Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Just a Short Note...

Very shortly after posting Monday's "100 Things" list, I went to sleep.
But did you notice that I stayed up late to post it? Me, the early-to-bed-girl!

Very shortly after waking, I went to preschool, where I was subbing for the day.
I do love to get my "toddler-fix"...

Very, very shortly after leaving preschool, I got hit hard by some sort of horrible achy/fevery/sore-throaty/copious-amounts-of-green-stuff thing.*

And so I went back to bed. Where I proceeded to remain all day Tuesday.
Well, that's not wholly accurate - I did move my base of operations to the couch, so I could watch copious amounts of television. Lots and lots and lots of television...

Which is just a long, and roundabout way of explaining why it's been quiet silent over here for the past 48 hours...

Which was not my intent - I want to thank each and everyone of you for all the lovely lovely Blogiversary comments that you left.
It makes me want to have a blogiversary every week or so!

I didn't want anyone to think that I was hoarding all the good comments without a "thank you" in sight...
Because I am very very grateful for all the love.
Thank you, each and every one.

So - if I've got an email address for you, you'll be hearing from me soon.
Once I get my sad germy behind off the couch.
Where I am about to park it again...


*And just so you know, I do realize that there is no logical or rational way to blame my getting sick on the preschoolers. I mean, I was symptomatic within about 90 minutes of leaving that place. I don't even think the Hanta virus incubates that quickly!

However, I do also know that I'm not setting foot back in that place without freebasing a whole bunch of Airborne first!

**I typed some "x"s and "o"s right there - but then deleted them. No one wants me loving on them right now....

Monday, January 29, 2007

100 Things

It was one year ago today that I warned everyone to "clear the shallow end of the blog pool" - because I was plunging in...

It has been a great year - and not a day goes by that I don't feel that my life has become a better and richer place for the people that I've "met"; the things that I've learned; and the inspiration that I've been given.

A "100 Things" list seems a paltry way to begin to pay back all the generosity that has been showered upon me. However, it does seem that the list is overdue, and so may I present you with:

100 Things (Give or Take) About Me
  1. My first name is Laura Lancaster.

  2. And with a crazy double name like that, it's probably obvious that I am from the South.

  3. I'll answer to almost anything... People do actually call me "LLA" or "LL" or "Lala" - I answer to all of them. Usually though, I'm either "Laura Lancaster" or just plain "Laura".

  4. If I had been a boy, my name would have been "James Carrigan" (and called "Cary")

  5. I'm glad I am a girl.

  6. I'm 38 39 40 years old.
    Not getting any younger - Yipes!

  7. I still take Flintstones vitamins.
    The gummy kind are the best.

  8. I have one husband, Bubba, and one son, Schecky.
    These are not their real names...

  9. Bubba and I have been married for 16 17 18 years.

  10. I was on bed rest while pregnant with Schecky.

  11. For 5 months.

  12. Not to sound all dramatic about it, but it was a life changing experience. I was one person when I went on bed rest (hard charging professional, determined to climb that corporate ladder) and a completely different one when it was done (I was a mommy!).

  13. The post-bed rest LLA is much happier, more content.

  14. And I suspect that I'm easier to be around.

  15. I can be satanically lazy.

  16. I hate to change light bulbs.

  17. I often forget to close cabinet doors - if I open a cabinet to get something/put something away, it may be days before it gets closed again.

  18. I cannot snap my fingers.

  19. I grew up in Tennessee, in a town called Kingsport.
    I still think it's fabulous, and I go back several times a year.

  20. My childhood home abutted a cemetery.
    Although, we always called it a "graveyard."

  21. The graveyard was quite literally my backyard, and I thought it was the most excellent place to play.
    Right, GeekyMom???

  22. It wasn't until I got to college that I realized that most people find that really, really weird.

  23. It also wasn't until I got to college that I realized that professional wrestling is fake.
    In my defense, it wasn't something I had given a lot of thought to...

  24. I still have a chunk of my wedding cake in the freezer.
    Which is kind of gross, because as you read above, I've been married for 18 years... But I mean, what am I supposed to do, throw it out now????

  25. I rarely wear makeup - this is not because of some misguided sense of how hot I am, it's sheer laziness. (See #15 above).
    I know I'm too old to go to bed without taking my makeup off, yet I know I'm going to be too tired to take it off at bedtime, so it's just easier to forgo it altogether.

  26. I am a moisturizer and lip balm junkie, however.

  27. I love to swim.

  28. I "came out" when I was 17.
    Out to society, not of the closet. Yes, I am a small town debutante.

  29. I also went to charm school as a child.

  30. It was held at Montgomery Ward's.
    And if that doesn't sound like the set up to a "You might be a redneck if..." joke, then I don't know what does...

  31. I love to read. I’ll read almost anything - fiction, non-fiction, you name it.

  32. If I don't get to read frequently, I get antsy and down-right cranky. So I carve out weird times to read - like while brushing my teeth, drying my hair, waiting at traffic lights...
    And I absolutely cannot go to sleep without a book.

  33. I keep Excel spreadsheets to keep track of my reading; I average about 200 books a year.

  34. It's worth noting that I'm also addicted to Excel...
    Even though it's a Microsoft (boo!) product. I've decided it's OK because it was released for the Macintosh first.

  35. Oh, did I forget to mention that I'm a totally Macintosh girl?
    Since 1986, baby!

  36. I love to go to the dentist

  37. I was on Jeopardy! a few years back.
    It was Valentine's Day of 2001.

  38. I came in second place.
    The man who beat me was a phenomenal player, and as much as I wanted to win, I don't feel too bad about losing to him.

  39. Second place was a week in Barcelona. It was a wonderful trip, and in some ways, another life-changing event. It made me realize just how important traveling is to me, and that I need to make it a priority in my life.

  40. I once rode in an elevator with David Coverdale, of Whitesnake.
    I had no idea who he was...

  41. I prefer email to the telephone.

  42. I am very gullible, and I suspect that I'm still pretty naive.

  43. I love a good margarita.

  44. Hell, I even love bad margaritas.

  45. I can curse like a sailor.

  46. I occasionally do.

  47. Which is kind of funny, since the rest of the time I use made-up epithets, like "Great Googly Moogly" or "Sweet Cracker Sandwich"!
    I frequently sounds like a character out of Napoleon Dynamite.

  48. I think I turned to creative cursing because my mother taught me that using profanity shows a decided lack of imagination.

  49. Ironically, who do you think I learned all the good curse words from?
    Thanks, Mom!

  50. I sing in the car when I'm alone.
    Frequently. And loudly.

  51. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it, but I love my car.

  52. I'm embarrassed about that, because I've never much cared about the cars that I drive. I've never wanted to place too much value on cars. But I love my car.

  53. It's a station wagon.
    I'm such a station wagon kind of girl...

  54. Ironically (since I love my car and all), I don't drive a lot.
    I only put about 50 miles on my car in a week.

  55. The older I get, the smaller my world gets.

  56. I believe in the power of a liberal arts education.

  57. Which are pretty big words from a girl with 3 undergraduate degrees, and yet no "real" job.

  58. Yes, I still refer to myself as a girl.

  59. I still call my Daddy, "Daddy", too.

  60. The longer I live in the "big city", the more the "small town hillbilly girl" comes out.

  61. I will choose a beer over wine every time.

  62. And it's a hefweissen - so much the better!
    Could I get a slice of orange with that?

  63. I love the comic strip page in the daily newspaper.
    I suspect that I take the comics far more seriously than the average bear.

  64. My current favorite is a little known strip called Pooch Cafe.
    Go check it out online, it's HI-larious!

  65. Of course, I must also confess that I have become wholly addicted to Mary Worth.
    How sad is that???

  66. I work the crossword puzzle everyday.
    Two on Sundays.

  67. I heart the 80's. I loved 'em then; I still love 'em now.

  68. Thanks to "rat lab" in college - one of the aforementioned undergrad degrees - I can say that I am, indeed, a brain surgeon.

  69. I will always stop to pick a penny up from the sidewalk.

  70. I clip coupons.

  71. And actually redeem them.

  72. I frequently refer to myself as "the cheapest woman on the planet."

  73. There is a kernel of truth in this.

  74. I want to be "The Millionaire Next Door" - I'd love to have the security that comes with savings in the bank, but you'd never suspect from my manner, dress, or possessions that I had any money at all.

  75. I drink Diet Coke first thing in the morning.

  76. I am never sure when to use a colon vs. a semicolon.

  77. I am also the Queen of "Can't Spell."

  78. I have what is perhaps the worst taste in television of anyone on the planet.

  79. My wallet is made of plastic. And prominently features "Hello Kitty".

  80. I still haven't had it explained to my satisfaction exactly how gay marriage threatens my own.

  81. I am far more threatened by extreme conservative Christians who seem determined to judge other people for whatever reason.
    Whatever happened to "Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged?"

  82. It is my deeply held belief that I cannot possibly understand what I would do in your situation, unless I am, indeed, in your situation. None of us can know exactly how we would react in any given situation until we are there ourselves. Therefore, I try really, really hard not to judge people. I might not agree with your choices, but since I can never truly know what drove you to make those choices, it's not my place to be judgmental.
    It's taken me 38 years to get to this point - I used to be the queen of snap judgments...

  83. As long as I'm sharing things in which I believe: It is a choice. It's my choice to make, so keep your laws off my body, thankyouvery much.

  84. I like the idea of there being a "higher power", but if I am being brutally honest, I don't really believe there is.

  85. I do, however, believe in the "Golden Rule".
    It's interesting, pretty much every organized religion out there has a variation on this theme. That's a good thing.

  86. And I most certainly believe in living my life in an ethical manner.

  87. One final belief I'll share: Van Halen, yes. Van Hagar, no.

  88. I can parallel park like nobody's business.

  89. I adore breakfast foods.

  90. Sometimes I think I would have made an excellent Hobbit - I can totally get into the concept of "Second Breakfast".

  91. I also would make a great Hobbit because I have incredibly ugly feet.

  92. I have broken the four small toes on my left foot so many times that they now will break if I so much as look at them wrong.

  93. I learned to knit when I was 7 or 8 - but have gone for years and years at a time without knitting anything at all.

  94. I have been a victim of the "Boyfriend Curse."
    -thanks, Bain! :)

  95. I love office supplies.

  96. I have a deep and intense respect for Dolly Parton. She may be the living American I admire most. She's phenomenal.

  97. Mountains or beach? Mountains, every time.
    Although, it's even better when you can have both - like in Seattle or Barcelona!

  98. I have this deep and inexplicable desire to be an expatriate - to live somewhere else (anywhere else) outside of North America.

  99. Of course, I only want to do this for 6 - 12 months, and then get to come "home" again.

  100. I pick up accents very easily, and very unintentionally.
    When I'm in Atlanta, I don't really think I have one. But once I spend more than 12 hours in Tennessee, Bubba says I sound like Suzanne Sugarbaker.

    Oh - and as an added, extra bonus?

  101. I like to rhyme.

  102. I like my beats funky.

  103. I'm spunky.

  104. I like my oatmeal lumpy.

Thank you all for a wonderful year!*

*And many thanks to the Caretaker, 3 to get Ready, and She Knits Shizknits for all the words of wisdom about how to change the header banner in Blogger! I was tired of fighting with it!

Friday, January 26, 2007

WIP Friday - 26 January

I am having quite a love/hate relationship with this project.

The love part is easy - I'm pleased with the way that Little Miss Panda is developing. She's turning out to look in real life mostly the way that she looks in my head.

However, it's that "mostly" that leads to the "hate" part of this WIP. In my head, she's wearing a sweater. And I wanted to make her a small sweater - a separate one, not one that's part of her body. Sounds cute, right?

Of course, I decide to do this not ever having made a tiny sweater before.

And without a pattern.

And, well... it's not going fantastically.

I've had 3 previous attempts at a sweater for Lil' Miss.
All frogged. This is a picture of the fourth attempt, which I am pretty sure is going to go the way of the previous three.

Any advice*? Greatly appreciated....

In the meantime, I whipped her up a tiny scarf, just so she didn't feel too exposed when I took her picture.
(And she does have limbs - but I didn't want to put her arms on until after I made her sweater. I figured it'll be easier to sew her arms on once I know where the sweater sleeves fall - rather than try to make the sweater and get the sleeves to go where her arms are...)

*I did find one site that looked promising - a sweater pattern generator, which includes a preset for "teddy sweaters".
However, I do not seem to be clever enough to figure out how to make it work... sigh.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I was enjoying 3ToGetReady's blog this morning, reading about her son's participation in the Cub Scouts' PineWood Derby. This struck a chord with me because Shecky's been working on his car around here as well.

What really got me to smiling, though, was the subtext - whilst her son was competing, her eldest daughter was finding love at the racetrack.

Ah - a thought that strikes terror into every Southern Mama's heart...

With thoughts of finding love at the track dancing in my head, I hereby declare today "Dirt Track Date Thursday" - in honor of the seminal album by Southern Culture on the Skids.
I will be listening to it all day, and attempting to get my hair to stand up tall and proud*.

If you're not familiar with SCOTS, I highly recommend them. You can hear song snippets at both Amazon and the iTunes Music Store.

If nothing else, be sure to visit the website - and be sure to check out the recipe section. It may be too late for this past Christmas, but you better believe I bookmarked the recipe for the "Gingerbread Trailer" for Xmas 2007!


Edited to add: How much do I love WhiteTrashMom? She's hinting that she just might have to make a trailer this weekend! I think this endeavor needs encouragement!!!

*Wish me luck on that one... you've seen my hair. It doesn't do "big" - which was the bane of my 80's high school existence...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Blue Monday Aftermath...

I made it through the day of Blue Monday just fine. The night of Blue Monday, however, pretty much kicked me hard in the behind. I went to bed early. Woke up shortly after midnight - and that was all she wrote. I've been up since then. Grrrr...

Usually, this would make me cranky as all sin - but there are two things that have redeemed this afternoon: Schecky's completed homework assigment, and a much needed afternoon break!

Click if you need to see a larger view of the homework

Recipe for the Afternoon
New issue of Craft + Mocha Latte = cure for midafternoon crankiness...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Banishing the Blues...

It seems the today, January 22nd is Blue Monday – the "Unhappiest Day of the Year".

I may have found a way to combat this…

Today was a day of puttering, and cleaning, and the continued purging of the too-much-stuff that we seem to have…

As I started tidying, I came across one of my favorite presents that I received at Christmas… a tiara.

I have been asking for a tiara for years now. Every time Bubba asks me what I want for birthdays/anniversaries/etc.
I usually reply, "I dunno. (pause) A tiara."

Which always leads Bubba to inquire, "Just what exactly do you want with a tiara, anyways?"

I reply, "I dunno. (pause) I just think I need one…"

Each gift-gifting occasion came and went - and no tiara. I think Bubba was reluctant to encourage any additional "princess-like" behavior on my part. (I have been accused of being high maintenance… If you can imagine that...)

So - in December, when I once again put "tiara" on the GimmeGimme list, I didn't really think much of it. At this point, it's kind of become a habit.

Imagine my delight when, on Christmas Day, I unwrap the shiniest, sparkliest tiara of my dreams.

I was elated.

Then I thought, "OK - what exactly did I need with a tiara?"
So - it got packed up with the rest of the stuff we brought home with us from Tennessee, and I hadn't given it much thought.

Until I stumbled back across it today, whilst puttering.
Do I dare?

Apparently, I do.
I wore my tiara all morning as I went about the cleaning drudgery.
All the while thinking things like "Vacuuming sucks.* But it sucks less with a tiara on." "Dusting the blinds is the worst job ever. But I'm wearing a tiara…"

(Seriously, it just takes that little to amuse me.)

And while I doubt that I will wear a tiara every single time I toil around the house, it is an experience that I highly recommend that everyone try.

At least once**.

Just remember to take it off before you go pick up carpool…

*did you see what I did just there?

**The only thing better than a fabulous tiara? A fabulous tiara at a great price. I highly recommend ebay seller cutebride - she's got fabulous stuff, many listed at "Buy It Now" for under $10. Or you can do a traditional bid and aim for even less. I think Bubba got mine for under $6!

Friday, January 19, 2007

WIP Friday

To begin: a Finished Object!

This is the slightly modified Architect's Scarf from "Greetings from Knit Cafe" that I was making for Bubba.*
Basically, I made it wider, and shortened some of the stripe patterns so that the overall length was a bit shorter.

This was a fun little knit - I worried that I might get bored with it, but I guess the color changes kept it interesting. It was mindless enough that it was a great TV-watching knit.

I wouldn't mind making another one of these - but I think I'd just do it in two colors, and in a really sumptuous, girly kind of yarn. Maybe a cashmerino???

I actually tried to take a few more interesting shots of this scarf, but neither of them really worked out - so the simple picture it is!

And for this week's WIP.... want to take a peek?

WIP Friday - 19 January

I think she's peeking back at you, too!

*Although, since I made it for Bubba, it should be called the Information Architect's Scarf. (hee!)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

How Do I Know That It's Very, Very Cold?

Because I came across the Things - snuggling somewhat sweetly together.

This never happens. The only time you will see these two together is if they are fighting playing*.

So, these Kilkenny cats are obviously feeling the effects of the recent icy snap, and have decided to tolerate one another, if only for the warmth.

It's either that, or hell has indeed frozen over...

*You knowing, playing that game where they hiss, bite and swat one another - otherwise known as the "I'm Going To Kill You!" Game.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Very Nice Day, Indeed...

A lunch date, a makeover, and a package - oh my!

Wow - it's just been like the good karma show around here lately...
Well, except for the part where I'm freezing my peaches off!*

Freezy cold weather aside, today has just rocked!

For starters, I learned something today: why learn to use makeup, when you can learn to use Photoshop????

Legally Blonde... Voila!

Seriously - I was the recipient of a virtual makeover, courtesy of Jen of the Piddleloop Sewing Team. (She's is the one who made the little goldfish pouch that I am simply ga-ga over. Seems that Jen's mad skillz aren't just limited to sewing - she took pity on my poor little Wednesday Addams dark circles and spruced me up.
Big time.

(Seems to me that I once read somewhere that Cindy Crawford once said that not even she wakes up looking like Cindy Crawford. I could get addicted to having all my images heavily retouched!)

The second nice thing today also allowed me to cross something off my list of intentions... Item # 4 "Meet another blogger face-to-face".

The salon where Amy from "3ToGetReady" gets her hair cut is literally right around the corner from my house - so she stopped by today after her haircut (and she looks fabulous, btw!) with one of her cute-as-a-button kids in tow - and the three of us went out to lunch.

They introduced me to a restaurant, right here in the hood, which I had never been to before and which I thoroughly enjoyed (best BLT ever, perhaps???)

But even better than the food was the company (and that really is saying something, because I'm telling you, that sammich was g-o-o-d!) YoungMissHattie was a such a sweetheart, and her good restaurant manners were a joy to watch. And Amy and I just got on like a house a-fire!

I had worried just a wee tiny bit - 'cause I'm a worrier like that - that it might be kind of awkward. There is sort of a strange "meeting a blind date" element to it all. But my fears were for nothing - Amy is every bit as charming and witty and fun as she seems from her blog, and the time went by far too quickly. My only regret was that we didn't get a chance to visit Knitch , but I am just hoping that means we'll have an excuse to get together after a future haircut visit!

I was somewhat restrained, and didn't pull out my camera and take a gazillion pictures - I didn't want to seem all stalkery, you know, what with it being a first date and all. But I do have a picture of the adorable tiny sweater she gave me! I just love this, and marvel that she's not all crosseyed from all the teeny tiny stitches!!!

Teeny Tiny Sweater...

But the icing on top of my cupcake of a day was discovered when I tripped over a big box on the porch as I was waving "bye" to my delightful lunch companions... Seems the mail had been delivered...

Hello new kitchen timer! Goodbye old kitchen timer!

New Kitchen Timer Old Kitchen Timer

The old kitchen timer bears a striking resemblance to a microwave, doesn't it? I can see how you might think that. It did indeed used to be a microwave.
Until it broke in November.
Of 2005.

Now I know that most people would have gotten a new microwave right away - but I wanted to see if I really missed it that much. Plus, the holidays were coming up and I didn't want to spend money if I didn't need to.
After a few weeks, I realized that I didn't miss the microwave at all, so decided not to get a new one.

So why is the old, dead microwave still sitting on the counter? Easy - it's the only working kitchen timer in the house...

I've been looking for a good kitchen timer for a year now, and have found fault with every single one. Then I spied this little beauty in one of Jess Hutch's photos, and I was instantly smitten.
Some sleuthing, an order at, and 10 days later, I've got my own version... I hope it works half as nicely as it looks, but on looks alone - isn't it a beauty? Preliminary tests show that it seems to work nicely enough, but I guess only time will tell...
Even its name is cute - it's called the Two-Timer!

So - now I just have to figure out what to do with an old, dead microwave...**

*Many thanks go out to to MeLisa, who taught me that phrase. It's cracking me up...

**I know y'all must think that I make up these stories about just how inept I am around the house. And I will admit that stuff does seem to break a lot around here. But, all kidding aside, I don't embellish these stories. Sadly, I am truly this hopeless in the art of keeping a home.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It's Sleeting!!!!!

Baby, it's cold outside!

(and just where did my 68° days go????)

Legally Blonde...

Happy New Year - Happy New Highlights...

Jessica, I love you so...

In addition to spending a delightfully self-centered morning of getting my hair painted, it looks like the rest of this week is going to be fun as well. It looks like some progress will be made on the list of intentions! Baby steps (of course, since that's the only way I do anything these days...) but I should see some accomplishment made by week's end - so watch this space...
Ooooh, mysterious!

*I do have to add that when I look at this picture I hear my mother asking "Would it kill you to put on a little makeup?**" Usually when she says stuff like this, I retort back mildly that yes, yes I believe that it would.
However, I do see the overwhelming photographic evidence suggests that a very good concealer might not be a bad idea.
Because sadly, I got a great night's sleep last night... ("sadly" because with circles like that, I should have been out partying with Britney and L-Lo.... I'm actually delighted by the night's sleep I got.)

Since I am a lousy girl, and I never know any of the good makeup tricks - help a girlfriend out? Anyone got a good recommendation for undereye concealer??? I'll swap you for lip balm suggestions - I'm a wunderkind when it comes to lip balm...

**She'd also be telling me that I need a haircut because my hair's in my face. She'd be flabbergasted to know that my bangs are this long and shaggy when I walk out of the salon.
hee hee hee... (My maturity level surprises even me sometimes....)

Friday, January 12, 2007

WIP Friday

Seems like it's been a while since there has been any actual craftiness going on around here - particularly in light of the fact that BadFortuneCookie was begun with the intent of being a crafty blog...

Hopefully that's about to change - I've got some stuff on the needles, and some big old good intentions...

For starters -

For Bubba. This is a modified Architect's Scarf from Greetings From the Knit Cafe. I realized that I had never made Bubba anything, and it seemed high time to rectify that. (Keeping in mind the whole "Boyfriend Curse" thing, I am going to make him promise to give it back if we break up...)

This has been a fun little project - made even more so because this is all stash yarn. You might recognize the colors from this, this, this, and these...

There were a couple of reasons why there's not been a ton of craftiness around here - the holidays, the plague, and the subsequent recoveries from both, for starters. But one of the big stumbling blocks to getting the party started again? Lack of supplies...

So I was delighted to see these arrive today:

I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me...

Yes, my big envelope full of eyes finally arrived! (I ordered these the first week of December, but they were taking their own sweet time to be sent out...)

I really needed these: in addition to the 2 bears that I still have promised out, three more babies were born over the holidays*. Not to mention all the people I just would like to knit a bear for...

Better get knitting....

*Which to me is kind of impressive that my peers are still cranking out gorgeous and healthy babies. Impressive, and a little bit surprising... we're all getting old!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

You Say You Want A Resolution*...

My friend, The Caretaker, calls them intentions... I like that.

"Intentions" sound less threatening, far more achievable than "resolutions."

Also, doesn't it sound like a resolution would demand a nice quantifiable result? And the big things I aspire to in this New Year are not going to be tidily measurable.**

So - here are my intentions for 2007.

(You'll notice that neither "stop procrastinating" nor "stop over-thinking things" made the list...)

It looks like the word for the year is going to be: be

I want to be more creative; I want to be more of a participant in life, rather than an observer; I want to be more present for the people that I love (that I sometimes take for granted.)

In addition to being - this year I would like to:
  • Make something of my own design

  • Make something for myself

  • Actually list an item for sale in my poor, empty etsy shop

  • Meet another blogger face-to-face

  • Write a will
    This is just inexcusable that it's never been done....

  • Learn enough crochet to crochet in the round and make an amigurumi critter

  • Simplify and declutter
    This one is measurable, and I've been hard at work on an Excel spreadsheet typing up the list of all that needs to be done. But I figure that no-one (including me!) really wants to see a spreadsheet that says things like: dining room dresser - clean top drawer. dining room dresser - clean out second drawer... Sadly, if I don't make things that detailed, then it won't get done!

So that's it - the game plan for a happy 2007.
Won't you come along for the ride????

*Sorry about that... Sometimes I just can't stop myself...

Sorry, Bekka, I can't help that either... I'm just an accountability whore...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sweet Cracker Sandwich...

Apple introduced this today at the big MacWorld conference in San Francisco.

I. Am. In. Love.

(Too bad it doesn't ship until June/July....)

(Wait a minute... who has a July birthday who would love one of these???
Oh yeah - that'd be me.)

In the Neighborhood...

Today could not have been a more lovely day - the sky was gorgeous, and the quality of the light was surreal. All the colors seemed supersaturated and just a little bit dreamy...
(This is what I mean when I said that I feel more observant, more connected - I'm not sure that I used to notice stuff like this...)

To take advantage of this, I decided to walk over to Schecky's school and pick up him up after his day there was done. We then walked home together. This is what we saw.

Tuesday, Afterschool, with Schecky

Just sit back, and enjoy the show!

If you'd like more information about a picture, just click on it.
Or you can visit Flickr to see the whole set.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Monday, Monday...

Well, Schecky returned to school today. I loved having him around, but I must confess that a tiny part of me was anticipating this day, so that I could get my groove back on - have time for me, pick up the knitting needles again, etc. Largely selfish stuff...

And of course, now that he's gone back to school, I could help but notice that it was awful quiet around here today...

Just so you know - the last week hasn't been all introspective self-reflection, and Jerry McGuire-style prose. Nor has it been the All-Schecky-All-The-Time show (although, there was a lot of that!)

Nope - There. Was. Laundry!

The new appliances have arrived!

I'll confess to coveting the gorgeous front loading washers and dryers - they come in such pretty colors, and they look like works of art perched on their pedestals...

But in the end, I just couldn't do it.

First of all, I am not sure that I am enough of a domestic goddess to justify them. But the larger reason is that I just didn't think I would enjoy them enough.

The laundry stuff lives down in the basement - so it's not like anyone sees them but me. (Of course, I did do some serious internal conversation about how I was worth it! But ultimately decided "No, I'm not!")
And the basement is dusty, and - like all Southern basements - a little bit dampish. And on very rare occasions, the basement has been known to take on a little flood water. I knew that I would worry more about the "laundry center" of my dreams more than I would enjoy it...

So, I perused Consumer Reports, went out, and got these. I ended up getting both a new dryer and a washer as well. Some years back the washer kind of quit agitating completely, but it wasn't totally broke, so I wasn't fixing it. But I decided that it was probably time - it had a good 16 year run.

Let me just say that a washer that actually agitates fully does a much better job of washing clothes. Who knew? I've been merrily washing everything in sight...

There are a few things that have me all in a puzzle though - what is up with these things?
  1. The Washer Has A "Second Rinse" Option - what in the world is this, and why do I want it? I actually read the stupid manual that came with the washer - which is huge, I never read manuals! - and it makes no mention of it whatsoever. So far, I'm largely ignoring it, although it makes me cranky every time I see the knob that controls this option.

  2. What Is the Deal With Fabric Softener - Seriously. I've never actually used the liquid kind. In the past, I've used dryer sheets, because without them the cat fur stays on our clothes. After having been through the washer/dryer it's clean cat fur, but without the use of Bounce Sheets, it is still stuck to everything.

    But the washer came with a free fabric softener sample, and it's got a built in dispenser- so I gave it a try.

    Yum - it smelled good. Felt good too. But do I really need fabric softener, or is it all just a marketing gimmick? Is it going to build up on fabrics and ultimately make them look gross?

    (Funnily enough, I Googled "fabric softener" and have really only learned two things:
    • The manufacturers of fabric softener think it's a good thing, and think I should use lots and lots of it
    • There are a lot of people who swear by using vinegar instead of fabric softener. Which I might actually try - love to use vinegar for cleaning...)

    So - what are your thoughts on fabric softener?*

  3. The Dryer Lights Up When You Open It.
    This isn't really a puzzle, I just think it's cool. Thanks to Beki for letting me know that dryers do this now, or else it would have freaked me out the first time I opened it up.

  4. The Dryer Makes Way More Lint Than The Old One Ever Did. Does this mean anything? We're talking big billowy piles of it on the lint screen after each load. I've never seen so much lint. (And is there anything you can do with lint? The new dryer is so productive at creating it, it seems a shame that there's nothing you can do with it...)

Ah yes, a contemplative laundry day, indeed....

*You know, up until this very moment, I would have bet good money that this was a phrase that would never spring from my lips...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

How Blogging Has Been Very, Very Good to Me (Part II)

I'm over-thinking things again.

I've started and deleted and restarted this post numerous times...

I think my problem lies in the fact that I feel strongly about this, and my limited writing skills are failing me. Yet, I still want to say what it is I am trying to say.
So - I just hope this comes across the way that I want it to. I'm going to quit toiling over this post, and just throw it all out there.

It may not be the prettiest thing, but in it's own way, it'll be the most sincere pumpkin in the patch...

I previously wrote about why I started blogging - but those situations have all resolved themselves. Why then do I continue? The number one reason???


I am fighting the urge to insert a "duh!" here.

I am touched, delighted and surprised every single day by the women (and yes, the men, too!) that I encounter in the blogisphere - both the visitors to BadFortuneCookie and those whose sites I visit religiously.

You inspire me - not just with your craftiness and creativity - but with your sense of community and caring.
I admire the way in which you share your lives - whether it's a kickass banana bread recipe, or a joy or a sorrow. I learn something from each one of you every single day - either through a wisdom that you pass along, or the simple dignity that shows through in the way you live your life.

You inspire me to become a better writer, to observe more, to become more contemplative of the world around me and my actions in it.

I feel that I am a nicer person for having become a blogger.

I know I am more a creative person.

You've gotten me to contemplate "gratitude" and what role it plays in my life...
And gratitude really isn't something that was on my radar a year ago...

I am interested in things again - and that to me is crucial.
I decided long ago that I would rather be interested than interesting. (I frequently find that the people who are so sure that they are interesting are the people that I like least to talk to at cocktail parties, etc.)
This concept of "interestedness" is important to me, but I kind of lost that for a while.
I now feel more connected to, and fascinated by the world around me (and by that I mean what I see here in my neighborhood, as well as the worlds that you take me to.)

I no longer feel the need to be a trailblazer, to set the world on fire... I've found contentment in the domestic arts and my role as a homemaker. And in doing so, found comfort in my own skin.

You've helped me to celebrate the good, and stood with me in the not-so-good. You deliver caring and support when I need it, and the occasional "snap out of it" when that's appropriate.

And, damn, so often you make me laugh...

In turn, you've shared your ups and downs, and allowed me to celebrate and commiserate with you.
I feel a part of a community.

You've taught me that my house is not just a place to dump stuff as I race from place to place. For the first time ever, I am attempting to actually make improvements to the house my home (and boy, oh boy, do I suck at it!) But my home is starting to show the first signs of decorating attempts...

Corner of the Living Room
click on photo to learn more about this stuff

Baby Steps, to be sure - but it's more than I've done in the 14 years that I've lived here...This began the year as an empty corner, save for the piano. Which was continually buried under a pile of jackets/books/mail/etc. And, it's the first thing you see when you walk in the front door. This is much nicer to be greeted with!)

You know me - I'm not one of those people who tries to sugarcoat everything and put forth the myth that "Oh my life is so perfect, blah blah blah... Look at how well I do things..."* What goes into these pages is kind of just me, warts and all. And I love how accepting you are of that.

So thank you - thank you for a wonderful year of inspiration, support, and community.
I'll never be able to repay you all for all that I've gained - but you make me want to try.**

*And honestly, I quit reading those types of blogs months and months ago. If I want to read a fairy tale, I'll pick up Mother Goose. Or a Martha Stewart publication...

**If I go all "you complete me" on you, you have my permission to kick my ass....

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Why I Blog. (Or How Blogging Has Been Very, Very Good to Me)

I kind of thought that this sort of post would wait until the end of the month, when my "blogiversary" comes up. However, it seems to want to be written now - and who am I to argue with that???

(oh - I guess that means that the introspective navel gazing that I threatened in my last post is coming to fruition. Consider yourselves warned...)

This time last year - to put it eloquently - sucked.
In a big, total and complete way.

I don't feel like subjecting any of us to a rehash of it - it's nothing unusual, or unique (I'm sad to say) - but the nutshell version is that both my personal and professional lives were rocked to the very core, in a very scary way. Both my marriage and my job seemed - no, they were - very unstable, and I honestly wasn't certain how either would be resolved.

These instabilities began to color every aspect of my life - I began to doubt myself as a mother, a friend, and a person. Let's just wrap this up by saying that I was desperately, desperately unhappy and untethered.

Long story, getting longer - I stumbled upon the world of blogs.

I was familiar with the concept, of course. In fact, one of my best friends had maintained a blog for years. I loved his blog, the Digital LandPhil, because it allowed me to keep up with his goings-on since he up and moved across the country on me. Sure, we still called/emailed - but his site allowed me to see more into the day in/day out workings of his life. As much as I enjoyed the LandPhil, though, it never occurred to me that it was something that I would ever do.

Until things went south on me.

Suddenly, it seemed like something I needed to try.

Part of it was, honestly, that it was something that I could control - this at a time in my life when there was nothing else that it seemed that I could.

Mainly, though, the idea was that it would give me a sense of accountability. There were so many amazing people out there, doing so many amazingly creative things. I wanted to get back in touch with that part of myself again. Not in a "keeping up with the Joneses" or an "everyone's clever nowadays, so I'm jumping on the bandwagon!" sort of way. More in an "I want to reconnect with that creative side again, and this seems like a way to make it happen kind of way...." Now that I think about it, that very first post does a much better job of explaining it than I am currently doing...

Now we fast forward back to the present day - with almost a year of blogging under my belt. What a difference...

The job, as some of you know, fell by the wayside. And I'm OK with that (although it took a longass time to get to that point.) The marriage, I am pleased to say, is healed, and in many, many ways stronger than it ever was. I'm delighted with that. And I am happier now with my life and myself than I have ever been. Which rocks. It just simply does.

I hope that doesn't come across as all smug, and as if I am trying to imply that I am oh-so-perfect. 'Cause that's actually a funny thought... But I am coming to terms with my shortcomings, and my limitations - and am accepting of them.

I'm not all that, but I'm not all bad, either...

You know what? This post is getting long. And I've written/deleted/rewritten this next part far too many times already. That part's not quite done yet, I guess. I seem to have covered the "Why I Blog" part pretty well. In the next installation of this series we'll examine why I continue blogging, and the many, many ways in which it continues to surprise and delight me on a daily basis.

Thanks for being here....

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Introspective Navel-Gazing On Tap - But Not In This Post...

I am musing on the year past, and the year upcoming - however, everything is still a bit nebulous and unformed still...

I'm not really one for huge sweeping New Year Resolutions*, but I would like to take a kind of inventory. A contemplation of where I've come from, where I'm going perhaps.

I've got some unformed ideas about why blogging has been so good for me, and how I'd like to continue that theme in the next 12 months...
But, don't worry, that's not going to happen today, so you're safe from too much introspective navel gazing.
(The Scheckster doesn't go back to school until next week, so any really deep thoughts thinking probably isn't going to happen until then....)

One thing I have come to realize, in this preliminary ruminating state, is that I really love the way that blogs have given me a glimpse into lives not my own. Maybe I am a voyeur of sorts, but I truly adore seeing the corners of your worlds - be it the corner of your kitchen, or a glimpse of the fields or mountains outside your door.

As an example: I am a frequent visitor to Knitting Iris. I'm not sure that I've ever commented there, so I guess I should more accurately say that I am a daily lurker there. But what keeps me going back? I love the pictures - be it her neighbor's mailbox, or the view from above her kitchen sink.

It's all so foreign from what I get to experience on a daily basis, and I find it as enjoyable as delving into a good book. And that's just one example - I could list dozens and dozens... Thanks to you all, I get to spend tiny amounts of time in England! At the Seattle Public Library! Main Street in a Carolina small town! The gorgeous landscapes of Maryland... Kansas, Virginia, Michigan, Louisiana....
I thank each and every one of you for this...

And it's got me thinking... my life doesn't seem all that exciting and glamorous. But it is, perhaps, different from what you get to see in your day in/day out life. And maybe, just maybe, it might help to take you away to a different place - if only for a few seconds.

And I don't know if this is a full-fledged "resolution" or not... it feels more like paying-it-back, or paying-it-forward, or something. But - I'd like to try to take more pictures of my environment. To appreciate it more myself, and take you to somewhere/something you might not get to see everyday... And it couldn't hurt my picture taking skills, either!

And - to underscore just how "not very exciting and glamorous" my life is - I present to you the first picture in the series. I call it "Laundromat. 7:30 am".

Yes, the damn dryer is still broke. I'm not sure why I find this surprising, but it didn't miraculously fix itself while I was out of town/being a slug.

I see a trip to Sears in my future.
I'm just psychic that way....

*If anything, I tend to make more grand sweeping changes in the fall, which I've always found weird. I don't know if I find the climate more accommodating to change, or if I've just never grown-up enough to break free from the "new school year" mentality...

But for whatever reason, September/October is when I tend to be truly in the "this is what I want to change, and this is how I am going to do it" mindset....

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy, Happy New Year!

I woke this morning to a brilliant blue sky, decorated with the wispiest, laciest, and whitest of clouds. Going out on the front porch to retrieve the morning paper, I was greeted with a bracing, yet pleasant burst of wind and more sunshine. I stopped for a moment, and took a good long look up and down the street.

Everything looked shiny, and new and clean.

The air even felt like the first bite of a good red apple.

It's going to be a gorgeous day.

An omen, I hope.

Such a departure from yesterday - which was one of the wettest, greyest, nastiest days I can remember in a good long while.

I woke early, feeling out of sorts. Which has been an all too common event around here as of late. I got over the actual symptoms of my crud within a few days of last whining about it. But the exhaustion, the exhaustion has lingered on.
And on.
And on.

I've felt like a slug for more than a week.

Time at Bubba's parents passed quickly. Funny how that can happen when you're sleeping more than 14 hours a day... which is pretty much all I was up for.

Returning home to Atlanta didn't bring any more energy, though. It's been nice having both Bubba and Schecky home, and I hate that I've not taken advantage of it. We've not gone anywhere fun, nor have we worked on any sort of project - be it a family one, or a home improvement one.

We've have had lots and lots of "quiet time" - reading, napping, drowsing.
That's something, I suppose. Really, a luxury we don't often have...

I decided yesterday, the oh-so-ugly-day, that I was tired of this sort of dreamy half-life I've been living. I decided to just give in to it. I piled the couch high with pillows and my favorite comforter, and declared that that was it. I was done for the day. (Keep in mind, I made this proclamation at about 7:30 in the morning...)

I napped, I lolled, I watched an ungodly amount of Everwood* reruns... And I got up only to switch my base of operations back into my bed at 9 last night. Do I know how to celebrate the New Year, or what? A party animal, I tell you...

Which brings us back to this morning.

Here comes the sun.

Everything's going to be all right.

For the first time in almost two weeks, I feel human again. I feel like me (albeit a slightly more tired version still...) I've missed being me. I'm glad I'm back in time to enjoy this gorgeous day.

It's an omen, I just know it....

Happy New Year to you all!!!!

*For some reason, this show didn't exist on my radar when it was on television for real. But now that it is in reruns on ABCFamily, I can not get enough of it. TiVo's been getting them for me, and I had about two weeks worth hoarded up - for the proverbial rainy day, I suppose....