Sunday, December 28, 2008


This is probably overdue, and almost certainly apparent at this point, but it has to be said:

I am giving up on my 365.

I haven't posted any photos since October, though I continued taking them through last week. At some point, they'll probably still make it onto flickr...but I think they're still on my camera.

It mostly boils down to being too busy to handle it the way I wanted to. I wasn't happy with just taking whatever, but that's what it had come to during ongoing weeks of insane overload at work. Add to that any time needed to upload, sort, and fine-tune - well, you get the idea.

I wouldn't call this entirely a FAIL, though. I had high hopes when I began:

- That I would stop hating seeing myself in photos.

This happened, to the point of being willing to mug for other people's shots. It also encouraged me to do more to look nice every day - to the tune of making more effort with my hair, clothes, and makeup. It's all habit now, and it makes me feel much better day to day.

- That I would regain my enthusiasm for shooting.

Absolutely. I got my first Canon as a high-school graduation present, but at some point my camera-wielding ways fell by the wayside. I now have a really good point-and-shoot, and my eye on a super-fine DSLR (this one, if you're wondering) that should work with some of my old lenses. It's been too long since I got excited by such a thing.

Both of these have threaded into other things. I'm more inspired to create, more inspired to take good care of myself. I got some really wonderful photos that I might have missed not so long ago, and I carry my camera with me everywhere so I don't miss more. That's not going to change.

I've been missing the girls on the Knitterly and Crafty Types flickr pool, who are certainly the other great thing about my half-year of participation. Sharing 365s in a larger pool can feel a little lonely, but this very active and very friendly group has made the whole thing a perspective-expanding adventure.

So what's next for my photo creativity? I'm considering starting a 52 Weeks project for the new year. I'd considered this originally, but decided to jump in feet-first with the dailies.

Now, I think that a weekly will be just right. There's nothing saying that I can't take dailies if I feel like it, but it will make a big difference when the weeks are long, but the days are short (if you know what I mean). There will just be more for the "rejects" set. I'll politely ask the Knitterly mods if I can post there, but if it won't work for them, I'll just stay on as an observer.

As it happens, I am mildly disappointed but not feeling terrible about this. I gave it a good solid effort and got a lot back in the bargain. And I can foresee doing a 365 of different kinds in the, for example, when Bryan and I finally get around to kids.

For now, thanks to those of you who've been looking. It would be wrong to end a post about photos without one, so I leave you with my favorite of the shots that are really All About Me:

88/365: lights out (friday face #12)

Seems appropriate, somehow.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


It's been an absolutely rapid-fire year. A better one than last year, to be sure; thank the heavens, January's standard did not hold true.

But in true rapid-fire fashion, December is almost over before I even fully realized it was here. With a couple of exceptions, my holiday spirit held out and I did manage to execute some of my plans:

- At this writing, I'm only short one gift, and only purchased two today. Some of the rest were even wrapped a few days ago.
- I turned my work cubicle adorably festive, and even got photos and video; that's to come this weekend, when I can really breathe.
- There was good partying, and plenty of housecleaning (which, yep, isn't quite done yet).
- Bryan put up a cute little display in the front of the house, sparkly and just colorful enough.

Tonight, we finish clean-up and start prep; tomorrow, our folks (and a couple of my mom's friends) join us for a Real American Holiday Dinner, which we didn't so much have at Thanksgiving. Bryan is smoking a turkey and a pork loin in his brand-new Meat Master 3000 (his gift to himself); my mom is doing her fabulous cornbread dressing and broccoli rice casserole; I'm in charge of green bean casserole (LOVE), deviled eggs (LOVE MORE), dessert, and Other Stuff.

It's a far cry from last year, for sure. And OK, I didn't quite achieve relaxed and organized - more like stressed but not crazy, and there's certainly a good bit of happy here, too. We'll put that in the Win column.

The best part, after good family time and food: after Friday (which promises to be VERY quiet), I'm off work for the last week of the year. No, wait, even better: I'll be really close to prepared for New Year's festivities, happening at our place again. Yay, my favorite holiday!

For now, the kitchen is calling. If you're celebrating Christmas, I hope it's a very merry one filled with everything you love. If you're not...I hope tomorrow is a very happy day filled with everything you love. Heck, I hope that all the time. :)

Wishing everyone everywhere love and light from me, Bryan, Pandora, and Snoopy. See you soon!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

General update, plus: many thanks.

So, yep, just over a month it's been. How time flies when you're doing Whatever. Not much in the way of great shakes to report: a nice anniversary weekend with my honey, a really great girls' weekend in the Fort Worth area with Amy and Caety (plus Thomas, and another special guest appearance by Jet!), and today, a tasty repast (my lands, people, that is some killer food) at the Houston Greek Festival.

If you follow my flickr, you may have noticed that the stream is bereft of new material lately. It's not that I'm not taking it...I just haven't been posting it. I am losing a bit of steam on my 365, plus not using the free time I have to my full advantage.

To some point, this means that what little I've done of interest lately is sort of lacking in evidence. Believe it or not, I actually achieved a knit FO in the last couple of weeks! My friend Gretchen delivered her gorgeous baby girl on Friday - just eight days after I gifted her with a Plum Ripples blanket (details at Ravelry for now).

The news for now is that I'm actually looking forward to the holidays this year. Seems like several years of headless chickening, plus last year's extremely high stress and sadness factor, have noodged me back in the direction of actually enjoying the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. I'm aiming for relaxed and organized (you there! in the back! QUIT THAT GIGGLESNORTING!), but I think I'll be satisfied with happy.


So, in advance of this week's festivities, it's time for my thanks...

That everyone I know and love made it through a big storm safely. Including Amy, as well as her loved ones, plowing through the rebuilding of Galveston as only BOI* people can.

That my parents didn't bat an eye when we stayed with them for two weeks, since we didn't have power and they did.

That I have a good job and work with people I really enjoy.

That I live in a nice house and have a car and plenty of clothes and food and two furry little cats and a big furry husband and lots of not-so-furry friends and family.

Turkey Day ahoy! Have a great Thanksgiving, complete with safe travels if you need them. I'll be back sometime before the year is out.

* Born On the Island, a Galvestonian's badge of honor.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


27/365: opa, my love

You're the first, my last
My everything
And the answer to
All my dreams

- Barry White

We've been married four years today! Tonight I knit (with Amy and special guest star Jet!) - tomorrow, Bryan and I head off on a day-trip adventure! (Probably the Hill Country. Definitely barbecue. Hopefully better 365 photos.)

It's a little odd to really, really not be a newlywed anymore...but this being married thing is pretty cool, all in all.

See y'all Sunday!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Happy birthday, Amy!

74/365: pals (friday face[s] #10)

It's Sea Anemone Amy's birthday today! Have her digits? Send her a text message (that's the easiest way to get it to her). Don't? Stop by her place or drop her an e-mail. Either way, she can use the happy!

Happy birthday, girlie. I wish you a smoother, easier, happier year ahead!

Friday, September 26, 2008

An old song by Snap!

As if no one has heard this one before. I'm also feeling very punny this week...and I don't care, because


My neighbor called at 6 last night to let me know that, 13 days after it went out, our electricity was finally back on. Which means that Bryan and I can comfortably go home after 11 days at my mom's house.

(Let's get this out of the way quickly: I am grateful that we have no house damage and that everyone we know is OK. I know we got off pretty light, much lighter than a lot of folks [including Amy and her family]. I know we're incredibly privileged in the first place. But being robbed of my creature comforts was definitely...well...uncomfortable.)

It's finally starting to feel a bit more like normal, though my workplace is still shaken up and the evidence of Ike's path is everywhere to be seen. The good news is, this experience has pointed out a handful of things that will make next time (whether it's 25 years away, or two) better, and we'll soon be ready to jump on them.

In other news, it will be great to have something else to talk about soon. Y'all will be the first to know when I do! Thanks again for all the good thoughts. Keep 'em coming, and as soon as I figure out a good way to help Amy (and the rest of Galveston's residents), I'll shout it out.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The safe and sound report

Hurricane Ike has passed over the Galveston-Houston area, and this not-so-intrepid blogger is now posted at her mother's house, where there is power and a dial-up connection. Bryan and I came through just fine, with only some down tree limbs and a continuing power outage at home.

Not that many of the locals will be able to read this, but I know there are folks far and wide that read the various blogs of the Central Houston Stitch 'n' Bitch and will be curious how we have fared. So here's the news as I have it:

Sea Anemone Amy, a Galveston native and resident, evacuated safely with her family. They have all returned to Houston and are staying with relatives, but do not know much about when they will be able to get back to the island.

Group member Liz (blogless, JanuarySix on Ravelry), a Clear Lake resident, evacuated safely to Austin and remains there at this writing.

Mo, Kelly (kelp!), Meredith, and Sarah (blogless, htownnole on Ravelry) and their respective husbands rode out the storm and are safe. I believe Katharine did the same with her parents.

There are a handful of other regulars and occasionals ([Mini]Laura, Esther, Sharron, Mingled Yarn Elizabeth) on whom I don't have news. If any of you happen to be reading, please let me know!

I will bore everyone with our experience when I have a more reliable connection. In the meantime, please keep sending all your thoughts and prayers. A lot of folks down here really need them. Here's hoping it gets closer to normal sooner than we think.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mid-day and all is still well

Howdy, all. A new day, a much scarier look at the storm. ABC13 news pointed out quite a while ago that Galveston Island is flooding and not a drop of rain has fallen the storm surge is going to be quite an SOB.

I'm happy to say that I've spoken to Amy today, and she is safely bunkered just outside Austin. Her loved ones seem to have gotten out of harm's way, too.

At this point, it looks my mom and stepdad are on their way out of town as well. They live in evacuation zone C, which for some unknown reason has not yet received an order. Thankfully, they're not waiting - they're packing up and headed toward Austin to stay with my stepdad's sister.

We're still on terra firma around my neck of the woods (and in the areas where the rest of my Houston peeps live), but that may not last much longer. Not sure what all this is going to bring, honestly. I think we'll be safe where we are (and if that changes, we can move quickly), but this could be the worst thing the Texas Gulf Coast has seen in decades in terms of damages.

Fingers crossed. Praying. Using up a lot of tape. Putting on our hauling-ass shoes. At this point, that's about all we can do.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The plan

My best friend text-messaged me a bit ago to ask if I had any plans for getting out of harm's (read: Hurricane Ike's) way. My answer?

"Masking tape and hard cider."

Not to be flip about the dangers, mind you. This thing is MASSIVE and is going to beat Houston and pretty much the entire western Gulf Coast to pieces. I haven't been here for one this big* since Hurricane Alicia in 1983, which (being 10 years old) I slept through.

This is just a quick stop by for those of you who might wonder. Bryan and I will indeed be staying at home with Fuzz and Snoopy and a whole lot of canned food. Not to give you my address, but we are not in an evacuation zone and the worst we expect is loss of power.

I have also been talking to Galveston resident (Sea Anemone) Amy, who is evacuating to the Hill Country and will be safe there. (Haven't talked to other SnBuddies, but if you're reading, stay safe and dry!)

That's the news from the strike zone. Believe it or not, I'm actually *working* from home right now...remember Hell Month from previous years? Yep, we're right in the thick of it. So, as I've told my peeps, I'll be online until/unless I can't.

So, a teeny little request: all thoughts/vibes/prayers including (but not limited to) "dissipation," "weakening storm," "quick restoration of power," and "safe residents" are very much appreciated. I'll update when I can.

Signing off with vanilla vodka wishes and vienna sausage least until tomorrow.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Notes from the (almost) quarter-point

It's day 83 of my 365, one week-ish shy of the quarter-year mark, and I've decided that Now It's Time For a Breakdown.*

- Number of 365 photos including my entire face: 42
(Slightly more than half. I was a bit surprised that it was this high.)
- Part of my face: 4
- With my hands as the intentional subject: 8
- With my hands included to make it technically a 365, though my real subject was something else: 20
- With my feet as the subject: 2
- With Bryan: 7
- With a friend/friends: 4
- With my mom: 2
- With a cat (accidentally or on purpose): 3
(I was surprised by this too - that it was so low.)
- At a grocery/home sundries store: 4
- With food I was making/eating: 6
- Knitting: 2
(This is really shameful.)
- At home: 32
- At work: 13
- In my car: 6
- Taken in the morning: 6
- Friday Faces: 11

And finally, for now -

Photos that I really, really love in which I am actually identifiable: 9

That this last is greater than 10% of the current photos just stuns me. True enough, by day 15 I had already noticed that this 365 was achieving one of my goals: feeling less self-conscious about being in photos. But I didn't imagine how much change I'd feel throughout my life because of it. And I'm *less. than a fourth. done.*

What's more, even though I go lame more days than I care to admit (specifically, about 17), I'm really looking forward to showing off the rest of my year. I'm braver than I remembered. I'm happier than I sometimes think. And even when it's hard to be me, I have a lot of reasons to keep a smile on my face.

*Note: numbers include today's photo, not yet on my photostream.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

To Thomas

thomas' first day

Your mommy and I have been best friends for a long, long time. So when you were being born four years ago, your daddy and I were the only people Mommy asked to be there. It was a long, long day, and Mommy did a lot of hard work to have you.

Very soon after that, you were with Mommy and Daddy at my wedding.

first formal wear

And before your first birthday, you were already walking!

on his feet

When you got a little bigger, Daddy turned you into a Jedi.

thomas skywalker

And sometimes you and Mommy come to visit me in Houston.


And now, you're four! I am sorry that I can't be there to see you today. Mommy says you had a fun party yesterday, and I hope you had a good time.

thomas and caety

I don't get to see you as much as I'd like to because I live so far away. But now you're so smart, and so tall, and you look so much like your mommy. Maybe sometime I will have kids of my own - but you will always be the first person that I saw come into the world, and that will always make you extra-special.

Happy birthday, Thomas - I love you!

- Aunt Susan

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Five years later

On July 20, 2003, I spent the early part of the day rushing around my mother's house like a madwoman. The day before, I'd just bought a new car - and by 7:30 that evening, I'd be on the road back to my apartment in DFW.

But in between, I had a first date. I was to meet him at Kenny and Ziggy's Delicatessen on Post Oak Boulevard in Houston. Though I set out from Pasadena in plenty of time, I didn't know that there were two ends to Post Oak...and I picked the wrong one, which threw me off by 20 minutes. I started to worry that my date would think I was standing him up, and panicked a bit more.

When I finally pulled into the parking lot, thankfully, there he was at the curb: a tall, burly guy wearing a navy-and-white Hawaiian shirt and a sweet, friendly face. I said out loud to myself: "Oh my God, he's adorable."

I don't remember exactly what we ate, though I'm pretty sure I had a sandwich. I don't remember which of the many waiters we've had since then was the one who served us, though I'm pretty sure they're still working there. I just remember knowing right away what I'd spent weeks of phone conversations trying to ignore: this was a guy I wanted to spend a lot more time with.

Later, the crowds and the heat at the Museum of Natural Science sent me scurrying out of the St. Peter and the Vatican exhibit in an attempt not to faint. If I could have melted through the floor, I would have; I was sure that would be the deal-breaker. Not so. He showed sincere concern, made sure I got a good drink of water and some cool air, even reassured me that he was getting overheated himself.

We made our way back to my car, parked there by the Starbucks across the street from the Galleria, and settled in for one last hour before I hauled it 300 miles north. It wasn't until I sat down with my Tazo iced black tea that I realized I wasn't alone in trying to make the time last...and at some point, right then and there, it stopped being just a first date.

We walked out hand-in-hand...stood there next to my car, not wanting to leave...kissed in the parking lot, not caring that several hundred people could see us. When I finally managed to tear myself away, I got in the car and called my mom, then my best friend (still my roommate at the time). Said, in answer to the questions: "Kismet."

A month later, we were talking marriage; two months, and we were engaged. Three months after that, I did something I'd spent ten years swearing I'd never do: I moved back to Houston.

Turns out he was absolutely worth it. So when this five-year mark came around, where else would we go to celebrate?

34/365: five years later

Dinner was, as usual, fantastic. And you know what? I still think he's adorable. I think maybe he likes me too.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Vacation, part 3: FW (short), etc.

I find that I feel less guilty about not posting when I have not made too many promises. :) So...the vacation wrap-up, pretty briefly; plus a little other housekeeping.

Friday: Hot car, cute kid

After fortifying myself with Indian food and a dose of my honey, I set off for the north (with a brief detour to Twisted Yarns). One incredibly warm, four-hour-long car ride later, I settled in at a Chili's in Bedford with two of my favorite people:

thomas and caety

I can hardly believe this is the same Thomas. He's getting close to four now, and so smart. Also, I think he might resemble his mom just.a.little.

Tasty burger, nice long BFF chat...a good Friday.

Saturday: Reunited

I met my friend Kathy 12 years ago, when we both worked for the YMCA. We were close while I lived in FW, and did a good job of keeping up when I moved to Houston...until about two years ago, when we lost touch.

Happily, we set that right with a leisurely lunch, full of talk of husbands, kids, cats, and jobs - and as is always the case with good friends, it was like we hadn't missed a day.

5/365: kat cat sus

That's Kathy at left, Caety in the center, yours truly at right. Relaxed and happy looks good on all of us, I think.

Caety and I followed up with some successful shopping and a nice seafood dinner with her boys (seen here earlier, GameBoying away):

game boys

Sunday: Fin.

Except for a really nice lunch with Caety...the less said about Sunday, the better.

This vacation was definitely the re-set I needed, all in all. I didn't do absolutely everything I'd planned, but no time was really wasted and I did *plenty* all the way through. I think it also says something about how much I like my job that I didn't dread going back. It's busy again...but aside from a holiday weekend of feeling like butt, and Mechanical Failure Monday (my front tire [story here], my mom's air conditioner, and things at other peeps' houses), all is well in the land of:

16/365: self-explanatory

(I am so loving 365, even if my day-to-day quality varies wildly.)

Up next: maybe a post about my second big sewing project. :)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Vacation, part 2: Tastiness of yum, etc.

Another reeeeeally long one, with a mess of photos to boot. Hang on, here it comes...

Tuesday: Always on the lookout

I'd considered heading out to some botanic gardens, but the Too Damn Hot (high 90s, fully saturated air) state of the city made that sound like crazy talk, even in the early morning. So I took my time getting up and around, shot the hell out of my birth-daisies, and finally stepped out for lunch at Thai Bistro.
It's a small, beautifully decorated, quiet place with shy, friendly wait staff. I picked out my standards – tom kha gai (milky chicken soup) and pad see ew (flat rice noodles with broccoli in brown sauce). Everything was incredibly tasty, and while my server seemed a bit bemused at my camera, she was unfailingly nice and I was sure to tell her I'd bring Bryan back with me.

My own little slice of heaven:
From there, it was on to the Center for Contemporary Craft to check out the Craft Texas show. No photos were allowed; the best I could do was in the garden outside:

As for the show, I'm left to imitate Unphotographable a bit. There were quite a few unique, stunning, and fascinating pieces – here's the three that stuck with me the most:

- Game Table – a carnival-colored table that first made me smile, and then made me laugh out loud. The artists made use of dice, double-nine dominoes, and much more to give the feel of a family game night. The best part? Tongue-in-cheek sayings spelled out in Scrabble letters. "NO FIDDLE FARTING" was my favorite, but I think "ALWAYS BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR NEW ADVENTURES" summed it all up.

- Earth Robe – a seven-foot-high mobile suspended from a bamboo pole, created out of origami sheets (some printed from photographs by the artist) and bookbinding thread. This was the first piece at which I gasped out loud – scale, detail, and color left me simply in awe.

- Crossover – a subdued but colorful quilt that drew the fiber artist in me right over to it, but initially made me wonder what it was doing here. At length, there was an optical impression of a cross that appeared to be composed of semi-random patchwork pieces – advanced quilting, sure, but why Craft Texas?

It didn't hit me until I moved closer...and when I saw, I nearly fainted from shock. Every millimeter of the fabric – I think it was about 3 feet x 4 feet – was covered in small hand stitches.

The patchwork appearance was created solely by color changes in the embroidery. I got a mental image of long days spent planning, longer days spent threading and rethreading and putting every color in just the right place. It's enough to make a hobbyist want to take a knee.
After a spin through a gift shop filled with more wonders (including some awesome charm jewelry made in part from drink cans), I headed to Café Rustica for sweets and blogging, plus free wi-fi. It was at this point that I decided to start photographing my iced tea*...
...and that I was finally going to join in on 365 (this is day 2).
After a couple of glasses of Blackberry Sage and a few bites of a tasty chocolate chip bar, I headed back home for Bryan and we trekked out in a rainstorm to Phoenicia. What with the rise of Spec's and World Market, there was quite a bit that was actually familiar – and even more that wasn't. Spices, legumes, grains, convenience don't realize how small your world actually is until you branch out.

Since I suffered camnesia at Phoenicia, I tried to make up for it at Raising Cane's.Some of the best chicken fingers anywhere, and what we're convinced is crack-laced Cane's sauce for dipping. (Completely addictive, and a bit of a mystery.) Sometimes, there's nothing wrong with sticking close to home.

Wednesday: Casual

This day was spent doing something I like to call "knocking around." I gave some further thought to my 365, had some quality time working on the Lace Knitting of Semi-Mystery, and enjoyed plenty of mutual cat harassment.

If I wanted to remember in more detail, I probably should have blogged it sooner.

Thursday: Toes and thunderstorms

This day started out with further knocking around of a more productive nature. I made a tres leches cake** that had been planned for the previous weekend - narrowly avoiding disaster, but getting the crucial message that my oven runs a bit hot.

Some time later, when the cake was finally cool enough to cover, I made my way out under gathering clouds for a long-overdue pedicure. Hooray!

On my way out, I was very nearly felled by a massive thunderclap, as the sky opened up just before my toes were dry. Fortunately, I survived long enough to make it to Thai Pepper (my third Thai meal of the week) to meet Bryan, then stopped to grab a cupcake on my way to SnB.

Laura offered me a belated birthday brownie, but I was too stuffed with pad see ew to accept; still, it was summertime, and the knitting was easy. So worth it...and so vacation-worthy that I suffered camnesia (except for my 365) all day long.

Aaaaand, part 3 (the Fort Worth portion), coming sometime. (Since obviously "soon" means nothing to me.)

* Hell yes, I'm weird. But on a side note, it turns out that June is National Iced Tea Month. Why didn't anyone tell me this sooner?

** Verdict: very easy, but waaaay too sweet. If you do this one, I would strongly recommend cutting or eliminating the added sugar. Still, the sweetened cream topping is perfect (especially when your husband adds Bailey's to it), and ripe strawberries made it heaven.

Friday, June 20, 2008

...but not a dollar short

Obviously, I'm behind on the blogging of the vacation goodness. Guess I'm a bit too busy actually enjoying the damn thing. :)

But I thought I owed y'all something to tide you over. I've been doing a half-decent job of photo-ing things. And also, this:
1/365: i'm so blogging this - part of this set on flickr.

Ah, bandwagon. How good to be on you.

Off to lunch with my honey, and then...the open road. (If I45 is ever *really* open.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vacation, part 1: 35 and counting

Warning: quite wordy, but not too pic-heavy

Apparently, as time goes on, I've become more and more of a trend follower. The latest symptom of this is my perfectly-timed vacation, a (mostly) stay-at-home affair timed to coincide with my turning 35.*

Also apparently, this is frequently referred to as a "stay-cation." I could take or leave the term, but the exercise itself is pretty much turning out to be the Best Vacation Ever. I'm going to spend a bit of time chronicling it over the next few days - partially as evidence (mostly for myself) that my life is really not as boring as it looks on the surface.

Today, I'm covering the weekend and Monday; tomorrow, I'll catch today. (Confused yet?)

Saturday: Shindig of Awesomeness
I'm going to gloss over the parts where I make myself (and a handful of people who love me anyway) completely crazy in fits of perfectionism. I'm also going to shorten the saga of my car totally dying in the Central Market parking lot (after I shopped, with ice cream in my cart, and Amy coming to my rescue), and just cut to the fun part.

I invited a whole slew of folks (and their SOs) to our place for a day-in-advance b-day party. Much enjoyment ensued, what with work peeps, knitters, and a couple of random loved ones in attendance, plus Kirk's barbecuing prowess (Bryan helped, I swear) and Amy's mad chopping, skewering, and keeping-my-head-from-exploding skills. (Also, there may have been inhaling of some very tasty cupcakes from Kelly.)

I'm not sure why, but I'm always surprised (not to mention terribly pleased) when the different parts of my life come together and all goes fantastically. Everybody seemed to hit it off, there was plenty of mingling, and I was once again reminded that I need to just remember to kick back, and the awesomeness of all my peeps will make everything perfect, in all the right ways.

It may have been a *touch* of vodka with my cranberry that got me on the road to relaxation. Maybe.

This was all so much fun that, unfortunately, the daisies are the only photographic evidence I have.

Sunday: Tired, but happy...and also, 35

Got up early to shoot the breeze with Amy, and then, it would seem, there was a lot of sleeping. Woke up just in time to start preparing Father's Day dinner for the PlumParents and GameDad...steaks of pork and beef with mushrooms, scalloped potatoes, and kabob veggies. It was a rather different experience to have a dining room dinner (at a real dinner table, no less) with our folks in our place, and certainly worth repeating.

You may also have noticed that it was my birthday. Not that I've mentioned it three dozen times, or anything...

Monday: Relaxation + getting crafty = now THIS is a vacation

Yesterday started reasonably early, with a breakfast of cereal covered in fresh strawberries (food of the deities, I am convinced). I took my time cuddling cats, watching home improvement shows, and generally kicking back before meeting my hubby for lunch.

Then, inspiration struck me. I've had a project in mind for a couple of weeks, and decided I'd head over to open studio night at Sew Crafty for help executing it. Little to my chagrin, this involved trips to Hancock and JoAnn for supplies:

(In addition to my very-much-on-sale purchases, I scored a fantastic little modular craft storage box that served as the perfect $2 solution to my earring storage problem. $2!)

Sew Crafty Sarah was awesome, as seems to be par for the course, and almost certainly helped me keep my head together. It made an incredible difference to have someone there for the bouncing off of ideas.

Further to Sarah's greatness, when I mentioned the b-day festivities, I was presented with a bag of MYSTERY. Inside...
All this, *and* the Charms Blow Pop is my favorite flavor! How lucky is that?

Once I am fully successful with the idea, I may post a tutorial, post some on Etsy, or both. For now, a tease:
While I don't have a finished sample, I did get the basic concept ironed out; I left feeling pretty accomplished, and planning to sit down and blogitall right away.

Instead, I conked out in the middle of a wonky flickr upload. (Plenty to see at the link anyway...)
That brings me around to today, which started slow but turned out rather lovely. I started blogging it this afternoon - patience, grasshopper fans, it will show up sometime tomorrow.

Two last things in the meantime:
Recognize this bloke? A little difficult, since you usually see him in quite a different getup. No matter. Eddie Izzard was as unbelievably funny as ever on his stop in Houston last week. This was my real, honest-to-God birthday present, and while the entire day around it (not to mention this photo) was pretty craptastic, Eddie was worth it.

Finally, if you were at my home anytime this weekend, a thousand thanks for making this event a truly happy one. If you brought a completely unexpected gift (i.e. all of them), ten thousand. And if you were one of the two people who kept me from melting into a puddle of perfectionist goo...I can't ever repay you, but I'll certainly try.

See y'all tomorrow!

* Note: Yep, June 15. Which is, by the way, the same day that Kelly turned 31. :)

Saturday, June 07, 2008


Today was the day - I got up early to head over to Sew Crafty Houston for my Intro to Sewing class. The place is adorable, as is the owner, Sarah. She did a great job walking us through this:Sucky photo, cute apron, right? Now, for the record, the ribbon trim and buttons are glued on - but the seaming and topstitching are totally real. It's not going to win any awards, but I am inordinately proud of myself anyway.

At any rate, I discovered that I know a lot of the language of sewing, and that I don't suck as much as I thought. Sarah gave us the step-by-step and was really good at lending a hand when things went awry.* (Not to mention a whole lot of fun. :) )

I enjoyed it so much that I signed up for the next step up - a class for a lined tote bag - before I left today! I'd recommend Sew Crafty to anyone - not only is Sarah the best, but Mo teaches the Knitting 101 classes. You can't go wrong with that! (P.S. It's walking distance to Onion Creek Cafe, which served me one of the best soy chai lattes I've ever had.)

The title gave promise of multiple FOs, so:
Here's Sharron (blogless), with her baby blanket from the Stitch 'n' Bitch group. It's a lovely lavender creation - squares made by several members of the group, assembled and finished (quite beautifully, I might add) by Kelly (who has a better photo of the whole thing here).

Not sure if the baby herself is an FO quite yet - Sharron is due on the 15th. Kelly and I were rooting for that day, since we both figure it was a pretty good day to be born (*ahem*). Alas, I missed SnB due to a serious case of mush brain and sofa shopping, in that order.

Fortunately, the cure for the common blehs approaches quickly. Nine lovely days of rest will be mine in just a week! I should really get a better idea of what I'm doing...but I'm sure I'll think of something.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What I've been doing, part 2

- Kicking back now that the trade show is behind us!

- Last weekend, Bryan and I headed down to Clear Lake for haircuts. (He can get his done anywhere...but I'm really particular.) So this put us about halfway to Galveston. A quick call to Amy and we were off on a slacker adventure.

Our day on the island included lunch at Fisherman's Wharf (SO tasty), a trip to a local used bookstore, lots of hanging out at a coffee shop, and a wrap-up with green apple sour belts.

And between the bookstore and the hanging, there was this:
The remains of my chocolate soda (with ice cream) in the foreground...the restored historic Star Drugstore in the background. There are marble counters and real, honest-to-God soda fountain equipment. And the server was really nice to us. :)

- Looking out for my honey post-minor-surgery. Bryan had a small bit of hernia repair done last Monday and spent the rest of the week at home. He's been pretty well but still can't do much bending or lifting. I have a new appreciation for his cat-box-cleaning, garbage-taking-out ways, since it's been left up to me. :)

- Working on a secret project, about which I am very, very jazzed: more lace of love, more Sea Silk. The Ravelers among you can see the beginnings here. (The recipient might be a reader, but is definitely not a knitter. :) )

- Signing up for a sewing class! I'll be taking the basics at Sew Crafty on June 7 (and probably more classes later). I've run a machine before, but not very well, and I particularly want to expand my gifty repertoire.

Meredith says she'll be doing some Sew Crafty classes as well. We're not the only ones to catch the sewing bug...some days it looks like it's turning into a different kind of Stitch 'n' Bitch!

- And finally...planning a VACATION in advance of my 35th BIRTHDAY!

This will be the first time I've taken a whole (paid) week off for the sole purpose of personal enjoyment in...a really, really long time. The only traveling will probably be to Fort Worth for a weekend, but there will be plenty of time to chill and enjoy good company and probably shop and definitely knit.

The only thing I know for sure I won't be doing? GOING TO WORK. I love my job, I really do, but huzzah!

In other news: big congratulations to Jenny, who graduates from med school (and very quickly thereafter heads to Jersey for her residency) this coming weekend. Another Central Houston knitter no longer local...sigh. I'm going to start tying bells to y'all so I can hunt you down!

But, thankfully, more hoorayness for a short week. See you soon!

Monday, May 19, 2008

What I've been doing, part 1

(Warning: pic heavy! Can you believe it?)

- Working, as usual. For the last few weeks, on the second-biggest annual trade show* we do - this one in Europe.

- Adding new family members.
This is six-year-old Snoopy. Before she came to our house, her fetch-playing, counter-jumping, tee-tiny self spent a few years at my pal Cindy's (who rescued her as a kitten off the side of 610!). She and Fuzz are still getting used to each other...but it feels better to have two cats around again.
This is Corey, a youngster Schnauzer/poodle mix. My parents have been without a dog for about six years, which was far too long by about 90%. At long last they picked out this little guy, who fits the bill beautifully - funny, playful, tv-watching, a bit incorrigible.

- Knitting on this.
That's the Ribbons Scarf by Heatherly. Not too fab a photo, but you get the gist. I heart YO SKP.

- "Helping" Amy move back to Galveston, again.
I didn't share this here, but Amy added color commentary (not family-friendly! but funny!) to my boxes when I moved back in November. I had to return the favor. A couple of them were like this one: punch lines to silly jokes. See flickr for the rest (and a whole lot of other stuff).

- Almost buying crazy stuff at Target.
Do not adjust your screen...that *is* a bacon-and-eggs face on a red-and-pink gingham tote. I'm still thinking about going back for it. (Only $10 for that much obnoxious awesomeness...why not?)

- Knitting something semi-secret, in a color I usually would not use. In the serendipity department, I found myself working away on it as I sat waiting in the vet's office. Then, I got to looking at the wall border. Then at my work. Then at Bryan, my work, the wall...why?
Look closer:
The *exact color of yarn* I was using, right next to a cat that looked very much like Snoopy. I laughed so hard I couldn't knit anymore.

- Plus a couple of other things. Stay tuned for part 2!

* I may not have been clear about this before: I work in the creative (marketing) services department at a mid-sized corporation as a senior-level writer/editor. We do web, print, booth graphics, and and and, both for trade shows and standard marketing initiatives.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Do you hear what I hear?

A post for Blogging Against Disablism Day...started on time, posted a little late. If you happened to jump over here from elsewhere, welcome. I'm an able-bodied, able-minded creative blogger who doesn't often do serious business, but my family and friends mean too much to me to let this one slide.

This post leans heavily to discrimination against physically disabled people only because I have little close personal experience with mentally disabled people, and I admit my language may be out of step, and my understanding
is not complete. So, with all that said...

I hadn't heard of this event before today, and I'm not entirely sure why. Probably because I cut my teeth on the knit-blogosphere and it took me a while to ripple out into other subjects.

But today, Blogging Against Disablism came at me loud and clear, and there was no way for me to skip it...even though I wasn't entirely sure which direction to go. What I was sure of is how important a role disabled people have played in my life - and how much disablism has affected them.

There are too many stories to tell. Like the ones about my Granny (my mother's mother), who had a severe heart condition well before she had to rely on a wheelchair. My cousin M, whose rare genetic disorder folds her more in half - and makes the back pain ever more excruciating - with every passing year. TechieBK's cousin T, who spent her short 26 years in and out of hospitals, frequently unable to breathe, never able to live normally despite her liver transplant. Even my beloved faces a specter of his own, one that requires he never be too far from a bathroom, that leaves him at drastically higher risk for colon cancer and could result in a colostomy late in his life.

My stepdad C has had a greater, closer impact on me and my feelings about disablism. A genetic disorder caused a high cleft palate, leaving him hearing-impaired since birth. And at five, he took ill with polio, which wasted his right leg severely.
He both speaks and signs, has residual hearing and reads lips, lives in a hearing family but is in most ways culturally Deaf.

With C-Dad, the factor is raised a notch because he often doesn't hear these things, either. For some reason, this gives the worst offenders the idea that it's even more OK to be asinine. To talk to him like a small child, though he's almost 60 years old; to not look at him when they speak; to mumble on purpose.

All these well-loved people have had to deal with the usual:

- Staring. (Lesson for disablists: learn some effing manners.)
- Some (not all) getting harassed for having disabled hangtags - and using spaces - because they didn't "look handicapped." (Lesson: you never, ever know.)
- Eye-rolling and heavy sighing. (Lesson: what if it was your grandmother, your dad, your sister?)
- Snickering, commenting, or straight-out mouthing off. (Lesson: learn some effing manners before I deck you.)
- More things too lengthy, too hurtful, too nasty, too illegal to stand.

To overstate the obvious, disablists suffer from a lack of understanding of one crucial point that escapes all bigots (which has been said better by many - check here and look for May 1 to see more) - disability does not make a person less human, or less worthy of respect by their humanity alone. I've read a lot of blogging lately that focuses on our understanding of privilege, our blindness to our own prejudices, our lack of willingness to step up and speak for members of any group to which we belong...or even one to which we don't. For every person that would knowingly hurt someone for their differences, I truly believe that there's another 2, 3, 10 who would never even dream of it.

And most of them would never say a word if they saw it happening. I get this: it's hard to go out on a limb. I try, and I know others who do too; sometimes we succeed, often we fail. And yes, sometimes it's painful or dangerous to do so. And no, we can't win every battle single-handedly.

Even so, we have to try harder at it. Pick your battles if you must...but pick them and fight them. Write to Congress or to the blogosphere. Learn some patience. Learn some sign language. Tell people why words like "retard" or "spaz" are offensive, and quit using them yourself. Widen your public bathroom and its door. Let people use it if they ask urgently, no matter what company policy says. Don't pet the dog without asking, and don't be an ass if the answer is "no" when you do. Don't park in reserved spaces. Don't patronize businesses that find ways not to do equal business with disabled people. Stop staring...but look at people when you talk to them.

Never be afraid to tell the world that prejudice and abuse are wrong. Never dehumanize another human being, whether you love or hate them, evil or saintly, perfect or imperfect.

Here's one hint: we're all imperfect. Fighting disablism (or any other ism) is one good way to be a little less so.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Not fade away

So, what's 2 1/2 months between friends, eh?

Seriously: there is neither sob story nor great shakes behind this most recent of my absences. So where in the hell *have* I been, then? Lately, life is - sometimes good, sometimes bad. Work *might* achieve insane for the first time since January next week. I'm busy off and on, but at my leisure a lot lately.

Not that there isn't semi-big stuff happening, mind you, because there is. It would seem that I'm hitting a transitional phase - positively - in work, home life, creativity, and frame of mind. There's nothing I'm abandoning; in fact, I've picked a couple of old things back up and I'm planning to add still more.

Probably the best news, the news that I want to give most for now, is that I'm feeling...relaxed. It took me a while to get here, considering how much time I spent wound up like an overspun ply* in 2007, so I'm spending some time reveling.

It's like karmic payment for slogging through a mudpile of stress...and I am all about it.

* Lookit! Fiber content!!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Austin state of mind

All hail the Annual Austin Trip. This year's is already especially chaotic, but good nonetheless (though driving was a workout due to 25-mile-an-hour winds). Pretty skies, good Starbucks, tasty dinner with good company, and a few other very nice touches that are making me smile more than I have in a while. So in my few first-night moments of peace in a nice, cushy hotel room that I didn't have to pay for or share with anyone, I wanted to stop by and say that I'm here, and I'm OK. Not great, but OK.

I'm still having Moments pretty much every day...we all miss our guy terribly. Many, many thanks to all of you for your thoughts and wishes. Everyone in my family was truly touched...and I was overwhelmed, and very grateful.

Most of you may not even know that two of my co-workers - one a good friend - got laid off January 16 (five days after our director took a new job), and the department has been reorganized. And my issues only scratch the surface. March 2006 was pretty ass, but in my cosmic web of friends, family, and co-workers, January 2008 is on record as the Worst Month Ever.

But I promise you - this post is not all about the griping! I'm working on several sorts of self-improvement and having a bit of success. Bryan and I spent last weekend in Fort Worth with Caety, who lost her grandfather last week. It's truly stunning what beautiful 60-degree weather, adorable kids, and time with your best friend will do for a grieving heart (and it's safe to say I'm speaking for both of us).

And I'm preparing to start a new lace project. I say preparing, because three hours of hand-winding does not a complete ball of laceweight silk make, apparently. But it's really hard to complain when it's the Claudia silk in Ocean Depth...a colorway that puts most everything else to shame, and y'all know how I feel about Sea Silk.

So while I think I'll finish the winding before I go home, I probably won't cast on until next week; there are too many distractions here. Too many, at least, to think that I can start a lace shawl with a 32-ROW PATTERNED-BOTH-SIDES lace repeat. It's the Fiber Trends Baltic Sea Stole (mine will be the San Diego Stole), and it's gorgeous, and I've lost my mind.

There were a lot of things I'd planned to say before my last post, and never quite had the heart to finish. That's happened a lot these past couple of years. Not to mention all the promises for interesting content to come. It doesn't mean I won't keep trying, mind you - just that I'm aiming to start under-promising and over-delivering, instead of the other way around.

There's a certain line from Wayne's World running through my head as I say that. I'm sure at least one of you knows which one I mean...but no matter. For this weekend, at least in my world, it's party time. Excellent. For this weekend, if you're not in Austin yourself, you can envy my upcoming visit to the LYSes I can't go to just anytime.

For this weekend, despite all the changes here and without, life is somewhat normal in the place that likes to keep itself weird. I'll take it. I could really use the break.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

In loving memory

Pablo, our Buddy
September 30, 1997-January 17, 2008
Be at peace, my baby.