Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Running update: Ok, I now understand cross-training

I guess this isn't so much a Running Update as it is a Backpacking/Hiking Update, but let me explain.

See, I've been a regular exerciser most of my life, usually doing a few different things at once - like playing soccer and swimming or doing yoga and running or doing weights at the gym and pilates or whatever.

And most of the time I was doing more than one thing because that's what the workout magazines and personal trainers and The World say you're supposed to do - vary your workouts.

AKA: Cross-train.

So, I did.

Also, doing the same. thing. every. single. day. makes me nuts and then I will start finding convenient reasons for not working out, like, uh, I just got my pillow in the right spot and if I get up and go running now I'll lose this moment of perfect sleep forever.

You know what I mean.

There's also a lot of psychological trickery that goes on in my head to keep me from blowing off my daily workouts, but we won't go into that because you're all well aware of My Crazy at this point and don't need any further proof of loose screws in my noggin.

ANYWAY, the reason why the whole "you should cross-train" light bulb finally came on for me in a real way rather than just in the "I read it in Shape magazine so therefore it must be" kind of way, is that I went backpacking over the long weekend and, LO, I was, like, totally in shape for it.

Like, totally not phased by hiking up hills with a 40lb pack at 6,000+ ft above sea level, kind of shape.

The realization came to me when I, Ms. Tail of the Dog Hiker to the Stars, hit the top of the "Big Hill" first and was not just struggling to survive, like I always had in the past. Not bent at the waist, hands on knees, spitting and sucking wind to stay alive with no understanding of how I'd be able to go on.

No. I felt fine. Fine enough to take photos, drink a little water, reapply sunscreen like a good little pale-faced girl, appreciate the view in all directions and scout out the next leg of the hike.

People, I'm really not trying to brag here, what I'm trying to say is that at this moment I realized the value of cross-training because I also realized that the reason I was able to feel this good at this moment when historically I'd always felt one step from death in similar moments was because of all that fucking running.

Yes. Just like my neighbors said, and I summarily wrote off, was that "with all that running, this hike should be a breeze." And it was. And they were right.

Well, I'll be. Cross-training isn't just a fancy concept created by Nike to convince you to buy another pair of shoes.

No. It's a fancy concept created for people who are sick and bloody tired of always being behind everyone else on backpacking trips, dreading the next uphill and trying to piece together enough juice to make it to the campsite before collapsing in a heap.

I do not think I'll stop running ever now, given how awesome I felt during this trip. I never got sore, I never flamed out, I never had to stop on a hill and take a break.

FUCKING AMAZING I LOVE RUNNING ESPECIALLY WHEN I'M BACKPACKING.

OK, I'll stop being that guy now and just show you some photos from the weekend, since Yosemite was really the most impressive thing on the trip, even though I've spent the better part of this post making you believe it was me.

Which it really was not.

No, as it turns out, Yosemite is actually more gorgeous than my pea brain could recall, and I spent the better part of the weekend saying retarded things like, "WOW. Look at those pink flowers!" Which isn't that retarded until you've just said it for the 60th time and no one will look you in the eye anymore.

I'm easily amused I guess.

Kibbie Creek

Those pink flowers

A poor rattlesnake we awoke from its nap so that it would rattle for us. Poor guy. He'd just had lunch.

Of course, there were campfire cocktails.

And also there was feet soaking in the clear mountain streams.

And, during a moment of particular harmony, Bubba took a photo with me without sticking his tongue in my ear. Miracles will just never cease.

In case you're lost as to what the hell I'm trying to say here, allow me to sum up:

1. If you are sick of rolling into camp last on hiking or backpacking trips, start running before your next trip and then watch the magic unfold.

2. If your eyes need to stretch out and look at some gorgeous stuff and/or you're sick of listening to the sounds of civilization, Yosemite is a good bet. More photos here.

And now I'm off to Phoenix for a few days because I'm tired of existing in a comfortable climate and want to cook my insides.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

So you're leaving, then?

Stop looking at my belly.

Rocket has taken to eyeballing me in the most suspicious manner now that I've discovered the Aussie Mobile Pet Groomer Mobile Thingee and I'm pretty sure that the sight of our backpacks getting packed and repacked and sorted and stuffed with more dehydrated Chili Mac is exactly her idea of heaven.

And that is because she knows she will be rid of us and free to cavort and misbehave all Memorial Weekend as Bubba and I are taking off for the Yosemite backcountry and Miss Jada is off playing with her long time friends at pooch land.

Rocket will be home alone and, well, she'll be napping. In one spot. So that she can generate the most enormous Rocket Nest for us to admire upon our return. I wonder if she naps constantly while we're gone in order to conserve energy in the event that we don't return and she's then to be left to her own devices for survival?

Nah. That's just her wildest fantasy.

This house. It is all mine. Also, look how I'm half the size I used to be. Weird.

Anyway, that's my way of saying, I'm off again (and in alphabetical order no less!)- this time to Yosemite - where Bubba and I will wander some trails, carry our fly rods around with the intent of catching something and just generally enjoy being out of cell phone range and in the company of all of our neighbors except the shitty ones.

That's right, y'all - neighborhood backpacking trip! Isn't that just the cutest? Sort of. Yes.

I had a great bonding moment with one of them last night, as we all sat out back on our new patio (photos and mind-numbing story soon), when she asked the group in a somewhat leading manner, "Uh, guys, is this a dry trip or a wet trip?"

To which Bubba and I replied in tandem, "Wet."

Yeah. That's right. We have a backpacking flask, what of it? Which is already filled with Maker's and packed carefully into my pack, awaiting the moment when we arrive in camp, thirsty for The Mark.

For the record, backpacking is the only time I typically drink anything other than gin. And that is because I can't be carrying the Diet Tonic and sliced limes and a handful of cubed ice in my backpack because, can you imagine?

So, next week I'll return with some more photos for the Sabbatical~along album and I hope you all have a very nice Memorial Weekend whether you have a homicidal shaved cat awaiting you at home or not.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Adopt a Crop update: My evil plan is working

Lettuce growing in the shade of beans. A true romance.

When I go out to the garden, as I do approximately one to two dozen times per day, the first bed I inspect is the cuke/bean/lettuce bed.

And while I'd like you to think that this is because I'm super protecting your adopted lemon cucumber crop, that's totally not the reason.

The reason is because I like to watch my Evil Plan unfold. With my Evil Plan being to extend the lettuce season by growing the tender boltastic leaves in the shade of the rapidly growing beans on their tepee.

And, much to my extreme joy and pleasure, this is totally working.

YES.

Not that this is *my* Evil Plan, since I know that this whole strategy has likely been around as long as the Three Sisters planting method, but still, for it to work for me is excellent. Makes me feel like I'm finally learning something about gardening rather than just running full steam into the soil in the spring throwing seeds and plants and stakes around me as I race to warm up from winter and get my hands in the dirt LIKE NOW.

The desire for a warm garden tomato is extremely strong in, say, March, so it's hard to control myself long enough to put together any strategy, much less one that works. Much less one that's also Evil, by my standards anyway.

Evil Standards = Gently defy nature to extend harvest

Granted, that's not very Evil, but I can start wearing my Halloween costume while I perform this task, if you feel like that will more appropriately honor the Evil. Just kidding.

I think this Evil Plan has been developing steadily, but being away for four days while we had a minor heat wave in NorCal really emphasized the developing Evil. In short, I came home to find the beans nearing the top of their tepee.

I predict this guy will hit the top before the end of the month.

The same tepee that, when Bubba built it for me, I thought might be a little tall but who cares maybe we can get extra channels on the teevee with it. (The fact that we have satellite TV should be disregarded for the purposes of this particular theory.)

The race is so ON.

On the less triumphant side of things, I brought in a replacement for one of the suck-tastic Better Boy seedlings since he's showing so few signs of life that it was pissing me off that precious warm weather was being wasted on his sucking self when I could have another plant potentially growing in his hole.

Of course, when I came home with this new not-sucky replacement, I didn't have the heart to chuck Mr. I Refuse To Grow Despite Heat and Optimum Conditions, so I just planted the new not-sucky plant next to him. A little, "Why can't you be more like your big brother?" guilt, I feel, is an effective gardening method.

We'll see.

His buddy in the We Suck Vegetable Bed of Failure is starting to perk up and act like he wants to be a part of this family, so I'm leaving him be and also trying to spend some extra time encouraging him to continue on his path to righteousness. And by righteousness, I mean, The Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep.

I want to be the best. I really do.

And, hey, speaking of under-performers - the corn doesn't suck anymore.

YIPPEE. WHIPPY. WHIPPY.

We're reading above our grade-level now.

Now that I've replaced the seeds that refused to grow after two sowings with healthy seedlings, a handful of which were crushed by a wandering racoon, and covered them to protect them from future wanderings, they're doing, well, GREAT.

They look good. Like, small scary children could potentially be rustling their way through their stalks very soon, kind of good. I like that. Scary in my mini corn field. Fun times. Perhaps that will entertain me enough to distract me from the fact that I'll be lucky to have two ears of corn to rub together this season.

Again, we'll see. There's no telling what will make me lose my shit or, conversly, provide enough entertainment to warrant otherwise crappy behavior acceptable. I'm a loose cannon, folks!


Thankfully, I don't have to hold back any tears with regard to the cucumbers this year. They're very happily doing exactly what the packet promises, and so far, without any bugs to speak of. And if there were any naughty bugs (there are some good ones in there, they get to stay), I would know. I did a very intense veg bed weeding this morning and found nothing naughty to make me cry.

Of the 14 seeds I planted (7 per hill), I've left 4 per hill to go bonkers. I also caged them after the recent Night of the Racoon, which will also help them stay upright and strong when the alleged Heavy Yields begin.

Say it with me, "Pickle Chips. Pickle Chips." Alright, then.

They only love me for my fiber.

I have a new artichoke on the plant and the first one is big enough that I'm thinking we'll eat it when we get home from backpacking next week. Because that's what I need after eating dehydrated food for three days: FIBER.

You know.

If I had red stitches, MLB would want me.

For those of you keeping tabs on the #1 tomato - it's fucking huge already. When I left for Yellowstone, it was the size of a marble. When I came home, a paltry four days later, it was the size of a baseball. I'm afraid to look at it today, lest I find it the size of a basketball and have to consider the possibility of doping.

No steroids in this field, damn it.


The one million blossoms on the Meyer lemon tree are now one thousand tiny lemons. I hope that, at some point, they become somewhere in the neighborhood of a few dozen ripe Meyers from which I can contemplate making the Most Hated Dessert of All Time since I think Bubba could use some Lemon Love.

Oh! Spank me! That sounds nasty.

#1 Nasturtium. Not nasty at all.

And to end on a Not Porno note, the nasturtium have begun to bloom in all the beds, which is nice since it brings some color to the Complete Green of the vegetables and also fulfills another Evil Plan of recent years: confuse the cucumber beetles.

What the hell am I talking about? Well, according to various companion gardening resources, nasturtium repel cucumber beetles by confusing them. Specifically, with all those leaves in and around the cuke plants, they get lost and give up trying to kill your cukes.

Whether this is an accurate portrayal of events, I can't say, but if it's going to work, then I've got the ideal setup given that even *I* couldn't immediately locate my cucumber plants for the forest of nasturtium.

Thankfully, I don't give up that easily.

Can you tell what's naturtium and what's cucumber? SEE! It's hard.
Oh, and if you're interested, I'm updating the Garden Tracker with our daily harvests (mostly lettuce so far), so you can see how the Sow ---> Reap process is hashing out. So far so good. I'll let you know when we're getting close to Zero Barrier.

And if you don't know what Zero Barrier is, you haven't watched nearly enough doomsday movies. Please go rent Armageddon and come back when you can understand what the fuck I'm talking about.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Shit, man. That's a lot of sky."

I flew home from Yellowstone last night and BOY are my arms tired.

Ha.

Yeah, I just don't really know how to start a post about a trip to Yellowstone National Park.

Do I get all whimsical and silly about OH we saw bears and wolves and elk and deer and geysers and bison with their babies and waterfalls and pronghorn and a moose (yes, a moose. Don't even try to say that there aren't moose in the park anymore because we saw one and THEY ARE THERE) and a marmot and some birds and OH DID I MENTION WE SAW A BLACK BEAR IN A TREE?!


Or, do I do the "Oh the traffic and ridiculous tourists with their Disneyland Drive-thru approach to nature" shtick where I complain ironically about how tourists in Yellowstone are so like this and so like that and totally wear those tshirts with wolves howling at the moon on them while they park their RV across two lanes of traffic so they can videotape bison wandering in the road?

video

Or do I confirm your suspicions that we're all just a bunch of classy ladies with photos of our high-flalutin evenings on the town and in our five star hotel suite?

Rusty G&T
According to the waitress, no one had ever posed for photos with the antlers on their walls.

I found that to be a shameless waste of antlers.
So now I feel better knowing that we, like the Native Americans, have used all the parts of this creature for good.
No horse's asses were harmed in the shooting of this photograph.
I think you will appreciate our fine hotel crystal. Only the best for Girl's Weekend '09.

Nah.

Let's talk flyfishing.

Yellowstone River - you are HOTNESS.

The whole time we girls spent in this protected corner of wilderness (and around it - we did leave the park at times) we were followed/led/watched by the Yellowstone River or, in brief moments, the Lamar River. And they are both big beautiful rushing rivers that, I'm told, hold the promise of trout so bountiful that all one needs to do is drop in a fly and out will come a trout.

I can see at least three spots in this photo I'd like to be standing in with my fly rod.

Like forever and ever until you get bored of fishing.

See, I haven't been fishing yet this year. And during this trip my rod arm was all itchy to cast into the quiet riffles around the bends of this endless stretch of tempting water. I wanted to pull on my waders and go wandering out into the never-never just so I could stand in the middle of, what appeared to be, Creation, and fish it. To see if I could, in fact, become bored of fishing.

Ok, so my cast isn't *this* good, but I think you see what I mean about temptation.

But until Charley the Pink Fuzzy, who we met while soaking in the pools at Chico Hot Springs, told me that he had during the last eight years of living in Montana actually gotten bored of fishing because it's, like, such a sure thing what is the point, I hadn't yet dreamed that I, Super Novice FlyFisherWoman, would even stand a chance of doing more than standing in the river with my prop fly rod casting meaninglessly into the current.

But the words, "sure thing", "endless trout", "so easy I'm bored of it" really hit home with me. Because I need ease and sure things when I fish so that I can stand a chance of catching something.

Also, the other words in our conversation with Pink Fuzzy Porno Wilderness Man weren't inspiring in any way unless you consider "fleeing for your life so you don't get snatched and buried in a basement" inspiring. Which I don't. I consider that more of a call for alarm.

Regardless, I will be back. With my fly rod. And Bubba. And it will be grand.

For the record, we did not encounter any historical romance, although we did enjoy the mineral pools very much.
Not Margaritas in the Hot Springs With My Favorite Gals kind of grand, but more Gin From My Vest Flask While I Stand With Bubba in the River kind of grand.

There's room for all these kinds of Grand, you know. Lord knows Montana and Wyoming are big enough for both, after all.

They're not kidding about that Big Sky thing.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

You have a sabbatical, too.

Not that everyone in the whole wide world of you guys wants to do exactly the same things that I do while I'm off work for two months but I bet you'd like some of the things.

Right?

Well, I thought I'd share them up.

Kinda like when we go on our ski trips and I keep a running photo album of our day's adventures so that anyone who cares to see me faux-speedskating in my full body polypro long underwear and hood can get a good laugh from the safety of their office back home.

I'm a giver like that.

And so I thought, why not do the same thing with this sabbatical, since you know I'm taking a million photos of things since I have the time and also so that, if you need a brain break in the day, you could let the photos roll for a few minutes and act like you're the one on sabbatical - all staring down contractors wrecking your yard or running around on the beach with the dog or, say, fucking up a lot of crafts just because you have the time.

Sound fun?

Well, I guess we'll find out. Since I'm going to update a Sabbatical~along photo album (to live on the sidebar there --->) with the photos I'm taking of my random activities for the next few months.

And because someone (Hi Sara!) asked just *what* I thought I'd be doing during this time, this gives me a good opportunity to share that list with you guys so you'll know what to expect in the photos while also fulfilling my own self-involved desire to create a bulleted list of activities.

For fun, you know. I'm all about fun. And bulleted lists.
  • Bike to pilates
  • Bike to the library
  • Run an out of state race
  • Take a beekeeping course
  • Watch the Giants play awful baseball
  • Landscape my backyard
  • Continue my Italian classes
  • Take the dog to the beach. Lots.
  • Finish knitting Bubba's sweater
  • Sew this dress
  • Go to the spa
  • Backpack with Bubba
  • Work in the garden
  • Visit all my best friends
  • Cook everything I've not yet made from my stockpile of recipes
  • Create in real life all the project sketches in my notebook
  • Read a lot of books (or just some)
  • etc, etc, etc
So, you know, that's some stuff you might see in there. Also, some random events that'll crop up and I'll be able to go do because WTF! I have the time. And you may not see a lot of photos of me biking places because self-portraiting while riding a road bike is really just not the safest thing for me to be doing.

Notice that "Crashing my bike into a parked van" is no where on my bulleted list. That's important.

And, hey, if you have fun ideas of shit I should do while I'm off, leave me a comment and maybe I'll do it. And then maybe I'll take photos and put them on this reel and then you'll sorta feel like you're on sabbatical, too, in that vicarious I HATE YOU FINNY kind of way.

Good times.

Alright. Let's go do some shit.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Adopt a Crop update: I'm a cheater + Big Moment

As you may recall, I had to do a second sowing of the corn seeds because, well, the first sowing was more of a serving than anything else. A snack size serving for, what I now believe to be, a very annoying raccoon.

I think, at last count, with the two sowings under the protective cover of the Supah Technical frost cages, I was up to 17 germinated seeds. Of 27. That's not too bad, but with corn, you really need all the rows full and accounted for, otherwise there can be pollination problems and other mysteries that exist with corn and about which I'm totally ignorant.

Blissfully so, I might add.

So, still wanting to have a full house of corn but not wanting to roll the dice on more seeds, I went the Big Fat Cheater route and bought some corn seedlings at the nursery while my mom picked out her Mother's Day squashes. Nothing says, "Thanks for not killing me during my terrifying teenage years!" like an eight ball squash, I say. Thankfully, the nursery had Silver Queen seedlings, and so I didn't have to cheat AND compromise - that would have been awful.

Can you imagine? Let's not.

Anyway, I planted the corn seedlings yesterday afternoon and then spent some quality time admiring how the bed no longer looked like a balding middle-aged man anymore. Yay! No corn comb-overs!

Don't my plugs look natural?

And then this morning I went out to do some more Not a Bald Dude Corn Bed admiring only to find that a Bastard Raccoon had spent some clandestine moments tromping through the bed crushing everything in sight while surreptitiously dropping a load over the edge right into my path.

THANKS, ASSHOLE.

So, sadly, I had to do some propping up of remaining plants this morning and will have to go back to the nursery to fill in the holes he left with his giant STUPID JERKOFF paws/ass/tail. And then I had to get out the shovel to deal with the special coiled pressie he left steaming and collecting flies in my garden path.

*sigh* If only we embraced firearms in this house...

In happier news, he was a lazy raccoon and stuck to the thoroughfare, not meandering into any of my other beds to, say, take a nap in the lettuce or climb around on the bean lines. If that were the case, I'd be writing this post from the loony bin because that kind of scenario would get my brain to snappin'. Or I'd be up on charges for discharging a firearm in a residential area. Not that I own a gun, but still Crazy makes you do things...

Hey! Speaking of those plants I love with insane devotion:

You just try to tell me this doesn't warrant a crime of passion.

I brought in the third lettuce harvest already last night. Lettuce = Teacher's Pet.

And don't you fear, my chickens, the Adopted Crop of Lemon Cucumbers is alive and well over there away from the Hwy 101 of veg beds.

I predict that soon there will be photos of cucumber blossoms right...here -----> X.

I opted to put cages up around them this morning in case the Bastard Raccoon decides to make a reappearance and also because, with four seedlings per mound (there are two), growing at the rate they're maintaining, those leaves are starting to need some support. So, support I will.

*Patience*

In other FABULOUS AND EARLY news, we have our first tomato.

That's all I'm going to say. I don't want to clutter this perfect moment with a lot of chatter.

Go on, then, just relish the moment with me...

Reeeeeliiiiishhhhh iiiiiiiit...

Ok, I'm back. Isn't he huge and buttcheek-ish? I'm in love. The thing is the size of a marble. I'm thinking he might be the biggest Better Boy to grace my yard ever, but we'll see. No pressure or anything.

Oh, and lest I forget everything else in light of this beautiful buttcheek tomato, we also have ripening cherries,

Bubba tasted one and says they're still too sour.


artichokes,

I'm eating four for dinner tonight. You know, just to prepare.

and the tiniest hope of cilantro. Guess those seeds were a mite old. Oh well. It'll bolt in, like, three minutes anyway, so I'm not sure why I bother at all.

It might be bolting right now.

Also under the header of, Why Do I Bother, the last bed of tomatoes and basil looks like hot crap. Something's chewing on all of them and they aren't really growing. So, while I technically have four tomato plants and a dozen basils in the ground, I *really* have two tomato plants and six basils growing. The rest are busy sucking wind over there where I suspect they don't get enough sun and/or the "Bug Buffet" sign is drawing too much attention.

The sunlight may be the reason that the lettuce did great here last year, but not so much with the tomatoes. Sad.

For comparison's sake, see I'm The Mightiest Tomato Plant in All the Land, here:

I'm sitting on a nuclear waste site. Don't tell.

And, I guess, that's all the updating I'm ready to do right now. But I do have a recipe to share with y'all soon that'll take care of some of those greens (collard, chard, kale, totsoi, etc), let you play with your pasta machine AND include bacon. It's purty good. And if I hadn't had pupusas and beans for breakfast this morning (technically it was 10:30, so is that even breakfast?) I'd be eating those leftovers right now.

Instead, I'm going to be full until lunch tomorrow.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Sewing FAIL

You tease me, Ms Ross.

I've had this sewing pattern printed and set aside to make for, oh, a solid month now.

I was saving it for sabbatical so that I'd have time to properly scout the perfect fabric and hunt down the elusive elastic thread it calls for to make the shirring happen.

By some miracle, I managed to finagle this beast into printing, after which I taped it together, cut out the pattern pieces (which always seems so counter-productive after all that taping BUT WHATEVER) and carefully folded it so that when the moment arrived to actually bring the dress into the world, I'd have the annoying Step 1: Cut out the pattern pieces step out of the way.

I'm all for doing projects in many steps so as to avoid aggravation. And we know how aggravated I get, so this is also a life-saving measure.

And with all that preparation out of the way and sabbatical firmly under my feet, I set out yesterday to the fabric store ready to find My Perfect Sundress Fabric at Eddie's 20% off everything Mother's Day sale where I fell madly in love with a particular fabric that looks much better in person than it does in this barfy shot from Fabric.com.

It is the perfect summer fabric. Not that you can tell.

Now, to be truthful, I didn't so much love it on its own, but as a dress, especially a summer one, I knew it would be the The Perfect Sundress Fabric.

I also bought a few other fabrics because, you know, I was there and it was all 20% off and I can't choose between them all when they're all looking at me like that. You know.

Anyway, FAIL #1 happens at this point.

Oh, you didn't realize I meant it when I said, "Sewing FAIL". Sorry, I totally meant it. It's sad, but you should still read on so that you don't make this same mistake. Plus! There's a happy ending. Go on, then.

FAIL #1: Inadequate fabric estimate

The pattern calls for 2 1/2 yards of cotton fabric. Which is what I bought. After carefully inspecting the pattern instructions and drawings that clearly show the front and back of the dress being cut from the same piece of fabric on the fold, stacked neatly on top of one another.

Ridiculously enough, I imagined my life would mimic the photo, even though it never does, and when I began to pin my pattern piece (now I'm home from fabric shopping, thanks for keeping up) along the fold of this fabric it became obvious that there was not going to be any cutting of front and back from the same fold of this same fabric piece.

At best, I could have made this happen 1 1/2 times, which would have resulted in a bizarre fashion statement I wasn't ready to make.

I tried to piece together some sections of the remaining fabric to make a large enough piece from which to cut the back of the dress, but this didn't produce any wearable results.

In reality, this pattern should call for at LEAST 3 yards of fabric. More if you're trying to keep a vertical pattern in order, which I was.

After realizing I was doomed with materials on hand, I raced back to Eddie's this morning and snatched (quite literally - it was getting scary in there) the last 1 3/8 yard of this fabric from the shelves. Box and all.

I thought I'd triumphed.

FAIL #2: Elastic thread is easy, as noted, but starting a new row of shirring every 1/2 inch is ridiculous

This might actually be a WIN since I decided that, rather than sewing a dozen individual elastic rows, I'd just sew a spiral for the shirring. Unfortunately, I didn't come up with this particular piece of genius until I was 1/2 way through. The second half, though, flew right by.

FAIL #3: The dress is child's size

But still, awesome fabric, right?

Yes. It may say "fits women's sizes..." on the pattern cover, but according to the pieces I cut out and despite the many times I held them up against my body and found them to be proportionally correct (and flattering - oh how I wanted this dress), the final product failed to produce a result that would fit over my shoulders, around my boobs or even slide up from the floor over my hips.

Now, the hips part wasn't a surprise. I'm a curvy gal and exist under no misconception that my hips are narrow and small. But shoulders? Too wide? Um, not usually my problem. And really, even if I could have slipped it over my shoulders (oh, how I tried) there's no way it would have fit over my boobs in any flattering way.

Um, when you say Women's 8, do you mean Child's 6x?

Think smushed pancakes. Not pretty.

It was pretty much at this point when I began to pout and feel extreme sadness that comes with wasting beloved awesome fabric on a FAIL.

Plus, I really wanted to wear that dress on Mother's Day tomorrow since my mom really likes to indulge in the irony of me in dresses as an adult because I refused to wear dresses or skirts for a solid decade of my childhood.

It was a dark time in my dining room. Enhanced by the Giants being shutout by the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, even without their Amazing Roid Pitcher to the Stars, Manny Ramirez.

*Sigh*

Do I cry? Do I wad this up and burn it? Do I try it on again to see, if by some miracle, it now fits over my newly discovered monster shoulders?

Yes, let's try that.

I don't even think this could be saved by installing a zipper, although I may try that with attempt #2.

FAIL. Monster shoulders too monstrous.

Oh but it's so cute! Look at it all like a little girl's dress there with its quaint shirred bodice and cutesy stripes. If I were a little girl that wore dresses (which, remember, I wasn't) I would totally be wearing this right now and maybe sharing a popsicle with the dog.

WAIT! That's it! I'll give it to a little girl.

THE little girl.

The one who I'll see in just a few weeks - my goddaughter, Emma.

Yes, it'll probably be a bit long on her, but it's a little girl's dress, it should be a bit long so that it can scrape around in the grass and pick up all the evidence of a child that's been playing outside all day. Plus, the pockets are perfect for picking up rocks or little brothers or whatever kids always have spilling from the sides of their pants (not poo).

PHEW! Saved.

This Too Small For Big Me dress will be perfect for Super Tiny Goddaughter. Even if I doubt she'll appreciate the perfection of the pattern. Or the spiraling elastic shirring. BUT THAT'S OK because maybe then someone will love it like I once did for an hour when I thought it was going to fit right.

One last thought, do you think it would be weird if I tried my hand at this pattern again, making the dress ever so much larger so that I could wear it and then when I went to visit Ms Thang Goddaughter, we wore our matching dresses together?

Too much? Too Weird Auntie Finny?

You tell me. I'm on the fence.