Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Very Productive Day

And this is the end to it:


Oreos with peanut butter. Trust me, it's amazing. You have to try it if you never have.

In addition to finishing the Swap-Bot packages, I did THREE loads of laundry, went to the store, hit the post office, said hi to Matt at work while I was out, made dinner, went to the movie.... Whew! (Okay, so I haven't actually folded the laundry yet, but still.) On to the pictures!


This is for the steampunk swap I hosted. The little notebook in the back has gears and swirlies on it. The bracelet is from Michael's, just like the one I was wearing in the picture meme the other day. My partner said she liked socks, so I got her some nice trouser socks with a pretty design on them. I knit the wristwarmers, and made the "emergency steam kit" inspired by something similar I saw on etsy.com. "Just add water"; the matches are to start a fire below the water-filled bottle, producing steam, of course! Kinda silly, but I thought it was clever (so I copied it, heh).


Closeup of the wristwarmers. My own "pattern," and the cables are fake mini-cables just two stitches wide.

I hope my partner likes it all! The requirements were to have five items with at least two handmade. I'm slightly worried about the glass in the mail, but I wrapped it in paper and packed tissue paper into the box so nothing shifts around. I think it should be all right.


And this is for the NaNoWriMo Readiness swap. The only requirement was monetary, and I take into account the time I spend making things, too, so this should be fine. The notebook is of (fake) leather and recycled paper, which I think should please my partner as she's into organic and green stuff. I made the little matchbook notebook for jotting down notes at any time, printed up the mini-poster with a downloaded font and clipart border, and knit garter stitch armwarmers this time.


Sorry for the bluriness.


I also made myself some little matchbook notebooks. I ALWAYS have a scrap of paper in my pocket at work where I write down SKU numbers to look up, grocery lists, to-do lists, and.... Well, I steal names off of credit cards. Not for anything nefarious! But for character names for my writing. So rather than have a pile of folded up post-its or bits of register paper sitting on my desk when I get home, this way it can be all in one (cute) place! The paper inside is reused, too, from test prints and such.

No baby hat pictures tonight, sorry! Maybe tomorrow.

The Dark Knight

Man, that's a good movie.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ahhhh (no more AUGH)

Today I slept til 11--I could've slept later, but thought I really should get up--had lunch with Matt, then went to work at 1. I ended up NOT doing any kitchen-cleaning when I got home at 7, big surprise. But tomorrow morning will be for cleaning and errands, and tomorrow late-afternoon-ish, I'll reward myself by using that free movie ticket, FINALLY (if it's still good!) to go see Mama Mia! Megan, can I have the soundtrack if I like it?

Oh, clearly I'm not going to go with the school picture place tomorrow. The school they're shooting at has a big population of Spanish-speaking kids, and my Spanish isn't that great, so they're bringing someone else. Oh well! That's another day off this week, and while we could always use the money, of course, I'm looking forward to the time at home.

I made another Mug Cake tonight, and it turned out better. Cooked it for 2 minutes and 40 seconds, which was just about perfect. The "frosting" was about a tablespoon of chocolate chips and maybe a teaspoon of milk microwaved for 30 seconds and stirred till smooth. When the cake was done, I poked holes in it with a fork and poured the frosting (about the consistency of pudding before it's set) over it so it soaked down into the holes. MMM-MM! I only ate about half of it because of all the Chocolate, and gave the rest to Matt. He said it was "too spongey" but ate it all anyway. Hm.

And for anyone concerned for my health, eating this kind of thing, I'm enjoying this metabolism while I have it. :)

I'll try and remember to take pictures of the two Swap-Bot packages I'm sending off tomorrow! One is my steampunk-themed swap, and the other is a NaNoWriMo care package kinda thing. There's also a baby package going out, but I'll save pictures of that until after it's received. I do, however, have pictures of a baby hat I knit for a pregnant girl at work. SO CUTE! I heart knitting baby stuff, it's so adorable and fast. But for now I'll have to content myself with scarves and armwarmers and such. Ahh, cooler weather always makes me want to knit! I have lovely bright red wool for an earflap hat (not the weird hunter-man kind, the cute kind--I hope). And it might be about time for some new slipper-socks, too....

UPDATE: Mama Mia is no longer playing! :( And the ONLY show I'd consider seeing at that theatre is Dark Knight. Or maybe Igor. Hmm. There's nothing coming out in the next, oh, month, that I'd care to see either. Maybe I'll just go see Batman again and enjoy the Tortured Hero thing once more.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

So much stuff! (And cake!)

So it's Sunday night and I'm not at the movie night at work. I know this sounds wimpy, but I've worked long shifts the last five days in a row (and I work tomorrow, making six), and I've trained newbies, and the house is a total disaster because when I come home I want to do nothing for a couple of hours and then SLEEP. And we're out of important things like peanut butter and laundry detergent, and I'm just feeling overwhelmed. I want to be at home with my husband and relax a little. And then to help with the overwhelmed feeling, tomorrow morning before work I'm going to clean up the kitchen, then Tuesday, my first day off in six busy days, is Laundry Day. Yes, it needs to be capitalized.

(Note to self: buy laundry detergent tomorrow. And get quarters to do the loads.)

I would've liked to see Iron Man again, and it would've been fun to hang out with work people, but UGH. I'm just SO SICK of that place right now.

Tonight I made Chocolate Mug Cake. It's a little cake you make in a mug (dur) and microwave to cook! It turned out a little spongy, but next time I might just microwave it for a leeetle less time. I got the recipe from Danielle's blog, so I hope she doesn't mind me sharing!


4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. (It's hard to do. Just mix a little and "mix thoroughly" after the next step.) Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. (I have no idea how many watts my microwave is/has, but I'll probably cook the next one about 2.5 minutes, since 3 minutes made it a little overcooked.) The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! I put a plate under the mug for easier cleanup, but nothing much got on the plate.

The chocolate chips all sunk to the bottom, and Danielle is right, it does taste mostly like cocoa powder and less sugary, like the boxed cakes I'm used to. I'm thinking a teeny amount of frosting to go on it next time, drizzled over the top. Just microwave chocolate chips and a little milk, ta-da! Go on and try it, it's a lovely little single-serve dessert, and so easy!

Now I'm going to IM, knit, and watch Samurai 7 on DVD.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another late-night post of randomness

1. I changed my tattoo design a bit, so it mostly goes up my side instead of all the way across my back. Possibly pictures to come, though I'm not sure how much of me I want to put on the internet for all to see...

2. I'm starting to get excited about NaNoWriMo. Just over a month until it starts! I'm going to do something really different this year; more on that after a bit. Until then, let me introduce you to my main character:

That's her signature, and she has a personality to go with that name!

3. Work is having a movie night on Sunday (i.e. go in to work after we close and watch a movie there), and it's Iron Man. Matt and I saw it in theatres and both liked it, and I think socializing with work people is a good thing now and then. Matt actually said he'd like to come with me (each employee is allowed one gues), so IF I have time between now and then, I'd like to make cookies or something snacky to bring and share. Hopefully that will be fun! (And hopefully some people in my department/that I know will be there.) Maybe I'll bring my camera.

4. The economy stuff is starting to scare me, even though I don't really understand much of it.

5. I don't know if I'm registered to vote or not. Isn't that sad? Is it something you do once and you're registered forever? Do you have to do it every year? I remember voting in '04, the first election year I could vote, and I saved my little "I Voted!" sticker on my bulliten board for a while. :) But I don't think I've voted since then. *Cringe* The cutoff for Colorado, according to the ad on my Yahoo page, is October 6th, so I'd better get with it if I need to re-register!

6. Last Spring, I worked for a local photography place that does school pictures. Sometimes they need an extra person there to help organize the kids--take envelopes with money, get them lined up, that sort of thing. I'll be going again on Tuesday; they just call me every so often when they're shorthanded, maybe a couple times a month. Generally I meet everyone very very early in the morning--4 or 5--and we drive a couple hours, shoot, then drive back. I get paid for the driving time, even though I'm just sitting in the back of the van drinking coffee! And hourly, it's slightly more than my current retail job. So it's a nice little bit of extra money now and then. And it's fun to see the little kids all spiffed up for school pictures. Though there's always that one kid, in almost every class, whose mom forgot it was picture day, so his hair is sticking up and his t-shirt has holes in it. And those couple of little girls in tights and mary janes with their hair curled and their fancy dresses with poofy skirts and big sashes. Cute cute!

That's really all the "news" lately, I suppose.

OH! The wedding! It was fantastic. Beautiful, and probably the most fun reception I've been to. I danced and danced! If any of the pictures turned out, I'll put a few up here soon-ish. I took a thousand, but all the ones at the reception were blurry/had bad lighting. The ones of us girls getting our hair and makeup done beforehand were fun, though. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow night!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Blog meme

Instructions: take a picture of yourself right now. Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair--just take a picture. Post that picture with NO editing. Post these instructions with the picture.


I was feeling a bit silly. Ooh, and lookit my new bracelet! It was $1.49 at Michael's and it looked steampunk-ish to me. I might add a few odd little charms onto the ring in the middle, or not.

Okay, I tag: Carrington, Jen, and my cousin Jen! Sarah's already taking pictures of herself this week. I got this little game from Danielle.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Da-na-na-na-na-na-na-na -- Tequila!


The strawberry margaritas were less than successful, but I think that's just because none of us liked tequila that much. It just seemed like a good bachelorette party drink! Oh well. Back to Cosmopolitans next time.


Cookies! Panties, bras, hands, and feet. All baked and decorated by me. We also had chocolate fondue with mandarin oranges and pineapple to dip in it.

Heather, Lisa, Carrie, and Megan

Carrie had something else to go to an hour into the party, so she didn't dress up. But she's also about a foot shorter than the rest of us (and we were all in heels) so I scooted her up. You're not allowed to see the outfits because we were a little scandalous, since it was just us girls. But it was fun!


-sew shorts to wear to party tonight
-clean house for party tonight
-make cookies for party tonight
-decorate cookies (yep, you guessed it: for party tonight!)
-wipe down bathroom fixtures
-do laundry (socks, undies, towels)
-throw Megan's bachelorette party at 7:00
-snuggle on Matt for not only running my errands today, but for being banished to the office during the party

-sleep in!
-deposit check
-go to Goodwill for new bedsheets as ours are getting quite sad
-more laundry
-probably do dishes
-rehearsal for Megan's wedding at 5:30
-rehearsal dinner at 6:30-7?

-get hair and makeup done
-come home and CRASH

-recover from wedding craziness
-go out to dinner with in-laws, including little sis-in-law and her husband
-do something just for me, i.e. make a new skirt or something

-go down to visit my parents, grandparents, and aunt that's come from CA
-possible combined Heather/Aunt Lori birthday lunch at Grandma's?

-more visiting
-drive home after dinner

-back to work etc.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Change of Plans

I may have alluded to this in a previous post, but now it's official: I'm not going to grad school this coming fall (again). Matt and I have discussed our options, and getting my master's means at least two to two and a half years more of school, if not three, and that much longer of student loans to pay back. That also puts off me having a "real" job that much longer, which puts off us having kids that much longer (and I really want kids!). So the plan now is to find somewhere that has a post-baccalaureate program where I can earn my teaching certificate--just take my education classes and do my student teaching and add it onto the BA I already have. It'll be about another year and a half once I start next fall, so I could be done in the fall of 2010 and get a job teaching high school English. That's another thing: I can teach high school anywhere, but if I were to teach college, my options as to where we could live and work would be much more limited.

In addition to that changed plan, Matt's also going back to school for his "A+" certification to become a computer tech. (I'm not sure what the exact title is, but it's basically "computer-fixer dude.") It's a two- or three-month certification program, half of which he already knows just because of his tinkering around with computers. He builds friends' computers for fun, and is "tech support" to all our friends and family. He'll be on his cell phone pacing through the house (he NEVER sits still when he's on the phone, a habit he learned or inherited from his dad, which I think is cute) asking "Did it beep when it started up?" or "Is the light green now, or red?" He just needs to learn some coding stuff. This certification will enable him to be the "computer dude" for any company that would need one, like a hospital, a bank, or even government buildings. He could also work at a retail company that needs computer dudes, like Best Buy in the Geek Squad, and get paid more since he's certified. And there will always be jobs for this anywhere we go.

After that, he's thinking about returning to school to finish the psychology degree he dropped out of three or so years ago. I want him to do whatever will make him happy, although I have to admit that I don't think more school will make him happy. He doesn't like school. He was unhappy the two-ish years he was in college with me. I, personally, love being in school. I love class discussions, I love being on campus among my fellow students, I like chatting with professors. (I like homework somewhat less, but what are you gonna do?) But not everyone's weird like me. Matt's cranky when he's in school.

But, I guess we'll see how everything goes. Maybe he's matured some in the last few years and will be better while in school. I need to stop doubting him and just be supportive, despite what I, personally, think. He's supported me full-steam through various major changes, and I need to return the favour.

Matt might be able to do his certification this spring at our nearby state college, but if not, he can start next fall with me wherever I end up going to school. I really need to start looking into my options for post-baccalaureate certifications, and getting applications sent out. Ughhhh, applications.... and the fees. But it will be worth it! I think I'll be happy teaching high school--I've always wanted to be a teacher and I think I'll be good at it--and who knows, I could go back and get my master's in ten or even twenty years! God has a plan and I'm trusting in Him. This will all work out just fine.

Now it's off to my 7am store meeting! Joy!

Monday, September 08, 2008

A New Tattoo

Some of you may know that I have a tattoo on the right side of my lower back; others may not. For reference, here's a picture of it:


I've had it for about three years, I think, and love love love it. It reminds me that I'm a writer, and always will. From the lame little cobbled-together sketch/clipart I brought the tattoo artist came this beautiful, elegant picture etched onto my skin in the perfect colours. I'm SO pleased with it.

In the last few months, I've been pondering the idea of another tattoo. I've looked at probably hundreds of pictures online, doing searches for this or that, and saving pictures I liked, though I may only like one thing about them. At last I have an idea of what I want, more or less, and went in to make an appointment at the tattoo shop today. It's not until the 14th of October, since these guys are the best and most popular in town. And the cost is a bit more than what I was originally thinking. But I know I'll be really pleased with the end product (and so will my husband, which is important as he'll be seeing it more often than even I will). Below are my plans for the design.

(Warning: photos of bare backs and sides below)


Do you like my GIMP photo-editing skills? Amazing, no? This is the general shape I want it to be. It will start at my left hip and wrap up and around, stopping in the middle of (or maybe just below) my right shoulderblade so I can still keep it covered for whatever jobs I may have and look professional. I want dark brown for the branch, and a deep pink for the flowers. I'm not set on this placement of branches or flowers, though; the tattoo guys draw all their designs, and if they could make such a great picture out of the ideas I brought for my first tattoo, I trust them to do well with this one, too.


I want the branches to look like this, with the knots and the high- and lowlights. A little twisted and old-looking, but still, I think, pretty.


I like the look of these flowers, though I'd want them a little darker than this. But the size and shape of them are pleasing, and I like that some are just buds while others are full flowers; I might even want a few of mine to be missing a petal, or drifting down from the branch. I might also want a couple little green leaves here and there on mine; I don't love the pink ones here. (This tattoo was to cover up some scars from surgery, which you can see if you look closely. Interesting, I think.)


This has little to do with cherry blossoms (and is, I think, unfinished), but I like the dimension of the leaves, how you can see the underside of some of them and how some are turned. I want some of the flowers in my design to do this.

I think it will be really pretty, but in addition to that, I like the significance cherry blossoms have in Japanese culture. People there have cherry blossom viewing parties in the spring, when they gather for the sole purpose of admiring the short-lived flowers at a scenic park or friend's home. The blossoms last for such a brief time, yet are incredibly beautiful during that time. It speaks of the transitory nature of life. Westerners would use the term carpe diem - sieze the day. James 4:14: "whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." I think it's a good thing to keep in mind: to live life to the fullest, to do the greatest good you can with what time you're given.

Feedback on the design? Suggestions? I'm not very artistic when it comes to drawing and designing, so any help would be appreciated. And I'll certainly post pictures once it's done!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sappiness ahead

It is very nice to be sitting in the living room reading and hear the deep, slow breathing of my husband through the open bedroom door as he drifts into sleep. For a minute, the stress and worries of everyday life fade away and I can focus on how blessed we are to be together.