Monday, March 30, 2009

The Snack Whisperer

I did laundry; I thought I'd throw that out there because I know you were all very concerned for me. I left the niece home alone (insert Macaulay Culkin-esque scream) and when I returned she was clean, prettified and had invented a new snack. Honey on pretzels, except I don't have honey so it was Agave Nectar on pretzels. Yum. It being the day before payday, I had to find something fun but free. I turned to Twitter where Annika had some fine suggestions. We decided to walk Hollywood Blvd to see the stars--on the sidewalk, that is. We strolled along until some police activity made us cross the road. We crossed back over at Highland to cruise past the souvenir shop and so Lisi could be inappropriate with Mickey Mouse.

You know what you don't notice after having lived here for a while? You don't notice how many stores on Hollywood Blvd sell stripper attire and hookah pipes. Nice. You also don't notice the little courtyards and other cool shops. Good thing I had the young one with me. We found a hat shop where the niece looked positively adorable in every hat she tried on. We found an alley with a movie poster shop and rare records shop, and this sweet old couple having a moment by a fountain.And we found a vintage clothing store (one of her requests this week) where Lisi bought this awesome leather jacket and the sweetest yellow dress with daisies. I told her I'd disown her if she didn't buy it, it looked that good on her. The prices were reasonable for most things, but the rock Ts were way overpriced.

Upon our return home, Lisi whipped up yet another snack sensation--homemade honey mustard for dipping pretzels (can you tell the pretzels were on sale?), which again was made with agave nectar. It was delicious and just the perfect snack for watching a movie. I have dubbed Lisi "The Snack Whisperer." Now, we're off to take a picture of Zakk Wylde's hand prints at the Rock Walk for her boy.

Meanwhile, back in Illinois, the younger niece (left) was doing this. I'm not sure, but I think I heard an evil giggle when I showed Lisi this photo. (Sent by my sister. Thanks , Katie)

[Update] So after wandering around Guitar Center, we headed up the street--to Hustler. What? You don't take visiting relatives to a porn shop? A boy, who probably thought I was Lisi's mom and wanted to shock me, decided to give me a lesson on Pyrex phalluses. They are dishwasher safe and can withstand pressure up to 2000 pounds. He said a bunch of other stuff but I was still back at 2000 pounds of pressure. "2000 pounds? Are they using a jackhammer?" I made the boy giggle. He suggested one with varying textures and "more bang for your buck." (so to speak) I thanked him for his time and walked away nonplussed. Then I came outside to find a parking ticket because West Hollywood sucks and makes you feed the meter until 10pm.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day Two--laundry is overrated (actually three, if you count Friday, which I didn't)

You'll be happy to know (as will my sister, who reads this) that I did not have to post bail and the niece made it home in one piece. As I attempted to make coffee without a filter*, Lisi decided t0 "rest her eyes" on the sofa.

Five hours later when she woke up, it was kind of late to start laundry, so instead we made some grub. After a healthy salad, Lisi got out the pretzels and mustard. Then, it was carrots and vinaigrette. This girl knows how to snack. "Oh, let's make that chocolate guacamole," she said. Off to Pavilions we went to get some avocados and chips (because we decided that regular guacamole was in order, too). "Let's sit on the sofa, watch movies and eat snacks," she suggested. Whatever you want, kid. It's your vacation. Well, it's mine, too, I guess; I'm always down with movies and snacks. The first movie--Point Break. Yeah, I know, but you haven't lived until you've seen Anthony Kiedis shoot himself in the foot and heard such memorable lines as "She was my woman, man." Baz Lurman's "Romeo & Juliet" is on deck, but Lisi has fallen asleep. I'd forgotten how much teenagers eat and sleep.

Lisi has decided we need to eat guacamole every day. I will not argue. We absolutely have to do laundry tomorrow. Maybe.

*I used an organic cotton bag and it worked like a charm.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I love her like a day at the beach

My niece is here!!! Yippee!!! Yesterday (Friday) I left work in the middle of the day to pick up Lisi at LAX and then came back to work. Poor thing was bored, I'm sure, but got to see me run around like a chicken without a head to get stuff done. We came home and were so tired we both zonked out before 10pm.

Today was gorgeous. Did you go outside? It was perfect. So instead of my exciting plans (laundry and returning a bra in Burbank) we headed to the beach. I took her to Zuma because I like it there and, quite frankly, it's fun to say. Say it with me, "Zzzzzuuuuma." Right? Anywho, I'm challenged in the distance-judging department. I'll tell you something is two blocks away and it's more like five. I thought Zuma Beach was a lot closer to the Sunset/PCH intersection. I thought it was just up the street from Gladstones. I kept saying, "it's just around the corner. No, that's right, the next corner," until we passed Pepperdine and I finally admitted to Lisi, "clearly I don't know where I'm going." But we eventually found Zzzzuuuma and got ourselves a nice spot where we could do what girls do at the beach--watch the menfolk and get a tan. The water was icy but we weren't there for the swimming. This guy and his daughter plopped down in front of us while weren't watching. He had really bad back acne (bacne if you will) and this attractive pose.I think the pot belly is my favorite part.

Since Lisi is vegan these days we decided to stop at the grocery store and not risk the local restaurants. There's a Pavilions right down the street from Zuma. Yep, right down the street. Around the next corner...Okay, truly, I should not be allowed to navigate. We ended up at the Vons on Santa Monica Blvd in West LA and got some salad fixin's and various sundries. While shopping, an older woman looked at Lisi and said, "oh, I'm freezing. I just want to pull your shirt down." We laughed but as we turned up the next aisle, Lisi said, "That's Mom speak for 'you're dressed like a whore.'" I love this girl.

We were starving (we hadn't eaten breakfast and spent hours in the sun) so we got some baby carrots to eat on the way home. Then, on the next corner, I saw a fruta stand. "Fruit Guy!" I shouted and whipped around the corner pissing off everyone behind us. The fruit guy was not at his stand so I pulled into the car wash there and asked all the guys if they knew where he was. They just kept trying to get me to wash my car or move it. "But I'm waiting for the fruit guy," I told one man. "You have to move," he replied. "How 'bout you kiss my ass," I shouted back. I told Lisi to wait for the fruit guy and I pulled out to find nearby street parking. Why did I do that? The girl is a man magnet. I mean, just look at her--Suddenly the fruit stand was the place to be and by the time I got back there was a line. We got our fruit with everything--salt, chili, lemon--and ran back to the car to chow down. Two bites in Lisi said, "Oh My GOD, why have I never had this before?? Now I understand why you were so insistent." Ah, another convert to fruta. We finished the whole bag (the $5 size) in about five minutes.

Tonight I took her to a movie premiere! It was for my friends' movie [Movies 101--hopefully coming soon to a theater near you], but back in Illinois it will be a huge premiere. Thanks Jax and Chris! It was fun! We zipped back home so she could get ready and now, as I type this, she is out with her friend Dani (I'm assuming the spelling) who lives out here but goes to school in Illinois. Is it wrong that my parting words were, "Remember, I don't have bail money"?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Is it still March? Why is it still March?!

And more importantly, why did I make a foolish statement like, "I'm going to finish my unfinished knitting projects this month"? Of the projects that were started prior to March 1st, I have finished two--Criss's hat, which in all honesty should have taken one day, and Stella's baby sweater, which taught me the invaluable lesson of "finish the sleeves at the same time" because one sleeve is longer than the other. TWO--out of something like 10-15! Wait, I cast on and finished a project, so I'm going to count that. So, three finished projects for the month of March. Woo Hoo! I've been working like crazy on this double knit hat, which I had to frog and start over because the circumference was all wrong. I'm up to the color work now and it's kicking my ass. It was all well and good to use three colors on a swatch, but on a full hat with multiple repeats, it's a tangle of yarn. This may or may not have been affected by my marathon viewing of Battlestar Galactica (I'm up to the end of Season 2.0, so don't spoil it). So what am I going to do about it? Cast on for another project to gain some perspective. I'm a crazy knitter like that.

Also, you know you've been watching too much BSG when you have dreams of surviving a Cylon-type attack and living in an abandoned apartment building with others in the Resistance movement. You know you're a crazy crafter when, in that dream, you grab a ball of green yarn and a size H crochet hook to make a hat while it's your turn to keep watch for the Cylons.

In other news, my beautiful niece, Elyse, arrives today. TODAY!!!! Oh My God! My apartment is not clean enough!!! Oh well, she'll just have to deal with it. Expect updates from two crazy Sagittarian Gals on the Town. And the following week (April 8th) The Roy arrives with the Dark Mistress Hawthorne in tow for more Sagittarian* hi jinks. Laters!

*One of my other nephews is also a Sagittarius. Four Sags in one family--two in November and two in December. We're taking over. Of course, I was here first. The others are just trying to be cool like me.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Trying again (and again)

When I mentioned my attempt at niceness last night at SnB, the ladies asked, "why?" And you know, I didn't really have a good reason other than I'm tired of being annoyed and angry all the time. I am so quick to cuss these days that I did it in the office today without a thought and didn't realize there was a child present. Shame on me. There was a time in my 20's when it took a good deal of cajoling to get me to swear even a little. These days I could make a prison guard blush with some of the things that come out of my mouth.

Today, SuperForester Carla wrote a post about spreading the "Humanifesto." I'll be honest, I love me some SuperForest and Jackson, you are a doll, but I never actually read the Humanifesto*. I skimmed. I missed the whole point. Thank you, Carla, for bringing it up again. I read it three times in a row from beginning to end and now--NOW--I understand why I wanted to be nice, why it was important to me. Because, as Jackson said, "if we all started treating the people and things that we interact with every day with respect and compassion, the effects would ripple through every aspect of our lives, transforming society." Is it really as simple as "do unto others"? It could be. This is what the Humanifesto boils down to--good manners vs. bad manners. I'll let Team SuperForest explain it:

"Three Essentials:

  1. Make eye contact with anyone you interact with. Smiling is optional but highly encouraged.
  2. Use the words “Please” and “Thank You” as often as you can.
  3. Seek out ways to improve the lives of others. This can be as small as carrying someones bag up a flight of stairs, or holding a door open.

Do these three things and your life will change immeasurably. And you will begin to change the lives of those who come into contact with you in a measurable and positive way."

So, yeah, I tried again today and I'll do it tomorrow. And maybe, eventually, I'll stop being so easily annoyed, so impatient, so reliant on harsh language** and become a more pleasant person to be around. That's my goal.

*Don't be angry with me, Jackson. I'm making you a pretty hat, remember? It'll be done just in time for warm weather but hey, think of the fresh new hat you'll have next winter.

**I reserve the right to drop the f-bombs when truly and thoroughly pissed off because sometimes, it's the only thing that relieves the frustration. "Rats" just isn't going to cut it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Harder than it looks

I woke up too early. That's my excuse. See, I woke up on the sofa with my knitting in my lap, which happens far too often, truth be told. The living room clock--an atomic clock that is supposed to be accurate within 1/36 billionth of a second or some ridiculous shit like that--read 5:30am. Since my alarm goes off at 5:30 anyway, I decided to stay awake. My computer was still on, so I thought," I'll give my emails a cursory glance." I also glanced at the clock in the lower right corner--which read 4:50am. Huh? I looked at the atomic clock (5:30) and back to the computer (4:50). How did the "Oh My God, I'm so accurate I could cry" clock gain 40 minutes? I checked my cell phone (4:50) and the atomic clock in my bedroom* (4:51 now), and scratched my head. It probably needs new batteries. I reset it and it seems to be fine now. Anywho, since it was a full 40 minutes before I had to be awake, I crawled into my actual bed and fell asleep. Then I woke up at 8:00. (sigh)

It's this waking and the time confusion that I'm blaming for my decision to "be nice" all day today. I was feeling good this morning and decided that I could keep this good feeling going all day if I just make an effort to stay positive, practice gratitude and be kind to people. This lasted until about 10:00am when some car climbed up my ass on 9th Street and had the nerve to beep at me for not going when there was a woman with a stroller in the crosswalk. I prompted called the gentleman driving "DOUCHE," which is my stock insult for all drivers. Oops. First offense. Try again.

Pulling into the parking garage an SUV was having a hard time turning the corner, which is not a tight corner by any means, and had to back up, pull forward, back up, pull forward, etc about four times. All the while, I'm sitting on a very steep hill with a manual transmission, and one with no pick up either. When the remedial student finally got around the corner, I had a line behind me. "No time to drift or act up now, Jamie. You just punch it like a good little car." And she did, because for all the complaining I do, Jamie is a trooper. However, the SUV? Well, he had no business driving let alone trying to park in the garage. I followed him all the up to P4 and it was painful. He was bestowed with the Roy-coined "Lord Douchington," which I reserve for really special cases. Oh, strike too. This being nice is hard. All is not lost. I still have a full day of work.

No, I guess not. I got to my desk, a co-worker came in and we immediately started gossiping about someone else. Damn it. That's not nice, no matter how true it was or how much she deserved it. I wish I could tell you it got better but it didn't. When I thought about it and remained focused, I was nice, kind, considerate. But more often than not, I found myself being flippant, sarcastic, bordering on rude, and impatient. Lord, how impatient I can be. How do the nice people do it?

By the time I got to SnB for some knitting, I had all but given up. The one-square-at-a-time toilet paper was the last straw. But wait, there's more...

I came home to the street, for which I pay a yearly fee of $35 for the privilege of parking, only to find every available spot taken. There was some celebrity-filled shindig at the Social club on Sunset and all the hipsters were parking on my street. Balls!! Get off my street, you losers. Where's parking enforcement when you need it? I let loose a string of f-bombs a mile long before I drove around the block three times and ended up parking in the lonely spot on the corner by the cop station. I hate this spot because people whip around the corner and I'm afraid I'll be hit and because I can't see it from my front window should someone try to break it or steal it**. I sat in the car for 30 minutes and watched for a bit to see if anyone pulled out of a spot near my house, but no. After I came in and changed from work clothes, I checked out the front window. SQUEE! The spot in front is open!!! I ran downstairs and pulled Jamie around the corner just in time to watch a silver Mazda take the spot. I flipped them off vigorously and called "Fuck you, you fucking douche." Wow! So much for nice. Fortunately, no one took the bad spot while I was gone.

Will I try again tomorrow? Maybe. All I can say is being kind and sweet takes a lot of effort. It's so much easier to be a dick. I guess that's why there are so many of them on the streets these days.

*Lest you think me a time-obsessed fool, let me explain. When I moved into Chez Gingham there was electrical problems--the circuit was arcing and tripping the breaker. This often happened while I was gone for the day or in the middle of the night. The atomic alarm clock kept me from oversleeping.

**Who am I kidding? No one is going to steal Jamie.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A quickie

Maybe I should have called March the month I'd START a bunch of projects, because that's what it has turned out to be. On Friday, while successfully wasting a lunch hour, I found a bunch of patterns on Ravelry than I just have to make. I downloaded and printed and saved the lot of them. Here's a little something I made Friday night while watching BSG, the miniseries.It was super easy and fairly quick considering the amount of stockinette that goes into it. I gave this one to a co-worker who is celebrating her birthday today. I will make more. As for the pattern, I know it's on Ravelry but I can't find the link and I don't have the patience to look for it. Sorry. [edit--Here it is] I'll tell you that I went to the patterns page and searched "other." There you will find a boatload of things you didn't know you needed to knit. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Did you miss me?

Holy Crap! Have I really not posted since Monday?

It was a crazy ass week, y'all. Meetings were scheduled, unscheduled, rescheduled, and postponed altogether. Oh, and you know what else happened that sucked the big one? The underwire on my last good bra snapped, leaving my left boob unsupported at an inopportune moment. So, now I have to spend non-budgeted money to buy two good bras that I can wear with v-necks (because the girls like to breathe) and under T-shirts (lace won't do). And, because the girls are humongous, I can't shop at Target or Ross. I'll have to go to Nordstroms or Lane Bryant or some classy joint where they cater to us full figured gals. Oh, and Playtex? Makers of the World-Famous-and-touted-by-the-well-endowed-Jane-Russell "18-Hour Bra"? No underwire and most styles not in my size. You can suck it, Playtex! Believe me, I need the underwire. Oh they tell you it supports without, but it doesn't really. I like to think of the underwire as the electric fence that keeps the girls from sneaking out past curfew. So, there's that.

Today, I had to work at a special conference. Since it was in Rosemead and I had to be there at the crack of dawn, I set my alarm for 5:00am. My kind, sweet alarm clock must have seen the time and thought to itself, "Oh, that silly girl. It's Saturday and she accidentally set the alarm. I'll do her a solid and NOT wake her up." Fortunately, I woke up on my own at 5:30 and was only 10 minutes late. However, I am soooo tired right now. I am fully ready to sleep and it's only 6:30. I may just go get dinner and see if that perks me up.

And you know that whole finish stuff in March? Well, I don't know how I expect to do that when I just keep starting things. I mean, honestly. What did I do last night watching Battlestar Galactica* (Season one, just the miniseries so far, so don't ruin it for me)? I knit pocket tissue covers--you know, for the little tissue packs your mom always carried in her purse? Why did I do this? I don't know. I guess I just wasn't feeling the other knits.

There you go. That ought to hold you for a while. At least until I have something noteworthy, like new bras.

*Did I ever tell you about my teenage crush on Richard Hatch, the original Capt. Apollo? I babysat for these kids who watched Battlestar Galactica religiously. I didn't mind because Richard Hatch was a hottie. Flash forward to 1996--I started working at Tower Records and discovered my co-worker, Paul Hatch, was the equally hot son of hottie Richard Hatch. Paul looks remarkably like his father but with lighter hair. Anywho, I told Paul what a crush I had on his Dad when I was young and one day he came up to me and said, "Hey Laur, I'm wearing Richard Hatch's shirt. Do you wanna touch it?" I did, but only because Paul was also hot and had a great body, not because it belonged to his dad. That is all.

Monday, March 09, 2009

What did you do this weekend?

In honor of National Crochet Month (not really), Criss and I were perusing crochet patterns to make a scarf for our friend Toy. In her searching, Criss found this--the Beer Bracelet. What an ingenious creation! You can wear it when not in use, then--BAM--whip it out and wrap up that bottle or coffee cup. They are super quick to crochet (after Ellen, my crochet guru, showed me how to do the Linked Treble Stitch). I made one in 20 minutes while answering the phones up front. Doesn't it look like a monkey face? Don't mind my mismatched buttons. It's all I could find. Here it is on the bottle.It looks a little big on the bottle so maybe I'll move the buttons back a bit. However, it fits perfectly on a grande Starbucks cup, so maybe I won't. Either way, it's a cool little item and a quick gift.

How does this fit into my "Finish All Projects In March" pledge? Um, it doesn't. But they were so quick and too cute to not make. Anyway, this weekend I returned to projects already in progress and made headway on one item. Unfortunately, I had to rip out a hat and start over with more stitches (after I had already done the ribbing, too). Ah, the ebb and flow of knitting.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Phoning it in

Oh, I'm in allergy hell and dalking like dis wif my node all stuffed up. My ambition (what little I have) left with my ability to breathe through my nose. I lamented this to The Roy who had this to say:
me: my allergies! I can't breathe and I can't think.
I have so much to do 'cause the boss is back tomorrow but I just can't concentrate
Roy: FocusYou can do thisCheck back with me at 2:54With a report

Then, because, you know, I'm like that, we continued to chat and Roy related this gem:
Roy: So man
I get this yesterday:
"Hi Ladies,
Last meeting, I mentioned Douglas Adams' book, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as a possible read. I was surprised how that people hadn't read it. Since I can't be at this meeting I thought I would make my suggestion this way.
FYI: My only Wednesday evening conflict these days is the third Wednesday every once in a while.

11:54 AM Sent out to a list of people, including Wendy Millroy (at Roy's actual email addy)
So I replied:
"Hello Barbara,
I think you've entered Wendy's email address incorrectly, as I'm not Wendy.

Also, fun reading choice. I hope you enjoy it. I never read the whole series, just the first book, but here's a tip: last week I found at Borders (I don't know if it was regional, or if you even have the Borders chain out wherever you live) the whole five book set on sale for $2.99! I'd call your local store before making the trip though.
11:56 AM me: You're so sweet and helpful.
Roy: Know what I heard back?
me: and Kudos to Barb for writing "once in a while" correctly.
11:57 AM how do people screw that up?
11:58 AM me: You could assume Wendy's personality and write back to all with things like "I can't believe I got sucked into this group. You're all a bunch of vapid cows with no redeeming qualities whatsoever."
Then, they'll be all, "Boy, what's gotten into Wendy lately?"
11:59 AM Roy: ha ha I thought of doing that... reading along and coming up with weird insights to the book
Anyway, I hope Wendy knows it's at her house this Saturday at 8
12:00 PM me: Oh, that would suck if they all showed up and Wendy is in her robe with hair remover cream on her upper lip and her hair in rollers.
12:01 PM Roy: ha ha for real!

If I could wish one thing for everyone in the world, I wish that you all had a nephew (or brother or cousin or some other kind of relative) like The Roy. He's more than my nephew; he's one of my best friends. And you know what? His little words of motivation gave me the push to actually get stuff done. I had a productive afternoon. Thanks, Roy.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


I don't think I know any crafters who don't have at least three or more projects in the works at any given time. I'm sure they exist, but I haven't met them. You see, the problem is the yarn (or fabric, if you sew)--it calls to us. "Touch me. Love me. You know you want to make something with me right away."
You try to reason with it. "But I already have this scarf and that hat in progress," you say, "not to mention that baby sweater with one last sleeve to go." You diligently ignore the siren's call. You focus on the project in your lap and avert your eyes, but it's no use. Inevitably, you are driven by some unknown force to cast on yet another project. "I'll just do a gauge swatch," you say, fooling no one, not even yourself. Before you know what is happening, you have five (or ten--it's happened) unfinished objects (UFOs) sitting around.

Annika, oh wise and practical Annika, has deemed March as the month to finally finish all those UFOs languishing in baskets, bags, or in my case, on the end of the sofa. I have a list. Want to see it?
  • crochet hat for Criss
  • stripey scarf for me or perhaps Edgar
  • Jackson's hat
  • Anne's hat
  • Christian's hat
  • Hong's hat
  • Kate's scarf
  • sweater for Baby Angela
  • dress for getting-bigger-every-day Julia
  • Criss's scarf
  • Roy's something
  • Jess's something
Of this list, four have only been gauged and planned, not actually cast on, so I'm okay if they don't get finished this month. That still leaves eight items to be finished in 28 days. I also have to clean my apartment and prep for my niece's visit at the end of the month. This is going to be a challenge. I have finished my first item on the list--the crochet hat. It's from Ellen's pattern based on a hat worn by a woman in the crowd at Obama's inauguration. Please bear in mind that Criss is very sick today and didn't want her photo taken. I forced her.I used a thinner, less fuzzy yarn than Ellen, so mine turned out more airy. Criss was happy, even though you can't tell.

I hope all my LA friends get out to vote today. Mayor Zuma Dogg FTW! [or not]

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The weak end

I am the poster child for lazy. No, really. It's time I admit it. I spent most of yesterday in bed (until noon at least--possibly longer), ventured off to Rite Aid for toiletries, then back home to plop on the sofa to finish a few projects. (Inspired by Annika, I'm going to try to finish all my UFOs this month)

Somehow in all my inactivity, I pulled something in my neck. It hurts like crazy. I had the heat pack on it to no avail. OTC painkillers aren't cutting it either. However, this didn't stop me from having a productive Sunday. I took Jamie to get an oil change (and a turn signal light, which as far as I can tell is still broken). I did laundry with everyone else in Hollywood. Seriously, I've never seen the laundromat so busy. I guess word got out about the kind owner who buys donuts and Snapple. Then, on my way back home, I spotted Frau Pita and her son pulling up in front of the house and make a hasty decision to visit Unwind. (Hi Emily!!) I needed a size 8, 16" Addi circular anyway. I also picked up some lovely angora blend yarn that was simply irresistible. You know, if I had a better landlady, I'd have more money. Avoiding Frau is expensive.

Speaking of avoiding Frau, the nice couple downstairs (next to Latina Gladys Kravitz) is moving out today. Alejandro told me "so many problems, you know. It's just better to go." I hear ya, Alejandro. I hear ya. I hope they have a better landlord at their new place. I wonder who our new neighbors will be?

Back to work tomorrow and I really have to knuckle down and finish a bunch of projects. The boss is back in town on Wednesday but not coming in until Friday (why? I hope we can talk her into staying home).