Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Can You Tell Me Where The Party Is?"

OK, imagine this: a 1000 or so bleary eyed post-adolescents looking completely dazed and confused driving up in their Beamers saying over and over ad infinitum: "Can you tell me where the party is?" OK, now imagine that it is butt-a** cold outside with a bone-chilling wind and dark. That is how I spent the past 9 hours tonight and last night.

I woke up this morning and started knitting on Emi's hat like there was no tomorrow. I had expected to have more knitting time out there, but those conditions just weren't very knitting conducive. I got the hat finished, but it ended up being too short through the crown. So I made the two Leia "cinnamon buns," then took apart the top of the hat, added on an inch and reknit the top. It took me 5 hours of non-stop knitting and my hands and arms are sore (Advil sore). I guess I'm not a very fast knitter. Those cinnamon buns took longer than I thought they would. I think it is the small circumference and having to keep switching the needles. She ended up being 1/2 hour late for the party, but I finished. I'll post pics soon.

For some reason, I couldn't get blogger to post my post Saturday night, so here is my Monday morning add-on:

I'm more than a little PO'd this morning because I am cranky and didn't get enough sleep this weekend. The "big laugh" around the office is that I "was a wanker" because the sprinklers turned on me and my partner at 11 pm Saturday night. Hello! We are situated 100 yards from the beach (think chilling night wind). We come the second night PREPARED to face the bone-chillingness of the wind out there only to have the sprinklers turn on and soak all of our blankets and jackets! Yea, I guess that's why they stationed US out there while they drove around in their HEATED trucks all night. The nerve!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

It's Costume Time!

You Moms out there all know it. I'm sure many of you are right on the ball and start whipping up creations for your little ones weeks in advance. But for me it wouldn't be the same without the last minute running around. There's something about the thrill of procrastination. Running around to craft stores and thrift shops. Faintly reminiscent of pulling the all-nighter back in college. Actually, I never intend to put it off until the last minute, it just always turns out that way. That's right, I'm talking about Halloween costumes. Technically, our family does not celebrate Halloween. And I refuse to allow scary or gory. But there is something so fun about creating the costumes. Usually we go to a Harvest Festival and parade the kids around. A few weeks ago Kai informed me that he didn't want a costume. Tonight he tells me he wants to be a cell phone. So the fun begins.

And then there's Emi. I talked her into being Princess Leia. I found an inexpensive white gown at the craft store and I'll be making her this, or a reasonable facsimile, out of brown Woolease. Imagine me rubbing my hands together with glee. Pics will follow soon of both concoctions with the broken, blurry camera.

Did I tell you? I am doing something crazy this weekend. Working overtime. Waaaaaaay overtime. Halloween is a huge big deal in the college town adjacent to the university I work at. I have actually volunteered to be a lot attendant out at the university to keep all kinds of "undesirables" from parking on campus. I work my normal day job from 8-5, then start my overtime shift and work Friday from 5pm to 2am. Then again the same 5 - 2 shift on Saturday. Yowza! I think I'm going to be tired. But I get to wear one of those day-glow orange vests. And guess what? They have suggested that it "might get a little slow" so maybe I should "bring something to do". Oh, you mean like knitting? Why yes, thank you, I will.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hey Nineteen (or is it Eighteen?)

It could possibly even be seventeen. Yikes, I was young. Who let me out of the house? That is someone's dorm room back in the early days of college. My hair's all Morticia from the Addam's Family. It was a really big deal when I finally cut it. I distinctly remember asking them to cut it like "Mindy" from "Mork and Mindy." The snobby hairstylist had no idea what I was talking about. The 'do was ubiquitous at the time. Do you remember what it looked like?

My friend Victoria had this and a bunch of other photos from back in the day. She had a really hilarious one of the guy who is now my supervisor at work. It looks just like Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," half-mast eyes and all. It was from the same dorm room party as this one. I can't show it to you in the interest of protecting the not-so-innocent.

Oh, by the way. My dad confirmed that my son's digital camera is broken. So that's why the pictures always look so bad! That's the ticket! I need a new camera!

Monday, October 23, 2006

The People of the Town Are Strange, But They're Proud of Where They Came*

I'm baaaaaack! OK, that was surreal. I know now how the Rip Van Winkle story got written: the guy went to his 30th high school reunion. I had this strange feeling that I had somehow been asleep for 30 years and everyone got older. One of my friends just got back from her 30th a couple of weeks ago. She said she arrived at the hotel and was looking around for the reunion. Someone pointed her in the direction of the room and she said, "No, that can't be it. I already looked in there. They're too old!" It even seemed like some of them were wearing stage makeup to be an older version of themselves. You just wanted to walk up to them and snatch the bald-cap right off their heads. On the other hand, some of them had that "Picture of Dorian Gray" thing going on, where they looked impossibly well-preserved for pushing 50. One gal looked 25 if she was a day and not in that fake shiny plastic face way. That was kind of spooky.

After awhile it got kind of tiring to give and receive the quickie 5-minute interview exchange. It was all kind of superficial, except for a few connections. Quite a few people drank too much. I can't blame them and probably would have myself if I still did that sort of thing.

High School. Four years of your life when you are still an unformed person that somehow in our culture has come to represent some sort of - what - Milestone? Marker? Pinnacle? I could only go once I knew that it no longer defined me, when I truly began to see it for what it was -- a relatively insignificant time of my life. Once I realized that I didn't have to measure up to, compare myself to or surpass anyone or anything, then I could go and see a bunch of people that I may or may not remember, who may or may not remember me, and have fun. Or not.

I had a great time getting together with my old buddies, Deliese and Victoria. We reminisced and got all angst-y about going to the reunion. That was on Friday. Saturday was the big night and was over in a flash. I spent most of the evening catching up with many of my friends from elementary school. Even though we all hung out in elementary school, most of us didn't socialize much in high school, as we started being defined by our interests. Now, 30 years later, we felt comfortable around each other. Familiar.
The next morning, my friend from 1st grade, Jill came over. My mom laughed when she opened the door and Jill said, "Can Laura play?" She moved into the house of her childhood around 4 years ago after her mother passed away. Her kids are now attending our alma mater. Soon after Jill dropped by, Deliese and Victoria arrived and my mom graciously served us a wonderful lunch: "leftover" cornish game hens, saffron rice and salad. The weather was beautiful and we had fun catching up on old times. That's Deliese on the left, Victoria, me and Jill.

I tried to upload a picture of me from "back in the day" but blogger is being mulish right now and won't let me. I'll try again tomorrow.

*Who can name this classic rock tune from the 70s? It was my favorite song from my favorite group of the day.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tam High Class of '76, Here I Come!

Yes, I am going. It's on Saturday. I'm driving to my parents tomorrow and coming back Sunday. I'll fill you in when I get back.

Until then, I will leave you with this that I first saw on Crazy Aunt Purl, and then Rose Red's blog:

Four jobs I’ve had:
Yarn store manager
Mary Kay Consultant (car driver - not the pink cadillac -- for 4 years
Manager of Special Projects for Research Institute on Asia/US Relations
Teacher's Assistant in a kindergarten class

Four movies I can watch over and over:
When Harry Met Sally
Sense and Sensibility
It's A Wonderful Life

Four places I have lived:
San Francisco
Mill Valley
Isla Vista (college town near UCSB)
Santa Barbara

Four television shows I love to watch:
Grey's Anatomy
The Bachelor (shhh! don't tell anyone!)
CSI (the Vegas version)

Four places I have been on vacation:
Yellowstone Park
Cabo San Lucas

Four of my favorite dishes:
Bengan Bharta (Indian eggplant stew)
Kung Pao chicken
Bastilla (morrocan dish with chicken and filo)
My Mom's Chocolate Cake

Four websites I visit daily: (for my job)
The Yarn Harlot
Knitter's Review
The Tamalpais Class of '76 Reunion (hey, they have a list of who's coming!)

Four places I would rather be right now:
In bed
Paris, France

Four bloggers I am tagging
Leslie - Tukats
Chauntel - Firebrunette
Tracy - my name is tracy. i knit.
Abby - Abby Knits

Monday, October 16, 2006

I Love It When You Read My Blog

Am I the only one? Does blog writing feel somewhat like writing a note and slipping it into a bottle and tossing it out into cyberspace? It's kind of freeing in a sense. Like writing a secret on a piece of paper and burning it. Yet there is that nagging feeling that somewhere, someone may be reading it. Guess that's what keeps me writing. Maybe some bloggers stop because they gave up, figuring no one ever found the bottle laying there in the cyber-sand.

Now I know why the comments are so important. You guys don't know it but I have become a comment-obsessed freak. Coming home and finding a comment (or two, or three) is truly satisfying, in that kind of way that could get really addicting. Like finding change in a newspaper machine when you were a kid. When did I stop checking those things, anyway? Or when someone is scratching your back and they find the itchy spot. Or getting that parking space right in front of where you are going (Santa Barbaran's think of the 5 Points Shopping Center Parking lot and getting that space right in front of Fresco's. Or Starbucks.)

So just imagine how tickled I was this evening to come home and find four, count 'em FOUR comments to yesterday's entry! So I decided to devote a whole entry to answering the comments.

Leslie writes: Laura, very nice phone. My husband put his cell phone in the washer last week, and since it is surgically connected to his hand, he had a new one within the half hour. Sorry the advice on the pics didn't help. Here's one more. I don't know what kind of camera you have, but my Olympus has a setting for closeups, so see if you have that. Where is that camera manual anyway
Camera manual?! You actually expect me to pick up a camera manual? I am much too prideful for that! (OK, OK, I actually DID try to look through the manual for my new phone and could not understand it. What is it about those manual writers? I think they sit around and plot how they can make the instructions "simple but impossible to understand" then sit around and snicker at the thought of newbies like me trying to figure out my phone.) There actually is a camera manual in existence SOMEWHERE in this house, think needle and haystack. But when I find it, I will be sure to peruse it. Who knows, I may be enlightened to decipher some of the heiroglyphics the makers thought up. What does the arrow in the shape of lightning mean, anyway? The camera actually belongs to my son and when we got it for him for his birthday one year, I didn't see why we should spend more than $100 for it. Now I am kicking myself. We should have at least spent $500.

Chauntel writes: I remember~ Til Tuesday, Voices Carry
I am an 80's music junkie.
So you are one of 'those' people. Tracy is one too & she does have some rather odd caught singing moments. She tries to drag my kids into it when they are in her car.
Outdoor pictures not in direct sunlight will get you some very nice shots. Most likely, you will not have to change any settings on you camera. Auto should do just fine (if it has an auto).

Actually, I am embarrassed to admit that I was actually referring to the title of my post. The really embarrassing thing, is that I think the phrase was actually, "New Car, oooooooooooh" (for the oooooooooooh part, the singing voice goes up and down). But I can't remember anything else about the song. Ring a bell Chauntel? Ken? (My brother-in-law and sometime reader who is a music-phile if there ever was one.)
And yes, I am one of 'those.' The thing that cracks me up is when my kids' friends look at me like I am nutso and right away I know that their parents would never do anything so out there.

Tellen writes: Yes, I too am a sing-alonger. And I finally reached a point where I just don't care who hears! The funniest ones are when I get caught singing along with the hold music on the phone... Yeah, that's been good for quite a few laughs. :) So, from one singalonger to another...Sing! Sing out loud! (I am pretty sure that's a song... lol)
I've been known to get those blasted Wiggles show songs stuck in my head for weeks at a time. And caught absent-mindedly singing them out loud! As in: Toddler Mom: "Are you singing that "Mashed Potatoes" song from the Wiggles?" Me: "Um. No."

Whimsical Knitter writes: Loving the phone. LOL, I sing along, too...and I have an atrocious singing voice!
Yes, but did you ever imagine in the shower that it sounded GREAT? I can really sing my heart out in the shower! You catch me in the shower and you just may hear Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart," or Elvis' "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You." Or even Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Were Made for Walking." I love to sing! Badly, I might add!

Anyone else out there? Give me a shout out, I'd love to hear from you! H-E-L-L-L-L-O-O-O-O-O-O-O OUT THERE!

New! Toy! (Ooooh!)*

Please know that I tried. I tried to take pictures of my uber-cool new toy, er, I mean the pink ipod phone I got today. Blur, blur, blur. I tried Leslie's suggestion of taking the picture while holding the camera stationary. Still blurry. I will try Abby's (and Leslie's) suggestion of taking the pics outside. I have no idea how to change the shutter speed. Maybe from now on I should take all my pictures with my new cell phone!

So instead I copied this picture of it so you could see it. Isn't it cute? I got a matching bluetooth to go with it! Now I get to look like one of those crazy people walking around talking to themselves!

Really, I was not trying to be extravagant. My phone broke last week and it was unrevivable. I figured that it is a practical purchase because I have no tunes at work and was going to go out and buy an mp-3 player or ipod anyway. So, you see, I was being practical. And the pink phone was the same price as the black.

My big fear is that I'll break out in song while sitting at my cubie, lost in the music, forgetting where I am. You see, I am a sing-alonger. Not well, mind you, but I just can't help myself. I have never been a big one for earphones. I already have "a voice that carries" (according to my mom and family) and when there is something being piped into my ears, my voice tends to get even louder. So I am a little worried about 1)forgetting where I am and breaking out in song and 2)inadvertantly yelling at someone when they talk to me while I'm wearing my headphones. I'll keep you posted on this new dimension of embarrassing work scenarios.

*Who remembers that song from the '80s?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I Totally Know My Pictures Suck

I know. I know! What can I do? I admit it. I am a bad photographer. You should see how many horrible pictures I have taken of my kids. And this is a hard thing to do because they are really very cute. I just don't seem to have the knack. So I apologize for the bad pictures. Because I so badly want you to see accurate portrayals of what I am knitting. Anyway, this is a scarf for my mom. The colors are much nicer. Richer. Deeper. The yarns are Crystal Palace and I have misplaced the ballbands. One is tape, the other, a novelty in the same colors. I'm liking it so far and I hope my mom does too. Her birthday is this Thursday, Columbus Day. The real Columbus Day, not the psuedo-holiday.

Blogging is helping me to realize what a sadly boring and uneventful life I have. These days I spend my time working, then come home, help the kids with homework, forage for food in the kitchen or go out to Taco Bell, fall into bed and sleep until it's time to get up. The most exciting part of the day is at 6:45 am, where I run around crazily trying to get myself and the kids ready and out the door by 7:30. There is lots of yelling, running, clothes flying about and general chaos. We always manage to make it out of the house in the knick of time. Rinse and repeat. Over and over for five days in a row until I am so tired I can hardly stand it. Then I spend a weekend not quite catching up and start all over again. What is there to blog about and when can I find time to do it? Actually, there's lots of time to blog at work but integrity prevents me. Besides, I'm still on probation. I'm joking. Seriously, I am. No, really. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Does Being A Lifer Mean I Get To Be Jennifer Aniston?

I'm a Lifer!

To you, a job is what pays the bills. You put in your hours, follow the rules, and then go home. Occasionally, you consider quitting, but then you think of how bad the job market is and you reconsider. Whatever happiness you get, you get from your life outside the workplace. Relationships, family, hobbies, and outside creative pursuits are what really matter to you. You're probably taking this test at work because you don't have anything better to do.

Talent: 41%
Lifer: 49%
Mandarin: 44%

Take the Talent, Lifer, or Mandarin quiz.

Actually, my reality these days is very much more like the guy in the cubicle. Except that I don't have a copy machine in my cubie. Nooooooo. I have to walk ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE OTHER END OF THE TRAILER TO GET TO THE COPY MACHINE!! Yea, and my cubie? It's situated along a hallway. So everybody walks by, looks in, says hi, stops and talks, you name it. And it never fails EVERY TIME I (ahem)-- break wind -- someone steps into my 4' x 6'-including-the-desk-cubie to tell me/give me something and I pray to God that it wasn't a silent but deadly. Is it just me? Am I the only one who has to deal with this? Kind of makes me long for the days of old when I was at home alone with the kidlets and we'd just let 'em rip. Guess I've been away from the work world for too long. Or maybe I'm just more flatulent in my old age.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Bringin' On The Bubbly

I made some progress on the bubbly curtain this evening. OK, can someone tell me why I can't seem to recreate the same color effects that I had from yesterday's photo of the bubbly curtain? Everything is the same, but it is coming out with the colors all yellow and wrong. Frustrating, I tell you. If you look below at the picture of the magnetic board, you can see what I mean. Taken five minutes apart. Same position, same background, same lighting, same everything. But all of a sudden, everything is all indoor-lighting flash-photo yellow for the curtain picture. I am stymied.

I am so tired, but I promised to blog on the magnetic board. So here it is:

You can see it is not a big deal, but it is really a very helpful tool. I took the chart from the book and enlarged it so that I would not have to strain my aging eyes. Then I just put it on the chart and move the ruler up every time I complete a row. Voila! I am humming on my curtain! I must say I love this bamboo yarn. I like the drape and the feel of it as it is being knit up. And it comes in great colors. A bit spendy though at $15. per ball, in my opinion. But I think it would make a really heavenly cardigan. I imagine bell shaped sleeves, a V-shaped front and a smooth A-line shape. Maybe I should try my hand at designing? Well, let me get through a few unfinished projects first.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I'be Bin Sick Wid Da Code

I started feeling it last Tuesday and fended it off unti Saturday, at which point I collapsed into bed and couldn't get up. My sweet daughter made these cards for me, which really did make me feel better! Isn't that the sweetest? Sorry they are blurry, the camera is giving me trouble. If you double click on the pic, you can get a close up, but this is what the note says, "GET WELL MOM! Dear Mom I love you I hope you feel Better for work. Thak you for leting us get a prestent on your first pay chack. Hope you feel Better by Monday. Love you Emi" Awwwwww!
I got my first pay check on Friday so I told the kids to celebrate they could get presents. This was very exciting for all of us. Kai got a book and Emi got a CD. By today, I was feeling a lot better. I even made dinner for two families that I had agreed to do earlier in the week. I made salmon, so it was very easy. I got one of those big giant filets from Costco, I think it weighed 3.5 lbs. Then I got some foil and put it in a 9 x 13" pan. I put the salmon in and melted a few tablespoons of butter, threw in 3 cloves of mashed garlic and poured it over, added some salt and baked it for 15 mins. uncovered in a 450 degree oven. Voila! It was so yummy! We had it with mashed potatoes and salad in a bag. Then I made some chocolate chip cookies (from the tube) for dessert for everyone. Simple!

I even squeezed in a little knitting. This is the bamboo yarn "bubbly curtain" from Mason-Dixon Knitting that is going in my cubie. Again, sorry for the blurriness. I like how it is coming out and it is a fun knit. My experience with knitting lace (if that's what you want to call this curtain) got so much easier when I finally broke out my magnetic board. I'll post more about it with pics tomorrow because it is such a cool device and is just another one of those tools that you wonder how you managed without it (actually, I remember how I used to manage without it -- I tore my hair out and swore and threw things because I couldn't keep track of where I was on my pattern).

News Update: I am going to the Reunion. Repeat. I am going to the Reunion. When I wondered aloud to my friend Deliese how I was going to 1) get skinny, 2) get rich and 3) find a cute guy to walk in there with in less than three weeks, she wrote back and said this: "1) weight loss - why?, when we can just wear black 2) get rich - I think Target has some cubic zirconia rings that look the part 3) cute guy - flash pictures of your adorable kids, that will take care of that " Now you know why I hung out with her. She's the voice of reason, plus she's really funny.