Monday, August 31, 2009

Cookie of the Week

This week a simple one: Turdballs.

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Or you could call them by their less potty-humor name chocolate peanutbutter chip cookies.

I prefer turdballs though.

I'll Tweet the deets!

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

And In The End

The (staycation) love you take is equal to the (staycation) love you make!

I gotta say, I'm very impressed with all that I got accomplished on my staycation.

* I organized the living room closet thingy.
* I moved Mooch into Chunky's room.
* I finished Eddie's sweater and humiliated Springs.
* I did some baking.
* I did some Freecycling (I haven't done much NJ Freecycling, there are some annoying uber-freecycleflakes out here!).
* I finished my snowman winter housepants.
* Mooch and I visited Chris and her bionic knee.
* I took the boys to work on Friday to pick up my paycheck (and to show them off--the hens hadn't seen Moochie since he was 3 weeks old and Chunky had never been inside my building before).
* I took the boys and hung out at Karen's with a gaggle of knitters (what exactly is the proper term for a group of knitters?)
* And today--I did basically nothing. And it was great!

Tomorrow will suck. But it probably would have sucked anyway. It's the last day of the month and when I left, I hadn't seen any of Big Boss's billable time to enter into the system. Even if I had been there last week, I have the feeling I wouldn't have seen it then either.

Ah well!

I got a little more sewing done Friday night.

I took a couple of these:

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They would be velcro crotch onesies.

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Let me tell you what a stupid invention this is. They are forever popping open. Snaps are the only way to go if you're going to wear crotched onesies.

I merely cut off the bottom, seamed it up, and then took a couple of scraps from my scrap bag and fussy-cut some stain-hiding pieces of fabric and sewed them onto the onsies-come-t-shirts.

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I didn't turn down the edges on the little appliques. Mooch will outgrow these soon and I intend to use them as jammie shirts.

Gotta remember your target audience!!

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Friday, August 28, 2009

6 a.m., 247 Days After Christmas

I sew some clothes in

the dark.

The sound of Moochie screams

Have awakened me.

The world is sleeping

And I am effin' exhausted.

I don't know what is wrong with that kid. He KNOWS how to sleep through the night. He just chooses not to. This is why I had Chunky when I was 23. I'm too old for this shit at 31.

It's OK.

By the time he reaches college and is a teenager he'll be hard to wake up when I want him up and blah, blah, blah--crap that's supposed to make me feel good now when I'm operating on 3 hour bits of uninterrupted sleep. Lemme tell you, that's not very comforting and extremely annoying to hear when you're this exhausted.

But hey, at least I'm productive when I'm up with him.

At 5 a.m. today I decided to finish my winter house pants* while Mooch played on the floor at my feet.

Notice I said winter. The temperature didn't hit 80 degrees in the house yesterday--and already my mind has wandered to cooler days!

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The deets:

Pattern: Simplicity 5334

Fabric: Jolly Snowmen-Green (purchased as part of Fabric.com's Christmas In July Sale for $3.98 a yard!); 3 yards total

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Notes: This was an easy enough pattern to sew. The part where it explains how you connect the two legs together was quite confusing though and poorly written for a newbie sewer like me with poor spatial reasoning and for a pattern advertised as "Easy-to-sew."

Luckily the day before, I had been browsing some refab sites and saw a tutorial on how to make pants by turning one leg inside out and putting it in the other leg and sewing the crotch together. Without having stumbled upon that, there probably would have been some profanity and seam ripping involved.

This also was the first time I had ever done a buttonhole on my Beast--and it worked!!!

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You can't really see it here, but buttonholes are the openings for the drawstring.

Bottom line: I love my new winter house pants and I can't WAIT for winter when I can wear them regularly!


*Normal people would call these pajama pants. I would DIE if I wore flannel to bed. I would drown in my own sweat. Yuck. I don't sleep nude (fear of house fire and ending up on the news naked describing how I think the fire started). I wear just enough to only be marginally embarrassed in front of the neighbors if the house goes down in flames.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two Dogs, One Cat, Two Cousins & A Sweater

I think I've mentioned this here before, but my sisters and I email each other--a lot.

We're all "grown ups" now with our grown up jobs and we're all over the country.

T. is lives in the 'Nati (what cool kids call Cincinnati) and is a wordsmith writing copy for the back of paper towel and Hershey bar packages.

Youngest Younger Sister is following in a proud family tradition of sucking on the teat of Uncle Sam and works for the Army Corps of Engineers back in Alaska.

When I'm not busy wiping the noses of my four needy attorney bosses (why yes, I did have Big Boss call me twice yesterday at home looking for a file he needed...that was where it was supposed to be--in the file room), and T.'s not busy butting heads with various other advertising monkeys that try to inhibit her creative wordsmithing, and Youngest Younger Sister isn't canoeing around lakes in Anchorage taking snapshots of people's backyard boat docks, we email each other while we should be working.

I know during one of my email threads with Youngest Younger Sister we got onto the topic of her new puppy Eddie, and the cold weather coming up soon in Alaska.

Here's an older picture of him when they first got him a few months ago.

EddieFace

He's a Jack Russell Terrier.

Kinda just wanna eat him up don't you?

Anyway, he had a raincoat, but no sweater.

So I told Youngest Younger Sister I would knit Eddie a sweater.

I was too impatient to wait for Eddie's measurements and Youngest Younger Sister couldn't find her tape measure anyway so I just cast on.

I decided instead to use this photo as my guide to help me make the right size.

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See that dog? That's my Younger Younger Brother's Jack Russell Terrier Crispy. Next to Crispy is his son--(my nephew and Chunky and Moochie's cousin)--who I will call Blue Face Lester. If you knew his real name and you are a spinner, you'd understand that esoteric blog name.

Blue Face Lester is approximately 2 weeks younger than Moochie, and Crispy is about a year older than Eddie.

Crispy I guess is a long-legged Jack Russell and Eddie is a short-legged one.

Using the picture of Blue Face Lester and Crispy, I decided that when I put Moochie up next to Springs--I figured Eddie had to be about the sameish size as Springs since Moochie and Blue Face Lester are pretty much the same size.

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Can you see where I'm going with this?

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Woman, you'd better not be thinking what I think you're thinking!

Yes, I knit Eddie a sweater.

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And yes, I used Springs as my fitting guide.

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Damn you woman!

The details:

Pattern: Long Sleeve Turtle Neck Dog Sweater (yay! I re-found the blog the pattern was posted on!)

Yarn: My favorite yarn ever--TLC Cotton Plus in White and Moss.

Needles: US6

Notes: Well written pattern. The only part that was confusing was the decreases after the leg-holes. If I was a newbie knitter or perhaps an inhibited knitter that didn't like to modify patterns, I would have run into a wall there.

It fit Springs pretty good. It was a little tight around his belly going on. But he's an old man. We estimate him to be close to 12 to 13, maybe 14. He's let himself go a bit. The only lady he's interested in impressing anymore is the blanket you see here under him. He likes to hump it when I'm lying under it at night. Nothing like waking up to being violated by a feline at 2:00 a.m.

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Wow, if looks could kill.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Un-Bake My Heartttttt!

...say you'll love me again...!

It's been so hot out lately that I haven't been making cookie of the week.

And I've been going through withdrawal.

This morning as there was actually a chill in the air (if you can call 70 degrees "chilly") I figured I'd fire up the oven and bake these.

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I modified them a bit from the original recipe and they are delicious.

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Very Oreo-like but more chocolatey.

Wanna know my mods? I've decided I'll take the specs for Cookie of the Week to Twitter. I don't really use Twitter as it seems useless to me (and somehow I don't feel the same way about Facebook...). No one cares if I'm sitting on the patio.

And it's kinda fun and slightly obnoxious to see if I can squish a recipe into 140 characters, although this week was pretty easy!

I'm rkbezzie over there if you want to follow. Some schlub took Bezzie. Ah well.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Staycation: Day 1

And already I've run out of snappy titles.

Today was also productive.

Chunky and I cleaned up his room to make room for as he put it:

"Hey! Me and Moochie are brothers--and now we get to be roommates!"

Ha ha! I wish I had memories of being that excited when my sister came to ruin my five years of having my own room. Not that I remember four of those years.

Anyway, I've killed enough spiders today that if spiders ever take over the human race I will probably be brought up on charges for crimes against arachnoditity.

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Don't worry, we're not making him sleep in a laundry basket by that 3rd degree burn machine radiator.

The crib has been moved to Chunky's room. And sofar (it's 9:30 p.m. as I type this) so good. We'll see if he actually sleeps through the night. For the past week the little man has been falling back into that 12:00 p.m./4:00 a.m. party schedule.

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Good thing he's cute or I'd have to feed him to the spiders.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Staycation All I Ever Wanted

I started working when I was sixteen going on seventeen and innocent as a rose.

I am 31 now.

Aside from popping out Chunky and Moochie--I have never taken a whole week off of work.

I took a week of half days once I think back in 2001.

This week my Summer House Husband Dr. Mad Scientist will be assisting in teaching a summer school class in Newark wherein he will be wading around the Passaic River in Newark with a bunch of high schoolers. This skeeves me out on so many levels. Maybe they'll find Hoffa.

With Dr. Mad Scientist splashing around at a superfund site, someone had to watch the boys.

Since I had 8 days of leave to burn and all the Jewish Holy Days appear to land on weekends this year (meaning daycare will be open and I won't have to take them off...) and I figured what the heck.

Obviously I don't take many days off. I'll go ahead and burn 5 and spend a week with my non-hairy boys before school/daycare start up in two weeks.

Part of the agenda this week was cleaning out the closet off the living room. I boxed up baby clothes (one box will be Freecycled) and got my crafty stuff in order.

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Somehow, I have acquired a teeny fabric stash. This can't be good.

Now with the closet in order, next up is cleaning up and re-arranging Chunky's room so we can move Moochie in there with him.

And speaking of Chunky and school--he finished up his summer homework this week. Only to find in the mail an assignment from his new teacher.

He was pretty pissed until he read the directions.

Included in the envelope was a little cutout of a person. You had to decorate the person to look like you using whatever you wanted--crayons, markers, fabric, yarn, buttons, etc.

So without further adieu, I give you Flat Chunky:


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Ha ha! With real denim jeans!

Yeah, he definitely got my crafty genes.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

50/50

Today is a special day!!!

It's the 50th Anniversary of Hawaii becoming the 50th State in the Union!

Woo!!!

Ok, I realize that most Hawaiians aren't really down with this holiday. Word on the street is they weren't too keen on joining the U.S. And my idea of worst vacation ever would be a trip to Hawaii (it's nothing personal--it's just that I hate the heat. Why the hell would I want to vacation somewhere hot???).

But as an Alaskan, I feel a kindred spirit with my Hawaiian brothers and sisters.

Only they, (and the Puerto Ricans) know the annoyance of the phrase:

Offer not valid [ or Prices may vary] in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

I even baked for the occasion.

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I'm bringing this (and another cherry-less pineapple upside down cake) to work today.

The idea to celebrate Hawaiian Statehood Day was born last week at work.

Remember the creepy panda/bear thing I knit for the attorney having a baby girl in August?

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Well we had his Man Shower (that's what we call wedding/baby showers for the dudes in the office...) last Thursday.

Only problem?

He was at the hospital where his wife was having the baby on Thursday.

Second problem?

The Cake Boss cake we had for him HAD to be eaten as he wasn't coming in on Friday and the cake wouldn't keep through the weekend.

So we had the Man Shower and ate the cake without him.

Inspired by this cake-without-the-intended-recipient around, we decided we needed to celebrate Hawaiian Statehood day as no one in the office is Hawaiian.

Ha ha!

Happy la ho'omana'o Hawaii!!!!!

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cool Wave

Lord, I wish we were having a cool wave.

Since when does a heat wave "break" when it's forecasted to be 88 degrees. When did 88 become "cool"?

But I digress.

I've been thinking a lot about the cool wave that's hit the nation.

Cool to be cheap. Or frugal. Or thrifty. Or tight. Or resourceful.

Whatever--pick your adjective.

My silly guilty pleasure is listening to Brenda Dayne's Cast On podcast on my commute to work (oh yes, a 7 mile commute takes me 30 minutes, god bless New Jersey). I say guilty pleasure because sometimes I feel she takes knitting way too seriously. I find myself stepping back a bit sometimes from what she's saying and rolling my eyes.

But whatever, it's her show and she does it for free and in the technical aspect of the show she doesn't suck at it. The podcast is very well crafted. And she has some nice nuggets of info in there sometimes.

Anyway on Monday, I was listening to her last episode of her latest series which featured an essay she wrote about UK wartime rationing and clothing allowances.

She pondered aloud how she would have gotten by with the yearly allotment of clothing given to individuals during WW2 and came to the conclusion she wouldn't have been able to make it.

Next on Tuesday, I was taking a lunch nap in my car (it was too hot to walk around the office 'hood) and caught the beginning of a radio show where they interviewed a guy about his new book that details how the recession might have an upside. I want to say he spoke about clothing in the first few minutes--but I was groggy and had to get back to work. I've downloaded the episode to listen to later.

Finally today I was reading about Wardrobe Refashion's latest round of signups for a pledge not to buy new clothes for X months (you pick the duration). I've heard of and breezed by this blog before and seen their past challenges, but it was the timing of reading about this that hit me.

All three of these clothing-recycling-frugally-recessionista themed things popping up in three days.

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I got to thinking about the last time I purchased new clothing for myself.

Technically it was last year and it was maternity. But I can tell you right now, if I hadn't borrowed 99% of my Chunky-wear, I wouldn't have bought any maternity clothes.

If you exclude that purchase, then the last thing I bought was almost two years ago. It was a pair of $9 clearance sweaters bought with a Macy's giftcard.

You might remember my failed attempt to make one of them kinda cute.

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But instead made it look kinda barfy.

Honestly, a lot of my clothing is either handmade by my mother (I've been rocking a set of skirts and blouses she made me back in 2000/2001 this week--they're perfect for the ungodly weather), or bought off the sale rack and/or from discount stores(think Burlington Dog Hair Factory).

Surprisingly, they've all held up pretty well.

In fact the oldest thing I have in my closet now, if you don't count the babydoll dress I bought when I was 19 and cut off 6" of and hemmed to make a transitional-maternity top when I was pregnant (I loved that dress and I used to look so damn good in it--before I had kids! I couldn't bear to part with it!), is a deep green velvet knit top I bought at the now defunct Jay Jacobs for $14 back around 1997. I still wear it every now and then. The velvet has worn kind of thin in places.

I remember agonizing over buying it because $14 seemed like so much to spend on just one item of clothing. Especially for a top I didn't really need I just loved the color and texture so much. Even today, $14 is way too much for a splurge.

This cool wave of frugality has me wondering--what's the oldest item of clothing you own? Do you still wear it?

Oh and for the record--I could have totally rocked a WW2 clothing allowance.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Memory Lane

When I was a kid, back before we became heathens* (or "Recovering Catholics" as Dr. Mad Scientist says) we used to go to church every Sunday.

Sometimes the promise of donuts afterwards from Carrs was the only thing that got me through that hour Sunday morning.

Recently, my Younger Younger Brother emailed me with this picture asking if I could knit him up a half dozen.

donuts

I knit a donut for Moochie a while back, so this wasn't a hard request to fill.

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Hee hee, I might have taken a donut bag from Shoprite. I will neither admit nor deny it and will leave you to your proofs.

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And seriously, as much as I HATE the coffee mug FO picture--I'll make an exception for knitted donuts!

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Why no, I don't ever wash my toaster.

I hope he likes them!

ETA: I should add that I didn't make this pattern up. I forgot where I got it! It was from someone's blog though--when they're blog patterns I usually cut and paste the pattern into a word document. Which means I usually don't capture the name of the blog I got it from. Oops!



*It's a fun story involving a hippie priest, abortion protests, and the separation of Church and State.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Football Americano!

Every year my big boss can't make at least one of his August pre-season Jets' games so he offers me the tickets. This year he was on vacation.

And this year we got to see the St. Louis Rams play the Jets on Friday night.

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It was also Moochie's first NFL football game!

At first he LOVED all the people watching!

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But then the game started, and as the touchdowns and downs and sacks were made...

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Someone got REALLY freaked out by all the noise.

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Trust me, that's a tame picture of his reaction there!!!

By about the second quarter Chunky was getting tired too.

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So at halftime we went home. I wish I could have gotten more into the game but having Moochie there was a bit of a damper on that.

It was also kinda cool to go to one last game in the soon-to-be-old Giants' stadium. And also to sit in Big Boss's infamous Row 13, Seat 13 seat--he didn't get that kind of lucky numbering for his season tickets in the new stadium!

Overall was a good primer for Labor Day Sunday when the REAL (CSU) Rams play!!!!! WOO!!!!!

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Monday, August 10, 2009

132 Days

Until Winter officially arrives.

The older I get, the more I hate summer.

The temperature in the bedrooms (Chunky sleeping in his; Moochie's still in our bedroom) at 8:45 p.m. tonight:

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89 degrees.

Yuck. I bought a pair of sit-in-the-window fans at Costco for $30 something bucks a piece and put one in Chunky's room and one in our room. They're really nice when the weather is 85 and cooler. But after 85 degrees, it doesn't matter if you have one of the fans on suck and the other on blow, or both on suck, or both on blow--they just work to blow stuffy hot air on you.

The A/C unit in the dining room does a great job keeping the dining room cool. I only wish we were ever in the dining room for long periods of time. And it helps take the edge off the heat in the living room which is good for the boys during the day. But nights are brutal. The kitchen and bedrooms are just so hot.

As a result of all this disgusting weather, I'm keeping the knitting light.

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More hopefully on these later in the week.

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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Salsa Saturday, Sewing Sunday

I think the title says it all.

I hit the farmers' market for tomaters because I had a wicked craving for some Jersey tomato salsa.

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I spread an afghan on the kitchen floor (this place might have squirrels in the leaky ceiling and mold, but the kitchen is huge) and my two helpers observed the operation.

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I tried to tell Moochie that you eat the salsa, not the jar box.

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I got a decent yield--6.5 pints.

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Today, I hauled out The Beast.

First, and there are no pictures of this, I mended my underwear. Yes, one might say this is the pinnacle of cheapassedness. However, it's more that I'm lazy. I cannot freaking STAND underwear shopping.

I went granny-panty shopping a few weeks before I had Moochie in anticipation of recovery (it all has to do with waistbands and incisions) and my head nearly exploded. So many cuts/styles, so many colors, so many sizes, so many prices--UGH!

I figured sewing up the ones I love and wear now would prolong me from having to repeat the experience.

But on to the good stuff!

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Yeah, yeah, so I can't really sew a straight line...

I saw a link for this on Christina's blog and one that she had made.

It's a fidget square or Baby Crinkle Square.

Basically you sew a square with a piece of plastic, in my case some old plastic tissue/wrapping paper I had saved from who knows where, between two pieces of fabric and you put little ribbon tabs around it.

Simple and easy. And seeing as Mooch loves the crinkle and is a big tag/ribbon sucker I knew I had to make one.

I think he likes it.

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Hey Big Spender!

Chunky likes to watch patrons go into the Boobie Bar across the street. Sometimes we'll sit at the living room window and make bets as to which guys parking nearby/walking past are going into the Boobie Bar or the liquor store or just walking by. Don't worry--no one can see us from the street.

It's kinda fun. And yes, I am very excited for my Mother Of the Year Award!

This game is almost as fun as the arrival of the strippers (Dr. Mad Scientist likes to watch this too). It's sort of like when the swallows return to San Capistrano. Except with less bird poop, more skin, and it happens every evening.

Anyway--check out what Chunky spotted today. (I sent Dr. MS out to take some secret pictures--and no, we were not the only ones taking pictures!)

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Little. Yellow. Different.

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Closer....

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Can you tell what kind of car it is?

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A mother freakin' Lamborghini!

At the corner Boobie Bar! WTF???

All I gotta say is, hopefully those middle aged balding dudes that drove off in this thing tipped those girls good!!

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Transformer 2

The movie Transformers 2 got some pretty craptacular reviews.

But let me tell you--my own Transformer 2 experience rocked!

I showed up for work at 8:45 a.m. today. I had to drive through scenic Newark because my usual road leading to the building was blocked off with every emergency vehicle imaginable.

Ends up there was another underground transformer fire--about the same distance away from our building as as a little over a month ago, but in the opposite direction this time.

Yikes man. Yikes. I am NEVER walking over those transformer grates again. Or if I do, I'm going to at least carry some hotdogs in my pocket so I can at least have lunch.

Luckily, this time no one was hurt.

The best part about today? At 8:55 a.m. the power went out in our building!! They let us go home after making us stay for 2 hours.

Man, it was like Lord of the Flies there for a while. Chatty Cathy was getting a little crazy because the A/C was obviously not working and she was hot flashing. Others were freaking out because they couldn't get there morning coffee. Another group was miffed they had to climb five or six flights of stairs to get to work.

Granted the stairwells were dark (somehow has to be a fire code violation) and many of the hens when we left at 11:00 a.m. went down in groups with flashlights.

I chose to go it alone. I always take the stairs and I can tell you exactly how many steps are on each landing--10, except for the first flight going up, there's 13. I merely counted the steps down on my way out.

I'm sure I probably pissed someone off doing this. But what if I was blind? Do you prevent blind people from going down stairs? That seems discriminatory in some way.

But I got to have a fun day at home with the boys!

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Check out those two teeth!

I kind of hate these spontaneous days off though. I know there's a ton of things I could be doing that I never can do on weekends--but I can never remember what they are on days like this!

I did get one thing finished though.

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Any guesses?

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That's right. I frogged Shitty Empire.

Now I've got a big ball of yarn that's starting to pill even worse and is full of knots. Seriously, what a waste. It's too nice a yarn to throw out--but I'm very tempted. Maybe I'll ply it with something and make a barfy "art" yarn or something.

Here's another highlight to my day though--look what Beth sent me in the mail from a recent thrift store venture:

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A Yarn Forward magazine, an old Spinnerin, and a Crafty Mama Baby/Toddler book. Very cool! Thank you Beth for the cherry on top of my great day!

Here's the part that cracked me the hell up--

I'm flipping through the Yarn Forward Magazine, and come to the Book Review section.

What should greet me?

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They reviewed Custom Knits. Not a big deal, but what are the chances the interior shot of the book would be of Shitty Skinny Empire? Ha ha! This sweater will not die!!!

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