Monday, October 25, 2010


I'm coming to realize that I really want a nice Christmas this year. A tree, gifts, decorations...

I don't know if Merrie will be at home, and I can't control (or even affect) that, but I think Geordie and I aren't going to England this year. I want to make the holiday something that he and I can look forward to, with little traditions and joys just for the two of us.

I have a door wreath I made last year, but I think I'll make some garlands (paper snowflake ones would be pretty, don't you think?), find a good spot for a tree...

I want us to be cozy and happy, and I think I can start here.

For those of you who are in smaller families, what traditions do you find most meaningful? What about most fun?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Daily Random

I had to go to Joanne's Fabrics today, because I've lost my can of spray basting for quilts. I bought a can right before we left on the trip and now it's gone. *argh*

Whilst there, I bought a wooden footstool for the kitchen; the sink is a bit too high for me and washing dishes with my boobs resting on the counter is, well, not entertaining for me. The stool is a little high, so I might try taking a bit off each of the legs, but probably not. I will, however, be covering it with a piece of photorealistic scrapbook paper with an image of river rock pebbles on. I'm painting the sides of the stool grey (to match the pebbles), and the legs in two different colors of yellow. I'll probably use grey on the legs as well. I'll take pictures, I promise.

I also got a sharpener for the blades of my fabric cutter; I use a rotary cutter (which is, essentially, a smaller pizza cutter) and the blades seem to get dull really quickly. I figured that a $15 sharpener, assuming it works, will save me lots of money on new blades.

Anyway, in body image and shape news, I'm shifting to a 1200 calorie a day diet. Yes, I'm paying attention to nutrition - I'm not interested in dying of nutritive deficiencies! (I was talking to Kam about it and joked that I could drink two small lattes (about 100 calories each) and 5 Snickers bars and be set (calorically) for the day, but I wouldn't be able to finish a second Snickers bar in reality. I can't eat that much sugar all at once.) I'm also trying to drink more water and I'm going back to trying to get onto the bike every day. For my height and size, 1200 calories/day isn't really unreasonable, either. Given that I'm 4'9" tall, one of the standard calculations doesn't even go down far enough to determine my base caloric need, a realization that caused much amusement in my Nutrition class. (It gave a variable based on inches over 5'... and I'm not.)

Anyway, the correct way to do this is to calculate your Base Metabolic Rate, then multiply the given number by a ratio dependent upon one's activity level (I put Sedentary; let's be honest, shall we?), which will give one the number of calories one should eat to maintain one's current weight.

That site's BMR calculator says I have a resting metabolic rate of 1366 calories; dropping my actual intake closer to 1200 will certainly get my weight down. I'll be exercising and eating a multivitamin, and I'm not crazy, so if I find that I'm terribly hungry, I'll eat. This is an attempt to get to a healthier weight, not a desire to become anorexic. However, if my BMR is 1366, the fact that I wasn't losing weight before, when I was just exercising and trying to "eat better" (but without conciously restricting my calories), is less confusing.

We've also been trying to cut out things like high-fructose corn syrup, so I've been on a label-reading kick. Breakfast cereals have astronomically high calorie loads, did you know that? And the nutrition information on the side of the grits box differs from what's online, unless the grits box is using dry (uncooked) measures and Teh Intarwebs is using wet (cooked) measures. (Which makes sense, given the difference in quantities.) Protein is good at every meal, and salads are always fun to eat. I'm giving myself something of a pass on the caloric count in things like strawberries and cherries - sure, they're sweet, but they're seasonal, delicious, and, well, I love fresh fruit. NOM.

So anyway, I've done okay for the past couple of days, but I'm probably over. I am drinking a lot more water, and I'll be on the bike tomorrow for the first time since coming home. I hope I remember how to ride. *grin*

I found a blog where someone talked about doing something similar to this - she had originally been thinking of trying one of the programs that sends you food, but wasn't willing to cook for her family and not be able to eat what she'd worked so hard on. She did very well on a low-calorie diet, and switched to drinking only water. Now, see, that's something I'm NOT going to be able to do. I can't give up coffee! *clings to coffee*

I'm hoping tomorrow will be busy and productive. I'm still not finished with the damned quilts, I have some other sewing I need to get done, and there's the inevitable laundry to deal with. *sigh*

Merrie's working now, four hours a day, five days a week. She's a locker attendant at the pool near her school. I'm glad she's got a job, even though it's working with her (idiot) boyfriend. I sort of wish it were a heavier retail sort of job, so she could see just how awful retail can be, but I guess this is the best we can get for now. Plus, any sign of responsible behavior from her is a big positive thing.

It's very late, so I'm going to bed. I've made Geordie's lunch for tomorrow, I've done a bit of embroidery, I've laughed with Geordie at the stupid questions people ask on Yahoo Answers - time for bed and snuggles, I think.

Oh, for dinner? I made chicken thighs breaded with cornmeal and spices, steamed green beans, and pan dry-steamed garlicy collard greens. The chicken thighs turned out very well - baked in the oven and delicious. The collard greens, unfortunately, were very bitter; I'll have to find a way to deal with that. They're not always this bitter. Sometimes they taste more like broccoli. I'm hoping it's just the batch of collard that I got. (The dry steaming? Heat a pan, toast some garlic slices, then toss in a bunch of roughly chopped collard greens. Cover the pan and let the collard cook down - it's a remarkably watery vegetable. If I add liquid to this, it turns out mushy and horrid.) Fresh strawberries with a little whipped cream for dessert.

Okay, time for bed for me. G'night!


Friday, July 9, 2010

Random post

So, there are things in my life I regret, and I'm not going to talk about them, because regret makes me crazy. Only, sometimes I am forcefully and directly reminded of what I've lost, choices I'd re-make, if I could, and I ... regret, with the dark and bitter finality of futility and despair.

In other news, I'm out of black sharpie pens. How can this happen? I have a bunch of pretty colors, but no black? Argh. Relatedly, it turns out that the picture frame I wanted to use the black sharpie on ... won't take sharpie, so I'll have to use paint. *sigh*

I've printed out a cute image of a bunch of pots and pans to put into a frame so I can keep track of what I've planned for dinners. I bought a good frame for it at IKEA yesterday, when I went to buy fitted sheets (how is it that I have previously purchased only flat sheets - yes, I know IKEA has pictures of flat or fitted on their damned sheets, I know. I know. Every other time, I swear, I've looked at the pictures, then bought the wrong ones. This time I said the words "Fitted Sheet" outloud to myself as I picked up the ones I wanted. They remained fitted sheets all the way home, and now there's one on the bed. *sigh*).

ANYWAY. Frames. I bought three, one pink, one blue, and one black - the pink is for the kitchen, the blue for me for something and the black is for an embroidery project I haven't started yet, but will. The embroidered state maps, if you remember me mentioning it.

The thing is, the pink frame looks, well, plain and I'd like it to be prettier. I thought I'd just draw on it with a black sharpie, but lo, no black sharpies. I found a nice dark purple one, but lo, it doesn't stick to the frame. Lo, I will be using my fine line paintbrush and some black paint.

I slashed the middle finger on my left hand with the metal tabs of the frame - just at the inside crease of the knuckle closest to the tip. Argh.

I have pictures I want to upload from my camera and I can't find the card reader thing. I'd thought I'd brought it with me to New Hampshire, but I couldn't find it there and now I can't find it here. I'm sure it IS here, but I'm too cluttered to find it. Argh.

I still have to take a shower, finish the donation quilt, work on a quilt square for an online quilting bee I'm in (I have ideas, but I'm not sure I can make them work. I'm looking forward to trying, though.) and finish picking out some knitting for a friend.

I also can't stand the clutter in my craft room any more. I'm DONE with it. I was in there yesterday, and ... well, I don't use most of that stuff, so why am I keeping it? If it's in the boxes, and I never open the boxes, I probably will never use/need/want it. An old friend of mine, I mean someone I was friends with years ago and have now fallen out of touch with, saw my cluttered storage space and asked if I knew that free space has a value as well, and that I was wasting money by storing things - often it cost less to replace a thing than to store it forever. I think I'll go through each box, just to make sure there's nothing I do need but that got stuck in there in my last minute cleaning panic, then give the boxes away wholesale to the local art re-use place.

And I agree with that, except I don't have room for my mother's furniture. I don't have much of it, but the pieces I do have are ones I know I want to keep. While we were in New Hampshire, we idly looked at houses for sale. There wasn't one under 2K square feet of living space and most have at least 2 acres of land. I need to hurry up and finish school!

I think that's it for now. There's more in my head, but I need to get started.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Getting back to the real world

So, I have to get back into the swing of things. I've been trying to make a list of things I want to get done, but I've now misplaced the damned paper I was making the list on!


Yesterday I started knitting the Laminaria blanket for us, and I started working on a quilt for a charity thing that Downy is doing called Quilts for Kids. It's very straightforward - all I have to put in is my own time, batting and the return postage. I'm thinking of using some of the fabrics I have but don't want any more to make more quilts for them. Also, to find out if there are local places that would be interested in kid's quilts. It's a better use for the fabric than just donating it to the Depot for Creative Re-Use.

Also, yesterday, at the yarn store, one of my friends gave me some qiviut fiber - a bag of unspun, uncarded random qiviut fiber! It still has guard hairs and everything! I'm sort of delighted out of proportion to what it is, but it's very very amusing to me.

I haven't eaten anything yet, so I think I'll go make something to eat, then get back on the bike. I'll make it once around the island, then get back to work. I do wish I could find my list, though.


Monday, July 5, 2010

School Stuff

So, in order to bring my gpa up (it's 3.5; the school I want to get into typically accepts people at 3.7), I've enrolled in a basic Physics course. I anticipate much amusement, learning, and fun. Geordie's looking forward to it as well, I think. I have to get an A, no matter what. What's the ballistic curve of a flying A?

I'm trying to find a way to bring my non-English language skills up to mediocre. I can get an additional 5 points towards acceptance with foreign language skills. The way it works is the applicant gets a teacher/authority to sign a form that states the applicant has achieved a minimum level in their chosen foreign language. This is done with a scale ranging from 1: doesn't speak the foreign language, to 5: fluent native speaker. In order to get the five points, any applicant must rate a 3 or higher. Thus, I need to achieve mediocrity in my chosen language.

Given the timing of the physics course, I think the only class I can get into is a French 1A course, which is ... really going to be a brush-up and reminder course for me. I'd wanted to do Spanish, but there aren't any classes into which I can fit. Spanish is more useful, in my area, than French, but I've previously been a fluent native-level speaker in French, so it should be easier to re-achieve mediocrity. American Sign Language is only offered at the one campus with no parking and in a difficult urban area to get to. Arabic, Chinese and Japanese have similar issues, and I'm not sure I can achieve mediocrity in them in time anyway.

French it is, I guess. I'd sort of like to use my friend Kam's copy of Rosetta Stone Spanish, but I'm not sure I can. Anyway, my Tuesdays and Thursdays are now fully scheduled, from 9am through 1:50. Tuesdays will then continue to the yarn store at 4 through 6pm.

I should also re-take the TEAS test. This is the test which I'd scheduled, then forgotten and for which I didn't study at all. It's basic, and I didn't get 100%, which is somewhat humiliating. In some cases, I think it's that I disagree with what the test thinks is correct. (I'm pretty confident in my understanding of sentence structure, but I didn't do well on that part of the test. Hmmm...) Regardless, I can take it a second time, and the school takes the higher of the two scores.

I think I should also talk to the community college and find out how to get the AA degree I have all the credits for. At this point, I should start putting letters behind my name, right?

I still haven't gone grocery shopping. Hmmm.


Home and Happy

Well, apparently, I shopped a bit too much. (It was all craft supplies, which will be lovely souvenirs, really! I'll take pictures to show you!) I got all of my stuff into my bag, but was over-weight by 10 pounds. We ran out and got a new bag (*sigh*), so we could bring home the delicious smoked meats and could spread out the weight from all of our luggages.

Anyway, our flight home was two flights; we flew from Manchester, in New Hampshire, bounced at Chicago Midway (spending that 40 minutes eating a quick meal), then flew direct to Oakland, which is less than 10 minutes from home. We got in half an hour early, which was nice. We mostly unpacked our clothes and general stuffs quickly, so I feel like we're a bit ahead of the game there. (I have a terrible problem with unpacking - if I don't do it quickly, I ... do it glacially slowly. Geordie's better about this, so maybe he'll rub off on me.)

The kitties were pretty muchly hysterical with delight to see us. (It's kind of funny to see cats actually get excited - they're usually so deliberately blase about things, but BC and Butter have both been clingy and talkative. I wish I understood Cat; I'm sure they're telling me important things.) BC spent some of this morning sleeping on Geordie's lap, which she hasn't done much since we brought her home from the pound (she prefers to be on the couch next to us, rather than ON us.) She was quite distressed when we went out last night to get milk, eggs and bread.

We're slowly seeing things that need to be caught up on, or dealt with. The hummingbird feeder is empty. We need to go grocery shopping - we're out of vegetables and general food supplies. I had to test my fishes' water; they're showing signs of stress, which I assume is too much nitrite in the water (it was!), so I've put in some nitrite remover. And, for good measure, some ammonia remover as well. I'll give it a day and see how they're doing. I also gave them some of the shrimp pellet food, which they love, even though it makes their water cloudy. I still have to clean out their filter.

There are other things I need to get done soon, but I'm finding that I'm easily distracted, so I'd better start a list. (Yay, lists!)

Anyway, I think I'm going to go make a list now, and maybe see about doing some all important final relaxation before the week starts. How was your weekend?


Friday, July 2, 2010

So we went to a local touristy maple place, Parker's, for a late brunch, then idled about on the way to Concord, where Geordie had seen, a few days ago, a place that does professional bra fittings. Zoe & Company is filled with a variety of lingerie, ranging from full-coverage sorts of plainer bras to fancy corsets and matching bra and undies sets. They had some things that I liked, that were pretty, but a couple of other things that I've seen, but wouldn't wear unless you paid me an awful lot. This, for example.

That link is NOT worksafe. Just to let you know.

So, I actually am wearing the right size of bra, but Merrie was ... not. She's wearing a very different size! She's a mixture of embarrassed and amused. She has two new, expensive bras. I got one, just for camaraderie, and for prettiness. I tried on a longline thing but it made my boobs look like 1940's forward pointing cones. Amusing enough to take a picture for Geordie, not amusing enough to buy (or to show you the picture. I see you looking interested, there in the back! *grin*).

When we got back to Jack and Amy's house, Amy was finishing up her third coat of paint on the bits of (plastic) siding they're about to put onto the house. I helped move things around with her, then came in and started making bits of dinner. She'd put a chicken in her counter-top rotisserie (which is a pretty cool trick) and I made roasted mini purple potatoes, sauteed onions with mushrooms (which needed more flavor. I think I overcooked them. *sigh*) and steamed broccoli in the microwave. Chopped fruit with cream for dessert and then we rolled ourselves to the livingroom to watch another two episodes of Band of Brothers.

I've gotten lots of work done on a Random Circles embroidery piece, but I haven't taken any pictures yet. I'll see about doing that tomorrow, okay?

I think we're going to the Shaker village tomorrow. At the very least, we're going to eat there - Geordie and Amy both say the restaurant is excellent.

I'll be doing a lot of cycling when we get home. We're leaving in just a couple of days. How did three weeks go by so quickly?