Monday, April 30, 2007

It should have been raining

I definitely had The Guilt when I dragged out the sewing machine and three totes of fabric with the full intention of spending the most beautiful day of the year holed up inside working on sewing projects. I don't know why 80+ degree temperatures inspire me to do things like this.

Sure, Rocket could have cared less, since she spends her days languishing half-awake on all the squooshy surfaces in our house anyway, but Jada was definitely looking at me like I'd knocked my melon loose during our morning walk. Sure, that could have been from being half-dragged toward a fleeing squirrel, but she wasn't taking responsibility for my new found sense of Hermititis. Oh no.

Of course, though, I started to feel guilty about keeping the creatures indoors on such a beautiful day, so I let them out into the yard to soak it up while I steadied myself behind the tower of fabric on my dining room table.

This compromise was acceptable to all and Rocket was diligent in her quest to OWN the dog. Which she does, in no uncertain terms.

You'll see here how Rocket has her gaze fixed firmly on Jada. This is common. If Jada moves in any direction that is unpalatable to Her Highness Rocket, she hisses Jada right back into line. We're just glad to have Rocket's bossiness projected on a being other than us. It is tiring to be constantly baring yourself against bloodthirsty Rocket attacks. She is not a nice animal, generally.

As the creatures relaxed happily in the backyard, I rode the sewing machine through five sewing projects until I finally broke another needle - signalling the end of my sewing day. Is it a bad sign that I've broken two needles in as many months? Perhaps now is the time to share with you another one of my nicknames: "The Queen of Forcing It". Yes, Bubba has coined this very flattering nickname and uses it whenever I'm in the throes of making an inanimate object obey my will.

In this case, the object was my sewing machine and my will was "sewing a seam through the base of the zipper pull".


Tip: Sewing needles can not penetrate metal zippers. Sew *around* them. Oh. Right.

No worries though. Before this fated incident I managed to complete some long overdue projects:

A fitting dog bed for the pooch from the Amy Butler Floor Cushion pattern

The requested pillowcase from the Surprise Cowboys fabric

A sunglass case from Big Pillow scraps

A fitting prize for the winner of the "What the fuck do I do with all this fabric?!" contest from Amy Butler's Recipe Card Holder pattern

and a soon to be finished Cabo Halter for a certain special friend of mine from the remnant (read: full bolt) of fabric left from my first Cabo Halter endeavour last year.

Yes, it was the invisible zipper on this blessed garment that refused to yield to the force of my sewing machine. Loser. Anyway, I forged ahead to the point of the final hem, but then suddenly lost momentum and decided it would be best if I broke down shop, cleaned up the detritus of the days projects and took the dog for a walk away from the encroaching cat.

Sometimes I do this. Just decide, mid-seam/stitch/brushstroke that I'm done. I don't want to move forward a single moment longer on the project at hand because I know nothing good can come from my continued progress. I will only make a mess/break something/scream bad words/hurt myself or others/ruin something beyond repair.

At moments like these it is best to stop and focus my attentions elsewhere. Like on a G&T, or the dog leash.

After taking Jada for another "We love to chase squirrels by lunging into oncoming traffic and nearly smashing our skulls" walk, I was ready to return to the sewing machine, but decided to wait it out.

I had a G&T waiting, after all.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Oh Nooooooooooo.

Approximately 5 minutes before leaving for the airport, the merits of having a new dog in the family were momentarily overshadowed by the sudden awareness of a certain squishy heaviness clinging to the bottom of my Chacos.

I suppose I should know better than to walk blindly out through the backyard and toward the garden without swapping my Traveling Flip-Flops out for my garden clogs, but I clearly don't. And that is why I was to be found standing barefoot and pissed by the side of the house, hosing off my shoes and swearing into the wind when I should have been packing snacks into my purse and making out with Bubba before leaving for the airport.

Perhaps one day I will learn.

Thankfully (for my sake and the dog's I suppose) my squish-squashy trip out to the garden was not in vain. Oh no! I managed to come across the first ripe strawberry of the season.


Oh yes! For some reason, in the midst of our cool, rainy April weather, there was a perfectly ripe, perfectly ready strawberry just ready for the picking.

Well, hot damn.

I had to pluck it and hold it aside for a moment, however, so that I could enjoy it without the whiff of dog doots hovering about. Can't be plugging my nose while mowing the first berry of the season. That would just be retarded.

And the fun thing is that that is not all there is to be enjoyed in this early spring garden. No way - there's snap peas, some lettuce coming in, a couple bunches of promising looking Genovese Basil and a handful of wee plants that haven't somehow succumbed the random onslaught of naughty chewing bugs. Que milagro.

I'd like to think it's because of the careful Companion Gardening that I'm trying my hand at this season, but I'm having a hard time believing that the sparse cosmos and marigolds that I've planted are really having that big of an impact.

To share a little side dish of garden dorkiness with you, I will say that after last season's lackluster crop, I spent a good deal of time (read: an entire afternoon) carefully testing the soil in each vegetable bed so that I knew just how much amendment to add to each to produce the ideal home for two tons of 2007 vegetables.

Normally I would abandon the dorky project at this point and retire to the couch where I would pontificate on all the bushels of fabulous vegetables I would be hauling in, despite the fact that I had not done any *actual* work in the garden that would cause it to yield such results. BUT, this year I actually did something about the alarming deficiencies in the soil so that I'd have a better chance of actually getting some edible produce.

Who's to say if I really did it right, or if there will be any change from last season, since I'm still in the blissful it's-too-early-to-tell stage where the plants are all teensy and I can't be responsible for the lack of produce just yet. Later though, you'll know if I'm full of shit or not.

To balance the odds, I planted some flowers and herbs with my vegs, like the book said, and since the bugs are gone, I'm hoping that will mean that my plants will grow and I won't have to cry into the keyboard like last year.

I know. No one likes a crybaby.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Santa Fe Effect

I have experienced The Draw of the Southwest and returned to tell about it.

When Donk and I decided that we wanted to take a trip "somewhere new" and then, in unison blurted out "Santa Fe", I probably should have sensed that there was something otherworldly about the place.

But no. I am not that bright.

Instead, I naively watched as the details of our trip fell together like so many magnetic puzzle pieces, as though some master vacation planner were working secretly behind the scenes making sure that everything was just perfect.

And you know I gave US all the credit for the great planning, timing, accommodations, excursions, restaurant choices, etc, but, I think we really had nothing to do with it.

My thought is this: It is possible that Santa Fe, and perhaps the whole of New Mexico, is something of a blissful vacationing vacuum. As though vacation puppet masters glide along unseen, taking your plans and enhancing them - putting the cherries on top. I say this because there were a lot of things about our trip that we just *could not* have planned better if we'd, ahem, tried.


We spend all the live long day going from gallery to gallery in Santa Fe so that I can stare lewdly at sumptuous pastel landscapes. Then we manage to fall into a paper store (which is one of Donk's FAVORITE things in the whole wide world) which happens to be showcasing a Pastel Kit. I, of course, buy it and spend the entire afternoon pasteling to my heart's content. The next day, we randomly fall into a little courtyard cafe in Albuquerque and find that an artist colony has set up shop and will be pasteling (yes, I know this is not a real term) in the scenic courtyard while we eat our YUM lunches and the cute hippie dude plays acoustic guitar covers of our favorite songs.

Now, imagine a four day period consisting only of scenarios like that. You make no real plans, you check no details and yet everything happens perfectly, incredibly, inconceivably and then somehow gets a cherry on top.

It's charmingly bizarre.

I believe that I said, "What is the DEAL with this place?" approximately one hundred times over the course of our trip.

We literally got to the point where we were never disappointed when what we'd "planned" to do didn't work out as we'd "planned" because we *just knew* that if we kept going, something even better would come along and make our original "plans" look like overdue gum surgery.

Restaurant too expensive? Oh wait, look, there is the exact incarnation of my wildest lunching dreams RIGHT THERE. Oh, and yes, the prices are wicked cheap, we can sit in the sunshine and OH they have exactly what I want to eat at this exact moment.

We decide at the last minute to take a road trip to Taos. Our butler (separate story here) recommends the most fabulous restaurant *right* on our way.

We get to Taos. Donk says, "Taos must be beautiful covered in snow". It begins to snow. It is beautiful.

All the way down to the last moment...

We are sad to part ways at the airport. OH WAIT, our gates are right next to each other.

Uh-huh, the whole weekend was like this. Start to finish. Bad/awkward/inconvenient/seemingly not perfect turns fabulous/ideal/convenient/perfect without us even trying.

Whether it was due to the aforementioned Santa Fe Effect, our inability to accurately judge our surroundings due to overindulgence in margaritas or actual good planning on our part, I can't say.

What I can say, though, is that I am having a secret love affair with all things Santa Fean because that place is, oh how you say, just right.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

To be a cowboy

What? You thought all my cowboy-bashing meant I never wanted to be a cowboy?

Ok, so I don't really want to *be* a cowboy. (They ride HORSES! EEEK!) More, I just want to wear their clothes. More specifically, I want to wear the clothes their whimsical desert-swept girlfriends wear. Sound shallow and vapid? It is.

I'm running off with a friend of mine this weekend to the intoxicatingly beautiful southwest for some museum touring, margarita drinking, SHOPPING, poolside lounging, Mexican food eating and pattern swapping. Well, technically, it will be pattern *taking* since she is bringing a few for me, and I am just bringing a big smile - but you know, "pattern taking" makes me sound like a bitch so I change it up from time to time.

While I'm being a bitch, though, I will be living out my Southwest Attire Fantasies to the best of my closet's abilities. Namely flowy skirts that Bubba calls my HippieWear, my old jean jacket, my MooCow purse (I finally got to name one of my own items of clothing. Finally.) and all my turquoise and silver jewelry.

Technically, I don't think flip-flops count as Southwest Attire, but I haven't gotten up the nerve yet to buy/wear/contemplate cowboy boots, so I'm creating a look I like to call Hippie Cowboy. Ok, so I only call it that in my head, but that's because it sounds dorky and I'm afraid people will think I'm a loser.

Frankly, these folks have already coined the style, but all their stuff is so damned expensive that I have to make it up on my own. As derivative and low-brow as that may seem.

I'm hoping that some time in the Land of Enchantment will also give me the much needed encouragement that I'll need to re-approach the Surprise Cowboy fabric. I still need to make the pillowcases and recipe card holders that I've promised and, somehow, that pattern is still burned into my retina and entering my dreams.

Honestly, my sudden longing for all things eyelet, turquoise, denim and flowy might have something to do with the ever-presence of this fabric. Perhaps it is omnipotent. Perhaps *that* is the real surprise? Hmmm...

Anyway, while I'm off soaking up Santa Fe sunshine on my blinding white shoulders and sucking down all the margaritas I can get my hands on, the pooch will be spending some QT with Bubba and giving Rocket a lesson in Fraidy Dog Management.

As it turns out, the pooch (Jada, for those of you wondering her name. Yes, as in Pinkett-Smith. No, not our choosing.) can put on a big Cat-Hating show when she's on a leash, but off-leash she will turn her face to the wall and pretend (and perhaps cross her dog toes) that the cat isn't there hissing herself to death. It's your usual, "Hold me back! I'll tear that cat's head off!" act when we're on a walk, but as soon as we get home, Rocket is the boss - and a mean one at that.

Good thing I can take Jada to work with me. It gives her some recoup time and some time for Rocket to hatch her evening plan.

P.S. I promise this won't become a "Look at my dog!" blog. No. That is just boring.

And, it would take away from the time I spend on my "Look at my garden!", "Look at my fabric!", "Look at this food I made!", "Look at how weird Bubba is!" and "Look at this thing I made!" posts.

Whether you find these boring is none of my concern.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

More words I'll stop saying

Specifically, "...and THEN we'll get a dog."

I think Bubba and I have spent the sum of our time together working toward One Thing. One Thing that will fill our hearts and lives with joy. One Thing that will fill a void that both of us have. One Thing that will put an exclamation point on our Happy and just round out the world in an ideal way.

However, that One Thing had to come after a whole bunch of other Things that weren't nearly as fun or lovable or even all that interesting.

Getting stable jobs: boring

Buying a house: Um, NOT fun

Putting in a fence: Not fun, lovable or interesting

Do 100 other projects that *have* to be done before the roof caves in/we starve to death/the yard dies/etc: Eh, not so much fun

But I'll tell you want IS fun, lovable, interesting and ideal: A dog.

Oh yes people our One Thing has been, ever since we got together oh so many (7) years ago, that we wanted a dog with all our combined beings.

Because I'd always had one and because he never had.

Because hardwood floors are mostly useless unless you have the clicking of dog toes on them.

Because you can hardly call it a house without the echoing of big dog slurps coming from the bathroom. (Personally, I find this funny.)

Because having a great neighborhood to walk around in is boring when you walk it by yourself.

So many becauses.

When the fence went up, the last Thing standing between us and Dog finally vanished. And that is when fate stepped in. Just because even Fate was sick of hearing, "...and THEN we'll get a dog."

As it happened, a friend of mine from work started showing up with only one of his dogs (he had two) at the turn of the year. I was obviously curious because this meant that I had one less dog to visit on my tour about the floor from desk to kitchen and therefore was being thrown off kilter.

As it turned out, his other dog had to go with his ex-girlfriend when she moved out a few weeks before and wouldn't be joining us in the office anymore. SAD.

That was when Fate swooped in, clunked our heads together and he asked me, in an ever so nonchalant way, if I (!!!) would want to adopt her since his ex was now moving overseas.


Ahem. So I might have started sweating. A little bit.

Of COURSE I wanted to adopt her. She's a great dog in every way. In the behavior way, in the sweetness way, in the cuteness way, in the used-to-the-office-life way; all the ways.

So, fast forward to today when she is lying at my feet in the office, licking everyone's faces and toes (if they only knew) when they come into the cube, and just fulfilling all the hopes we'd had for Life With Dog.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Fabric Victory

I refuse to be intimidated by little silhouetted cowboys, even if they *are* riding off into a woven sunset on big scary horses (I hate horses).

So, with that in mind, I set out my pattern on Friday in order to prepare myself for utter domination on Saturday.

I decided, after all the commenting, that I owed it to myself and my impulse buying practices, to put the cowboys to use on some fancy Lounge Pants. And once that was said and done, I'd tackle the promised pillowcases and perhaps another one-off project from the list of fab ideas (recipe card holder for BBQ recipes - hello, fabulous!). Granted, I'd set out to eliminate the Cowboy-riffic fabric all in one fell swoop, but after wrestling with the pattern (Do I cut two on the fold or just cut one on the fold and slice it in half?) I was fresh out of the patience it would have required to deal with a single additional shred of Cowboy.

So, at the end of the day I wouldn't say it was necessarily "utter domination" that prevailed, but I did manage to put together a pair of Wide Leg Lounge Pants without shedding any blood.

What? You don't measure success with bloodshed? Huh.

Thankfully I don't measure success by the proper or expected fit of clothing, because if I did, I'd be a mite disappointed right now.

I'll go out on a limb here and say that a "Medium" as designated by the pattern is, in no way, a "Medium". No, it is more like a "Friggen Huge" because I had to cinch that bad boy around my waist as though I was two weeks of dirty laundry and the pants were my laundry bag. Plus, the interfacing sewn in to reinforce the drawstring holes makes the cinching down look a little bizarre when the placket for the buttonholes doesn't flinch despite my enthusiastic yanking. Good thing I have a close relationship with my fabric turner, because I made one sweet drawstring that will need to hold up it's end of the bargain (ie. The Pants).

I have to admit though, I like the fabric.

I know! Imagine my surprise when, after all that shit-talking, I stood before my finished work and said, out loud mind you, "Wow. Those cowboys are a way better trim than that stupid Thai silk with the impossible-to-match color. Huh. Who'd have guessed?"

Meanwhile Bubba was raising his hand behind me and pointing to his own face. Funny guy.

So, with that bit of mannish insight, I will grant The Wise Bubba with his wish of Cowboy Pillowcases. And then, while he sleeps I'll give away his BBQ recipe in a fabulous Cowboy recipe card holder to one lucky person.

Take that Mr. Smarty The-Cowboys-Rock Pants.

And thank you all for your support through this way-too-trying experience. I'll post photos to the Flickr pool and look for y'alls projects in there, too.

Yes, I said y'all.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Fabric REdecision

Thanks to your-all's suggestions/comments/gentle chiding, I'm reconsidering the merits of the Surprise Cowboys.

Plus, thanks to the reality checks from TinkerBlue and Lera, I'm now considering ways that I can use all of this western motif so that I:

A. Don't have it lying around in my stash taunting me for my mindless purchasing habits,


B. Am able to bring subtle joy to a man who lets me call popcorn and G&T, "Dinner", without raising an eyebrow

Some ideas on the chopping block:
  1. Pillowcases - Check
  2. Napkins - We only use cloth napkins in our house, and this seems like an easy way to passive aggressively punish the cowboys for their mere existence
  3. Tote bags - So that when I get the evil eye from the Safeway cashier for bringing my own bags I can yell, "You better giddyup and put my shit in that bag before I lasso yer ass!"
  4. Sunglasses case - Request from Bubba
  5. Liner for a future purse - Which would require making another purse I don't need
  6. Purse organizer - I need a new, ahem, larger one anyway, so why not?
  7. Wide Leg Lounge Pants - Oh yeah, right. I have a project to complete this month.
What are your bright ideas? I know you must have some. I can't be the only one who's ever impulse purchased ridiculous fabric and then had to find ways to expunge it from the stash to save the shame of explaining it to anyone (Bubba).

How about this - If I use your idea for this, now monumental, task, I'll send you something made from said Surprise Cowboy fabric.

Don't like cowboys?

I know the feeling.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fabric indecision

Yesterday, after two days of developing Conference Butt, I set out in search of a little retail therapy.

In hindsight, a trip to the fabric store for Wide Leg Lounge Pant materials might have been a misstep.

Normally, I love to stew in all the fabric choices that surround me in the store. I fondle them all, consider most of them briefly, imagine a million one-off projects that I'll never have time to do, etc. Typically I narrow down to a choice few and get in line with the bitties and wait for my turn at the cutting counter before making my final decision. Somehow that clutch moment when the muttering scissor-wielding marm waves me over (or rather sends an exasperated look in my general direction) provides just the right amount of adrenaline and scrutiny so that I can finally decide that the colorful batik is a better choice than the paisley cowboys.

Most of the time.

I knew that I had a difficult task in front of me: Find fabric for the Pants portion of the Wide Leg Lounge Pants to compliment the trim from a random silk skirt that someone gave me half a dozen years ago from Thailand that I've never worn and have secretly been hiding in the closet knowing that "someday I'll want it".

Unfortunately, this lovely silk skirt was woven in a color unknown to mankind. It is unmatchable. Sorta blue. Sorta grey. Sorta lavender. Sorta periwinkle. Sorta fucking annoying. Plus, the embroidered trim pattern is done in gold. Again, wildly unmatchable with normal fabric patterns and a challenge to pair with anything without looking gaudy, bizarre or just plain ugly.

Also, I am unwilling to mail it in by making the pants from plain black or white fabric. Which, frankly, would probably look retarded anyway.

What to do?

Why, spend a good hour squinting one eye while holding up the trim to every conceivable cotton in the store, of course! (Meanwhile, four inch heels get no more comfortable.) In the end, I had two possible choices: a nice open scrolling pattern printed on a varying gold (not metallic -ew) batik background OR some sporadic organic looking paisley-ish pattern on a muted reddish to whitish to brownish gradient background. Note: Some of the paisley-ish squiggles are a near exact color match to the unmatchable blue/grey/purple/periwinkle of the trim.

I hemmed and hawed a good bit, but when token scissor marm called me to the cutting table, I went with the paisley. The color match was undeniable and created a much more calming tone, rather than the TOO MUCH feeling I got from the batik.

Until the bolt was unfurled to reveal that the reddish to whitish to brownish gradient was, in fact, an interpretation of the sky at dusk and below said sky was a rambling scene in silhouette of a cowboy on horseback perhaps riding off into the sunset between mountain ranges and past cacti and other assorted western-type props.

The marm and I both gasped and "Ew"'d in tandem as she unfolded the bolt to reveal the full glory of this annoying hidden gem.

As much as I do not "do" or "enjoy" western themed things, in general, I knew that going back to the drawing board on the fabric choice was not an option. Not at this point with my 4 inch silver peep-toe slingback heels strangling my poor toes, for sure. So, instead of hobbling off empty handed, I had Flo/Clarice/Marge/Annabelle slice me off a four yard section rather than the 2 3/4 required for the pattern in the hopes that I might be able to trim the whimsical cowpoke from the bottom of the fabric by strategically placing the pattern pieces to cover only the Sky at Dusk.

Done! Right?

Now I'm reconsidering. Even though the color match is undeniable (using this term loosely) and the resulting combination *might* not be hideous, I'm just not able to imagine myself ever wearing this monstrosity. Let's be honest, most of my loungewear is either black, denim, white or army green. None of it is red, periwinkle, gold or cowboy.

However, when I was expressing my dismay and indecision to Bubba and casually mentioned the Surprise Cowboys, a look of boyish excitement came over his face that I could not ignore.

The man has a secret desire for cowboy pillowcases.

I know. It's a mite strange.

So, I imagine I'll be back off to the fabric store this weekend in search of new fabric which may or may not match the skirt trim since I'm not at all convinced that I love the trim that much anyway and plus, I don't want my pants turning out like some sort of textile border skirmish.

But first, for some Secret Fantasy Cowboy Pillowcases. Who knew?

Monday, April 09, 2007

New Passover

As a kid, Passover meant sitting for a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time at the kids table with my cousins and siblings trying to get drunk by sneaking sips of the nasty wine as we leafed casually through our sweet Haggadahs so as not to miss our queue to read.

It was a long drawn out affair accompanied by a bizarre combination of bone-shaking hunger and extreme competitiveness. The internal conflict would hit me hardest when the Seder was finally over and I had to choose whether to inhale my soup and pile two tons of charoses on my matzoh OR slink quietly away from the table to find the afikomen for which my Pop-pop would shell out a shiny silver dollar.

Either way, I would end up at the table sucking down as much matzoh ball soup as possible, knowing that there was precious little else on the table that interested me.

Sadly, Passover food (gefilte fish, horseradish, hard boiled eggs, no good dessert) is not nearly as fabulous as Hanukkah food (latkes, chocolate, etc) - an issue that is compounded in it's horribleness since you have to sit through a long ass Seder just to get to it. Typically, it's wholly disappointing.

Until this year, however.

I think Bubba and I *may* have worked out the Perfect Passover Plan (albeit as un-Kosher and sacrilegious as possible.)


We go to In N Out on our way to my parent's house. Yes, we get cheeseburgers. And, yes, we eat the buns.

I know, I'm lucky I haven't been struck down on the 101.

But just as my Jewish onset self-loathing was setting in, we sat down at the table for the Seder (with not even a hint of the shakes) to find that, while our usual, and very *fancy*, Maxwell House Haggadahs were placed atop the family china, my dad began reading from a totally different text altogether.

Text = "The Two Minute Haggadah" - A spoof email forwarded last week to the entire family by my godfather which paints the Passover Seder in a much more humorous light; marking transitions with cooking instructions (Heat the soup now, Plate the brisket now), summing up long-winded stories of wandering Jews in mere sentences (We wander 40 years in the desert, eat manna, get the Torah, wind up in Israel, get a new temple, enjoy several years without being persecuted again) and basically just ties up the gist of Passover in a neat little package.

Thus eliminating gnawing hunger, eye-rolling boredom, endurance of a billion family jokes (or, really, the same three jokes repeated by everyone at the table) and the cringe factor of a dozen off-key Jews singing Dayaynu.

Whaa? What is this? Who *are* these people?

Soup was then served, followed by a lovely green salad, my grandma's brisket, a trough of mashed potatoes and *GASP* real wine.

This was not the Passover Seder I had been dreading. I was not starving (although it wasn't because I'd eaten so much gefilte fish, I assure you), or bored or even uncomfortable from sitting for a long time.

My dad was not all crabby from having to tell us to "Sit still and be pleasant!" throughout the meal. My mom was not all harried from running amok between the kitchen and dining room. The dog hadn't even gotten restless and begun sniffing fingers for matzoh residue.

I'll say it - it was weird.

But the nice kind of weird that means I won't be dreading this particular event with quite as much dedication next year. Hey, I might even forego In N Out if things go well. (Bubba, I'm just kidding. We can still go.)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

InStitches April

Dear Donk,

Did you say "sew your own clothes"?

Um, yes please.

Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of garment patterns in this book, BUT, I have had my eye on those Wide Leg Lounge Pants. Sans Mr. Crazy Legs sitting on the toi, of course. (Maybe he would like a pair of pants, too? Just a thought.)

Anyway, let's call them the April project and you can decide on a twisty theme to keep it spicy, k?

Meanwhile, the Flickr pool is positively blowin' up! I ogled every single clutch and must say that I'm feeling a special brand of kinship with the other Magnetic Snappers and Removable Strappers. I won't lie either, there were moments of definite fabric remorse. I mean, I really like the fabric I used, but MAN, some of those bags are HOT.

Phew. *Sweaty*

BTW: That Blue Sky Hat is so made for my sunny days in the garden. Right now my greasy cowboy hat is not quite cutting it. And when blackberry picking season comes? What will I do? I will wear my Blue Sky Hat, that's what. I'm all the way excited to get started on these nuggets. Which reminds me - I have a little extra credit idea in mind for our InStitches~alongers...let's discuss.

Alright, I'm going to start lusting over this month's project. *Drool*


P.S. Thank you, Ms. Fabulously Supportive Runner Woman Who Talked Me Through My Whole Training For The 10K. Simply could not have done it without you.

P.P.S. Velcro sucks.

P.P.P.S. Still wuv you.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Tall tales

Last year I blatantly ignored the vegetable seed packets and started everything indoors. Tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, lettuce, peas. I chose to ignore the packets that said "Sow direct" by telling myself that time spent sprouting safely on the sunny wind-less sill would give them a "strong start" and maybe even result in a better crop.

Unfortunately, I used up all my energy setting up the highly sophisticated Seedling Birthing Ground and Care Schedule and by the time we got to the "harden off and transplant outdoors" part I'd lost interest in the tedious care of newbie plants and just wanted the garden set so that I could focus my attention on pining for warm tomatoes.

This resulted in a total loss of everything except the honeydew. Thankfully, our neighborhood nursery had seedlings of everything I'd mercilessly killed off, so I refilled the beds with young strong (professionally hardened off) plants in the wee morning hours and then acted like nothing had happened and that I was not at all surprised that my garden went from a pitiful young plant graveyard to a thriving scene of springtime growth overnight.



Anyway, this year I'm taking the exact opposite approach and hoping for a better outcome. Specifically, I sowed everything direct in the beds (yes, even the tomatoes) and am now, at this moment, proud to say that there are some new faces poking their way through the soil. So far, both cukes (lemon and pickling), cantaloupe and lettuce have made an appearance. No action yet from any of the herbs (Thai and genovese basil, chives, curled parsley, nasturtium) or the tomatoes (shuddup, I know).

In order to hedge my bets, I'm considering sowing some tomato seeds in peat pots on the windowsill *just in case* the ones outside don't make with the growing. Then, if I kill the seedling starts, too, I will tippy-toe off to the nursery in disguise for some Better Boy plants strong enough to live through my reckless care. And then, yes, I will pass of their tomatoes as my own seedling babes and you'll say NOTHING.

Tee hee.

Photos soon...

Monday, April 02, 2007


When I first looked at the coursemap for the race I wondered what the squiggly lines leading up to the Golden Gate Bridge (the meat of the course) really meant since there was no elevation chart to be found.

In the back of my mind I knew - squiggly lines in San Francisco can only mean one thing - hills.

But since there was no mention of hills anywhere in the race materials, I (irrationally) thought that "if they don't say there's hills, there must not BE any hills". I continued thinking this way, even though I've crossed the GGB no less than a thousand times in my life and know full well that pedestrians emerge onto the walkway from stairwells buried deep below the deck, and that these stairwells are at the tippy top of the Presidio. But still, this didn't enter my mind. All I could think was that no mention of hills meant no hills.


Leave it to San Francisco to turn one wavy line into a quarter mile long 45 degree incline. I'm sure you can imagine my horror when I turned the first corner of the race, after a nice flat start, to find all 1200 racers gunning up a curving incline toward the bridge, which was nowhere to be seen.

And, since I didn't want to lose pace with my friends, I kept up the same speed while traveling endlessly (or so it seemed) up this winding approach to the bridge even though I really, really didn't want to.

If one was to find a good side in all this (and I had to look hard), it made the trip across the bridge and back a total breeze. In fact, I picked up my pace during the second half of the traverse when I could take advantage of the slight decline as we closed in on Marin.

There were a few other unexpected special treats in store for me on this route, too. Like the deceiving "turnaround" at mile 5 that took us away from the main trail (I saw tears in a lot of eyes at this one) but then miraculously swung us back around only a few yards away. I think this was a last ditch effort by the USTAF to legitimize the course as a true 10K, but it was a move I would not suggest to anyone designing a course. Nothing pisses runners off more than being able to see the finish line and then being shooed down a route in another direction. The poor dude directing traffic at that particular corner was surely in mortal danger.

After the little turnaround, we encountered a little slice of heaven in the final mile - loose sand. Again, something I should have assumed would be present in the race, as we were running along the water, but since the race materials only warned against "stairs and trails" and not HILLS OR SAND, I didn't consider it a possibility. What I also didn't consider was the supreme suckiness of having to trod the final mile of the race through sand.

However, when I had the finish line in sight, heard the clanging of cow bells and the cheering of Bubba and all the spectators, I slapped on my best "I'm loving this, really! And I'm not even tired!" face and sped up to the best of my ability so that I could enter the gates with my dignity intact. Once across, I got my t-shirt, a bizarre pressie from Red Envelope, a Crunch bag filled with more randomness and a pancake breakfast that was only appealing in theory.

But I'd finished the race, running all the way- in just a shade under a decade too, alright! - and was happy to walk my jelly legs across the lumpy sea grass and plunk down with Bubba and my co-running friends to do a little patting of backs and hearty congratulating.

And then, the inevitable talk about our Next Race began.

We'll see. Perhaps this time I'll take the coursemap a little more seriously and actually go take a look at it before I assume things. Or, perhaps, they'll have their act together and provide an elevation chart. I'm just saying...

Anyway - at the end of the day:

10k Status: DONE