Sunday, July 30, 2006

"Art"

I use that term loosely here. You could just say "decoration" in the case of what I'm about to show you. Art, to me at least, carries a heavier connotation than what I think most wall adornments do. To me, "art" is made with a purpose in mind, to evoke some type of emotion not normally felt in the normal day to day humdrummings of human life. You might have a different view, and that's cool.

So without further adeiu I give you the stuff that hangs on my walls.

We'll start with Chunky's room:

Bugs

This is Bugs. He normally doesn't wear that pinwheel. He was made for me by my now deceased Grandpa. "Bugs" is a derivative of one of the nicknames my old man gave me as a kid. Grandpa gave him to me when The Mad Scientist and I were passing through IL on our way to MI six years go. Bugs is supposed to go outside. My Grandpa did a bunch of these plywood yard ornaments. I think my Grandma still has a pretty intricate nativity scene he made.

Moving on in the living room we have:

Sue Coleman

... a Sue Coleman print. Sue Coleman is an artist living in the Vancouver, Canada area. Even though totems are mainly a Tlingit custom (the Tlingits are a tribe of Alaskan Natives living in Southeast Alaska), when you live in Southeast Alaska, it has a totally different vibe than the rest of Alaska--it's got an Alaskan-Canadian-Upper Seattle feel all of its own. So I don't get too upset when a Canadian makes a living off of Alaskan peoples.

I obtained this print from my 1/4 Tlingit college roommate. She's gave this as a present to her boyfriend (also a Tlingit) back when we were roomies. He later got drunk and tried to burn down his apartment and she dumped his ass when he was in the hospital and repossessed this print. She had one exactly like it and didn't need two of them, especially one with ex-boyfriend ju-ju attached to it, so she gave it to me. I've got a nice Springer story to go with my art too! We're still very good friends and occasionally still laugh about that jackass she dated.

Moving on to the bedroom (newly decorated!):

TMS side

This is The Mad Scientist's side of the bed/room. Can you tell he's got a thing for wolves? He even has two pieces of body "art" that feature wolves. That print in the wood frame is another Sue Coleman I got him for the first Christmas we were dating. That furry head thing is actually a coyote. It kind of creeps me out (I'm not a big fur person). But one of his closer sisters got that for him for Christmas years before we dated, so I guess I can't raise a stink.

Finally we have my dining room. These used to hang in my kitchen in Lansing (yeah I know they're crooked--sue me!) but they look good in my dining room here.

Food

This might fulfill next week's assignment of taking a shot of your food as well. From top to bottom, and left to right we have: cornbread stuffing; chocolate cheese pie with an Oreo crust; an uncooked stuffed Thanksgiving turkey; crockpot beef stew; a summer lattice tart; and what I've dubbed the "Kiss of Death Cake" (there's a story there too.) For some reason I really like to take pictures of pretty, new, or exotic food I've prepared. I decided to take a select few of these pictures and on Photoshop, remove all the color and just highlight select areas on the picture in crazy-ass not-true to nature colors. Then I printed them out giving them an extra large white border and mounted them on some black illustration board.

Here we have a closeup of the first thing I ever made in my crockpot:

Crock Pot

There's actually a lot more stuff hanging around my house, but I tried to pick the stuff that seemed the most interesting.

I'm loving looking at everyone else's art. After viewing Turtlegirl's bathroom art, I'm inspired to create my own bathroom art--that's the one room in this apartment that's lacking in the decoration department.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

M Is For

Mounds of Poo

mounds o poo

Can you see those little specks on the brown grass in the middle of the picture? Yeah it's all dog crap.

I thought about different M's, but the recent explosion of monarch butterflies here (anyone remember that Reading Rainbow?) meant there were too many of them and none would hold still for me. I know you can't really see these mounds clearly. But do you really want to? Just take my word for it. Hee hee.

culprits

Gee I wonder what these chicks are doing. Don't see any bags in their hands. On the plus side though I was picking up a package at the main office of this complex and one of the employees asked me how the outside of my apartment was doing. After her hemming and hawing I finally got out of her that she wanted to know if it still smelled like dogcrap. I told her it sure did. She said they've already issued lease violations to my lovely neighbors and would look into it. Gah, I saw one of the culprits today--talk about an ugly dog. I can't even think of a breed to compare it to--it's just that ugly. And unfixed. Nothing worse than an ugly dog with his doggy dirty parts flapping around all over the place. Guh!

Ok, M is officially taken care of. Now I need to do N and I think I'll be all caught up!

Onto more fiberly pursuits. I seem to have been caught up in the latest epidemic of spinitis. As I posted a few days ago, I got some Blue Face Lancester roving in the mail and decided to give the old spindle another try. The first time I tried it out was with merino. Man, my results stunk big time. The Blue Face was MUCH nicer. I read somewhere that it was a good fiber to begin with. Granted my ma gave me a dollar for the park n'draft and that's all I did (brownie points for telling me what movie I mutated that quote from). But here's my first attempt with the blue face:

big spin

So a night later I decided to go finer and came up with this:

thin spin

Not too shabby for an official second and third try with the spindle. We'll see how future endeavors turn out. Next up I need to finish my Bitchin' Mittens.

But the big highlight of my day had to have been:

naked bed

MY NEW BED!

I've been sleeping on the couch the whole time I've been down here, minus a few nights on the floor with The Mad Scientist before he left to go back north. I just realized that aside from my car, I think this is the most expensive thing we've ever bought. Our first "grown up" bed--hooray!!

I've got 10 skeins of TLC Cotton Plus coming from joann.com in the mail to make one of those in vogue log cabin afghans. The Mad Scientist and I do NOT share covers. He has his twin size comforter that he sleeps under; I have my twin size quilt. It's probably helped our marriage. I think we started sharing covers when we were first married, but it didn't work out. But now that we have a "real" bed, I'm thinking a "real" coverlet is in order for when we're not sleeping in it.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Twisted Sister

Well I did have a cute, well drafted blog entry all ready to go, and then this piece of crap computer froze on me. Sigh. I miss my husband and his computer! Ha ha!

So yup. They were twisted stitches. Thanks to all who helped me see the err of my ways and discuss counter vs. clockwise wrappings on knits and purls. What I did was reverse my wraps on both my knits and purls. I still knit thru the back loop though. I'm not changing that habit. I think it's working as you can see in this blurry picture:

maybe its right now?

Moving on, yesterday afternoon Chunky and I went to a Half Price Books that Penny Karma mentioned to me. I visited one when I was on my interview, but she suggested one that's pretty close to where we live. I scored these two books for a mere $11:

books

I love the Knitting Languages book--it gives translations of knitting lingo from Danish, Icelandic, Italian, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Japanese and British to English. My favorite "British" to "English" translation has got to be: "Make One" in British means "Increase" in English. You don't say!!!

My roving also came in the mail today from The Yarn Tree:

roving

4 ozs. of Alpaca/Blue Face Leicester. We'll see how bad I suck with the old drop spindle. I figure I need to try it at least another time before I give up on it completely.

Finally, I've got a new blog to stalk! I entered sassenach's "Bust My Stash" blog contest and was a runner up! Click on over--she even made a video of her pulling the winning names. If only I had a computer that could run non-dialup, I'd watch it myself!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

Because I'm a WIPaphobe, I picked up Soleil again. I'm Frankensteining a different top to it. It's just a simple back and forth neckhole and straps right?

Here's the "problem"--when I stop knitting in the round and start knitting back and forth straight, my stitches start to look like this:

WTF

Hm. I've noticed my socks are like this too when I break from knitting in the round to do the heel flaps. I'm not doing anything weird. I'm knitting one side, and purling the other. Any ideas? I don't think it will be too noticable to the untrained eye, and even so, it starts at a decent place in the finished garment so where, if noticable, it won't look too "off."

Following Elizabeth's suggestion on a question I posed on the knittyboard, I also knitted up a quick swatch of that tussah silk and stuck it in my wash.

Tussah Post Wash

It's definately a lot softer. And it bloomed (or pilled depending how you want to look at it) nicely. Nine skeins of this stuff. What the hell am I going to make??

The ends of this swatch loosened the twist on the tussah. Just randomly fussing with them, I'll bet tussah is easy to spin. It holds the twist well. Speaking of spinning, now that I'm settled, I figured I'd take some of the money I had in Paypal from selling a duplicate digital camera dock on ebay to buy some fiber. I ordered 4 oz. of shoot, I can't remember what kind of wool now, from The Yarn Tree. I haven't received it yet, but let me tell you--wow. I got an email today from Paypal informing me that $3.00 had been refunded to my account with an explanation from the owner that the package was so light, it didn't take the whole shipping cost I was charged to mail. Seriously, you don't find that kind of merchant around much anymore! Anyway, once it comes, I'm going to dust off my spindle and take another crack at spinning. We'll see how it goes.

Finally, I leave you with two obligatory Chunky pictures. Yesterday we went to the Alamo.

100_1366

This time we got to go inside and look at the gardens. It was too crowded to enjoy them properly. Chunky wanted to go inside the chapel, but they had a sign prohibiting beverages. There was no way in 100 degree heat I was abandoning my water bottle.

So we went home and had some ice cream instead.

Chocolate Goatee

And yes, I did bring my child to the Alamo wearing a Canadian Mountie t-shirt. Ha ha!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Apartment (And A Little Bit Of Knitting)

Ok voyeurs, here you go! Just a warning--this is a really picture heavy post. But that's only a bad thing if you're like me and have dialup ;0)

Let us start with the outside of the apartment:

downsteps

We're that door on the bottom right of the screen. It's an odd setup. As you can see, we're sunken in (tornadorific?) but if you go to the back patio--we're level with the ground again.

Now, imagine The Mad Scientist and I maneuvering large furniture down these twisty things!

upsteps

Did I mention it was in the 90's that day?

I took Chunky aside before we cracked open the back of the truck and told him that any words he heard coming out of mommy and daddy's mouths as we were moving were not to be repeated!!!

Just a quick note about these stairs. They stink. Why do they stink? Our neighbors have dogs. Large dogs. At least two. They scream at them to stop barking every time me and Chunky are coming inside. Thank god they only have dogs and not kids. What pisses me off about these people is that they let their dogs crap under the stairs. Ok, sure no one walks there, but when there's doggie poo baking in the hot afternoon sun, every time I come home or go outside my front door I'm met with that splendiferous odor. One time I even had the pleasure of opening my kitchen blinds to find them allowing their dog to pop a squat right under my kitchen window. Delicious. If they owned a house and let their dog shit willy nilly all over the yard, that's fine. But people need to grasp the concept of communal property and pick up their shit. I'm tossing around the idea of dumping Squeaky and Springs's litterbox under the steps if they really start to piss me off. I love being a passive agressive bitch!

Moving on...here's our living room:

living room

The dining room/kitchen:

kitchendining

And yes, I'm aware I can't hang a straight picture!

Chunky's room:

chunky'sroom

Complete with Chunky!

And finally the bathroom:

bathroom

One thing I love about this new bathroom is that there's room under the sink to stick the catbox. See that green thingy off to the bottom left? That's actually a a pair of bamboo placemats I bought at Wally's World for $2/ea, glued together and velcroed onto the cabinet lip. It creates a little "door" to the catboxes, gives them a little privacy to attain that "faraway stare" that they get when they go, and I don't have to look at kitty poo.

Wait! I forgot the "backyard"!

deer

Yup, complete with deer and tennis court (another place people take their dogs to shit actually). The deer blew my mind--we're in San Antonio--it's pretty metropolitan. The Mad Scientist actually spotted him first the first week we were here, but Chunky and me nearly run her over in the parking lot a few nights ago.

Notice I didn't show you a picture of my washer/dryer hookups like I mentioned would be in this apartment. Apparently this place doesn't believe in correct advertising on the web. I think I've ranted enough on this post so I won't get into it. I'm just glad I didn't have access to my own washer/dryer before living here and had to go BACK to communal stranger pubic hair mixing in washers and dryers.

You'll also note I didn't show you our bedroom. Right now it's just a room. No bed. I left the 30+ year old bed The Mad Scientist and I had up in Lansing with him. He'll toss it when he finally gets his butt down here. We ordered a new bed on Thursday July 6. It won't be here until July 29. So I'm sleeping on the sofa. Yeah, that doesn't suck immensely.

Ok, onto some knitting!!!

I've made some progress on Soleil, but I've reached the point where you start dividing it and working in the straight for the arm and neckhole and I'm not really "getting" the instructions. So here she sits all lumpy and ugly:

lumpysoleil

Before we left MI I started the Saturday Market Bag from the June edition of Magknits. Meh, I wasn't impressed. I did the however many repeats of the pattern it said to do, but it still turned out too small. Of course I also decided to double the amount of repeats for one panel so I could merely fold the bag over and instead of seaming 3 sides I only had to seam 2. It holds Chunky's nap blankie for preschool just fine though, so it serves a purpose. And yes, crummy picture I know!

saturday market bag

Another thing I did before I left MI was I bought 10 skeins of handspun lace weight tussah silk online. Gack. What a nightmare! A.) it's an ugly brown-twine color B.) it sort of feels like twine and C.) it's a bitch to ball up. The stuff sticks to itself (and any hangnails/dry skin you might have on your hands) I actually only have 8 skeins and this ball left. I tried to ball the first skein and had to toss it because it became too tangled. Yuck. What a mess. I don't know what I'm going to do with this crap:

tussah silk

It's not that purple in real life--the lawnchair gave it that cast.

And finally! I'm working on my Bitchin' Mittens submission. I will only give you a blurry snippet of them sofar.

bitchinmitten

They're nothing fancy, but they're centered around a theme. I'm using the yarn my first CASP Sherry gave me from a thrift store sweater she frogged (and I koolaid dyed).

That's all for now! Thanks Rain for those links to office openable programs. One of them wasn't compatible (I've got Windows 98 on this fossil) so I'm going to check out the other. And Sarah--I'm still mulling what to do with the llama. Right now I've only taken it out to pet lovingly and smell (is that weird??). I've got to find the perfect project for it!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I'm Back! (and with a ton of pictures!)

Oh wow. As I write this, it is the night before my landline (non-digital phone line) is supposed to be connected. I hope to dear god that I'm able to get online using the crappy goodness of a dialup modem.

(UPDATE: Thank you dialup! I hate your incredible slowness, but heck, it's better than nothing!)

I had my doubts as to the rationale that this computer was just too ancient to run the cable internet. Until I started writing this that is. I'm writing this on Notepad. Because there is NO Microsoft Office of any version on this piece o'junk. Yikes.

Switching gears now! How did the trip go you might ask? Let me break it down for you day-by-day. If you're not a fan of long rambling entries, or suffer from some sort of attention span deficit keep on clickin' my friend!

Saturday, July 1: We rented a 16' Penske truck from our local lessor of Penskes and spent the remainder of the day filling it with our assorted boxes, craptacular couch, and various items of particle-board-put-together furniture.

Here you can see me and Chunky showing off our massive guns from loading the truck:

gunshow

Thank god we got a 16' truck. The guy at the truck rental place tried to talk me down to a 12 footer in the name of saving money, but there's no way all of the shit from Apartmiento De Bezzie would have fit in a 12' truck!

Sunday, July 2: We said goodbye to our lovely Lansing apartment complex and posed for some more cheesey pictures in front of the complex sign.

bye blue spruce

Oh how I'll miss spruce trees.

Then we hit the road. The Mad Scientist drove the truck; me, Chunky, and the katzes, Squeaky and Springs, drove in my car. The first night we made it all the way to Sikeston, Missouri. Best part of this day? The look on Chunky's face when we crossed the Mississippi--I love my child, he's so easily amused. (However I must admit I was equally as delighted by the Mississippi almost six years earlier to the day when The Mad Scientist and I drove over it on our way from Colorado to Michigan.) The worst part of this day? Springs. Springs is some type of Bengalese knock off of a cat. I think the girl who gave him to me actually paid money for him. I love cats, don't get me wrong, but there's no way I'd pay for one. Apparently his breed of cat is known for being extremely vocal. Imagine low pitched yowls coming from shotgun every 20 seconds. I was able to placate Squeaky by turning on a steady stream of NPR. The talk seemed to soothe here. It soothed Springs a bit as well--except that every time I'd call The Mad Scientist to see where he was on the road or to warn him of wrong turns I had made and things to avoid on the road, that goddamned cat would start yowling at the top of his lungs as if to say "I can't see you, but I can hear you bitch! Now let me outta this damn carrier!" Gah!

We spent the night at the Days Inn of Sikeston. It was the first of three Days Inns we'd stay at the whole trip. They're cat friendly and cheap. And we didn't have to share a bed with Chunky. After a trip to Chicago three years ago with Chunky in a tiny hotel room with one double bed, my fear was that we would find ourselves having to sleep with that little wiggleworm.

Monday, July 3: From Sikeston we traveled to Memphis, Tennessee. It was only a three to four hour trip. This was intentional, we wanted to get to Memphis and find a hotel to check into and go check out Graceland. We lucked out and found a GREAT Days Inn kitty-corner to Graceland. It was only $125 a night and according to the clerk we were lucky we checked in as early as we did (about noon). The Mad Scientist had tried to convince me earlier that we wouldn't be able to check in that early in the day. Ha ha!

From there we hit some cheesey Elvis souvenier shops where I bought postcards for everyone. Especially my sister T. she's dying to go to Graceland--but I beat her there. Sort of.

As you can see, we did go there---

graceland

However, the line to take the mansion tour was two to two and a half hours long. Oh and did I mention the line was outside (in the shade) but it was still 95+ degrees outside? Um yeah. I love the King and all, but I don't love him *that* much! I'm just thankful we missed the damn Japanese Prime Minister. If George Bush had been at Graceland shutting it down with all his secret service shit, my application papers to become a Canadian citizen would be being processed right now.

welcomePM

While Graceland and seeing the King's home was my main reasoning for spending a leisurely day in Memphis, the boys had different ideas.

Chunky wanted to get in the pool--despite the fact he can't swim. We got into Sikeston too late for him to play in the pool there so he insisted on going in when we got to Memphis.

boys in the pool

Can you tell it's a guitar shaped pool? The whole hotel was kitschy like that--Chunky even met Elvis!

elvis

Well ok, his plastic dummy double--close enough.

The Mad Scientist's request was that we go to a barbeque joint. He wanted real honest-to-goodness Memphis barbeque. So, taking a page out of the $40 A Day philosophy--he asked the hotel clerk where we could find some good barbeque. She gave him directions to go straight up the road and presented him with a 10% off coupon for Marlowe's--a local barbeque joint.

And of course I had to have him snap a picture of me and Chunky in front of the giant Pig Trailer the restaurant had!

pigtrailer

My god, it was delicious food. The Mad Scientist had a 1/2 rack of ribs, coleslaw and the best damn potato salad I think I've ever eaten (I had to sneak a bite!). Chunky just had chicken fingers and fries--sadly they didn't have much of a kids' menu and he didn't want to split a sandwich with me. I had a fried catfish sandwich with a side of coleslaw. Holy crap. I haven't had catfish since I used to go to lunch with all the southern military wives when I worked on base in Alaska. This was ten times better.

After dinner we decided to continue up

epblvd

to see where the road took us--if you keep going straight you won't get lost right? After a while we started getting into a seedy looking part of town, so we decided to turn around. The Mad Scientist spotted a watertower that read: "Southaven--The Top of Mississippi" What do you know? We drove to Mississippi after dinner! Ha ha! I guess we didn't realize how close to the Mississippi border we were in Memphis. When you drive through literally five states in two days location becomes one big blur. So I'm proud to cross Mississippi off my "states I've been to" list!

Tuesday, July 4: We left Memphis relatively early as we had to cut across Arkansas and we wanted to make it to Waco, Texas.

Arkansas was freaking gorgeous. Now normally when I think of Arkansas I think of hillbillies, the Klan, and people living ideologically 50 years behind the rest of the country. I don't think of rolling hills and green trees.

We even drove through Hope, Arkansas--birthplace of the first president I was ever able to vote for--Bill Clinton!

It was starting to rain and I was driving, but I got this great pic--ha ha!

hope ar

We stopped for lunch at a McDonalds in Texarkana. We had been watching the Food Network in our hotel in Memphis and "Unwrapped" had an episode about cafeterias. They spotlighted a cafeteria in Texarkana right off the interstate. I tried to follow the sign to get there, but couldn't find it. So Old McDonalds it was (this is what Chunky calls it!)

A few miles between Texarkana and Dallas I hear Chunky moaning in the backseat. I ask him if everything is okay to which he grimaces and replies "Yeah."

Five minutes later I hear what I thought was a burp and smell, that's right, you guessed it, vomit. SIGH. So I pull over at the next gas station and pretty much strip the kid naked to his underoos and make him put on a pair of dirty clothes from the day before (it was the second to the last day of our trip and I had only budgeted him out so many clothes for the actual trip!). I don't own my car yet, and as such, I'm pretty anal about what touches the back seat. I've got a towel lining the seats that Chunky doesn't occupy to protect it from stains, mud, sand, and whatever else that kid tracks in. Do you think the vomit could have hit any of that towel? No. It must have been special upholstery-seeking vomit.

We went into the gas station and I made him go to the bathroom and wash up and we bought a can of Glade airfreshner. Imagine it. It's 90 something degrees out so you can't roll down the car windows (the air conditioner is the only thing that will cool down the car in that heat), the sun is beating down into your car helping bake-in the smell of barf laced with Glade "Country Meadow." On the plus side, I tried going out to lunch with Chunky this past Saturday and he refused to go to McDonalds because he's convinced it will make him sick. Hee hee!

Driving through Dallas on the Fourth of July was a stroke of brilliance. We had thrown around stopping north of Dallas and going through it on Wednesday morning--but decided that the traffic would be minimal on July 4 with no one working. For once we were right about something traffic related.

The vomit incident caused The Mad Scientist to pass us on the road to Waco. It's a good thing it all happened like that. Right outside of Waco I finally caught up with The Mad Scientist in the Penske. I figured I'd just tail him to Waco (he hated when I did this, but I figured it wouldn't be for that far). About 10 miles outside of Waco the sky opened up and the most horrible rainstorm I have EVER driven in was unleashed upon us. Thank god I was behind The Mad Scientist because the dumbass didn't have his lights on (he later explained "Well the lights come on automatically when I drive, I thought that meant I didn't have to turn them on.") But little did he realize that when you don't turn your lights on and just use those automatic lights that come on when you start the truck up---you don't have your back tail lights illuminated. Any dumbass could have rearended him and it would have more than likely been his fault for not driving with his full lights on. (This same thing happened during a large incident of fog in Lansing that caused like a 200 car pileup and killed 2 people a few years ago--people thought that if their running lights were on, their tail lights were on--wrong!) We both white-knuckled it into Waco driving about 10 miles per hour on the interstate. It was insane. But we made it safe and sound to our third and final Days Inn.

Wednesday, July 5: Finally! San Antonio!! We got to our apartment complex at 1:00 p.m. I spent the next hour filling out more paperwork. If you are going to put an application online, please put the REAL application online. God, the paperwork I filled out was much more extensive than the online application. Talk about a pain in my ass. Then we came to find out that they weren't expecting us until July 6. I could have killed the girl behind the desk. As it ended up all we had to do was wait until 4:30 p.m. until we could occupy our apartment.

So we all (both cats and The Mad Scientist) piled into my car and drove around for a bit. We located my new office, ate lunch, and somehow killed two and a half hours. The cats weren't doing so well in the heat. Even though we were taking them out of their carriers to de-stuffify them, Springs was panting. Gah, you don't realize how stinky your cat's breath is until he's panting in your car. Poor annoying bastard.

But finally at 4:30 we were able to pull the Penske up to the apartment and get the cats out first and foremost (cranked up the A/C for them and gave them a big bowl of water) and start unloading our shit.

Stay tuned next time where I will describe our first half-week in San Antonio as a real family before The Mad Scientist left to go back to Lansing, my description of our humble new abode, my impressions of San Antonio and Texas in general, my new job and coworkers, and what the hell, I might even mention some knitting. I guess this is technically a knitting blog right??

Monday, July 17, 2006

Technical Difficulties

Bah! Piss on husbands that insist on keeping the hi-tech computers in Lansing while they finish up their doctorates! As such, I'm working on Chunky's computer--with Windows 98. Which, the cable company assured me, would be compatible with digital internet. WRONG!

So stay tuned for more. I'm trying to get my trusty shitty dialup installed. Keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned! I've got a plethora of random meanderings to share!