Sunday, February 25, 2007


Here is my second knitted item - a boucle scarf.
This snuggly knitted wonder is available in my shop.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Black is back

On to the second part of American Idol -- the girls.

Contrary to the boys' performances, there were actually lots of really, really good female singers. And the thing about them this year is that all the black girls were really good, and almost all the white girls were pretty bad.

By far, Lakisha Jones was my absolute favorite. She sang a song from "Dreamgirls" and tore it up. She just blew everyone else out of the water. To top it off, she seems like a humble and sweet person.

Other good contestants were: Jordin Sparks, Melinda Doolittle (though I don't think that's a real name), Sabrina Sloan, who Mark says is sexed out despite her nose, and Stephanie Edwards.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"American Idol," the judges, the contestants. Discuss.

Last night, the live competition of "American Idol" began. Let us discuss. I can't say I am overly impressed with any of this season's American Idol contestants. Last season, I had clear faves going in. So far, I've only seen the guys perform, but I wasn't feeling excited by any of them. Last year, I liked Taylor from his first audition. I liked Elliot all the way through. Chris Daughtry was also amazing.

This season, I was instantly fond of Chris Sligh, mostly because he was hilarious. He walked in, this Jack Osbourne look-alike, and they asked him why he was there, to which everyone else replies, "I want to be the next American Idol." Blah, blah. Well, Chris Sligh says, "I want to make David Hasselhoff cry." The judges looked bewildered, but then the show cuts to the end of last season when Taylor won and it shows David H. in the audience clapping with a tear running from his eye.
Well, Chris starts singing, and dadgumit, he's really good! So I dig him.

Next up, I like beat-boxer Blake Lewis. He was one of the few good performances last night. He skipped the beat-boxing, and still sounded great. During Hollywood week's group performances, his group was in perfect harmony, and Blake's beat-box sounds really made the performance stand out.

Finally, the third male contestant that impressed me was Jared Cotter. He's handsome and smooth and has a beautiful voice.

I had really been holding out for the totally precious Sanjaya Malakar. The song he chose was awful, so his performance just put me to sleep.

The problem with this first round was that pretty much all the songs were sooooooooo boring. Even if you have a great voice, if the song sucks, no dice.
Next up, the girls.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The most terrifying thing in the world

This is my cat Baby Suggs (no, this isn't the scary part):
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This is one thing that terrifies her (Mark)(No, he doesn't do anything to her, she just hates men):
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This is something that terrifies her even more:
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Last night, Mark called me at work to say that Suggs was hanging out with him downstairs, instead of hiding in the darkness of the spare bedroom. This was very unusual. I figured it out when I got home. The balloon was by the bedroom door, and she was so scared of it that it made Mark look like a good option!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Oops! I did it again

Might I recommend this for your viewing pleasure? Courtesy of my father, who always taught us that the dinner table is the perfect place for toilet talk.

Friday, February 16, 2007

You know that Hefty commercial where they say "wimpy, wimpy, wimpy"? Well, that's me they're talking about.

Between classes in SF yesterday, I went to the movies. At the time I arrived, I had two award-winning choices, one of which I can't remember and "Norbit." I chose the one I can't remember -- wait, I just remembered: "The Messengers." I could have just deleted that type and wrote it in, but I didn't.

I chose "The Messengers" because it started 20 minutes earlier than "Norbit." In the theater, there was me, one man farther up front and a bunch of vatos in the way back. The whole time before the movie and during the previews they were running around, making a ruckus, making their phones ring, hollering at each other. Once in a while, one would say, "Shhhhh," and another would scream, "Who the &*%$ told me to Shhhhh?!?"

Then two of them ran up and sat farther up. For some reason, a worker came in and got them and I thought they were kicking them out, but they didn't. The guys just moved to the back. Then they started acting up again and when a worker came back in, they all got quiet until the worker left again.

I decided I wanted to go watch "Norbit" instead of dealing with this all through the movie. Because they seemed the types to pull a gun if you confronted them, I decided one of us had to leave and it was easier if it were me. For some reason, at the time it seemed like I should make up a reason to leave. I don't know why I couldn't just walk out (I had to pass them). I thought, "I'll pick up my phone and pretend I got a call and am politely stepping out to take it (not that these people would understand that) and then I'll go into `Norbit.'"

And so I did. And because of people like me, people like them get to continue acting like they do.

I wish we had a polite side of a country and an asshole side of the country. Then, all the jerks could live together and ruin their own lives, and polite people could live happily ever after.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I turned 33 and everything went to s&*%

I don't feel any older, but boy, I haven't felt good since I was 32! I had my birthday last week and have had massive headaches for days. I felt good on Tuesday for the first time and then Wednesday I was really sick with a migraine and had to call in to work. Today, my head feels fine, but just trying to put my shirt on this morning I really tore something up in my neck/upper back. I've been in pain all day. I don't know how you can injure yourself getting dressed, but I pulled it off.

One time, I got a scrapbooking injury. That's right, a scrapbooking injury. I was using these fancy scissors that make a cool edge when you cut. They weren't very smooth, and after hours of cutting photos and paper with them, my thumb went numb (that rhymes). It took a few months before the nerve healed.

I've been at school all day in Santa Fe (that rhymes, too) and I have to carry a super heavy backpack AND a portfolio with all my patternmaking tools. I stopped at the outlets between classes and got a wheely bag, like a suitcase but it's more like a bag instead. But it took quite a load off my neck, so that helps. I got a good deal, but it came with a suitcase -- the set for $40 on sale. All the other stores had just the rolly bag for $70-$100, so I guess I can't complain. Only thing is, we already have about 9 suitcases, so if anyone wants a brand-new red suitcase for cheap-a-rama, let me know!

Morals of the story: Careful when dressing or scrapbooking. And when you get to your 30s, you no longer mind carrying your textbooks in a wheely bag.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Don't call it "purple"

Decades ago, my best friend and I decided that we hated purple. A few years back, I saw that she was wearing purple and I couldn't believe she betrayed me in that way. She admitted she liked purple now.

A few years ago, my sister-in-law gave me a lavender sweater. At first I thought, "Oh, no. Purple!" But I realized I really liked it. I love it, actually. Since then, I've decided I quite like lavender. I still don't like dark purple, though.

Here's my first completed knitting project:
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Not too bad, for a beginner. At one point, I had several mistakes, but I kept going. They were big holes, actually. My coworker, Gwynne, helped me rip out about 6 inches of work and get all the stitches back on the needle. I'm glad she did, because my completed scarf has no mistakes that I know of. It could be a few inches longer, though.

Here's my next project. The yarn is dreadfully hard to work with, but I'm hoping to pull it off. It will also be a scarf:
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Gisket, A Gasket

I arrived at Saturn today at 10:30 a.m. I left at 3 p.m. My "check engine soon" light was on -- that's the emission one. Well, much to my delight, I was informed after two short hours of waiting that I need $1075 worth of work done, plus tax.
This includes:
New fuel cap (mine was leaking fumes)
New radiator
Reservoir cap
thermostat and gasket
coolant temp sensor
coolant, which for some reason costs $22
??? cover gasket (can't read)
new front brakes
rear brake cleaning/adjusting

I had the brakes done and got the gas cap, but apparently my engine is leaking oil everywhere, my coolant is also leaking everywhere and there are cracks all over the place. I will have to get the other stuff done soon. My car is only 6 years old, so I'm very disappointed. My mechanic, Kris, was very nice and showed me all the problems. He also made sure he got me out of there in time to get to work. I think he might have had to skip his lunch break to do that.

On the plus side, I had plenty of time to finish my first scarf, so that will make for a happier post tomorrow!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Day one of feeling grrrrrrrrrrrrreaaat

No headache today. I have lots of energy and I feel good for the first time in weeks. I ran a few miles with ease. And my school assignments are coming together.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

It's NOT a tooomah

I think it's about day 20 of having a headache. To some degree or another, I've had one for weeks. I went to the doctor at one point, but she said it could be weather fronts or computer strain. She did give me some more Midrin. I always thought Midrin was an old-school migraine medication. A throwback to the days when research was slim on the topic and medication options were slimmer. Since most classes of migraine medications have no effect on me at all, I just got Midrin. But come to find out, it's full of all kinds of goodies, such as muscle relaxant, pain killers and anti-anxiety medications. I don't know if that's completely accurate, but I hope so. It works OK, but it can bring rebound headaches, so that kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

I went to my chiropractor and had a massage and adjustment, and I felt a bit better for a few days. But the last few days have been really bad. Last night at work, it definitely hit migraine status. On the way home I was feeling better. I started to think that maybe guacamole and chips and a margarita would be a good idea. I should have thought again. A person with a headache and stomachache should think the consumption of tequila over a little bit. Actually, after I finished it, I felt pretty good. I thought it had cured me. But about half an hour later, I got really sick feeling. The migraine was taking over full force. I went to bed and woke up better, but still with a headache.

Saturday night, Mark had urged me to avoid the computer or sewing machine for a few days (aside from work) because he felt it's contributing to strain on my body. He's probably right. But I've had these bouts before. My friend Tamara, who always has a migraine, got worried and thought I had a tumor.

I'm actually feeling a little better right now, so I should count my blessings! I also decided I was entitled to McDonald's for dinner. It's amazing the reasons I can find for deserving McDonald's.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Best book that ever happened to me -- and knitting

As you may have noticed, I decided out of the blue a few weeks ago to take up knitting. "Stitch 'N Bitch" was recommended as a good book to learn by, but upon examination of the bookstore shelves, I decided on a different book with prettier pictures. Big mistake. That book didn't explain how to do anything. It left me so confused that I had to get help from coworkers to figure every single step out. I took it back and bought "Stitch 'N Bitch."
Stitch 'N Bitch
I have one thing to say: I LOVE Debbie Stoller. She explains everything step by step. She explains all the little pitfalls and things that could confuse a newbie. She doesn't take anything for granted or forget that you don't know as much as she does. She uses good illustrations. She explains things like this (paraphrasing): Make two stitches. Name one Jack and one Jill. Now Jack and Jill are on the right needle. Insert the left needle under Jill and make her play leapfrog with Jack and fall off the right needle. Now only Jack is on the right needle."
Sound condescending? It's not. It's awesome, because I couldn't understand binding off when I read several other sources, but now, with a little baby talk, I do!

The other great thing about this book, and its sequel, "Stitch 'N Bitch Nation," is the hip patterns that come with it. No nerdy vests here.

My first project is coming along well, and I will wow you with photos soon! Stay tuned. In the meantime, visit this Web site: Knit Happens.

A lap cat, all the way

My cat Roady really likes laps. She needs them to survive. (Here she is getting in my way as I try to type my blog:)
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The other night, I got home and she was following us around everywhere meowing. Roady's not a particularly vocal cat, so I kept trying to figure out what she wanted. Milk? No. Food? Had some. Water? Had some. Outside? No. Private litter box hidden in the garage from the other cat? No. Then Mark said, "She wants a LAP." So I sat down and before my butt could hit the couch, Roady was on my lap, just purring away. It was true. She just needed a lap.

I have hope for this room

It is difficult for me to allow the public to see this room. If you know me, you know I am very organized. You might wonder how it is I can stand to work in this room. Well, I can't.

This is my sewing room, and my computer room. All those boxes along the wall are my husband's thousands of record albums. Well, good news! I think after almost 5 years I have talked him into letting me move these boxes out of this room. Ultimately, we want to have a carpenter build sturdy shelves in the living room and take them out of boxes. But until then, I'd really like a comfortable, organized, less-cramped work space.
So in my mind, when I look at this room, I see something entirely different. I see access to the walls, where there will be shelves and a magnet for my rulers. I see a folding, waist-high cutting table to work on (it's hard to draft patterns when you're sitting, and hunching over a regular-height table hurts).
I see this table here being just for my sewing machine and serger (which I still haven't used because I'm still scared of it). I see space for my ironing board (which you can't see here -- it's to the far right, blocking the closet). Oh, and wouldn't it be dreamy to have the kind of ironing board with a little shelf under it for my pressing hams and seam roll? Dare to dream, I say.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Just let me go home

(That title is to be sung to the tune of Sloop John B by The Beach Boys...Lyrics here if you want to sing along.

I spend all day in Santa Fe for school on Thursdays. No, the classes I take aren't offered in ABQ. The more time I spend up here, the more I can't stand this town. Everything is old and run down. All the buildings look the same (brown adobe--even Micky-Ds) and the streets wind to and fro and take you in directions you didn't mean to go. Traffic was awful all the way to SF, in SF and home from SF.

I decided to kill some time and see a movie, but the close theater has crappy movies. The good ones are across town. So I got directions and naturally ended up LEAVING town accidentally. Twice. Uh-oh. Mrs. Cranky Pants is back.

Then there's the weird people. Like the lady at JoAnn Fabrics who was in her 50s and wearing a glittery pink eye mask like it's Mardi Gras or something. Only it's not. It's JoAnn Fabrics and she's walking around like it's totally normal. I won't even discuss her hat.

School was rough. The beginnings of these classes are tough and technical. Everything has to be so precise, and since you build off of it, you can't half-ass it and move on.

My first class is Flat Pattern II. This is a method of constructing garments from paper. It's all about measurements -- and precise ones at that. Think 1/16 of an inch is negligible? Well, it's not. It's a big deal if you're off by that. Say you're off by 1/8" somewhere. Well, since you're working off half a pattern, multiply that by 4 and you can be off by 1/2" all the way around, and that will mess everything up.

This is from flat pattern so far. My "sloper" (I know some patternmakers hate that term) came out way too big. I'm making adjustments. All the rough edges must be trued eventually:
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This is my draping class, so far. It differs from flat pattern in that we start with this block of muslin:
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And pin and mark and end up with this:
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I know it's hard to see. Anyway, I'm just worn out and need to go relax. Santa Fe, I apologize. Better luck next week.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Mrs. Cranky-Pants' dozen

1. People who throw clothes all over the dressing room and can't hang them back up. How rude and lazy are you?

2. People who don't return their carts to the "cart corral" -- don't even get me started on people who leave their cart behind someone else's car or next to it so the person can't open their door.

3a. People who drive enormous trucks and then have to take up two parking spaces. If you HAVE to take up two spaces, park far out in the lot.
3b. Why do people with huge trucks always have to BACK in to spaces?

4. People who park in handicapped spots but appear very able-bodied. OK, sometimes they have disabilities you can't see, but I've known people that have borrowed a handicapped placard because they had a baby.

5. People who won't type out words (gr8) (goin 2 store) or use punctuation. It's OK if you are text messaging on a phone, but other than that, please punctuate and capitalize and spell out words. It creates bad habits and people quit caring about spelling. I saw a MySpace profile the other day that had at least 40% of the words misspelled.

6. People who won't use turn signals.

7. People who make it a point to pass you and then have to immediately get right in front of you for no apparent reason even though you are going at least the speed limit, and there is no one else around in any of the lanes, and they aren't turning. It's like they are trying to say "nanny" to you, but why?

8. People who make it a point to pass you, get in front of you and then immediately slam on their brakes and turn. Why can't you just get behind me if you're going to turn in a few yards anyway?

9. When the turn arrow turns red and 8 more cars go through. Thank God for red light cameras!

10. People who call you (wrong number), don't recognize the voice (because it's a wrong number) and then demand to know who YOU are, like you called THEM.

11. Spam.

12. Men who stare. If they whistle are holler, well, they're lucky I don't own a gun.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

I ain't no hollaback girl -- or am I?

I became a No Doubt fan in the early '90s. I have faithfully bought most, if not all, of their albums. Naturally, when Gwen Stefani went single, I remained faithful to my little platinum songbird.
Then she wrote something very bizarre. It's a little ditty called "Hollaback Girl." When you hear "Hollaback Girl," you simply have to think, "WTF?"
I have wondered endlessly what a hollaback girl is and if I'm just too un-urban to know. Am I too white? Gwen is white. Or am I too old? I turn 33 on Wednesday. Maybe that's it. But Gwen is 35. So I asked some younguns at work (28 and 22, I believe, and much cooler than I am. I, after all, was ordered by these people to remove my cell phone from my belt at a bar recently) what this very curious term means. They shrugged and said the song sucks.
But this wasn't enough for me.
I started researching. I turned to a very reliable source, also known as "the Internet" for my answers. I found this excellent analysis of the song. I suggest you go to the site and read it:
Important "Hollaback Girl" analysis

What's stupid about this song is that it's a 35-year-old woman singing about being a cheerleader who has to kick someone's ass because she or he talked smack about her. Then she spells bananas a bunch of times. But that still doesn't answer the question: What is a damn hollaback girl?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

For that, I turned to, which defines it as:
A female, usually a teenager or young adult, who, when insulted, will reply verbally. This is typically achieved by insulting the original insulter (otherwise known as 'hollering back', shortened in this case to 'hollaback').

my favorite definition is this:
A term that Gwen Stefani apparently just made the *$%& up and tries to pass on as regular slang.
Ohh look at me I'm Gwen Stefani blah blah blah blah HOLLABACK GIRL blah blah blah

Apparently, any old fool can post a definition on this site, but this one seems the most explanatory, though I can't vouch for its accuracy:
Contrary to popular belief, this was not invented by Gwen Stefani. She wrote the song in response to a music journalist who made some catty remarks about how Gwen was a cheerleader in high school.
'I heard that u were talking sh!t and you didn't think that i would hear it'...
A hollaback girl is one of the backup, inferior cheerleaders. She was not one of those, but the leader.
'we both wanna be the winner but there can only be one'
Gwen Stefani was merely saying that yes, she was a cheerleader, but she was a damn good one!
'I ain't no hollaback girl fool, i'm the leader!'

So there you have it. I'm NOT a hollaback girl!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

I made art

I am trying to come up with a logo for my shop and my "business." For my fashion design business class, we'll need this logo to make business cards and stationery. Considering I can't draw a stick figure, I didn't think I could do it. I drew this and then scanned it and used the computer to color it. It's sort of overwhelming, but when set with words into a banner or something, it looks OK.


OK, I know you are thinking that it looks like a 5-year-old did it, but there's also someone who is working on a version for me that I think will be better. But if that falls through, I have this one. And I did it all by myself because I'm a big girl now.

burst of happiness

Waste not, want these

I've made a few new things for my store.
I've stepped away from clothes for a few months. I'm taking a lot of design classes right now and will be patternmaking for them, so I'm just trying other stuff right now, like pillows and bags. This is allowing me to use some fabric that would have been wasted (left over from garments). These two are from the fabric I picked up in NYC this summer at Mood Designer Fabrics. That's the place they go to on Project Runway.


They are available at my shop at

Let the birthday week begin!

Today: Lunch with Dad and Vi
Sunday: Movies and dinner with Mom and Grandma
Tuesday: David's taking me to Long John Silver's. Greasy goodness, here I come.
Wednesday (real birthday): Mark's taking me to dinner

For my birthday, Mark got me a serger. I'm so excited, but I'm also completely intimidated by it. I have had it for a few weeks now, but I haven't even tried to use it yet. I took it out of the box right away and left it on the living room floor for a long time. I finally brought it up to my workspace (please excuse the storage boxes behind).

A serger involves many spools of thread (4 on mine) and a knife to trim as it sews. It scares me. But it will also allow my garments to have a more professional look since I can finish the seams nicely. It can also do some handy tricks such as blind hems and rolled edges, though that may take me a while to figure out. Apparently, just threading these things is a nightmare!

If you aren't sure what a serger does, look at the inside of a T-shirt. You'll see that the seams are bound by thread. It makes things look nicer, but it also keeps fabric from fraying. If the fabric frays up to the seams, it can weaken and open up.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Ugly kitties need love, too!

In the forums of, I met a special shop owner. Her shop is called Ugly Kitty.

This is Ugly Kitty:
Ugly Kitty

The owner of this shop adopted Ugly Kitty from a pound. They aren't sure what happened to her, but it may be a birth defect.

I've always felt sorry for things. As a kid, I thought that nobody liked black. I didn't like it either, but I made it my official favorite color for a while because I felt sorry for it. I also tried to adopt a yucky cat once because I thought nobody else would love it. It was gone by the time I got back. Another time, I adopted a cross-eyed cat because, again, I thought nobody would want it because it looked funny. Alas, cross-eyed cat turned out to be Satan's spawn. If you're ugly, you better be nice on the inside, is all I've got to say.

But Ugly Kitty IS nice, apparently. And her owner sells "a picture" of her cat and donates the proceeds to Cool Cat's Rescue Center, a no-kill adoption center in Annapolis. You aren't actually buying the picture. It's complicated, but visit the site, and you'll see. Basically, you are donating a dollar, and what you get is a thank you card from Ugly Kitty. OK, her name is Quasi, so I should stop calling her that. Your thank you will come with an "UglyKitty" button, and your money will help animals like Quasi!

So off you go: