the fact that everyone else in the Valley pretty much does some variation of the same thing I do. I'm excited to see all these people, though I'm a little nervous that none of the people I hung out with will be attending. Mostly, they're in the South still, but with the changing-high-schools thing we did our Junior year, it could be that my buds just aren't interested. I would understand, but be very bummed not to see them....

In the slightly-more-exciting category, we have a number of entries.

  • Schondy was supposed to be writing about this, but seeing as how I can't get him near my Blog (he barely reads it, and then only when I tell him he should), I guess I'm going to have to write about it. Basically, we sold a bunch of games at Game Stop over the weekend in the hopes of buying a shiny new toy for me and a shiny new toy for Schondy.

    We gathered up our collection of the Worst Hits for the Playstation and GameCube and hied ourselves to the store, expecting to walk away with a healthy chunk of change for the 10 (yes, 10) games we'd decided weren't worth the plastic they were imprinted on. As the clerk was scanning the barcodes to get the amount of fabulous richness he was about to bestow on us, he was telling us the various trade-in prices for our games. (Hold on to your hat, it's a doozey!) We had 2 that went for 75¢, 3-4 for $1.50, a couple for $2.00, a couple for $3.00 and one at an astounding $9.00. WOW! Plus, since we'd sold so many, we got a "multiples bonus" of an extra 5%, for a grand total of $32. Yes, folks, Game Stop gave us less than the price of a new game for our 10 games. We were so pleased.

  • Our yard has been infested with snails and slugs. And they're gross. And they're eating my plants. This does not make me happy. I'm going on a rampage this weekend. Just so you know. Stand back.

  • I've discovered yet another company with the power to separate me from my hard-earned money with great skill and speed.

    Apparently, there's still such a thing as a literary journal (Who knew!?!?) and there are still many people vying for positions in these journals, and there are still entries rejected. And that's where the literary journal McSweeney's comes in. McSweeney's was originally created to accept only content rejected from the "legitimate" journals, but has now become something of an underground alternative to such stuffy entertainments as those. I discovered this lovely trove of dry wit and dark humor at the Maker Faire (more on that in the last category) and, for reasons I don't fully know, did not buy the volume I was looking at. I have no explanation and no one to blame but myself. So I tracked them down online and ordered a subscription. They're absolutely beautiful books and I'm so excited to get my hands on them!

And in the earth-shattering, gut-wrenching, ear-splitting excitement category, we have the reason I'm writing this Blog entry instead of the mountains of work-related things I should be doing, as well as the reason I've not gotten near enough sleep in the last week.

  • My laptop died yesterday. My work laptop. With 2 years worth of work. And right now the very nice people in the On-Site Support office are trying to save my 2 years of data while I leave work on time or early because I'm COMPLETELY HELPLESS.

    You don't realize how dependent on your computer you become until it's dead. So send happy thoughts in its direction. I've been limping along with my old ghetto Desktop computer. Happily, I had a month-old backup of my email. Unhappily, I did not back up anything else. We'll see what they say in the morning about whether or not they could revive it. (Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts.)

    So in the evenings, when I normally would have been playing computer games or working, I've been knitting. And during the day, when I normally would have been working, I've been panicking. And waiting. And checking my email obsessively. I'll be so glad when this is over.

  • We went to the Maker Faire this weekend. It was like a local version of Burning Man, complete with flaming things and crazy people. We have lots of pictures of bizarre things and even more bizarre people. I'll sift through them and post a few in the next entry.

  • Schondy bought a Wii. And that's why the crazy Game Stop experience. We have Super Paper Mario, Monkey Ball and Rayman Raving Rabids, but we spent a bunch of time this weekend playing Tennis and Bowling. The good news about the Wii is that it requires you to move around, so at least it's getting us off the couch, but the repetitive stress injuries are looming. And the pulled muscles. Stay tuned.

So that's what's the haps. With any luck, tomorrow will bring good tidings of a rescusitated laptop. Until then, I'll be knitting. And checking email. Further compliating my Wii-Tennis-Elbow.

May 2, 2007

More Pictures!!

I promised Mom I'd post some pictures of "her" delphinium when it bloomed and I've been rather slow in getting around to it. So here it is. And a picture of our very sad, but improving Japanese Maple tree. And a gratuitous Lulu shot. Because you just can't get enough of those.

April 17, 2007

Can't you see I'm busy, here!?!?

It has been brought to my attention that I don't post to my blog often enough. Apparently, my cousins with the brand new INFANT post more often than I do. In my defense, I don't have a new child to post pictures of and I'm not so sure anyone would be terribly interested in hearing about my crazy work schedule, which is my life these days.

We DID take a short little mini-vacation this weekend that I have tons of pictures from, and I have a few pics of the backyard, which is exploding in flowers, and Lulu is growing like a weed (still!!) and is more photogenic than either of her parents.

So. When I have a few minutes today.... maybe I'll have a really boring meeting, much like the one I'm currently in.... I'll try to put up another photo entry.

Oh! Speaking of which, how did you like the photo entry I posted before? Good? I've been trying to come up with an easy way to show lots and lots of pictures in a single entry. There are apparently some fancy pieces of software available for my blog that will do it, but they're all complicated to install. I don't really want to go through that, so I'm coming up with a few of my own solutions.

Anyway, let me know what you think and I'll try out a few other solutions as I have other photo entries.

March 6, 2007

Death by Cuteness!, Part the second

It's only been a month since my last post, which I figure is waaaaay better than some of my previous lapses. I always feel like I'm begging for forgiveness for being slow and I'm the one who actually DOES let others know what's going on. :-) Yes, I'm talking to YOU. You know who you are.... </guilt trip>

Anywho. So what's new? I've been sucked into yet another stupid blog. Makes me laugh. A lot. I don't normally think of myself as star-struck, but I suppose my enjoyment of this is telling... Go Fug Yourself (And for the uninitiated, here's their definition of "fug", taken directly from their website, oh, please, oh, please don't sue me, I'm linking to you because I like you and I'm just trying to share, not steal from your website.)

..."Fug" comes from "fugly," which is a contraction of "fantastically ugly" (or an f-word more prurient, if you like...)

I just really like the idea that celebrities have trouble finding something to wear because they're usually so beautiful and skinny and perfect and rich. This is proof that they have bad hair days, too, and sometimes they even have (!! gasp !!) fat days.

Speaking of toasters... Lulu is growing like a weed. When we first got her, she was so tiny, weighing about 3.5 lbs. She just about fit in the palm of your hand (well, with her legs hanging off in all directions, but you COULD support her whole body with one hand). Now, though, she's up to just over 7 lbs. and still the cutest thing EVER.


We're going to puppy class every Saturday, where we get to play with all kinds of different puppies and we learn to Sit and Lie Down and Stay and all those lovely things you don't remember your parents ever teaching the family dog, but the dog obviously knew how to do, so SOMEone had to teach him...

The first week we went to puppy class, all the dogs were, of course, scared to death, except for Lulu who was more "Puppies! Puppies! Puppies! Play with me! Now! Play! Please?! You smell interesting! You're smaller than me! Do you mind if I chew your tail off!?!? Play! Play! Play!" for the whole hour. I kid you not. The trainer even called Lulu a "challenge", which is exactly what you want to hear about your "baby" on the first day of school. By the end of class, I was exhausted. It's a good thing the floors in the store are slippery so Lulu spent the whole class "treadmilling" at the end of her leash.

That was 4 weeks ago. Now we're doing a little better. Lulu is officially the wonder dog. She's learned Sit and Down and will do them immediately on command about 95% of the time. But the one that really wowed everyone was the "Leave It" command, where you put a treat between her paws on the floor and tell her to leave it there until you say different. I swear I didn't teach her to do that, she just did it. But of course, there wasn't anyone else in the class who could do it, so I looked like a total rock star. (Hee! Challenge THAT, trainer woman!) Sarah has this theory that it's because my previous experience has been training cats and they're about a million times harder to teach. I have my own theories....

We're working right now to finish off all those things we just didn't get to when we first moved into the house - putting up sheers on all the windows downstairs, getting a new cover for the futon so it'll match the curtains, hanging more pictures on the walls, etc. It's finally beginning to sound like we're going to have guests and I really want the house to be finished before they see it.

I'm going to be out of town next week, in Texas for SXSW. When I was offered tickets, my first thought was that I'd rather just have the days off, but I figure opportunities like this don't come along every day and I really should go. It'll be fun, though there's a large part of me still leaning towards punting and just staying home for 3 days.

So that's what's new. I really do need to stop avoiding work and get something done. I leave you with this inspirational quote: "Smoking kills, and if you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life." - Brooke Shields

January 17, 2007

Death by Cuteness!

So unless you haven't spoken to me in months AND haven't read through my last few postings, you're very much aware of the new member of our little family. We now have a 10-week-old Miniature Dachshund puppy that we named Lulu. She's red with white paws and a white spot on her chest and about 10 inches long and about 8 inches tall... but don't let that fool you. She's 5 pounds of PURE mischief.

So I'll spare you the gory details of how I convinced my oh-so-loving husband that we needed a puppy. It involved much abject begging and "I'll take care of it"s on my part - 10-year-old style. Apparently it worked.

Cut to:

Last week (Tuesday morning), when I had a message in my voicemail from the dog breeder I've been dealing with. She called to tell me that she had gotten a puppy for me in a trade with another breeder. And the puppy was ready to go home immediately. I assured the nice lady that I had to go to work on Tuesday and wouldn't be able to make the two hour drive until the weekend, but I also assured her I'd be there with bells on Saturday afternoon.

And then:

Can I just say - PANIC! It was like going into labor early! And the baby's room wasn't painted! And we hadn't picked a name! And we didn't have diapers! Eeeeeeeek!

So we took up residence at PetSmart for the duration of the week and proceeded to purchase everything a growing puppy needs - bed, crate, toys, food, collar, leash, shampoo, water bowl, kitchen sink... you get the picture.

Come Saturday, we hit the ground running. Sort of. We got up on time, but then we were moving a little slow. And then we needed some lunch before we could leave, and we knew it was going to be a long drive (about 2 hours each way) and the printer died a few months ago, so we had trouble figuring out how to get there without being able to print out the nice map Google Maps provided us.

The drive there was reasonably uneventful. We had a moment of clarity, where we realized that it's only people who are complete strangers, or people who've been together a long time who can ride for a full two hours without the radio on. But since we were leaving the valley, we knew the radio wasn't going to work on the other side of the hills.

The breeder was nice. She had, like, a zillion chihuahuas! I've never seen such! Chihuahuas everywhere! And my little puppy was living with a tennsy little chihuahua named Peaches. They were just about the same size, though I'm reasonably sure Peaches was significantly older than Lulu. Being at a place like that was very interesting. I don't have a lot of experience dealing with dog breeders, so I don't know how normal these people were. Let's just say it was all around very interesting.


After we paid the nice lady way too much money, and signed a paper promising to only play with our new puppy for 2 20-minute sessions each day (yeah, right!) and feed the dog "super premium" (whatever that means) dog foods, we climbed back in the car to head home, literally 30 minutes after we pulled up. And that's when the adventure really began.

Lulu proved to be a positively exemplary car dog, riding quietly in Schondy's lap allllll the way home. We stopped at a rest stop maybe 20 miles down the road to let her out to potty, and she gave us some very false hope for our future when she pottied perfectly and immediately. She was just buttering us up so we wouldn't kill her later. She greeted the two enormous Alaskan Huskies quite friendly-like, and even chased them a little after they walked away. They probably thought she looked like a tasty treat.

Once we climbed back in the car, she was the picture of well-behaved, even while we were panicking, trying to find a gas station in the middle of a California Citrus grove. (When we finally refilled, my 13-gallon gas tank took 12.85 gallons) And she was nice and quiet when we took the turn onto Mission Blvd., only to discover that we were heading the wrong way and it sent us about 20 miles out of our way. And she was reasonably well-behaved when we made it back to the house 8 hours after we left it, and the cats demanded to know a. where we'd been all day, and b. WHAT IS THIS THING YOU'VE BROUGHT WITH YOU!?

So we're working on the whole housebreaking thing and the sleeping through the night thing now. She's learning to sleep in her crate and learning to go potty outside, though this crazy cold snap we're having right now is making housetraining a bit of a chore - she keeps telling us it's cold out there! We got her a little coat to wear outside, and that helped a lot. It was a bit too big for her, but I've done some creative re-jiggering and now it keeps her nice and toasty. She _might_ even be willing to say she likes it.

Her favorite toy is one of the Loofa Dogs from PetSmart. It's longer than she is, but it's loads of fun to play tug with. And would you believe - she LOVES carrots. They're also really good for a teething puppy's itchy gums, so it's a win-win situation.

Deliah thinks it's great fun to hide behind things, swat Lulu on the head as she trots by, and then take off running when Lulu chases. Lulu thinks it's great to have someone to chase, even if she occasionally gets flipped on her back and kicked in the head by a 15-pound cat. Miles just thinks they're both ridiculous.

And by now, you're wondering about the title of the post, where I promised death by cuteness. So here's some pictures of the little devil.

Modeling her nice warm coat

With "LoofaDog"

Schondy, with lap full of fuzz and paws

And just so you're not too tired of pictures of puppies...

January 9, 2007

A good day to be me.

So if you read my previous entry, you know we're getting a puppy. And you know how I said it was going to take a few months before she was ready to come home. Well, this morning, as I was running out the door on the way to work, I thought to check my Voicemail and there was a message. I knew I had tried to call Mom and Dad last night and they didn't answer, so I figured it was them, calling me back.


It was the Dachshund breeder. Apparently she did a trade with another breeder who wants the Ground Hound bloodlines and...... we have a puppy!!!! We're going to pick her up on Saturday!!!! We have a lot of work to do....


She's 8 weeks old, ready to go home, and when I called the breeder back, they were at the vet, getting her shots. She's red with white toes and a white star on her chest. I'm supposed to get a picture today and I'll post.

**UPDATE** 01/11/07 - I have pictures!
Heeeeere she is! We're going Saturday to pick her up. We've still got a lot of work to do.

December 29, 2006

...And baby makes 5

No, you silly rabbit. Not that kind of baby.

This all started maybe 6 months ago, I'm not sure what bug it was that bit me, but I've been begging, just BEGGING for a dog. But Schondy wasn't so sure. (I can't believe I'm going to say this) Ever the practical one, Schondy kept reminding me of all the hassle and extra work that goes with a dog. The walking, the feeding, the vet visits, the housetraining, blah, blah, blah. I didn't care. Still don't. So for Christmas, my wonderful hubby gave me permission to get a dog. It sounds a little hokey, I'll grant you, but it was the sweetest thing he could have possibly done.

So we're getting a dog. And not just any dog. We're getting a miniature WEINER DOG! These wonderful people are about 2 hours from us and when I contacted them about getting a puppy, they were so very nice. I'm putting in a deposit for a little girl, who should be ready to come home with us sometime in the next 3 months. In the meantime, we have to puppy-proof the house, though I'm afraid there's one little problem that we really can't do anything about.

We have two "children" already who aren't going to take too kindly to a new little bundle of joy. Their Majesties Miles and Deliah have no idea what's in store for them, but I think it will be okay. I really do. Maybe I'm fooling myself, but a girl can hope... So most likely for Valentine's Day...-ish, we'll have a new little fuzzy body in the house. Merry Christmas to me.

Speaking of Christmas, we just got back from Ohio, land of Schondy's family and of the not-so-white Christmas. Sadness. I like going to Ohio and visiting with the in-laws, but a little snow on the ground definitely sweetens the deal. The flight out was fab! It was a direct flight and it was a red-eye and we watched a couple episodes of Lost, which, in case you haven't been watching, is the most aggravating, fascinating show EVER. Schondy insists that the writers must be psychologists or something - they know just how to make it so you CAN'T LOOK AWAY! MUST WATCH! It's so much easier with a TV show when you feel like you're in control. But I digress...

Christmas was nice. Nothing to tell, really. It was very nice to see everyone and to show them this webpage and... oh... FIX my stupid blog while sitting at the computer in Schondy's aunt's house. Because that's obviously what you're supposed to be doing immediately after Christmas dinner. Heaven forbid you should actually have a working blog AND socializing time with the fam. Geez.

Schondy had a lovely trip down memory lane while we were there. Went digging through a lot of his old high school and college stuff. Found pictures of ex-girlfriends (I'm not threatened - not at all. I won. I have nothing to worry about.), stuffage from the various high school plays, and all his college notes. And don't forget the gi-nor-mous bin of Lego's. Because that's OBVIOUSLY what he needed. Mom's going to ship them. Along with a bazillion little electronic components so he can build little electronic things that go POP!! and release the magic smoke. I suppose I'd been telling him he needed a hobby.

The trip back was not so happy as the one out. Not a direct flight. We didn't watch Lost. And I didn't feel very good. It ended up that it literally took us about 12 hours to get from Pittsburgh to Mountain View. WAAAAAAAYYY too long by my estimation.

But now we're home. The house is a disaster. There's not a lot of food in the refrigerator. The laundry needs to be done. The usual.

So we went shopping.

With all the gift certificates we got for Christmas, we bought ourselves... wait for it... it's exciting... a programmable thermostat. You know you're all grown up when.... :) We needed it, no doubt about that.

Oooh! And also, I've taken up knitting again. If you've recieved a gift from me lately, you're probably aware of my newly re-discovered interest in things of the knitting nature. It's only going to get worse, I assure you.

For a friend, I made this:

Schondy liked it so much, he got one just like it (minus the girly fringe).

And for his mother, I made this one, modeled by Miles:

You can't really tell from the picture, but it's a bias-knit lace. And you REALLY can't tell from the picture that this is quite possibly the softest yarn EVER in the history of the world. I need something made with this yarn. Need, I tell you.

So I guess it's a good thing the women who know and love me gave me some books of ideas for what to do with my newly re-discovered love for knitting. I've almost talked myself into knitting a sweater. The only problem I have is that when you look in a pattern book, they always talk about these crazy exotic yarns that cost a million dollars a skein and are handmade by monks in China who raise the alpacas for their fur and feed the alpacas only organic greens and give them only Evian to drink.

Or something.

Needless to say, I have little-to-no interest in acquiring such yarns. They're expensive and delicate. I'm looking for cheap and tough-as-nails. But no one wants to make patterns for that kind of yarn.

le sigh.

Anywho. That's what's going on. Give me a call if you want a scarf. I can do those well (and quickly) and as long as I'm still doing scarves, I don't have to dive into the oh-so-scary world of sweaters.

Happy holidays, y'all.

February 27, 2006

I'm going to propose a new home improvement show...

And I'm going to call it "What Not to Do!" (much like "What Not to Wear"), where we show home owners and home improvement-types how NOT to fix things. For the first episode, I can just see it:

The top 10 things you should ALWAYS think about when working on your house

1. Always prime the wall before painting over glossy paint.
     I wanted to post pictures of the results, but I forgot in all the hullabaloo of getting it all painted

2. Make sure your screws are going in straight.
     Have you ever tried to straighten out a screw hole that was drilled wrong in the first place? Doesn't work so well. If you'd like a demonstration, come check out my kitchen cabinets. The hinges are fab!

3. When painting/mudding/whatever corners, it's a good idea not to leave large blobs of stuff. They don't go away.
     My bathroom door is a prime example

4. Large holes punched in the ceiling do not disappear just because you've placed a hook or light fixture in them to cover the carnage
     I have a number of examples of this one. Mostly confined to my dining room, happily, thought not having them at all would be even better.

5. When removing drains from the front of a house, it's a good idea to PAINT THE BALD SPOT LEFT BEHIND.
     You know, because it's on the front of the house, and it's obvious, and it just looks sloppy.

6. More screws isn't always the best answer for cabinets that don't want to stay on the wall.
     Well, you see, sometimes that means that you shouldn't be doing these things yourself. Sometimes that means you're doing it wrong and you should GET HELP. Because people just MIGHT notice the 10,000 screws in the backs of the cabinets.

7. Feng shui is great in THEORY. Sometimes questionable or just not PRACTICAL in practice.
     I can think of a number of examples, one of which isn't necessarily even my problem: the 8-foot in the roof to cast sunlight on the red door, facing south, with no outside light, no knocker, and no doorbell. Who thinks that's a good idea? Anyone? Anyone? No?

8. Concrete that slopes towards the house will cause flooding and drainage problems. Period.
     Yes, even if your brother knows how to pour concrete, that doesn't necessarily mean you should let him. Because you know those crawlspace windows? The ones that are now on the same level as the concrete? And the concrete that slopes towards those windows? Guess what happens when it rains...

9. Just because you've put half an inch of dirt over the pipes for the sprinkler system doesn't mean they're truly buried
     Yes, they may not be visible right this very second, but just try to add a sprinkler head to THAT. Or try to plant around that. Go ahead. I dare you.

10. And finally, It doesn't matter how much paint you put over it. A bad patch job will always continue to show.
     Places like the bathroom, the not-fitting wall in the entry, and the thousand other places where you just slapped 3 inches of mud over the crack and then painted. We can still see it. You're not fooling anyone.

So anyway. I'm tired. Of painting. Of cleaning. Of spackling. Never mind the fact that the cats have fleas right now. Yes, our indoor-only cats have cultivated a fairly raging colony of fleas. Best we can figure is that Miles picked them up the last time he was at the groomer. Now, I'm thinking that I've had enough trouble with them in the past that this just could be the last straw. Ask me again the next time he needs a shave in.... oh.... 4 months.

And then there's the fish tank. I guess we're going to have to start a batch of water-change water tonight. The nitrate levels are just too high. I thought live rock was supposed to help that. At least the Ammonia level is down. sigh

Do I do that before or after the curtains for the bedroom?
  Before or after the counter on the bookcase?
    What about cleaning out the computer room?
      Storing the small fish tank?
        Patching the ceiling in the dining room?
          Cleaning the heater air return?
            Scrubbing the shower?
              Touching up the blue paint in the bedroom?

Oy. At least the kitchen is pretty much finished. Soon as I remember to get the pictures off the camera, I'll post. It's pretty. I promise.

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