Leave it to me to, once again, dream up (with Bubba's help, I can't take the credit entirely even though I want to) a Halloween costume that's *so easy* only to find that the crucial accessory I know totally exists is impossible to find.
Even though I KNOW it totally exists somewhere. IT MUST.
But still, I couldn't find it. And I searched the Internets to the bone. Plus also the Spirit store and all the stupid "Halloween Headquarters" party stores that say they have every Halloween thing, when in fact, they do not. Clearly. Because this THING exists. And yet, they don't have it. Jerks.
Let me explain.
Nearly every year since all my friends started getting married (this preceded the onslaught of All My Friends Are Having Babies that you read about now), I've tried to come up with Halloween costumes that allowed me to use one of my *not free* bridesmaid dresses as the featured item.
Because, really, when in all of my days am I going to have the occasion to wear a full length red satin gown with a wrapped and bejeweled bodice? Or a two piece green taffeta number with awkward and mean boning? Or a tea length (what does this even mean?) pink dress with sheer overlay? When I ask you? Only on Halloween, my friends. Despite what I was lured into believing before I actually saw all of these dresses in person.
You know what I mean here, too - the ol', "Oh! You'll love it! You can totally wear it again!" speech you get before you go into the barfy bridal shop to try on your hideously overpriced bridesmaid dress that you SO will not EVER be able to wear again because you don't go to prom anymore or, like, any other events that call for rhinestones BUT WHATEVER.
And then this happens to you five whole times in a row and you decide that you are going to get an extra wearing out of each one of these babies by gently wearing them for Halloween before donating them all to The Princess Project.
Oh! And it's so fun and easy, too because you already have the piece de resistance in the form of a perfectly fitting formal gown so WOW won't it be easy to just pull together a few accessories and VOILA be, say, The Tooth Fairy!
Scratch that, The Evil Tooth Fairy.
Yes, we like some evil to balance out our Fairy around here.
All I'll need, in addition to my fabulous pink tea length (!) dress is a pair of pink wings, a crown, some Jolly Roger accessories, a menacing operator's apron, a bloodied pair of pliers and some loose teeth.
So, yeah, loose teeth don't exist in the free world. Not even on the www's. And not even in the "Halloween Headquarters'" of the larger SF Bay Area during my lunch hour.
Thankfully, I lurked around town for these teeth (just try asking for loose teeth at a store and see the kind of reactions you get) with a good friend of mine who has greater gory vision than I, so when I was just about to strangle myself with a plastic replica Indiana Jones bullwhip, she offered up the perfect suggestion: mini marshmallows.
Crack the bag, let them stiffen up a little and then mold them and bloody them to look like freshly extracted molars.
WHY YES I WILL DO THIS.
And this is where my evil tutorial comes in. Because if this tutorial had existed one week ago today, I could have saved myself a lunch hour(s) of skanky looks as I asked clerks at HALLOWEEN STORES where they had the display of loose and bloody teeth. Because they weren't standing right next to a disemboweled torso with flashing intestine accessory or anything so obviously *I* am the ridiculous one.
People - BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS. I'm just saying.
Tutorial: How to make bloody teeth in a pinch
Materials & Equipment 1 mug of hot water 1 bottle of gel blood 1 bag of mini marshmallows (stiff) 1 toothpick or kebab skewer or other pokey device of your choosing Newspaper or some other cover for your work surface
To make Float your bottle of gel blood (with the cap on for godssake) in the mug of hot water for a few minutes until the gel is no longer gel, but liquid goo.
Take your poking device (I used a wooden skewer) and, with the flat end, press a nice dent into each end of the marshmallow.
Now, take your gel blood from its warm and cozy bath and drop a glob of your liquid goo into one of the dents.
Then turn the tooth (I don't want to have to type "marshmallow" anymore, it's got a lot of letters) on its side and, with the pointy end of your skewer press a dent from end to end of your tooth while pressing one of the ends together with your fingers.
Turn it over and do this to the other side, too.
Let the gel dry and then do a hundred more because they're fun and, really, who doesn't need a hundred bloody little teeth? No one, that's who.
Now you can string them on a necklace (I find that stretchy gold cord you get from boxes of candy works nice) or rig them up to dangle from earrings or just let them roll around loose in your clear vinyl operator's apron for effect. Or whatever you see fit to do with a hundred loose and still sorta squshy bloody teeth. I won't ask.
My my, is it nearly November? Wow. That's incredible.
CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL THE CHARD TO STOP NOW?
Our farm share, at least the standard version, is coming to an end in few weeks. Which means that, hey!, we might be able to get the crisper and countertop fruit bowl and bread basket and, let's be honest, composter, under control because there won't be a weekly influx of new stuff to shoehorn into our house.
Well, we might have been able to, had we not just gone ahead and signed up for the winter farm share.
Because we like to torture ourselves. And because the thought of going into a grocery store for produce makes me want to cut myself.
Thankfully, the winter farm share is less hectic and needy than the standard share. It doesn't come every. single. week. and there's sturdy stuff in there like root vegetables and winter squashes (butternut hellOOO!) that can withstand some time sitting on the counter getting the evil eye from yours truly.
Oh yeah, and there's also chard.
Chard, the fucking wonder vegetable that does not die or go away no matter the frost or the cold or the LOATHING that comes by the hand that grows it.
No, it lives on.
Look at me. I'm so alive right now.
And it multiplies when you dare to prune and eat some of it. And then it also comes in the winter farm share because these people know that they can only lessen their interaction with the thing, but never free themselves completely, so they continue to share it with us members even though I'm sure everyone hates it by now. Definitely so if those sharers also were so stupid to plant it in their home gardens because their mommies didn't tell them that CHARD NEVER DIES.
To say that it has taken on Bermuda grass characteristics would be appropriate since we have resorted to throwing our hands in the air and saying, "The only way to get rid of chard is to move" like all the Lowe's people say when you ask them about how to get Bermuda grass the hell out of your life/yard.
Only you can't eat Bermuda grass. Well, and you can get rid of chard by ripping it from the vegetable beds. Whatever, it's still scary.
The farm share came last week, and since our lovely neighbors picked it up and divvied it up between the households, I ended up with some chard. And some kale. And some other kale that's equally ugly and awful. And then I began to slowly panic because the bottom crisper was overflowing with green leafy things that I knew we couldn't put down in one week.
And then the blessed fabulous neighbors sent me a recipe for chard before I had a chance to throw myself from the roof.
And because I love you very much and don't want you to suffocate under your own pile of chard in the event that you still have a SHIT TON of it, too, I will share this recipe with you now.
This isn't the best picture, but it was good enough for lunch leftovers, says Bubba. Big talk.
Ingredients 1 recipe of The Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep. 1 generous bunch of Swiss chard (1 1/2 lbs) Salt 6 unfrilly no-boil lasagna noodles (Note: frilly noodles are grody. I use Barilla noodles because they are not grody OR frilly. Score.) Extra virgins 1/2 cup lowfatricotta cheese (remember the scary fatness!) 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan
To make Preheat the oven to 425
First, start your Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep. and don't even try swapping with some other useless store-bought sauce because I WILL KNOW WHAT YOU'VE DONE. Also, it won't be as good. Trust me.
While the tomatoes for your sauce are roasting up in the oven (see, I'm making you do it) boil some seasalty water and, after cutting those big stalks off your chard and rinsing the leaves in cold water, dunk your full chard leaves in the boiling water for 1 minute. Then take those leaves intact (I find my Oxo tongs do the best job here) and dunk them in icy water.
Some fancy people refer to this process as blanching, but I'm not fancy, so let's just call it dunking, k?
Then you'll want to squeeze out all this water. But how do you do it without making an unholy mess? You stack those leaves into a neat pile, place them on one end of an unrolled tea towel and you roll them up while squeezing.
Then you unroll the towel and take your moist (GROSS WORD) little chard cigar over to the cutting board for ribboning. The grody towel can then go into the wash or your kitchen laundry hamper if you have it (we do because I'm A/R like that).
Now you can ribbon slice the shit out of that weirdly small chard cigar. See how technical this all is? Fun times. Oh, this is also a good time to admire how small chard gets when it's blanched/dunked and remind thyself that chard doesn't have to be scary like when it's in the garden giving you the finger.
Once you're done making The Best Sauce Ever. Yep., pour the sauce into a good sized bowl and, with your fabulous tongs to which you often whisper sweet nothings, toss your sauce with all that ribbony chard.
OH YES YOU MIX IT TOGETHER.
See, stupid other sauce won't cut it here. It has to be The Best. Lest you forget.
Then you just put the whole mess together as such: Coat the bottom of an 8x8 pan with a bit of the sauce mixture Then one layer of un boiled lasagna noodles Then ricotta Then sauce mixture Then some shredded parm Repeat once more and finish with noodle, ricotta, sauce, parm Sprinkle some salt, oregano, basil - whatever on top if you have it.
Wrap the whole deal with foil and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until it cools below MOLTEN LAVA temps. Cut and serve with a big ass salad.
I realized a lame thing about myself this weekend - I fit in better with my friends now that they have kids.
Not because I love kids or can connect with my friends on some sort of parental level (Opposite Alert!), but because my friends are all so exhausted from caring for their spawn that hanging out has become a lot less intense.
See, I'm socially lazy.
I don't like bars. Or clubs. Or noisy places where there's nowhere to sit down or have a conversation without screaming "WHAT? YOU PIERCED WHAT? I DON'T SEE ANY PIERCINGS..." I also suck at shoving my way in to get a drink at the bar because the bartender always ignores me because I'm sure he can tell that I don't really want it like the other, more professional social people do, and then I get all self-conscious about what am I so ugly I don't deserve a drink and it goes downhill from there.
It's all just very awkward and I've decided that I just don't belong OUT with the normal people.
But now that's all OK!
Because my friends have all started having kids, so by the time we're all able to get together, they're all so worn out from MOMMY!MOMMY! that they're content to just sit around and chat and drink and eat something bad for us and then maybe go for a walk on the beach.
See, this I can do.
I'm a pro at pissing away a whole weekend at the beach with entertainment no more stimulating than a college football game or a hunt through the neighborhood to find a corkscrew (Dear Rental Home Owners, Please supply corkscrews. Love, Finny). I can totally do this. And the best part is that when I'm sleepy at midnight, after having eaten my body weight in Mexican food, I'm not the first one to go to bed. And then, when I emerge at 8am, with only a slight margarita hangover, I don't have to "quietly" roam around the house looking for someone to "accidentally" wake up to keep me company. They're all up and awake and doing things because they never get to sleep anymore due to the babies so their sleep clocks are broken.
(I realize this makes me a bad person. You don't have to remind me.)
So, sure, I have nothing to add when the conversation inevitably turns to diaper blow-outs or what kind of activity checklist you get from daycare, but in those moments I'm just grateful that I can hear what these people are saying without them having to scream it over an awful house band.
Who knew the solution to my social woes would be kids? That's a funny one.
I will no longer have to face the conflict that arises when I am offered a free Tshirt where I, at once, really want it because HELLO it's a free something and then remember that HELLO I have a hundred free somethings clogging up my dresser drawers because I never wear free somethings because they never fit right.
I could now apply reason to these decisions.
Reason like, if the shirt has a small logo in a remote area of the shirt and is available in an XL, I can take it, but if there's an enormous ugly logo located in the dead center or it's only available in a child's small, I can not.
Basically, I can assess the drape-neck top makeability of a free Tshirt and decide whether it's worthy of coming to my house to be dismantled.
This is a very freeing concept. I am in control of my Tshirt acceptance policies! This is a big step! Now I should probably move on to things more relevant in every day life by, say, scrutinizing my 401K plan for diversification or something else a grown-up might do.
But that's for later.
For now, however, I can exercise my Tshirt acceptance policies. Even when these policies must be applied to the mail.
See, the AIDS Walk, she creates a lot of Tshirts. And then, there aren't enough bodies to wear all these Tshirts, so they get sent to anyone and everyone whose name has ever graced the AIDS Walk mailing lists. I think, anyway, because that's the only reason one would have shown up for Bubba because he signed up to NOT receive a Tshirt regardless of his fundraising amount.
But there was the shirt in the mail all the same.
Thankfully though, he wears an XL, which they remembered from previous years, and so the shirt that showed up fit the profile! Just like at the airport! Except no one had to take off their shoes or submit to a rectal exam in order to receive the shirt.
And thank god for that.
And also thank you to Bubba for being so nice and not judgmental about my penchant for Yard Fashion by immediately handing over this perfect shirt specimen for reassembly.
The dismantling happened very quickly.
Despite the rather large design on the front, I was able to make it work by thinking like a rational person and cutting the smaller pattern piece for the back of the new shirt from the smaller blank area of the dismantled shirt.
Sometimes I can be as smart as a pencil eraser and it never fails to amaze me.
Also unbelievable was when I went to cut out the larger pattern piece from the back of the old shirt and found that LO there was all this open blank space from which to cut my beautiful future draped neck.
Wonders never cease.
Actually, I credit this new-found knowledge and wisdom to having made the shirt once first and realizing my mistakes in real time. As you've probably come to understand, I'm one who must make mistakes in order to learn instead of listen closely when someone tells me what NOT to do. Because I'm slow. And impatient. And all the good things that come with being me.
Also good was that this second shirt took me all of 30 minutes to make from my gifted Tshirt, most of the time spent making the dumb bias tape (making bias tape from Tshirt cotton is not a fun hobby) of which I only used about half. See, you're 'sposed to tape along the armholes and front and back on the neckline, but I feel like that is too much.
I decided that my #2 shirt didn't need a taped drape neck, so I just sewed a zigzag hem along the cut edge and called it a happy day.
And then, to quote a lovely man (Bubba), I had a fabulous fucking day in my wrinkled fucking shirt.
I put this shirt on and promptly wore it for two days in a row.
So, this house is wrapped in plastic "bricks" and I'm not sure whether it's supposed to be spooky because bricks are scary or spooky because the fucking walls billow and snap when the wind blows.
What I am sure of is that it looks retarded and and I don't really find these gray bricks any spookier than the gray paint underneath. Maybe they can rake their leaves onto the plastic when Halloween is over or something. Not that this would make it SPOOKY over there, but at least it wouldn't be a total waste of time and resources. And then maybe I would give them a few points for recycling and hate them a teensy bit less.
Ok, no I wouldn't. But still, it's a thought.
What they'll do with that fake rickety fence is another mystery altogether. I mean, sure, the dogs will have a blast pissing all over it (we have some male dogs in our neighborhood with incredible skills, just ask my street tree) but after that? Well, it seems obvious to me that this is something that will awkwardly take up space in the garage and likely come crashing down on someone's head every time they go out to get another Crunk from the garage fridge.
Which you know they totally have.
It's killing me, though, that they realize only during Super Duper Ugly Decorating Season that their yard would look good with a couple trees and then they buy and put up two ugly fake trees made out of rebar, or some such filth, instead of spending this money on real trees that might actually make their house look decent year round.
'Spose the real leaves on real trees might get in the way of the spookiness. Or something.
There's really so much I could say here, but I don't want burn out my kvetching muscles (even if they're in really good shape) before the real season of bitching arrives. And my neighbors seem to think that this season is nearly upon us.
Typically, as some of you may be well aware, I wait to talk shit about my neighbor's decorations until they're at least Christmas ones. But this year the decor is getting busted out so early and with such misplaced enthusiasm that I have made a special exception to say something.
And really, this is me still restricting myself somewhat because this particular neighbor started putting their Halloween stuff out IN SEPTEMBER but I was so not ready to say anything holiday-ish (even by using swears) at that point that I let it slide.
I pretended my September was safe and that was wrong. Please forgive me.
Ah, September, that glorious month that I cherish with all my fibers because there aren't any major decorating holidays to speak of and so it is my last respite before Super Duper Ugly Holiday Decorating season gets into full stupid swing.
Up until this September of course, when people like this decided that oh why should we wait ALL the way until October - let's start Halloween now! Conveniently forgetting, of course, that Halloween doesn't fall until the very last day of October and WHOOPSY our "spookiness" will be sitting out there just waiting to get kicked down by our crabby neighbor for 30+ days or whathaveyou.
Not that I've kicked any decorations or done anything other than bitch and give the evil eye to people with Wal-mart bags full of orange plastic this and black Styrofoam (DIE) that.
Those brown socks are like my superhero cape or something because when I got done with them I was, like, WELL - now that I've knit my way through a sock pattern without killing myself, I wonder what ELSE I can do.
See, at first, I thought the craziness of my mom's knee socks would come from the color. You know, like I'd get some of that fucked up looking sock yarn that's a billion ridiculous colors but when you knit it, it looks like stripes or fair isle or a moose humping Santa Claus or whatever - but then I thought, No.
No, because we don't celebrate Christmas (or bestiality, for the record) and also because the one pair of socks I made before Bubba's subdued brown beauties were knit from some of that fucked up looking yarn and I do believe it gave me some sort of issue. Like, made my eyes wobbly. I don't know. I can just say, when I bought the yarn for me mum's socks, I felt a need to purchase something less frantic.
Less frantic, but still CRAZY ASS.
So, I got some lovely Rowan RYC Cashsoft in "Folly", which means "light teal" for those of you like me who don't have the foggiest what the hell "Folly" means in the color world. This yarn has cashmere in it, which is fancy, and is a lovely calming color, which is fun without being frantic and scary like some sock yarns I won't mention by name, Regia. (BTW: If you buy yarn here at Jimmy's, you can say Finny sent you and I'll get a discount which is GREAT. Even if you buy Regia yarn. I will still love you. xo Finny)
But, how will the socks be CRAZY ASS if they're being made from a cashmere-y soft teal yarn?
Um, the lace. The lace will make it crazy ass.
Yes, y'all, I said LACE. As in, scary patterns that call for lots of YOs and SSKs and K2togethers and counting.
But you know what, so far it's totally fine. I've gotten into my rhythm with the pattern and DARE I SAY made peace with my whole Socks Are Scary problem. Mostly thanks to Gina and her awesome easy sock pattern that I used for Bubba's socks which had a heel turning technique that did not make me want to cut myself. Thank you, Gina.
Really, before now, the thought of turning the heel of a sock made me sweat with fear. My first pair of socks was a total chore and left me with feeling empty inside and so, I did not go back to socks. And, to be honest, never wore the one pair of socks I knitted because it would have been like wearing fear and I will not do that.
But now - now I am a new woman. A woman who can *I think* knit socks. Even crazy ass socks that call for K2 together, YO, K1, YO, SSK, P2 repeats. And yes, I just wrote that out from memory because this pattern is that easy.
The angle here is odd. My legs are very chicken-y in real life. Unlike here where they appear to be enormo.
So, I'm working through pair #2 of fear-free socks and feeling a little bit invincible.
Of course, I totally cursed myself when I bought this sock yarn because well enough can not be left alone by yours truly. NO. I have to force the issue.
Geez. It's like copy/pasting exact teacher's comments from my elementary school report cards.
When I bought this sock yarn I also got some cotton yarn. You know, just enough to knit a full length sweater because YES I like to torture myself and rub salt in old wounds and also cry in my living room while trying to stab myself covertly in the eye with one or more of my needles just to end the suffering.
More on that after the socks though. For now, that pretty cotton yarn is safe in the stash.
Look away, mommy. The garden is so scary. Also, Jada kicked me.
So, yeah, by now I expected I'd have most of the plants pulled from the garden and be on to more timely topics like what am I going to be for Halloween (because I'm five and we are all five years old on Halloween where I work, which is not a kindergarten) or maybe trying to pinpoint who in my neighborhood is the biggest loser by putting out holiday decorations first.
I really didn't expect that there'd be shit going on in the garden at this point beyond some impressive dying off of plants and maybe some crazy ass spider webs. I certainly didn't think I'd be getting any produce love from the garden, that's for sure.
So, like I vaguely referenced the other day, garden updates might go on for a while, so I'm real sorry for you guys who have been waiting for me to shut up about those plant things already because apparently you have some time still.
Come back in a few weeks when I'm sure I'll be on to bitching about my neighbors who have already put out their inflatable Santy Claus.
Do you think I'm kidding? I might go take pictures of my neighbors' Halloween decorations, too, because if the decorating can start in SEPTEMBER DAMN YOU then I'd say the shit talking can, too.
Mom. These marigolds are really ugly. Also, I kicked Rocket. Sucka
I have succumbed to the pressure and signed up for another race.
Granted, it's only a 5K to be trotted out on Turkey morning near my MiL's in KC, but it's still a race and my registration in said race was brought on by The Pressure.
This is The Pressure I feel now, now that I have made this whole running pastime official by putting my race bibs on the fridge like a six year old with report cards from school, and now I do stupid crap like foul up a perfectly lazy Thanksgiving morning with running.
Sure, I'll go on to have four desserts without any guilt (as though running 3 miles offsets 1,000 pumpkin pie calories or whathaveyou), but the whole glorious lazy of the day is sort of ruined when you've sweat through one outfit by 9 am doing something other than bringing in firewood for the Turkey Day Watching Football Fire.
The real scary thing is that signing up for this race was necessary to keep The Pressure sated momentarily so that I didn't prematurely succumb in a more significant way that will make me very sorry.
What I'm trying to say here is that I got some wild ideas about what if I didn't fall out of half marathon shape and have to work my way back up to it next fall and instead kept running long races what then as I was walking back to the car from this most recent race - and now - these wild ideas are haunting me.
And trying to get me to do crazy things. Crazy things like sign up for more than one half marathon in 2009.
I KNOW. That is what crazy people say.
Especially since I'm so super loving my two week post-race break that I may never go back to the running shoes or the gym (oh yes, all the exercise stops, not just the running) and just turn back the clock completely on the two+ years of training I tortured myself with so that I can become one with my beloved couch.
I guess middle grounds aren't my specialty.
Right now I'm putting all registering for 2009 events out of my mind because OH I have another 2008 race coming up and can't possibly think about next year yet, but I do believe I will need your support/abuse/personal stories in the event that I have any significant separations from my better judgement once we tie up the whole Turkey Day racing business.
Prepare yourselves for the inevitable hemming. And hawing.
Oh, and if you are also a torture yourself on Thanksgiving kind of person and live in the KC area and want to hang out with me for 3 or so miles before eating 4 desserts (or maybe less if you're not as piggie as me) - maybe sign up for the race, too. Then Bubba will feel better because it's not just his sig other that's doing stupid crap when we should (justifiably) be watching football in our jammies.
Last night I went out to the garden, in the dark mind you because apparently it's not summer anymore despite the weird warm weather, hoping beyond hope that there'd be a few basil leaves left for a final fresh batch of The Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep.
Because summer's over and all - according to everyone I talk to and the news.
And so I went, using our new outdoor lights to light the way (thanks Bubba! They're awesome!) and LO my basil plants were missing.
I moved closer. No basil plants.
But, MAN, what is all this shrubbery? And all these yellow flowers? And OH MY WORD THE TOMATOES HAVE LOST IT.
Oh, and there's my basil. Right there hidden totally underneath the newly enthusiastic tomato plants. Which, by the way, are full of red ripe tomatoes.
The things that happen when you walk away from a fall garden for a weekend. Sheesh.
And so to that I say, what the hell? (In a good way.)
I picked like 6 tomatoes last night and left about another 6 on the plants and I'm thinking that (HOPE!) I might have to celebrate this unlikely third harvest of tomatoes and the end of summer (eventually, whatever) with my one final Tomato Pesto Pie this weekend because, yummy.
This is the third round of fruit that these plants are putting out. THIRD. That's a lot. I mean, yes, I realize this can happen when you have indeterminate tomato plants, but never in my wildest did I imagine that I'd get more than two rounds of tomatoes. I mean, I usually just expect one big round and then a second wimpy round where I wag my finger at the plants and go come on you can do better than that.
I guess they're calling my bluff from last year. I guess they didn't appreciate my gentle ribbing. I guess they did know they could do better than that because, well, now they are.
Plus, the basil is positively thriving, the marigolds (which are still ugly despite their thrivingness) are enormo and the chard is being chard. Which is to say that it is its own entity now and is claiming rights to back third of our property.
Of course my mom just decided to share with me the crucial fact that chard is not an annual vegetable. OH NO. It can last two years or more in a garden EVEN WITH FROST. Yikes, people. I am going to have to murder this plant myself as I won't have The End of the Season to do my dirty work for me.
That's fine. I have a compost pile that needs leafy greens.
The garden is experiencing some sort of Indian Summer/renewal and so I may have garden updates for a while. And maybe also pie updates if things go well.
But don't you forget to ready yourself for that end of year party at Finny's that we all love because I can see it starting at the end of my block already.
It takes two one hour flights, a few hours of recuperating in a hotel room after 8 hours of free cocktails and about an hour sitting on my dead ass at the airport.
More specifically, 1 sock = 1 Trip to Vegas
Which is so weird because until this weekend I thought 1 Trip to Vegas = 1 maxed out Visa.
This is way better.
This past weekend I met up with two of my BFFs from college so that we could celebrate our Dirty Thirty together, as one mass of drunken girlishness draped over a blackjack table at the Bellagio.
I imagine we were quite a sight. Well, we were quite a sight until a man of any variety approached our table and then one of us (not me) would loudly inform them that, "Hellooooooooo! We are all married ladies here and some of us have a lot of kids so don't get any crazy ideas!" and then there might be some shoving around of ring fingers to support this claim and then maybe there would be another round of drinks while the dealer would remind us that we were in a casino and should be placing bets.
And then we rinsed and repeated with that same scenario for two days while managing to also fit in a few meals (a basket of onion rings counts as a meal) and some draping of our bodies also at the spa.
One needs some TLC after drinking ones body weight in free gin, you know. YOU KNOW.
And surprisingly, throughout the debauchery and also some shopping and more importantly WINNING at cards, I also managed to get through Bubba's second sock so that we could avoid the otherwise necessary act of replacing one of his legs with a peg one.
Neither of these legs are pegs. Phew.
I think we're all pleased with this unexpected outcome.
On a separate note, Bubba was also visibly pleased with me when I got into his truck from the airport curb not smelling AT ALL like a fresh hot dumpster a la previous trips to Vegas.
Word of advice: Do not have the roasted garlic appetizer at BOA with a sidecar gallon of gin and then dance your butt off at Pure because it makes you smell like a fresh hot dumpster.
So, now with this not at all fucked up pair of socks under my belt, I'm getting brave.
Do you see how these are the same? Miracle.
I'm thinking that my mom, lover of crazy ass knee socks, needs a pair of handknit crazy ass knee socks for the winter months. Thankfully she also has a winter birthday so it will seem less weird when I give her a pair of crazy ass knee socks because they'll be in the name of Birthday, which justifies most crazy ass gifts.
Also, she's my mom and therefore loves all the crazy ass shit I make for her with my daughter hands, even more so when there's no macaroni or Elmer's glue involved. I suspect anyway.
I suppose I should be booking another trip to Vegas then. Anyone feel like sitting at the blackjack table with me for 36 hours? It's pretty fun and I'll let you scream at people while I beat the dealer with my three ace split.
I'm sure I've gone on about this before, since I know it didn't, like, *just* start bugging me last night, but I just have to say that there's nothing that ruins the glorious moment when I finish a super tedious project without totally fucking it up more than when the last line of the pattern reads:
Oh, you bastard.
I mean, yes, most of the time I know beforehand whether I'm going to have to make two of something and no, I'm not all surprised that I have to make two mittens or two socks or two fingerless gloves or two sleeves for a sweater or whatever. BUT STILL, it bugs me to make two of the same thing because I have no patience, I'm unrealistic and, well, it's boring.
Don't I sound fun?
Bubba equates this to starting to work on the car only to find that Step 1 in the manual is:
Ah, terrific. Let the tedium begin. Plus, this is going to take FOREVER.
And I'll tell you, this #1 sock took FOR EVA. As in Me + This Sock = Knitting 4 Eva
Which I've just now decided is fine because HELLO, look how hot this gusset came out:
And when I say hot, know that I mean not fucked up because I've knit some socks in my day and let's just say some of the gussets I've produced fall more into the latter category. And when I say some I mean all except this one.
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to call this one sock a miracle for a number of reasons:
I actually ripped out my first attempt at this sock after about 2 inches because the ribbing was jacked instead of pushing through hoping it "works itself out." MIRACLE.
I followed the pattern TO THE F'N T and managed to turn the heel without any of my ahem interpretations that always end up looking like a horse's ass. MIRACLE.
The sock looks and FITS like a normal sock on the person for whom it was intended. MIRACLE.
I know I should stop while I'm ahead and not get greedy, but let's be realistic about who I really am, people. Which is to say I'm a greedy person who needs help in the form of knitting miracles. Specifically:
Please make sock #2 the same size, dimension, fit as sock #1
Please allow all miracles from sock #1 to transfer to sock #2
Please grant me the ability to wiggle my nose and make one of the candidates in tonight's debate magically POOF disappear. This is relevant to the socks because I'll be knitting sock #2 while I exercise this new found (fingers crossed!) special power as I watch the debates.
Yes, I realize I'm ridiculous. Moving on...
Have you knit any man socks and, if so, do you have a favorite pattern? I'm using this one that I found on Ravelry, and I must say, so far so good except for the slowness which I realize is an operator issue rather than a pattern design issue.
When I'm done with the second sock, so in one hundred years, I'll report back on just how long it took and how much larger/smaller/more deformed the second sock is because that is how I do things. I'll also give you the final details on yarn, needles, pattern, estimated amount of crying I did, etc.
You should see some of my mittens. They're barely even pairs. NOT. THE. SAME.
I told Bubba he could make this project really easy on me if he'd just get a peg leg. Is that wrong to ask?
Now, I realize it's no super sprinter time or anything, but I did finish with the top half of the female participants and also IMPORTANT! did not die or make a shameful pile of myself.
Had I been wearing American flag shorts, an orange State Corrections jumper or been a barefoot stripper - then we may have been worried about shame, but thankfully there were others taking care of that for me.
See, folks, not everyone seems to be running this race for a PR or for the pride of finishing. No, it would appear that some people run this race to be ridiculous. Some people set out their running clothes the night before and instead of choosing the boring black Nike shorts like someone (me), they choose shorts cut from the cloth of Old Glory. And then they run around throwing peace signs while also slapping hands with the spectators wearing McCain/Palin Tshirts and not at all seeing the irony in it.
Some people run in full costume, as though running a half marathon weren't uncomfortable and distressing enough. They pull on a full length long-sleeve safety orange State Corrections jumper and dirty blond wig and go around screaming "I didn't do it!" a la Richard Kimball.
And then there are people, some might call them strippers, who forgo almost all running attire, traditional or costume, and choose to run in the smallest spandex shorts seen in the light of day and then no shoes at all. And then these people tie their hair up in a very high ponytail and run at an annoyingly quick pace right in front of me for the whole 13.1 miles cheering on everyone as their feet slap the pavement in rhythm with their heaving sports bra.
I did a lot of hoping that she'd take a break along the way so that I could put some distance between myself and the slapping of her bare feet on the pavement, but alas, she never required a break. And that is when I became entirely appreciative of my decision to run with the iPod this year.
See, last year, I was all oh, well they say real runners don't wear headphones when they race so I won't either and then I had to endure the not good bands every mile and listen to people talk on cell phones or have strained pointless conversations with their running buddies until I was about to burst with annoyance.
And I was not willing to do that again this year. I wanted to run and try to enjoy myself and not have homicidal thoughts as I was rounding mile 12 and that turned out to be a very good decision indeed.
When I rounded mile 12 yesterday, with Bubba and the dog cheering me on, instead of being ON FIRE WITH HATRED FOR THOSE AROUND ME, I was having a very satisfying realization: I was going for a PR.
My watch was a bit behind gun time, thanks to the half mile between my corral and the starting line, so when my watch read 2:16:somethinrother, I knew I was going to get to the finish line WAY ahead of last year's time of 2:35:28.
So, between the wagging dog, the cheering Bubba, the time on my watch and the short distance between myself at mile 12 and the finish line at mile 13.1, I used all the juice I had left (not a lot) to pull myself together for a respectable last mile. Which was increasingly difficult given the cement coursing through my thighs.
And then I shoved my headphones into my waist pocket and fled for that finish line like I'd be racing like a real runner the whole way. Because even if my time doesn't show it - the finish line photos might - Look! A real runner! She's not wearing headphones! My vanity knows no limits, folks.
Real runners probably don't go have Race Fries and then nap through half a 49ers game on their couch BUT WHO CARES because it was the best afternoon ever. Especially after I took some Tylenol Extra and remembered I didn't have to run at all this week.
Hearkening back to last year when I reached the same point, I laughed out loud a little bit this morning as I cruised into the driveway from finishing up the last run of my 1/2 marathon training because...
My taper week was done.
I was all tapered out.
Tapering was finished.
I'm a six year old in the morning, is what it comes down to. I'm assuming you know this joke when I make this reference but if you don't... Anywaaaay...
I finished my last training run for this race and thus finished my week of tapering. This run,- a gloriously short and grilled-cheese-fueled 2 mile run through the neighborhood without the accompaniment of my watch or iPod - put an excellent and short lid on Taper Week which started with my Run That Doesn't Suck from last Saturday.
This is where I did NOT call it a "Fun Run" like a douche, but where I skirted convention and just ran down all the streets I always see from my standard route but never get to tour because I Must Stay On-Route.
I can be so bossy.
That was a grand little run, I should say, too. I just went wherever the hell I wanted and when I ran out of fun streets to tour (plus, was getting sweaty since the dumb sun was all OUT and everything - stupid 8am) I just ran home and went about my day like a normal person without catastrophic runs or debilitating exhaustion or inexplicable boob pain.
And then Tuesday and today I ran shortie 2 milers at what I perceived was a fast pace, but what I'm sure was more like a normal person's running pace.
Have I told you I'm slow? I am. It's fine. I get there eventually with my slow and steady wins the race pace and try not to make comparisons between how fast I'm "running" while old people with those four pronged canes are walking nearby at nearly the same pace.
Makes me self-conscious, those canes.
And now I'm actively involved in the pastime known as Psyching Thyself Out To The Point of Mild Nausea.
See, the time, she passes so quickly. And it's moments like these, when I'm mere days from staring down the barrel of a 13 mile run, that I think to myself, "Self - what the fuck were you thinking?"
And then my self says back, "Duh bitch, you were there when we hit Submit on the registration page, so don't get all weird on me."
Tomorrow I'll go to the race expo and pick up my bib and a pacing wristband (free) and then not buy any of the hokey crap that they sell like seat covers with the race emblem embroidered on the front.
Then on Saturday, I will not run at all and will instead engage in some champion sleeping in until about 7am (we suck at sleeping in here) when I will probably walk the dog and try not to think about in 24 hours I will be standing at the starting line to run 13 miles.
I'll do these mind-numbing calculations all day until I get to the point where I am sure that "24 hours from now I'll be done and eating race fries" and then I'll start to fold and refold my shorts until it's time to leave for the race.
Because. I. Am. Crazy.
Here's to hoping I don't make a shameful heap of myself in 55.5 hours.
So, for some reason it's October today, which I find absurd since I'm sure it was just the first day of Spring, like, yesterday - BUT WHATEVER.
I'm ready for a new project anyway - so there.
Although, I'll be honest, there aren't a LOT of projects left in this book that I'm all fired up to make. I mean, yes, that pleated bag is cute, but I'm certain that I can't make another bag right now and still try to keep a straight face around Bubba.
So what's left?
Something I can actually use without having to make up a lot of elaborate explanations as to why IN THE WORLD I would need any more of those. I am running out of excuses, and so, I say we make cards.
Because I can always say, "Bubba, obviously I'm making cards because the holidays are coming and also we'll need to give gifts and then what about thank yous for things and what not." And I won't get any guff about making cards because I think you know who is responsible for all mailed correspondence in this house and I'll give you a hint, it's not Bubba.
SO - I say that this month and next (because two-monthers are our new theme, forget the "adventure" thing) we all work on our interpretation of the Sewn Star Card.
Of course, because it's our ~along, there is no requirement to stick to the pattern, cut out shapes, use a star in any way or, really, even follow the pattern. Let's just use the idea as inspiration and only stick to it in the sense that these cards we make should have some sewing involved.
Whether you want to holiday them up (I can NOT believe I just said "holiday". Please kick me from wherever you are.) or make a set as a gift or make some thank yous or just copy your ass on to some paper and embroider the outline - that is up to you.
Just do what you will and then upload your photos to the pool and we'll come back on 12/1 and announce the winner.
Then we'll get to talking about who is the year's grand prize winner of a fabulous prize that we're both very excited about.
SO GET CRACKIN and also don't tell anyone I said "holidays" because I am ashamed of myself.