Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Murder comes with menopause...

Steve mentioned at dinner that he had emailed me something that might be blog-worthy (not quite is exact words... ). And after reading the message, I agree!!:

From The Reader's Digest:

Asked on NPR how she went from writing romance novels to mysteries, author Janet Evanovich answered, "I hit menopause and began to have more thoughts of murder than romance."

Now if I could commune with the dead...

Who Should Paint You: Andy Warhol

You've got an interesting edge that would be reflected in any portrait
You don't need any fancy paint techniques to stand out from the crowd!

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Song List

1. What'll you do when you get lonely/And nobody's waiting by your side? LAYLA

2. If you wanna hang out you've got to take her out...COCAINE

3. They crossed over the border the hours before dawn, moving in lines through the day. ROADS TO MOSCOW, AL STEWART

4. I want put on my my my my my _______ _________! BOOGIE SHOES. KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND.

5.We'll put out to sea/ And we'll prefect our chemistry. KOKOMO, THE BEACH BOYS

6. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshiney day. THINK i CAN MAKE IT, BOB MARLEY

7. Don't let them fool you or even try to school you, Oh No!

8. "Well, let me tell you 'bout the way she looked, the way she acts and the color of her hair. SHE'S NOT THERE. Originally the Zombies, but this was by Santana.

9. You've got me running and hiding all over town/ you got me sneaking and peeping and running you down...EVIL WAYS, SANTANA

10. She's trying to make a devil out of me. BLACK MAGIC WOMAN, Santana

11. Hey man, I gotta straighten my face/This mellow thighed chick/ Just put my spine out of place! SUFFRAGETTE CITY, DAVID BOWIE.

12. South of the river you stop and hold everything/A band is blowing dixie double four time/ You feel all right when you hear that music ring. SULTANS OF SWING, DIRE STRAITS.

13. Laughing and a running hey, hey! Skipping and a jumping/In the misty morning fog withour hearts a thumping and you..BROWN-EYED GIRL. VAN MORRISON..

14 I like mine with lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and French fried potatoes, Big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer...CHEESEBURGER IN PARADISE, JIMMY BUFFET.

Go Read This Site.

Bush hopes that his "after Prez" job will be to set up a "think tank" that examines the "DeTocqueville model" of America.
BUSH: “I’m beginning to think it through a little bit. I’d like to leave behind a legacy — or a think tank, a place for people to talk about freedom and liberty and the DeTocqueville model of what DeTocqueville saw in America.

At this link are a several quotes from DeTocqueville's book, Democracy in America, including:

“I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.” [Link]

“The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.” [Link]

Anyway.. go read not only the article but also the comments that follow. I think my favorite is:
  1. I think that W is more into dementia.Comment by WaltTheMan — January 28, 2006 @ 11:50 pm

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Walking and Singing

Took the dogs for a 2.5 mile walk this morning. Before we left, I loaded up my pockets with:
A bottle of water on a shoulderstrap, with a water dish hanging on it;
6 poop bags;
sun visor.
my MP3 player.
my digital camera.
(This is why I cannot imagine living without pockets. Where would I carry all these things if I didn't have 6 pockets in the clothes I was wearing?) And DON'T say a purse. A backpack, maybe..

We landed at our local city's walking path and headed the 1.25 miles up to the swim center. Since I drank all the water (bad mommy!! bad mommy!!), and there was some kind of major activity in the center, I couldn't take the dogs in for a drink. But the workers there know us, and happily filled up the water dish. While the dogs slurped, I talked to our former mayor and our city manager. style="font-style: italic;"> (WalMart..BAD; Trader Joe's GOOD). I'm sure they didn't appreciate it.. but, what the Hey!.. you're a public official standing in public, you're going to get it. And they have been hearing it A LOT. I still suspect we'll be stuck with WalMart.

We got home as it was clouding up. It will start raining tonight.

My playlist really kept me moving (well, that the dogs expect me to move at a 3 mph+ pace). I planned on simply sharing it, but.. what the heck, it's the weekend. So we're gonna play a little game. I'll list a lyric from the song, and you guess the song. Then thank goodness that you weren't on the path listening to me sing while we walked!
  1. What'll you do when you get lonely/And nobody's waiting by your side? (hint we heard Jordis singing this song last summer).
  2. If you wanna hang out you've got to take her out...(same artist as the first song)
  3. They crossed over the border the hours before dawn, moving in lines through the day.(a toughy challenging song, mayhaps).
  4. I want put on my my my my my _______ _________! (things are getting lighter, but still fast).
  5. We'll put out to sea/ And we'll prefect our chemistry...
  6. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshiney day.
  7. Don't let them fool you or even try to school you, Oh No!
  8. Well, let me tell you about the way she looked, The way she'd act and the color of her hair...
  9. You've got me running and hiding all over town/ you got me sneaking and peeping and running you down...
  10. She's trying to make a devil out of me.
  11. Hey man, I gotta straighten my face/This mellow thighed chick/ Just put my spine out of place!
  12. South of the river you stop and hold everything/A band is blowing dixie double four time/ You fell all right when you hear that music ring.
  13. Laughing and a running hey, hey! Skipping and a jumping/In the misty morning fog withour hearts a thumping and you...
  14. I like mine with lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and French fried potatoes, Big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Flock Has Spoken

It's early migration time along the Pacific Flyway, and the finches are beginning to make thier presence known. Most years I notice this more when I go to buy purchase seed than from actual observation of more birds at my feeders. Niger thistle see completely disappears from the shelves.

I had one notable exception here! One season when I could tell from the birds on my deck that it was major migration time. Three times a day that week (early morning, middle of the day, and one-two hours before dusk) I would average 100 finches on my deck.

Visiting the petstore this week, the empty shelf syndrome has struck. No black oil sunflower seed and no niger thistle seed. As I was completely out of seed for the finch feeder and that is my most popular feeder, I decided to substitute with the Audobon Society's Finch Festival. According to the Audobon Society website:

Finch Festival - "The Energizer" - A high-energy, high-protein food source for smaller birds such as finches, sparrows, siskins, redpolls, and juncos and towhees.

My thistle feeder still has about 4" of thistle seed servicing the bottom-most ports in the tube feeder, but I "topped off" the feeder with this mix.

Yesterday the birds finished off all the new seed, totally ignoring the thistle seed still available to them. And this morning the action continues. I have about dozen finches and juncoes waiting their time at the two top seedports and totally ignoring the available ports below.

Guess when they take a break I really need to just toss the thistle seed and give these birds what they want: A Festival.

Friday, January 27, 2006

It was a Good Mail Week!!

First I get this postcard from Deb L. because I guessed correctly about the location part of her 4-way meme. Isn't it wonderful?? I think it might be sideways, though...

Second, I got 2 yards of Lutrador to play with. It's white and looks like interfacing, hence no photo. But Thirdly, I got this book: Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists.

It has photos inside of actual sketchbook pages, lots of techniques to read about, and a primer at the end for making your own sketchbook. Here's an example.

And this one.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Geeky miracle post warning...

Faithful, incredulous readers.. here's the truth:

I am writing this post and I can publish it when I'm done (or save it as draft), and I am not logged into Blogger, nor am I using their editing tools.

There are these wonderful programs (who knew?? and why didn't they tell me/?) that let you blog from your desktop. Then post the messages whenever you wish. So that frustration that you can't write a blogpost because your internet connection isn't working? ... or you're on the road and don't have a wifi connection?

At the moment, I'm using a program called Performancing for Firefox. Sorry, it's not available for other browser options (including Netscape).. but Firefox is a great way to browse the web.. and you should be using it instead of IE!

First, if you haven't downloaded FireFox, do so. Set it up.
Second, download Performancing.
When you go to set it up, it will ask you where you blog (say for example, Blogger). And it will ask for you login name and password. These are kept on your computer.. NOT stored online.. but it lets the program communicate with your blog.

Third. After you've installed Performancing, you can open Firefox, and find a very small icon in the bottom toolbar on the right hand side. Click it, and Performancing opens up. So if you're reading a great blog or article and you want to save notes from it.. Open Performancing, copy and paste the link or the notes or whatever and save it for yourself. Or keep a link that you want to share.

You can write in WYSIWYG or HTML. YOu can preview your post. You can Bold, Italic, Underline. Quote. add in links, and add photos.

And if you have more than one blog.. it will add in every blog you have and list each one.. so you can choose to write a quick note to one and then the next... with a click of a button.

Other desktop blog publishing software includes:
and RocketPost

Performancing and Ecto are free.. the other two cost money. But I encourage you go out, investigate and play.

It's All About The Hat #1

Thanks for the comments on the photo and hat! It's Steve's hat that I borrowed. Lisa Stone at BlogHer has been trying to convince me that people will respond to my writing better if they can put a face to the name. I decided the other day to experiment. I'd still be happier if I could wait until I've lost about 20#,... but I don't know that that would make me look less "masculine". I think the short (but not cropped) hair adds to that look.. along with the glasses. But long hair doesn't work with me either. (all I do is pull it back to get it outta my face).

You should see the other hat!! Oh wait!! You can!!

I'm sure it once belonged to a proud, tiny Black woman.. who wore it as her "Sunday Go To Meeting" hat. Unfortunately, I need someone else to really take my picture.. with all that added height, my arms are not long enough!! STeve has been working a lot, so I have to wait til next Monday night for really good photos! And, heaven's WHEN did I grow my father's jowls?? That's OK on my brothers.. but not on me!!

However, when I don this hat, I feel like a '40s glamour editor. All I need is the 1' long ebony cigarette holder!! It's the key to a great persona. I bought it for my position as a Content Editor for the BlogHer website, which goes LIVE on Monday!! Not that I'll write my articles wearing that hat...well, maybe when I need some great inspiration... but I suspect there will be times (like BlogHer Conference 06) when I use the hat as a prop.

Infact while taking photos of these 2 hats, I thought of a fun new blog topic:
It's All About The Hat!! That would simply be photos of me wearing lots of different hats. Kind of the way the other DebR is with shoes...?? Or Carol Newbill with the neighborhood mannequin??

What do ya think??

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I went "no mail" on the Quilt Art list and my morning "catching up" internet time has decreased significantly. Inspite of the fact that I've had to add about 100 blogs to my BlogLines subscription!!

Will someone please let me know if ever really returns to on topic stuff.

Monday, January 23, 2006

This is kind of Subtle...

This is kind of subtle. But I worked out this element of the piece.

I pulled the "trashed" piece out and chose a couple "decorative" stitches to play with. I hate the loop-de-loop stitching in this design, but the rest is done with a kind of honeycomb pattern that I really liked. A color to match each section with the stitching flowing along the shapes of each piece. Where the shapes overlap, the stitching overlaps, too. So the thread colors blend to reinforce the colors.

This is way too subtle close up.

Here are orange and blue threads starting to overlap... on the big picture this creates a subtle green.

Project Runway Alert!!!

Hey, all you PR fans... Diana Eng has a blog!!

Three column help needed

Ok, I'm trying to do a very simple thing. (I would think).

Instead of the main body and one sidebar on this blog, I want 2 sidebars. One on the left to hold my blogrolls and the one on the right just the way it is. ok, maybe it would have to be skinnier..but just a little. And there really doesn't have to be that much space between the two..

I have found a number of skins for blogs (including one that looks just like this template)... you would think that it would be simple to make the change. I put it in the template.. and the colors all changed and things didn't look right anymore.

But everytime I try to do it, everything gets moved around, text overlaps, sidebars slip to the bottom of the page.


Now, No Gerrie, I do not wish to simply move to Typepad. Eventually I think I'll move up, and when I do it will be to something with more a "webhosting' feel to it. But not now. And I'm comfortable with making a number of changes to this blog now. I know where to look and what to do even though I don't know HTML programming.

So is there anyone out there that will walk me through changing my template to show a 2 column without driving me insane?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sunday!! Fun Day!!

There is a guy in town to work in Steve’s lab this week. Since he was here a day early, we picked him up and took him on our big Sunday Walk to Pt. Pinole. I’ve blogged about this park before, so I won’t bore you with all the history and stuff again.

It was a wonderful walk... 3+miles of fresh air, bright sun and happy dogs. Katy, our shy Lab (I know that should be an oxymoron...), even let Bill pet her. There were puddles to splash through and scenery to admire.

Stopped on the way home at OSH (my goodness, I don’t remember the last time I’ve been there) and Target because Steve needed a new watch.

Home to do a little gardening, watch some football and take a nice long nap.

This evening there’s a little TV to watch... (have I mentioned that I’m giving up on Desperate Housewives? There is no charm or reason to watch this year, so I’m not). And the week ahead to plan.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Saturday was sunny and dry.

Not warm... but it's January!! I won't complain about sunny and 53.
So I headed outside to take advantage of this weather. First I mowed the lawn. That took about 10 minutes, as it's small.

I weeded this part of the shrub border.

I checked the progress of the lemons on my tree...

They're huge.. but the rind is thick. And they are almost ready to pick.

The one orange tree is much more prolific. Either because this location protects it from the wind, or because this location protects it from Steve's pruners. Probably both.

This red decorative grass needs to be cut back. Tomorrow is it's still dry.

Now, incase you don't understand what it means to own a border collie. This picture shows 4 the basketballs he plays with in the back yard.

While Jake (said border collie) hangs out with another one on the deck.

And Katy just hangs out.

Must Have Been Good!!

Must have been good!! Less than 24 hours after taking it out of the oven, it's half eaten. And there are just 2 of us!!

Bread Pudding

I got home from grocery shopping Friday morning and was putting everything away when I noticed that a package of bread already in the fridge had a problem. The wrapper had come undone at the back half of the loaf, exposing about 6 slices to the air for who-knows-how-long.

They were all drying out and not appealling. But not moldy or bad.

Never fear.. there are dishes that cry out for dried out bread. One that sprang immediately to mind was Bread Pudding. So after dealing with the new food, I dealt with the old. Cut the dried bread up into cubes, mixed in an oblong pan with raisins, chopped dried apricots and some walnuts (I personally believe almost everything is improved by adding nuts).

Mixed up a eggy-custardy mixture and pour that over the bread. Placed it in a bain marie (that's a water bath in French... see?? when I cook, I suddenly become multi-lingual!!) and baked it off.

After supper I sat down to catch the news with a square of this wonderful conconction and a glass of spiced green tea.

Heaven on a plate.

Yeah, I tried to take to photo, but I can't find my camera.

Friday, January 20, 2006

I'm giving up on my current read...

Ok, I'm about 1/2 way through The Reading Group. I still have to consult the "cheat sheet" at the beginning to remember the relationship of the different people. I can keep the story lines straight.. but I just don't give a damn. Not about the people, their challenges or how they change in the year that this novel covers.

So I'm giving up.

Unfortunately, I was going to make myself finish this book. So when I went online and reserved a couple books from the library, I asked them to make them available to me until the end of the month. So now I have to "fill time" waiting for the books that I thought I wouldn't need, and now I do.

What did I reserve??? The curious, I know are tapping on their screens waiting for that answer.

#1. TAKE BIG BITES. by Linda Ellerbee. This book has been on my "to read" list for a year. I feared if I waited much longer I'd forget to ask for it. So now is time!! Imagine a memoir part travel guide, part food guide.

I think a lot of us have memories of occasions where food is directly tied to the occurrence. I'd love to read about more of these and will actually try to write a couple in the few weeks. Before reading this books reminds me that I'm not a well-known journalist/writer.

#2. Storm Front, by Jim Butcher. This is the first book in a series that I have heard as "Harry Potter grown up.". The protagonist is Harry Dresden, a detective who is also a licensed wizard.

Sounds harmless.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Blame this on High Fiber Content

Julie posted the other day about a face comparison software thing at MyHeritage that she played with. She only showed one result.

I remembered today that I actually do have one photo of myself in my computer, and decided to upload it to the site and check on the comparisions. Now you can understand why I don't have my picture taken. I think they compared : #1. glasses; #2. mouth shape; and #3. short bangs or "high forehead".

Now I didn't add all the photos either. However, I did NOT eliminate any of the female photos. You can just have fun trying to guess which other men I look like. (jeez, this did wonders for my morale).

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Something finally up at Stitched Out Of Time

Last fall I set up a separate blog (Stitches Out Of Time) with the intention of selling painted fabrics, supplies and small fiber pieces. However, I've dragged my feet for so long and now everyone is selling from blogs!!

I've decided to upload a couple of the journals with covers I've made. These are wonderful books on their own.. but I've made them prettier. AND I've added a pen/pencil holder to each so a wise person never has to search for a writing/drawing implement when inspiration strikes.

These are set up with an instant "buy me" PayPal button which was part of the "foot dragging" I'd done.

Please check them out and tell me what you think.

Help be my eyes

I will soon be an editor for the BlogHer website. My responsibilities will require me to read blogs doing with people's hobbies... or activities that some might view as hobby activities: sewing, knitting, dancing, birdwatching, gardening, etc.

It's going to be fun.

However, I will be required to find cool blogs every week!! And here's where I will need your help.

Yes, I will be searching everyone's blogrolls looking for great writing in blogs... but, please, if you have a great blog that you think I should know about please click on my profile over in the sidebar here, and send me an email to point me in the right direction. Yeah, I know my profile isn't showing up at the moment. I'm trying to fix it. In the meantime, if you click on the picture, it should take you to my profile.

At the moment, I'm thinking about writing something on the Knitting Olympics for when the website goes live, maybe bellydancing (bellydancing is supposed to be hot, but only a few folks are blogging about it) and probably something on all the people who have committed to blogging their sketching or the 365 Days of creativity.

I cannot believe that I don't find many scrapbookers blogging, or crocheters, or pilates or yoga. I'm definately looking for those. And gardeners!! We're going to fast approach gardening time for most of the US.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


I have signed up for a classic watercolor class at the RAC this winter season. This morning was our second class. It will be nicer when they fix the furnace, but this is an old muni building.. they must fabricate a couple special parts before it will be fixed. In the meantime, the room is in the 50s and it takes forever for the watercolor paper to dry after you've applied some paint.

And we've been trying to experiment with layering color on paper (with previous layers dry).. so it's been an interesting class. I started three experiments today hoping I would get the first one dry by the time I finished the third. No such luck. So when I couldn't feel my thighs (where are my longjohns? I gave them away when I moved to the left coast), I packed up and came home. I'll continue working this evening while watching some tv.

Since scrapping my piece, I've been refining the original sketch. Tomorrow I'm taking it to Kinko's to get it blown up (I don't have a scanner or an overhead projector to do so at home).

And I've got an idea for the piece after this one. I'm working on the sketches for that piece.

So although I have nothing to show for work, I am working.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Line exercises: C&C

I finally found time this weekend to work on the Color and Composition exercises again. But, I'll admit my heart or my mind wasn't really in it. I almost felt like I was just doing it to get it done. So I'm backing up this week and starting back on chapter one again.

Compositions: Straight line pieces.

LIne exercises--straight lines. Ok.. so I got distracted and did 2 compositions with the straight lines parallel to the edges, so my "no lines parallel" had to be done with scraps of th curved pieces. Parallel lines: horizontal composition; Not parellel lines: radiating.

Composition: curved lines.

Curved design (on the right), asymetrical. (or is it?? Is it vertical??). Design on the left?? My leftover composition... Framed.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

What goes better with a Donut than Coffee???

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

Saturday, January 14, 2006

This is actually close!!

Wait a minute...How can a 5 questions quiz (where one question didn't have the "correct" answer) and pretty much describe me?

You Are a Boston Creme Donut

You have a tough exterior. No one wants to mess with you.
But on the inside, you're a total pushover and completely soft.
You're a traditionalist, and you don't change easily.
You're likely to eat the same doughnut every morning, and pout if it's sold out.

Happy, Happy!! Joy, Joy Photos!!

Can you believe that it would take 3 days of shopping to find something as simple and basic as this?? Look at the nicely finished "weskit" kinda hem. And the pretty capelet. Only down side? It's polyester. But it's pretty and a great basic.

From Chico's outlet: a linen blouse with rayon embroidery. Stacy and Clinton would say it's too boxy.. and at it's regular price of $100+, I wouldn't have looked at it twice. But it's a good basic. My "personal Clinton" found it.

This is so much prettier in person!! It's silk, reminds me of a dupioni, with rayon embroidery of Chinese symbols and such on it.

Three days to find 3 basic shirts!! I think Steve now understands why I live in $5 sale t-shirts from Target... one color for each day of the week.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Happy, Happy!! Joy, Joy!!

I have successfully found several acceptable things to wear!!

(the major gasp from the faithful readers causes the weather fronts to shift changing everyone's forecast by 3 days!!)

This morning after walking the dogs, I convinced the spouser to head with me up to the Vacaville Premium Outlets. He was to be the arbiter of stylin' or stupid. My own personal "Clinton".

I gave him the groundrules:

Must not be tucked in; must be size large or extra large.

Scenario: A sales rep or techie walks into his office at 3:30 pm and invites us both out to dinner, (or I go with him to STLE in Calgary this May). Find 2 or 3 tops that I can throw on over my jeans and be acceptable no matter where we go.

First 2 stores were a total bust, and he was starting to understand the frustration I faced.

Then we walked into the Dress Barn outlet store. There were actually 8 things I tried on. Some were OK.. several made us both screw up our faces. One purply blouse was almost perfect. Fit perfect, looked nice. If they had more in my size, in "not ugly" colors, I'd have bought them and called it a deal. (note: ugly colors.. on me.. limey, yellow-green and bright orange. In fact anything with a yellowish cast).

Steve also found a cute little crocheted "capelet" to dress it up!!

Outta there with less than $25 spent.

Four more stores with no joy... Then we found the Chico's outlet. I gotta tell ya, based on the prices at the outlet, I would NEVER shop at the regular stores.

Took a while to figure out thier sizing. What is it with this size 0, 1, 2, & 3 instead of S,M,L, XL? Like the people looking at 3s don't know they're really 14s?? Steve actually found the information before me and TOLD me what size I was. He also found 5 tops for me wear. I added one myself.

And bought two.

A Chinese red silk blouse with embroidery on it. Again, if they had my size in more colors, I'd have bought them. Originally $102, with markdowns etc. a more acceptable $25. This is the one I found).

Then he found a nice black and white print top. I can wear it alone, layered with a shell underneath, all seasons. NOT marked down further, so about $50. (probably $100 new at the regular stores).

Happy, happy!! Joy, joy!!

These are 3 pieces that I can build on. They may work with my black skirt and black sleevess dress.. maybe even the navy dress. If I ever find my waist again, I might find a pair of gray slacks that fit... or for summer ivory!! (oooh... those thing would mean thinking about stuff like shoes...).

I might actually try and get him to take photos of the things... so stay tuned.

And I've learned my lesson. One goal I have this year is to upgrade the wardrobe bit by bit. And now I know. Forget the malls. Drive the 30 minutes or so up the Outlets.

And maybe take my personal shopper with me...

Who knew??

Thursday, January 12, 2006

More on clothes shopping

Tried some more today... still no luck. Steve has volunteered to go to the outlets tomorrow with me. Since these are clothes that I will wear going out on business kinda stuff with him... his input may be helpful.

If not, I may have to head to Nordstrom's next week, find an assistant and tell her the blunt truth:

I'm looking for the natural fiber, business casual, "i'm not 12, but not retiring to Boca tomorrow" department. It used to be called Misses when I was younger, but it doesn't seem to exist anymore. And judging from the stores I've been in lately, neither do dresses.


Current Readings.

Last Saturday we went to the library. I'd been consuming "Wolves Eat Dogs" by Martin Cruz Smith like it was chocolate. I love the way this man writes. He leads us through a mystery with investigator Arkady Renko, keeps us thinking, yet never gives so much of the solution away that I wonder what's keeping the investigator from figuring out what I know. Yet I never feel like a dummy at the end.

Reading this novel did something to me, though. I rarely remember my dreams, and the days I was reading this book, I not only had dreams populated with Russians and the Zone of Exclusion, I remembered that I had these dreams.

Anyway, Saturday I picked "The Reading Group" by Elizabeth Noble. It's paperback (important when you read in the tub), it's chick-lit. I thought it would be an easy read. Getting started on it, however, that's not going to be the case. Atleast until I get a handle on the structure and characters in this book, it will be a slower read. And probably better than I originally expected.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Damn, I hate shopping.

Set out this morning with what should be a couple simple tasks:

get new undies for the household, and find 1 or 2 tops to wear when we go out to supper or stuff.

Easy-peasy, right?

Well, the first part was.

I was wearing my "good" jeans, appropriate shoes, and a good bra even. All I wanted was a top that fit well and was not too casual. Something a step up from t-shirt. Ideally in silk. The KEY factor: it had to fit well. Stacy and Clinton had to "dance over my shoulder" and think that it complimented my coloring and almost made me look like I had a waistline. It's impossible for it to NOT to show up my boobs.

Four stores and 5 hours later I'm exhausted and frustrated. And I know why my closet is so bare.

First, finding the department that sells clothes in size 12, but for someone older than age 12. First 2 floors checked clothes jumped from 8 to 24. Finally found the correct section... and it looks like "uber-casual" is the look for the season. I haven't the faintest idea how anyone dresses for work... aside from 2 black suits (and no suit blouses)... everything was about as casual as sweats or what I already have at home (minus the stains).

When I found something that might be acceptable, I dragged it to the fitting room. NOT a pretty experience... it reminded me of trying on bikinis when I was younger. Only different.

Most of the tops had arm holes that dropped down to the bottom of my bra band. Try the size smaller didn't help, and it pulled across my ample boobs. Those empire tops would ride UP my bust... NOT a pretty picture.

Confound all this by the fact the region I live in is not predominantly white. This mall caters mostly to Asians, Latinos, and Blacks. And the colors that look good on them... on my pinky-beige skin and brown hair?? NOT A PRETTY PICTURE. I am so not an orange, lime green and purple kinda gal.

The really frustrating thing: we are going out to dinner with a guy who works with Steve on Saturday. I want to look nice. I think everything I own has a stain on it (grease or paint). So what am I to do now?

Tomorrow we shall see if GoodWill is any better...

This is National DeLurking Week

Sheryl at PaperNapkin has declared that this week there will be a week of National DeLurking, instead of the day from last year (which I missed... musta hadda cold!).

For this week, leave a comment... any comment.. on the blogs that you normally read but do not comment on.

Come on.

Atleast say "hi".

And if you click on Sheryl's name, you can find a bunch of fun buttons to use to emphasize the point.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

My soywax batik experiments

This was the first piece I did yesterday. It was a spotty green beforehand, I used a tjainting tool and dripped dots of soywax over it. Then overdyed it with a blue.

The second piece. Dots again, but over this I stamped with a piece of plastic grid. The original fabric was a pale brown and very pale green/blue. Overdyed with the blue from above, and the same blue mixed with black.

The infamous potato masher. I am not overly fond of the heavy stamps... but a second pressing before redipping into the wax would yield those cleaner finer lines. Maybe next time I'll stamp the heavy stuff on one piece, and the second stamps on a second. This started as a pale pink, overdyed with a bluish red mix.


Monday, Steve finally went back to work!! One thing I'd been planning on playing with was batiking with some soy wax. I'd picked up the soy was chips at Michael's a few weeks ago.. and I had a couple pieces of hand dyed fabric that didn't thrill me. I soaked the fabric yesterday in a soda ash solution just to be prepared.

So I put some chips in a microwave-proof bowl, melted it and started playing. I used an oval potato masher (much like Rayna apparently used in this piece), and some plastic from something that's a nice grid. I stamped and brushed and had a great time.

When the wax cooled, I painted over it all using Dharma liquid pigment dye. No muss, no fuss, no time. Hung it out to dry while I walked the dogs. Then removed the wax. First ironed most of it out into newspaper, then soaked it in a pot of hot water, then washed it with some Dawn dish liquid. It's really pretty!! (pictures to come.)

Today I'm starting a watercolor class. Dont' know what I expect to come from it, but I wanted to take it. Just wish we had a supply list before the first class. It seems like being cheated out of a class if we spend one whole class just talking about supplies!! Then going to buy them.

Home to walk the dogs, take pictures of my little experiments with soy wax, and get get set up to continue with the Color and Composition exercises.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A blog worth checking out!!

Since so many of us have started sketching.... I found Elizabeth Perry's blog All I got to say is looking at her sketchbooks makes me want to grab one of my books and some colored something and sketch until my fingers bleed!!

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Sign of Four

Passed to me by Pamela of Beancounters.

I mean... how does a wife/mother/government work/ graduate student have time for both a blog and this kind of stuff?? Oh yeah... I said government worker.


Four jobs you've had in your life: Steel buyer; Inside sales; Market Research Surveryer (yea, one of those people in the malls); substitute teacher.

Four Movies you could watch over and over: Apollo 13; maybe Serenity (I've already watched it 3 times and it came out in October); The Money Pit.. not that it's a good movie, but we've been there on a smaller scale; All of Me. Again, not a fabulous movie.. but the Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin were priceless.

Four Places You've Lived: Really only two. Around Cleveland, Ohio and Hercules, Ca. But if you must know, I grew up here, lived several places on my own, then moved here when I got married in 1983. Designed and built the house here where we lived until we moved to Cal. in 1998.

Four TV shows you love to watch: Right now, Project Runway is amusing. Grey's Anatomy. Battlestar Galactica (gotta have my scifi). When it's on: The Dead Zone.

Four Places You've Been On Vacation: Singapore; Calgary; Hawaii, Gettysburg, Pa..

Four websites you visit daily: My own blog (to check on comments); Boomers (escapees from the old Cleveland FreeNet, we were written up in all the old "places to go on the internet" as a cool group of adults. It's a habit now, as we have somehow lost our wacky sense of humour..). Red Shoe Ramblings (she's a deb r... I'm a deb r...wouldn't you like to be a deb r. too?). My BlogLines feedsite.

Four of your favorite foods: Jif Peanut Butter, champagne mangoes, Kentucky Fried chicken (but none of thier sides), Lamb chops.

Four places you'd rather be: Actually, I'm pretty happy right here. But if I had to choose: Anywhere right along the ocean, laughing with some friends, walking the dogs off-leash in a park somewhere,

Four albums you can't live without: Does this indicate the age of the author? Aren't they called CDs now? Actually, there aren't any I can't live without.. I'm not that much of a music person.

Four to pass this meme along to: hmmm... let's see who on my list deserves this honor?
Ok, Deb B., Deb L., Deb R. and Deb T. (are we sensing a trend here?). And the shake things up a bit: Diane!!

Dogs throughout the town are mourning...

We took the dogs for a walk along a local creek this morning. The dogs and I had been there early this week, but I could not convey the amount of flooding in any adequate way to Steve. So I made him look for himself.

Pinole Creek has scoured itself out a nice deep channel, where it normally runs along. The entire channel is about 30' wide... 10' of gently sloping banks on each side and 8' deep 10' wide main channel in the middle. Lots of room for water to run. During last week's flooding the creek over-ran it's banks, over ran the walking paths and threatened to over-run people's back yards. It DID flood a row of vehicles stored at a facility.. but they haven't moved in ages. Now the owners will be able to claim water damage for them and replace the old stored boats/rvs/cars with newer stored boats/rvs/cars.

Anyway, we were walking along the now dry paths, looking at all the flotsam deposit in easy reach for us. I could have an entire collection of small liquor bottles.. some pretty drift wood... and for some reason lots of lightbulbs. However, we decided to concentrate on real important stuff: dog toys!!

Found one intact squeak toy.. and picked up 18 tennis balls, 3 plastic balls and a softball before my pockets refused to hold another chunk of rubber! Jake and Steve wanted to go look for more, but as I was packmule, I put my foot down and protested. They will go back later this weekend for more bounty.

I saw, bring your own pockets.

Simple Still Life: January's Simple Still: 2 alike 3 different

I took this picture a while ago, and heck, why not use it??

Simple Still Life: January's Simple Still: 2 alike 3 different

SSL: Capture the Light.

This is the photo I began with for this month's Simple Still Life.

I decided to play with the filters on my HP software, running it through a number of filters.. then running the filtered image through filters again. Here are some of the results:

The top left one has been color saturated, then posterized.

The top right one was cropped from the original image and metallicized.

Then I took the metallic one and ran it through some filters again... changing the color and posterizing it.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


The other day I was reading a blog kept in my subscription file. Couldn't for the life of me understand who was writing or why I had subscribed to it. It vaguely reminded me of DarAmusing's writing... but it wasn't.

Took a full read through twice before I realized it was my brother's!! Ya know looking at something without prejudice is an interest experience.

Wednesday done.. Thursday To Do

First, an excerpt from Crazy Aunt Purl's horrorscope. I need to remember this:
Understand that you will never know as much as you want to or reach every single goal or even have a perfectly clean house. Forget being in complete control. Take a deep breath make a list of things to do. Throw away the list. Have a cocktail and just breathe.

Wednesday I made plans: take the dogs for a nice long walk then go out to lunch with the spouser. Ya know, he's cooperating more this year with the routine, and after 3 weeks home, I don't want to strangle him!! He needed a reward.

Before our "pack adventure" I ran to the store for pet food and picked up a yard of silk at JoAnne's to restart the Us/Them piece. It was on sale for 30% off!!

We did a 45 minute walk along one of the neighborhood creeks... checking out the high water marks from last week's rain. We were all well exercised at the end. Then a drive short drive to a nice deli nearby for lunch. Steve had Reuben; I had a "California Chicken"... grilled chicken with lettuce, tomato & avocado on some kind of flat bread.

I've already picked up TurboTax for the year, and I'm spending about an hour a day chipping away at entering information. I'm hoping to get things ready to file my taxes early this year!! (unless, ofcourse, we end up having to pay). I think I'm done entering charitable contributions!!

Thursday: a day of running around. Vacuum. Pick up the supply list for my watercolor class, drop off stuff for recycling, pick up supplies for the watercolor class, maybe order a treadmill, mow the lawn, walk the dogs. I'm washing and prepping the silk to paint... and redrawing the design. Yep, after dinner I'll probably crash!!

Did I read Purl??? Doesn't she say forget these lists and just breathe??

This is going to be harder than it sounds.

Spoiler: Project RunWay

All that buzzing in the workroom about forms, etc. sure seemed like people trying to get "face time" for the camera. "Drama" without emotion. What a waste of time!!

Ok, personally I would have kicked both Marlena and Lupe out for their work last night. And I suspect that Marlena is not long for the show. I'm hoping that Diana remembers that she has to design for real people.. not the design school "conceptualization" that she's prone to. There are still designers flying under the radar... wonder when they will come into play...

I think this weekend I may line up the names of all the remaining designers and we can "guess/bet/speculate" on the order they finish this competition... who will be voted off when, who will be in the final 3, who will win??

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Examining the failed piece.

Alrighty Then!! Our Monday speaker said that enough that it is temporarily burned into my brain.

I admitted yesterday that the piece I was working on is "broke and cain't be fixed." While it was liberating to get to that point, it means I now have to figure out how to fix the problem so I can redo the project well. Spent last night muddling on that while I watched the boring, then fascinating PSU/FSU bowl game. There are a couple ways to go...

The failed piece is going to become my "experiment" piece. I'll admit it, after the color was on, I was not too thrilled with the design. The circles are too big for the structures and I got lost in the "underpinnings" which means every viewer would too. Oh well... room to play!! And back to copying the original sketch! Why can't I let this exist only on paper? Why do I think I have to do it in fiber? Because on some level it speaks to me.

I have been contemplating mixing up gel medium/ stucco gel medium/ and paint and actually painting a couple of the structures in this piece with that mix. The two "buildings". Now I can play with that...
I wondered about putting painted sheer organza over some of this to emphasize the overlapping nature of part of it... I can play with that...

Neither of which will help me solve the problem I had with this try.

While attempting to machine quilt arcs in this piece, the fabric stretched and pulled along the bias. Inspite of being basted within an inch of it's life. I'm thinking the entire piece will have to quilted in 1" intervals everywhere... then go back and fill in at 1/2" intervals.. and finally the closer stuff. I knew that would be case for the overlapping parts... but wasn't prepared to do that for everything. Oh well... we live, we learn.

I won't even discuss that the circles ended up not be circular!! Which really complicated trying to do circles in them. The main reason that I gave up on this piece. But see? Only stitched at the 1" interval the fabric is pulling.

I could fuse the piece to the batting and know that it would hold...but I'm not convinced that I want to take that step...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Well, pfiddle!!

I've started working again on a piece this week. Looking at it yesterday, I had doubts that it was working right. I worked a bit more. And I slept on it. Today I'm throwing it out and starting again. There are unfixable problems.


I want to thank..

The Institution for freeing the inmates long enough.... uhm, The Academy for taking the time...The Warden...what the heck!!

Thank you, oh wize and wonderful Spanglemonkey for awarding me with:

The 2005 Spanglemonkey's Eternal Admiration for People Who Make Stuff Award!

I am honored... I am near speechless...

I am verklempt!!!!

talk amongst yourselves!!

But, hey, remember people, I'M WRITING HERE!! For you reading pleasure... And how do I know that you receiving pleasure if you sit quietly on your hands and don't comment!!??

The answer: I can't.

Monday, January 02, 2006

A good start

Keeping in mind that what you do on New Year's Day, you will do all year I tried to have a well=balanced day.

Washed just a couple dishes;
Read 1.5 chapters of a book (Wolves Eat Dogs. I really like Martin Cruz Smith!);
Tried to walk the dogs (it started blowing and raining 10 minutes out);
Quilted for 1.5 hours (the longest activity);
Cooked a simple supper (a take and bake pizza).

I did not eat a perfectly balanced, healthy diet, not get enough exercise, but I'm happy with every else.

Woke up this morning wanting to quilt right away!! And the world is assisting in this because BlogLines is down, so I don't know who has a new blog to read!!

I'm going to a guild meeting this morning. The speaker has been directed to talk about techniques and patterns NOT HER PERSONAL LIFE. I think it's both a hoot and sad that this had to be mentioned to her.

Afterward, I may head out to lunch with a couple friends, and head over to the Sewing Machine Shop to look at cabinets. I've decided I need to be able to put my machine level with the work surface. This will make it a bit easier for me up some production this year!! I know how much minimum space I have, so now it's how much will that grow... and how much it will cost.

Home to watch bowl games (GO OSU!! BEAT NOTRE DAME!!), and work on the quilt under the machine. This piece will have TONS of quilting (1/4" spacing in several directions.. much overlapping, and about 6 colors.) so it will take a while to complete.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Blame RSR

This by way of Deb at RSR:

Your New Year's Resolutions

1) Get a pet chihuahua

2) Eat less garlic

3) Travel to Brazil

4) Study abnormal psychology

5) Get in shape with surfing
What Should Your New Year's Resoluton Be?

I like this, it's silly almost doable and has absolutely no relationship with real life.
OK, the next dog we get I would like to be a little smaller than our current dogs. But more like 35#... not an 8# wonder. (OH, did you hear the news story of the police officer who was attacked by a pack of chihuahuas?? Really!! They couldn't bite anything but his ankles, but he still needed to visit the ER. ) And who remembers WKRP in Cincinnati when Les Nesman called them chi hoo ah hoo ahs???

Looking at others "resolutions" the formula seems really simple. The five verbs do not seem to change... everyone (I think) is travelling to South America... the endings are purely random. Cute but not significant...

And me surfing??? Yeah, it might get me down by Grace more... but can you surf if you can't swim???