Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Witty T-shirts make me smile.

Stumbled across these gem's today:

Most awesome ever?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Reading into the future.

I fell off the bandwagon for quite a while again. Oops.

So without further ado back into the randomness that is my brain:

In 2009 I decided that I wanted to read at least 1 book a week. For a while it was really easy. Then it got more difficult. I latched onto a boyfriend and gee-wiz all of my free time was gone.

But I still did it. Mostly because I got ahead of schedule early on and cheated by counting audio books (it's a very different experience but my primary goal was to acquire the knowledge of a story so it didn't matter through what means to me).

Currently I stand at 53 books. I anticipate finishing 2 more before the end of the year. Yay me.

But now as I stand on the cusp of the year looking into 2010 I'm having difficulties deciding what to read. For a normal person this would seem a very strange thing. But I am odd and here's my situation:

In November a new book was published that I have been waiting for years for. It's the first part of the last book of the Wheel of Time series. The whole story of the series is a long one so to try and be concise: Really long books, really long series, author died a few years ago (when I heard the news I actually yelled "no!" in desperation), series being completed by someone else.

I was thinking I would re-read the books before consuming the new awesomeness. However it's a huge undertaking: think over 10,000 pages. So that's why I didn't include it in the 2009 book a week deal (even I know 800 pages in a week is a bit much).

So in the meantime I've gotten very good about finding books that look interesting and adding them to my "to read" list on the website Goodreads. And well if I read through all of the Wheel of Time I don't get to read the other new stuff. As a general rule I don't re-read (or re-watch etc.). I always go for something new.

This is quite the conundrum. I'm thinking maybe I'll alternate. One WoT, one new book. I kinda doubt that I'll make it to the new book in a year (especially since the boy is still in the picture and well I kinda have a life - weird), but one can't have everything.

Plus it's entirely possible that if I'm too slow the next book (part 2 of "book 12" the final book) will be out. Or if I'm really really slow the 'final' (I kinda almost don't believe them) book will be released.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We just had to forgive ourselves.

In the past couple of years I’ve occasionally been hit with things that make me realize that I am growing up. At first they were more passive: friends being engaged, married even, myself buying ‘adult’ things like a bed, and generally paying for all of the things that one takes for granted as a youth.

Lately may things have been happening lately that make me realize much more actively that I myself am becoming an adult. I’ve found my own apartment, procured furniture (albeit mostly donated by the family), trying to budget my own utilities (it’ll be a while before I really know), and I’ve met a guy I could actually picture spending the rest of my life with (not to get ahead of anything however).

It’s crazy and hard to believe sometimes. But then in some ways it is also exciting I suppose.

"Growing up is never easy. You hold on to things that were. You wonder what's to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be. Other days. New days. Days to come. The thing is, we didn't have to hate each other for getting older. We just had to forgive ourselves... for growing up."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Open my closet.

So I am currently displaced. I have no home. It’s de-friggin-lightful.

On Saturday when I was packing my suitcase I put together 5 outfits for work. It’s a slightly tricky kind of year because it’s just now starting to get cold. But even knowing it wasn’t a very smart idea I went and put together mostly a selection of not so terribly warm outfits.

Inevitably one of the many many many downfalls of women’s fashion is that it does not work particularly well in conjunction with staying warm. As someone who is always cold, this stinks.

When I was packing I also did not realize that I’d left my fall-appropriate jacket at home at my parents house. Ouch. And so on Sunday I went back into my temporary storage facility (old neighbor’s garage) and pulled out another sweater and fleece.

This morning it was on the chilly side so I went with a nice layered (all-be-it ¾ length sleeved) outfit. I’m slightly concerned it’ll just get colder in the week and then I’ll wish I’d waited, but so it goes. Then I also put on my fleece as a jacket type thing.

When I arrived at work it was, as always, cold. So I just left the fleece on. And of course turned on my space heater.

Around 10:30 I went to the bathroom and realized the fleece was still on. So returning to my desk I removed the layer. Life was much more sad.

It’s amazing how much more comfy work would be if I could wear absolutely whatever I wanted.

“If they want to see me, here I am. If they want to see my clothes, open my closet and show them my suits.”

Too much of a good thing.

8/20: Send message in response to a guy’s online post.
8/21-8/30: Many long emails.
8/24: Exchange phone numbers.
8/24-present: Many text messages.
8/30(? ): First AIM conversation.
8/31-present: Many AIM conversations typically running quite late (who needs sleep?).
9/7ish: Schedule date for Hershey park on 9/12.
9/8: First brief phone call in-between house hunting.
9/8-9/9: Schedule date for 9/11.
9/11 afternoon: Scrap Hershey park for free tickets to the Baltimore Symphony opening night concert gala plus bus trip.
9/11 evening: 1st date. Appleby’s, Ice Cream, Bowling.
9/12: Free trip to Baltimore, dinner at Cheesecake Factory, hear Lang Lang. Best Date Ever.
9/17: Spontaneous “3rd Date”.
9/18: Made dinner at ‘home’ and Harry Potter in iMax.
9/19: Ridiculously gorgeous weather for Hershey Park.
9/26: Lunch and then he helped pack and move all of my stuff to the neighbor’s garage.
9/26 evening: Officially apply boyfriend/girlfriend titles.
9/27: Early evening walk in the park and dinner after.

"Too much of a good thing is never enough"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Relief and deathly fear.

Yesterday in the comments of one of the blogs I read (Indexed) I found this gem:

"Is there a word for the mixture of smugness, relief and deathly fear of losing jobs that those of us who got into employment in 2007 feel?"

Oh heavens too true.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Anchors away my boys, Anchors away

Jo is joining the Navy.

This is 100% uncool.

Firstly: I need a new place to live. Gah

Secondly: She's my only friend in Harrisburg.

I hate change.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Starting Christmas Presents

I've started knitting my first Christmas present!

Yup, I intend to be prepared this year (finally). And so I've started this scarf using my very own handspun alpaca:

The problem is I have approximately 122 yards of the yarn. And I'm pretty sure that it's going to take over 700. *sigh* 
The color is not great but it's a view of the back side and my progress so far (about 5 days of occasional work).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

By the glare of life.

I finally did another decent ride this past weekend. It’s quite sad but I’ve been suffering from severe lack of motivation and drive this summer. And cycling is one of those things that has been dramatically affected.

A good bit of it has to do with the fact that I’m completely on my own now really for any rides. Every time I ask Jo if she wants to do a ride, be it around town or a sponsored ride, it’s not worked out. Really quite a bummer.

However one of my father’s co-workers, who happens to be close to my own age, has taken up biking. And so she was kind enough to invite me to a ride earlier this summer and then to a second ride which was this weekend.

It was a metric century. So 100KM, or 62 miles. When I signed up for the ride I figured that I had plenty of time to go riding more and get back in shape. This never really happened. A week before the ride I was fairly desperate and pushed myself on two good rides totaling 50 miles. And then I started to feel more and more off. By Thursday I was downright sick. Go figure. Luckily really only hit me that one day and so despite large quantities of gunk in my head and trepidation about my ability to survive the course, I went anyways.

This ride is not a fundraising one in that I had to ask people for money, yay, but it is a fundraiser for the group because they get so many riders. It was rather crazy. Like traffic jam off of the highway to get to the event. That and I got up at like 5am to make it in time. And then waited for my riding buddies to show up.

We left the start at about 8:30. The weather was nice but promised to get hot. Which it did. It was ridiculously hot by the end. And the route is such that there’s barely any shade. It wasn’t particularly bad when we were moving. But when you stopped at a rest stop you felt completely encased in heat and could just feel the sweat building.

 This is actually from a previous ride, but same people and same area!

This was not so good for me with my complexion. I think because I pretty much never go outside during the day and especially not for long periods of time I half forgot how evil the sun is. Although I did have a little travel size one with me that I put some on my nose and back of neck and such at some rest stops. But I think the sun is just too evil because my nose is still a bit red. Then I also got burn in a few places where I either missed or didn't reapply enough like the side of my neck, thin bands on either side of my watch, and bands just below the shorts line. If I tanned I would most certainly have a distinct bike tan. Very annoying.

Stand out moments from the ride for me include: Sometime around mile 6 I think I must have zoned out going down a hill. But I was doing probably 20+ miles and I went off the road…oops. Somehow I managed to just continue down the hill on the field/rocks for probably 100 yards or so and then regained the hill. Whoa.

Also it is notable that I was mildly sick. Got some kind of a cold or allergies or something. It was at it's worst on Thursday when I actually left work early and slept. But I was blowing my nose through the ride. Maybe that's why my nose still burnt. And anyways I had just blown my nose (while riding, no easy feat) when I was informed that bee had flown into my pocket. This was a bit disconcerting because I didn’t want to be stung through my shirt (is that even possible). So after a bit of jiggling around I was informed that the bee was out of the pocket and then it proceeded to crawl around my back up near my shoulder then under my arm etc. And all of this narrated by my fellow bikers being as I have no way while riding of turning and seeing my own back. It was amusing.

It was 62 miles and I came in strong. I felt like I could have done more. And yet it's rather odd because I do still in my mind think it was a good ride, and yet when I think about it all of these painful things come to mind...ah well.

“He, in his developed manhood, stood, a little sunburnt by the glare of life.”

Friday, August 7, 2009

Don't count your owls.

Occasionally I go blog hunting. I’ll pull up a search engine and try to find keywords for things that interest me. Quite a while back while hunting for “Scherenschnitte” I found Cindy’s blog which is appropriately named Scherenschnitte. Quickly I became a dedicated lurker.

As a paper cutter who fails at designing my own things I am absolutely amazed by her delightful designs.

Things got even more exciting when in February she introduced “Template Tuesday’s” with this amazing Queen of Hearts design. Firstly the design is awesome. Secondly I have personal ties to anything that can be Alice in Wonderland related.

I told myself a million times that I would cut one of her designs, but I just never got around to it….until now.

In tribute to the release of the most recent Harry Potter movie Cindy posted a H.P. themed paper cut. And I finally took the initiative and did up this quick easy and fun paper cut:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A string quartet without violins.

My garden this year is pretty awesome. In my humble opinion of course. Yesterday using homegrown tomatoes I made homemade tomato sauce.


The non-cooking type person that I am, and having grown up with busy parents who had to suffer from having two picky little girls to feed, I view tomato sauce as something which comes from a jar. Homemade is just much too advanced.

Last year however I helped J (former roommate, still landlord, friend, person whose description is as convoluted as everything else that I describe in my life) make ginormouse (that’s giant and enormous as one word) batches of tomato sauce from an old family recipe. So there was that. But I still didn’t view it as something that one does for any old meal.

Then I had a bunch of tomatoes from my garden and was determined to consume them somehow. First I used one in a recipe for avocado chicken salad (quite good but definitely scale back the scallions) that I found on Cheap Healthy Good. This left me with 5 tomatoes.

My entirely non-creative thought was, obviously, tomato sauce. I turned to Alton Brown because his show Good Eats with all of the sciency stuff involved is great. Then I did more or less whatever I wanted anyway using the recipe as a rough guide.

Really it was quite simple. I chopped the tomatoes, put a bunch of stuff on them, roasted them for like 2 hours, hunted down my foley mill, ran the tomatoes through, and voila I had tomato sauce!


"A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit.

Sometime last week or maybe this past weekend I finally finished the scarf I’ve been knitting. Seems like I’ve been working on it for just about ever, but looking at the calendar it was begun sometime mid-April. Ok, not forever, but still quite rather slow.

Here’s the finished product:

And here’s the scarf’s story:

One of my close h.s. friends’ families (well its all because of her mom specifically) has alpacas. Facts about alpacas: They, by necessity, are sheared every year. Alpaca fiber is considered an exotic fiber and is quite expensive.

Now these alpacas are pets and so their fiber isn’t necessary of the best quality or anything like that. But for Mrs. D it has particularly sentimental value. And so she’s kept all of the shearings from each year while on and off searching for something to be done with it.

At some point she somehow connected with someone the result of which was three skeins of yarn. This is progress, but no one in the D household is much of crafters. And then someone recalled little ‘ol crafty me.

I happily accepted the task, excited to use quality yarn (my normal is the cheapest non-yucky yarn I can find). And I set about trying to figure out what Mrs. D would like for me to make for her. At first the answer was “whatever”, but after a bit she picked out the scarf pattern.

Given the weight of the yarn (quite thin) my thought had been something lacey. The flaw was that I’ve never knit lace before. So when Mrs. D liked the cable pattern, I’ve cabled often before, I went for it.

I neglected to consider the relative volume of cabling involved in this pattern. And it wasn’t so simple that I ever managed to have it memorized. So I’ll blame that for my slowness. Although the associated revelation of spinning my own yarn plus everything else I’m doing lately ought to be included.

Now I have my eye on dozens of other knitting projects, so quick and easy to pick out awesome things, yet so slow to actually realize. Ah well. I’ve already started a glove (my first glove ever!), the intent being to at some point make a pair of gloves to match the scarf.

I think I must be a glutton for punishment.

“Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit, either.”

Monday, August 3, 2009

Grocery Shopping: It's fun.

Way back when....I started to blog, it was my intent to have a personal finance blog. This stems from my obsession with personal finance. Then I pretty much ignored this premesis and wrote about whatever I wanted, well at least when I wrote at all.

But with that in mind I wanted to post about my grocery trip yesterday. When J moved out probably a month or two ago now I was rather excited with regards to food. You see I was completely spoiled in that she did all of the shopping and cooking really. It was kind of ridiculous. But it was also no where near as frugal as I am with myself. Also probably not necessarily as healthy.

And so with that in mind I give you yesterday's groceries:

Cucumber: .50 - Easy to eat vegetable. Sold per cucumber so I looked for a good sized one.
2 Ears of White Corn: .50 - Half vegetable half starch. I was looking for medium sized ones because if they're too big they don't fit in my pot but they were all pretty large. I leave the husks on because I won't get to eating them for a few days.
Green Pepper: .46 - So I got this more or less because it was on sale and recipes keep calling for peppers. We'll see how long it lasts and if I use it or not.
Asparagus: 1.61 - A particularly tasty vegetable I've recently discovered.
Eggplant: 1.08 - This was an experiment. I've never really eaten egg plant but it was on sale so I went for it. I'd forgotten from my produce day's how huge the suckers are. Tonight I cut off two good slices. Gave them a bit of olive oil and salt then grilled them. Put a bit of parmesean cheese on after grilling and it was half decent. Now we'll see how the rest of the thing keeps now that it's cut.
2 Bartlett Pears: 1.71 - Fruit of the week it seems. Too bad these suckers weigh a good bit. Relatively expensive which is sad.
Orange Juice: 1.50 - Not quite sure how this will be as it's non name-brand. But for the price I'm sure I'll drink it anyways.
Pretzels: 2.50 - I take a calculator with me and I could see that I was doing quite well and I knew that I'd pretty much run out of snacks in the house so I splurged on these puppies.
Wheat Bread: .99 - Generally I don't get bread. It's difficult for one person to eat a whole loaf before it goes bad and I'm not a fan of the freezer/fridge idea. But I wanted bread for lunches this week and this turned out quite cheaper than budgeted. Yay. Maybe I'll freeze some anyways just because recently I'd think of something to eat and then realize I have bread. I did this for like so many different things. Kinda lame.
2 Powerades: 2.00 - For after biking purposes only. It seems that either these or gatorades (my norms) are always on sale 10/$10.
Tomato Soup: .97 - One of two items that was not on sale. But since I was under budget I figured this shall work well for when I can't figure out what to eat.
Pea Soup Mix: 1.00 - A complete random find. But I love pea soup and so far I've been too lazy to make it. If this turns out well the company has all kinds of different types of soups. I'm not quite sure when I'll make it however being as normally soup is a lunch thing for me and I'd already planned for chicken salad sandwitches all week. Ah well. It also happened to be on sale - w00t.
Brown Sugar: 1.39  - The second and final non-sale item. Randomly useful and I only have like 1/4 cup left.
Macaroni and Cheese: 1.25 - This was in fact a planned item. Mostly with the reasoning being that last week I kinda sucked at meals so I kept being at a loss for what to eat and this type of thing is useful in such situations. And in fact I already made it tonight. I also tried a random brand that had a nicer looking picture than most (yay marketing). It happened to be organic - weird. The result was mediocre at best.
Apple Juice: 1.25 - Being as I don't like water, I drink juice. Specifically this shall be for my lunches. Really it would be so much easier if I would just drink water. Ah well.
The grand total: 10.70
Just about everything was on sale. That's how I generate my shopping list, browsing the sales circular. The "bonuscard savings" on this trip were 7.14.
I go shopping basically once a week. With the only exception really being milk. The problem with the milk is that I seem to vary from week to week with my consumption so I can't figure if a gallon or half gallon is appropriate.
It's ridiculous, and it's awesome.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The sweet, gracious discourses.

Way back when this year started I believe I was feeling a bit at odds. I do believe I must have had way too much free time back then because for whatever reason I decided it would be a good idea to read at least a book a week for 2009.

For a time this was easy. But by mid-spring things were rather busy and it was becoming difficult. I have allowed myself a bit of cheating by counting any audio books that I consume. Realistically they take significantly longer to get through the book, but I can get in ‘reading’ hours while driving or when I’ve not finished the book after the drive I’ll listen and do crafts.

This is the 30th week of 2009. I’ve more or less been tracking what I read through but it’s been a while since I actually calculated how I was doing. And so here is an exhaustive, hopefully, list of books which I have consumed:

Across the Nightingale Floor - Hearn, Lian
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Haddon, Mark
Children of Dune - Herbert, Frank
Dancing On My Grave - Kirkland, Gelsey
The Kite Runner - Hosseini, Khaled
Holding on to the air: An Autobiography - Farrell, Suzanne
Shaman’s Crossing - Hobb, Robin
The Friday Night Knitting Club - Jacobs, Kate
All the King’s Men - Warren, Robert Penn
My Sister’s Keeper - Picoult Jodi
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia - Gilbert, Elizabeth
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - See, Lisa
Animal Farm - Orwell, George
Brisingr - Paolini, Christopher
Anansi Boys - Gaiman, Neil
A Thousand Splendid Suns - Hosseini, Khaled
Artemis Fowl - Colfer, Eoin
Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident - Colfer, Eoin
The Children of Hurin - Tolkien, J.R.R.
The Secret Life Of CeeCee Wilkes - Chamberlain, Diane
Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code - Colfer, Eoin
Fellowship of the Ring - Tolkien, J.R.R.
Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception - Colfer, Eoin
Invisible Man - Ellison, Ralph
The Fellowship of the Ring - Tolkien, J.R.R.
Dragonflight - McCaffrey, Anne
Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony - Colfer, Eoin
God Emperor of Dune - Herbert, Frank
Dragonquest - McCaffrey, Anne
New Spring - Jordan, Robert
The World According to Garp - Irving, John
The History of Love - Krauss, Nicole
Odd Hours - Koontz, Dean
The White Dragon - McCaffrey, Anne

And the grand total is: 34!

Yay I’m actually a bit ahead.

“Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness.”

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hydrant Hysteria: Part II

On May 20th the fates changed in my favor. I was going through the mail at the office I noticed something from the Downtown Improvement District (sponsors of this whole shebang). I immediately opened it and then ran to my co-worker/partner in design’s office to show her the good news. We then proceeded to inform every other staff member of our success.

She recommended going home to see if I’d heard about my other designs. But I come to work at 8:30 and leave at 4:30, none of this in between crap. So by the time I left for home I’d pretty much forgotten about it. And then remembering, soon found myself delighted to be have had ALL 3 of my designs selected! Whoa.

Unfortunately Jo supposedly sent in a design of her own that was not selected (she never showed it to me). So I felt a bit bad being so excited about mine. But all 3….wow that’s crazy.

There was a reception for all of the artists on June 3rd. I tried to find someone to go with me, but to no avail. I steeled myself for the awkwardness that is me at socializing type events.

This also meant that I had to drive downtown. As a general rule I don’t go downtown. The exception being for concerts. So I have my well established route down to the Forum and back home. I also occastional go to one other performing arts venue, but I park in the parking garage (and lose my car) every time.

Downtown I went. And I even found street parking! It was pretty spectacular. I procured my materials including the locations of my hydrants. One of my former co-workers was there so I stood around awkwardly for a while hoping he would finish the conversation he was in then I could talk to him. It was to avail and after a bit I determined that I’d had enough and went to leave. However he had seen me and so quickly caught up with me and we chatted a bit before I returned home.

The materials I received there gave me the locations of the hydrants.

They seemed good. I was excited.

[to be continued.....this is a long story]

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hydrant Hysteria

Sometime in April I came across some publicity that my city was having what they called “Hydrant Hysteria”. There were 58 hydrants in the downtown district that would be available to be painted. Artists and community members were invited to submit design proposals for the hydrants.

I thought it would be the most awesome thing ever to paint something, in the public, that is more or less permanent. And so my idea was to make as many designs as possible and submit them thereby giving us (I sucked Jo in) a better chance of being selected.

However as a good many of my plans go, this one fell to the wayside. The deadline (May 1) approached and designs had not been made. Then in a rather last ditch effort I spent an evening making two designs.

The first was my original idea: a penguin. I have a mild obsession with penguins, but as a card carrying member of the Secret Society of Penguins, I feel this is perfectly acceptable. Also it should be noted that “we were penguins before it was cool”. This was the result:

SSO Penguin (see how I snuck in my SSOP reference)
A bit lame but it’s mostly just an inside joke with me and my h.s. friends.

Then I worked on my awesome idea that had suddenly struck me that day or the day before. I had been trying to think of something that would tie into the city itself somehow. And I noticed this picture:

Supreme Court Dome
My city is the state capitol and that is the Supreme Court Dome in the capitol building. I’m a big fan of slightly abstract repetitive patterns and so I went for it:

Supreme Cournt Dome

I loved it.

Now I was torn as to what I should submit. The penguin had significantly more personal value to me, but the dome was just a lot better looking and I liked it as well. So I decided that decisions were no fun and submitted both a day or two before the deadline.

A few weeks prior to the deadline I had mentioned to one of my co-workers about the whole thing. She had heard about it from another co-worker and the concensus was that the Symphony should submit a design. However spring is a ridiculously busy time here and so nothing ever became of it….until April 30.

That evening I once again stayed up late with my random drawing supplies and used the ideas that she and I had bounced back and forth to create a 3rd design:

Symphony Under the Stars

It turned out well. And I mailed it the next day.

All in all I was nervous. I couldn’t decide if I thought that no one would hear about it and I’d have a really good chance of being chosen or if my hurried attempts at being an artist would be in vain. Although I did have high hopes for the Symphony as the design turned out well and frankly we are a fairly major institution in this town.

Anxiously I waited for the listed May 15th deadline of when artists would be informed of success. The 15th came and went and I heard nothing. In fact that weekend I was downtown working the last concert of the season. There was a primed hydrant right outside of the venue that just sat there taunting me. I was sad.

[to be continued]

Monday, June 8, 2009


I have decided to once again attempt to revitalize this blog.

Recent things I want to post on:
Hydrant Hysteria

Wish me luck.