Sunday, December 28, 2008

Now It Really Is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I'm so excited. It's finally almost here.

Without a doubt, New Year's Eve is my all time favorite holiday. I know I've told you why before, so I will try not to go on and on about how much I love the start of a year. I didn't tell you this though- I love the motivation it brings to be better. It's a fresh start coming on the heels of 365 days of learning through trial (and double this if you're me) and error. This year more so than others though: just 20 days into the new year, we start a whole new chapter in history. We get another chance to make things better than they have been, and I think that's really exciting.

I did have a big long winded and sort of pious sounding post written out about what I hope to do this year coming up, but I think that I will keep it to myself till I see it actually working out. Plus, the thought of putting it out on the internet made me feel sort of naked, like that dream I had just before college graduation where I showed up for Commencement and was wearing a giant t-shirt of my dad's that I had been sleeping in since the 6th grade or so.

Anyway, I hope your new year brings you the motivation to make the things you want become a reality. And I hope that you ring in the new year however suits you best. (I will be in Atlanta at the Fabulous Fox for The Derek Trucks Band.) BF arrives tomorrow night, so I will be absent for the remainder of the week.

See you next year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

If I Had Known You Would Be Stopping By, I Would've Put On Pants

Um, so ok.

I went on Google Analytics today and had a look at what's been going on here lately. As in, who is silly enough to read this nonsense and laugh at my fail projects, and where those people are. Yep, I seeeeeeee you! Well, sort of. You're orange dots on a map, and I know how long you are here, what brought you here, if you are sleeping or awake, and if you've been naughty or nice. Well, not all of that. But still, Google Analytics shows me that my suspicions were correct- people read this.

You fucking terrify me, readers. There, I said it.

I had a look at how the Magic of Google led a few of you here, and I gotta say: I'm SORRY. There was a poor visitor who typed in "awesome sewing" and got my blog. Don't worry, they didn't stay long. I would ask why, but I know that the answer is in posts like this. I had to laugh at that. Sorry that happened. Some other, uh, interesting search terms were "looking for god and finding no one's there" and I feel pretty sad about that. I am sorry that someone was looking most likely for answers to life's questions and wound up here. I mean, what does that say about me when someone goes to The Google and says "show me proof of the results for a search for God" and Google says to them, "Hey! Speaking of proof that there is no God, we have this girl Holly here and man! you should see some of the shit she has made lately!" Ouch. Then I felt better about the person who was looking for a "cat goes to the vet song" because that doesn't sound like the makings of a good song and they are probably better off here than somewhere else. Anyone who's anyone knows that you could very easily just write your own Cat Goes To The Vet Song. It's not rocket science, people.

So. Good thing I decided to tidy up around here, huh? Don't worry, I'm working on a hotsy totsy banner for the top too. It promises to be just like my typical style of anything I make up myself. Great in theory, but fatally flawed in every other sense.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer

Merry Christmas, if that's your thing.

Today was the un-Christmas for me, and I found it sort of nice. If you are wanting to see pics of family in festive pajamas or goofy sweaters, or mounds of toys, or beautifully decorated tables full of wonderful home cooked food- you've come to the wrong blog. Quick, leave before something icky touches your reindeer sweater!

First of all, I spent both Christmas Eve and Christmas day totally alone, save for an interaction with a gas station clerk and my animals. I will admit that I moped about a bit yesterday and I even cried a little. I started to care just a little too late, I guess. But don't worry- apathy returned just as quickly as it left.

I ate ice cream for my Christmas Eve dinner, and then today had smoked oysters and crackers with Cheese-In-A-Can, and shared some with Maya. Now I'm full on tempura shrimp and feeling quite content. I am also full of chai tea- this time I mixed up a batch for me and only me, and I tracked down some instant black tea online, and bought just enough. It's got a stronger flavor and less sediment at the bottom, and I love it. Fat and happy, that's me.

Reading though people's blogs, I am alternately jealous and thankful that my weather isn't like the rest of the country. Everywhere else there's snow piled up all over and it's cold out. Here- it felt like it was a March day. The thermometer in my car read 78 degrees at one point and the sun was shining brightly. Just a beautiful day- the perfect day for Maya to go try something new.
The dog and I hopped in the car and headed to the beach. I figured we may as well do up un-Christmas right and go for a walk in the sand. We did just that- and we even stuck our toes in the ocean. It was chilly, but fun to do just so I could say we did it. Maya waded into a tide pool, and seemed very surprised that it got deeper very quickly- and yet continued to wade further in while making it very obvious she wanted out. It was funny, even though she shivered a bit afterwards. Typical Maya walking ensues- just when I think it can't get more pleasant for us to stroll along and look at birds and wave at people, a switch flips in her and she wants to be stubborn like a mule. So, the Gentle Leader went on. God, how she hates that thing. All in all, I think the trip to the beach went well.

Then we came home and both had cookies, and she took an un-Christmas nap and I got to work. I can't wait to show you the magic I worked on my office. I even took a pic to show you the height of chaos. Oh, and I found those missing greeting cards. Hee hee.

And then I still felt like I needed a pick me up. So at my mother's suggestion (for a crazy person she sure is wise sometimes) I watched Obama's Acceptance Speech. That really did the trick. It's 17 minutes of everything you could want on Christmas Day: joy, hope, peace, and the promise of good days to come. Then I got another pick me up by reading this post on the Yarn Harlot. Then I started thinking about how good I really do have it, then started planning a great summer trip with BF, and now I'm just feeling ridiculously good.

I just love this time of year, particularly when Christmas is over, and I can breathe and look forward to the year ahead. And eat ice cream for breakfast.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Holiday Open House

Nope, not at my house. Why the hell would I have an open house? I don't really like people.

No, the first day I worked at the shelter we were preparing the animals for a holiday open house. I showed up right on time and was paired up with a staff member and we got right to work. I was on cat duty (and cat doody).

I gotta tell ya- I have a whole new appreciation for what it takes to run a shelter. This is a no-kill shelter- so any critter that becomes a resident there has the ability to live out their days at the shelter, regardless of how many days they may have. I think that's a wonderful commitment to make. This place is clean, the animals are loved on (even the grumpy ones) and people work all day and all night to provide those animals with a nice place to live.

There are several large Kitty Rooms with tons windows in each one. There is at least one plastic couch in every one, and some cubbies built in the walls that are just the right size for a kitty bed, and one kitty- but sometimes two can fit in a cubby, but only if the two kitties are the best of friends. They also have a cat walk (heehee) that goes around the room at the top, and a spiral staircase of ledges and perches where kitties can get up and down as they please. they are just fantastic rooms, and you can tell the cats are happy there. I like the rooms from an adoption standpoint because you can really see personalities in the cats from the minute you enter. Some run away from you, some glare at you from the cat walk, some are interested but shy, and some run right up to see you.

Well, let me tell ya- those rooms had a lot of work done to them before the open house. And this stuff is done every single morning- the floors are vacuumed and then mopped, linens and beds are changed out, food and water dishes are sanitized, and the litter boxes are cleaned out, bleached, washed, and then refilled again. all surfaces are wiped down, and while you are doing all this, you are having to unwind cats from around your ankles and collect yourself when the little ones dive bomb you from above. And don't get me started on the laundry there. It's never ending. Never ever ever ending.

My little buddies Schroeder and Hairy Gary were still there. I was happy and sad to see them again. Hairy Gary has no problems being held, and I had no problems scooping him up for a hug when I should have been making a salad for the rabbits. And and and!!! Schroeder came me! He let me pet him through the bars on his enclosure. He's in a huge thing, too big to be called a cage, and he's sharing it with a sweet girl named Holly. Love it. It took him about five tries, pacing from the back of his room to the bars, getting closer each time. But finally he did and he's a sweet boy.

I can't get that dog. I can't get that dog. I can't get that dog.

I think I might need to go there every other week. Every week is just too tempting. I need to stay away for longer till I figure out how to not get attached.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I've Hit The OCD Motherload

Looky at what I found.

This appeals to the darkest corner of my psyche- the place where I allow myself to make lists of lists I want to make, the part of my brain that rejoices in labels, order, uniformity, and Having A Plan. It's the same place from which I suspect the '70's porn music pipes in when I browse The Container Store. In case you haven't gotten the memo- my head is a scary place to be.

It's the Mother of Organization.

I can't wait to look at this more. I don't want to be someone who has to pencil in time to poop or something, but in moderation- organization can be a fantastic vice. And I found this just in time for 2009, which is to be my Year of Organization. I think the main thing about the site that makes me interested is the prospect of a monthly checklist. I. Love. Checklists. LOVE THEM! I don't know why, but the feeling of crossing something off is so satisfying to me that I always have to try to not put things like "brush teeth" on the list so that i can have the joy of crossing them off.

After the missing greeting card rant the other week, and the discovery at the end of the day that I had my shirt on inside out, I have resolved to get some order to my life come hell or high water. I know that means less laughs for you guys, but hey- I will still be Accident Prone and also High Strung, so there's lots of fun to be had yet. The new year is really just 365 in which my hair could be set on fire or I legally marry my label maker. You'll just have to wait and see.

But, if I do decide to marry my label maker, you are all invited to the wedding, and we will be registered at The Container Store. Just saying.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Charlie Story

I was looking at the labels on my blog the other day, and I see that there is a huge disparity in how much I talk about my furry buddies. I talk about Maya much more than Charlie, and I can't really help it. Maya is newer, she's different, and she has challenges and miniature victories that are worth celebrating. For a little girl who was just a shell of a dog a few months ago, it's nice that she comes when called at the park. It's a big deal. See? There I go again.

Anyway, Charlie is not like Maya at all. Charlie has never had a hard day in his life. Anything bad that's ever happened to him has been the result of his own doing- getting left out on the porch for a few hours, falling off said porch whilst squirrel hunting, etc. From the time he was about 8 weeks old (when I got him from the shelter), he has had a little Charlie Chaplin moustache and a sense of entitlement and total bad assery like- well, like most cats. Except for the moustache thing and let me tell ya, major selling point.

So I want to tell you about something he did when he was little. Even though he will soon be six, this story still makes me laugh till my sides ache.

When Charlie was a kitten, he was brought into a home that I shared with my roommate and her cat. My roommate hated regular kitty litter, and most notably the Kitty Litter Smell. I am not fond of it, but hey, if that's what keeps the cats from pissing elsewhere- let's do what they want. That's how they get their way you know- humans fear cat pee so much, in such a deep-rooted, almost instinctual way that cats lord their pee over us and get us to bend to their will. Anyway, the gal I lived with tried out this new fangled litter (it was at the time)- that Feline Pine stuff. It's awful little pellets that turn to dust when they get wet. It didn't smell bad, but Charlie hated it.

That's what they do you know; they just hate things for no real reason other than they can, and they know that you will give them something they DO like lest they leave their pissy vengeance somewhere.

So, one weekend I go out of town. At this time Charlie was still quite small, and he was left in the care of said roommate and her cat. Well, she took this opportunity during Charlie's Human Advocate and Buyer of Stuff He Likes' absence to once again get him to use Feline Pine. And it worked great!

So she thought.

I was amazed to come home and find that he actually caved in- this high and mighty, fearless, bossy, rotten little creature gave in and used the Feline Pine! Joy! Well, no not at all. See, I had left a pile of Dry Clean Only Clothes on the floor while I was gone, and Charlie used those as his litter box for three days. She didn't know that. I reminded him of that when I found out- I was furious. Beyond furious. That pile had my Graduation Dress in it, my Work Pants, and my Big Girl Suit in it, among other stuff. I was a new college graduate (read: dirt fucking poor) and every article of clothing that was for the purpose of showing the world that I was now a Professional reeked of cat piss.

That cat was dead fucking meat. I could have killed him. I really, really, really wanted to. But I am glad I didn't, in retrospect.

Now we get to the good part. See, in case you didn't know, kitties are plotty little things. They wait for their prey, the pounce, they stalk, and most importantly- they get even.

I returned home to the pile of pee clothes on a Sunday. On Monday morning, my roommate stuck her head into my room on her way to work to tell me what a weirdo my cat is. Apparently she had her big hooded parka on in the bathroom, and Charlie insisted on climbing into the hood. Isn't that cute but strange?


Well about two hours into my work day i get an email from my roommate in which she threatens to sell him to a restaurant. It turns out that on the way to work, she was very cold and had her hood up. She was still cold at work and kept the hood on for a while. Then she noticed a Bad Smell following her everywhere. Then, while taking her hood off, she noticed it was damp. She gave it a sniff, and I bet I don't have to tell you what had happened, do I?

Little baby kitten Charlie had gotten even. He pissed in the hood of her coat while she was wearing it, and probably giggled like a mad man when she put the hood on her head and went out for the day.

He's my hero.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hooray for Pincushions

I never thought that one thing that could get me fired up would be pincushions. I am really feeling a lot of pincushion love lately. Does that strike anyone else as strange?


I made this one from the book Warm Fuzzies by Betz White. the book is really cute, and so are the projects. Anyway, I have been collecting and felting sweaters for a few months, and even though I have had mixed results and a lot of things that just would not felt (grrr, superwash wool, you sneaky bastard) but i am starting to have the sweaters pile up around me, but I was having trouble actually cutting into them, but I finally bit the bullet and made a little cupcake pincushion for a friend. I think they are cute, and I think that a teensy one could be really fun.

But then! I got one in the mail on the same day that I set the cupcake free and mailed it to said friend. I got this little beehive from Kitty Kitty Crafts in the big mega super huge Giveaway Day from the Sew Mama Sew! blog. The little bee pins are too cute and it makes me smile from it's spot on the sewing table.

(This is totally her image too, I am stealing it. How awesome are the little bee pins, anyway?
Give some, get some, get fired up about pincushions.

Now that's something I bet you never thought you'd hear.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

In Which I Am Not Totally Selfish

I love to give things I make as gifts. I always feel sort of nervous doing it though- will it fall apart or burst into flames in the recipients' hands because I am a hack? Will they hate it? Am I deluding myself to think it's better than, say, one of those pine cones made to look like owls via googly eyes and pipe cleaner beaks from the 80's?

The scarf above was made for a very dear friend of mine, so dear I think of her more like a sister than a friend. She hasn't had the best of years this year, and I wanted to be able to give her something special this year. If you will remember my moaning and wailing from a few months ago, I am limited on my budget this year. Real estate is not that most lucrative of fields right now, but that's not the point. The point is that I still feel that I accomplished a special gift with limited resources, and that carries a sense of accomplishment with it. I mean, I didn't build a replica of the Vatican with toothpicks or anything, but it's still a comfy scarf that I know she will be able to use. All around I would call it a Powder Blue Triumph. Yes, I am that pretentious.

First of all, it was a $4 cashmere sweater scored at the Goodwill. I wanted to keep it for myself because it was so so so so incredibly soft. Disarmingly soft and squishy, and it only got better when I washed it a few times on the hot cycle. So, then I cut it up, which was a victory in and of itself, because I have a tendency to hoard materials I love, waiting for the absolute perfect project, which I can never readily identify. I know she will love it- good color for her, and there is something about cashmere that is a fantastic band-aid for any metaphorical bullet wounds. I don't care for many of the finer things in life, which is good because I cannot afford them either. But, cashmere is one of those things that I believe has magical feel good powers for the wearer, and this gal gets that. Finally, this is a triumph because I sewed it and managed not to break the machine in a million pieces and I am still in awe of when I can say that I finished a sewing project, it went well, and the house is still standing.

I still have the entire front of the sweater without the sleeves. I am thinking another neckwarmer could be in order. Cashmere, buttons- all we are missing is a pincushion and I could really work myself into a lather here. I swear, it really is the silliest things that turn my crank.

Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Physically Writing the Written Word

Okay, I am making a declaration in front of the tens of people that read this blog: In the coming year I plan to try to make an effort to get back to actually writing written correspondence. It's becoming a lost art, don't you think? I think about writing letters and sticking them in the mail in a nostalgic sort of way, sort of like how you feel when you remember the time that you had an answering machine at home, and when you were not home that's where your calls went. To see who called, you had to go home and listen to the message on the tiny little cassette tape. Remember that?

Anyway, I think letters and cards are better, and they are a gesture that has been forgone, and I feel like that's a shame. Cards and stationary can be a thing of beauty (unlike the example above) and the sentiment and the time taken to put pen to paper, as well as the personal touch that you can't get elsewhere, no matter how many bells and whistles get added to your Hotmail or whatever. So, I plan to rekindle to lost loves soon, and I will share them with you. The love of playing with paper and glue, and the love of sending cards and what not through the mail.

So watch out, glue and paper coming to a mailbox near you. You know, a mailbox. Those boxes on sticks in your front yard that holds all the junk mail and coupons you get. Yeah, that thing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Proof That the Economy Sucks

Folks, this is the face of unemployment. Maya, who did not even earn a living wage, lost her job today.

What made her expendable when she wasn't even being paid?

She smells like a dog.

Before you recoil in horror, let me say this: I don't tolerate a house that smells like animal. The kitty box is regularly scooped, and the poop is taken out. The dog gets baths so regularly that as soon as her collar is taken off, she jumps into the tub unassisted and waits to be washed. Being towel dried is a high point in her day. Anyway, I see to it that she smells like shampoo as much as I can. Her bedding is washed, her nails trimmed, and her ears cleaned. I figure if I am going to take her every where with me she has to be presentable.

this is why i am so confused as to why she was fired today. I certainly didn't notice the smell. Matter of fact, she smells a hundred times better than the AC guy, and we pay him (quite a bit) to not fix anything. Anyway, she didn't get a politely worded warning, no one held a seminar on hygiene hoping she'd get the hint- she just got the axe. Canned. Pink slip. Fired.

Okay now, let's be serious.

I am pretty hurt by this. I work in an office composed of three people and (formerly) one dog. We have all worked there a minimum of three years. I would think that we all know each other fairly well, and can anticipate one another's reactions. Therefore, I can't imagine anyone visualizing an encounter in which they tell me my dog smells bad, and me reacting any other way than apologizing profusely, and returning the next day with all manner of cleaners, sprays, colognes, disinfectants, and what not. I would have that doggie smelling like a flower bouquet that was dried in the sunshine on a cool summer breeze in an alpine forest of berry splendor, seriously!

If her snoring, the occasional rogue fart (I admit those don't smell nice), or the odd toenail biting was unbearable, why not just state the totally obvious and plausible? Why not just say, "Hey! We just realized this is an office! No dogs allowed in offices, silly!" Why get so personal, without even giving her a chance to improve?

This is a terrible time to be job hunting, even for a dog who was bred for, well...hunting. She has no real skills to speak of, her education consists of an associates' degree in obedience from PetSmart, and she got fired from her first job ever for smelling like a dog.

I hope she gets unemployment benefits.

Why Haven't I Been Doing This All Along?

Have you ever started doing something and then just felt like it was the answer to all your problems? And you couldn't believe it took you so damn long to get to the oh so very simple solution to all your woes?

Well, I didn't do that.

But I did get this super cool landscape format sketchbook from Rice-with-two-dots-over-the-e-but-I-can't-figure-out-how-to-make-
that-happen-so-I-didn't-which-is-pretty-lame at the Voodoo Cafe. She was nice enough to give it away on her blog, and even nicer because she gave it to me. Anyway, I have already had so much stinking fun with it, and it is a huge help in me trying to abandon the Scrap Paper Method, which is how I manage finances, keep track of shopping to be done, important dates and phone numbers, and all the keys to life's secrets.

Well, I am not keeping all that stuff in here, per se, but I do have all the details for projects I am working on and it's saving me so much trouble.

First and foremost I had to get out the fun paper and fancy it up.


Inside Front Cover:

That dark maroon stuff is velvet paper. I keep on fondling it, and I like it lots. I still have a ton more to add to it (I am feeling sequins in the front for sure), but it is at least functional now. I have gotten out the stamps, the markers, and the watercolor pencils. It's good for tracking down supplies for a project, keeping notes on knitting and where I am in patterns, and also doodling when I can't make myself do anything else.

the idea came from here, but I couldn't bear to glaze over the handmade papers. I covered up the cool texture before, and well, that was really just a stupid idea. Not this time. Is it wrong that between the handmade paper and the velvety paper, I am sort of copping a feel on my fun new book?

Monday, December 15, 2008

I am Oriented

Saturday I went to Orientation to work at the shelter!

I am really excited about getting started. they are very flexible about when you come and, I'd like to try to be there at least 2 hours a week. i would love to do more, but they close by the time I get off work and are not open on Sundays, so really Fridays and Saturdays are the only times I can go.

I have a list of animals I want.

First off, I want to take home a little hound mix named Schroeder. He looks sort of like Maya, but like he may have some other sort of hound mixed with foxhound, and he is more black and brown with white bits, and a pink tummy like Maya's. A staff member was in his enclosure with him, petting him and talking to him, and he was pressed against the wall, trembling. Now who does that sound like? I want to take him home, but I know I can't. I can't afford him, I don't have the room, and mostly I don't have the energy for another Maya. I can't carry two scared doggies around, and I am already pushing it bringing Maya to work every day- I think two is asking a lot. Way too much, in fact. I don't think I can spare the effort where Maya is concerned either. But I still want him.

Second, I want to take home a handsome older gentleman named Hairy Gary. I laughed so hard while typing that. I am picturing some icky perv at a strip club with gold chains and a pelt of back hair, aren't you? Nope, this guy was a brown striped guy in the Senior Citizen Kitty Room. He let me hold him, and purred a lot. He seemed grateful for the attention, which as a cat owner is a truly foreign concept to me. I thought cats prided themselves on their ability to ignore you unless you have yarn or seafood.

Thirdly, I want all the other puppies, kittens, and i think there was a bunny that caught my eye as well. I'm starting to think this may be a bad idea.

Other than the fact that I will probably look at this day the way that people think about their first time shooting up: the Day Things Changed Forever. Yeah, I'm on the hard stuff now- I'm mainlining homeless cats and kittens. God save me.

altogether i feel really good about this. I feel like this is some way for me to get over the holiday blahs, and make Not Being a Total Slug a year long thing. This is the only chance I've got: i can't stand children, I am scared of old people, and as a unit, I don't like people. Sorry, I just don't. I like individual people, and in some abstract way I feel compassion for the plights of all sorts of folks, but not in the way that I feel about animals who don't have someone to love them.

What do you mean, what's that kitten doing in my pocket? It's not mine, I swear. I'm just holding it for a friend.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Snowstorm!

I simulated one in my kitchen windows. I got the idea here, and it took a while, but it was fun to do while watching crappy reality shows. I love it, and I think that I am gonna leave it up through January.

In unrelated news, this weekend I go for my orientation for volunteering at the shelter where I adopted my dog. I'm really excited. I plan to tell them to pat me down and look in my purse every time I leave so that I don't sneak away with any kittens. Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

So This Is What It Feels Like To Really Go Crazy

O magic deluxe chai tea mix, O my sanity. It is only your sweet spicy milky warm deliciousness that prevents me from going on the most murderous of rampages. A rampage brought on by something you would never guess:

a $1.50 pack of blank recycled paper greeting cards I bought at Wal-Mart.

They've gone missing, and I can't find them and I know I saw them...sometime. It was recent. One day they were on one of the chairs in the dining room. They were also on the shelf in the office closet. Then they were on the floor in the office and one day I picked them up when I was cleaning up and they were put...


I don't know where. I have searched everywhere. I looked EVERYWHERE in this whole bloody awful office. I looked in the dining room. I looked in the closet. I even looked in my underwear drawer. Don't judge me- these are desperate times, friends. And it wasn't for nothing- I found my checkbook in there. Really, I did.

I am distraught. For one, I am distraught because of course if effing figures that the one time I really really wanted to play with them, had all the other stuff at the ready and could delight the masses with them, they are no where to be found. For two, it's a matter of principle. An entire evening that could have been spent blissfully getting glue everywhere and going to bed with bits of paper in my hair and leaving fun cards on the table for the cat to walk all over while I sleep has been ruined. Ruined, I tell ya! For three, I figure I could have bought a damn Mazerati by now with all I have spent on supplies for various crafts (okay fine, maybe more like a 1987 Dodge Caravan, but still) and I can't throw some freaking Christmas cards together if I want! For four, I just wanted to get to four, because saying "for four" takes the edge off a bit.

I'm gonna buy more tomorrow. I am gonna finish up the last remaining packages to be mailed, and mail them. I am changing these up because I realized that pickle jars for dog cookies would do nothing but add weight and cost to the mailing of the packages. Lame. So yeah, that is being finished, I am getting my volunteer on at the shelter, and the rest of it will be spent cleaning up this room for once and for all. It will be my gift to myself this year, and it's long overdue. Ephram the Holiday Snail would be pleased.

Oh, great. Just great. I just looked down, at 9PM, and realized the shirt that I wore all freaking day AT MY JOB is on inside out. Someone, come save me from myself. Please.

Oh Look, I've Gone and Made Something Else

and it's fantastic.

This is the Celtic Cable Neckwarmer and I am so happy with it. I made it with Malabrigo worsted weight in Emerald. It was really fun, and it kept me busy over the disaster that was Thanksgiving. And it is oh so very soft. So very, very soft. I think that shorter scarves are my new favorite thing. They go under coats, give you a reason to add buttons to something, and prevent any horrid gruesome Isadora Duncan-type mishaps.

Dear Christmas: Your Services Are No Longer Needed

I debated on saving this for after the holidays, but I just can't. I tried to force myself into loving the holidays. I baked. Dammit, I baked for dogs! I dutifully put up my tree, I signed up for volunteer work, I schlepped across the country to see the family for Thanksgiving. I have done the decorating, the crafting, and STILL I am continuing to make tokens for those that I appreciate.

No more.

Yesterday I got into a discussion with (awesome) people (on Rav) about the holidays, and what Christmas really is, what it should be, how people do and don't celebrate it, blah blah. Well. One gal had the MOST fantastic tradition with her family ever. EVER! They even called it Elevensies, which holds additional appeal to those of us who like Hobbits and their rock 'n roll lifestyle out in The Shire. Elevensies begins on the Solstice, and ends on New Years Day. How perfect. They get dressed up, they do a big feast, they enjoy being together with friends and family, and enjoy a changing of the seasons, the turn back toward longer days that we are making, all culminating with my Favorite All Time Holiday: New Years Eve. Could it get any better? There are little gifts, mostly tokens exchanged, but that's really not the focus.

Splendid, no?

I am totally embracing this idea. I love winter. I love hiding under covers, I love big warm squishy scarves, I like the time where everything goes to sleep because it makes spring that much better. I love feasts- we all know that! And I love that it all ends with the best holiday ever. Some people sleep through New Years, or go to bed right after. Me, I am wired till morning. I put on the goofy hats (this is the one night I don't stick out for looking dumb in hats so I take advantage), I love the confetti, I love the countdown, and I mostly love the feeling right after the New Year begins. It's a time when there are 365 entire days of completely unbridled possibility. It's the idea that at that moment you are looking out over a whole vast unit of time where you can make any change in your life you want. You can do it all better than you did before, and maybe- just maybe- this will be the year when everything comes together. Perhaps I have this romantic notion of the New Year because I am usually pretty hammered when it arrives. But that's a topic for another day. Anyway, I just like the idea of a long celebration of both winding down for winter and gearing up for a new year. It totally poops on the doorstep of everything I have come to hate about Christmas. I'll spare you all those things, because they aren't terribly original.

Anyway, I brought this idea up to my true equal in vivid imaginations, depraved senses of humor, and unabashed love for the truly strange. After talking about it at great length, we came up with a whole fantastic story, a few rules, even some carols, and everything but a good name for it. I like Elevensies, but I don't feel like it's fair to take someone's mindful and simple celebration of the seasons and of family and soil it with Ephram the Holiday Snail. (although he is pretty cool, even though he only comes to one house the whole year- he moves too slow to do more, cause he's a snail, duh.) I figure I am one of the only ones who appreciates that in my holiday, if you are mindful of your sodium intake all year long, Ephram might come to your house and fill your stockings with queso.

I realize that the above paragraph makes me an ideal candidate for a full hysterectomy, thereby preventing me from ever inflicting this on a child.

Anyway, the point is that I am firing Christmas due to it's high cost and repeated failure to meet expectations. I will give it a good recommendation to others, but it's really just not a good fit for any future Decembers I may have. And why the hell shouldn't I? I mean, choices are a great thing to have. We have easily 27 flavors of Chex Mix at my grocery store, but only two viable political parties here in the US, and a mere three holidays to celebrate in December. Not good enough. There's a fine line between tradition and obligation, and Christmas is an obligation to me now. Nope, no more. BF is on board with it too- stocking full of queso and all. He even sounded disappointed when he thought that his high blood pressure might automatically exclude him from EVER getting a visit from Ephram. And that is how I know he is meant for me.

I went back and proofread in an attempt to make this post make sense. I failed miserably. I am sure you are calling for The Men in White Coats to come and take me away, and I understand. Just please see to it that if I am put away, they release me by early December of 2009. I have a party to prepare for!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's a...Bowl.

I made a bowl the other day. When my paper stash and I rekindled our romance, we had hot make-up crafting and we did some paper mache' (I like to pronounce it pa-pee-ay mah-shay to feel fancy).

And here's the bowl.

I like how relatively plain it is, and how I can dump tiny little ornaments (that double as cat toys when hung on the tree) and now it says, "Hey look at me, I don't totally hate this time of year, but I don't love it enough to put out wacky stuff that isn't my normal style either." Looks kind of cute on the old pub table. And I figure I can put seasonally appropriate things in it, or things that I pick up when the dog and I go walking (but not poop! I pick that up but would never put it in a bowl. That's just gross.).

I made it using this tutorial's influence and a term paper about Guatemala, an article about Newton and Einstein, a page from a book that's in Spanish, and some wacky keyboard song book thing. Fun times.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Brown Paper Mittens and Whiskers on Grannies, and Things Tied up with String....

these are a few of my favorite things! I can never remember the words, but I like the song anyway.

I would like to mention- I had all my posts scheduled for the week (I know, that's like cheating, but I am busy!) and then yesterday Kerry showed her tree and ornaments! Great minds, they think alike I tell ya. So here's mine.

I figured I would spare you pics of my tree and show you closeups of my favorite ornaments instead. I think tree pics are fabulously boring. I mean, you can't see anything that well, and I am a total ornament whore. I feel like all my ornaments run the gambit between sentimental and out and out fabulous and of course shiny. And I have been known to peer owlishly into other people's trees to see their ornaments.

These are two of my faves:

I can't believe that in the course of editing the pics, and deleting the worthless ones, I deleted the good one of santa and kept this awful thing. I will try to get a better one.

I tricked you, HAHA! Here's my tree.

Monday, December 8, 2008

More Weekend Baking.

Hello, I hope you had a nice weekend and your Monday is not shaping up to be total crap.

I was very very very busy this weekend. Very busy indeed. I spent a good bit of it making some gifts, and my goal was to have everything that was to be mailed out by today so that I can relax and enjoy the rest of the month. It was not to be, but that's okay. Anytime this week would be a SERIOUS improvement over past years.

So anyway, I got this recipe off of the Sew Mama Sew! blog, and I gotta tell ya- if you love chai tea, this is the recipe for you. It's seriously delicious, and I could well be ruined on any other for the rest of my life.

And I made more dog cookies. This time I made peanut butter and banana, and they were delicious. I am only slightly embarrassed to say that I know this first hand. Maya and I each had a few, and she agrees too. They are yummy. They were fun to make and I hope that all the doggies on our list enjoy them. I know they will because dogs have impossibly low standards when it comes to food.

Also, I gotta say that I am pretty proud of the labels. I made them all by myself. I was too cheap to buy printer labels (those suckers are expensive!) and feeling to holiday cheerful to steal them from work. So, i bought a $1.50 pack of those ones that you write your name on, and sat down with my stamps. I am pleased to report that other than the nametags, I didn't buy another thing for the labels. You can't really tell, but the whitish mod-snowflakey-star-thingies are embossed with sparkly glittery stuff. Festive.

Now to throw all this stuff in the mail and see if I can't squeeze a little fun out of the holidays.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Behold, A Thing I Made.

A headband.

A Bamboozled Headband, that is. I still feel like I look dumb with things on my head, but this is made with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino (which I got from the orphan bin at Knit a while back and it was cheeeeep and so soft) and I love it. Keeps my ears warm while I am puttering around the house- still haven't turned the heat on!

Now, I am getting ready to start a hat, and I hope that by continuing to make different things for my head that I will get over the belief that I look dumb in hats. I really want to get over that, so I am just gonna wear them like I am getting paid.

Now the funny thing is, one part of the pattern is completely wonky. that is because I was reading the chart backwards while working on this during the election coverage. I was soooo worked up that I wasn't paying attention! Then I got it together later on. I thought about ripping it all back, but honestly, it's not worth it. I refuse to waste all the knitting time I have when there are babies coming and Santa coming too on a stupid headband. Besides, it will remind me of how high emotions ran on election day, and I forget about it when it's on my own head anyway.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

You Thought It Wouldn't Happen

but it has!

The etsy shop has been updated!

And I took stuff out of it and kept it for myself! Yaaaaa- what? What do you mean that isn't the point of getting rid of your stuff? Sure it is! See, here's why: the point is not to have things for the sake of having them, or counting them, or measuring yourself against them. Unless it is a tape measure, and then yes the point would be to measure yourself. Anyway. The point is to have them and enjoy them, use them, not let them take over your life, and to let you feel smug when you decide on a whim to do something and realize you have all the materials on hand.

It's like that old saying: If you love something, sell it on Etsy. If it comes back to you, either you did a shitty job making it and now it's broken, or it was meant to be. Either one.

I missed you, paper collection. I will go through it more carefully, and maybe get rid of some of the stuff I won't ever use, but it will be a giveaway here and that will be that. Till then, my paper and i need to be alone right now. We have things to do.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

In Which We Play 'Name That Smell' or The Day I Got High On Windex

For the love of God.

As you know from previous posts dating back to months ago, my office is being renovated. Very, very, very slowly. So slowly, in fact, that I no longer remember what it's like to work in a place where there is drywall up on the walls. This place looks like what I picture a property management office should look like in a Red Zone in Baghdad. Now, I'm not exaggerating, for once. Really, all the furniture is pulled into the middle of the rooms, there is plastic sheeting up, and in some places there's exposed insulation.

I have adapted. There are benefits to this, like being able to write bad words in the dust on people's desks. You can hide really well if you are so inclined. Why, just the other day I needed more envelopes and everyone thought I was gone for good. It's because I was tired after climbing the printer table, skittering over a desk, and lowering myslef into the crawl space by the supply shelves. Once I was down there I thought I would rest a while and no one could find me.

Well, now there are smells. They are new and they are not good. They make me feel insane. They are unidentified, and unexplainable. First of all, it smells like hairspray in the kitchen. By my desk, it smells like urine. First I thought the smell was cat- like, which is strange because we usually don't have cats in the office. My dog was accused of it, and she most certainly did NOT pee in here, thankyouverymuch. I wondered fleetingly if the workers peed on my rug at my desk just to be jerks. I just don't know what it is, but I know it makes me fucking crazy.


This post should prove why I have no shame. I hope you appreciate that I put my tenuous grip on sanity on display for the whole world to see, cause it's all the way out there today. I could have edited this post just so you could have had a laugh retrospectively with me about how I spent the day crawling around and (enthusiastically) sniffing various unsavory things trying to find the source of the pee smell. I had it saved in draft to edit and then publish when I could think straight and the headache from the fumes subsided. But, no I left it out there for you to see.

I'm stupid.

I had Windex poisoning. I have one of those wood laminate (read: cheapo) desks, and you have to dust them with Windex. And honey, I have been dusting what with all the construction going on. It's how I keep my last shred of sanity. Turns out that when you keep a bottle on your desk, the fumes get to your head.

Do you know that I even got to the point where I had my head in all the trashcans sniffing them, and in retrospect that was a bad idea? While doing that I was coming up with all sorts of ways that people were conspiring against me. I decided that the air conditioning man was fed up with the way that I can't look at him or speak to him in more than three syllable sentences because he smells like freon and Old Spice and sometimes B.O. and his last name sounds alllllmost like it is Balljiggler and he put some poisonous fumes into the system and the were pouring out of the vent above my desk. Only I could smell them and they were eating my body from the inside out, I thought. I figured any time now I would get into bed, and not be able to sleep because of a bright glowing nuc-u-lar-ly reactive-type glow like in the movies. I would look down and realize it was my uterus, rendered radioactive by Balljiggler's dastardly plan. Luckily, it was just Windex.

I'm stupid.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Do you like peanut butter cookies? Maya does. I bet her dog friends do too. That's why I made some.

they are too cute. I have been saving my pickle jars (I buy the medium ones, and sometimes several a week, I'm afraid) and now I am slowly filling them to the brim with little peanut buttery bones. I would fill them a lot faster if my Quality Control Foxhound didn't love them so much.

She gets to keep the big ones, which I only really made because I wanted to play with all the cutters in the 3 piece set. They are too cute, each batch makes easily 70 little bones, and it costs next to nothing to make them. I feel comfortable endorsing this recipe, because my doggie is a picky eater, and she does not usually get excited about dry treats. At best, she is ambivalent about cookies- unless her mom makes them. Here's a heavily modified recipe (modified because I didn't have all the stuff and was too lazy to hunt it all down):

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (feel free to add much more. the dogs won't mind)
some water (just keep adding 1/4 cups of it till you get a pasty, doughy consistency you like)
a bit of flax seed or some flax seed oil if you have it

mix it all up real good, then roll it out on a floured surface. I just mushed it out with my hands because it looks more home made (with love, of course) and cute with a non-uniform surface. Cookie cut them up in whatever shape you like, and then put them in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes or so. cool completely before serving to your doggie friends and store in an airtight container, such as a pickle jar. serve and win the adoration of furry beasts far and wide.

I got the cookie cutters on eBay, and I am having tons of fun baking them up. Maya is having tons of fun eating them. Maya is giving them to her friends this year for Christmas. I was surprised last night by how many lucky doggies are on her list. It's a good thing all the ingredients are cheap, because Foxhounds don't really have a lot of money to spend on things like cookies.