It’s…..unspeakable!

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I ran into this while wandering the nightgown and pajama section at the department store.

The silver shiny stuff is…I can hardly say it…sequins.

Silver, shimmery, rough sided sequins.

For going out? Yes.

For sleeping? Uh. No.

Plus, it seems sort of trollopy to buy some cotton jersey nightgown encrusted with sequins.

Oh, did I mention this abomination was found at Sears?

Egad.

The Right Way. The Wrong Way. And my way.

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I was raised by rather practical parents. No sissy girls in their house, no. We were up on the roof painting kid of girls. We were change the oil in the car girls. Yes. Self-sufficient, and often creative when it came to fixing troublesome issues.

If you’re country folk, the term “bailing wire and duct tape” is familiar to you. The concept being, with those two items, you can fix anything…MacGyver style.

I’m pretty proud of my redneck ways. Or as my Hispanic friends would call it, rasquache.

I pondered this again this morning as I admired my entomological prevention handiwork.

See, The Good Man and I are convinced our (rental) residence is, essentially, built on an anthill. Not mean like fire ant or anything. No, the annoying little black ants that I talked about in this post. (The Good Man has become a LOT less Zen about them, btw)

Their main port of entry is the kitchen, and since we’re not eager to spread poison around the same place where we prepare food, we’ve been trying a variety of natural remedies (most discovered through research on the interwebs).

So far, the application of soapy water works best. Kills ’em on the spot. But doesn’t really do much to prevent them. For that we try an orange oil product made for ants. It works…for a bit. But they come back, laughing.

Most sites I read said, “you have to find where they are coming in and seal that off.”

Trouble is, we live in an almost seventy year old house placed precariously on a hill in earthquake country, so there are lots of gaps and cracks and crevices those little sonsabitches can exploit.

So in the heat of battle one day, frustrated and exasperated, I reverted to my “duct tape and bailing wire” days and got out the masking tape.

Everywhere it looked like they were coming in was slapped over with tape. TGM kind of laughed at me. He was like “oooookay”.

But you know what? It worked. It didn’t *look* good, but we were without ants for quite sometime. Oh sweet relief!

We left the tape up for a while, then took it back down.

As those ants are wont to do, they found a new port of call in a new area, and began streaming in again. We applied soapy water and orange oil and fought the battle.

While going hand to six-legged combat, TGM said, “I’m going to spray this down with orange oil and then you do your masking tape thing, ok?”

And I did.

And, for the past couple weeks…ant free.

We harbor no illusions that we’re free of them. I’m sure they are just tormenting the neighbor right now (it’s a duplex).

They’ll be back. And we’ll be waiting with a good squirt of orange oil and a fresh roll of masking tape.

TOP OF THE WORLD, MA!!!” (click if you don’t know the movie reference)

Oh so much happier!

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Ok, confessional time. Yes, I’m owning it here, publicly, on my blog.

Here we go

Due to the immense amount of food they provide here at my job, cookies, cakes, lots of candy, full lunches, parties, celebrations, the whole nine yards….

I *might* have maybe, sort of, kind of….gained some weight.

I know. *gasp*

Not a lot. But enough to make most of the clothes in my closet feel tight.

So, I do that thing that women do, “Oh, I’ll lose this. I don’t need to buy new clothes! I’d just buy them and have to give them away, what a waste of money!”

What do I do? I wear the few items that fit over and over. And wear the tight things and sit at my desk with a wince as I get marks on my body from the clothes.

So, I just…I don’t know…gave up. I started dressing like crap. If you know me, you know clothes and style matter to me. So this is REALLY giving up.

I’m not proud of it.

Well, as fate will do, I had a *very* important meeting today, one where I needed to be on my game. And I needed to dress in a businesslike way.

In preparation, I tried on all my current dress pants. Yeah. No luck. Ok, I could get them on and zipped, but they were tight and immediately began pressing into my waist.

This isn’t humorous.

With fear in my heart, a couple days ago, I took to the mall, shopping discount outlets looking for *something* I could make work. Something I could wear and look professional and still be comfortable.

Guys, you have to know. To a woman…shopping for pants is the seventh level of hell. I don’t know why, it just is. Only slightly more appealing than shopping for a swimsuit.

The mall I visited is all broke down and busted (like many malls are these days) and it was a very hot day in the Bay Area. The entire mall had NO air conditioning, so shopping for pants (ugh!) with a sheen of sweat on your brow is not amusing. May I reiterate: NOT!

And being the cheap ass that I am, I wanted something at a low cost.

So. I found a couple things. The quality was only so-so. I wasn’t overjoyed with the items, but ok. I’d have something to wear.

I was depressed.

Then, yesterday I had an inspired idea. There is a store I used to shop at quite a bit, but then drifted away from. Their stuff is good, stylish, but often a little pricey. Their last couple of lines were not attractive at all, so I had moved on.

But I remembered that they usually stock a good range of sizes.

Yesterday after work, I went to this store. And I almost cried. In addition to air conditioning, they had gotten in all their new Fall line and much of it was TOTALLY my style. And sizes! Oh the size choices. I tried on some stuff that was too big! Some too small, but they had the next size.

And their prices were not that bad, actually. Reasonable. They’ve clearly made a shift to help with the economy.

So I stocked UP. I mean, I went a little nuts. I bought good quality clothes that fit and make me feel *good*. I bought a whole new wardrobe!

I walked out smiling. Today I’m wearing one of the new outfits and I am walking so much taller. My pants fit! They don’t bind. My waistline has been spared for the day. My whole outlook has vastly improved.

Ladies! Don’t give in to stuff that cuts and binds! Wear clothes that fit and feel good!

(and yes, I’m cutting back on the feed rations and exercising. Lifelong battle.)

These are a few of my favorite things

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Over the weekend we had to make one of those never any fun but always essential visits to Target. You know that trip, the list includes toilet paper, laundry soap, toothpaste, etc.

You spend a hundred bucks and don’t even bring home anything fun.

I was *very* adamant with myself on this trip that I would get only what was on my list, and not wander.

Oh, I can wander. At a Target? I’m a wandering, shopping fool.

But no. The Good Man and I made a list. A thoughtful, in depth list. And I promised to stick to it.

Gah! But it’s Taaaaarget!

No, no. Must be austere. Financial times are tough. Tighten the ol’ belt and whatnot.

So I pushed that little red shopping cart up and down the aisles. Razor blades, check. Kitty litter, check. Toilet bowl cleaner, check.

But then. Oh then…I rounded the corner, and at the end of the row, I landed promptly in the…oh sigh…school supplies aisle.

And by aisle, I mean huge display.

Oh yes, Target has the “back to school” on with gusto.

I caught my first whiff of brand new three ring binders and I was suddenly intoxicated.

I stepped into the brightly lit and vibrantly colored area, eyes wide, wandering around like a hillbilly at Times Square.

It was delicious.

They have one whole section devoted to Crayola items. I *adore* all things Crayola. Those are some damn fine people who put out the Crayola product line!

I’m not going to lie to you, I plucked a sixty-four count box of Crayons from the bin, lifted to my nose, and sniffed.

*sniiiiiiiiiif* Oh yeah, that’s the stuff.

I fondled a twenty-four pack of fine line Crayola markers. I even took them from the rack, intent on purchase.

But, no. No, damnit, I must be strong.

I looked at notebooks. I do love a fresh, clean, happy notebook full of blank pages, just waiting to be sullied by my new twenty-four pack of markers!

No, no. Steady soldier!

My eyes grew hazy as I gazed at the selection of pens, Elmer’s school glue, hole punches, pencil cases, protractors, and back packs.

Gad, it was heady stuff! I loved every minute of it. I basked. I wandered. I touched and sniffed and generally fell in love all over again with school supplies.

Mind you, I don’t miss school. That part was never fun, but the school supplies! Oh the supplies. So great.

After leaving the store with my purchases, (I held strong and stuck to the list), I noted that two storefronts down was a Staples.

Egads, I had to walk past it!

But no, I’d had my hit. I was still riding high, so I was fine.

I walked past the Staples strong and confident, the waxy smell of Crayons still lingering in my nostrils.

You are the sum of all your learning

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Back in my college days, I lived for a couple years in a sorority house. There were twenty-eight girls, a house mom and a cook. All of that living with a bunch of strangers was quite a life lesson for a nineteen-year-old girl, I assure you.

Those twenty-eight girls came from a variety of different backgrounds, with different values and talents.

Much of what I know and much of who I am can be traced to those days.

Recently, I’ve had a real dearth of creativity. Like a desert in a drought. My creative mind is dusty. The Muse, she’s out to lunch. A two martini lunch.

I’m learning, with the help of my extraordinarily talented and creative cousin, not to worry so much when the creative well has run dry. Be confident, he tells me, and The Muse will find her way home.

I’ve also gotten suggestions that creating something, anything, can also kick loose that block, get the gravel out, and let the magic happen. (this the basic tenet of the good folks at NaNoWriMo)

And so, when I get all creatively clamped down like this, I often go back to something I learned back in those sorority days.

This great girl from Roswell and I made fast friends (we’d both had to endure the same crazy roommate in separate semesters. This sort of experience bonds people). She’d grown up showing pigs and living on a ranch and was a much more creative person than I was at the time.

Not to be all stereotypical, but those ranch woman can out cook, out craft and out wrassle any of their town raised counterparts.

Anyhoo, I don’t really remember the events that lead up to it, but this friend of mine, at my request, taught me how to do a counted cross-stitch kit. It was a simple pattern, but when I was done, I was so pleased. It was a nice distraction during those long days of studying.

Doing cross-stitch is not especially hard, but can be time consuming, and there are certain stitches for certain patterns.

My friend very patiently showed me how to sort the threads, how to tape the sides of the aida cloth to keep them from unraveling, how not to pull the stitches too tight, how to fix mistakes, how the back of the cloth should look as clean as the front. All of that.

And so, over the weekend, I had a coupon for Michaels, and yearning to create, I picked out a very simple kit. A “learn a craft” kit that I think is made for kids.

But that doesn’t matter.

Today, I very carefully applied tape to the aida cloth. I sorted the threads and counted to be sure they were there. I folded the cloth and marked the center lightly with a pencil, and I got out my highlighter to mark off my progress, all the way my friend taught me lo’ these almost twenty years ago.

Whenever I start a new cross-stitch, I always think of my friend. She is with me, guiding my progress the whole way. She is forever a part of me. That’s a happy feeling. That’s the family you make over the course of your life.

So here we go! Let the creation begin!

Oh, wait. Well. There is one change. One update that will take place this go ’round. A necessary adjustment, if you will.

Yeah. My lighted magnifying class. Sadly, I don’t have twenty-year-old eyes anymore. *cranky*

Oh. And getting to work on my cute frog cross-stitch isn’t the only bit of using my hands that I got up to today.

I also got busy on these:

Ooh, I feel The Muse on her way back already! Here Musey, Musey, Musey!! Want a cookie?