Thursday, December 25, 2008

2008 Reading List

In 2007 I started a journal listing all the books I read that year. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to continue. Here are the books I read in 2008:
1. Size 12 Is Not Fat- Meg Cabot
2. Empire of Ivory- Naomi Novik
3. Crocodile on the Sandbank- Elizabeth Peters
4. Not Quite a Lady- Loretta Chase
5. The Ladies of Missalonghi- Colleen McCullough
6. Plum Lucky- Janet Evanovich
7. The Masque of the Black Tulip- Lauren Willig
8. Sizzle and Burn- Jayne Ann Krentz
9. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist- Rachel Cohen and David Levithan
10. Real Murders- Charlaine Harris
11. Dragon Blood- Patricia Briggs
12. Big Boned- Meg Cabot
13. The Spymaster’s Lady- Joanna Bourne
14. His for the Taking- Julie Cohen
15. Alien Taste- Wen Spencer
16. Stray- Rachel Vincent
17. The House of the Scorpion- Nancy Farmer
18. Shaken and Stirred- Kathleen O’Reilly
19. A Good Yarn- Debbie Macomber
20. Sex, Straight Up- Kathleen O’Reilly
21. Swimming Without a Net- Mary Janice Davidson
22. Everyone Else’s Girl- Megan Crane
23. Missing You- Meg Cabot
24. A Vision of Murder- Victoria Laurie
25. One Foot in the Grave- Jeaniene Frost
26. Princess Mia- Meg Cabot
27. The Sharing Knife: Legacy- Lois McMaster Bujold
28. Lady Anne’s Dangerous Man- Jeane Westin
29. Sweet Silver Blues- Glen Cook
30. My Fair Captain- J.L. Langley
31. Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander- Ann Herendeen
32. Fairyville- Emma Holly
33. Isabella- Loretta Chase
34. Last Wolf Standing- Rhyannon Byrd
35. The English Witch- Loretta Chase
36. Small Favor- Jim Butcher
37. Nightkeepers- Jessica Anderson
38. From Dead to Worse- Charlaine Harris
39. Grimspace- Ann Aguirre
40. Lord Perfect- Loretta Chase
41. Fearless Fourteen- Janet Evanovich
42. Certain Girls- Jennifer Weiner
43. The Third Circle- Amanda Quick
44. Dragonflight- Anne McCaffrey
45. Blood Noir- Laurell K. Hamilton
46. Venetia- Georgette Heyer
47. Strange Attractions- Emma Holly
48. Unquiet Dreams- Mark delFranco
49. The Lost Duke of Wyndham- Julia Quinn
50. The Summoning- Kelley Armstrong
51. Miss Wonderful- Loretta Chase
52. Lover Enshrined- J.R. Ward
53. The Man With the Golden Torc- Simon R. Green
54. Hidden- Eve Kenin
55. Your Scandalous Ways- Loretta Chase
56. Don’t Hex With Texas- Shanna Swendson
57. Cry Wolf- Patricia Briggs
58. Personal Demon- Kelley Armstrong
59. It’s All Too Much- Peter Walsh
60. The Curse of Chalion- Lois McMaster Bujold
61. The Sugar Queen- Sarah Addison Allen
62. Kitty and the Silver Bullet- Carrie Vaughn
63. Daemons Are Forever- Simon R. Green
64. Paladin of Souls- Lois McMaster Bujold
65. Acheron- Sherrilyn Kenyon
66. Unlucky- Jana DeLeon
67. Victory of Eagles- Naomi Novik
68. Oh My Gods- Tera Lynn Childs
69. Bet Your Bottom Dollar- Karin Gillespie
70. Demons Are a Ghoul’s Best Friend- Victoria Laurie
71. Dark Light- Jayne Castle
72. My Lord and Spymaster- Joanna Bourne
73. Night Season- Eileen Wilks
74. Into the Fire- Suzanne Brockmann
75. Gluten-Free Girl- Shauna James Ahern
76. Half-Assed- Jennette Fulda
77. The Hallowed Hunt- Lois McMaster Bujold
78. The Sharing Knife: Passage- Lois McMaster Bujold
79. Notes From a Small Island- Bill Bryson
80. Living With the Dead- Kelley Armstrong
81. Aphrodisiac- Allyson Roy
82. Marked- P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast
83. Blood Lines- Eileen Wilks
84. A Brother’s Price- Wen Spencer
85. Magician: Apprentice- Raymond E. Feist
Happy New Year's, y'all!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mr. Flurry

This is Mr. Flurry. I found the free pattern online and knit him up out of stash as a Christmas present for my brother's inlaws. Isn't he cute?


He was knit in one piece and hemmed up the back, as the pattern directs. Sadly, my seaming skills are not that great, creating an unfortunate butt-crack effect. A friend says that the dimpling adds a nice cellulite effect, too. (Some friend!)

What I've really knit here is a brand-new Christmas character: Flurry the Lard Ass. Put him on your kitchen table. Use his as a decoration on your holiday buffets. Let him be a reminder that you too could look like this if you don't put down the cheese ball RIGHT NOW.

I feel a little bad giving Flurry to my inlaws-once-removed. They're nice people, and I'm hoping they'll put it on a shelf somewhere where no one can see the rear view. I didn't intend to send them a fat assed snowman for Christmas. Sometimes things just work out that way.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Good News/Bad News

I just had a call from my GI's office. Good news- the biopsies taken during my colonoscopy last week show no cancer or current inflammatory activity. The bad news? The colonoscopy shows no unusual activity. So, if there's nothing wrong with me, why do I feel like ass? I'm scheduled for a pill cam next week (a new test for me), and she wants me to make an appointment with a new Rheumatologist. Maybe those will turn something up. I certainly don't want anything to be wrong with me. But clearly there is something wrong, and if we can't find it, we can't fix it. Whatever's wrong with me, we have to fix it soon. I can't stay on disability much longer- it doesn't pay all my bills and the savings is running out, plus the insurance will only cover me for two more months. If I don't get back to work soon, disability or no, I'm afraid I won't have a job to go back to.

How's that for holiday cheer? In slightly better news, the Christmas knitting is just about done. If I'm lucky, the family presents will go out in the mail tomorrow. Wednesday and Thursday are taken up with doctors' appointments, and then I'd like to get my tree up and decorated over the weekend. (Late for everyone else, but early for my family. We usually put our tree up on Christmas Eve.) So that's my week.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Roto Rooter, that's the name...

I had my first appointment with a new GI this afternoon, and surprise, surprise she wants a new colonoscopy. That's not inappropriate considering I haven't had one since I was in the hospital last summer.

To say I'm looking forward to it is an overstatement, but a colonoscopy (and required prep) are kind of a a right of passage for those of us with Crohn's. I've never done the prep before, and I'm kind of curious how this is going to go. From everything I've heard, it'll be unpleasant. I guess I'll know on Thursday. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's Here

After two and a half weeks of fidgeting and stressing out, the dishcloth cotton I ordered to make Christmas presents is here. Now I just have to knit my hands off trying to get it all done in time. This has not been the best online shopping experience.

Pisgah: Peaches & Creme is the best dishcloth cotton I've tried, but based on this order, your customer service isn't good. One of the items I ordered was out of stock and no one bothered to tell me. When I called looking for a tracking number (a week later) you couldn't find the order, and it took two or three more phone calls before you were able to track it down. And you had already charged my card. You had the opportunity to turn that bad impression around by offering to upgrade my shipping, but you didn't do it. (That's what I would have done, if that had happened with an order in my office. Of course, it wouldn't have happened because we always notify customers immediately if a product is backordered, and make suggestions of alternate products if they don't want to wait for the backorder to come in. That's good customer service.) My overall impression of your company? Mediocre.

UPS: We're breaking up. You rescheduled on me. Then you stood me up. Then you lied about it. Then you promised to call and never did. You're like a combination of every bad boyfriend I've ever had. I won't be shipping my Christmas packages with you this year. Or likely ever again.

Now that the yarn has finally arrived, I'm motoring through, trying to get everything done on time to ship for Christmas. I've finished two dishcloths and started a third in just about 24 hours. I'm going to have to take it a little easy- my hands are really starting to hurt. But I still hope to finish dishcloth three before bed tonight. Then tomorrow I might start working on one of the three bags I still hope to knit. Those are a much looser knit than the dishcloths, so hopefully those will be a little easier on my hands and forearms.

In slightly more cheerful news, I watched disc 3 of Primeval last night and this morning, and I'm LOVING this show. I'd be seriously considering upgrading my cable package to include BBC America if it wouldn't double my cable bill. Thank the TV gods for Netflix. I've got a pretty decent Blockbuster down the street, but their TV on DVD selection is pretty well limited to US productions, and most of those are crime or soap opera type dramas. Not much in the way of sci-fi.

Doctor Who, series two disc one, is in the player for tonight and the final disc of Primeval should be in the mail today. At least I've got good stuff to watch as I crank out those rows.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Who

Last night I finished watching Doctor Who season one. (The wireless is still working, sort of.) I'm surprised to say that I'd seen more of it than I realized. The Slitheen were familiar, as was the phrase Bad Wolf. I'd also seen at least part of an episode later in the series with a large (fire?) demon. I'd seen just enough to be confused and lose interest. That's why I don't like to jump into the middle of a series. I want to be in on it from the beginning.

I got very attached to Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor- he brought such charm to the role. I'm not sure how I'm going to like David Tennant. The first disc of season two should come in the mail by the end of the week, so I guess we'll see.

Apparently I've developed a thing for British accents. The other DVDs I received today were disc two of Primeval (another BBC show) and Prince Caspian.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

'Tis the (shopping) season

I went out this evening and did my first Christmas shopping. I wouldn't have bothered, but I had a 40% off coupon for Barnes & Noble and it was only good for this weekend. Hey, the Christmas budget is tight this year. Plus I have to ship all my gifts instead of hauling them with me on the plane. I'll take whatever discounts I can get.

Most of the last three days have been consumed with trying to get my wireless router working properly. I wanted to watch some things on my computer through Netflix, but the old desk top just isn't up to the task. Too old, too slow. Not enough memory. The laptop can handle it, but it didn't want to work plugged directly into the modem. It was time to haul out the router I bought over a year ago with the laptop and get it set up. It gave me a few fits, but it finally seems to be working. First it kept quitting on me. Then there was a problem with the software. Eventually I discovered that the update on the software was bad. And I only had to system restore and re-download the software twice to figure it out. I'm still not sure why it craps out on me every couple of hours, but I now know to just unplug the modem and router, give them a minute, and plug them back in again. Whatever's happening, that seems to reboot everything. Not a great solution, but it's a two minute fix instead of a two hour ordeal. See, I can learn. Eventually.

Now that I've got the wireless working, sort of, I'm exploring the instant play options on Netflix. So far I've watched about half of Dr Who season one and one episode of Ballykissangel. My dad loves British comedies, and I thought Ballykissangel might be a good Christmas present. I'm not sure about that, although I enjoyed it and plan to watch more. Dad's got a bit of a Thing about Catholics, and I'm not sure if that would prevent him from enjoying the show or not. We come from a line of Protestant ministers (although I frequently wonder if there's not a Goddess worshiping milk man somewhere in my background), and it seems to me that no matter what the religion, you run into the same kinds of people and politics at any church. There is, unfortunately, no logic or sense when Dad decides to develop a Thing, though, so whether he'd see the universality of it is hard to say. Amazon has season one available for $25, which is just a skosh over the $20 budget I set, so more thought is needed.

He's been very unhelpful with the Christmas list this year. When I asked him yesterday he said, "I don't know, maybe a DVD." But when I asked which DVD he'd like, he didn't know. I warned him if he couldn't give me a title or two he was going to get a pack of blank DVDs. And a lump of coal for his stocking. He seemed perfectly OK with the lump of coal idea. At the cost of heating fuel this year it would be a valuable gift.

His favorites are As Time Goes By, Keeping Up Appearances, The Vicar of Dibley, and Are You Being Served. If anyone has suggestions about other shows he might enjoy, I'd be happy to hear them. I don't get BBC America on my basic cable package and the last time I checked the local PBS station wasn't playing much in the way of Britcom.

Monday, November 24, 2008

True Confessions

I've never admitted this before because, well, it's a little embarrassing. But I'm getting very fannish in my old age. My current obsession? Torchwood.

I heard about this show in passing from some British folks on a message forum that I frequent. It sounded interesting, but when I found out it was a spin off of Dr. Who, my interest cooled. (I sampled Dr. Who a few years ago and didn't like it at all. Too cheesy. Now I'm thinking maybe I didn't give it a fair shot and should try it again.)

Anyway, I'd made it through all the Closer discs on Netflix (love that show!) and needed something else to watch, so I decided to give it a go. The first disc was OK, but it didn't knock my socks off. I decided to keep the rest in my Q, mixed in with some other things. I'd had discs two and three for a couple of weeks before I watched them. Wow. Instant addict. Everything available on Netflix is now at the top of my Q.

The whole series is also now on my Christmas list if, you know, anyone's interested.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Home for Christmas

Well, it looks like I'm going to be home for Christmas. My home, in Houston. By myself. I'm kind of excited. (Don't tell Mom.) My brother and his wife can't make it to Boston this year, and I'm taking the opportunity to ditch. If we were all going to be there, I'd guilt myself into going and then really pay for it. I feel a little bad about leaving my parents childless for the first Christmas in 34 years. But then, my brother and I haven't been children in a very long time. And anyway it about darn time for me to make decisions based on what's best for me, not on guilt and parental expectations.


Mom is pushing for the two of them to fly down here for a few days and then off to see my brother for a few days. My heart sank when she told me that. I'd already started picturing my own peaceful Christmas. Just me and the cat. Make a little turkey, decorate a little tree. Get up when I feel like it and open what ever presents I might have. Listen to some Christmas music and watch a movie or something. No late night church service in the cold. No scrambling around to get the tree decorated and the presents wrapped in time. No last minute cleaning projects or extensive food prep. Something quiet and special and just for me.

At least she told my dad that they'd have to stay in a hotel here. I think Dad is mad, or maybe offended, that they can't stay with me. (This is only by inference, since I'm only allowed to talk to Dad if she's not in the house when I call or if she up to her eyeballs in something messy and can't come right then. And last week when I was slowly coming off that mad with her, Mom had Dad answer my call and talk to me for a while to get the lay of the land and find out if I'd tell him stuff that I wasn't telling her.) (Yes, we get that way when one of us gets a little too up in the other's bidness. I womanfully refrained from mentioning that this whole situation was such a flashback to her relationship with her mother. I thought an imprudent "Your acting just like Grandmom" could blow a perfectly reasonably "U wuz out of ordr and I haz a mad" into a full on cold war, which I really didn't want to have to deal with.

She called today and said that he thinks the whole thing is going to be too expensive and he doesn't want to do it. And now she's sad and hurt. The guilt and the vision of my own little Christmas are battling it out right now. Which one eventually wins will depend on if Mom leaves it alone or if she keeps pushing. If she keeps pushing I'll end up with three adults in a one bedroom, one bath apartment.

If they stay with me they'll have to take my bed and that puts me on an air mattress in the living room. No privacy, no practical way to take a nap during the day. And the Christmas tree will have to be in the living room too, which makes things just that much more crowded. The other option, which I'm afraid Mom might push, is for me to stay in my room and for one of them to take the air mattress and the other sleep on the couch. Now I've taken a fine nap or three on that couch. But anything over a couple of hours is seriously uncomfortable. I would not recommend it. Option Three would be to get them a double or queen sized air mattress, again in the living room with the tree, leaving the main living space crowded in the extreme. We might need to drag a folding table and a comfortable chair into my room so we can play a game or something without feeling like we're tripping over everyone's stuff. I'll have to clean out my little office space- maybe find a way to hang a curtain- so that they can have a private dressing area that's not my bedroom or the bathroom. Because, frankly, I don't share that bathroom well. And three adults taking their showers one after the other (with pauses in between to try a win back a little hot water), and facial cleansing and moisturizing, and painting routines, and teethbrushing, and hair drying and fixing and fluffing.... it all gets to be a bit much. And unless we want unsightly messes on the carpet, we should probably make sure that the cat gets a private moment in there with his litter pan now and then, too. Four days of that would, in the immortal words of Oprah, drive me "foo foo crazy!"

I'm crazy enough, thanks.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

moving on

I've calmed down a bit since my last post. The fact that I haven't spoken to my mother yet has probably helped. I'll talk to her tomorrow or Monday, if I feel up to it.

The Remicade has helped a bit. I rolled out of bed this morning and creaked to my feet and then realized that my knees weren't screaming for mercy. Cool. Other unfortunate symptoms are acting up, and the knees didn't stay happy for long, but I'll take what I can get.

I called my GI yesterday to run the prednisone idea past him. In one breath he agreed with me that it was a bad idea, and then said I should do it anyway at the full original 5mg/day she prescribed, not the fall back 2.5mg. I tried calling the GI my GP recommended after that, but I guess they close early on Fridays. I'm going to try again on Monday to see if I can schedule an appointment for a second opinion. Not just about the pred, but my whole treatment program. Obviously, it's not working, and I'm not willing to dink around any longer. The short term disability ends Nov 30, and if they approve the long term disability I absolutely have to be back to work by the end of February or I'll lose my medical insurance. That can't happen. Also, I'd just like to feel good for a change.

NaNo is coming along well. I'm behind the ideal word count, but I'm making nice progress on the story, and I've discovered some stuff about a couple of characters I didn't know before, so I'll take it. Back to the writing.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

what I almost said to my mother- but didn't

Tonight I came as close as I ever have in my life to telling my mother to just shut up already. As you may have noticed from my last post, I didn't have the best day today. I warned her when she called that I was upset and in a bad mood. Instead of taking that as a request to lay off, she got offended. And then she went into full on nag mode.

About a month ago I made the huge, huge, God-why-did-I-open-my-mouth, mistake of saying that I was so frustrated with my medical care here in Houston that I might consider going up to Boston for treatment. She jumped on that with both feet, and that's all I've heard about since. She's gone so far as to talk to her doctors and hit up total strangers for referrals.

The last thing, the absolute dead last thing, I want is to move in with my parents for a couple of weeks. (Or months.) I'm hanging on to the last fraying thread of my independence here. I need my peace and quiet. As I said before, there is nothing peaceful or quiet about my mother. Living with her again would drive me straight up the wall.

Anyway, she started nagging me about calling other doctors and setting up appointments. She wants me to call someone in Boston for a referral in Houston. She wants me to call this doctor, and this doctor, and this doctor tomorrow and get information and schedule appointments. Do you want me to call for you? You should be in Boston. They have the best doctors in the world. Boston Medical Center, Mass General, Beth Israel Deaconess, blah, blah, blah. Have you called them yet? Are you on the phone with them now? I don't know why I'm even talking about this with you. I know what you're like when you dig in your feet about something.

Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP.

She very nearly had me in tears before I finally said "I just can't talk about this anymore." I'm so overwhelmed and stressed out right now. I've hit my limit. I can't cope with anything more right now. So please, Mom, just leave me alone.

banging my head against the wall

I went to the Rheumatologist this afternoon to have some blood work done and discuss my current meds. I'm a mess right now, and based on experience I don't believe I'm going to get better on the Remicade/methotrexate cocktail. I want off the MTX, and I want to explore other options, like Humira or Cimzia. When I brought up the possibility, she told me that I hadn't been on the MTX long enough at the current dosage and that she didn't want to raise it yet, but that she'd raise the dose before she'd consider taking me off it. And then she offered me prednisone. Prednisone! The evil step-mother of autoimmune treatments. She wants to put me on 2.5-5 mg of the stuff indefinitely. As in forever. And oh, by the way, I should also go on another IV drug to stop the pred from melting my bones. (Remicade, for those not in the know, is also an IV drug. Typical dosing for Crohn's is one infusion every 8 weeks. I'm currently on one infusion every 6 weeks, and she's talking about upping my dosage on that, too.) Side effects of pred (more common with high doses, but also possible with long term use) include weight gain, cataracts, diabetes, osteoporosis, Cushing's disease, and insomnia. I still haven't managed to clear the thrush from the course I was given in the hospital a year and a half ago, either. And she wants me to go back on that crap? She also wants to consider putting me on a second chemo drug. (MTX is a chemo drug.) She wasn't clear on whether that's in addition to what I'm already on or to replace the Remicade. I'm pretty sure it's in addition. More chemo. That's really going to help my fatigue. I've got to get a new doctor.

/rant

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away....

My mom came down for an IBD conference this weekend and flew home this morning. I loved having her, but I have to say I'm glad she's gone. I might have mentioned, oh, about 800 times, that Crohn's saps my energy. I'm tired all the time. And my mother, bless her, is not a restful person. A lot of it is guilt. She wants to be here helping me all the time but it's not possible, so when she's here she wants to DO STUFF for me. She wants to be HELPFUL. Never mind that I don't particularly want done any of the stuff she's trying to do. Or that what would really help me is if she'd quit banging around in the kitchen or vacuuming the living room and let me take a nap.

Part of the problem was my expectations, too. I was so excited that she was coming! I hadn't seen her since Christmas. I wanted to take her to the quilt show, and go to the movies, and get our nails done, and maybe go clothes shopping. I really wanted to take her up to the Renaissance Festival, but I thought it might be too much for me, and I didn't want to stress her knee. (She had a knee replacement last winter.) What did we actually do? We went to the conference, and she had to drive us home when it ended at 3:30, because I was too tired to drive. We went to Whole Foods so that I could pick up a few groceries and she could see what kind of gluten free stuff they had. (Some really good stuff, btw.) She helped me pick out new frames for my glasses. That's it. No movies, no quilt show, no nothing. I drove her to the airport and voted this morning, and now I feel like someone hit me with a hammer. This sucks.

I did manage to write a few words for NaNo. I'm up to 1300-something. I want to get a few words on the page today, and hopefully 1500-2000 words tomorrow between naps. Thursday is Remicade and the Rheumatologist, so I don't expect to get much done then. I'd like to get caught up by the end of next weekend, but we'll see. I'd also like to feel like a million bucks, and we've all seen how successful that wish has been.

I think I'll go take a nap now.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Progress


I haven't mentioned it much lately, but I have been making slow but steady progress on the new bed spread. Isn't it fun? The picture is lousy (as usual), but the colors are much brighter in person. I figure I'm about 1/10th done. At this rate it should only take me another three or four years to finish. That's what I get for making such a big project with such small yarn.
The gluten-free project is going well, too. I think my guts are a little happier than they used to be. Once you get used to it, it's not that hard. No harder than any of the other dietary changes I've had to make in the last year and a half. Just one more set of ingredients to watch out for. I tried a gluten-free bread mix in my bread machine this week. Not bad. Not as tasty as what I used to make, but it's bread. At $4.99 it ain't cheap, but it's better than the $7.99 a loaf that Whole Foods charges for gluten-free bread. And I'm sure it's fresher, considering those loaves are in the refrigerated section.
Another big change in the last week- I got my hair cut! This may not seem like a big deal to you, but I haven't had a hair cut in almost a year. I've worn my hair in a standard short bob for at least 15 years. No more. She cut in layers and added blond highlights. And I've discovered why I was having so much trouble with my hair. (Before this hair cut I looked like a white Don King. For real. It was scary.) I always had a little bit of wave in my hair, but mostly it was straight. I now have curly hair! There are swoops and waves everywhere, and I have actual ringlets forming at the back of my neck. It's unreal. My stylist says that hair texture changes over time. The meds could have something to do with it, too. It still blows my mind every time I look in the mirror. I look like I've had a perm!
I have a ways to go yet, but I am getting ready for NaNo. I've read through my notes from two years ago and familiarized myself with a few of the minor characters. I still haven't read through the whole story yet. This week, I promise. I want to make a few notes, do a little brain storming, and be ready when the time comes. I won't be able to start right away- my mom is coming for a long weekend and I'd rather spend the time with her than write. But she leaves on Tuesday, so after I drop her off at the airport and vote I want to dive right in. I'm losing the first three days of NaNo, but I've missed a lot more than that it years past and still made it through.
I managed to get a few referrals for new GI docs today, too. I'm not satisfied with my current medical team. I just don't accept that this is as good as it gets. There's got to be something better out there, some better treatment or combination of treatments, that will give me back my energy and make it possible to go back to work and lead a semi-normal life. I hope to get a few new ideas at an IBD conference this weekend. (That's why Mom is coming in for the weekend- to go with me.) Keep your fingers crossed. I'd love to report some more progress in the healing department soon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Eulogy for a House Plant


I'm sorry, plant. I'm sorry I never fed you and rarely remembered to water you. You were a gift, and you cheered me up at a time when I desperately needed cheering. You lasted for 16 months- longer than any of your predecessors. I forgot to water you before I left town for a week and a half for Hurricane Ike, and though I watered you and even tried to feed you when I came home, you were never the same. Slowly, one by one, your leaves drooped, turning yellow and then brown. Where once a lush green houseplant stood (OK, you haven't been "lush" for at least a year, but you looked pretty good at first), now there is nothing but brown stalks in a basket with a jaunty white bow. You will be missed.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gluten Free

It's been two weeks since I started my gluten free experiment. I think it might be working. It hasn't been the magic cure I was hoping for, but nothing else has either. Maybe if I combine enough magic cures, they'll add up to me being healthy again. It's a hope.

I did slip up once this past week. (Can you call a deliberate bad choice a "slip up?" Maybe I should say I fell off the wagon.) I had a couple of kolaches on Tuesday morning, and I was miserable for days afterward. Tuesday and Wednesday were both high stress days. Way high, like stratospherically high, stress days. So that certainly could have had something to do with it. The evidence is suggestive, if not conclusive. I think, for now, I'll stick with the gluten free program.

There is some other good news- my short term disability was approved. Thank God. The check arrived yesterday. I'm no longer broke, desperate, and sick. I'm just sick. And desperate to get better, I suppose. But it's a different kind of desperate from worrying about the money and how I'm going to manage going back to work full time when two hours of running errands puts me in bed for the rest of the day. And most of the next.

I do feel like I'm starting to get the hang of this gluten free stuff. I've read three books on the subject so far. (Well, read one and dipped heavily into the two others.) Usually I turn to the web for research like this, but for some reason I'm not finding the information I need this time. I know it's out there, I just don't seem to be finding it. It's striking to me how each book seems to have a different take on what's safe and what's not. Gluten-Free Girl by Shauna James Ahern is certainly the most strict. And in some ways the least helpful for my situation. It's filled with recipes using ingredients I can't have- nuts, seeds, vegetables that I can't digest. It's also the newest book, and you'd think, would have the most up-to-date information.

The other two books are The Complete Idiot's Guide to Gluten-Free Eating and The Gluten-Free Bible. At least one of the authors of the Idiot's Guide apparently doesn't have Celiacs or gluten sensitivity. The Bible was written by someone with years of experience, but it was published in 2005.

Girl suggests that everything that might possibly have the fainest trace of gluten, no matter how unlikely, requires contacting the manufacturer. It has a lot of information, which other sources suggest is out of date, and reads more like a memoir or collection of essays in some parts than a guide book to gluten free eating. Idiot's Guide explains FDA and USDA labeling laws, the likelihood of various ingredients containing gluten, and says it's up to the reader to decide if it's an acceptable risk. They also point out that in our litigious society, some statements are made to cover the manufacturer even if the possibility of contamination is practically non-existent. Bible has a lot of helpful information, including the low down on various restaurants. Did you know (at least, as of 2005) that IHOP adds pancake batter to their omelets to make them fluffier? I never would have guessed that. The eggs are the one item on any breakfast menu that I would have assumed was safe for me to eat.

It's not all bad news. I've canvased the local grocery stores in the last few days and figured out who has which products and for the best price. Of course, the closest store has the highest prices- by a dollar or more on some items. But their meat department is nasty, so shifting most of my shopping to other stores isn't that great a hardship.

Some of what I've tried has been quite good, some has been meh. One item has made me very happy- it's a regular, non-specialty food that recently made a small formula change to become gluten free. Being a major national brand, it's much cheaper than the specialty gluten free stuff. I've got a lot more products to try. Next time I'll come back with a list of what was good and what wasn't.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

10,000 things

This week I've been following an online discussion about weight, and somehow in the last day or so it's morphed into a discussion of stuff. Clutter. One poster said that the average American owns 10,000 items. I would not be surprised. But, have mercy, that's a lot of stuff.

Of course, I couldn't leave a figure like that alone. So I spent about 15 minutes and wandered around my apartment taking a surface count. I didn't open the pantry or any of the kitchen cabinets. (Most of the dishes are dirty on the counter anyway.) I didn't open any boxes. I checked the coat closet and my bedroom closet, but not the linen closet or the very scary storage closet behind me. I did not open the refrigerator and count the sodas or the freezer and count the waffles. This was mostly just a wander around the house to count what was clearly visible. The total came to over 1000 things. I have a lot of crap.

That's not how I want to live. I've been working, in fits and starts, on clearing the clutter for several months now. I'm getting better at weeding out the flotsam- the store coupons for items I never use, receipts I'll never need, stuff that looked important but was really junk mail. It's a constant battle, but one that can be won.

Now it's time to move down a level. To the things that aren't clearly junk. I need to start making decisions about what is useful vs what is just sitting around collecting dust, and then I need to start acting on those decisions. If it's useful it needs a place of it's own. If it's not useful it need to find it's way out of my home. In the past I've done pretty well with making the decisions, but find myself out of the emotional energy necessary to follow through with the actions. The piles may eventually be dragged out to the trash, or if it's really good stuff and I can find the energy and time, to Good Will. But more often than not they will sit all over my living room floor for a week or two, mocking me, until I gather it all up in a bundle and throw it all back in the closet to deal with later. I feel better, briefly, about my clean floor and avoid opening that closet for the next six months, if possible.

To make things interesting, I've decided on a new plan. I'm going to get rid of (and not replace) 1,000 things. Many of the things I counted this afternoon are of daily use or hold sentimental value for me, so I'm keeping them. But I've got at least 3 junk drawers in the kitchen that weren't counted at all. I'm sure they'll yield some treasures. I've knit two blankets for Project Linus, with a third on the way. They can be washed and delivered. On the bookshelf next to my desk I have 3 phone books that are at least two years out of date. Recycling!

I'm getting ready for NaNo next month- I wonder if this is a bizarre version of nesting?

Moving on, I've been gluten-free for 9 days now. I'm feeling a little... different, but I wouldn't say I'm feeling better. Certain symptoms- which are gross and you don't want to hear about here- are better, while others are worse. I'm hoping that going off gluten is like going off caffeine- you feel like crap for a while, until it flushes it's way out of your system, and then you feel better. Come on, better. There are two books about going gluten-free, including recipes, on reserve at the library. Hopefully that will help. I made a lovely, junk-foodie macaroni and cheese with brown rice pasta for dinner last night. It helped tremendously, as I was having visions of driving to the nearest Panera and buying up all the left-over bagels and whatever baguettes they had on hand. I'm sorry, Elaine Gottschall, but giving up all starchy carbs is not for me.

Well, I'm off to bed and the audio version of Komar by Lois McMaster Bujold. If it's wrong to be in love with a fictional character, I don't want to be right.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

So, it's been a while....

Many things have happened in the last two months. I'll try to hit the highlights.

I'm on medical leave. Have been since the end of August. Now if only the company where I have my short term disability insurance would approve it.... You have to start the leave before you apply for it, without knowing for sure if they will approve it. If they deny the claim I'm going to be completely out at least 6 weeks of pay at this point. Better or not (and unfortunately, the answer is not), if they don't get me a check soon I'm going to have to go back to work. My savings account is emptying at an alarming rate.

Hurricane Ike came for a little visit. I got out of town. Call me a wimp, I need power and a functioning bathroom. My area was minimally effected. Lots of trees down and roofs damaged, but the power was back on here first and homes weren't totally blown away or under 5 feet of water. I had some water damage in my apartment, which I still haven't strong-armed the management company into fixing. It's only cosmetic, but I don't like opening my eyes every morning to a stained and pealing wall. Things are still pretty screwed up in Houston. Lots of stop lights were messed up, and three weeks later traffic is still a disaster.

I've changed my meds, increased other meds, and taken time off work, but the Crohn's is still kicking my butt. A friend, who has had Crohn's for 20 years and who I look up to as a mentor, gently recommends going gluten-free every time I talk to her. I finally decided to try it. I've been gluten-free for... about 24 hours now. No change so far. I don't expect this to be the miracle cure. But then, at this point I've stopped hoping for the miracle cure. I don't believe it's out there. I think I'm going to have to find all the little pieces that work for me, and put the puzzle together all by myself. Unfortunately, someone lost the box top with the picture on it. And someone else mixed pieces from a bunch of other puzzles into my box. So it's taking a while. I know what I want this thing to look like when I'm done. I just don't know if that's possible with the pieces I have available.

In more cheerful news, National Novel Writing Month is coming up again. My plan (always with the plan!) is to re-read my 2006 novel, and then starting Nov 1, pick up where I left off and finish the damn thing. I shouldn't call it "the damn thing." I really like this story. I think it has potential. It just, like so many other things in my life right now, seems like the impossible task.

Gotta work on that attitude.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Not Enough Hours in a Day

Being sick has to be the biggest time suck in the world. There's never enough time and energy to do everything that needs to be done. From the moment I open my eyes in the morning, I'm late. The alarm is set for 6:05 am and goes off for an hour. I usually wake up at 7:15. There doesn't seem to be anything I can do about that. My body says, "You need sleep more than you need to get up right now," and refuses to flip the switch. I stagger into the bathroom and deal with a good 15-20 minutes of unpleasantness. I clean up from that and then some days I stagger to the laundry room to check the status of whatever sat in the dryer over night. Usually it's not dry yet, so I give it another spin. Back to the bathroom, where I climb in the shower and wash the really important bits. A couple days a week I'll wave a razor in the general vicinity of my under arms. Then I'll sign and look down at all the hair on my legs that I once again won't be shaving. Out of the shower. Dry off. Brush teeth. Towel dry and brush hair. Maybe slap on a little moisturizer if my face is dry.

Next stop the living room. Pull the cell phone off the charger and stuff it in my purse. Make sure I have a full compliment of feminine protection, in case of unfortunate accidents. Make sure I have all my meds. Depending on how late I am at this point, or if the weather is doing something funky, I'll turn on the National news for a few minutes. Someone is grilling something or singing something. If the timing is right I might get to hear a bunch of tourists squeal and wave signs while one or two lucky ones get to tell about their mission trip from South Podunk. And then maybe some weather. All the while pulling on the least wrinkled of the clean clothes piled on top of my dining room table. Put my shoes on. Feed the cat. Hopefully remember to bring a plastic cup so I don't have to drink out of the mini paper ones. Save a tree. And a trip to the water dispenser.

If I'm really lucky there will be something easy to grab for breakfast at my desk. Lean Pocket breakfast pockets, maybe. But usually I ate the last one yesterday and there's nothing. So it's a peanut butter sandwich or a bowl of cold cereal. (Do you have any idea what a hassle it is to pack a bowl of cold cereal to go?) Check again to make sure I have my meds. Trip over the cat on the way out the door.

Arrive at work around 8:20. (Twenty minutes late.) Deal with a grumpy boss who claims to understand my condition but still is mad when I'm not there on the dot of 8. Try not to resent the hypocrisy when he leaves to run his son to sports camp/takes the afternoon off for a massage/takes an hour to get a hair cut/wanders out of the office with a vague "I'll be back" and returns twenty minutes later with a smoothie.

Drag myself through miles of mind numbing paperwork. Hope that I'll make it all the way to Friday before collapsing. Wonder how I'm going to make it to the grocery store after work. Wonder if I really have to. Convince myself that I can squeeze at least one more meal out of the stuff in the freezer and pantry. Stagger out the door at 5:01.

Get home and spend another 20 unpleasant minutes in the bathroom. Clean up again and raid the kitchen. There is nothing to eat. Manage a meal out of ramen noodles, cheese sticks, and a package of diced peaches just slightly past their due date. Put the dirty dishes in the sink. They'll keep 'til tomorrow. Or next week. Or whenever you feel good enough to scrape off the fuzz and throw them in the dishwasher. Vegetate on the couch. Knit a little. Talk to Mom on the phone. Try to pretend things are better than they are. Don't manage to fool her. Go read a book in the bathroom for a while. Final round of medicine for the night. Hope I can do it all tomorrow. After all, it was only Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hello? Pizza joint? Is anyone home?

All I want is a pizza. And maybe some bread sticks. You know, something starchy and fatty that I'll enjoy in the moment and then pay for later. Is that so much to ask? Apparently, it is. I've placed six phone calls to three different locations of a national pizza chain, and they all say that they don't cover my area, someone else does. I've talked to three different managers. They all point the finger at someone else. Now I'm waiting for one of them to call me back and tell me, finally and for sure, which location will take my order. I'm not holding my breath. It really shouldn't be this hard to sin.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Man With the Golden Torc

Just a quickie today. More to come.

I've been reading The Man With the Golden Torc by Simon R. Green. It's... I don't know what it is. Different. Funny in a way I'm not used to seeing in Urban Fantasy. Repetitive. The author could have used some help from an editor or critique partner. When the action is going he's fine. But when he's describing stuff we get the same info two or three times. Those sections read like NaNo drafts. The main character is perfectly serious, but some of the superhero stuff is wacky, maybe even camp. I'm enjoying it, but I'm not sure if I'd read a follow up. I'll definitely finish this one, though. This book just might be Art. It's definitely causing a reaction, although I can't quite nail down what the reaction is.

And I'm not quite 100 pages in yet. I'll let you know what I think when I finish.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Certain Girls

I spent the morning and half the afternoon reading Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner. What a rip-off. I'd heard that it was really funny, but I couldn't find anything funny about it. I'm not really surprised- the first book had a fair bit of tragedy before finding a happy ending. There was no happy ending for this one. I sobbed my way through the last forty pages.

Spoilers Ahead.

Why did she have to kill Peter? What purpose did it serve in the story? None that I could see, other than a cheap way to wring tears out of the reader. It finally looks like the problems between Cannie and Joy have been worked out, and BAM! Her husband dies. At the end of the book she's lost her job and her husband. Joy, her 13 year-old daughter seems to be holding things together. She's written another book- one that's she's not too sure of and will likely cause more problems. And worst of all, she's got a brand new baby that I'm not convinced she ever wanted.

I don't mind a little tragedy in my books, but there's got to be an emotional payoff of some sort at the end. I'm sorry, there was no payoff for me in this book. No resolution. Just more misery. And a headache for me, from crying so hard.

And now I have to get it back to the library so it can make someone else miserable. Boy, am I glad I didn't read it at the beach house like I'd planned.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Is it weird?

So, I met this guy a couple of years ago. He was smart, nice, funny, had a cool job. I was definitely interested. In fact, he's the only guy I'd met in years that made me sit up and think "Wow!" And he seemed interested, too. We met through a writing group, and he always made a point to talk to me. There was even an email or two exchanged.

And then he just disappeared.

In this group that's not terribly unusual. Things get busy and life intrudes and people wander off. He's a few years older, and I know he had kids. Maybe it was just really bad timing. But I thought there was something there.

Is it too weird that I still think about this guy every once in a while?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Knitty

The new Knitty is up. Yippie! And they've announced their 2009 calendar contest. I'm so new to the online knitting community that I didn't even know they had a calendar, let alone a contest to fill it. I'd love to enter, but if you've seen any of my pictures here on the blog, you know I am not one of the world's great photographers. Actually, I'm not bad. I just don't have a great camera. The light isn't so hot in my apartment, either. But I'm not spending a bunch of money on a new camera right now.

Also, I need to knit something to take a picture of. I should probably work on that part first, huh? I've got a pile of patterns I want to make, including a couple of sock patterns from the summer issue. This one is designed for self-striping yarn, and you know I love me some self-striping yarn. http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEsummer08/PATTmuscari.html I think that one is my favorite of the bunch.

As you may have guessed, I am back from vacation. I'm not up to blogging about it yet- maybe this weekend. I remembered to take my camera, but forgot to use it, so sorry. No pictures. Whoops!

Friday, June 6, 2008

An Annual Event

Brace yourselves, folks. I shaved my legs this morning. That's right, I've spent the last year as a hairy feminist. Not out of any particular political conviction (Although I'm proud to say I'm a feminist. What's up with all the women today who say they aren't feminists? Do you like being paid less for the same job or having others limit your access to reproductive care and birth control? Really now.), but because I've been too exhausted/lazy to deal with it. Let me tell you, it takes a lot of energy to shave that much acreage on a semi-regular basis.

You wouldn't believe the hassle in shaving off a year's worth of leg hair. First of all, it requires multiple razors. That much hair dulls the blades fast. If you want to leave the skin and remove the hair, you'd better be prepared to switch out at least half way through. And then there's the problem of missing spots. When you shave regularly and miss a spot, no one is going to notice a little stubble. (Unless they're feeling on your legs, in which case Good For You!) When you've got a year's worth of leg hair and you miss a spot, it's visible from space. I think I got it all, but I guarantee I'll find a big ol' spot when I put on my shorts at the beach tomorrow. Whoops!

I can't wait to get there. I missed the beach house last year because I was in the hospital. I was so damn sick I hardly even regretted it at the time. All I wanted to do was lie there. Even if they'd sprung me, I couldn't have managed the trip. This year it may not be all good- things have been a little rough again this week- but it's a hell of a lot better than last year.

I even remembered to pack my camera, so maybe I'll have a few pictures to post next week!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Why did I do that?

I made a big mistake. I've been eating junk food this week, and now I'm paying for it. Big time. I've been in the bathroom approximately eight hundred thirty-two times today, and as soon as I'm done posting this it'll be back to the throne room. I just hope things settle down in time for me to drive to the beach Friday night. Crohn's bites big wang.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

fortune telling yarn and other stuff

I've been knitting bibs and burp cloths for a friend who's due in October. As you may have seen in a previous post, I have a boatload of Peaches n Creme yarn. Many, many colors. And yet, I couldn't make myself knit anything in girlie colors. Every time I pulled a skein out of a bag, it was blue or green or some combination of the two. I told a mutual friend, "I know it's too early to know for sure, but I think she's having a boy." I just got an email today- I was right! She's having a boy. My reputation for woo woo is secure.

I've finally settled on my knitting projects for the beach this weekend. I'm going to take the sock that I'm currently Magic Looping (My first! It doesn't look so great, but since this is my first pair in fingering weight yarn I'm trying to accept that it's a learning experience.) and yarn to start another. I'm most of the way through the leg at this point, so it's entirely possible that I will finish this sock and want to start another. I just need to pick which of the nine skeins of sock yarn I want to work next. (Did I mention I accidentally bought more sock yarn last weekend? Whoopsie!)

I'm almost settled on the reading material, too. Definitely the new Harry Dresden. Probably the Lois McMaster Bujold. I'm waffling on The Host by Stephenie Meyer. It's a big book, and my hands have been hurting lately. Also, it's likely to get beat up, spilled on, ashed on, and generally abused, and I hate to do that to a new, pretty hardback. That I paid money for myself. Also, I'm trying to keep the personal entertainment down to one tote bag, and that sucker is big. So probably the Meyer will wait 'til later.

Speaking of Lois McMaster Bujold, I've been listening to the Vorkosigan series on audiobook again. I'm on my second listening of Cetaganda, and I plan to download the next book in time to listen to it on my drive down. Let me just say, I love Miles Vorkosigan. I would so totally marry him if he weren't already married. (And if he were real instead of a fictional character, of course.) I heard Bujold is working on another book in the series for release in 2009. Yippie! This world is so real, it seems like there are infinite possibilities for the author. I'd love to see Ivan's POV- what was it like growing up with Miles? I don't think Ivan is nearly as dumb as he pretends to be. As much as Miles feels overshadowed by the tall, handsome Ivan, I'm sure Ivan's felt just as overshadowed by cunning Miles, who grew up with two doting parents. In fact, I've wondered how Gregor felt, too, boy Emperor and foster brother to such an overwhelming personality. Alys Vorpatril has hidden depths, and her insider's view of Barrayar and a woman's place in the society and power structure would be interesting. And Byerly Vorrutyer was intriguing in A Civil Campaign, although I'm not sure I'm ready to read a whole book about him. Ellie Quinn or Bel Thorne would be interesting POV characters, too. Not that I wouldn't be perfectly happy with more Miles! (And I bet his kids will give him a run for his money someday soon, too!)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

mano a mano

This past weekend, for no particular reason, I left the TV off and read. That hasn't happened in quite a while. I guess I've just been so caught up in knitting that I haven't wanted to put the needles down and read. So last weekend, while the Tivo recorded NCIS and SVU marathons, I snuggled in bed with the cat and a few books.

Again, it wasn't any particular plan, but what I ended up reading was m/m romance. I'd never read one before. Well, that's not true. I've read Force of Nature and All Through the Night, Suzanne Brockmann's novels featuring Jules and Robin. But the bedroom door is firmly closed in those books. In the books I read this weekend the bedroom door was wide open.

The first one was My Fair Captain by J.L. Langley. It's an interesting concept. Although space fairing, a couple planets have chosen to base their societies on Regency England. One has a completely male dominated aristocracy. And they're all gay. The young men must guard their virtue until marriage or until they come of age at 25. The reasoning behind the all male aristocracy was weak. But if you're willing to not think about it too hard and just be entertained, the rest of the world works. The writing could have used more polishing, too, but other than that I enjoyed it.

The second book was Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander by Ann Herendeen. This one I have more mixed feelings about. It's a bisexual Regency. Andrew is a "sodomite" who has decided it's time to marry and produce an heir. A friend introduces him to Phyllida as a woman who might be willing to marry him and still allow him to continue his lifestyle. Of course, they are immediately attracted to each other. After they marry, Andrew meets Matthew and they fall in love as well. My main problem with this book was that there was just too much going on. Andrew acts like an insensitive jerk and a whole series of unnecessary misunderstandings ensue, leaving Andrew and Phyllida estranged for a good chunk of the book. There's a whole espionage subplot that doesn't make much sense until a minor character explains the whole thing at the end. Andrew and Matthew have what seemed to me to be a pointless fist fight right before resolving their romantic conflict. At 532 pages, this book was at least 150 pages too long. For all that, I didn't dislike the book. I guess I'd heard so many good things about it online, my expectations were too high. I wish the love triangle among Phyllida, Andrew, and Matthew was more even. It seems to me that the only one who got everything s/he wanted/needed out of the deal was Andrew.

Then last night, I read Fairyville by Emma Holly. Let me just say, Emma Holly is hot. She can write a steaming sex scene, and this book was no different. I haven't read all of her stuff, but this was the first book of hers I've read that featured a m/m couple who ended up in a more or less committed relationship. Zoe, a professional medium, lives in Fairyville, Arizona, a city known for its strange goings on. Magnus is a fairy living in the human world and hiding from his mother, the fairy queen. Alex is Zoe's lost love, and although he doesn't know it at first, a changeling. Bryan is Alex's business partner who has been in love with him since college. And then they all get it on. A lot. I didn't quite buy Magnus' reason for hiding his nature from Zoe, and I wasn't 100% on the Zoe/Alex relationship. But other than that, I enjoyed this book quite a lot. Holly has a gift for writing very hot sex scenes that also illuminate the charcters and advance the plot, all at the same time. Not an easy thing to do. I checked out her website and discovered that she has a writing workshop posted there. Believe me, I will be reading that.

After stepping back and considering all three, I've realized that they all have one thing in common- D/s themes. Is this because these books are already considered edgy because of the m/m content, so it's OK to go there? Is it because women are writing these books, and the idealized romantic hero is an aggressive alpha male, and that's being expressed through domination? Did I just get lucky and end up with three kinky heroes? More research is required. I did notice that both Andrew and Nate (in Captain) called their lovers "sluts." Is this also a m/m thing, or just a coincidence? Is this something that women want to hear but is socially unacceptable, even in our erotica, so we put it in a m/m relationship? Who are we supposed to be relating to, the dominant or the dominated?

A lot to think about. And this is just the tiniest tip of the genre-iceberg. If anyone has any suggestions for further reading, I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Last Night I Had a Crazy Dream.....

I had an Ugly Betty dream last night. In it, I was dating Daniel and we were hanging out at Betty's apartment. (I know, she lives with her family, but in my dream she had an apartment.) Daniel and I were really schmoopy, which anyone who's known me for 5 minutes knows is totally not normal for me. Then his phone rang. His ring tone was Angel by Madonna. (I know that's dumb. It'll make more sense in minute.) So he answers the phone, and I can tell he doesn't want to talk to whoever it is in front of me. So Betty and I go into the kitchen to hang out and talk. I suspect he's talking to another woman, and I'm trying not to get jealous. Even though he answered the phone, the music is still playing and Betty and I start dancing in the kitchen and then go into the dining room/sun room where there's more room to dance. And then an old woman with bad teeth appears and starts dancing with us. Just at the end of the song Daniel comes in and catches us busting a move. And then we get schmoopy again, although I can tell he's worried about something. And then I woke up and realized that it was 6:30 and my alarm clock was playing my Like a Virgin CD- hence the Madonna song. Weird, huh? No clue what it means, except maybe I've been watching too much TV. I've been bopping along humming Madonna songs all day. Good thing it was a high energy song, 'cause it's been a zoo around here.

My annual beach pilgrimage is coming up in a couple of weeks. I can't take the whole week. I don't want to use up that much time, just in case something happens later this year. Also, I don't think I have the stamina to spend that much time staying up late and eating unusual food. I don't want to kick off another flare. So I'll be there for 4 days. I have a couple of books picked out- The Host by Stephenie Meyer, Small Favors by Jim Butcher, The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. But I haven't settled on what knitting I want to bring. It has to be something that I won't mind getting smoky. (I can't smoke anymore, but a lot of my friends do.) So anything for Project Linus or family Christmas gifts are out. It also needs to be something that doesn't require a lot of counting or pattern checking. We're a rowdy bunch, and there's no way I'll be able to keep up with anything fancy. I was thinking maybe the No Purl Monkeys (one of the June Thrifty Sock Knitters patterns) and maybe some face cloths for myself out of the Cotton Tots I broke down and bought before Mother's Day. I'm thinking the faux-Noro scarf is a bad idea- from what I hear SWS felts easily, and there's a high probability of spilled beer and general abuse. Perhaps Square Cake from Knitty out of some red tweed Wool Ease. I don't know. I'll probably change my mind eight times between now and then. Any suggestions?

Friday, May 16, 2008

New Dreams

I had a half hour pilates session with my trainer last night. Have I mentioned that I love pilates? I think it's the breathing. It's more like moving meditation than exercise. The reformers at my gym are in a small, curtained off room that's surprisingly quiet considering there are whole rows of treadmills and elliptical machines just a few feet away.

I'm thinking that maybe I'd like to be a pilates instructor some day. That's how much I love it. I talked to my trainer about "graduating" from beginner to intermediate last night, and she said that I'll be moving to "essential" next. (I thought that essential was a more basic beginner's class.) Most people take a year to move up to intermediate. So I'm thinking that it's going to be quite a while before I'm ready to try an instructor program. Usually, I'm kind of impatient with this kind of idea. I want to do it NOW. But strangely, I don't mind waiting. I'm content to take my Monday night reformer class, and if I feel up to it I'll try the Wednesday night small equipment class next week. It's all good.

I opened an email from Lion Brand today and found a short essay and pattern for a "road scarf." The essay didn't amount to much, but the pattern has inspired me. I haven't worked on a scarf in quite a while. I have a couple different scarf ideas- I wouldn't go so far as to say patterns- that I'd like to try. There's something sort of zen about a scarf. It just keeps going until it's done. There's not a whole lot of need for scarves in Houston. In fact, there's not as much need for hand knits in general as I'd like around here. (Although a good cozy sweater comes in surprisingly handy during the summer. Houston office a/c can be brutal.) But I'm already trying to figure out how many scarves I can pack and bring with me for Christmas in Massachusetts.

Plans for the weekend:
work on the book
watch Buffy
get a massage
breathe
knit

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Is it really only Tuesday?

I'm thinking that pilates last night wasn't such a good idea. Owie. Also, I feel like I could sleep for a week. Even though it's only Tuesday, the weekend can't come soon enough.

I finished project #4- the burp cloth- at lunch today. The ends need to be woven in, but the kid's not due until October, so I have time!

Now that I'm down to one active project- the diagonal baby blanket- I'm completely obsessed with the idea of making a felted bag. This is the one I've been ogling on Rav- http://yarnpirate.livejournal.com/14995.html. Isn't it beautiful? I followed the link to her design inspiration, a pillow in gorgeous colors. And suddenly I'm envisioning this bag in Noro Kureyon. Can you imagine? Or perhaps Patons SWS. (Cheaper, and I already have a boatload of the Stripes. I'd just need a coordinating solid.) I was thinking about experimenting with something smaller and using up the last of my Silk Garden, but I hear it doesn't really felt. So much for that idea. I have a few other design ideas percolating, too.

I feel a trip to the LYS coming on. Danger, Will Robinson!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Progress Report

I finished 3 of my 5 projects this weekend- including weaving in the ends! Yay! Here are the pictures:



I think the swiffer sweater is a little loose, but I'll have to try it out to be sure. The burp cloth/kitchen towel is about 3/4 finished. I didn't get anything done on the baby blanket at all. It was very hard not to cast on for something else. I really want to make another market bag. But not until the other two projects are done! I feel so virtuous.

The doctor cleared me to go off the Predinsone on Saturday, so I did. Oy. I took a 2 hour nap yesterday and an hour nap today. After sleeping in until 10am. I have a feeling that tomorrow isn't going to be pretty.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Finish It Up!

I have 5, count 'em, 5 projects OTN at the moment:

  1. Granny's Favorite in Spring Meadows P&C
  2. ballband dishcloth in black and Fiesta P&C
  3. ballband swiffer cover in Peppercorn P&C
  4. Baby Genius burp cloth in Shaded Denim P&C
  5. diagonal baby blanket in white Caron

It wouldn't be so bad if I were making progress on any of them, but with the exception of the Granny's Favorite, I've been piddling around with them all for over a week now. I'll do a row of this and a row of that, and nothing is getting done. So I've declared this my first, official Finish It Up Weekend. At least 3 of these projects will be completed by the time I go back to work on Monday.

I've decided to work on this the same way you're supposed to pay off your credit cards- starting with the project with the least left to do and working your way up to the ones with the most left. That way, you feel like you're accomplishing something. Yes, if I really worked my butt off I might be able to finish the baby blanket this weekend. Maybe. But then I'd still have 4 projects OTN, and I'd be burned out to boot. I can easily finish the GF tonight, and probably make some decent progress on the ballband dishcloth. Tomorrow morning I have my RWA meeting, and I'm not sure what I'll take to that. Probably either the burp cloth or the blanket. They aren't next on the list, but I won't have to wrestle multiple balls of yarn like the dishcloth or measure to make sure I'm not going too far like on the swiffer cover. (I'm not 100% sure how many rows I want on that one. It's better if I keep the swiffer handy so that it fits.)

Saturday I'll finish the dishcloth and swiffer cover, and Sunday I'll work on the burp cloth. If I take the burp cloth with me on Saturday morning, I might have a fighting chance of finishing that on Sunday. So that will leave me with one project OTN. The diagonal baby blanket. If I work on that exclusively in the evenings next week, I might be able to finish it, too. Then I can cast on for a Jayne hat, or a meathead, or that baby hat from Creative Knitting that I've been wanting to make, or maybe the Rosie the Riveter.... can you tell I'm in a hat mood? But before I do all that, Must Finish the WIPs!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

It's 2008 People!

My boss is a turd.

We had a temp come in for training today and to cover for me tomorrow while I'm out for my Remicade treatment. This morning, when I told him that the temp would be a guy, he said "Oh, shit." I kid you not. And then he muttered around about how we always get "the dregs." And then he came out of his office and said something to the effect of "Not to be sexist or anything, but I want a woman answering the phone. If I wanted a guy answering the phone I'd do it myself." Then there was more muttering, and "If he's gay, I don't want him in here!"

The things he was saying were really shitty, but I have to admit I totally enjoyed how upset he got, in a passive aggressive way. What a dickhead. By the way, does anyone know on what planet boobs are required to answer the phone? It's not like I answer it with my hoo-ha.

Fortunately, the guy was very nice. Just out of college and temping while he looks for a job in his field. And apparently he was "non-gay" enough for the boss to allow him in the office. I don't know how he expected to get rid of him if he was gay. I've ditched temps for him before when they were legitimately not qualified. (I have to admit, we have had a few "dregs" before. It's the New Millennium. Computer skills, people!) But I was absolutely not going to call a temp agency and ditch a temp because Mr. Big Shot didn't like their sex or sexual orientation. If this guy was qualified and he wanted him out anyway, he was going to have to make that call himself.

If it weren't for the amazingly awesome insurance at this place, I'd be so gone. The sexism, the racism, the homophobia-- it's all wearing me out. How can insurance be worth all that hassle, you ask? It's simple. My insurance covers everything-- at least everything I've come across so far-- at 100%. Remember that Remicade treatment I mentioned earlier? That's a $10,000 treatment. I shit you not. I get that treatment every 8 weeks. If I had 80/20 insurance (which I've had before) I would pay $2,000 a treatment. x6=$12,000 a year. Do you have $12,000 laying around for routine medical expenses? I sure don't. The base price for my 2 weeks in the hospital last year was $50,000. That doesn't include all the tests-- the colonoscopy, the upper GI and small bowel follow through, the MRI. (Actually, I think I had 2 MRIs. It's all a little fuzzy.) I could have owed $10,000 just for the stay. That's probably not my last hospital stay either, although I'd be perfectly happy if it was.

So how do you stand on principle when it could mean health crisis and bankruptcy? I'm going to have to either find another job with the same level of insurance or win the lottery. These days, I'm not sure which is a longer shot. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Writing

I spent about an hour tonight working on the book. I went through the 5 pages I presented to my critique group last time (or critique partner I guess I should say, since only one other person was able to come last time) and edited out a half dozen justs. (Apparently I use it a lot. A forgivable sin, considering this was a NaNo novel. As long as they're ruthlessly edited out.) And then I added another 3 pages. I want to add a couple more pages and then do my own editing before handing it over to the group again later this week. I think we're all going to be there this time!

The next bit is basically Daisy and Robert sitting in his office and talking. Again. I've taken the chain saw to the previous blah, blah, blah scenes and I'm sure this one will need the same. But this is still the beginning of the book. Daisy has just been dropped into a world she knows nothing about. Someone has to explain to her (and the reader) what the heck is going on. I just (there goes that word again) don't want to over do it. So we'll see.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Whoopsie! And also, Hooray!

I had a little bit of Cotton Tots left over from making face cloths for my parents for Mother's Day and Father's Day, so I decided to make a mitered square face cloth based on the pattern in Mason Dixon Knitting.



As you can see, it may be mitered, but it sure ain't square. I wonder how that happened? The pattern is for a stockinette square, but I did it all in garter stitch instead. I've done this pattern once before with no problems. Except of course for the fact that stockinette rolls like mad, so it needs blocking to lay flat. I don't see the point in that for a face cloth. Also, I think the nubby texture of garter stitch is better for a face cloth than stockinette. I guess as long as no one minds a kite-shaped face cloth, we're OK. It's... supposed to be like that. Yeah! Why is everyone so hung up on the square? It's time for a little creativity around here!

Is it getting a little deep in here? Moving on....

I forgot to mention it, but the last post was my 50th. Hooray for me! I've been entertaining myself and boring my readers (all two of you) for just over seven months now. If only I were this dedicated to exercise!

I watched The Golden Compass over the weekend. I feel a little eh about it. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, because that's the way I felt about the book.

This is where I wrote a rambling digression about Christianity that probably would have gotten me flamed, so I'm just going to say that the whole "this movie was anti-Christian" was a tempest in a teapot and move on, OK?

The movie ended a chapter or two before the book did, which I heard some complaints about from hard core fans. But for once, I think the movie makers were smart in deviating from the book. The ending was logical- Lyra saved her friend and all the other kids- and the set up for the next movie is obvious- she has to save her father from her mother and the evil Magisterium. Much better than the book's ending, which didn't work for me at all. I haven't read book two yet, but I've got the audio book on reserve at the library. Considering my reaction to book one, I don't have high hopes, but hey. It's something to listen to while driving.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Hooray for May!

The mounted patrol was back in my neighborhood last night, and I didn't get pulled over. I told you! It's all April's fault! TGIM.

In the comments, Carat asked about the Can't Stop the Serenity event I mention in the last post. (Hi, Carat!) Houston's event was just announced for July 6th. That's Sunday of the July 4th weekend. For those who've never heard of it, CStS is a screening of the movie Serenity, often with associated auctions or raffles, to benefit Equality Now. Details at: http://cantstoptheserenity.com/ There are many of these events around the country, and even around the world, all year long, so don't feel left out if 4th of July in Houston (HOT) isn't your thing.

I'm so happy that Ugly Betty is back! I had pilates last night, so I wasn't able to watch it live and have my usual post-Betty dish with my mom. We'll have to do that tonight. Anyone else watch it? I felt bad for Daniel at the end. He doesn't want Betty, but he wants loving relationships like she has, and someone who is good to him like she is to everyone. (To skip back a week, I thought it was so sweet that he gave her birthday present to her father weeks in advance, knowing that he would forget when the day came.) There was a moment last season, when Betty and Daniel were on a bridge, talking after a long night, and there was a real moment of chemistry between them. I was afraid that they were going to try to put the two of them together, and was glad they didn't go there. Maybe it was just a moment of chemistry between the two actors? (Although I read recently that Eric Mabius's wife just had a baby, so I don't know what to think of it.) Anyway, I like how far Daniel has come in the last season and a half. He was a real butthead in the first episode or two- mainly I think because he was rich and handsome and no one had ever called him on his crap before, not because he didn't have a good heart in there somewhere.

Christian Siriano and his "hot trannie mess" cracked me up. And Amanda adding herself to the fashion show.

I'm waiting to see how they resolve the Henry/Gio situation, too. At this point, I think Gio is much better for Betty than Henry. She's going to get her heart broken there, big time.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Chilling Out

As you can tell by my previous posts, the last few days haven't been so great for me. I've made a conscious decision to Chill Out. It's just April. I know this by now. April doesn't love me, and I'm not too fond of her, either. (Previous April disasters- lost a job, totaled a car, had surgery that led to a major health crisis. If it happens to me, and it's life-alteringly bad, it happens in April.)

The apartment is dry, at least for the moment. Hopefully for good. It still smells like Juicy Fruit, now with an overlay of floral yuck (maintenance was in again yesterday afternoon), but it's dry. And the cat has calmed down and started demanding food again. So I'm going to try to let it go. Tomorrow is May! Whoopie!

I'm part of a stash busting group on Ravelry (which you can see from previous posts I really need), and the May challenge is to knit with cotton. Being me, I spent all of April in an obsessive compulsive cotton dishcloth frenzy, so I'm ready to move on to something else. Instead, I have decided to declare May Acrylic Month. That's right, I'm going to take a crack at knitting up the piles and piles of Caron (and a little bit of Red Heart, I'm ashamed to say) that I've acquired in the last year or so. I have a blanket for Project Linus on the needles, which I plan to finish. I have a head scarf for a friend that I want to make. I promised a couple of Jayne hats for auction at the Houston Can't Stop the Serenity event in July. (I further promise to follow an actual pattern and not try to invent it on the fly as I did last time. Whoops!) I also want to make a few hats either for local homeless shelters or to send up to my parents' church in Boston for their program. Houston may not get as cold as New England, but I'm sure there are still plenty of people who could use a warm hat in January. I'm also knocking around the idea of making a Pretty Punk blanket (http://www.therunningyarn.com/2008/04/pretty-punk-blanket-free-pattern.html) in non-pretty, macho-manly colors for a friend who dearly loves all things skeleton and death metal related. The good news is that I may very well have all the yarn I need for that blanket already in my stash! I'd also like to make a baby hat from the December (?) issue of Creative Knitting.

And I'm recommitting myself to No Yarn Purchases for the month of May. Everybody's got to have a goal.

Let's see... that's at least seven projects, maybe more, and two of them are blankets. It won't all get finished, but I should burn through a few skeins in the stash. Woo hoo!

Monday, April 28, 2008

A little rant to brighten your day

I have had it. HAD IT.

I came home for lunch today to discover that maintenance had been in the apartment. How do I know maintenance was in the apartment? They certainly didn't leave any kind of note, as their supposed to. No. It was the amazing, unbelievable STENCH. Someone came in a sprayed something that smells like the bastard stepchild of paint thinner and Juicy Fruit gum. Swear to god. I almost gagged when I walked in. So I opened all the windows and called the main office to complain. No one came by to do anything about it or even check it out. I ended up missing the whole afternoon of work because I live on the first floor and couldn't leave the windows open while I'm gone. And there was no way I could close them up. It's 9:30 at night and it still stinks to high heaven.

So I decided to make a grocery run at 8:30 this evening. It was dark out, and time to close the windows, and anyway I wanted cake. So I close everything up and go out to my car. And what do I find? Someone from this bastard apartment complex has STICKERED MY CAR. Apparently while I was STUCK AT HOME MISSING WORK AND AIRING OUT MY SMELLY ASS APARTMENT they decided to brighten my day with a permanent orange warning sticker. Bastards. It's not bad enough that my apartment floods twice in what? A month? Six weeks? And I miss work because they've sprayed toxic levels of god knows what in here without informing me about it. Now they've got to put a giant ass orange sticker on my car, threatening to tow it? Rat bastards. I'm going in tomorrow to talk to the manager. If anyone so much as LOOKS FUNNY at my car, they're going to wish they'd never been born.

I'm a pretty even tempered person. I'd even go so far as to say that I'm easy to push around. I don't like confrontation. But I strongly suggest that no one FUCK WITH ME for the next few days. Even I have a limit.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Great Flood of '08

Living in a first floor apartment has many benefits. You don't have to haul your groceries up a dozen flights of stairs. You stay cooler in the summer. It generally costs less to move. But there is one great disadvantage. Anytime one of your upstairs neighbors has a water leak, you get flooded out. Yesterday, around 5 o'clock, my upstairs neighbor's water heater sprung a leak. This was the result.





It flooded the hallway, the linen closet, the bathroom, and the kitchen. The water also crept into the bedroom and the dining room. Every towel in the house was used to sop up the mess, and it still wasn't enough.
It started off just pouring down through the ceiling of the water heater/ac closet. I called maintenance, and 45 minutes later someone showed up. He went upstairs and got the water shut off, which stopped it, sort of. Then he used a shop vac to suck up some of the water, and told me someone else would be by in another 45 minutes to take up the carpet and padding, since they were both completely soaked.
I took the opportunity to grab some dinner, since it was now after 7pm. About five minutes after I finished eating there was a popping noise, and water was gushing out under the closet door again. I opened the door, expecting to see part of the ceiling collapsed or something, but a pipe had blown out, and steaming water was rushing everywhere. I called maintenance and the same guy came back again. Apparently, the upstairs water heater was at it again. This pipe was supposed to handle the condensation from the upstairs ac units. I'm guessing the temperature of the water (not to mention the quantity) was more than it could handle, and that's why it blew.
He put the pipe back together and went back upstairs to turn off the water again. It blew again. He came back and tried to put it together, this time with glue. It blew again. Then the second maintenance guy showed up to deal with the carpeting, and had a fit because there was still water gushing everywhere. (If you think this all sounds like "The Three Stooges Do Home Repair," you are correct.) He hauled in the super-duper water sucking hose and went to work. That's when we discovered that the kitchen pantry had flooded, too. Then the first guy came back and replaced the pipe that kept busting and left. The second guy yanked up about half my carpeting and removed all the carpet padding, which was completely sopping by this point. Then he said he'd be back in a few days to replace the padding and clean the carpet, and to try not to flood anything else. A comedian. Ha.
My apartment finally cleared of all carpet padding and maintenance guys around 9pm- four hours after the water first started coming through the ceiling. It was another two hours before I could coax the cat out from under the covers on the bed. He was, and still is, completely wigged out. He keeps doing this weird hyperventilating thing, and he hasn't eaten anything since it happened. He kept me up all night by walking across my pillow and stepping on my head, when he wasn't hiding under the covers with me. He won't settle anywhere, and keeps meowing and doing the butt-down slink all over the apartment, like he expects maintenance guys and evil super vacuum cleaners to pop up again at any moment. He's making me nuts.
And the apartment is a wreck, too.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Oh, hell.

I got pulled over on the way home from work today. By a cop on a horse. How humiliating is that? The ticket was inexpensive, as tickets go, but I also have to pay to correct the problem so I won't get another ticket. Crap.

To do penance, and replace the money I'll be spending on the ticket and car stuff, I'm now grounded from spending money on eating out or entertainment. (Yarn and all related products included.) I checked my bank statement, and it took me 37 days to spend an amount equal to what I now owe on fun stuff. So from now until May 31 I'm stuck with the books I already own, the yarn I already have, food I've cooked for myself, and cable. (I was already on yarn restriction, but I was getting close to cracking. How sad is that? But it was for a Mother's Day gift, honest....)

I had big plans for today's blog, but now I'm not in the mood. Maybe this weekend.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Buried in Stash

I got a wild hair tonight and decided to inventory my stash. Eep! I have 26,058 yards of yarn. That's almost 15 miles! No wonder it's taken over my living room.

Pardon me, I feel a headache coming on. I think I'll go take a Tylenol and a sleeping pill and go to bed.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lovely Weekend

Day three of my three day weekend was very relaxing. Not long enough, but no weekend ever is. I made pancakes and turkey sausage for breakfast (yum!), and have a bunch left over for breakfast this week. For dinner I made a lasagna and homemade bread (again, yum!), which I hadn't done in ages.

I did make one short trip out of the house today for gas. The car was running on fumes, and I didn't want to have to deal with it tomorrow. Ouch! This was my first ever over $50 fill up. If I drove some massive gas guzzler I wouldn't be surprised, but I don't. I drive a Camry! Fortunately, I live close to work. If I don't run around too much, which I'm trying not to do since I'm trying to save money and limit unnecessary spending, this tank of gas should last me 3-4 weeks. But still. Ouch.

Speaking of ouch, I went to my pilates class on Saturday. It was seriously tough, especially since I started my period yesterday morning. I was already cramping, and the pilates didn't help any. But I don't feel too bad today. Maybe I'm getting better at it!

Spike TV has been playing the Star Wars movies, and my Tivo caught them for me. Today I finally finished watching the last one- Return of the Jedi. (Well, I suppose it depends on your definition of "last," but whatever.) I saw the remastered Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back in the theater a few years back, but somehow missed RotJ, so I hadn't seen the new effects and music. They ditched the "Yub, Yub!" song at the end! That's just criminal. (Funny story: when I saw Empire the whole audience was obviously familiar with the series. When Leia kissed Luke, the entire audience went "eeew!" Some wit yelled, "incest is best, put your sister to the test.")

I actually got a few pages ready for my critique group tonight. I need to get more on the ball about that. We meet tomorrow! I think I dodged the whole transition problem by just cutting it all out. Amazingly, that seems to be the solution to a lot of my dilemmas with this story. Have a problem? Cut it out! I'll see what the group says, but I think the less-is-more approach really helps with the Bethany character. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do about her. I'm still not 100% sure, but what I've got now is more subtle than the club to the head it started out as. I like the fact that Daisy just doesn't fit in with the humans in her life. Some of the supernaturals are real pieces of work, too, but she finds a family for herself in that crowd, too. I realized about half way through NaNo that I was exploring racism in my story- humans vs. supernaturals, the more "magical" supes vs. the more "physical" ones. There are a lot of assumptions, a lot of erroneous beliefs floating around. The more aware I became of what was going on, the more heavy handed it all seemed. Some of it may not be as "frying pan to the skull" as I think it is. But it definitely needs a lighter touch.
Didn't come anywhere near finishing my fingerless mitts this weekend. I did finish another (!) Granny's favorite since I last blogged, though. It's a sickness, I swear.
Trouble says hello.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Jayne Cobb Disaster


This week I tried to break the OCD-like hold that the Granny's favorite dishcloth seems to have on me by knitting a Jayne Cobb hat for a friend. I looked at a few patterns online, but I was feeling grumpy and uncooperative this week, and not in the mood to follow a pattern. (Pattern? We don't need no stinkin' pattern!) (This attitude is a kissing cousin to "Gauge swatch? Never heard of it.") After all, it's only a damn hat. So I cast on. This was a mistake. As you can see, the hat is way too big and also looks like a meathead hat, only not as cute. http://www.flickr.com/groups/meatheads06/pool/
I suppose that's only fair, considering Jayne is a bit of a meathead himself. (The character, not the actor, of course.) But still. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to frog the damn thing and start over or keep it around as a reminder not to do that again. (Because, trust me, internet posterity or not, I will forget.) (Also, I love commas.)
I've done 14 dishcloths in the last two weeks. Eleven of them have been Granny's favorites. I told you. Scary. But my pile-o-Christmas presents is getting taller by the minute. If you know me, you're getting a dishcloth for Christmas. (Sorry to kill the suspense.) In fact, there's a reasonable chance that you'll be getting one if you don't know me, too. Kind of like living in the midwest in zucchini season- don't leave your car windows down unless you want a little surprise when you come back!
(I've really got to find a new pattern to obsess over.) (I also love parenthesis!)
(And before anyone asks- yes, I know that a Jayne Cobb should have rust/orange ear flaps. The damn thing was already so ridiculously wrong, I couldn't stand the idea of spending the time to add the ear flaps. When and if I get around to trying again, there will be ear flaps.)
(Damn Blogger won't put the spaces between my paragraphs. I hate that!) (Gah!)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Good Behavior

Bless me, for I haven't sinned. Yet. It's been two weeks since I last bought yarn. I honestly thought it had been longer than that. It certainly seems longer than two weeks. But, no. I have resisted temptation several times, including last night when I made a Walmart run. (They sell Peaches & Crack there. It doesn't matter that I have 2 large shopping bags bulging with balls of P&C, and 4 half-used 1 lbs cones. I still want more.)

I was so tired last night. I was supposed to go to a pilates class last night, and I just couldn't do it. The only reason I managed to go out at all last night was that there was no more food in the house. (Which probably doesn't matter that much, because there are no clean dishes in the house, either.) Also, my old headphones gave up the ghost this week, and the only thing that gets me through my work day is my mp3 player. I just couldn't live another day without headphones.

I discovered a diet trick while deliriously wandering the Walmart aisles, though. I was in the frozen foods section and came across a display of Goldfish crackers. (???) They were the giant boxes, and it was the extra flavor (read: extra fat and sodium) variety. My first thought was "oooh!" (Crunch, salty things are my particular weakness.) Then I glanced at the price- $6.46- which stopped me in my tracks. Not because it was a particularly high or low price, but because the Peaches & Creme cones I'd just looked at are $6.64. (There's a blue and cream colored cone that I've been eyeing for months now, but I've managed to resist because buying another cone when I already have so much is just silly.) I thought about it for a minute. For approximately the same price, I could have a giant box of Goldfish or a cone of yarn. The yarn would last longer and give me more pleasure. I seriously considered staggering back to the craft section and buying that cone. But sanity prevailed, and I bought neither.

I did, however, manage to buy 2 Smart Ones frozen dinners by mistake. I meant to buy the frozen dinners, I just got the wrong varieties. One was a Spicy Szechuan something-or-other, which I'm afraid might have nuts or otherwise cause problems, and the other was a quesadilla with corn and beans which will definitely cause problems. I guess I could return them, but that seems like a lot of effort. Maybe I can pawn them off on my best friend? She likes to take this kind of stuff for lunch.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Monday

I talked to my boss this morning, and he's going to let me have Friday off. Hooray! A three day weekend! I've decided to drop again on the Pred on Thursday and then sleep all weekend. Wish me luck!

My Tivo only recorded the first 15 min or so of Dexter again, so I got on Netflix to watch it. No go. I don't know what's wrong exactly, but my dinosaur desk top doesn't meet "system requirements." Boo! I guess I'll be adding Dexter back to my Q.

I cast on for my 8 bajillionth Granny's favorite at lunch today. It's getting to be a sickness. This one is in Peppercorn. I bought a cone of the stuff back in January, and there's still a ton left. I think I'll cast on again for the Jayne Cobb tonight, too. I've got last night's Eli Stone on the Tivo, and that would be good ES knitting. Crap. At least I hope I have it. I'll be very disappointed if that one got screwed up, too.

I called my company's accountant in the home office this afternoon for help filling out a property tax form. (Actually, I just found out recently that he's not an accountant. I'm not entirely sure what his qualifications are, but it's his butt on the line if something gets screwed up, not mine. That's good enough for me.) The form is due tomorrow. Whoops! It turns out that we have an accounting firm that's supposed to fill out these forms. Did I mention it's due tomorrow? And tomorrow is also income tax day, too, so they're up to their eyeballs in tax forms. I filed for an extension online and mailed it to them. They'll handle it next week, when things aren't quite so hectic.

Even if I didn't know the date, I'd know it was tax time. Either that or Christmas. My office is across the street from a post office. This is a small semi-residential street. And there was a traffic jam at lunch. Cars backed up on both sides of the street, trying to get into the completely full post office parking lot. Thank god I filed my taxes online weeks ago. I already have the money back! (It went into savings to replace some of the money I had to pull out for car repairs.) Now all I need is the extra $600 our illustrious President promised me to stave off the recession that he claims we aren't having. Whatever. I'll take the money.