Friday, January 30, 2009

The weekend

The weekend is nearly here and I am psyched. Well, not really. But it shouldn't be a bad weekend. I want to do some cooking and cleaning and studying and playing with the boys.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

To do

The to-do lists in my head are always a mile long. (maybe that's why I get so many headaches, my brain is full hmmmmmm) I'm feeling spring in the air already even though it's still the same cold outside so gardening is starting to feel like something I want to do. The house I'm living in now was neglected for 10 years so the yard is way overgrown. I have a lot of work just to clean it up and trim things. But I want a garden. The owners many years ago had a fabulous garden (I'm told) and so I should be able to at least manage a mediocre garden. Maybe a few flowers around the house but not too much. There is no grass to speak of but you never know what may come up if you clear out a few things. I'm looking forward to doing my own thing and making my own decisions about what to plant. Weeding is my weak spot and so I'm trying to figure out a way to minimize this. I can't wait to order seeds. Fun times. Do you have a garden?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I was prepared to be happy

I left the house in great anticipation this morning. Revving the engine and ready to go in the -1F temps. Yeah, today it would happen. I drove down 4th avenue to pick up the kids and take them to school. Back to the school and dropping them off. Then the action begins. I pull out of the turnaround and roar down 2nd. The light is green and I turn left down Broadway. The light is green again and I turn down 1st. Two blocks later the light is green again and I turn on Park Ave. Cruising to Grand ave I turn again and head past the other school. Once again the light is green and I'm able to go all out on the road to work. Humming to myself, happy thoughts in my mind when I get near Walmart. The green light beckons me and I wave merrily as I pass it by. As I pass McDonalds I wink at the green light there. A mile later, there it is, the last stop light I have to pass on my morning journey. I've almost made it, I've almost conquered the drive. This stoplight is fairly new and was needed. As I approach, I smile confidently, knowing that life is good, life is correct and today is my day. I look up and there it is, a red light. I have to stop as even the guy in front of me is stopping and not deciding to run it. This is my life.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Philosophical musings

Sitting in drawing class the other day I started thinking about how there is a dichotomy (not sure if that's the right word) in how people perceive their wanting to belong to a group and wanting to be an individual. I know how powerful it can be to want to be part of a group. You would think that would be mutually exclusive from wanting to be unique, an individual. Art majors tend to want to at least look unique and be unique in other ways. But yet they might also want to be part of the "art crowd". I always think of myself as pretty unique and proud of it most of the time but at the same time I feel these pangs of not belonging to anything. Watching an old episode of Friends last night, Monica was telling Ross how his fiancee had been planning and dreaming of the perfect wedding since she was five. This sort of standard woman thing has never applied to me. I've never dreamed of perfect weddings or a certain number of children and I never have long conversations about makeup or hair or clothes so when I see things like this I feel like since I don't do these things I don't belong to the "standard woman" group. Some days it makes me wonder why I don't like these things and why I'm not "right". Other days I'm glad I'm not concerned with such things. You can spend a lot of money for something that doesn't give much satisfaction. It's hard to ignore the pull of outside things and ideas about how other people think you should behave. I guess I'm just trying to find myself.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The wonder fiber

No, my friends, I'm not talking about wool here. I'm talking about, you guessed it, oatmeal! I made lovely oatmeal bread over the weekend and it was goooooood. You don't just throw in the oatmeal willy-nilly-soupy-spilly. It's oatmeal with hot milk and brown sugar that you could eat just like that. And then, you make bread out of it. It's so moist and it isn't crumbly and it just tastes wonderful. I'm gonna have to get me one of those new-fangled toaster things to toast it up next time.

Friday, January 23, 2009


The professor told me my drawing was decent and I was happy with that. He had some suggestions too. There were quite a few drawings that I felt were better than mine and a few that were worse so I'm pretty happy with being in the middle. One woman used charcoal for her's and it made it very dramatic and I loved how the hair on her's came out. It really had nice texture and color so maybe I'll try something with charcoal soon.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

For fun

What Year Do You Belong In?

You Belong in 1984

Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - and successful during the day.

I got this from my friend Kristin.


I finished my self portrait for class. I don't like it completely but I don't know yet how to fix it not looking quite right. I look really stiff. My eyes might be a little big even though I tried to make them smaller last night. I don't know. I guess that's why I'm taking a class. To learn these things.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Drawing class

Class last night was great. We split up into pairs and we had to draw half person's face while they drew half your face. So we'd take turns drawing on the same paper. I have to admit, we looked pretty decent. She did a great job on the flowers that were on my sweater and I thought I did her eye really well. It's fun and the time goes fast. Now I remember why I like art classes. The feeling I have after class is well worth the time and money put into it. It makes me feel good and I always come out of class all bouncy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

On lack of motivation

It happens quite often. Fortunately I worked a lot yesterday. Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Project overload

In addition to the shawl and socks and blanket that I have been working on, I now have a scarf, a hat and some new spinning going. When will this crazy merry-go-round existence end?

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Great Cat Chase of Ought Nine

I should have known. The day hadn't started out well anyway. I got to bed kind of late and then woke up in the middle of the night with a migraine then later woke up with bad stomach that kept me awake for 45 minutes. So when the alarm went off at 5:30 AM I wasn't too inclined to get up. But it was necessary. Two of my cats were scheduled to go to the vet to get fixed and that meant I had to catch them. You see, these cats were rescued and are still pretty wild. Picking them up is the tricky part. Once you are holding them, they calm down. Lately they've been hiding inside the couch just under the springs and so it's difficult to reach them. When I got up I went to the back porch and one of the cats was back there so I shut that door to trap him in the there. A few minutes later the other one came out from under the couch and I managed to chase him into the bathroom where I shut the door. I breathed a sigh of relief as I had imagined that to be the worst part of catching them.

First I tackled Rena. I managed to kind of trap him in a corner, and, wearing welding gloves, I picked him up spitting and clawing and biting and dumped him quickly into the cat carrier and quickly shut the door. Ah, life is good. One down, one to go. I took a break and sat and drank some coffee and watched the news. I'd catch the other cat, take a shower and be on my way.

I prepared myself with gloves and carefully going into the bathroom and shutting the door behind me. Shawn was there, hiding behind the toilet. I advanced and heard the hissing and as I put my hand close, the claws came out. He batted my fingers again and again. I was chasing him back and forth and so I tried to get him in a corner but it was no go. Then he jumped in the bathtub looking for a way out and I had him. I picked him up, holding him with both hands and I realized that I had forgotten my 3rd hand so I could get the door open again. So carefully with one gloved finger I got the doorknob turned without letting go the cat.

I went into the back porch and again the third hand would have been handy for I needed to pull that door shut behind me. I moved it as far as I could and thought 'oh, I just have to put him in the carrier so he shouldn't get away' Famous last words. Since he was still biting, I didn't want to hold him next to my body, I put him down with a hand on him to hold him while I opened the cat carrier. Oops, he got a grip on the carpet and he was struggling and got loose. As he ran around me to the open door I spun around, getting rug burns on the tops of my feet and my knee and he was gone. Back under the couch and I knew he wasn't coming out for any reason.
I cried. Since I live alone, there was no one to help me, no one that could easily come over and help that time of the morning and I had to go pick up my kids for school and get to work.

I picked myself up and got in the shower and got ready and as I got dressed I decided I had had it. The cat was coming out. I took all the cushions off the couch, tipped it on it's side and shook it and banged on it. One cat came out but it wasn't the right one. I looked inside the ripped backing and saw little cat eyes staring out at me. That's it! I grabbed my scissors and quickly snipped away the whole bottom backing of the couch. (the couch was used and free when I got it so that didn't bother me) And there he was, lurking. I grabbed him and went to the back porch, pulled the door shut with my toes and making sure he didn't get too close to floor, I kneeled down to open the cat carrier. My gloves made my fingers to clumsy to open it so I had to slip off the glove. Success! He had calmed down a bit from me holding him closer to my body and he went right in the carrier. I got the couch back in order and made it to work on time. Too much excitement in my life.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Almost forgot to blog! ;)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Last night

Last night I couldn't decide whether to try a drawing class or not. I'm glad I went. The class starts at 6 PM twice a week and although I have my doubts about my motivation I'm sure I won't regret it when I'm actually there. He said the supplies won't cost more than $30 so this will be by far the cheapest class I am taking. The fee refund I will get will nearly pay the tuition for the class so that's good as well. My younger son is interested in art so I'm looking forward to learning some things that I can share with him.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New semester

Ah, the smell of new textbooks, the empty pockets after you buy them, the new knowledge being crammed into your head. The new semester of college has started again and I'm happy. I love going to school and wish I could full time. Hopefully in a couple months I won't be all run down worrying about classes. Only two years of half time classes til I finish my degree.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Winter wonderland

It snowed Friday night. Really snowed. Cold and windy and blizzardy. Yes, I just made up that word. A good night to stay in and keep warm. The next day was beautiful. This is my back yard. Looks like a jungle out there.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The scone saga

Alternate title: Why you should follow instructions and why you shouldn't stir the dough so much.

I received a nice chocolate chip scone mix for Christmas so last night I decided to bake it because I wanted to eat it. So far, so good.
Since I have made scones from scratch many times before, I perused the instructions noting how much heavy cream to add and the oven temp needed. I turned on the oven, got out a nice bowl, dumping the mix into the bowl. I then carefully measured out the cup of half-n-half that the recipe called for. Wait, what? Yes, it called for heavy cream but all I could find at the store was half-n-half. When you make scones or biscuits (or any quick bread), you add the liquid all at once to the dry ingredients. I did so, then stirring gently I realized I was making soup and it was way too runny. You want the bread to actually stick together. I looked again at the recipe, actually reading the instructions. Ah ha, you are supposed to add 3/4 cup and stir and then add the rest if needed. Oh well, I'll just a little flour. And stir some more. Add some more flour. And stir some more. Just a little more flour for the right consistency. Stir some more. The further instructions say to flatten the dough and cut into wedges but I'm too lazy and decide to just make them drop scones. I bake them for the required length of time then take them out of the oven. Ah, they look good, smell good. I prepare a nice cup of tea and bring a couple scones to eat with my tea. I take a bite and remember why you are only supposed to stir them until moistened. My scones are like chewing on bagels. Great. Chocolate chip bagels.
I need a nap.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

How can it change so quickly

I've spent this week feeling at loose ends and not having enough to occupy my time and I just realized that next week I start classes again and that means I will go back to wondering why I never have enough time to do everything. Is there no in between? Tomorrow I will have to buy books for class and get annoyed once again at how expensive the stupid things are. They better be interesting to read.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The furnace

My new little house has a total of 3 heaters. Ok, so far so good. It's the coldest time of the year and I have only 2 of them lit and I turn them down during the day when I'm gone. (Don't worry, the cats have fur coats to keep them warm) The problem is that one of them, if I turn it down too far, goes off. Then I have to light it in the evenings. Besides the fact that I'm all handy around the house knowing how to light pilot lights, it's annoying. Because even though I follow all the instructions and get it lit correctly, as soon as I turn up the thermostat, it goes on, then goes off. Then I have to light it again. Usually the 3rd time is the charm. Although I am all handy, that handiness doesn't extend to knowing what is wrong with the furnace or how to fix it. If I leave it up high, then it doesn't go off but that defeats the turning down the furnace when I'm gone to save money principle. Ah well, we'll see what happens. Spring is coming in 3 or 4 months, isn't it?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Purple Love Hat

Here is a hat I designed last summer. I don't have a picture as I gave it away but I'll try and get another one made real quick. Enjoy and let me know if there are any problems!

Purple Love Hat

Knit Picks, Swish Superwash, Bordeaux, 1 skein, 110 yards
Size 10 (6 mm) double pointed needles (5)

CO 80 stitches
Separate stitches with 20 stitches on each of 4 needles

Rib Pattern

Knitting in the round

1st row (right side): *k3, p1, k3, p3: rep from * to end.

2nd row: As 1st row

3rd row: As 1st row

4th row: Purl

Repeat these 4 rows one time

Knit 2 rounds

Lace panel
(worked over 20 stitches)

1st row(right side): p2, k9, yo,k1,yo,k3, sl 1, k2tog, psso, p2, k to end of round

2nd and every alternate row: Knit

3rd row: p2, k10, yo, k1, yo, k2, sl 1, k2tog, psso, p2, k to end of round

5th row: p2, k3tog, k4, yo, k1, yo, k3, (yo, k1) twice, sl 1, k2tog, psso, p2, k to end of round

7th row: p2, k3tog,k3, yo, k1, yo, k9, p2, k to end of round

9th row: p2, k3 tog, k2, yo, k1, yo k10, p2, k to end of round

11th row: p2, k3tog, (k1, yo) twice, k3 yo, k1, yo, k4, sl 1, k2tog, psso, p2, k to end of round

12th row: Knit

Repeat these 12 rows once.

(k7, k2tog) around
(k6, k2tog) around
(k5, k2tog) around
(k4, k2tog) around
(k3, k2tog) around
(k2, k2tog) around
(k1, k2tog) around
k2tog around

9 stitches left

Break yarn and thread tail through remaining stitches.
Pull tight and weave in ends.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Crazy psycho killer cats

The cats. Oh, where to begin. The cats are in my house. I received them from coworkers who had rescued them. That was oh so nice. But, the cats aren't exactly super people-friendly. In fact they still hiss at me when I start to get close and then run away if they can. I've held them all a few times but they are still hissy. They eat really well though, I feel like I'm trying to fill up the bottomless well of cat hunger. Not only do I have these three cats in my house, there are two outside that have a habit of jumping up to sit in the window on the outside. So I've been feeding them a little. They seem to be tamer than the ones I have inside. I'm sure crazy-cat-lady-dom is not far away.