Saturday, September 29, 2007

The F word

To the girl in the upstairs apartment:

Yes, thank you - the whole neighborhood now knows that your man (and I use that term loosely) is a liar, cheater, and general all-around loser. Fact is, we all kind of knew that about him before you did - after all this town is about 1 square mile - and if you had bothered to check for local references on that particular fish, we'd have told you to throw it back. No shame in catch and release, but god forbid you take something home and find out it's just stinking up your kitchen and is no good at all.

Personally - I think that carrying around that much anger on a regular basis must be absolutely exhausting. So perhaps it helps you to vent it occasionally. And I don't know if you are a smoker - but I certainly have to be impressed at your lung capacity and the sheer volume you are able to produce.

But I'd really appreciate it if you could consider a bit more creativity in your expression. I mean, essentially everything is about the F word. "F you, F-ing loser, get the F away from me, F-ing liar, shut the F up, F-ing cheater, get the F out"....hasn't the F word just about been done to death at this point? Would you consider trying something new?

Foreign languages are always in good taste (with the exception of Spanish, as that is not truly a "foreign" language here) and I think you will find that a few minutes on the internet or a brief visit to the library is all that you will need to get you started. How about genitalia euphemisms? Practically a classic and still there's a wealth of popular material there. And let's not forget anatomically impossible acts - those are where you can really find the opportunity for inspiration.

I hope these suggestions have been helpful. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors, and please feel free to contact me if you need assistance in obtaining moving boxes.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Too much of a good thing

Since I'm going into my 10th (!!!) year of living on this island I think I 'm fairly adjusted to the ups & downs, along with the ins & outs, of living in a tourism economy. Part of that is recognizing that being a port of call for a couple of cruise ships in the middle of the week is actually a good thing. Midweek is when the visitor counts are down, and if I ran one of the local retail establishments I'm sure I'd be quite grateful for the business they bring. And a relatively new business owner recently admitted to me that instead of looking at the cruise ship passengers clogging the streets and stores of the town as a pain, he now welcomes them with open arms. 'Cause those cruise ship folks? They do like to shop! So every Monday starts the week nice and quiet, good day to stroll down Front Street, go to lunch, do your grocery shopping, etc.

Then on Tuesday we see this:

And then on Wednesday we see this:

And then we get another nice quiet day when we can actually enjoy the town we live in again - like it's normal or something. (Heh!)

But on Thursday morning I woke up and from my bedroom window I saw this:

I thought something along the lines of "ahhhh, great creeping crudballs! %$%@#!!! Fine I might as well just go do laundry."

But then this morning (err..hello! Friday!) I woke up, looked out my bedroom window and saw:

Is it possible, I mean just possible (and I know I risk the wrath of others here - this is practically blasphemy) but could this perhaps be too much of a good thing?

Monday, September 24, 2007

In 30 Days

I've been a baaaaad blogger - no posts at all over the weekend. And I don't want to be one of those people who never blog on weekends - gee, can ya tell whose blogging at work? Anyway, I did complete a project I meant to share over the weekend, but somehow time just sort of got away from me.

I always loved Morgan Spurlock's "Thirty Days" just the concept alone is enough to hook me. How much can someone change in just 30 days? So I decided to take that challenge and apply it to something I wanted to change. Namely - the pathetic state of my own physical fitness.

I used to joke about how many miles I racked up each day just on the job - trekking back and forth, over and over, from the corporate office building to my little hut, not to mention zigzagging around town to the booths, hotels, etc. But then I changed jobs. And found myself sitting on my tiny hiney, all day, in a little corner, behind a partition. Gettin' zero exercise and a flat butt. Not good, not at all. Gym attendance would have been smart - certainly would have been geographically convenient! ('Bout a few feet away.) But it never happened.

In the past when I've fallen off the treadmill, I've used personal bribes to get myself back in the gym. Hit the gym at least three times a week and buy myself a new book, or a CD, or something to reward myself. And that would carry me through the first month or so, until the changes to my body became the apparent and the only reward needed. But the last thing I want to be doing now is spending money for a gym membership and then having to work my schedule to theirs. But I did want to get myself in shape again. I reasoned that I could walk anywhere and everywhere for free, and I do own a couple sets of free weights. So I set a goal of 30 days during which I had to either walk or lift weights every day, and at the end of that 30 days, I'd get myself a big ticket reward. Yep, that's right - EVERY day for 30 days - you got it.

I tracked myself on a calender posted inside one of my kitchen cupboards:

Where I marked off that day's exercise and counted down the days. And last Thursday, with no particular fanfare, just one very long walk followed by a nice dinner (thanks A. & S.!), I marked off day 30.

Did it make a difference? Well, I truly can't tell if the hiney's looking any better! But I can walk up the hills of my town without getting out of breath, and stroll up to the ballfield and back without being crippled the next day. And after EVERY day for 30 days, just keeping up a routine of a few times a week should be easy. So altogether worth it in every way. Oh, and the reward I chose?

Come to mama sweet thang!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The merits of (truly) indoor plumbing

After all the fuss at the City Council meeting about rainfall a month earlier than expected, preparing for mudslides, school being cancelled, etc. I was laughing fairly hard when all we got this morning was a brief sprinkle and then it turned to this:

But later in the afternoon the clouds came in, bringing a bit of thunder and the much anticipated precipitation. Now this is what I was looking for:

I am happy that I stopped working and started on this one year sabbatical early enough in the year to be able to enjoy the long days and the lovely summer weather. But I've long suspected that it would take a foul weather day to make me really appreciate it.

Here is why - I have had 2 different jobs and 3 different offices that did not have their own bathrooms. Have had access to coffee makers, microwaves, refrigerators, even sinks - but not that one all-important porcelain fixture. Every day, including rainy ones, one was required one to exit the office and travel outside to get to a toilet. So having spent the last 6 years of my working life putting on a rainjacket and umbrella everytime I needed to pee, well...I'm appreciating being at home on the days on inclement weather. And I think I've come up with a requirement for future places of employment.

What I can't help wondering about is that when I first moved here to the island, accepting a job for employer #1, I lived for the first 6 months in their dorm-style company housing. And my room had the particular distinction of having an "outside shower", meaning that you had to step outside your own tiny little cell.....err....I mean room and take a few steps in the fresh air, and then go into a little shower closet. Perhaps I should have taken that as a sign?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Brownielocks and the Three Hats

First, this is the pic for the webring I wanted to join:

And while I do have a couple of ideas on how to add that image to the code in the sidebar and make it work, I'm just not up to tackling that tonight. A couple hours ago for dinner I managed to consume half a pound of shrimp (and you who ate the other half the pound - you know who you are!) and now I have an overwhelming desire to assume a horizontal position and stay that way. And the really sick thing? Now that I'm home for most of the day I've gotten into the habit of sort of snacking my way through the day (in a healthy way). So less than an hour after helping 15-20 shrimps move on to their next lives I went to the freezer to get a few cubes for my drink, saw the ice cream sitting there, and my taste buds said, "ooooh, yeah, gimme that!" To which my stomach replied, "oh no girlfriend - do NOT go there!" The battle rages on.

I have a goal to be able to knit hats that actually fit my pointy little head and this seems to be a challenge for me. When I started knitting a couple years ago my first project was a very simple garter stitch hat. The first time I used the pattern I loved the color and the yarn I used but the hat was really tight, even for my (as previously mentioned) pointy little head
and yes, I DID get gauge.

Then recently I tried again, making a few changes, including size and ended up with something really huge. Obviously since it's acrylic I can't felt it, but perhaps I can add a strap and make it into a bag. Either that or find someone with a really big head!

Then the other night during the city council meeting and Eureka, I finished this:

I'm not particulary in love with it, but I didn't really expect to be. The yarn is acrylic again, and while it doesn't squeek or anything, you can tell by the feel that it's acrylic. I have plenty of the blue camo yarn so "practice hats" seems like a good use for it. The result is a hat that I don't really like the look of, but at least it fits my head. The somewhat sad part is that I still have enough of that yarn to do another hat!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What is the sound of one brain cell sizzling?

Oh sheesh! Please forgive a small mess on the sidebar. In an effort to increase traffic to my blog (without actually telling everyone I know, "hey, look at what I'm doing with my total lack of a social life") I'm signing up for a web ring and having difficulty. I've got the code for the ring, and a cute little pic, just integrating the two is seeming to be a problem. I can't blame this on blogger, I've found others on that ring with blogger accounts. I fully accept that this is a classic case of PEBCAK (Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard) and the habit of doing this sort of thing at the end of my day, when my brain is fried, has basically bitten me on the butt. (Wow, was that colorful enough?)

Rather than continuing to struggle with it, and possibly make things even worse, I am going to take the wiser course of action. Put down the mouse, back away from the computer, and go knit something. Preferably in garter stitch. Tomorrow I'll take a fresh look at it and if I can get two brain cells to line up next to each other at the right moment, I'll figure it out and fix it. If not, I'll be sending "Hi, can you help me? I'm an idiot!" emails to complete strangers who knit and have cats.

After you plot your data...

It still amazes me that I'm getting an A in my statistics class. I flip back through pages of notes and see all of these little diagrams with shaded bits and formulas with numbers and odd notations and since it's in my writing - I guess I must have done all that. I am giving a major portion of the credit on this to the class itself - it's really well written and breaks down all the information into small, manageable sections. It's really designed to make absolutely sure you fully understand each concept before you move on to the next one, with non-credit self-checking quizzes and a tutor available by an 800 number or email. But wow - am I ever grateful that this class turned out to be one of the best of the bunch. (Unlike certain OTHER classes which we will discuss at a later date - perhaps when the appropriate beverages are within reach.) I'm a little nervous about the exams, because while it's one thing to select the right formula, plug in the numbers, and then solve it correctly - there's supposed to be a section of problems that require you to interpret and discuss the results. This I find difficult sometimes! But maybe that's because I try to read too much into it, and maybe sometimes, the answer is very simple.

During World War II a statistician named Abraham Wald worked on war problems and some of the statistical methods he invented were militiary secrets until the war ended. But some of the methods he used to address problems were not that complicated. When the militairy asked him where extra armour plating should be added to airplanes, Wald studied the location of enemy bullet holes in planes returning from combat. He plotted the locations on an outline of a plane. As the data accumulated, most of the outline filled up. Wald then told the militairy to put the armour in the few spots where no bullet holes were marked. That's where bullets hit the planes that didn't make it back.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Art Walk '07

Yesterday afternoon I did finally go out for a walk and then strolled down Front Street to check out the booths at the art festival. It seems like every year there are less and less vendors participating in this event and the few people that I mentioned that to agreed with me. I wonder if A) the event organizers have recognized this, B) the event organizers have recognized this as an actual problem, and C) the event organizers plan to do anything about it? (A, B, C may seem logical to you or I, but things don't always happen that way here.)

So if you are wondering where the wild things are, I can tell you that that this weekend they were here:

With the Eisenhut sisters who wore their matching shirts while selling the dichroic glass items crafted by Alice Eisenhut-Torres. (Yes, I know I should have gotten a better picture of both the shirts and the goods on the table - I'm learning). Since I'm trying to focus on spending money only on necessities or that which seriously improves my quality of life, and a pretty glass hairclip does not fall into either of those categories, it was necessary to move on quickly.

And my former roommate Danny Peterson was deep in conversation with a potential patron of the arts:

And then of course, saving the best for last, there was Lesly Lieberman:

Who makes such beautiful jewelry that if (like me) you can't buy, you'd better get someone strong to hold onto your wallet for you. (Yes, Lesly. Your future's so bright you should wear shades!)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Teddy Bears in Tu-Tus

A couple years ago my friend D. invited me to check out the Harvest Festival with her at the Long Beach Convention Center. She knew me well enough to know I dig that kind of thing and actually used to work for one of the vendors on this particular show's "circuit" (if that's the right word for it). Now I've learned over the years that the goods offered at these events can range from the amazing to the truly god-awful. And yes, I do admit that is very much subject to personal taste, one person's idea of hideousness-beyond-even-kitschy-cool can be what someone else considers craft, or even ('scuse me while I swallow hard) art.

That year, one of those such items was discovered and has been used as a point of reference in many conversations since. If anyone ever reads this, and ends up feeling offended, please keep in mind this is all just my personal opinion, and truly, if you can actually run a business that makes money selling those sort of things - I might just be a tad jealous.

Yesterday, I went back to that annual event and was pleased to see that there were absolutely none of these:

I was quite relieved. There were lots of other nifty things and I had planned to take photos to share them but was prevented by the very large sign just inside the entrance stating "NO PHOTOS", so I'll have to go with links instead. D.'s old aquaintances from Larenda were busy and seemed to be very popular. The Ankara Designs booth was positively mobbed every time I walked by, I bought a nice hairclip from them in the past and thought about getting another but didn't have the strength to fight the crowds of women. I absolutely loved the jewelry created by Laura Moore of Billys a Bad Kitty and unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?) it's just not in my budget right now. (But maybe someday, and I certainly won't forget the name of her business!) A Painted Setting sells beautiful, fragile hand-painted glassware that will never be a part of my life but it was great that the artist was there in the booth doing a demonstration when I was passing by - good timing on my part, eh? And lastly - don't ask me why - but I really liked this too.

With my town's usual fabulous timing, our local art festival is on the same weekend as this one in Long Beach, so if I can pry myself off the sofa, I may yet make it down there.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Jes takin' care a bidness

In general blog bidness:

1. I've been unable to take a satisfactory picture of myself so I went ahead and posted an avatar instead. I had wayyyyyy too much fun - it was like a digital version of playing with paper dolls! I think I actually came up with a fairly good likeness of myself and then created and saved several different versions so I can quickly and easily change them out to match up with the posts, or my recent activities, or the seasons, or whatever floats my boat.

2. I'm thinking of adding a counter to the bottom of the page to track if anyone but me is actually looking at the page. 'Course if I add the sucker, and it never changes - will I be disappointed?

3. I've seen some nifty "progress bars" some people have used for posting their status on knitting projects. I don't know that I'd bother doing that for my various UFO's, etc., but maybe for the classes I'm taking in school? Found a good tutorial on how to create those including the code so maybe I'll give it a shot.

I day-tripped overtown today, spent much of it on walkabout and I'm expecting to crash earlier than usual tonight. So I'll wait til tomorrow morning to post about for yesterday's trip. (But the current avatar is a good hint!)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Making new friends

I called a friend this evening to see if he wanted to get coffee and go for a walk. He wasn't available so I hung out with this guy instead.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

You can't always get what you want

One of the unique errr..."challenges" of living on an island is accepting that you may not be able to get what you want, when you want it. The line from that movie is often true - if you didn't bring it here, you aren't going to find it here. My personal mantra has become "grocery shopping is not about getting what you want, it's about taking what you can get."

Like many other island residents, I've also indulged in mainland shopping day trips - going over on a morning boat with empty duffle bags, pounding the aisles of Target and Trader Joe's, and then returning fully loaded on the evening boat. This particular maneuver was made ever so much more fun when the boat company came up with their "one trip down the ramp" rule - in other words, no matter how much stuff you have, you gotta be able to hump it all onto the boat yourself in one trip. (Now might be a good time for me to mention that the rule was posted on a weekend while I was already on the mainland shopping. We arrived at the boat dock to find that our monster loads were to be our undoing. The woman crawling down the ramp with suitcases fore and aft and a large package duct-taped to her body? Yeah, that was a fun trip home.)

Then there's always online shopping. I particularly love when the merchant has trouble with the shipping address because, "it's not in the database". So not my problem buddy - just label it and toss it in the mail, and trust me, eventually I'll get it. Eventually. Next day air freight? Not possible, but no matter how many days pass, at some point it will catch some air time - even the mail comes over on a plane. Then my package will get to take an extended tour of the town. At a former job, we were sometimes so desperate to get our hands on a package - we'd even go out looking for the delivery driver and get it off the truck. (People can get awfully uptight when they are waiting for paychecks to be delivered - go figure.)

But what about when you go shopping for a mate? You can try to shop locally, but as always quantity is limited. You could try shopping on the mainland and bringing it back with you - but what if you get it home and find that it doesn't really fit as well as you thought? (Like the time that little twit at the Gap talked you into buying those white pants - remember that?) So do you try shopping online? I've heard mixed results, from downright sad to complete success. But has it really come to that? Making a checklist of the qualities you desire and paging through profiles to find the greatest percentage of matching.? Kind of reminds me of reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates for a job.

Has anyone seen 9:00am?

This may indeed finally be a two post day. Because I sat down to the computer with something in my head that I wanted to write down. But naturally I had to check my email first (not that I get much these days but old habits die hard), and then look at other blogs, and then of course those blogs always include interesting links that HAVE to be followed, and you see where this is going don't you? It's after 10am and I'm still in my jammies on the couch with the laptop in front of me and a cat curled up on my lap. Sheesh!

I'd love to use the excuse that since Blogger apparently doesn't play nice with Safari, I have to switch over to the "other side" of my computer (dual boot - 2 separate hard drives - Mac and PC inside a MacBook) and to log in and post from the PC side. The excuse part kicks in because for reasons unknown to me - the computer clock on the PC side doesn't run properly. (A recent conversation with a friend has led to the possibility that this can be fixed but it certainly isn't critical.) So therefore it's completely understandable how I could completely lose track of time and let an hour (or so) pass by, right? However, some helpful soul would probably point out that a short distance from my home there is a bell tower, with a bell that rings every 15 minutes, tolling on the quarter hour, and that this bell can be heard pretty much everywhere in town, and most certainly in my living room. *Sigh*.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

She's THIS many...

Bad blogger - skipped a day and now I'm stuck posting day old news. But maybe someday soon I'll make it up with two posts in one day! And of course, I'm sure it'd help if I didn't wait til the absolute end of the day.

I packaged up my contributions to the Red Scarf Project. I've a gross (and I mean that in both definitions) amount of glittery gold ribbon yarn that works great for tying up presents, which along with Target gift cards donated by my non-knitter friend, a homemade card, and Mel's washing instructions and wrapper (which became an envelope), makes for a very nice little V-day present for a couple of college students somewhere out there in the world.

I realized late in the day that my cat, Prima, had just turned 4 years old, which means that she has finally caught up to me. As I understand it, after the first year of life a cat is about the same as a 15 year old human, and then the second year of a cat's life adds on 10 years, and then after that each year of the cat's life is equivalent to 4 years. So welcome to your 30's Miss Prima, but do you think this is really appropriate behavior for a mature adult?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Harry who?

Charlotte and Wilbur, Betsy and Tacy, Charlie and his golden ticket, Jo and her sisters, Anne (with an e please), and all the kids who went through the War Drobe of Spare Oom - just a few of the many characters who filled my childhood. (Do all four-eyed bookworm kids grow up to be adults who get the same pleasure from reading? Or is it just a phase for some?)

Yesterday, at the age of 88, author Madeleine L'Engle passed away. Although "A Wrinkle in Time" and the four books that followed in the series were marketed to kids, L'Engle didn't consider herself a children's book writer. And now that I think about it - these were books, just books. Published in the 1960's, read by generations, and even re-released this past May. No action figures, fast food promotions, or celebrity endorsements that I can recall. But I do remember the stories, and I hope that's enough to satisfy L'Engle or any author.

I admire J.K. Rowling but somehow the adventures of Harry and his compadres at Wizard School never caught my interest. And it's not because I came late to the table - I know plenty of adults who enjoy each installment and look forward eagerly to the next. Potter-mania will just have to pass me by, and I'm okay with that.

Besides, I've got to go back and visit with the Murray family, and see what Meg and Charles Wallace have been up to in my absence.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Who you gonna call?

When you've finished knitting your scarves for the Red Scarf Project, who can you persuade to model knitwear during a heatwave?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

They say Rome wasn't built in a day...

If you happened across this blog somehow, and it looks somewhat lame and unfinished, that'd be an accurate assessment! This is still a work in progress but I thought I'd check the "yes" box and make it available while I'm still tweaking the set up. Go ahead and provide feedback in the comments (nicely please, don't hurt the new blog's tender feelings, remember it's still very youmg and impressionable) and some mention of how you found this blog would be especially helpful.