Monday, December 19, 2011

dear self,
remember when you cleared out all the perishable food items before you went away because you always do that, because you hate coming home to rotten wasted food items?
And you think you're so clever and you're really keeping house?

Will you for once remember every time you come back and you have no food in the house?

Love,
Hungry self

Sunday, December 11, 2011

before i go

I'm not doing the Biostatistics exam that I really, really meant to do, but I'm blogging that I really, really need to do it tomorrow (because it's due). I'm finishing out Biostatistics, but not Core Concepts of Public Health.
Tomorrow, I have my day job, then the exam, and really NOT MUCH ELSE, OK, SELF?

I don't have too much left to do on the exam, just one problem I'm really stumped on but the professor said everything I need is given...


All the other things I want to do include watching the DVDs I took out from the library, cleaning my house, knitting and sewing. I have time to knit this weekend though- I'll be headed to Maryland to see some of my family! I am very excited but a little nervous. Will it feel like "home"? Also, I still don't have a present for one of my family, and one present has yet to arrive in the mail. I have a back-up present for that first person also arriving, but I'm a little put out to feel that I need to get something for this recipient when I just don't think they will appreciate it. It's just not the same feeling when I think that everyone else will either like the thought I put into it or at the very least, be polite and not have "present-face": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMWTs0YT928

I should watch the DVDs because they are due before I would come back from Maryland, but I could also just take them back because I'm starting to go through all the things I am currently most interested in at our little public library, and maybe I should pace myself. ^_^

For some reason, though, I really want to start a new quilting or beading or embroidery project... forgetting the long-term quilting project I already have and the TWO knitting projects and the friendship bracelets and the clothes I ought to resize so I can actually wear them comfortably.

New project, right?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

a little life

Tonight I got home from work and found that my landlady had taped a note on my door.. that she had written on a paper plate. Apparently when you live in a cottage, everything must be adorable.
Not-so-adorable are the mice. They really haven't been too much of a problem- I haven't found ANY evidence of a mouse eating my food- but they're leaving their, well, leavings, and it's a bit gross. Mostly inoffensive, on the scale of poop, but still not cool. I've stuffed a few holes in the walls with steel wool, as I read that they can't chew through that. Soap-impregnated steel wool pads were what I could find cheapest at the grocery store, so my cottage now features sparkly tinsel like corners, filled with soap!

I am finally getting some good responses in my new position as a recruiter at my therapy staffing agency! I don't want to take on too much more, though, because next week is my last week before I will leave for an extended period and try to get a car and etc.

I am withdrawing from the Master's program I was in because I was overwhelmed and I didn't feel like the school was the right fit for me. I am still going to finish out one of my classes, but I feel better already. I won't feel better about paying my student loans, but at least I'm in America to do so- and I am not adding to them, which is very important to me right now.

I am looking forward to not being tired ALL of the time.

I met another person who can never work for Target again. Apparently it's called "redlining."

I am partway through War and Peace (still in the War part). I picked up a lovely copy at a yard sale and don't really feel much of anything about it right now.

I joined the public library and it's great! I've been watching a lot from their randomly-large selection of British shows and movies. Pie in the Sky is about a detective chef, and it's sweet but a bit unsurprising (for a mystery show!) and the characters are a bit flat. I have been ALL ABOUT Agatha Christie's Poirot. I've resolved to ride that Orient Express one day. It'll make up for not being able to fly in the Concorde.
Funny how free books and DVDs inspire me to save up several thousand dollars to blow on a luxury train trip!

I also started volunteering with Meals on Wheels. Just once a week, but it's been fantastic. Most of the volunteers are very nice to me. One wasn't.. but it worked out fine, because instead of riding along with her, I got to ride along with a fantastic guy in this fantastic car:

Definitely one of the coolest rides I've ever had. It's up there (I do indeed have a list). The man still has the original manual!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Budget by talking to even more people!

Earlier this week my boss (not my direct supervisor, but the president- it's a small but growing company) asked me if I ever wore suits. I thought she was implying that I wasn't dressing up to the office dress code. Which doesn't exist. And I often dress nicer than I have to (I don't even meet clients or contractors) AND she was wearing a Juicy Couture terry cloth sweatsuit.

What she meant was, would I like a bunch of free suits? ^_^

A few pieces are still too big on me and not really worth (for me) taking to a tailor, so I'll be offering them to yet another coworker. One pair of pants manages to be loose everywhere except the waist- much too tight for sitting, eating, breathing. I have found out that I am (up top) smaller than an Ann Taylor size 2P, or at least what Ann Taylor 2P was when these were bought, although the length of the sleeves and jacket body are great. I also learned that I fit rather well (still a bit loose) in a Petite Sophisticate size 0. This is eBay useful, because Petite Sophisticate closed down last year.

In boss news, her husband the CEO came to my OTHER job tonight. My boss at other job (restaurant) and direct bosslady at office-job were okay with the idea of me taking off for about a month.
Oh, did I mention? I MIGHT JUST JET OFF FOR A MONTH.
I only realized today that I haven't seen my father or brother in a solid year. With people I know already talking about Thanksgiving plans (my high school informal reunion is even planned for Thanksgiving weekend) I only have plans to cottage it up and probably knit. And cook lots of food for MYSELF. and... be thankful?
Just kidding! I am very thankful for my good friends, and we will probably do a Friendsgiving! or my wonderful friend Matt's not-as-wonderful parents might be hosting/insisting/staging something.

Speaking of friends, my good man Alex of @loudheadphones on twitter and tumblr has started another tumblr called Crafting for the Modern Man. It already has eight pages! I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of variety. I don't know if some people keep their terminology separate- crafting, making, a hobby, a talent, a pastime, a skill, etc. But what I mean to say is, I've seen on just this tumbler: friendship bracelets, mending clothing, knitting (clothing AND plushies), crochet (granny squares AND amigurimi), cross stitch.. I hope to see even more!

To bring it back to bosses, my direct supervisor bosslady really wants to learn to knit. She was then FLOORED to find out that men knit. I told her there was tons of men knitting, that knitting was a skilled trade that belonged to men and they formed guilds, that there are still guilds (at least one that I know of, but it is not gender exclusive), that books have been written on men knitting, for men knitting, by men knitting...

I'll bring her opinion around :D

Monday, November 7, 2011

Budget by talking to people!

I spend $13 dollars going to and from EACH class, by buying 10-trip ticket blocks and 10-token packets. I budget doing that once a month, with the occasional day I don't do it right- I put public transport in my budget as $70 a month. The 10&10 block costs 65.50 ($50 for the tickets, $15.50 for tokens). This saves a little because normally a round trip would cost me $12 in tickets and $4 in tokens. Really, I only save $3. I like the ease of having a bunch of tickets and tokens already on hand as well as blocking that money out and not having it be free to be accidentally used (you know, you think that cash money in your wallet isn't earmarked, spend it, then realize you have no cash for the conductor).
This is weird to think about because the subway tokens aren't entirely necessary, and I could walk and tried to get rides from the La Salle security service. However, I am not really comfortable doing either of those things now (walking through a sketchy neighborhood late at night), so the extra $3- and $15.50 a month- seems like a justifiable expense. Sometimes I still get conflicted over "justifiable" and feel guilty.
Today, my carpool woman wasn't going through Ambler, so I couldn't get a ride to work. So, I missed a day of work, and I'll miss one next week too because she won't be coming through. That's $144.50 I won't have, and if I'm not going to give up $15.50 on tokens where else can I deduct from?

I tried to work through all of that two weeks ago. When I went to the train station, the ticket attendant recognized me and asked about where I go and at what times. He suggested that I should just get a pack of day passes. At $11 each, they cover the train fare AND subway fare, and bus fare if I chose to take the bus ($55 for 10, cheaper than the $65.50 I was spending, although I may still get tokens for other days). They have to be used within the day they are stamped (I wonder about people who might work overnight shifts?) but overall they are the best deal for my needs right now. Yay for small towns!
SEPTA is going to be rolling out a fully electronic ticket system, and while I realize this will be easier for many people, I'll miss things like chatting with the ticket booth guy and having him advise me on the best deal.
Two winters ago, I used to take the train to and from my job. Once, I managed to fall asleep right before my stop and wake up immediately afterwards. I wasn't even sure where I was when the conductor caught my eye and asked me if I was going somewhere different today! He gave me a ticket to get off at the next stop and turn myself around- so I didn't have to pay for a whole second ticket just to go one stop. Very kind of him! Sometimes having a friendly smile always at the ready really does pay off. Although, I was also a girl with pink hair and a bright purple coat, so being easily recognizable probably helped.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Last weekend I went to a church rummage sale, which was a first for me. There were no clothes which was probably good to keep the mess and that "thrift smell" down. But there was a bunch of really neat stuff, and they were as organized as one could expect. I picked up some ribbon, a potholder kit, and an embroidery hoop for cheap, about three dollars. I didn't even like what was in the embroidery hoop- I just wanted the hoop! I also picked up something for my wall. That wasn't a priority for me- some people really want stuff on their walls, but I tend to think it looks cluttered. There is a poster I own that has followed me through high school and college, that I want to get framed before I hang it up again (and because of that, I haven't put it up here- if I'm just going ot move again, I'll save myself the space).
The poster I bought can actually be found at ElephantSeal.org:




Isn't that so great? I don't have any special interest in seals, but I do have an interest in well-done scientific illustration. I think these seals are just so awesome and ugly and magnificent. AND it's educational. I don't think I'll tire of it soon. It was only $3 anyways.
If it was just a poster I might have passed, but it was actually very well framed- definitely done at a professional frame shop. That's part of why I bought it and lugged it home. I haven't put it up yet; it's propped up on a chair that I found on the street (it needs to be re-caned.. I'll be teaching myself caning! It also needs to be painted and the legs are uneven, I'm not sure how I'll fix it but I don't think it will be hard).

In another yard sale on the way there I picked up a weaving loom! I don't know if it has all the parts- I haven't checked yet- but I know it has instructions. I also got a few ladies' gloves and a few books, including a lovely copy of War and Peace that I'll slog through.

Interestingly this has made me want to purge a lot of random stuff from my house. if I'm going to be bringing things in I need to put things out, or I will drown in clutter. I think I'll start by getting rid of scrap fabrics that I won't -really- use, and clothing I never wear (some of it I have NEVER WORN, as it was given to me by my mother who may or may not have worn it herself). I would give it to the thrift shop down my street, but they're closing soon over a dispute with their landlord and are trying to get rid of items. I did a big shop there a few weeks ago and scored some interesting items. At the end of the month they're having a dollar sale so I may stop in again, just to see if there's anything new put out. I would have called the Vietnam Veterans of America group to pick up a bag of clothes but the Better Business Bureau tells me they're a little shady! Egad!

All this will give me things to occupy myself over the cold winter, I'll be staying in to save money- it helps that my landlord pays the heat!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

timewasters

Today I was supposed to be committed to finishing up some assignments, as I might not have time to do them this week. Unfortunately, my usual carpool won't be coming through my area on Wednesday, and if I can't find a ride (which I probably won't, because other people I've tried have been -more- unrealiable- and I also don't want to bother anyone :/ even at a cost to me) I won't be at work that morning and I will have time in the morning.
I am making some progress on one assignment, but I haven't gotten to the other. Other things that have been filling up my day were errands, cleaning house, watching My Little Pony (no reason to lie), and scrolling blogs, mostly on personal finance right now. This is where I found these map tools, to see where you've been:



visited 20 states (40%)
Create your own visited map of The United States or another interesting project
For the US I clicked states I had spent at least a few days in, even if I was just in one area (as for Tennessee, I was mostly only in one hotel for a conference, but that's okay because it was important to me).

When I asked myself if I forgot anywhere, I decided that if I couldn't remember, it didn't count!

Someday I'd like to see Hawaii and Alaska, as well as some of our territories like the Marianas and Guam. I'm hoping to see some friends I've made who live in Idaho and Montana now, and other areas out West like Colorado and New Mexico. I was discussing with a friend how British people (and Europeans, though we have less interaction here) will sometimes assume (not nicely) that Americans never travel. He thinks it may have to with how LARGE our country is, and how you can go to a different state- sometimes even a different area within a state- and it's like you're in a whole different place. The scenery and the pace is all different. Sometimes even the way people look and speak, and their food, will be markedly different than what you are used to, and you don't even have to whip out your passport. That's one thing I like about my "home state" of Maryland: the variety in different regions, even though it's not a large state. There's the edge of the Appalachians to the west and the Chesapeake Bay to the east. DC is cradled right in the middle- and the interstate shoots through that.

But I've been to places around the world, too:


visited 12 states (5.33%)
Create your own visited map of The World or Free ipad travel guide
I think it's funny how much Canada highlights when I've really only been to two cities. I almost wanted to click Japan and South Korea because of how much TIME I've spent in their airports!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Knitting: getting there.

Eeee! My sweater on Ravelry just got two hearts! One from someone in Germany that I don't even know! The other from a woman I met in knitting circle in New Zealand. I ought to have gone more, those women were so nice to Steph and I.

I'm working on a sweater I started in August, when I was in DC. I went to Looped Yarn Works, picked a pattern out of a book and a bunch of yarn to go with it. It's probably the most I've spent on yarn for one project, but it's also probably the biggest project I've undertaken! Aside from the Baby Blanket That Never Made It. But, you know, that one never made it. Quite unfortunately, the sales associate at Looped Yarn Works didn't suggest a yarn gauge quite anywhere near what the pattern I had picked out suggested. I had this suspicion, but I thought I would try it anyways, and even picked up two different needle sizes. The needles are the only think I have some buyers remorse over, because I have the cords and a few needles from the Knitpicks interchangeable set and I should just buy tips, but I was on vacation!

I ended up making a different pattern in the book, Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel. I have mixed feelings on my much the title describes the patterns in the book. Some are fitted due to simply a lot of ribbing, while some really aren't fitted at all (the Crisp Rectangle Tunic Top is in fact a RECTANGLE, and the Cozy V Neck Pullover is a great classic masculine sort of sweater: you know, boxy and unfeminine..). The pattern I first saw from the book (on the internet) was the Cropped Cardigan with Leaf Ties. I liked the pattern because I liked cropped cardigans and I love leaves (more on that later). But would I call this pattern fitted? This pattern, that is shown dangling off the torso of a reasonably non-rectangular model? It doesn't look unflattering, it simply doesn't stand as a pattern meant to emphasize custom fit.

In the author photo, Stefanie Japel is not even wearing a fitted garment. Perhaps that should tip you off.

I still like the book, though, personally- a lot of it falls in line fine with my fashion aesthetic. I will probably be making that Cropped Cardigan with Leaf Ties, if I can figure out how to make it look like I didn't knit a top that was fitted in the sleeves and way to loose in the front.

I am working on the garment that made the cover page, Textured Tunic with Side Buttons. I might not have started it if the book included good pictures of what those side buttons actually look like. Ravelry to the rescue! I am only knitting small side slits.
This is my progress so far, minus about 4 inches on that sleeve in progress because I was increasing like a madwoman and had to rip it all back:

Prettier in person, and on a person, I promise.
 You can see here how I really like a flared sleeve... But I didn't plan very well how much I wanted the sleeve to flare. I am starting to think it is TOO MUCH FLARE. I am not tickled by the prospect of ripping out both sleeves, however. In addition, I didn't like the given texture of the Textured Tunic, and experimented with many other stitch patterns. I found nothing that worked!! It is another challenge all together to convert a stitch pattern to being worked in the round. Maybe someday, but I just wanted this sweater done, and besides, it's my first sweater. I should probably keep it simple.
So, I am justifying my dramatic sleeve choice with the reasoning that I lost the textured band that kept it interesting, so I ought to have SOME part of the sweater's construction be unusual.
I am liking the top-down-raglan style of making a sweater. I may make this again with the textured band as a short sleeve sweater. I'm not sure on short sleeves because I'm afraid the band part would be too "HEY LOOK AT MY CHEST" and yet I would try to make sure it hit directly above and below my chest, because I'm not particularly busty and I don't want an oddly placed band to make me look flatter.
Anyways, I'm making good time with properly timed increases on the second sleeve, and I will be ripping back the bottom and knitting it longer. This may be more difficult because I'm working with a set amount of yarn but I like the idea of small side slits, so I don't know how much I can actually increase the bottom length by. I think I am going to rip, save the ripped yarn in a separate ball, and knit until I run out of yarn- the separated ball representing exactly how much yarn the current side-slit and garter-band hem takes up.

Then I got kind of excited about taking pictures of my knitting, and this "digital macro" function I have on my new-to-me camera. My sweater probably looks way more appealing in close-up:

mmm, Malabrigo.
Of course then I stared taking pictures of anything I thought looked good when I held it up to my face really closely:
not-so-lush Acrylic of indeterminate origin.


 This is a sweet little leaf whose pattern I made up on the spot, and I describe it on my Ravelry page.
It's probably going to be sent to my botanist friend because I never figured out what I wanted to do with a little leaf, and I can whip up another in a few minutes. Unlike its inspiration, this leaf will not biodegrade, which is why I generally try to stay away from plastic yarn like acrylic.


I also have a lot of weird close ups of my thumb, couldn't help it.
I'm kind of hoping she tucks it into some actual plant in the herbarium she works at and see how long it takes anyone to notice. Kind of like this:: "A museum curator with a sense of humor, spotted at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History."

Oh boy! It was grey all morning and then poured for about half an hour. Just now the sun burst out! 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pictures! Birthday Weekend! Coachella problems!

When it was my birthday, my dear friend Christine from high school came up to see me from Maryland! I call her Teeney because she's tall.. It makes sense to us, trust us (oh, high school girls). She's always been more camera-savvy than I, and she was selling her old camera because she had bought a better, smaller one. So I gladly bought it from her, and am really excited to make my blog more interesting! Well, maybe it still won't be interesting.. I should probably work on my writing, too, hm?

Anyways, this is me and Teeney at Tattooed Mom's on South Street:
 
I would honestly probably describe Tattooed Mom's as a hisptery dive bar that I don't understand. It had all this thrift store score old fashioned furniture, and a lovely bar, but the service was terrible and the faux-roccoco detailing on the furniture didn't save it from feeling dirty. They have this thing about leaving little toys and trinkets all over, and putting out Dum-Dum pops... all cute, sure, but sort of cluttery. Which might be exactly what you're going for. After all, a girl flashed us (bra on!).
We went to a small Oktoberfest celebration at Brauhaus at ate lunch at Kanella with another high school friend, who is in medical school in Philadelphia now. I scored her the last cheap fake-Tyrolean hat they were giving out. Later, I gave the hat to some totally drunk guy on the street.

I liked the beaded necklace because there was a tiny mug on it! These necklaces, we later threw at aforementioned flashing girl.
For knitting, the tank I am wearing is Coachella from Knitty, made of Knitpick's Shine. It is not holding up to washing and wearing quite as well as I had hoped and is sort of sagging. Maybe next time a cotton blended with nylon or elastic is in order. I'm also wearing a blue tank underneath from Benneton that happens to match the color very well - and the neckline on Coachella is waaay too low on me, necessitating the under layer. Maybe another Coachella would also have to be knit with a smaller drape all around.  Later we passed this mural of trees and the neighborhood in a pixelated look. Jason, Teeney's main main, told us to look square:
Squares.
 Then we decided to look acceptable. I'm wearing the free hat, as well as a midi length embroidered cotton skirt I picked up in Thailand at the nice part of Jatujak market. I am undecided on how flattering this length is on me. I think it might make me look shorter and cut at a weird part of my leg, but skirts that hit above the knee sometimes make me feel like too much is showing.
As for accessories, there are Tsubo heels I kind of adore (I paid too much for them, is the only problem) and a Coach bag my mother was carrying when she came to visit me. When we visited a diamond shop (for their impending betrothal!!!!!) I was glad I had gotten a little dressed up. But any semblance of  maturity was probably betrayed by my hat and the fact that I spent the time flipping through a bridal magazine and criticizing the models' postures.
 Jason took this picture of Teeney as she was walking towards him, and I think it such a pretty picture of her without me creeping on the side. :p

I took this one of the cute couple:
they're fantastic.
 Then here, I can point out the sag that bothers me on this Coachella tank. You can see it in the above front-on picture where Teeney and I aren't being squares, but it's harder to see where the normal, intentional drape of the neck stops and then there is a weird sag. Possibly, if I had a bigger chest circumference, I wouldn't have the problem of the drape revealing too much OR this second under-bust sag. Notes if I ever make a second Coachella: even though I made the XS size, I might need an XXS. Don't make as many increases for the drape, if possible, and the raceback can be shorter (and requires reinforcement), as well as the armholes being smaller (I crocheted a border and pulled it in tightly, skipping a few stitches). Anyways, in this side view you can see the normal drape, and then underneath that, another bulge- this is the fabric sagging:
Hi.
 Jason figured out some function on Teeney's new camera that takes multiple pictures, which is how this candid came about:
I like it, but I have to remember to push my glasses up!
 And the three of us! We happen to all be wearing blue shirts. Blue is going to figure prominently in their upcoming wedding!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

23 on the 23rd!

Happy Birthday to me Happy Birthday to me! (and to my friend who shares a birthday and who is the only reason I am partying)!! I was feeling down about it earlier, but now it's here and I have so much to be proud of and to be grateful for.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Plastic Bag Paradox

I have reached a very strange point in my American life: For the first time ever, I have run out of plastic trash bags.

I am the only person I know to have this dilemma.

Luckily every single other person I know has WAY TOO MANY trash bags!

I got here two ways: by hardly ever using bags when I go to stores, by tossing any that had holes in them, and by living alone and having two small trash cans, both of which were sized for small bags. I'm particular about trash and dirt, therefore empty my bins fairly often instead of shoving more and more trash into them. My trash can is only a few steps from my front door, too.

I fold up my plastic bags so they take up less space and don't all fall out in a giant clump when I reach into a pile of them. I fold them like you might have folded paper footballs in school- several vertical folds, then rolling up at angles until you had a triangular packet. Does it take time? Yes. Is that time balanced by what I would waste if I have to shove a pile of trash bags back everytime I took one out, AND by replacing/doubling a bag whenever it leaks (plus washing out the bin)? Yes and yes!


On the other hand I pretty much never put my sewing stuff away properly and have boxes of fabric and tshirts- some that date going back years now- that I am just not getting rid of. Girl's gotta balance out.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Small Trends

Do you ever start hearing about something. a few mentions here and there, and then you forget about it- only to hear about it in full, as a big trend that's caught on with a lot of other people who DIDN'T forget like you did? Well, I suppose some things never get that much bigger. Right now in some blogs I've seen people making friendship bracelets. I know a few bloggers put together a group and swap but I wasn't interested then and I guess the swap went fine, though I didn't follow up on it. I wonder if the ladies (or men?) in the swap wore their bracelets or gave them to a younger set. They always seemed to have waves of popularity when I was in school- mostly because teachers tried to outlaw making bracelets in class. I'd often have one or two and wear them until they got grody. I had a few that were loose enough to slip on and off.
I'm working on one right now. Technically I have one I started a million years ago for a friend of mine- a guy who happens to be in to making and wearing friendship bracelets also!- but I never finished it because I wasn't really happy with it (and it was hard!). You can't just frog these like with knitting.
But unlike knitting it's only been a few hours (while reading blogs AND working on my assignment for Public Health Core) and I'm nearly done. Seesh!

But of course I am boring and pictureless. I AM buying a camera from a friend of mine when she comes up here in a few weeks- and it uses a normal memory card that my computer takes! Glory glory!

Here is a picture that's kind of a big deal:





I got my hair cut a month ago! It was kind of on a whim. I have more or less gotten used to it! :)

It doesn't really take less work than having long hair though. I don't have to plan the days I will wash my hair, but I have to wash it more often because it looks greasy so much faster. I don't have to pin it up but I will blow dry and straighten it in order to keep it looking nice and not like constant bedhead.
:)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

once.

I've been searching for an essay I wrote, in my final semester of college, with a sweet artsy ditsy professor. My very first essay was entitled "TO MY GODDAMN SELF." When I turned it in I covered up part of the title with one of those sticky flag notes so I wouldn't shock her. The title, I explained in another (larger) sticky note, just didn't work without it.
I can't find the essay on my computer (I save a lot of things, even from classes I failed, even freewrites I'm almost ashamed to look over now- not that my writing got much better, because I didn't try), or on my one memory stick. The memory stick DOES have some interesting old things, like things I  wrote about patriotism when I was studying abroad for the first time and the semester before that. There's also a picture entitled "sad blonde kid"- I'm glad the title made me laugh, because I did a TERRIBLE job in that Microbiology presentation. Mostly because I didn't know how much BETTER everyone else would do about it.

And I found old AIM conversations I had saved. I deleted a lot of them. A few were with people I once cared really deeply for, and some were with a man that I realize I cared for, but only when it was convenient, and with hesitations, and with no promises or commitment which is why it didn't last. But it was wonderful at the time, because we both only existed in snowglobes of time- suspended- no huge outside influence- just shake and replay and reflect on what once was. And smile. And put that memory back on a shelf, to remember again someday when you're older and lonelier (which is every passing day).

It struck me today that I am somebody's old flame. In fact I am probably a lot of flames and several flings. I am now something labeled dismissively when the "current squeeze" might ask about a picture or an old text saved on a computer's hard drive and not looked at for years. We were young once. Younger. Younger still. I'm burnt ashes and leftover soot, throwaway. But once, I was a fire, consuming, a light in the darkness.

feeling my age.

Lately I don't think I've really been feeling like myself. Which is strange, again, because whenever I really start wonder about how I "feel": about life, love, where my life is headed, what I am doing right now, etc: I usually conclude that I just don't feel much of anything.
The other day, just before going to work (all my form applications sent out online haven't scored me a job yet, but I remain hopeful), I was feeling very "twentysomething". Not particularly some kind of quarter-life crisis where I decide everything I've ever done wasn't really me. Just started wondering why I didn't see my friends more, if they didn't hang out with me, if it's just a change from college and walking down the hall (and really, did I even do that very often in college?) to actually having to spend money to go see somebody. Then I starting thinking how tired I already was about everyone I knew. Everything being said was inane, all this complaining about problems that aren't really problems was just a sneaky way of affirming how much better/wiser/more naive/more innocent/more special/more artsy/more whatever-the-hell you are. But what did I have to complain about? My rent? Which would sound like a sneaky way of saying "my problems are so much more grown up and REAL than yours are, because money is involved.".
So I'm just not winning it this weekend.
At work, though, as much as it blows (it's kind of like having any other job where you shake people's hands, only as a busser, it's kind of like they spit in their hand first, and then shook), I felt a lot better because I can distract myself with actually WORKING and doing something and not sitting around in my lonely house feeling sorry for myself and awkward about the world. All drive and no direction.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A new month and ending summer.

A lot has been happening recently! Some good, some bad. My mother came to visit me, with a bunch of her friends, that was pretty hectic. The day after, I got fired from my job at the bakery. It wasn't at all undeserved, but looking back on my performance overall I also have a greater appreciation for a job where the boss is really a boss and protocol is established and followed. It's unfortunate that I lost a job that was so convenient to walk to, but my days were getting really unreliable- the last week I worked there I only worked three days, and my paychecks were less than half of what I had been expecting to make. Back to the job hunt for me.
The next week my mom came to see me again, which wasn't really planned, but it was a nice visit and I got to stock my fridge. I got cai leuk- also known as balut, these are eggs that have been fertilized and have a small bird-fetus in them. I know a lot of people find them gross, but I hardly eat the fetus AND I don't see how it's different from eating any other animal. Before we bred chickens to make unfertilized eggs, this is what eggs were- naturally, this is how eggs ARE. I find breeding a chicken to make a sterile egg- much more unnatural and strange. You've turned a normal chicken into a machine that births a foodstuff only for you to eat.
I liked having my mom around and hearing people speak Thai and Lao, and I met some really nice friends of her friends that I hope to see more often and spend more time with. However my patience was wearing pretty thin and my house was feeling pretty small by the time she was about to leave. I probably won't see her for another several months to a year, and I'm sure I'll miss her all over again then.
Dan's birthday just happened and we had a nice dinner at the restaurant where I work! It was quite fancy. Then we spent a day together relaxing before I had to go to work. I worked a forty-person party!
I have work again today and I'm scheduled all by myself.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mid July Madness.

- My trip to DC went well! But I spent a lot of money and forty dollars were stolen out of my wallet. aaand I forgot all my important registration numbers, but Dan went and got them all for me. I also forgot my ID, but that probably helped me not spend so much money.
- I changed my hair in a big way! Getting used to it.
- I got to see my cousins, and catch up on the family drama. I also saw my high school bud and we made a friend of an English girl.
- I haven't been able to work much at the bakery- I keep running out of stuff to do because summer is slow. While this means I get out a little earlier and I'm not behind on orders, it also means less money. I was told to no even come in Monday because there's nothing for me to send out.
- The restaurant has been busy though, I got out very late tonight- One AM! and I am scheduled to work four days next week. So, hopefully it works out ok.
- Being by myself at work was kind of nice, actually, and I got to listen to MY music all day long.
- I'm knitting on a new sweater! I didn't even think about how it'll be the biggest piece of clothing I'll have knitted. Maybe that's the best way for me to choose knitting projects- stop contemplating so much and just jump right in! I was actually going to knit a short sleeved sweater on thicker yarn, but the yarn store didn't really have what I was looking for there (and the yarn the shop girl suggested knitted up much too thin, like I expected it would.
- Dan got me a bike! It's a lovely bike, rather old, and a bit tall for me- making it hard to learn. But so far I have only one brief session.
- And that'll be all the learning for now because Dan is going away on business for nearly a week and a half!! :(
- At least I'll have work to keep me busy? and the knitting, and trying to get my stuff out of boxes... but there's no where for it to go except on the floor. but I'll work on it. And no buying things, all this not-working means I have to make sure I can cover rent and utilities (I just moved!!!) this month. In the last two weeks I had only worked seven days total at the bakery and THREE days at the restaurant.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Oh, blog.

I sat down to write, opened up "New Post" and everything, and just wasn't feeling it. Still no picture-loading, so that'll probably go up on my list of things to buy: a card reader. This weekend, though, I am going down to DC, so that's most of my other-stuff budget, but then I'll take pictures while I am there! Very confusing all of it.

Anyways I am all moved in to my cottage. It's been good so far and having my own place has been nice. Money hasn't been in excess but I had some family help for the down payment and I'm prioritizing what I want/need/can afford. I'd like a microwave but I think I'll buy a set of pans first. However both of those can wait because I have some pans I can use in the oven so I'm okay with that- I've made a few pizzas, and sandwiches. Dan took me to the grocery store so I'd actually have food in my house, which is great! But in two weeks he'll be going to California to work Comic-con (I'm totally jealous, I hope he has no fun at all), and he'll be gone for about ten days. So I'll have plan some other grocery-obtaining ways, since I doubt I can learn to ride a bike within this week- especially because I don't own a bike.

July might be an expensive month :/ Even though I asked off this weekend, due to the holiday weekend I didn't have work at the bakery Friday and no work at either job Monday. This week I am only working three shifts for one job and one shift at another! Hopefully July will be surprisingly busy at the restaurant- I know a lot of the bussers have and will be trying to go down "to the shore" on the weekends, so maybe I can take their shifts.
June was a hard month for me though, not particularly economically- though I was trying hard to get out of my apartment and plunked a lot of money down at the end of the month, as well as on train tickets and food to spend time away from home. I am rather glad it's over and hope July is at least better even if it's a bit costly.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I am a proud home owner, well,

I am a proud home owner, well, if you replace home with "cottage in someone's backyard" and owner with "renter".
I am really excited :) Today I went to the Wine & Spirits store to pick up a bunch of boxes and I also bought a bottle of sparkling wine. It came in this really modern looking bottle, and I am hoping it will make a good water carafe.

Good things: The Cottage!!!
- Most things went according to plan today, and work was good.
- Good music
- Dan and I had some interesting discussions about books.

to do:
Call PECO and Verizon
pack!
Save up.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'm getting my cottage!!

I talked with my now-landlords yesterday right before I went to work. They'd like to offer me the cottage!!! I am so excited, guys. I know it'll be a lot more money than I'm used to paying, but I think I will be okay.
The good news had me in a really good mood yesterday, which helped me through work (and fewer hours of sleep than I am used to) although by the end of the night I was pretty tired. I hadn't eaten since around 3 in the afternoon & I didn't clock out until after midnight. Dan and I fought a bit when I got home, he's working with his other fun-job this weekend and so he's not sleeping much either. He didn't have a great day at the job, but it was kind of hard for me to understand, mostly because I was tired from  my own suck job, and I was surprised how much he was complaining- I'm used to him just stepping up to the plate and making the best of it. I'll admit I'm also jealous, and worried, but that's a bit more than I should probably share here.
Today I'll get my restaurant schedule for the coming week and we'll see what is going on with the Flour Pot- unfortunately I am still working shorter hours, but that's because the girl I am replacing is still there (which isn't bad, really, because I still feel like I am learning)- I should make enough though. This little cottage is going to remain fairly unfurnished for a while, though.  The landlords are being kind and just starting the lease at July 1st even though they are letting me move in a little early. There's a woman and an older guy, who apparently was a biophysicist and electrical engineer and holds three degrees. So talking to him will be interesting.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Yard Sale Saturday

I booked most of my day (pre-work tonight, which I agreed to do to help out some other staff who wanted off) on checking out yard sales in my town. I had found three on Craigslist- one supposedly a multi-family one in a housing development or apartment building. I also found someone selling a bunch of books, many of which I hoped to read, so today is a whole day of acquiring used things! :)
The first sale on my list turned out to be a bust. There wasn't much that interested me, but I did see some fabric scraps- I should have asked if she quilted. If I had kids or collected stamps, baseball cards, or Beanie Babies it might have worked well. On Beanie Babies: I feel like someday they'll be on Antiques Roadshow or in books as this great fad that then died and now you can still collect them in various states of wear. Someday, though- not anytime soon, but in like a few decades. And they still won't be particularly valuable.

It's okay that it was a bust though- it was a short walk and on the way back I discovered a few more streets in my town . On the way TO the yard sale, though, I passed ... you guessed it.. a yard sale! It seemed to be a few neighbors together. And here I scored some neat loot (still, though, no pictures, this is becoming a blog I'm going to be too bored to reread myself):
- $2.00: A smokey-clear Pyrex ovensafe (not stovetop-safe) covered dish, about 10" across
- $3.00 A bright pink reversible (to pink on black) mandarin jacket, silk or satin brocade. The pink side is missing a closure & the other closures are worn, so I think I'm going to remove those & replace them (probably with store-bought frogs instead of making my own). It's fairly well made, for that sort of cheapish kind of Chinese "traditional" clothing. There was another shirt that might have fit me as a tunic (or a dress for a child) with one layer of fabric, unline, unfinished seams- that's what's expected of that type of clothing, but this jacket had finished seams & even a bit of padding. The sellers said they got it in China & one of their daughters probably wore it once. It looks like more than once to me, but I wasn't going to make a fuss about it! Their daughters are adopted from China, which made me smile.
- with the jacket: An orange beaded coinpurse with clamshell closure (beaded to look like an orange) with a sticker inside that says "HANDMADE IN KOREA" -unfortunately that sticker will probably come off as I use it. I also saw a Liz Claiborne beaded purse with a C monogrammed onto it, but it wasn't as much my style.
- $0.50- A short aluminum water bottle, orange-yellow, SIGG style but not SIGG, with the WWF panda on it. Cute, even if I usually use Nalgenes.
- $2.25 for the box (an old glove box!)-A box of scarves, some polyester & acetate, one labeled "100% silk", several made in Japan.

All together? $7.75!

After coming back to unload & get 15 books (the guy was willing to meet me where I asked in town and the spines are nearly perfect, so I think a dollar a book was fair), I hit a bunch more yard sales- the majority of the ones in walking distance today, definitely- and got quite a bit of loot. Within sight of my apartment, one of my bags broke! It was just holding clothes & a few padded pieces of kitchenware, so I was all right.
I saw a yard sale on the way to another yard sale, and made it back without getting lost at all. A bike still would have been nice!
I scored:

$15- 15 books. 5 are part of Asimov's Foundation series (there are 7 in all), The Sea Wolf by Jack London, Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi, On the Road by Jack Kerouac, The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Death of a Salesman by Herman Miller, As I lay Dying by William Faulkner, MAUS- 1 & 2, in a boxed set, and a book on the Guggenheim- with two postcards!

$8- Two dresses, one is Ann Taylor & the other might also be, that or Banana Republic. One fits great & the other is a bit blousy, it'll need a belt or something, but if I ever need to dress nicely AND eat a big meal I'm covered.

$7- A bunch of clothes for even cheaper! A dollar each- I could hardly believe it. I got a pair of 7 for all mankind jeans that fit great, another pair of American Eagle jeans that need a new button (& maybe a re-hem, but that's simple stuff), a sateen black trench by bebe, a silk dress by Banana Republic that fits.. a little strangely, but I'll work it out, a coral silky shirt by BCBG MaxAzria- I had been looking for more coral and orange clothing, although this shirt opens way low in the front, I hope I can fix it without stitches showing, and a cute cotton cropped sweater. Oh, and a tweedy wool blend (the wool is only about 10%, but it's also well made & fully lined) suit set- a skirt and jacket. I might splurge a bit more and have this taken in at the tailor shop- there is one below this apartment and he's apparently been there for several decades now!

$5- An old-school Corningware bowl, the kind you could put on the stovetop. Also a pin and a pair of grey rose earrings- I was looking at an Etsy seller the other day and considering a very similar pair, same color- and she threw in another pair of earrings.

$2- A shoe hanger for a closet, will be great in a tiny apartment

$20- A used-once Wilton cupcake tray ($3), Monk Season 5 ($5) and the rest went to Alex's Lemonade stand. I got a cup of lemonade AND I got to pet her awesome dog- a dachshund (possibly mixed, adopted) named Watson!! He was the best part of the day.

$3.25- A Pyrex baking pan, quite scratched but totally serviceable- no deep gouges, as well as a DVD (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), Nigella Bites by Nigella Lawson and a bowl with a chip in the rim but an English maker's stamp on the bottom- it's a pretty shape, & a pretty blue color, & if I get the cottage I am hoping for it will go well in the very-very-blue bathroom.

$5- I almost bought a Pyrex mixing bowl, but I was already carrying a lot (haha, this is BEFORE I got the large bag of clothing), and it was a bit chipped. Instead I got a cool piece of glassware- it's a wide squat cup, like a sherry or brandy snifter but wider, with a bowl that fits in the top. You can put ice in the base and then a dip or shrimp cocktail in the top little bowl. I thought it was neat, delicate, and could also make a good scotch glass -with a glass lid to hold in the vapors! I am excited to show Dan. The ladies at this yard let me have the $1 small Pyrex sauce/dip bowl with a pretty rim, for free with the fancy glass.

All of those little things did add up, though- to $73.50. An expensive day! But at the same time, considering that would be the cost of ONE new silk dress at Banana Republic or Ann Taylor, and not even the price of the 7 for all mankind jeans... and that I got some really neat stuff and I could walk to all of it- I think this was a great shopping day! We'll see what other yard sales come up this summer. It'll be fun!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Itty Bitty Ambler

My friend Matt (@vintagecoats on Twitter) said that would be a good name for a band, Itty Bitty Ambler. Sometimes I worry about posting my location online. I'm not telling you my address, but like the band name, Ambler is itty bitty. It's got some nice character to it though and on it's main-street-and-a-half it has an interesting assortment of shops. Working for two of them, I have heard that Ambler isn't particularly helpful to its small businesses. While I thought that having flowers planted and some events and things like a facebook page was helpful, I could see room for lots of improvements, like allowing better looking signs for out-of-the-way places and updating the bulletins.

I call it main-and-a-half because we have a main street that leads to the train station, and then an actual "Main St" running perpendicular- but it's a lot shorter and smaller.

I found my now favorite pizza in Ambler, Volare Pizzaria and I have to exercise some restraint to not go there for every and any meal opportunity. This week is hard, since I just learned about it and my messy terrible roommate had guests over last night- and now she'll be more or less away all weekend. SO the kitchen is a disaster area that's slowly becoming a biohazard. In fact, Dan and I went to Volare a few nights ago and split a pizza mostly because of her in the kitchen. It was nice- I had gotten cut from work very early, we had been fighting but made up, and it was a nice summery night. We saw fireflies on the way back!

Rosey's BBQ should be opening another branch in Ambler soon, and I'm excited to try it. It's a bit behind schedule on the opening so any day now.
On Craigslist I saw a posting for a thrift store opening up here! And yet, it wasn't a particularly good looking or professional advertisement of their company- no pictures, grammar was a bit lacking- and it's supposed to open in a few weeks (unless there is a delay, which they admitted to in their ad). I've known about Rosey's BBQ for almost three months. This thrift store may be a great cheap resource, one of those strange consignment shops, or it may never quite work out. I am so into the idea of thrift- and more places I can walk to- but a prevalence of thrift stores often doesn't say the best things about the economy of an area.

Also on Craigslist I found 22 new shot glasses for sale ( I think I am going to get them soon) and someone offering for free a framed painting of James Bond (Connery Bond). Exactly what Craigslist is for! If I get the cottage I'm hoping for, I will ask if the Bond painting is still up for grabs. Why not? There's also a free shelving unit but that will probably be taken soon. There are a handful of yard sales this Saturday, so I plan to scour those a bit!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Keeping up!

I'm hardly keeping up with this blog, and I feel like I've got to work on keeping up with life! But I like this slightly busy feeling of having things to do. Last week I had worked a bunch, came home late Friday, and yet on Saturday.. I found myself wishing I had work or plans. I went to my friend's place and had a good, chill time.

Speaking of work: I got that second job! I am really enjoying it, and I smell like cookies when I leave. So far I think I am doing pretty well. However, since the girl I am replacing doesn't have her new job for sure yet, both of us are working until she does. Which means it goes a bit faster, (which means less hours) or in this week's case- I was scheduled for Monday and Tuesday and she had the rest of the week. I came in for extra help on Wednesday, then got cut early from my busser job that Wednesday night. I had some stuff to deal with at home, or I might have stayed.

And: I got into LaSalle! So my yarn diet is officially over, but since I have nothing planned to make (other than a giant blanket.. to add to all my other blankets..) I'm still mostly looking at fabric. I'm sure I'll be obsessed with yarn all over again soon, especially when it gets colder.

I registered to attend an open house, but the next one isn't until the middle of July. LaSalle might be a bit harder to get to than USP, on the train anyways- it's closer than the City.

I haven't been sewing much with these two jobs and being tired on the weekends. I did make a boxy pouch using this tutorial: http://threebears.wordpress.com/2007/10/15/little-boxy-pouch-tutorial/ (is it weird how popular that tutorial seems, but the blogger hasn't posted there since the tutorial went up.. in 2007?!) and I am impressed with myself! Even Dan said he thought it looked very professional. I gave it to him to corral all the little attachments for his beard trimmer. Even though the base of the trimmer has slots to put the attachments into... none of them fit and there are more attachments and accessories than there are slots. I also made him a little square tray to hold change.

I still can't find my camera cords and have yet to buy a new one for my ages-old camera, so no pictures.. worst blogger ever.

Currently on hold are the halter dress from the junior pattern (I'm really close on the bodice now, but seriously: next time just cut the smaller size! geeze!) and the big blue quilt. Part of why I am waiting is because I hope to be packing up my sewing machine soon in order to move out! I'm just waiting to hear back from a woman with a little cottage in her backyard!

If I get the cottage, there will be pictures.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Things I am working on:

1. Getting a second job. This has made progress, and I have an interview Friday afternoon! For another place in town. It's still part time, but almost full time- from 9 to 4 Monday to Friday. SO that kind of blows, but it pays better and will be so much easier than my busser job. I am still deciding if I want to keep working at the restaurant and how much I want to do so. I can make both, but a day would be from 9 to 4 and then walk to next job (eat while I walk?) from 5 to close, usually around 11 or midnight.

2. The big blue and green quilt. Stalled because 1st I wanted to work on dress patterns and then I am just stalled. The last two days, I've had work, before that parties and tired and I can only squeeze in sewing time after 10 pm until it gets too noisy.

3. Stop stressing out. Hard when I have a lot to stress out over, in that poor post college kid way! I was freaking out about my roommate and all her crap still lying around for WEEKS now. Seriously. Three to five weeks. I can't deal. My boyfriend thinks it won't help any to freak out, she'll just "look down on me" but I am about to go freaking crazy. Okay. I can't even start talking about it again. phew.

4. Dresses! I have the muslin for the Simplicity junior halter pinned and marked after first fitting but not refitted. I have the fabric for it! Did myself a small indulgence and bought a few fabric clearance items plus notions and thread. It was from fabric.com, which gives free shipping over $35, and I spent $37 and change. Not bad if you figure I probably would have dropped at least $20 on a NICE dress that fit me. The fabric for the dress is royal blue poly satin, and it -is- a bit cheap feeling, but as long as no one touches my dress or peers too closely at my clothing I think it'll be fine. I am a little scared of how much it'll pucker in the machine!

5. Grad school. Sent email reminders to professors around May 18. No response from one, JUST got a response today from the other saying he'll get it in the mail... ugh. But maybe I'll still get into LaSalle. That was not my first choice, though.

In other news there was a super cute little Asian or hapa girl at the restaurant (I think her name is Avery), I am pretty sure she's been there before, and a TINY two week old baby girl. Named Emory and seriously TINY.

awww.

claudia

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's been rainy and I've been sewing!

I've been scheduling a couple of hours of sewing after Dan goes to work and before I decide that it's really late and I ought to sleep. I haven't made sleeping early that much of a priority this week, since I don't have anything planned for the daytime- good thing too since it's been so rainy- until Commencement on Friday. And that doesn't really involve any effort on my part, just watching and cheering! It may be rainy, so I might be watching it on a screen in a room somewhere other than the auditorium/gym, unfortunately (I didn't ask for tickets from my friends, since that should go to their families). Friday night there's a party.
On to the sewing! Also, a blog I read- way more popular than mine and for good reason- is Adventures in Dressmaking, who is hosting a giveaway! So if you've stumbled on my blog somehow go check that out:
http://www.adventuresindressmaking.com/2011/04/new-sponsor-giftcard-giveaway.html

So far, after unearthing the Simplicity Juniors pattern that I made once in high school- just the tissue, no instructions or pattern envelope- and tracing that pattern onto the back of gift wrapping paper, I've made a muslin from part of an old bedsheet. This bedsheet has been used up for scraps, once to strain chicken broth, and once made into an entirely different dress- that I loved, but only managed to wear once and grew out of. It was tight even then, and had been hacked together from a pattern that was MUCH too large for me.

And yet.. it fits! I'm not the size that it says a Junior 9/10 is, and while it has ease it's kind of weird how well it looks like this is going to fit. The only problem? The bust is HUGE. comically huge. Dan said it looked like something his mom might wear. Note that his mom had and nursed four children. We don't have the same body. She is a very lovely woman but she is not a Junior size 9/10! What's funny is the bodice back seems like a totally normal fit, from side seam to center back. So Simplicity was planning on teenage girls with melon-ball implants, or something!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Today was a varied internet day.

I stayed inside again all day today, even though the sun was strong and shining and I really did consider going outside.. maybe finding that park again and bringing the jump rope I just bought. But since I woke up past 1 PM, I felt sort of lethargic much of the day and then it was time to cook dinner. Haha! Excuses! and it's still nice outside, but I have to watch the kitchen to make sure the cats don't eat the food and Dan should be awake soon. 
Today I was on the internet a bunch and read through a lot of sewing blogs, many new to me found through old favorites. I am really into sewing some clothes but, for someone who has so much time in the day, I don't seem to find the right times to sew. The only solution I can really think of is to move my whole sewing table out to the living room. I think this would be a big mess- and the cats!! So it's not really a solution. However, Dan is asleep during the day so I can't sew then and by the time he leaves, I'm usually not up to do any sewing right away, then I get worried that it's too late and the neighbors will be kept awake- especially with less background noise to drown out the machine. But! The other day Dan wandered in to ask what I was doing and said he couldn't hear the machine in the living room at all, so I might try it tonight.
I have a few patterns printed out from Burdastyle online and I unearthed the first commercial pattern (and to date, the only commercial pattern that fit) I ever used, to make a dress to wear on stage for my school's talent show. I wanted to sing Minnie the Moocher and vintage fashion was limited to rockabilly and swing cultures, expensive custom or vintage dresses online that my mother wouldn't have ever let me spring for, and of course, home sewists! I don't have that dress any more (to be honest, I didn't even do a great job and the fabric was some smooth but itchy stuff probably better reserved for curtains), but I found out I still have the pattern- Simplicity 4560. Unfortunately it's a Junior size pattern up to a size 9/10, and while I probably would have fit the Junior size 14 it's going to need some work. I think I can do it though!
I was also inspired by seeing the Givenchy couture Spring 2011 and Philosophy Spring 2011 collections (here: http://www.style.com/fashionshows/review/S2011RTW-PHILOSOP). Very Asian influences.
And I spent several hours reading about what it's like have a baby with a tracheotomy, as well as packing up your whole life only to unexpectedly pack it back again: http://trachties.blogspot.com/
I am also digging the idea of a scallop hem skirt, as well as sewing my own sun hat and a raincoat made of Tula Pink's large raindrop print laminate from her new Prince Charming line, and making little handles or a small pocketed potholder for our new cast iron pan.

Speaking of which! Dan and I walked to the hardware store in Ambler (it's adorably old fashioned) and Dan bought one. I used it for the first time today- the first time I've ever used a cast iron pan- and so far so good! I am excited. It's also the only pan we have now that is safe to go in the oven. So many recipes I put off because you had to go from stovetop to oven.. now I can do! I just can't remember any of them. Haha!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cough cough quitling

I seem to battling bronchitis (self diagnosed from WebMD). On the downside it means I probably have another week or two of coughing, and these things are usually viral. On the plus side I can stop gargling salt water and I have the hope it will be gone in a few weeks (no insurance and no doctor!). But I have work tonight- if it's not busy I can probably go home early! and yet.. I could use the money.

Anyways I am putting all that worrying aside and doing two things today: cleaning up the kitchen, and studying for my last exam tomorrow. And reading quilt blogs. I pulled out my giant blue and green quilt that I started last year, and have been sewing in little stretches when Dan isn't asleep or I don't think it's too late to sew. This doesn't happen often, but I have found time here and there. I'm pretty bored of the patchwork stage right now, which is too bad since I know piecing is my favorite part of quilting. Also, not being able to decide on a single fabric for the back (and knowing it wouldn't fit in my machine), I have a variety of skinny 1/4 yards that will make up the back. I think I'll have to cut up the batting and quilt rows of the patched squares onto the skinny yards, then attach those to each other. This might be cost-beneficial since 2 smaller packages of batting costs less than one large one (like, two twin size sheets are usually less than one king). My other problem, which I haven't really faced, is that the squares are larger than the skinny quarters. It will take some creative wrangling!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Little update

Today was a sunny, not too hot, warm breezy day. It was really nice. I spent a lot of it asleep though! Then I went to work- I got a job as a busser in a nice little restaurant down the street from me!- but I got let out early because it was so slow. The tulips had opened (they hadn't yesterday) on the main street of my little town and there were some interesting streaky varieties. I like tulips when sun is shining through them and they look like they are glowing. There were also fringey poofy daffodils and some small hyacinths. At work a woman talked to me about fiddlehead ferns (we serve them! you can eat them!) and New Zealand. I miss it a lot now that the weather is nice (although NZ is moving into wintertime there). It'll be two years now since I left for the enzed.
dear roommate is in the UK and it's kind of nice because I cleaned the fridge without worrying so much about her stuff, and her junk in the living room is going into a pile behind the loveseat. It does smell pretty gross since she didn't arrange for anyone to scoop the litterboxes, though Dan might in a few days. It's like occasionally living with two furry dirty diapers. I am put off cat ownership for at least several years.

Today I learned one of my Cambodian friend's father died when he was hit by a New Year motorcade. I do miss my family a bit when it comes to the New Year season (Thai/Lao/Khmer close together) and going to temple. I did get invited to an Easter dinner so that's nice. We'll see. And I'm looking forward to all that Easter candy going on sale!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

karma

I was discussing karma with a friend of mine, Tola,  on twitter. She was complaining about how when you're stuck in traffic, then when you see the cause of the traffic it's pretty minor. I said that once, we had been inching along when we got closer to the light and saw that a girl had basically broken down at the red light. And at LEAST ten cars had passed this girl before we could even see her, and it seemed like NO ONE had gotten out to help her! It wasn't rush hour, it wasn't a highway- just a medium sized road on the edge of a medium-small town, in a residential area. We pulled over on the intersecting road and the boys got out to offer her help to push her car out of the way. Tola said that was nice and she tries to help people because she knows it might soon be her that will need the help. I remarked on building good karma, but then- could it be bad karma to EXPECT something good to happen to you in return?
There's nothing really wrong with only doing good deeds hoping that you will get a return. I'd rather that happened than no one did good things, went out of their way to make someone else's day a little brighter or a little easier, because they couldn't see how it would help them.
Just a few thought today. I'm still searching for my camera's card reader that may or may not have some unfortunate parts in Cambodia so I am scarce on the recent pictures.

Recent good things:
- Got to see my old boss, Jay, and drop off some forms for recommendations!
-Was out and about walking in the sunshine
- I ran into Jon, Jenn's boyfriend, on the way to Arcadia and texted Jenn to tell her. Jenn texted me to tell me she was in the first row of computers at the library... I leaned around my monitor and she is sitting across from me.. haha!
- Got to hang out with Matt and measure him for the vest I decided I would make him. For practice- I'm even going to draft the pattern (possibly on the back of some paper bags or some gift wrap paper, although I don't actually have any gift wrap paper). He's good to sew for because he has a broad and occasionally humorous fashion sense, he can appreciate handmade, and he's skinny!
- I went into the little local yarn and quilting shop and found Gutermann thread for a cheaper price than I had seen online (I have since found it even cheaper but there's something about supporting your small local businesses) and talked to some of the staff for a bit. I also scored a yard and a quarter of a lovely Valori Wells for Free Spirit Fabric! In the dollar bin, so I only paid 1.25! It was a small and perfect indulgence for me. Also, I didn't see much of that kind of designer fabric on the bolt in the store- mostly batiks and a few random solids and dressmaking fabrics. I've been using a lot of re-purposed and crummy-to-begin-with fabric lately so it's nice to have a bit of higher-quality stuff to handle. Pictures as soon as I figure out my camera...
- A restaurant down the street from me may still be hiring, so I'll walk there tomorrow- I called today, but by the time I was done making and eating dinner I was tired and looked kinda gross.
- The rock climbing club I used to head has been doing well and should have an outdoor climb soon, possibly end of this month! I was invited to go, and may be useful as a belayer.
- I kept forgetting things for my classes/recs but then I kept not needing them. It was a strange day.
Claudia

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My bookshelf (and paint)

Rachel Griffith of the blog "p.s. i quilt" was hosting a giveaway and she asked, "what color would you paint YOUR living room" as she is currently painting hers a calm grey. That got me thinking about paint.
I live in an apartment and we're probably allowed to paint the walls. Actually, I believe Dan told me we were allowed to paint the walls.. but he wasn't sure on wallpaper. Not that I can afford to wallpaper anything right now. I did order some wallpaper samples from Anthropologie, mostly for fun...

But the reasons I couldn't really think of a wall paint color for this apartment are we're looking to move out in the near future, that redecorating is a superfluous task not in my budget, but most of all because they are already painted! The bathroom is white, and I think my flatmate's bedroom is yellow, but our (my boyfriend and I) have a yellow bedroom, the living room is a more saturated yellow, and the kitchen is light green! Not a pale, retiring green either. Just a green that isn't dark or medium. This apartment HAS color. And I'd keep it, because why not? The bathroom is white, but it's small, and it needs so much more work than just a coat of paint. If we were to move into another apartment though, I think I'd paint the bathroom a soft bright blue, like in my old house. I want to try a pink wall someday.. I'm not sure I'd ever feel it was quite right. And I really want to paint a bright crisp vertical stripe inside of a closet. Like the lining on a coat! :)

I still have a small can of red and a small can of white from when I was painting my bookshelf.  I used to live in an apartment building that had the trash rooms all in the same area on each floor and an elevator that could stop at each, and went out to a loading dock. People moving out would leave their furniture in the basement sometimes, but sometimes they'd just leave it right in the hall. I thought that was pretty unfair to the maintenance people who now have to haul your junk out for you. You could at least take the manageable stuff out to the loading dock. Also it sometimes blocked everyone's access to the recycling bin and trash chute. But maybe they were in a rush- a few weeks after we moved in someone left a large chest of drawers in the hallway, with no drawers. My roommate then, Matt, figured maybe they didn't have time to take stuff out of it, but just dumped all the drawers into a cart or something. It's too bad because we really would have used that piece of furniture. Anyways we did score a weird chair that I recovered the spotty, stained striped silk on- but I've yet to finish the trim that's supposed to cover the staples- and I scored this junky, old, but perfectly sized, bookcase:
As you can see, not the best stain job.
 I didn't do the best paint job on it either, but it looked so much better. I didn't really sand it. Spray paint would have been right for this job (and cheap!) but I wasn't about to get spray all over our balcony, and I wasn't sure where else to go.

So much nicer!

I laid out the cardboard boxes I had kept from IKEA delivering furniture and my mattress, and painted very carefully. It became a really great fabric shelf! I used latex paint and that's not always the best for lots of heavy books- it dries soft compared to oil.
Unfortunately I don't really have anywhere to put the bookcase in the this apartment (despite our very large bedroom) and so it remains in Matt's apartment. I don't know what it's being used for, but whenever I want it back it's mine :)
One of the main benefits of this little project was meeting some of the people who work in my (former!) town, the guy at the hardware store and the guys at the paint shop. That's how I learned about latex paint! I was going to see if they had any reject buckets of paint, but no real luck there. I chose red because I had an IKEA LACK table that was bright red, and I wanted color in my tiny bland room. It wasn't all that tiny, just really bland. The desk/sewing table was IKEA and black and white. I chose white for the inside because I didn't want the fabric to look weird next to such a strong color- I thought a red interior would cast strong shadows.

Now my fabric lives in boxes :(  But it's working okay. I can't get to my Quilt (it's my first big quilt, and it's big) anyways unless I really want to make a mess in the room, and I still managed to make a pretty good little cozy for my slow cooker this weekend out of saved scraps (mostly from the Quilt) and t-shirts. The t-shirts were major hand-me-downs destined for Goodwill, and now I'm kicking myself for not taking more pictures of the process. A brother of one of Dan's friends gave Dan a lot of clothes because he was moving. Dan didn't even want all of those clothes so the nag leftover were rejected rejects. Out of those, I've set some aside that I think I'll be refashioning into shirts for myself (or practice 'muslins' for projects) but the ones I cut up this weekend weren't even in that category. And honestly, they probably wouldn't even sell well at Goodwill! One was one of those 5K shirts with the sponsors on the back, and one was a shirt that probably got washed with something new and red and it turned into this unsightly weak pink color. Those became the liners and padding.
But pictures of that (and why I would even need to cover a slow cooker) in another post!

Claudia

Friday, April 1, 2011

I do miss the food.

A picture of a Canadian lobster we had in a restaurant in a mall in Thailand. It actually didn't have a lot of meat on it/ in it, which may have been why it was such a good deal!
Dan wanted to know if I had plans this weekend, if I want to go out and do something.. He even offered dinner or a movie! Isn't that sweet? But I still don't have a job and so I feel kind of bad or frivolous. But if he wants to do something, then of course I won't stop him from taking me out! haha!
And I have been stuck in the house so much after all. It's also been really rainy this week. Dan was moved to second shift so he's been home in the morning, which is pretty cool. But next week, back to third. And, it meant he didn't get a free Friday!
I got my first two apps out- LaSalle and USP. The online portions, anyways. Now I just have to print out forms for my recommenders and my resume to send in to the schools. I plan to do that Monday, although I emailed them all and Michelle is out of town until the 10th and two haven't responded. I think I will be all right though!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Balance! Find the good in things.

Bad thing: I thought I would call LaSalle about their admissions process and mailing my recommendations in, then finish my emails to my professors and bosses and send that out, but they apparently ALL leave at 4:30pm.
Good thing about that: I learned my lesson?

Bad thing: More like a minor inconvenience, had to take the several shuttle buses and waited a while in the cold for the small shuttle.
Good thing: I had a covered bus stop to wait under, I was well dressed for the weather (good water resistant coat and shoes, I mean), and I talked to the bus driver about jazz. He was listening to Freddie Hubbard. He dropped me off in front of my house! saving me a several-block walk! and he told me, if I could tell them ahead of time, they could pick me up in front of my house! Though Dan drives me in the morning.. but it's very good to know. and kind of them.
Also, I finished my book! that took about.. two days. It was "The Stupidest Angel" by Christopher Moore. I read his "Fool" and really liked it so I've gotten a stack out from the library. His humor reminds me of Terry Pratchett. I prefer Pratchett, but Moore holds his own.
I wanted a more lighthearted book after finishing Alice Munroe's "Too Much Happiness".

Bad thing: Need some kind of closing sentence on one of my essays.
Good thing: I think I wrote decent essays... I sure hope so.

Bad thing: I've procrastinated.
Good thing: I have a clearer plan.

ummm

Good things!
I am trying out a new recipe I found online for the slow cooker- a take on chicken korma. We will see how it turns out... It says to mix in yogurt or sour cream though, and we have neither, so I'm about to head over to the CVS next door and see what they have. We have some neufchatel but I don't think it will mix in well and the last thing I want is clumpy cheese sauce XP That is not a happy face, it is more of a "bleagh" face like the Poison Control Center logo. Tricky Philadelphia brand just labels neufchatel as lower fat, but doesn't actually say cream cheese- it says neufchatel in little letters in a corner- are people really so clueless/brand-oriented/distrusting of words that aren't so easy to pronounce?
Update: It wasn't so good.. it was runny and we've decided neither of us really likes cloves. Cloves remind Dan of his grandmother's bedroom! I just thought it was too strong- I'm inexperienced with cloves. I actually liked the sour cream and spicy curry-like mixture on my rice, though, which surprised me. I'd cut down on the potato, possibly amp up the chicken if I could, and cook the onions down separately, in a pan. By the time it was ready Dan and I were pretty hungry so that probably helped! He took some to work (minus sour cream) and said it didn't reheat well.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Swap-bot answers

I'm on swapbot.com which is a website about swapping stuff in the mail, although there are also email swaps. I signed up for a bunch of 'random questionnaire' swaps since I think postage is a bit of a splurge for me right now and they usually let in newbies, so I thought I'd up my rating. Most of the answers were pretty forgettable  but I wanted to post some of the ones I liked:

From a woman in Denmark:
15.Tell me an inside joke. Feel free to skip right to the punch line and leave out explanations Sorry,it`s in danish...hva` det? Det er sgu da en panda bjørn!

From a woman living in New Zealand:
60. Do you believe in a soul mate?
No, that is an excuse for people to wriggle out of a relationship without working on it. "It didn't work out because he wasn't my real soul mate" when really "It didn't work out because I was a complete cow".

76.What do you think is the best place in this world for a honeymoon?
 I had it, at home. We told everyone we had left town but stayed, it was fantastic, no interuptions. We went to some of the best restaurants, went to places we had always meant to go and didn't answer the phone once.
 Also, I noticed a lot of people say one of their pet peeves/something that annoys them is people who chew with their mouth open and makes lots of mouth-noises or eating noise. I agree, but I also want to ask all those people: are you always certain you do not make noise yourself? I think a lot of people aren't aware of it. I think they just don't keep it in mind.

This week has been okay, not much really happened. One of my professors has been pregnant, and she was unexpectedly induced! so one of my classes was canceled. It's canceled tomorrow too. I had a job interview which I was really excited for, but when I got there she had already left and she wasn't answering her phone! So I guess no job for me.. I am really surprised she wouldn't answer my calls. I did make a little spending-splurge and go into the city for Scrapplefest and to hang out a bit. I saw my friend Jenn which was nice but I'm afraid that my friends don't want to hang out with me as much as before. It might be due to me not hiding the fact that I didn't much care for one of their new friends (which they said they weren't particularly surprised at), and I am further away and such.
Mostly I am just really concentrating on getting a job and finishing a few applications that I'm terribly late on. I think I am going to apply to USP and LaSalle (because their apps are free) and if I don't get into either I will apply to Temple and Drexel.. I think that the last two might be more prestigious but I have nothing against the first two, and Drexel's app is SUPER EXPENSIVE. Temple's is moderately expensive and I have no income right now. I missed the Temple-Fall 2011 deadline anyways so I wouldn't start until Spring, while Drexel's is rolling. I hate app fees- it's like paying a cover charge, that might not work. I am paying this school for the priveledge of having you read my app? I could spend almost $200 just to get two rejection letters? I think not.

This is yet another break from writing my statement of purpose.. that has been the hardest part. I was feeling really down a few weeks ago and, like I said,  it's so hard to write about how awesome you are when you just plain aren't feeling awesome. But I feel better! Haha!