Saturday, November 27, 2010

Creation Explosion!

On this, the 9th anniversary of one of my best creations--

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(The big one.)

And actually it was a co-creation. But whatever. Happy 9th Birthday Chunky!

I bring you all the stuff I made on my week off!

First up, a ballsack for my sister.

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Ha ha! She's been bugging me for "dryer balls." Dryer balls are wool balls that you put in with your clothes in the dryer and allegedly the agitation from the balls makes your laundry soft. So no need for fabric softener/dryer sheets.

I did some hunting around Etsy and ripped off these guys using some wool from my stash.

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I'm not sure if they really work. I buy my dryer sheets in bulk so it will be years until I need something to soften my clothes.

Next after making the curtains and jammie pants for Chunky, I made him a Nintendo DS case out of some manly flame fabric.

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I thought I had a good side-shot of it uploaded to Flickr. Apparently not. Trust me, it's cool.

And then do you remember that little snowman I knit? Well I ended up making two of them.

They had just been sitting on my dresser looking forlorn. That was until I finished burning my latest Yankee Candle.

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Kind of a crappy picture. But the snowmen are now a little snow-globe wannabe.

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Moochie totally digs pressing his nose to the glass!

Today will be Christmas cards and tomorrow we go to the tree farm to get our tree and decorate the place for Christmas.

Man, I could only HOPE to be this productive at work! Ha ha!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Mooch made this little guy at school. LOVE IT!

Maybe I'll save Tom Turkey Tater and see if we can't toss him in the dirt next spring and harvest some baby turkey tater chicks in the fall.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Busy As a Bezzie

I swear, if I didn't have a 9 to 5 (allegedly those are the hours) job and a magical childcare fairy to watch the kids, I could get so much done!

But isn't that the case for everyone?

Here's the proof:

Yesterday I was able to sew Chunky a pair of jammie pants.

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The magical glow to this picture is courtesy of Mr. Moochie's smudgy little fingers on the lens.

Those are camo lizards in case you couldn't tell.

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Chunky's birthday is on Saturday and although he's going to be 9 (eeek!) I apparently think he's bigger than what he is. I didn't really stop to look at the exact measurements for the "large" version of the Simplicity 9900 pattern I used.

Oops. They were a tad big.

I mean I could fit into them--granted they looked ridiculous on me, but I fit them. Bezzie Of The Two Kids Butt & Thighs.

I attempted to shorten them up top and the legs.

Hopefully my mods work out OK. I figure he's a stick boy with no curves. I don't think they should be too ill-fitting.

In the middle of sewing these I took a break to walk to school to attend Chunky's parent-teacher conference.

I freaking love his teacher. She "gets" Chunky.

Chunky, being the offspring of Dr. Mad Scientist and I, has a rather dry sense of humor. Many of his teachers before this just don't that type of humor and tend to take what he says literally.

Maybe it's that they're not used to that type of humor from a kid? I don't know. But his third grade teacher thinks he's hilarious.

I'm quite proud of him too because the first quarters of first and second grade he always had a problem getting back into the groove of things and was kind of a spazz. This year he told me he was going to try and get all 1's in the citizenship areas (listening, following directions, blah, blah)--and sure as shit, he did!

But enough bragging.

Once I got back home and finished the jammie pants it was time to turn to curtains.

Chunky had requested some curtains for his room (the blinds are broken) because:

1. He doesn't want anyone to see him naked after his shower; and

2. The kid next door (or someone in his family) has a tendency to leave the bathroom light on all night long, which in turn lights up Chunky's room. You gotta love Northern New Jersey Sardine Lots. They make postage stamp lots look like rolling estates!

About and hour and a half later--

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Baseball curtains!

Never mind that the one on the right I hung a little crooked.

Finally, to top off the day, I made Mr. Moochie a big bowl of mashed potatoes (from scratch because flaked mashed potatoes, I mean, really, do I have to go on?) for his Toddler Room Thanksgiving celebration.

Mooch LOVES his taters!

I was pooped by 10:00 p.m., but man, it's amazing what I can accomplish when I don't have that pesky job to worry about!

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Monday, November 22, 2010

EMS - Childhood Memory Deprivation

Rosi G. posted a link to a helpful website all about how to have a kick ass birthday party for your kid without breaking the bank.

I read the post. It seemed to have good tips.

But in all honesty, I don't really know.

Why?

Because I'm an Evil Mom.

And as an Evil Mom affiliated with the Evil Mom Society, I don't do birthday parties for my boys.

I've even got the merit badge to prove it!

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I dunno. I guess I don't do parties for many reasons.

1. I'm lazy.

2. I hate 90% of other people's children (not all of them) and being stuck entertaining/feeding them for a few hours sounds like hell on earth. And more often than not with today's PC rules for handing out invitations, you get stuck having to invite EVERYONE in the class as not to leave anyone out. Ugh. What's worse than not being invited to a birthday party? The pity/obligatory invite.

3. I'm cheap.

I never got birthday parties when I was growing up, and other than now depriving my own children of them, I turned out OK.

Actually there was one year (and maybe I've blogged about this before--so I apologize if it's repetitive), that it was a few weeks before my birthday and I noticed my mom had written on the grocery shopping list:

"Party Hats"

I was like, "OMG* my parents are throwing me a surprise party!"

My birthday came and went with the usual fanfare.

No party.

I came to find out later that "party hats" was what my parents called condoms.

Now THAT'S an awesome childhood memory!



*If we had said "OMG" in the 80s

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Place Yer Bets!

And taking all bets!

It's the two minute warning!

I'm taking off Monday through Wednesday of next week. I'm sure tomorrow, as the realization that I won't be there for (gasp!) three whole slow-ass days means they'll pile crap on me.

But I'm taking bets on how many phone calls I will get in those three days. Because if history means anything -- 9 weeks off for maternity and a phone call every other week and this past September when I was honest to god puking-carrots sick -- I get phone calls no matter what.

Here's the deal. I'm not an attorney. I didn't go to a bajillion years of law school and go a bajillion dollars in debt to make an attorney's salary and have the caveat that comes with that salary--being on call 24/7 to the whims of your superiors/clients.

I'm a secretary.

Bah. I just want to take a day off and enjoy it!

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I've got 8 days left to take this year. Three will be next week, and I'm taking two in December. I'm going to lose 3 vacation days and 4 sick days come December 31.

But for all the bellyaching I do--it's not so bad. I'll come back on Monday the 29th and remember why I don't take vacation days more often!

I will enjoy three delightful days off with no men around. Oh men, I'm constantly surrounded by men. I've got plans to sew, knit, visit, Xmas shop, and do some pre-game Thanksgiving cooking.

Ahhhhhhh! I can't wait!

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lettuce Have A Scarf

I've been on a big stash-bender lately.

The latest victim was a beautiful hank of handspun carmel colored somethingorother wool I got in a swap years ago.

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The details--

Pattern: Lettuce Slide Scarf from Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders

Yarn: Aforementioned handspun in some type of mystery fiber.

Needles: US 5 and US 3

Notes: As you can see (well not really if you don't have the book as the picture of the book's scarf isn't yet up at The Place That Shall Not Be Named), I only knit a ruffle on one side of the scarf. That's kind of because I ran out of yarn. I might have had enough, but knitting that ruffle is a bitch and I didn't feel like getting half way through it only to confirm I didn't have enough yarn.

I couldn't pick up the 330 stitches on the side either. I don't know how on earth they got that many--I could only pick up 250 in the end. But it works. The ruffle is ruffly. That's all that matters, right?

The only other modification I made, other than not using sock yarn, was that I didn't put the slide in. Maybe if I had ruffled the other side I would have.

However, I kind of dig it with a straight side.

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It felt good to get this hank out of my stash. Now, onto a million other things I want to knit!

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Somebody's Got A Case Of The Mondays

Our firm hired Ed Begley Jr.'s twin brother to run the operations of our firm this summer.

From what I can tell, Ed Begley Jr. Jr.'s main job seems to be walking around every Monday morning asking each employee how their weekend was (and every subsequent morning of the week saying "Good Morning!" to them).

I know he means well, but there are some Monday where I'd rather not share. I really don't care what people did over their weekend and Ed Begley Jr. Jr. isn't the type that lets the conversation go when you reply "It was good." to the question "How was your weekend?"

There's always a follow up question.

Eeesh.

But you dear readers get to be privy. Because I like you. And because I know it wouldn't really shock you if I said I spent my weekend stripping down the block at Ye Old Boobie Bar, like it might shock Ed Begley Jr. Jr. (Did I mention Eddie Jr. Jr. is a man of the cloth?).

First up, Cookie of the Week:

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Hazelnut snickerdoodles.

Now before you go oooing an ahhhing about this, I gotta say--"Meh."

I mean they taste good. Soft and chewing. Nice cinnamony sugar coating. But the hazelnuts don't really add the depth of flavor I thought they would.

Ah well! They're still good and there's nothing wrong with that!

And what goes good with cookies?

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Why tea of course!

But I'll be honest, I don't like tea. Well I take that back, every time Chris and Jen come 'round these parts we end up at this cute little teahouse in Montclair. They've got like 1001 teas on their menu and their tea I like. Maybe because it's fancy teahouse tea.

Whatever, that's neither here nor there. I made this tea cozy out of the masham roving from CMF I spun back in October.

It's a gift. I had hoped for a cooler cozy, but this will have to do. I hope the recipient likes it. If not, well I still have next weekend.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

I'm Sorry

This week started off nicely enough and ended most annoyingly.

Thursday I went to fill the minutes on my cell phone. Yes, I have a drug dealer terrorist pay by the minute cell phone. I don't need to surf the damn web, check my email, or take pictures with my phone. The only people that call me (or I call) on my cell phone are:

1. Dr. Mad Scientist
2. Chunky's school
3. Moochie's daycare
4. My Big Boss

I'm pissed at #4 there. But whatever.

I enter all my credit card information.

Credit card declined.

Let's rewind to October 31.

I check my email and I've got an email from Bank of America's Fraud Department.

I click it and it says there are suspicious charges on my account and gives me a link to click.

Yeah, sure. And maybe a Nigerian prince will make my dreams come true, right?

So I clicky on over to Bank of Skanmerica's website and log in. Sure as shit, they've disabled the link to view my credit card transactions.

It's 8:00 a.m. on a Sunday and I log off of their website vowing that I'll call them soon.

15 minutes later the phone rings and it's an automatic Bank of America call.

They need me to verify some "suspicious charges." I listen to the schpiel and they list the charges they need me to verify.

Friday, October 29 --- $30 in gas.
Saturday, October 30 --- $32 in gas.

I knew Dr. Mad Scientist filled up his car on Friday and I had filled my car up the day after. I approve the charges through the robo call and the mechanical woman calling informs me that my credit card will be unfrozen in 5 minutes.

Cool.

Zip Zop Zoot--it's now Friday, November 5. I'm running low on gas again (have I mentioned Moochie's old daycare location closed down and now I have to drive him further to daycare?). I go to hand the attendant my card (stupid New Jersey gas-pumping laws) and he hands it back a minute later telling me it's declined.

Miffed, I give him my check card instead (I charge my gas because of those stupid New Jersey pumping laws and my fear of a gas jockey getting my debit card number. I have more fraud protection -- as you're beginning to see -- on my credit card for unauthorized purchases).

I get to work and call up Bank of America. I'm transferred to the Fraud Department where the real people work (not the robocallers). While I'm on hold for the Fraud Department, they disconnect me.

Ho ho.

So I call them up again. I explain the whole situation AGAIN and I am asked all those stupid verification questions AGAIN.

They tell me there are suspicious charges on my card. One for Fedex, one for Netflix and one for the SOE Station*.

At this point, I'm not sure if these charges are kosher or not. I know sometimes Dr. Mad Scientist makes copies for his classes at Fedex/Kinkos, we have a Netflix account that gets charged to this card, but I'm not sure what the SOE Station charge is.

I ask them what exactly the SOE Station charge is.

"It's a game/hobby categorized purchase."

I ask, "So what does that mean?"

"That's the type of purchase it was."

"But you can't tell me what it was for?"

"No, I'm sorry m'am."

At this point I'm just plain irked.

I ask her why I was called on Sunday about possible fraudulent charges, was told my card would be unfrozen and based on my experience that morning, it wasn't.

In hindsight, I think it was NEW charges the flagged the card a second time.

However she responded "Well because you didn't actually talk with someone, your card wasn't actually unfrozen." (The Fedex, Netflix and SOE Station store charges happened around the same time as the gas charges).

I asked her what the point of a robo call was to "verify charges" if in fact it didn't verify charges and I was told something would happen that didn't happen.

"I'm sorry m'am."

She must have said this a million times.

Ok, so I know it's not her fault she's stuck in a shitty job dealing with people like me irked at the people that pay her her paycheck, but seriously, the 10th time you say "I'm sorry m'am" it starts to lose it's sincerity.

At this point, I've gone from irked to pissed and I tell her to just authorize the fucking charges. I figure I'll keep an eye on the charges made to my card online and I can call them up if anything suspicious comes in.

Time warp to Wednesday. I'm online, and I notice the "pending" charges of $1 each to Fedex, Netflix and SOE Station have disappeared. (They were allegedly flagged as having been "keyed in" as opposed to swiped. Huh, never mind they never flagged anything I've bought online w/that credit card before. You have to key in your credit card number when you buy online right?).

Cool. I figure everything is as it should be.

And then on Thursday of this week I go to fill up my cell phone--something I've done how many times before with that credit card--and DECLINED.

I call the jacknards at Bank of America up AGAIN.

I get the same song and dance.

"I don't know why your account was frozen."

I inform Denise (the poor girl who had to endure my vitriol) to do what she had to do to make this right and to inform her supervisors that I have had it with Bank of America, I was going to be paying off the card at the end of the month and NEVER CHARGING ANYTHING ON IT AGAIN.

Her response?

"I'm sorry m'am."

ARG!!!!!!!!!

Later in the day, I went onto the Bank of America website and looked at my credit card account--and there was that weird SOE Station $1.00 charge again.

Sigh. Guess I'll just keep an eye on it.

And in the meantime I've applied for a new-non-Bank of America credit card.

I'm also shopping around for a new bank in the meantime too.

*SOE Station is a Sony Online Entertainment store--online video games and shit. Not sure what that's all about. I wonder if our number wasn't stolen by some gaming people??

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

It's Coming....

My mom used to tell this joke about a guy in a hotel and a pooping mouse and part of the joke involved the mouse moaning: "It's coming! It's coming!" in the dark hotel room in the middle of the night.

Maybe if she remembers she'll post the joke in the comments. I remember it being a funny joke. But then again I was younger back then too.

Anyway, the reason I'm talking about pooping mice moaning "It's coming!" is because, well--it's coming!

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New Knitcircus tomorrow!

I can't wait to be distracted with a bunch of cool things I really want to knit when I should be working on stuff for xmas and you know the minor things like a new Moochie hat and mitten set!

Grab a cookie and enjoy the new issue!

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Monday, November 08, 2010

Twist of Citrus

Daylight savings ended this weekend.

What did I do with my extra hour?

Aside dealing with a cranky Mooch that turns into a rotten pumpkin at the stroke of 7:15 p.m.? (Which would have been 8:15 p.m. like it was on Saturday).

I baked some cookies.

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Chocolate orange cookies.

Sweet mother of Fatzah--these are good!

I was seduced by the siren song of a box of $3.99 tangerines two weeks ago. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

That will teach me for not waiting for tangerines. The great deal I scored was a box of uber-seedy tangerines. They weren't much fun to eat.

But they WERE fun to juice and grind the rind off of.

I've got some rind drying in the cupboard right now.

Want the recipe? Here's what you do: take your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe add 1/3 of a cup of unsweetened powdered cocoa, two tablespoons of orange juice, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of grated orange peel (orange zest).

Bang! Chocolate orange cookies.

I've been on a big orange kick lately as you will soon see (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

I also took this weekend to do the annual sealing of the house.

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I had my little helper with me--until the hair dryer came out and he freaked the hell out and ran from it.

Basement Neighbor says that this house only heats on one side. We're not sure what side we're hoping heats. The bedrooms would be nice, but we spend more time in the living room.

Guess we won't find out til at least December 1st if this holds true.

This year I used a FrostKing window sealant kit.

It was a bit pricier than what I have used in the past--Duck Brand and 3M--but I really really liked it. The kit came with nine sheets that were pre-cut. Duck and 3M were pre-cut but not in so many sheets. I got cleaner seals with the FrostKing stuff. And only our middle picture window there in the living room you see Mr. Mooch helping me with took 2 sheets.


The only downside to the FrostKing kit is I didn't get to invent colorful new swear words when I hung it like I did with the Duck Brand and 3M kits.

You can tell the economy still isn't doing so hot.

Why?


Because two years ago, you couldn't find window shrink film at Home Despot. I remember going there two years ago and an associate directing me and another guy looking for the same thing to the paint department trying to convince us that we could tape a clear plastic dropcloth over the windows for the same effect.

Duct tape and a plastic dropcloth? Dude, we're just trying to save a buck, not keep out Nuclear Holocaust fallout.

This weekend though they had a whole giagantic display of window mold sealant, a/c covers, and proper window film and signs boasting about how much you could save on your energy bills!

WOO! Because you know, the electric company won't find other ways to jack you out of your hard earned money by estimating your meter reading or anything! (Insert eye rolling here).

Of course my local Home Despot is staffed by effing jacknards. I'm not surprised. I went there to get a key cut one weekend only to be told "Yeah we cut keys--oh but not today because the guy who cuts keys didn't show up for work today."

Because you know, apparently cutting keys is a magical skill that only some lazy doofus named "Tom" can do, and when "Tom" doesn't feel like coming into work, well no one can get keys.

But I digress.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Just in Time for the Nippiness!

I thought my dishwasher had caught fire yesterday (cue flashbacks to Texass). In actuality it was just so cold in the apartment that it was steam. Whew!

We're trying to make it till December 1 without turning on the heat. We've broken out the electric blankets, footie pajamas (Moochie), and in my case--keeping a hat for myself.

I finished my third Sockhead hat.

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So serious...

I'll spare you the details other than to say that I DID knit mine on size 2s. It was car knitting so it took longer this time.

And while it doesn't make me look like a hot mama like Jo in her Noro Sockhead or as cute as Zonda in her STR one...my Cherry Tree Hill one does keep me warm.

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Or not!

And as an added bonus, I realized this hat is green and gold! It should match my new t-shirt!

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