Monday, December 31, 2007

gone in a flash...

i say it every year and every year it rings more true -- time passes so quickly.

let's celebrate tonight. tomorrow we'll clean like the dickens and write a great post with a bunch of year-end wrap-ups and resolutions. it's not a new year until we do those year-end little tasks.

and i know i'm a dork because one of the things i look forward to the very most is writing all of the birthdays, anniversaries and important dates in my new datebook. how boring and virgo-ish it is...but it makes me indescribably happy.

as 2007 draws down to it's final moments, here's hoping you are finding joy in the little things too.

see you in 2008!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n...kind of...

it's that time of year again. time to hang the ornaments, wrap the presents, bake sugary sweets and....have a colonoscopy.

three years ago i got the greatest christmas gift a girl could dream of - a clean bill of cancer-free health. each year since i've celebrated by getting a colonoscopy to keep the good vibe going.

and my christmas gift to you, dear reader? a reminder to schedule your screening colonoscopy if you have a family history of colon cancer or are over the age of 50 or are experiencing symptoms (you can go here if you're unsure what might make you eligible to for this test). please do that as a gift to me, okay? colorectal cancer is the third most common occurring cancer. it happens equally in men and women. good news? it's very easy to cure with early detection.

so for the next two days i'll be at home, crossword puzzling, reading, preparing for my test, and thanking my lucky stars for my continued good health. after that? i'll be enjoying the holiday season, knitting, sewing, watching rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and eating marshmallow frosted cupcakes. i may check in here, i may not, but don't think you're not all in my thoughts...especially since so many of you have kept me in yours for the past 1,095 days.

here's to a relaxing, sparkling, joyous holiday!

Monday, December 17, 2007

i love snow...

merry, merry, merry from the three peas!

Friday, December 14, 2007

change...not a big fan...

last night we finally made one of the final steps into the 21st century...we installed high speed internet. up till now, we've had dial-up and that was starting to wear everybody out.

but with the new internet access we also have a new e-mail address and well, everything that's tied to that e-mail address, hmmmm, like this blog and n's facebook and all of the college info we get via e-mail, well, that all has to be updated. some of the updates are going smoothly and some are not...

i keep sending test comments to myself...and then i tried to access my new e-mail from the office just now and it says i don't exist (those are not the exact words, but drilled down to their real meaning, that's what they mean).

so please bear with me, dear readers. as a rule, i don't like change (as evidenced by my blog set-up...same for years), so this transition is tricky for me.

p.s. i re-read yesterday's entry and i can only blame my recent lack of sleep or caffeine deprivation on the state of that entry. yea! WOWZA...write much, heidi?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


if you scroll way, way down at the bottom of this screen you will see my little site counter. just now i noticed that it has surpassed 20,000 hits. who knows who my readers are? i know many of you in real life. i'm sure there are some that come and visit and don't come back again. that's expected because i do that too...start down the rabbit hole and find myself at someone's site that i simply adore, forget to add it to my favorites, close the window, and then **poof** never do i find it again. then there are few folks out there that i didn't know visitors then i see them out and about and they'll talk to me about something i've only written about here, not any where else in my life and then i know they're queen for a day devotees.

any way you come to be here, i'm grateful for you. thanks for reading what i write, liking what i make, and then taking the time to tell me about it.

sincerely, you all mean a lot to me.

and for you know who, here is a link to two of my newest daily reads

brooklyn tweed - the photos alone are a good reason to visit, but there's also wonderful knit items, links to tons of other great knitters and his writing about his own handspun is almost the push i need to try my hand at it...not quite, though. - the winter issue is out and it is chock full of goodies. there's a section on spinning too. very nice!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


although i don't think i'm susceptible to advertising, of course, i am. info-mercials are hilarious, but they also appeal to some animal instinct inside my brain. it's as though the false enthusiasm starts to ring true after the initial two minutes of hilarity wears off. and so that is how i came to be the owner of foundation garments by kymora. i was lured in by their promises of "free" extras (all i had to do was pay shipping and handling), and the "guaranteed" promises of inches off.

yesterday, my little miracles arrived in the mail. i was so busy after i got home from work, that i waited until this morning for a trial run. and now, here i sit at my computer, tighter, firmer and smoother than i was yesterday at this time, but, admittedly, a bit less comfortable.

for those of you who know me in real life, i am tall and appear slender, but am large-framed with a boyish, straight up and down figure. these slenderizing wonders were obviously manufactured for the woman possessing a semblance of a waist, of which, i have none. so although i now can sport the vintage 1970's tomato red stewardess dress with fitted bodice (which is what i have on today), underneath i feel a tiny bit constricted.

i suspect from historical experience with these types of garments that by 5:00 p.m. today i will edit the words "tiny bit constricted" to "being squeezed to death by a boa constrictor."

and to those naysayers (kelly, i hear you!) who say i look fine, i only have this to say: my reflection in the full-length office bathroom mirror is all i need to remind me that this is the best money i've spent on shipping and handling in a very long time.

Monday, December 03, 2007


see that wreath pic i posted down there? yea, it's sideways...i do not have vertical blinds on my front door, and that's how i figured it out. oh well, still pretty, i think.

i have (again) decided to stop reading the newspaper (i read on-line) and listening to local news. i know that bad things happen every day, but once i've read them or heard them and those nuggets of information have entered the curlicues of my brain, i cannot un-read or un-hear them. i'm not in denial, really, i just want to surround myself with positivity and it's far too easy to get mired down in the negative.

instead i am working hard in the studio on some felted composition book covers, pink and green christmas ornaments for my silver tinsel tree and knitting this shawl. it will be 2011 before i am finished, but i am using it as reward knitting...when all of my other chores are complete i knit one repeat (about an hour for the twelve rows).

happy monday, my sweeties!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

felt wreath...

excuse the washed out photo, folks. this is the result of the end of daylight savings time, leaving for work when it is still dark and getting home at sunset -- no good picture-taking light.

also, the wreath is a little smooshed from being sandwiched between the storm door and front door all night. imagine it a little more fluffed and it will be more accurate.

this was easy to make and only took about an hour. i used felt scraps that were already just lying on my cutting table.

i love it and now i want to make a million of them in every color in the rainbow...not like all of the colors of the rainbow in this one.

happy tuesday, party people!

Monday, November 26, 2007

giving thanks...

early in october i set up my wares at a locally owned, fabulous store called recycled rose. the owner, sue, sells a super eclectic mix of handmades, antiques, florals and gifts. you name it -- she's got it.

in anticipation of the show, i had just finished a blanket made up of felted wool squares. it had an asymmetrical gees bend kind of feel. i loved it and hoped that someone else would too. turns out someone did...but not in the green colorway i had chosen. the admirer of the blanket asked if i did custom work and as i am always wont to do in those situations, i said, "yes."

truth be told, i don't really love doing commissions. normally, i work if/when the spirit moves me, on items that speak to me at any given moment (that's the beauty of also having a 9-to-5). commissions can feel like a homework assignment. this commission was especially weighted, too, because the sweaters my "benefactor" wanted me to use were her husband's...her husband who was deceased...and they were all 100% cashmere. she was very excited about the prospect of having a blanket using these otherwise unused sweaters. she came to my house the very next day and dropped them off. we decided to mix in a few of her sweaters too. i got very excited too, seeing how much this would mean to her.

then this know that saying, "life is what happens while you're busy making other plans?" yea, that was the universe's very thinly veiled message, "slow down, wallace family and spend time with each other."

but i did finish up the "quilt" last week and delivered it on tuesday. as i drove to drop it off i got more and more nervous. these were some seriously meaningful sweaters i just cut into a million pieces. was she going to like it? was it going to live up to the expectations she had?

i walked into her office and unwrapped the blanket and held it out for her to inspect. as her expression, she wore a truly beatic smile. it was a success. she said she was so glad to have the blanket for thanksgiving. we hugged.

i hope you had a blanket of love this more ways than one.

Friday, November 16, 2007

beaker bag instructions...

beaker bag


small amount of malabrigo worsted weight for contrasting color (cc) (reserve about 2 yards of this color for sewing together the bottom of the bag)

one skein of malabrigo worsted weight for main color (mc)

size 11, 24” circular needle

tapestry needle



not really important as this bag is felted/fulled…this is a “let go and let it be” project. go with the flow, knitter!


bo - bind off
cc - contrasting color
co - cast on
dec - decrease
dec rd- decrease round
k - knit
k2tog - knit two together
mc - main color
pm - place marker
rd - round
sm - slip marker
sts - stitches


body of bag (knit from bottom edge up)
co 110 sts with cc. join for working in the round being careful not to twist stitches. pm for beginning of rd. k55 and pm to denote middle of rd. k every rd until piece measures 3” from co edge.

change to mc, and k every rd until piece measures 5” from co edge.

decrease round – on next rd dec as follows: k1, k2tog, k to 3 sts before next marker, k2tog, k1, sm, k1, k2tog, k to 3 sts before marker for beginning of rd, k2tog, k1. 4 sts decreased (106 sts). k 3 rds even. repeat dec rd and following 3 rds of straight knitting 8 times until you have 74 sts left.

k until piece measures 12.5” from co edge.

on next rd, k10, bo17, k10, sm, k10, bo17, k10, sm; next rd – k10, co 17 using backwards loop method, k10, sm, k10, co17 using backwards loop method, k10.

knit above handle opening for 3”. bo all stitches. sew in ends using tapestry needle. turn bag inside out; with cc yarn sew bottom of bag using mattress stitch or whip stitch.

i have really good results in my washing machine using dawn dishwashing liquid. i use the lowest water setting and a hot water wash cycle with a cold water rinse cycle. some suggest not letting your machine spin when felting. i always let the machine spin and i also put most of my felted items in the dryer. this purse, however, will dry very well flat on a dry towel.

here is a picture of the bag before felting:

see that little bit of orange at the very top of the handle? that's where i ran out of the main color of the malabrigo, got too lazy to rip out the last two rows so i could have enough to cast off with, couldn't find yarn harlot's instructions for binding off without using any yarn and decided to use some of this yarn instead. of course i knew that it would felt at a different rate than the malabrigo. it ended up okay...not great, but okay. i felted the bag twice so it's extra dense. (there's a joke in there somewhere...ya know, all, "i like my felted bags like i like my men -- dense")

please note, these instructions have been knit ONE time...not test knit by anyone other than myself, and i may not have the nomenclature or abbreviations down, although i do think a medium/beginning knitter could figure them out. please e-mail me using the button above if you want these instructions in a Word document. and let me know if you make this bag...and please send pics that i will post.

have a great weekend, wool-ites!

Monday, November 12, 2007

harder than it looks...

instead of doing all the things i was supposed to do this weekend, i decided i was going to try my hand at writing a knitting pattern. i started with something simple...a fulled (aka felted) handbag. fulling hides a multitude of sins so i figured if there were any mistakes they wouldn't be too noticeable. also, i used malabrigo worsted weight yarn in two colors leftover from the wrist warmers. that yarn is so fabulous that nothing made out of it can ever turn out badly.

last night i finished everything but the casting off and sewing up. once the bag is done i'll take pictures (before and after fulling), double check my math and post the instructions.

this bag is in a shape i haven't seen before (in my limited experience) and it's a cross between the much loved buttonhole bag and the stripey bag from one skein.

of course, in the name of full disclosure, if the finished product is a bust, i'll post that too.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

we're everywhere...

at our weekly knit and gab fest last night, the barrista watched me knit for a while. i didn't know he was watching me until i got that feeling you get when someone is watching you and that feeling forces you to involuntarily look up and directly into the eyes of the person who is looking at you. he smiled a friendly grin and asked me if i was knitting socks. i told him, no, i was knitting wrist warmers (easy mistake as both are knit in the round on double pointed needles). he told me he was knitting socks for a friend of his. then he walked around the counter and stood at my elbow, raised his pant leg a bit and showed me his socks. he told me he had knit them himself. the socks had small neat cables and were a lovely gray. they went great with his black hi-tops. he told me the socks he was knitting for a friend would not be that intricate. i agreed that was a good strategy. sometimes you need to gauge a person's ability to appreciate handknit items and then you can go hog-wild with something really fabulous.

he stood there for a little while longer and chatted away about knitting.

and then we entered that weird phase that inevitably comes up in a conversation with a stranger when the initial topic is exhausted and you've come up empty on how to (a) transition to a new topic or (b) gracefully end the conversation so you can both go peacefully on your way.

eventually we extracted ourselves so he could go back to latte production and i could concentrate on the CF4.

but now i know a little more about the geeky boy with the straw colored hair and glasses who makes me my coffee each week. he knits too.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

tv is a good thing...and a bad thing...

every fall season i swear i will NOT get hooked on any new tv shows. and then kelly reads me the synopsis and reviews from his bible (aka, entertainment weekly). i then vow to only watch two episodes (to be fair, the pilot could be horrible or the first "real episode" could be, so i have to give them a fighting chance). and you know how it turns out, don't you? tv is like crack, or meth...or so i've heard, not having personal can become addicted instantly. and so it has gone this tv season.

granted, i wrote off bionic woman and journeyman because, well, they both sucked. i wanted the new jaime sommers to be jennifer garner from the first season of alias, but she's not. and i wanted journeyman to be the time traveler's wife come to life (btw...i looked and this fabulous book is being made into a movie in 2008) but it is just the kind of cheese, cheese, cheesiest episodic one-hour pseudo-science fiction that i hate.

but what do i love? pushing daisies. this show is a one-two punch of fairy tale, alternate universe, crayon-colored sets and costumes, well-written, snappy dialogue, fast-paced, heart-rending subplots that i love, lerve, want to squeeze to within an inch of its life. please watch it, though, because as soon as i let the universe know that i love a show, it smacks me in the face and cancels it (for example, my so called life, once and again and freaks & geeks).

what other shows do i like this season? big bang theory...chuck...reaper...(we've decided that chuck and reaper are really the same show, but i like them both anyway.)

what old favorites are still on my list? america's next top model...amazing race...heroes (i'm about ready to give up on it though, 'cause i'm starting to get that jerked around feeling like i did with LOST) legal (however, what's up with the revolving door on the casting office?)...the name is earl...hmmm, i know i'm leaving some shows out, but kelly will add it in the comments, won't ya?

and what's so far off the radar that i forgot? ER...grey's anatomy...desperate housewives

but as entertained and distracted i am by television, good and bad, i have a love/hate relationship with it. how much more could i accomplish if it wasn't there to pull my attention away from more intellectual pursuits? and if i was honest with myself? what would i REALLY be doing with this fictional extra time i keep fantasizing about? would i still be knitting but while listening to the radio or my iPod? would i read more books from this list? would i go back to school?

just like the tootsie pop owl, though, i may never know, because it is here to stay.

Monday, November 05, 2007

finishing things up...

while sitting in the hospital and then in between doling out medication, ice packs and forehead kisses once we got home, i've finished up a few knitting projects.

>>> two scarves for a swap that's due on december 12 (how good does it feel to be done early?)

>>> two pairs of wrist warmers -- one pair for someone i know who is turning sweet 16 this week! one pair for me.

>>> i've got another wrist warmer on the needles (in a yummy brown for nathaniel) and one of a pair complete (except for the thumb) for my very young cousin's christmas present.

i've really got my eye on this kit, but i am enforcing a moratorium on buying any more projects until i finish up at least one pair of socks.

i also frogged a scarf that i was knitting with two skeins from my rockin' sock club yarn...the combo didn't make my heart sing and what's the use wasting time knitting something i don't love?

and really? knitting is all i want to do these days anyway. grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking...even making the bed (which kelly always does anyway) seems taxing to me. my brain needs a rest, i suppose. knitting is stress for the i've been feeding the need to move my hands while keeping my rear end firmly planted in a comfy chair.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

all hallow's eve...

yeah, that's right! it's a flaming pumpkin head.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

an adventure...

first off, let me say that everything is okay.

yea, you parents out there know that phrase is actually code for "something bad happened...but don't you worry your pretty little head about it". and the bad thing is...13 days ago my son got his leg broken in soccer practice.

because he is an overachiever, it was a massive break...both bones...both compound fractures....compartment syndrome that needed to be surgically addressed by fasciotomy (WARNING...this link is NOT for the weak hearted) know...a gigantic painful mess.



two surgeries, four days in the hospital and a week at home recuperating -- we are now returning to the semblance of normalcy. we are all back to work and school. now the fun really starts.

when kelly and i have faced challenges in the past, we've always tried to maintain a "hey, isn't this adventure going to be fun?" kind of attitude. usually, at least in our estimation, the challenges had not been too taxing...for example:

question: how do you get two adults to work and a toddler to daycare with one car of which the clutch is going out?
answer: it's an adventure! and, bonus! we can come up with ways to bend the space-time continuum to get everyone where they need to be on time.

question: what happens when the drive part of the transmission goes out, but the reverse part still works?
answer: drive in reverse, silly!

not all of our adventures are car-related (okay, a lot of them used to be), but we always worked it out. this situation, however, has proven more interesting than any other we had faced previously. and, in addition, now we were dealing with a teenager -- an independent teenager who was quite used to taking care of himself and controlling his own destiny. imagine the implications, if you will.

so the three peas are adjusting, to say the least, and growing in ways we didn't think possible, to be generous. but it is all working out...each day gets a little bit better than the day before. there are setbacks, but those are to be expected. we are learning to enjoy small and large victories whenever we can (nathaniel was elected homecoming king a week and a half after the accident and was able to attend homecoming to receive, and proudly wear, his crown!)

but mostly, in this year of "lasts" (last halloween before college, last homecoming dance, last EVERYTHING before college) i am seeing this adventure as an opportunity to cherish the time i get to care and nurture my son back to 100% health. seeing my way clear to that end, though, has proved to be difficult as we are all frustrated and teetering occasionally on the edge of despair, but still i try to focus on the positive.

home is where we let our guard down. the outside world may never see us crumble, but within our own four walls, we can relax. often that deep exhale is accompanied by a flood of tears or a primal scream from our toes or a hysterical laugh that cannot be understood by anyone other than family. that is where we are these days -- putting our best face forward and coming home to unclench our jaws and help each other walk again.

Friday, October 12, 2007

different, but the same...

last weekend, a mood overtook me and possessed me to get all my hair cut off. the entirety of the thought process lasted less than 29 minutes, and the total lapsed time from initial formation in my brain to the shampoo girl sweeping up billowy piles of my locks was 2 hours.

and now, a week later, i'm left feeling wonderfully light, but conspicuously exposed. my long hair was a shield, a curtain that kept the outside world at bay. now, though, with by tresses chopped to shorter than chin length, i'm out here, flapping in the breeze, for all the world to see.

and you know what? when you make a drastic change to your appearance, people who barely know you feel like that is an opening to comment -- "wow! that's drastic...what made you do it?" almost-strangers ask. "none of your business!" is what i think, but politely, ala miss manners, answer, "i was just ready for something different."

i looked in the mirror yesterday and felt like a different heidi was looking back at me. almost as if the hair was plopped down on my head and that by virtue of it being different, it made me different...but it doesn't. still me....

Thursday, September 27, 2007

i'm it...

mary beth tagged me and since i'm such a good sport, here goes...

You have to post these rules before you give the facts. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had. When you are tagged you need to write your own blogpost containing your own middle name game facts. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and to read your blog.

my middle name is sue...ick. but then when i think about it, what other middle name goes with "heidi?" in grade school, my nickname was "heidi the ty-d-bol lady." what? yea, for those of you under 40, do you even remember the ty-d-bol man? i mean, how in the world are women not freaked out by a man in their toilet? (i almost wrote something not very nice about chuck berry, but i refrained.) it's like that commercial for know the one where a giant prometheus moth lays next to my face just as i fall into a drug-induced slumber--ACK! how is that supposed to make me want to buy their sleep aid. if those are the type of acid-trippy dreams i'm going to have, well, i'll just stick with unisom.

but i digress...

S - silly. i bet you thought i was going to write serious, but no. this is a fact that only a few people know about me -- i'm very silly. ballet pirouet through the living room? check! sing in a froggy voice at the top of my lungs? check! enjoy the most juvenile movie ever made? right on! giggle with glee and clap my hands satisfiedly under my chin when i find a ponytail desk blotter at the antique mall? you can count on it. turn a cartwheel or a roundoff in the front yard? every year on my birthday! i was a very serious kid, and not very kid-like. when i got older, i guess i thought i should make up for lost time. childhood only lasts so long, but silliness lasts forever.

U - unconventional. if you've read this blog for very long, you already know this about me. i do very little that is thought of as run-of-the-mill. nathaniel says i'm a neo-hippie. my boss thinks i'm a little off. i hold down a 9 to 5, am married, a mother, own a home, car, cat, but how i got here was out of the ordinary -- just like my thrift store warddrobe, my dollar store reading glasses, my collection of paint-by-numbers, my penchant for picking up furniture out of other people's trash and my music selection (claudine longet anyone?). the cookier cutter existence is not for me. as my uncle would say, "that's why they make chevy's and fords."

E - eager. ever since i can remember, i've been anxious. anxious to start kindergarten. anxious to be married. anxious to start a family. it's really an eagerness, an impatience that is difficult (if not downright impossible) to squelch. really, just ask kelly the story of our engagement! i want to learn new things, but i often want to learn them right now or sooner, if at all possible. this fact, however, is why i find it hard to stick with something that i'm not good at immediately. skiing, for example. i was excited to strap on the skis for the first time, but then, well, i wasn't good at all. and that fact kept me from enjoying the learning of the skill. this flies in the face, however, of how i stuck with the clarinet for 5 years and i was horrible. my family was thankful when i threw in the towel...oh, the aural agony of my practicing. and you would think, wouldn't you, that after all that time, i would have learned how to read music? nope. not one single note.

okay, now here's the part where i'm supposed to tag people...but all the folks i know who blog don't have the right letters in their names, so i'll tag missy (she has an "s" in her name!) and becky (oh look! an "e")...and hope they don't smack me the next we meet!

Friday, September 21, 2007

and now i'm back, from outer space...

i've missed this little bloggity-blog. no really! hey you! over there in the corner, snickering? i really have been busy. so please don't minimalize my heartfelt outpouring of blog-apologies.

so here's some random...

it is almost autumn and just in time, because i am just about finished with summer! the muggy, the a/c (hate!), the warm water from the tap (too hot to drink, not hot enough to make a cup of tea), the tired played out summer wardrobe (oh, gray target knit skirt that looked so cute and flippy in may. i've worn you to death, girlfriend, and i am wont to throw you in the give away pile due to your pilled fabric and stretched out hem due to the numerous trips to the washer/dryer. too bad you're still so comfy...), mosquitos, the inability to take a pleasant evening walk without a requisite outfit re-do immediately following, and the plant-killing heat. summer, it's been good to know you, now be gone!

i have been doing double duty at my day job and that has kicked my sorry butt. i wish i was exaggerting when i write that i have been working 50-60 hours a week, but i am not. everything else in my life has taken a backseat while we try to hire another me...but i think this may take longer than a little bit. bear with me, people. i'm dancing as fast as i can. oh, and a big shout out to kelly who has taken taking care of me to a new level what with the cooking and the laundry and the straightening and the never-ending supply of hugs, kisses and positive support. he is a force to be reckoned with!

(ed. note - kelly and i have always shared all household duties and chores. the exception for the past two months is that he is doing it all. me, on the other hand? i have been routinely returning home after a 10 hour day, eating his divine meals and then promptly falling asleep on the couch. there is simply no man on the planet that can hold a candle to kelly wallace.)

and last but not least...i found my perfect tattoo artist the other day. i'm reluctant to share this information with the world at large, but something tells me that the world has already figured out how awesome marie wadman is. i sent her an e-mail yesterday and just hope that someday soon she will respond. her waiting list is 6-8 months long. that's good for me, though, because i have a very special anniversary to commemorate that is about two years away. but you know me...a planner and always way ahead of time. i will let you know if/when i hear from her. i've never been to san francisco. to have marie do the work would require traveling there. i'm up for a good road trip.

and i finished the purple monstrosity sweater about a month ago...finally! pics soon.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

everyday is earth day...

guess what? when you send out your desire into the universe, sometimes it comes back to you fulfilled.

our local municipality is making recycling mandatory!

to me, this means the world might just be waking up.

good morning, mighty citizens of earth. we've got some work to do. go grab a cup of coffee and let's get down to it!

Monday, August 27, 2007

opening doors...

on saturday night i met a lady, "bev", that founded her own business by accident.

bev worked for a real estate developer part time, handing out brochures in model homes and greeting potential buyers. bev did a great job and the developer asked her to start to work in the office too.

my new friend enlightened me in a number of ways. for example, did you know that there are folks whose job it is to clean model homes? these are not regular cleaning crews, because you know, the stove is not being used, so it's not greasy, but the bathtub does get dusty and the pillows need to be fluffed.

while bev was working in the office she saw an invoice from the model home cleaning crew her developer was using and it was quite high...particularly high because the crew didn't do a very good job. bev thought, "i could do a much better job."

did i forget to mention that at the same time bev was also enrolled in a marketing class at the community college near where she lived? and that one of the assignments was to create a brochure and a marketing plan for a business? bev took her idea, developed it into a business plan (with a snazzy marketing brochure), invested a small inheritance she had just received and "bam" her idea became a reality.

now, fifteen years later, she is the owner of a company with 25 employees. bev is currently working on a diversification idea that could ground her business and turn it into something not as reliant on the real estate market (we all know how volatile that is, especially right now!).

of course, this chance meet-up got me to thinking...

there are opportunities around us all the time but it is our ability to think creatively that enables us to actual see them for what they are. we can't let the door blocking our view keep us from ferreting out the chance...we need to open the doors, knock down the barriers and fling open the sash of the window to see what's right in front of our faces.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

summer reading redux...

too hot to cook? read!

too hot to work? read!

too hot to do anything of substance? read!

upon the recommedation of rosie posy, i borrowed from the library housekeeping by marilynne robinson. parts of it were enthralling. the language lovely...but i wanted more story. at times it reminded me of something by james joyce and then, well, i felt like i was reading the bible. and then i needed to get a dictionary. that's not bad in and of itself, but when an author makes so many obscure literary references (without the benefit of footnotes) it doesn't always work to make me feel does, however, make me feel inferior and that feeling is just a hop, skip, and a jump to wondering if the author is on an ego power trip of showing off all the stuff they know instead of entertaining me, the reader. in addition, the book had a melancholy bent that never went away. without giving too much away, the insinuation that we all teeter on the edge of insanity without much hope that anyone could override this tendency, left me feeling hopeless. this was definitely not light summer fare. if you like to get lost in the words of a novel, this may be the one for you. if, however, you like "lite lit" and a story with a middle, beginning and end (i pedestrian) then i can recommend...

back when we were grownups by anne tyler. if this book were made into a movie, i see kathy bates (the loveable kathy...not the crazy kathy) cast as the lead character, rebecca. all the other folks in the book would be played by whomever you find likeable. and when billy crystal is old and shriveled, he could play the 100 year old uncle, poppy. the story is what you have come to know and love from most modern novels...a story of a sudden self-awareness, a maturation of the character that eventually translates to a sense of being comfortable, but only for a moment. the reader knows there will be challenges in the future of these characters but what has been written on the pages has better prepared them for what lies ahead. so i don't want you to think that i think tidy endings are my preference, but i do want to feel like things are going to be okay.

i am currently reading we are all welcome here by my fave, fave, favorite author, elizabeth berg. this is just as wonderful and almost as delish as pull of the moon which i read over and over, again and again because it is just that good. i've only ever read three other books more than once (okay, i have read some books over but only because they ended up being so unremarkable that i only sensed that i had already read them)...little women, wicked and wuthering heights. please go read everything you can get your hands on by ms. berg. you'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

i missed you...

it's still hot, but i think i'm getting used to it....i don't faint when i walk out of the front door anymore, i just get limp and drag my feet along the pavement. that's so much better!

i feel perched on the edge of something new. "what?" you ask? could be meat...could be cake...could be meatcake. (anyone else like this george carlin sketch? raise your hand!)

see? the heat could be affecting my ability to accurately judge what constitutes "funny."

i'll be back tomorrow, though...i've read a few books and i owe you reviews.

sincerely, i've missed you.

Monday, August 13, 2007

take 5...

i'll be taking a mini-break from blogging...

i'll be back after school starts and the heat wave ends (hopefully, sooner than later)! my brain is soup-y from the over 100 degree temps. can't think straight. don't want to cook. lost the will to write. all i want to do is drink iced coffee, and watch season 2 of weeds on dvd in the dark quiet of my living room while knitting.

hoping the weather where you are is cool and calming.

talk at you later, my peeps.

Friday, August 10, 2007

dancing on the top...

i love so you think you can dance. i've learned so much about the art form from that's really quite amazing. there are so many things that i know so little about, i appreciate the chance to learn even a tiny bit.

during the individual critiques the judges point out miniscule things about each dancer that upon rewinding, i see too -- how neil needs to be more conscious of not holding his shoulders too high or how lacey tends to engage more with the audience than her partner or how kameron danced on top of the floor and not into the floor.

when i first heard that phrase i didn't understand it. i mean, of course, they're dancing on top of the floor, and how could someone dance into the floor. but when i watched danny dance, i immediately saw the difference...solid moves that were a part of the floor, lyrical movement that grew out of a deep place in his body that seemed to sprout from the sole of his foot and continued to the tips of his fingertips.

i'm a top of the floor dancer in life, i suppose. i've written before about living deeper, learning more and pulling into myself the most out of the world around me. i suppose it's time to re-commit to choosing wisely the way in which i spend my time. what can enhance my life? what can enrich my day to day existence? what can root me to this experience?

probably time to evaluate whether watching sex and the city reruns every night is a valuable use of my time.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


happy birthday, sweetie! here's to many happy returns!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

careful, i think his bow tie is really a camera...

kelly and i got married pretty young. i was 21 and he was 25. at the time, i thought that was perfectly okay, but when i look at nathaniel and realize that if he were me, in less than five years he'd be hitched, i hiccup a bit. but all things being equal, i'm glad we married when we did. i don't know of any advantage we would have gained if we had waited. i loved him. he loved me. we already lived together. why not marry our fortunes together (or at least kelly's small savings account to my substantial student loan balance)?

kelly forwarded this article to me the other day. it speaks to many of the things that kelly and i have experienced throughout the years.

neither one of us was set in his/her ways to the extent that hindered us from easing into sharing our living space. in no small way, we grew up together. and then three years after we tied the knot, we brought our son into the world.

for quite a while, we were one of only two married couples in our circle of friends. and it was even longer than that before anyone else we knew had children. in a way, we were the trailblazers. it also isolated us a little bit -- made us more reliant on one another. because as much as i focus on all the positive, there were detractors from our union. we shared the firm conviction that we were going to do this thing and nobody was going to be able to say, "i told you so." so, and i think this is due in no small part to being young, we didn't let anyone else see it when we argued or felt perched on the edge of the unknown. i mean, who else could we ask for advice? we were the first.

in many ways, we're still the first. our son is poised to fly out of the nest next year, and that is filling me with unfamiliar emotions. kelly is planning for a retirement from his first career and is thinking about what his next will be.


in one week we will celebrate our 20th anniversary. i can't believe how far we've come and i feel like we're still just starting on this adventure.

it rained on our wedding day. they say that's good luck. i believe them.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

tuesday of thanks...

practically every single day i wear something either thrifted or vintage. today, for example, i have on a c. 1973 polyester blouse. the black fabric is sheer and covered in green daisies, white carnations and blush pink roses. i'm wearning that over charcoal grey pinstripe forever 21 low-rise slacks. (i know! who says "slacks" anymore? let's bring it back, okay?)

yesterday i wore a c. 1950 circle skirt i traded some too big vintage dresses for at alice's vintage clothing in the university city loop. i love the skirt with a fervent passion.

both days this weekend i was rockin' vintage dresses and aprons. vintage and thrift make up the backbone of my wardrobe and i have chuck rice to thank for all of it.

indianapolis in 1979 was a far cry from what most would call "fashion forward." i bought most of my clothes, beside my mother, from ayr-way or zayres. given a school clothes budget of $50, i bought corduroys, ribbed turtle neck sweaters, a few velour v-neck pullover tops, a puffy down vest and some non-descript brown shoes. i felt prepared to start my freshman year of high school.

this was also the year i met chuck, another performing arts student. he and i would skip class together, eat fried donuts at the diner down the street from school, talk about writing and poetry and how much we hated the midwest. later we would act out scenes from "fame" while drinking bad coffee and smoking marlboro light after marlboro light.

one afternoon, seeking a valid reason to leave campus, chuck suggested we go to a thrift store. i was intrigued. in my mind only the poverty stricken and desperate would shop at the thrift store. chuck assured me that i would find ways to supplement my woefully plain wardrobe with items from the thrift store. he pointed to his long, black trench coat and wool scarf, "this, and this are both from the goodwill." okay...we got on the city bus and off we went.

the entire world seemed limitless to me that afternoon. t-shirts for 25 cents. jeans for 50 cents. vintage dresses and gloves and bags and hats and, whoa...i was starting to get dizzy.

and when i picked up something that was just not right, chuck told me how it could be altered to make it perfect. chuck (and an article from seventeen magazine) taught me how to taper the legs of all of my, now out of fashion, flare leg pants. chuck showed me the perfect length to cut the fingers off of gloves ala madonna.

chuck was my fashion fairy godmother, and i thank him for that. he helped me form a unique sense of self that i didn't know was lurking in me. i was restless and chuck introduced me to concepts and ideas that started me thinking about how i could ease the unrest and find expression through my clothes.

i don't know what happened to chuck. we drifted apart the way 15 year olds drift apart--without meaning to. but i want to send this out to him...a virtual hug...thanks for helping this awkward outsider feel her way toward a definition of what it meant to be herself in a time when that was all that mattered.

Monday, August 06, 2007

$8.75 + $8.75 + $7.75 = $25.25...

the three of us went to see the bourne ultimatum last night. it was packed with action -- fighting, car chases, quick shots. everything you've come to know and love about jason bourne.

(oh and by the way, does anyone else think that joan allen has freakishly narrow shoulders?)


there we are sitting in the quiet dark of the theatre. the previews are about to start and in walks a man and a woman, and i think to myself, "is that man holding a newborn baby?" and right then, kelly says to me, "are they bringing a baby to a 7:15 movie?" and then the couple and their newborn baby sit right behind us. yes, right behind us.

we go to evening movies rarely, preferring to spend our money on, i don't know, groceries. we usually go to matinees or early movies where the price is discounted. so it's a splurge to go to a movie at a "date" time.

the baby was pretty good, but it was a baby and, well, it made baby sounds and did cry at one point. then the person sitting next to nathaniel cracked every one of his knuckles (each of the three knuckles of each of his fingers), and the phone belonging to the person on kelly's left rang.

there's not much you can say or do in this situataion to dissuade the offenders from engaging in rude behavior. i am a big "shush-er" to talkers in movies, but i don't know how to handle the baby/phone/knuckle situation(s).

in an ideal world there would be an elaborate fine system, not unlike a swear jar, where the person who disrupts the movie has to pay a pre-set amount based on the offense. the management then would divvy up the "pot" among the other patrons.

i think for yesterday's movie debacle i and my family are owed approximately 58 cents each.

Monday, July 30, 2007

summer reading...

on saturday i started and finished name all the animals by allison smith. i know i'm a crybaby ninny, but this book made me cry full out within the first fifty pages. i knew it was too sad to complete, but i couldn't put it down and continued until i was a messy, puddly mush. thankfully, kelly asked me to go for a walk and bought me dairy queen that night. both cheered me up immensely.

yesterday i started and have almost finished a girl named zippy by haven kimmel -- not a tear-jerky roller coaster ride, rather a laugh a minute account of a girl my exact age growing up in indiana. ms. kimmel even talks about my very favorite lunchtime cartoon show, chuckwagon theatre hosted by cowboy bob (an aside: kelly, i was wrong. sourdough the singing biscuit was not cowboy bob's loveable hounddog, but a puppet of an actual biscuit. i stand corrected). it is a lovely book and i will be sorry when it ends.

and late last week i finished let's not go to the dogs tonight by alexandra fuller. this book took me a long time to finish because i was reading it in snippets before bed each night. ms. fuller made growing up in war-torn africa sound normal and her writing about her mother's mental illness and alcoholism was so factual that it read like everyone in her family was a character from a play not real flesh and blood people. the account of day-to-day life wore me out. i was glad when it was over. and even though ms. fuller longs for africa from the safety of her now home in colorado, i was elated when she escaped.

i think i am calling this my summer of the memoir.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

and the winner is...

kim! the prize is still yet to be determined, but knowing her like i do, i think it will have to incorporate the colors purple and green and have a flower-y theme.

thanks to everyone who played!

Friday, July 20, 2007


to atone for the fact that i missed my 2 year blog-iversary, oh, back on july 1, i am offering a prize to a randomly selected commenter. please leave a comment between now and monday, july 23 at 11:59 p.m. and you will be entered into a drawing for a fabulous (yet to be determined) goodie. don't forget to make sure i have your e-mail address or some way to get in touch with you. you need not be present to win, but you do have to be attainable. the winner will be announced on tuesday, july 24.

good luck and get commenting (that means you, you lurkers)!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

lucky, lucky, girl...

while i was at work yesterday (in the bad luck dress, i might add) our dehumidifier shorted out, burned and melted to the extension cord it was plugged into and as a result melted and shorted out the extension cord connection to the wall. it all might have gone unnoticed had i not gone downstairs to iron something. i heard not the usual whir of the dehumidifier and thought that it needed to be emptied. then, realizing it wasn't full, thought the breaker had been tripped. nope. not that either. then i checked the plug and sparks started to erupt. eeek!

and when i went to check the smoke detector because now i was really freaked out...the battery was dead.

i'm just glad that i had a house to go home to and not a charred pile of burned up rubble.

so the dress has overcome its curse and brought me luck. long live the lucky plaid dress!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

w.b.w. & breaking the curse...

after the great closet clean-out of summer 2007, a number of items were re-discovered and this little gem of a vintage dress is one of them. paired with a little 3/4 length sleeve black sweater and some ankle strap suede shoes it's a perfect work-a-day dress. i repaired some failing seams, sewed on a missing button and finished up the night by pressing with a steaming hot iron.

the last time i wore this dress was in 2003. on my way to work that morning, i drove my new car through a pothole the size of lake michigan and got an instant flat tire. i frantically called both kelly and the free roadside assistance that came with my car and then had the state run roadside truck offer to give me help. after a teary time, i chose to wait for the new car company and ended up on the side of the road for over an hour waiting for help. choosing either kelly's help or the immediate gratification of the truck that was already there would have been better, but you know, i like a challenge.

foolishly, i blamed the bad luck on the dress. yea, it couldn't have been the fact that i drove at top speed into a gaping hole whilst trying to avoid a back-up by passing ON THE SHOULDER...yes, that's me...sometimes that's the type of driver i am.

so i decided to give the dress another chance. and on my way to work this morning i was a model of civility on the road. a girl doesn't want to tempt fate.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


the furniture arrived and i love it to pieces. two of the items were in ginormous boxes emblazoned with bright orange stickers reading, "FRAGILE -- EXPENSIVE WOODEN FURNITURE INSIDE." as opposed to the cheap-ass stuff we usually buy, i guess.

but along with it came two tons of cardboard, styrofoam, bubble wrap and a multitude of little silica packets. we took a full car load of cardboard to the recycling center last night and will have to, unfortunately, throw out all of the other icky mess because there's nothing else to do with a styrofoam fort? send all of my friends styrofoam care packages? sound-proof the basement? insulate the attic?

although it gets easier with each passing day, it's still very difficult to be a conscientious eco-minded consumer. even if you buy items that are kind to our planet, the amount of packaging makes my heart break a bit.

we already recycle everything that we can. our neighborhood doesn't offer free curbside recycling. even if we did participate and pay, the trash company doesn't take cardboard, paper or all plastics so we'd still end up at the the recycling center. does anyone else find it asinine that we have to pay to be good to the planet?

our family of three often puts out less than one can of garbage each week. the couple across the street, though, regularly puts out two or three overflowing cans of trash. how much are they consuming over there?

i guess this is all offset by the bachelor who lives across the street who has never put out even one can of trash. not one. i suspect that one day the roof will be pushed off of his house and coffee grounds will drip down onto the driveway. that is, after i see him on an episode of oprah.

Friday, July 13, 2007

teacher's gonna show you...

dear fox broadcasting's new show "don't forget the lyrics,"

i tuned in the other night because there was nothing on for the half hour after my new favorite summer show, "so you think you can dance", ended and my other favorite summer show, "last comic standing", began. (having your show end on the half hour when everything else on every other channel starts at the top of the hour? tricky, fox, very tricky. i'll give you that.)

the host, wayne brady, is very cute. i've liked him since he was on drew carrey's improv know the one that got so repetitive. but, yea, wayne brady, i liked him then and i like him now. and the first contestant, cute as a bug's ear, but wowza, that girl cannot sing. i know, i know, that's not the point of the's the lyrics thing. (and by the way, did you know there's another show that's almost just like your show, but not...with joey fatone? maybe you knew that already.)


i will probably keep watching, just because it's good for me to be reminded that although i like to think i know all the words to all the songs on all the radio stations, i most certainly do not. but, that being said, i will stop watching cold if i witness another egregious error like i did on wednesday night.

the lyrics for the jackson five's "ABC" were being shown on the screen for the contestant to karaoke her everloving, tap dancing, knitting heart out to and there it appeared...

"reading, writing, arithmAtic..."

no, fox broadcasting, no. i can abide many things, but misspelling is not one of them.

please see to it that this does not happen again. consider this your notice.

your dorkiest, no capital letter using, english language-loving, fan

Thursday, July 12, 2007

another thing i am not...


when i have a desire or an idea for a project or a craving i must satisfy it -- right now, if not sooner. i know this about myself. i embrace this character flaw due to its ability to help me accomplish so much. outside of that benefit, though, it can often make me a less than pleasant person to be around.

so when i ordered new living room furniture in APRIL and the salesperson said it would be six to eight weeks, i (i) tried hard not to audibly gasp and (ii) foolishly took him at his word. i saw this window of time as an opportunity to grow as a person. and let me be quite honest...unless i could learn how to be a master cabinetmaker and upholsterer, i really didn't have any choice.

i could have gone to any number of other furniture stores that stock all of the pieces in their showroom and will deliver them to your home in less than one week. i do not wish to impune the quality of those stores' merchandise. i'm sure it's sturdy and well-made, but they had very few sofas that appealed to us. there was one in particular that offended -- a cowboy themed cattle drive emblazoned across the entire back of it. no, that would never do.

furthermore, i am not naive. i've ordered custom made items in the past and know that six weeks often miraculously becomes 9 or ten. but now, ELEVEN weeks later, without any living room furniture, i have grown as much as is humanly possible in the area of patience and crossed the threshhold into an alarmingly, restlessly, skin-crawlingly, want to yell a little bit, level of intolerance that i am finding difficult to overcome.

when the call FINALLY came earlier this week that the furniture had arrived and would be delivered this weekend, i was over the moon with bliss. when it arrives, if it lives up to my expectations of perfection and the ability to transport me to another realm merely by being my new place to fall asleep in front of the tv, i will be satisfied.

i will try to recall fondly these three months of my life as my "patience period."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

mmm...iced coffee...

did you know that you cannot buy decaf iced coffee at starbuck's? you can get it at the seattle's best cafe inside borders stores, but there aren't borders on every corner like starbuck's. so i made my own. with a splash of soy creamer and one splenda packet, it is so delicious.

this is cold brewed coffee...not just leftover coffee poured over ice...oh no. the cold brew is not as acidic or bitter as hot brewed coffee but it is stronger.

here's my recipe via iNeedcoffee:

measure a 1/4 to 1/3 cup (5-6 tablespoons) of coffee into a pitcher. add about a cup and a half of room-temperature water (i used tap water). stir the mixture until it is even and there are no lumps. you don't have to be really precise on these measurements. just make sure you have about 4:1 water to coffee. i tripled the recipe and it turned out wonderfully.

put some sort of lid on the container to keep the mixture clean, or use a canister-type container. let it sit a minimum of 3 hours. it can sit overnight, up to 12 hours if you like (some people do this), but we find 3-4 hours is fine. i made mine last night before bed and when i woke up i went on to the next step.

pour the mixture through a mesh stainless steel strainer into a second container. clean the first container to rinse out any grounds. then pour the coffee back from the second container into the first container through the finest mesh or cheesecloth (i used a coffee filter--what am i martha stewart with cheesecloth in my kitchen? sheesh!).

pour the final mixture into your storage container and put it in the fridge. this mixture is possibly 2-3 times as strong as you will want to drink it. dilute with an equal amount of water to start. serve over ice. if the mixture is too strong, add water to dilute (it won't be--trust me). add soy cream and splenda at the time of serving.

enjoy while lazing in your backyard hammock reading a trashy paperback novel. you can thank me later.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

cube courtesy...

i really enjoyed "billy, don't be a hero" when you played it the first time cube-mate. ahh, memories of grade school field trips flooded back to me as i was transported to a simpler (albeit a bit more angsty) time in my life. thanks for that, co-worker.

after hearing it every day, sometimes more than once a day, for the past two months, though, i think i've heard it enough for all eternity. ditto for "seasons in the sun," "fergalicious," and that awful david sole/soul song, "don't give up on us baby."

no, we cannot still come through.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

finished object (fo) - foxtail...

trust me...despite the blurry picture, my first completed sweater is fabulous.

i learned a lot making this sweater: (i) dk weight yarn is yummy, (ii) how to pick up LOTS of stitches to knit on a band, (iii) how to block, (iv) i'm not such a slow knitter as i think i am.

now all i have to do is wait for cold weater to wear it.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

on monday...

woke up:::ate breakfast (better 'n eggs and fake sausage):::knit a swatch for calorimetry:::showered and went to work:::yoga at lunch time:::drove home (ahh, holiday week traffic):::watered plants:::went for long walk:::ate dinner (has anyone else tried these? they really were tasty!):::knit the band for foxtail (okay, all but two rows and the cast off row):::watched the catered affair (ernest borgnine movies are so sad; see marty, please. just so good.):::ate brownies:::fell asleep on the couch...again.

Monday, July 02, 2007

like a box of cracker jack...

i have bought my fair share of tins of buttons in my day. when sorting through the treasures and the trash, one is sure to find the following: marbles, cuff links, cafe rings and wheels from toy cars. that last one never fails to crack me up.

yesterday, after returning from the flea market with a treasure trove of buttons in a red tin emblazoned with yellow roses, i found: a bobby pin with a rhinestone/crystal dangle, a pink vintage little girl's hair barrette, two gorgeous ladies lapel pins and...two human baby teeth. i feel oddly protective of them. i cannot bring myself to throw them out. i feel like i've been given someone's precious cargo. one of them has a tiny cavity in it. but i also feel odd about having them. honestly, i don't know how to feel.

so until i decide what to do with them, they wait on my table.

Monday, June 25, 2007

double plus good..

what's better than discovering a pattern you've lusted in your heart for for over half a decade exists?

well, i'll tell you...buying the $16.95 pattern for one single, solitary dollar.


Friday, June 22, 2007

just wrong...

don't ya think?

discovered last saturday in illinois on a sojourn to the drive-in. a wonderful day that started with a late lunch at a st. louis landmark, crown candy kitchen (mmm, chocolate banana malt!), a trip antiquing and vintage clothing shopping (kelly found a pale pink super beaded cardigan in perfect condition and talked ME into buying it!), and then we found an illinois goodwill store that had old albums we had never pawed through and episodes of lost in space on VHS. who could ask for more?

oh, and last night? kelly took me to joe's cafe (bill cristman's studio) that is only open on thursday nights. i don't think there are words to describe this place. imagine a surreal dream of neon and giant advertisements mixed in with a circus-y vibe, a wiener wagon, a cave of darkest dankest beat poetry goodness and live music and you'll not even come close.

this was after we saw a great musical, once, at the tivoli. we were lucky to catch it since last night was the very last showing of it, but when it comes out on dvd, i HIGHLY recommend this sweet sad film. oh, and did i mention we had a delicious dinner here? there is very little, tastebud-wise, that can make my toes wiggle in my shoes like the vegetarian spring roll, sesame noodle, vietnamese coffee combination.

tonight, if you're looking for something to do you could go dance the night away at the grand opening of cherry bomb/retro 101 at 2114 Cherokee Street featuring the music of hudson and the hoodoo cats and the vultures or go see this or this. maybe we'll see you. and tomorrow night? i'm going to be getting my fill of roller derby.

if you say there's nothing to do in st. louis? you're just not trying hard enough.

and, by the way, when did i turn into julie, your cruise director?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


you know when you have so much you want to tell your best friend and the words get all jumbled up in your mouth in the telling and your friend has no idea what you're talking about and your hands are wildly gesturing and eyes are blink, blink, blinking and your cheeks are flushed? that's how i feel right now.

i found a dress a day. i've been reading erin's archives with relish and clapping my hands gleefully under my chin like a little girl with each entry. did i mention that she's also a lexicographer?

oh. my. gosh. next to vintage dress patterns i have almost that many dictionairies. i heart dictionairies with a crazy passion. oh, and dress patterns. so the two of them combined is like a weird nerdy girl swoony cocktail of happiness.

and then she put me right over the edge...

she posted this pattern for which i have been searching for the vintage precursor to for years. i wish i was exaggerating, but i. am. not. it all started with a now defunct website where "members" posted pics and project notes of their sewing projects. somebody made the vintage version of this wrap dress and i became obsessed. now, thanks to erin (we're on a first name basis, doncha know?) i learned that butterick reissued the pattern.

i can hear you now, "why, heidi, did you not know that this pattern was reissued? don't you go to the fabric store more than your husband actually knows about?" oh, dear reader, your question is so wise, but you must understand...i don't troll the pattern books, because most modern patterns leave me cold. even though a photograph on the pattern envelope might give me a better understanding of the fit and ease of a given pattern, i don't get weak in the knees looking at a photo...give me a drawing (ala the above pattern) any day and i'll buy your pattern right out from under you.

so, one guess as to what i'm going to be doing this weekend? looks like my to-do list just got a little bit longer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

edge of your seat, i'm sure...

how could you do all the things you had planned for the weekend knowing that i had yoga on monday? went very well. there were only four students so it was more difficult to hide out and go unnoticed. i got a couple of "10s," accepted the praise and concentrated on my breathing.

we did do some stability ball work, which was new to me and required lots of core strength. since i've had three abdominal surgeries i have no abdominal muscle tone, to be sure, so i kept wiggling off the ball. it was a mental challenge for me to not be good at it. a very valuable lesson.

there you go. now you can rest easy. you've been updated.

Friday, June 15, 2007


it is a disease, to be sure, but often i feel like i have to be the valedictorian of everything. if i'm not 100% perfect, then i must be doing something wrong. as my friend becky would say, "you must have had a difficult toilet training."

so, even though it goes completely against the entire philosophy of yoga, i have to be the best at it. there is a reason why the act of yoga is called "practice." we are not meant to be perfect -- ever. it is a lifelong practice. but, me? i soldier on, trying to make myself perfect anyway.

i've begun taking yoga at my office on my lunch hour and the instructor is the most high-energy teacher i've ever encountered. she likes to tell folks that their poses are "10s!" the first few classes the valedictorian side of me reveled in the constant praise she doled out. then, after a little while it made me self-conscious. because, if any of you know me very well or feel like you do from what i write here, you know that although i love adoration, i don't really dig attention being drawn to me. if you wrote a little note on my research paper about how you liked a particular point i'd made or spoke to me quietly in the corner to tell me you liked my dress, i'd eat that up. but call me out in front of class or with a lot of people standing around and i melt into a pile of perspiring mush.

on wednesday i formulated a strategy for avoiding being called out in yoga class. the plan included arriving perilously close to late (something i abhor) and situating my mat in the back of the class. it worked like a charm...until, that is, i realized i hadn't been praised at all. i felt dejected. weird, huh?

becky suggested that i welcome the praise, that i embrace it and own it, because, well, i deserve it. and that's when it dawned on me...i didn't think i deserved it. damn! that becky -- she's good.

so my assignment for monday's class is to welcome the praise...if it comes, that is, and if it doesn't? then know that i am still doing fine. just fine. this is just practice after all.

sounds easy, right? i'll let you know on tuesday.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

this is what i do...

i work for attorneys. mostly i do ministerial legal assistant type tasks and schedule meetings, create complicated powerpoint presentations and well, let's say it...soothe bruised lawyer egos. but the other day i was asked to find out from what poem a particular stanza was lifted.

it's those types of research projects that keep this ex-english major (with an emphasis on women's studies) coming back to the office day after day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

my summer to do list...

1. finish the basement cleaning extravaganza. this includes:
a. sweep (for the one millionth time), vacuum, wash, and paint the concrete floor;

b. paint all of the bookshelves, cabinets, and dressers that hold my voluminous art supplies a lovely shade of buttercream yellow;

d. pick up my sewing machine from being serviced and, oh, i don't know...MAKE SOMETHING! maybe the silk scarf curtain lesley pointed out to me in elle decor.

2. clean out my closet. this includes:
a. folding the sweaters from overflowing sweater shelf;

b. figure out a real solution for the shoe issue (you know you have this problem too!);

c. get serious about the purses. come on, i'm never, ever going to carry that woven perry ellis bag again, but it never wore out. it's hard to part with;

d. and i know this isn't the closet, but get a handle on the drawers of the dresser.

3. redeco the living room. this includes:
a. reupholster the arm chair languishing for oh so many years in the basement;

b. refinish (stain) said chair;

c. buy and assemble entertainment center, bookshelves, sideboy and media cabinet from home decorator's outlet;

d. paint the living room a soothing, retro dove/pearl grey;

e. pick out reasonably priced area rug and window treatments;

f. come up with some stunning arrangement of almost free artwork.

4. the backyard:
a. wash the patio;

b. wash the patio furniture;

c. paint the adirondack chair, ottoman and two metal lawn chairs;

d. re-do the woven seat/backs for the aluminum lawn chairs;

e. weed, weed, weed.

5. collapse over the labor day weekend.

Monday, June 11, 2007

he dressed himself...

a dad, teenaged daughter and kindergarden-aged son emerge from the grocery store on a sunny, late afternoon. the boy is wearing rain boots, knit shorts, and a pajama shirt. dude is obviously prepared for whatever the world has in store from him. you go, little guy!

and dad? my hat's off to you too. in my early parenthood i would have tried to micro-manage him out of the top...time has taught me many things, one of which is, "style is not up for negotiation, mom."

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


enid collins, eat your heart out!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

secret? what secret?

i found a journal i had begun, first in november 2002 and then took up again in january 2005, right after my run in with the "c" word. i read a few pages. i was quite clearly working through some issues. some of the issues were "wow, i can't believe i had cancer" related; but many of them were everyday life issues, contemplating living each day with intention and purpose. not unlike what i've been thinking about lately.

what really caught my eye, though, was on my mondo beyondo list (a suggestion i got from andrea). one of the items on the list was, "own a vintage VW and paint a crown on the side or the top." wow! it's like i worked the secret even before i knew there was a secret because 5 months later i became the proud owner of a 1965 bubblegum pink VW squareback station wagon.

so, does that really mean the secret works and that just by putting my wishes out into the universe that it brought the VW to me? or does that mean that folks who believe in the secret are more likely to attribute any remote coincidences to the secret?

editor's note: after i wrote the above i read this. which made me wonder all 100th monkey-like if there are lots of folks questioning how the secret works. what are your thoughts on the secret?

Monday, June 04, 2007

i am not...

...a gardener. i like to plant things and i like it when they grow, but if you talk to me about zones, dead-heading and/or cross-pollination i'm a goner.

...a painter. i like color. i like to apply paint to many objects, but i cannot paint a picture.

...a good housekeeper. every once in while i realize that there are other people that routinely vacuum under the beds or sweep their kitchen floors and i do those things, but mostly i live in a very organized, not very clean, home.

...a straight cutter. why, oh why can i not cut a straight line?

...a correspondent. i realized yesterday that in the past month i've forgotten to send three anniversary cards and at least two birthday cards.

...a telephone talker. i may forget to call you back if you leave me a voice mail message. also, for someone who likes to talk a lot, i often forget that someone actually needs to listen for it to be called a "conversation."

...a faithful blogger. well, you can look at my archives and see that for yourself.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


simplicity pattern #1949, most likely from 1957.
those faces melt my heart.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

what a weekend...w.a.w.

long weekends are always delicious, but this one seemed even more fabulous. i love it when the weather is not too hot (i don't really like a.c.) and you can sleep with a sheet covering you up with the fan blowing lilting night breezes over you. it makes me drift right off to dreamland.

so let's see, here's the rundown:

a little road trip and three hours of uninterrupted knitting time. i was able to finish up the yoke/sleeves of this. the next time i undertake a sweater project using dk weight yarn, in stockingnette stitch, however lovely and soft the fiber, please punch me in my arm and remind me of how neverending knit one row, purl one row can seem. i've cast on the 224 stitches for the bottom and calculated that i have nearly 20,000 stitches to go before i can even sew in the ends, block and seam it up. but it will be fabulous when it's finished. i promise to blog about it in 2009.

on the way home from the mini road trip, we visited a few antique stores/malls. we had amazing luck. i don't know about the rest of you that antique/thrift, but it seems like my luck comes in waves. perhaps it's that i look in a different way on those days. whatever it is, i am glad when luck visits me.

on saturday night we went to the roller derby. yes, you read that correctly...the ROLLER DERBY. it was a blast. for a brief moment, i thought i could be a roller girl, but, to be honest, i am just not that tough. this is a real game/sport and these women are playing for keeps. it does have a touch of the bizarre to it. the team members have crazy pun-ny names. so kelly and i cracked each other up coming up with all of the possibilities for my roller derby names. ran into my cousin, an acquaintance and the friend who introduced us. when worlds collide it's a wonderful thing.

took a class on sunday with the fun, funny, funky and fresh donna downey. what a great gal she is...and my classmates were great too. thanks to bev for sharing her tools with me!

on sunday there was more thrift store love and then i watched this movie and now am coveting this soundtrack. and the music that plays over the you by free is my newest, favoritest song ever.

i missed pat benatar playing here, but the forecast for rain scared me off. but i did go downtown for this and the good luck continued. had a delicious linner (lunch + dinner = linner) here with a fab dessert of their famous sticky toffee pudding. "what's my favorite food? easy! sticky toffee pudding -- sincerely." (double points if you know what movie that quote is [sort of] from...kelly you don't get to play along.)

so that was it...very little housework. not nearly enough prep for the upcoming garage sale, but much relaxing.

tomorrow, a new twist on an old favorite...mixing it up on way back wednesday. see you then...i promise.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

well, of course...

we've lived in our house for 17 years. right after we moved in i got a book of advice and how-tos for first time homeowners from the library. i don't remember much about this book other than this: anything that you want to do your home needs to be done in the first two years after you move in or you will never do it. how true.

when we first moved in, we had a newborn and a strict budget. that combination of circumstances meant that after we paid to have the hardwood floors refinished and painted the interior, our time and money were gone. thank goodness we knew lots of people willing to be paid for their manual labor in pizza and beer.

since those first salad days, we have done a fair number of updates to the house, mostly interior things, but recently, i've been busy in the yard. in the past i haven't done too much. this was in no small part due to the fact that my neighbor has a very ugly back yard, strewn with cast off, broken down little tykes goods (her daughters are into double digit ages now, far past the developmental stage for plastic play houses), rusty swing sets, a giant trampoline, two run down homemade dog houses, three broken barbecue pits, a deteriorating picnic table, countless trash cans and innumerable bicycles. she also seems to think that taking out one's trash, cleaning up after one's dogs or mowing one's lawn are tasks that only need be performed quarterly. so, beautifying my yard felt a bit like an exercise in futility.

something in me has snapped, though, and i am dedicating much of my time to creating a living environment (inside and surrounding my home) that reflects who and what i am.

there have been many discussions of late in the queen's household about change and what that change may signify. remember? hair length...tatooes and the like? so the hair has been shortened (i'm heading to short hair by degrees) and i've decided on a tatoo, but am waiting for a particularly significant anniversary to mark my body (more on that later). and, of course, all of that thinking lead to even more thinking.

i started to ponder what holds me back from doing the things i so often wish i was doing or hope for. often, in more ways than one, i was holding other people responsible for my contentment. "if only so and so didn't feel "X-way" then i could do {fill in the blank}. but you know what? that's just not fair.

if i love roses and forsythia and hydrangeas and azaleas and peonies, and i want to be able to cut them for a bouquet in my dining room, then it's up to me to plant then, water them, tend to them and arrange them. i refuse to wait until my neighbor cleans up her act, because that will mean that i may die before getting a garden that i love.

if i want the basement cleared out of my junk (yea, hi, there, kelly, you can use this entry against me sometime in the future when i say that it isn't ALL my junk...i know it is), then that's on me. same with cleaning the basement floor and painting it...if i'm the only one in the family that it bothers, then it's my job to do something about it.

ditto for painting the bathroom, reorganizing the hallway linen closet, culling my closet for out-of-date clothes. i have to take care of me and my stuff. that's not anyone else's responsibility.

because, here's the harsh reality about this "aha" moment...i am the only one ultimately on the hook for my own happiness. wishing that someone else could read my mind or figure out what it is that i desire just breeds resentment. i can make myself happy and if a trellis covered with trumpet vine makes me smile then i need to get my hands dirty and plant one.

Monday, May 07, 2007

wandering, part 2...

i mentioned that i might have an issue with concentration. it really takes me a while to quiet the constant chatter that is going on in my brain at any given moment and focus in on what needs my undivided attention.

so to sit through (and not fall asleep) an almost three hour documentary about french monks who toil daily in complete silence, well, it was a challenge. the viewing was almost like meditation. the opening scene is a tight profile of a monk's head, resting on his clasped hands...he is deep in prayer. the scene went on, uninterrupted, un-cut for nearly three minutes. every sound in the theatre was magnified. the scuttle of hands in popcorn bags, the crunching of the popcorn, coughing, sniffing, shoe shuffling. apparently it took all of the patrons to settle into the silence.

scene after languishing flickering candle, raindrops in ponds, grass blowing in the breeze, lyrics of latin chants, snow falling onto the camera lens, celery stalks lying on the butcher block waiting to be chopped, boxes of ivory buttons.

when i had seen the preview for this movie, i had thought there would be a narrator -- a voice to explain the mysterious life these men had chosen for themselves, but no. complete silence, save for perhaps 50 words spoken in french on the monk's one day they are allowed to speak -- sunday.

their heads were so often bowed in prayer, it was unimaginable to me. i am not a religious person, but just the thought of immersing myself in deep thought (on any topic) for hours upon hours seemed like a insidious form of torture. however, witnessing this cloistered life in such poetic, voyeuristic detail was amazing.

i felt a sense of calm when i left the theatre. others, who shall remain unnamed, felt refreshed--as though they had taken a 3 hour nap.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

what if...

i love the look of, seriously, i do. at the bookstore last night i saw a man with a spiderweb tattoo that spread out across his elbow. i thought it elegant. i also adore the "sleeves" of tattoos. to me they demonstrate such dedication to the beauty of the art form and often they tell a story about the person. what an imaginative use of one's own body to express themselves.

the waiter at the restaurant i ate lunch at had his eyebrow and his lower lip pierced...perhaps not my cup of tea, but it was definitely an interesting look -- a look that made a statement.

i've had long hair for at least the last ten years. i wear it long because i'm a wash and go kinda gal -- short hair needs a lot of attention, trimming and maintenance for it to look good all the time. but also i keep my hair long because kelly likes it long.

kelly doesn't like tattoos...or piercings. i respect all of those preferences, the same way he respects my preferences for no perms on men, tighty whities, speedos or hair pieces. it's a simplistic understanding.

but i do wonder how i would look, what i would choose to say to the world, if i had never met kelly.

i know i would have least one, probably more. the first one i would get would be wings on my back, big wingspan with feathers trickling down to the waistband of my blue jeans.

somewhere i would get a tattoo of a bird. one of my grandfathers had a blue bird on his upper arm. he got it sometime in the 1920's i suppose, before tattoos were fashionable and i'm sure there was a bit of a stigma attached to it. his tattoo went completely against my childhood image of him -- eating ice cream, making tomato soup with ham sandwiches and playing pinochle and yahtzee...yes, there would definitely be a bird...or two.

i would get my nose of those tee-niny little diamond studs on the side. i love those.

and, i've said this for ages, but if i could, i would shave my head...maybe not down to the skin, but for sure less than an inch long. i shaved my head in college and it was liberating...that was before i wore makeup everyday or shaved my legs or wore dresses because i wanted to. i mean, come on, i was a women's studies major. i did it then because it was what i thought i was supposed to do. now i would do it because i want to. and that's more to the point anyway, right?

so all that thinking about how i would look lead me to think about how i might act differently, what i would have ended up being.

i know i would probably drink a lot more. maybe smoke (i know, i know. but when i did smoke, i really liked it). i'm smarter now than i was back then, so maybe not smoking. but definitely, yes, i would drink more.

i'm an impulsive person, impatient and into instant gratification. kelly is the tortoise in the race. he rarely, if ever, makes decisions he later regrets. mostly because he considers every angle of a situation and then does the analysis again to make sure he hasn't missed anything. something i admire greatly. i am a point and shoot quick-draw decider. in the long run, we balance each other out, but if left to my own devices, i know i would have moved a million times, regretted many things, but made so many other decisions in the meantime, that most of the missteps would have been forgotten and lost in my considerable wake.

i don't know if i would have had children. kelly is the only person i could ever imagine parenting with, because we are of such a like mind. i knew instantly that kelly would be a great father, even before he knew it himself and that is part of what drew me to him. so, no, i don't think i would have had children.

kelly makes me happier than i ever imagined i could be, or ever thought i deserved to be. much of my now well-adjusted-ness is due in no small part to kelly's persistence in helping me see what good dwelled inside of me and bringing that goodness out. so, although, if i had never met kelly, my outward appearance would be different, inside i would be sadder...definitely lonelier...more meandering and hapless.

so i'll forego the tats, and piercings and deal with a long head of hair to be more content and settled. i think it's a good trade-off.