Day Off

Who knew that Uli had that gorgeous dress hiding in her head? She was the surprise of the night for me on Project Runway. I really thought she'd be the one that was Auf'd. But her dress was a definite WOW. Jeffrey's was my least favorite - the 'milkmaid' comment really summed it up. When I saw Michael's dress, I was worried he'd get the ax. And that would have been a shame. What a talent. Can't wait to see the four of them on the fashion week show! (And I'm still amazed that I got so hooked on this show. The premise sounds so silly; but it is well done & compelling to watch. I'm looking forward to the next season.)

Tomorrow we start cleaning up 6 months worth of construction dust. The furniture went back in the family room tonight and Dick will grout the last section of tile in the sitting room tomorrow morning. While I'm shopping for food & prizes on Friday, he'll put our closet back together. (Our 12 x 12 closet! I can't wait.) The house is about as finished as it's going to get before the baby shower on Saturday.

But today was for fun - a crocheted sock class in Ojai, taught by one of the ladies in my Knit & Nibble group. This was the first in a series of classes - and it was f.u.n. f.u.n. f.u.n. Wenona & I were a little late to class, so Sharon and Ruthie got first pick on yarn. I love the yellow/orange one that Sharon chose; it should make a lively pair of stockings.
Wenona & I both have blue striped yarn; Wenona's has lighter tones than mine.
Blue wouldn't have been my first choice but now that I'm working with it, I really like the stripes. These top-down socks look like they will be thicker that 'in your shoe' socks. But that's OK. It's a learning process and I'll know more about what I like and don't like for the next pair.
Another Fridge Surprise

Look what I found in the refrigerator tonight. I really like this class Gary's taking.


Not Fun

It's official. Grouting is not fun. It's a pain in the knees and arms and back and hands and, well, you get the idea. Dick and I grouted half the family room and sitting room floors yesterday. (Doesn't it look great?) Dick estimated this room was 400 to 500 square feet. Felt like 3 miles to me. Then today, Dick did another quarter of the family room, plus finished cutting and cementing the border tile for the sitting room, and putting the rest of the beadboard on the walls. Things are slowly, but surely, coming together. Only 3 days until Rachel arrives. If we survive until then, the weekend should be a blast!

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One of my very favorite nieces (ok, they're all pretty much my favorites) was married on Friday in Austin Texas, where her new husband is stationed with the Army. Jackie is my sister Jama's youngest daughter. Isn't she gorgeous? I've always been envious of her hair, it's so long and red and beautiful. Mom did a great job styling it for the wedding.
Lots of love and best wishes for a long and happy marriage to Jackie and Alan.

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Standing Corrected

I was informed today that Lisa's wedding colors are blue on blue on white, thankyouverymuch. (giggling) Silly me, how could I forget the white?

Yesterday, we went with Marie to try on the bridesmaid dress that Lisa picked out when she was in New York. The color is a sky blue, not the Wisteria that's pictured on the website. The New York bridesmaids like the dress and Marie likes it. Breanne is scheduled to try it on next Saturday. If she likes it, then it will officially be the dress.

And the flowers will be (subject to change, of course)
Mini Iris, Blue Delphinium, Dendrobium Orchid -- but more blue and less purple - White Roses and Queen Anne's Lace. Gorgeous!

Except for a few trim pieces, the tiling is done in the family room and sitting room. Tomorrow, we grout. Golly. I'm looking forward to that. (not)


Busy Day

But not much accomplished. Went to Guild this morning and got volunteered to be Membership Chair, starting in October. I didn't really mind, although it will mean giving up Publicity which I've enjoyed. But Membership means I get to play with databases and put out the annual roster. Very cool (yep, I'm a computer geek through and through.)

We always have great programs. Today was Giovanna Imperia, who is huge in the kumihimo world. Y'all. She makes braids with strands of silk and metal. And wire. She makes braids that become wide scarves (do you have any idea how many threads that would take? And how much time??) And braided obi's. Incredible stuff.
Her presentation was mainly a slide show - the history of kumihimo, types of weaving stands, other artists works - and, of course, the lights were dimmed so we could see better. And I'm sitting dead center in the front row, right in front of Giovanna. You can see where this is going, can't you? Could.Not.Keep my eyes open. I tried everything - gum, yawning, crocheting, pinching - nothing worked. I was so embarrassed. Fortunately (unfortunately?) I wasn't the only one. I swear it wasn't the speaker. Really.

I really like this floristry class that Gary's taking. Especially the bring-home samples. It's getting to be a treasure hunt. He never says anything about them; I just open the refrigerator and there's a new corsage.Lisa - Miss My-Wedding-Colors-Are-Blue-And-Blue-Thank-You-Very-Much - really loved this one. And the bow is much better this time. Can't wait until he moves up to bouquets.

Why is this man smiling?

Because he isn't working on this. (The blue tape? Mine. Don't I do nice work?)
After 12 hours, Dick finally admitted that he wasn't going to finish tiling the family room floor today. TWELVE. HOURS. And he says I'm compulsive.

The New Office Slang

I worked all day (Yes on P6!) (if you refresh that page, the pictures change. Very cool.), so I've got nothing. I'll leave you with the New Office Slang (which I found here, and um, borrowed from here.) Enjoy.

404 - Someone who is clueless. From the Web error message, “404 Not Found,” which means the document requested couldn’t be located. “Don’t bother asking John. He’s 404.”

Alpha Geek - The most knowledgeable, technically proficient person in an office or work group. “I dunno, ask Matt. He’s our alpha geek.”

Batmobiling - putting up emotional shields. Refers to the retracting armor that covers the Batmobile as in “she started talking marriage and he started batmobiling”

Beepilepsy - The brief siezure people sometimes suffer when their beepers go off, especially in vibrator mode. Characterized by physical spasms, goofy facial expressions, and stopping speech in mid-sentence.

Blowing Your Buffer - Losing one’s train of thought. Occurs when the person you are speaking with won’t let you get a word in edgewise or has just said something so astonishing that your train gets derailed. “Damn, I just blew my buffer!” (Synonym: “Head Crash”)

Egosurfing - Scanning the Net, databases, etc., for one’s own name.

Elvis Year - The peak year of popularity as in “1993 was Barney the dinosaur’s Elvis year” (This one's for Wenona. A true Elvis fan.)

Irritainment - Entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying, but you find yourself unable to stop watching them. The O.J. trials were a prime example.

It’s a Feature - From the old adage, “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.” Used sarcastically to describe an unpleasant problem you wish to gloss over.

Ohnosecond - That minuscule fraction of time during which you realize you’ve just made a terrible error.

Percussive Maintenance - The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again. (Oh, yeah - it works too.)

Swiped Out - An ATM or credit card that has been used so much its magnetic strip is worn away.

Tourists - Those who take training classes just to take a vacation from their jobs. “There were only three serious students in the class; the rest were just tourists.”

Umfriend - One with whom one has a sexual relationship; as in, “this is Dale, my...um...friend.”

Uninstalled - Euphemism for being fired. Also: decruitment.

WOOFYS - Well Off Older Folks.

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Happy, Happy

What do you do to celebrate 32 years of date days? Go to the Long Beach Aquarium aka Aquarium of the Pacific. LBA is only about 10 years old and fairly small, but they have some nice exhibits. And there has been an explosion of commercial building in the immediate area. It's been 2 or 3 years since we've been down there; used to be that the aquarium was pretty much in an area by itself. Now it's surrounded by restaurants and shops and walkways shaped like rollercoasters. Very neat.

One of my main reasons for picking the aquarium as today's destination was these guys:
Leafy Sea Dragons. Given the low light level and their constant movement, my photos are pretty bad. Here's what they are supposed to look like.Like a seahorse in Oscars attire. Sea dragons are incredibly graceful and other-worldly, floating along with the current. I could sit and watch them for hours. (Then again, maybe I just like them because the male sea dragon carries the eggs until they hatch. heh. Great idea.)

I discovered another interesting creature during today's visit, one I'd never seen before. A Shovelnose Guitarfish.
Where do they come up with these names? When it's moving near the floor, it looks like its cousin, the ray. But when it's swimming? The head folds in at the bottom and it really does look like a shovel.

Remodel Update!

Dick complained that he was a little stiff and sore today. Gee, I wonder if this could be the reason?
Or maybe this?On Wednesday, he spent over 12 hours tiling about 3/4 of the family room - leaving us narrow pathways around the perimeter so we could get to the kitchen and my studio. Tomorrow, he's planning to finish up so he can apply the grout on Saturday.

And my job? Remember how I get only the 'unskilled' tasks? I was responsible for taping 4 foam spacers to each tile.
That way the master tile guy could put each one in place quickly, without wasting time fiddling with the spacers.Tough job, but somebody's got to do it. (D tried to make me feel better by saying it saved him about 2 hours of work. Ok, I'll buy that.)


Lots of Changes

The countdown has begun for Rachel's baby shower. She's arriving on September 29, with the shower on the 30th. She'll be here for Dick's birthday on Sunday and then head back to Colorado on Monday. Dick is determined to have the closet, sitting room, family room and - maybe, just maybe - the entry hall done before she arrives. So while I've been volunteering at PSI headquarters (Yes on P6!), Dick has been working 9-10 hours a day on the remodel.

It fascinates me how he 'manages' the different projects. He'll plaster a wall in the family room so it can dry while he cements tile in the sitting room so it can dry while he builds cabinets in the hallway. He carries a master plan around in his brain and knows exactly what needs to be done next and how the pieces all fit together. It's amazing.

And things are really coming together. In the sitting room, the beadboard is on the walls and the porcelain floor tiles are going down. I love these tiles - they have swirls of red and purple in them (and they were on sale! yeah!) - and they look completely different at different times of day as the light changes. (The colors in the bottom photo are more accurate; the tiles are a dark gray with swirls of color.)

The old hardwood flooring is out of the family room, the wallpaper border is off the wall (my job. yuck.), and the old window opening is reframed & plastered. Tomorrow, Dick is planning to start painting the walls and by Wednesday (Thursday?) he should be ready to start laying the floor tiles.

But it's the little things about the remodel that I most love. You may remember my excitement at finally - finally! - having a guest bathroom. I'm even more excited this time. When we walled off the original door to our bedroom, the plan was to put in a larger linen closet.
Well, the closet is done (except for the doors) . . . but it's not for linens. Dick set it up to store the mounds and piles and bins upon bins of photos and memorabilia that I'm planning to scrapbook. someday. A Whole Closet. Five shelves. All for me. The paint is drying (my job - I get all the 'unskilled' labor jobs.) and by tomorrow I should be able to stash my photo stash. I can't wait!!!

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New Passion

I seldom get obsessed with new things. (Y'all stop laughing. It's not that funny.) So OK, maybe a little obsessive. My latest passion is this: Nope, not a doily. A dishrag. If you read knitting & fiber blogs, you already know how popular handmade - especially knitted - dishcloths are right now. They have achieved a cult-like status. Wild colors, intricate patterns, all to clean dishes and wipe counters.

I don't usually feel the urge to make things just because they are "the rage". But I was at Michael's. With a 50% off coupon burning a hole in my pocket. And I saw this:

It probably wouldn't have registered on my radar if I hadn't read so much recently about dishrags. Knitted and woven and crocheted dishrags. White and variegated and mitered dishrags. So I picked it up, just to look at the pictures. Nothing more. No intention of buying it. Right. The book and 3 balls of kitchen cotton followed me home. And in just a couple of hours turned themselves into the dishcloth doily. And it was fun.

Dick was amazed that I would allow it to be used for dishes. So amazed, in fact, that I changed my mind. It might be used for dishes . . . . but not at my house. I have a special plan for this one. But I'm not telling what it is. Y'all will just have to wait. (grin)

So then I did this one.
Pretty colors. Pretty pattern. But not so much fun. Really don't like the way it turned out. But did I let that stop me? Yeah, right. On the way home tonight, I bought 9 more balls of cotton. Gotta make dishcloths!!


Remodel Update

Phase 2 of the remodel is moving along. Dick is putting beadboard and chair-rail molding in the new sitting room and has started on the woodwork around the arches. The tile flooring is here and ready to go down tomorrow (or Tuesday). Or whenever the construction supervisor, Madam Oreo, allows.
Gary has fulfilled most of his mandated classes for graduation, so his senior schedule is full of electives, like floral design. This is his first project - a carnation corsage.
It's beautiful and well done; Gary said it was a lot harder to do than it looks. Especially the bow. I think he's going to enjoy this class. He's already figured out that he can make big points with the ladies (and his mom) by presenting them with flowers. Smart guy!


New Digs

Want to see my new office? I'll be spending a lot of time here until the November elections. I have a fancy title - Data/Computer Chair, (yeah, I know. The first time I saw it I thought they meant I had to bring my own seating.), a nice office, and no pay. I did mention that I'm volunteering for this gig? No? Dick's not overly pleased, but he's being supportive, as always.

This is definitely a 'woohoo' campaign kinda place. The carpet is red and the walls are stark white. Put up a little red, white & blue bunting and it's downright patriotic. This is the view as you walk in the front door. The phone bank is in the back and the arrow points to my little cubby.

Notice anything missing from the phone bank room?
Like phones? All our volunteer callers are working out of other locations until we get the phones installed, maybe on Monday. Internet should be in on Monday too. Do you know how hard it is to work without an online connection? Or maybe I should say online "fix"; I'm definitely addicted to instant access.

Looking from the phone room, you see our kid's room - complete with couch, TV & VCR/DVD - my office, and the boss's digs. He gets a window looking directly out on Main Street, but that's OK; there's no desk in there (yet) and it's much smaller than the one I'm using.

We also have a kitchenette with refrigerator, sink and microwave (donated by yours truly) and a bathroom with a door that locks if you close it from the outside. You can't get locked in - it's easy to open from the inside - but you can get locked out. Not a good thing when the only guy with a key isn't on the premises. We are definitely getting a duplicate of that key.

Vote Yes on P6!

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Night Life - And Another FO!

Dick & I used to go to plays in LA on a regular basis. But kids & work & life happen and we got out of the habit. We're trying to change that. Tonight, we took Gary to see 'Curtains', a murder mystery comedy starring David Hyde Pierce of 'Frazier' fame, at the Music Center's Ahmanson Theatre. Excellent play; the cast was first rate, with great voices, and it was funny (corny, but funny.) From our seats in the Mezzanine, it looked like a full house, & everyone seemed to enjoy the production. Gary has been to plays locally and in London (Joseph & the Technicolor Dream Coat); we wanted him to experience a first-rate production at the Music Center. He enjoyed it (even if he did have to hang out with both parental units all night.)

And the shawl I was frantically crocheting so I could wear it tonight? Finished! It's a 3-ply natural alpaca and the pattern is from Melissa Leapman's "Cool Crochet" book.
I used an "I" hook for the pattern and an "H" hook for the border. The yarn had quite a few guard hairs in it, so I was afraid it would be scratchy. It wasn't. It was soft & luxurious & just the right weight for a delightful, slightly chilly, night on the town.


Laptops Are Real Computers

The heckler was back today. I hadn't seen her since Dick cut back her tree during a backyard cleanup. But she is apparently alive and well, and still full of spunk. She was again bouncing from branch to branch, jeering loudly at the cats. Who were not amused. AJ and Oreo were in full stalk mode. I think they've decided to team up to see if they can finally get that d*** bird. Maybe between the two of them they can outsmart her. But I doubt it.

Whew! Michael is safe. I didn't feel there was a real standout on tonight's episode. I didn't particularly like Jeffrey's winning dress, but it was definitely original. And it was a real toss-up whether Vincent or Laura deserved to be auf'd. Can't wait to see what happens next week.

Everybody wave to Wenona (waving), who is finally back online. Her computer died (again) last week but she is up and running again after today's shopping expedition with her favorite computer guru. (That would be moi.) Welcome back, girlfriend!