I'm not a fan of "why I haven't been blogging" posts but it's been such a long gap this time, I felt I had to say something. Basically, the last 3 months have been a serious struggle, between massive amounts of snow, the cruddiness of NYC in this year's blizzards, a neighbor's broken water main that created a new ice age on our block and a serious health problem in the family. Work has also been....interesting and a bit volatile. It's going to be a weird year.
Thanks to those of you who have inquired and been supportive through it all. Things are clearing up again, and while I still don't have time to blog (or sew! which is SO UPSETTING!) I figure I can at least start finishing up some of the many, MANY blog posts I have in draft mode. So that's my plan for the short term, especially some of the how-tos I am constantly retelling and rewriting for people, having them up will save me a lot of time!
Happy 2011 everyone! And Happy Birthday to my little Emily Alice who isn't quite so little as she turned SIX at the end of the year. We couldn't do much as our area is still somewhat snowbound but she got to pick her birthday meal (japanese food) and cake, which was red velvet cupcakes, no frosting:
That "6" there is a cool sparkler we bought in Toronto, since sparklers are illegal here in NY (I understand fireworks, but sparklers? come on!) We've been buying these for a few years now and she loves them. Here it is in action:
And here's another birthday tradition, our Birthday King candle from Haba. He sits in front of the birthday person's plate at dinner -- they actually make a ton of special birthday candles (wow, more than I knew about!) but most of them are for kids only (they go up to 6 or 8), and the Birthday King can be used for anyone.
She had a great birthday -- I hope our whole year (and yours) will be just as fun!
I think this year's decorations were especially cute. Some years Santa is a little creepy looking. But this year he was adorable:
It even came with 3 "fancy candles", which of course we used. And it was as delicious as always! There's even a little bit left to finish off tonight. But right now it's time to batten down the hatches for this blizzard that is supposed to be here any moment. Stay warm!
Hope you're all having a wonderful solstice/Xmas/Krismas/Hannukah/Christmas/Kwanzaa/whatever and New Year's this year! Our decorations are (almost) all up, our stockings are stuffed, our presents are wrapped (well, except that one that Evan hid so well I have no idea where it is!) and we will soon be off to pick up our annual yummy Xmas Cake. Holiday tunes are downloaded to the car, featuring our house's favorite holiday single of 2010:
We interrupt this early winter for a brief interlude of actual Fall:
We got a bonus couple days of Fall-like weather this week, so Emily and I rushed out to hit a park for a little bit. She scooted around and we watched the geese practicing their take-off formations. We also got pelted by the squirrels that were infesting this lovely tree:
Acorns ahoy! Hope you're having a lovely fall/winter/whatever you're getting.
This is my other grandmother, she's a teenager here although I'm not sure how old exactly. She died when I was just 4. So I knew her just through photos, really. (The exact opposite of the situation with my other grandmother!) Posting photos of one made me think of photos of the other. I have a copy of this one framed, I like it so much.
If you follow me on Twitter, you know that a few weeks ago my grandmother died. It was not a shock (she had just turned 88, and she was ill) but it was a surprise (she had just had a good birthday and seemed to have at least a few months left). What was a shock was that I found out from a facebook update. Yes, really. My brother saw a family member's update, and called me up to find out what was going on. I had no idea! We didn't think anyone would post that if it wasn't true....but we also didn't think it would be on facebook before anyone called us. But it was.
The lesson to be learned here: if you have a rather large family and you are working through the tree to let everyone know, ask everyone to keep their mouths shut until everyone can be notified. (Really, can you not wait a few hours to update your facebook friends?) Or, if you know who has the itchy fingers, tell them last. It was so surreal, we got....a bit giddy, I guess. Hysterical, even. We were just like "this can't really be happening! what's next, video wills on YouTube for the whole world to see?" (Actually, I bet someone's done that by now.)
That was the bad. The good? She died peacefully, before she became very ill, and she'd just had a very good birthday. Emily and I made her a photocard - Emily spelled out "Happy Birthday Nana" with her old fridge letters and posed in front of her message -- and we know that she saw it and that it made her happy. I think it made Emily very happy to know she'd connected with her Nana (who she had met, but doesn't remember) and I know it made me happy, too.
Photos I have never seen in my life began surfacing before the funeral, and it was truly bittersweet to see them. On the one hand, every new batch of photos was so wonderful to see. On the other....it was like this door was swinging open for one quick second to give me a peek at a person that it's too late to know. I mean, I knew my grandmother of course...but why was this all like, a secret history? Families are so weird. In any case, here are two of my favorites:
The 1940s My Space shot - it's not a good photo, but I love it anyway!
And this one, from before she met my grandfather. She's on the left, no idea who that is on the right. She must be very young here.
So far this summer has been HOT (we don't have central air, just two rooms in the house have window units and we're enduring official heatwave after official heatwave - it's been well over 90° in the house more days than I want to think about) but very busy. I've been doing a lot but it feels like I've been spinning my wheels quite a bit. A lot of work and not much to show for it, really. I've also spent a lot of time just contemplating...a ton of things really, and I think some of them may end up here. Someday. I've also spent some time feeling pretty out of sorts, okay, in the dumps really. But I think we're digging our way back out these days.
I did make a set of seven nightgowns for my poor child who'd grown out of every pair of PJs she had (all also made by me). Why seven? I had the knit fabric pieces and now I'll never run out. Also, two of them are too heavy for summer wear. Here are four of them!
Do you notice a theme? Maybe if I decribed the other 3...let's see, there's pink fabric with little hello kitty faces....light pink with pink butterflies....and heck, I can't remember the last one but yep, you guess it, PINK. I use the farbenmix Hannah pattern, just made them long, long, long. She should be able to wear them for years.
I also managed to make three versions of advance 6936, the first polka dot version, a version in moomin fabric, and a version in a pink pirate skull fabric. Too unorganized to have good photos or a post written up, but I'll get to it! Eventually! When it's not so HOT.
Emily also got some capri-length leggings to go under all the dresses; black and white stripes for the pirate dress, white ones for the moomin dress (it's orange and white). They're the Laguna pattern from Studio Tantrum, just chopped off below the knee and finished with stretch elastic. They went over like gangbusters, no photos have been managed yet though.
Two projects are in the works for Emily, one is this raincoat, the other is the "Rose Dress" that I've been figuring out for her for months now, that's a whole post on its own! I'd hoped to have it done early this month for summer wear, but instead I've been caught up in sloper-making....the little bits of sewing time I've scrounged in the last 2 months have been spent trying to finally get better fit in her clothes and so far? It's like banging my head against the wall. I have high hopes for today's effort though! If it's cool enough tomorrow am downstairs I'll assemble it and fingers crossed I'll be done at last.
Once that's done, it'll be time to finally work on my own sloper so I can at last make my clothes fit with a lot less work. The learning process has been a bit grueling so far but I have no doubt that it'll pay off!
That's maybe half of it, but I'm obviously way behind....stay tuned for actual project posts including a giant FAIL coming soon eventually. I'm also standing firm on my stashbusting! But more about that later, too.
I've also accumulated a ton of interesting links and info I've meant to post, but my organization just goes out the window over about 90°! Here's one that I think is really cool -- I found this on the site for the Smithsonian's libraries. It's a guide put out by Greist in 1957 with info on how to use all their attachments. I have a similar one that was adapted for teenagers that's got slightly different info, but this one is really cool. Click to open! (Note - on the slotted binder attachment, the packaged bias tape they call #5 is the equivalent of today's 1/4" double fold or 1/2" single fold.)
Enjoy and thanks for putting up with my rambling today! I'm off to stand under an avalanche of work that's about to fall on my head -- hope it doesn't hurt too much!
So, wow, just as we thought 2009 was getting out of here with all its bad luck, I had a Surprise! Emergency Root Canal! which was my worst dental experience of all time, with a good two weeks healing time needed. Horrible pain and followups were included, with Bonus Tooth Grinding thrown in as well.
Then, during Snowpocalypse 2009, a NYC Sanitation truck hit the utility pole across from our house (at 2 am), tearing the power lines off our house and into the street. Yay FDNY who showed up quickly. And the Con Ed guy who stayed in his truck in the freezing cold until he got the lines back up and power on in our house (sometime after 6am, which was when we finally got to sleep). Boo to the surprise expense of having the power line put back up permanently. (I've already started the process of filing a claim against the city, but I hear it's hard to get your money back no matter how totally at fault they are.)
And a few other glitches, like unpacking and testing the tree lights on the 18th only to discover they didn't work; or looking for the snow shovel and realizing -- we don't have one! How did that happen? We have no idea.
But it hasn't all been bad. I won a giveaway on the really awesome craft/storytelling blog Creative Breathing and got this amazing elf girl peg doll and felt tree ornament:
They will be part of our Xmas decor forever! As will this guy:
Yup, a Yeti ornament! I got it from the Cryptozoology Museum as a surprise for yeti fan Evan. So cute.
Hopefully the next few days will keep on being more good than bad. And then...2009 will get out of here!
And we did find replacement lights at the last minute, not easy when you have a white tree! It ended up being for the best, because we all love the multi-colored light strand we had to get!
I missed last week's theme but didn't want to miss this one, because I wanted to let everyone I haven't spoken to yet know that I already got my Xmas wish -- my biopsies are back and while I am not trouble-free, I am totally cancer-free. Woohoo! So everything else this year will just be a bonus.
My altruistic peace-on-earth type wish is that the bad juju or whatever it was of this whole past decade will fade away and leave everyone I care about -- and everyone, really -- alone from now on. Or at least for a while, I mean really...give us all a break!!
I have been frozen up the last month and a half, finding it hard to write anything -- a blog post, emails, comments...even on twitter more than half the time I stop typing partway through my 140 characters and close the page. And here's why, because I need to get this over with:
Our luck has been bad this year (two massive basement/storage space floods, appliance fails, and my shoulder maladies* to name a few things) but it took an astounding turn for the worse when, while Evan was away at a signing in September, I found a lump in my neck. Hoping it was just a swollen gland, I gave it a week to get better. But it didn't. The next week I saw my doctor, who noted that the lump was on my thryoid gland and immediately sent me for a scan and an amazing battery of bloodwork. The bloodwork came back fine (in fact I'm astoundingly healthy according to five pages of test results). But the scan found a very large and "complex" nodule in my neck, on my thryoid. Next step was to see a specialist (an otolaryngologist, what a word!) but the wait for that appointment? A month! (And I do have insurance!)
So, we spent a month with all the worst-case scenarios unspooling in our brains, making contingency plans and trying to avoid stressing out the four-year-old any more than we can avoid. In the meantime, I have been stuck between talking about it (because I really didn't want to more than I had to) and avoiding talking about it....which meant saying nothing because "normal" conversations made me feel like a phony.
This week, I saw my specialist, who is great. Statistics are on my side, and he is full of infectious optimism so I am feeling much better. He was able to biopsy me without surgery (I was told that wasn't possible) and while we won't know those results for a few more weeks, even the worst case scenario is not that bad. So, all in all, the stress levels are starting to float back down to their normally heightened levels around here, rather than the state of full-on-panic we've been in.
So finally, I'm getting this monkey off my back so I can write/speak/etc again without feeling like I'm hiding things! Hopefully all will be well -- and to be honest, being forced to wind up loose ends and make contingency plans? Never a bad idea.
*One of the blog entries I never finished/posted was about my shoulder, in fact. Some of you may remember the mystery injury and all the tests I endured earlier this year -- turns out, I have something called "frozen shoulder". No-one knows what causes it, and there is no proven effective treatment for it. It takes a year or two to go away, no matter what you do. Yay!
where am I? in a circle of hell called "insurance land"...
I am currently having to research and choose FIVE new insurance policies, yes, that's right, FIVE AT ONCE. With just a week or two left to make all my decisions. So, all my draft mode posts about sewing and cooking and fun things will have to sit just a bit longer... see you then!
Thankful for: the internet, especially google, without which this horrible process would be 100x worse!!
I keep forgetting to post this, we have a bunch of stuff on ebay right now. There is a handful of my knitting stuff, some kits, vintage magazines and a big batch of vintage needles.
Also, I've gotten a lot of questions about the bread, and while every household and machine are going to call for a different recipe, one constant is high quality ingredients. For bread I use only King Arthur flour -- when they had to raise prices this year we tried cheaper brands and there was a noticeable difference in taste. I'm sure any comparable flour would be fine. Also, when dry milk is called for in baking, the dry milk from the grocery store is not really what they're talking about, you need to get baker's dry milk, it's a totally different thing. I know it's tempting to use the cheapest stuff available but it will make a huge difference in your bread if you use the good stuff. Also, get some ascorbic acid (from any baking/spice place) and add 1/8 of a teaspoon to your bread mix, it makes the bread a lot softer and acts as a preservative. Not that we really need that around here. Finally, I use instant yeast, it works great, and cuts baking time in half. Seriously. I cannot deal with a 4-hour loaf of bread!
What am I proud of? Besides the obvious (Emily, Emily, Emily), I think I already do show off the things I do that I'm proud of. But something I don't think I've mentioned is this:
I'm proud of the fact that we have not bought bread in a store for nearly three years! At the end of 2005, after much deliberation, we cashed in several Amazon gift certificates and splurged on this. Yes, you can certainly make bread just fine without a machine, but there is no way I have time to make nearly daily loaves of sandwich bread without it! In fact, I streamlined the process even further -- I make up 6 loaves' worth of dry mix, and then the next week or two of bread is simple as can be. I also use it to mix dough for other kinds of bread, pizza dough, you name it. We originally looked into making all our own bread when Emily started eating solid foods and we realized how much garbage was in practically everything at the store, but as it turns out, it has saved tons of money -- and fresh bread is never more than 2 hours away! And warm, fresh bread....usually half the loaf is gone within 15 minutes of it coming out. Mmm!
Okay, so this is all getting to be a little too philosophical for me, I mean, what is spare time, really? Do I have any? No, I just have stolen time. Because I have a list of things that need to get done that stretches ahead of me interminably. I could say that I read , but actually reading is kind of on my list of things to do these days as in "oops, this book is due Monday, I'd better finish it now or give up!" Really, I don't want to examine my life this way right now.
But the truth is, every moment that I can steal or spare, I try to spend on this:
I noticed the other day that there is a lot of ORANGE showing up in my flickr stream and on this blog. Only weird if you know that I traditionally loathe orange. I mean, like, seriously. But all of a sudden, thanks to an orange-obsessed child, I seem to be surrounded by it, and I'm finding that I actually sort of like it. I guess I finally warmed up to it after having it around enough. I'm still never going to wear it though.
There are many, many children's books I love. Books I loved as a kid, books I love as a parent. But the hands-down winner has to be this book, Sugar Mouse Cake by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham. It's the story of a lonely and under-appreciated pastry cook named Tom and his beloved companion, the mouse Tina. It has it all -- suspense, near-tragedy, and a happy ending...and lots and lots of cakes.
I never owned this as a child, I checked it out regularly at our library and read it in the library probably every week I didn't check it out. I always remembered how much I loved it, and years ago (pre-ebay) I was in a specialty book store and asked if they ever got it. The shop owner told me that he could put me on the waiting list...but it would be 5 or 6 years before my name got to the top, and I could expect to pay several hundred dollars for it when I got the chance. That's when I found out how many other people loved this book!! Sadly, it has never been reprinted even though the authors are very well-known and most of their other books remain in print. Luckily for me, we eventually found a reasonably priced reading copy on ebay; and then Evan found an even nicer copy for me as a present which we have shelved out of reach. Someday, I dream of finding a perfect copy (no library marks!) at a price I can afford...not likely, but in the meantime, I have perfectly readable copies for Emily and myself.
I know I am in the middle of several email conversations, a few transactions, and more -- plus there has been no spoonflower update -- and you all are thinking we've gone into hiding or something. Actually, not so glamorous. We got back from Heroes Con and literally 2 blocks from our house, the car started acting up. The next day, it died. As in dead. As in, a new motor is necessary to make it work again. So....the car is still (one week later) awaiting its new motor and we are carless. But we thought, well, okay, we've got lots to do and there is plenty to walk to around here including the Greenmarket. Whammo! By Thursday am Emily was terribly sick, then we followed. We are all still sick -- Emily's cold is fading into a cough and crankiness, Evan seems to be doing worse, and I seem to have just developed the FLU on top of the summer cold. So...there is no Fun here at the House Of. Thank goodness for the Lawgiver, who visited and helped us restock our fridge and cabinets. Hopefully we will be back in action soon. Until then, thanks for your patience!
This year's holiday season was pretty intense as it was the first year Emily was fully aware and into it. We started off by putting up the tree with her help:
I think this was her favorite of the ornaments:
she claimed my small pink tree as her own:
we went to our zoo's annual Christmas celebration, which was a lot of fun. We saw a ton of animals, including reindeer; Emily petted a rabbit, a chinchilla, a snake and a monitor lizard (!); we got hot chocolate, brownies and toasted marshmallows; Emily made a snowman ornament:
In the month (okay, more) that I haven't been around. We went on two trips (yay!); our Milk & Cheese figures finally came out (yay!); the long-awaited Biff Bam Pow! all-ages comic finally came out (yay!); we've got more fun stuff in the pipeline (shirts and mugs, yay!); we all got very sick with the flu (BOO!) and in fact took turns being sick for nearly 3 weeks (double boo!). So things have been pretty busy.
So busy, in fact, we have had barely any time for Halloween around here. Just a few meals of Halloween-shaped pasta: Emily's costume (photos after Wednesday!), which actually won a little prize at her kid's gym Halloween party last Friday; a little bit of Halloween music and repeated viewings of the Yo Gabba Gabba! Halloween episode.
Which, by the way, premieres in...um about a half an hour EST? I'm sure they're repeating it this week, plus it's actually been available on demand for a couple of weeks now. It's my favorite episode so far, and certainly one of Emily's (she goes crazy for the "Too Much Candy" song). Plus there's another Super Martian Robot Girl segment!
Anyway...hope you are all having a lovely Halloween week and enjoying the week or two of Fall I guess we'll be getting before Winter strikes!
TCAF was great and Toronto was fantastic, I'm only sorry we had so little free time and didn't get to see much. I think a family vacation may be in order sometime soon!
And now, because I MUST PIMP YO GABBA GABBA -- While we were gone, we missed the first showings of Yo Gabba Gabba but we caught up yesterday and Emily is in love. For us it was weird to see something we'd seen bits and pieces of for so long become real! Very cool though. We have airdates for the first two weeks (less than a week and a half now) so if you want to see what we worked on check out our schedule.
One last day of semi-vacation (we actually have a meeting but it's a fun one) and then it'll be back to business as usual. Hope you're enjoying YGG if you're watching!
So, what I get for thinking I was free and clear is....more trouble! The bad tooth flared back up again and now, finally, fingers crossed, I think I can say it's all over (except the rest of the 2nd course of antibiotics and the cleanup appt at the dentist's). Whew. That was a bad one. And I speak from experience. So. NOW I'm back. Expect me to start finishing off that post list soon.
lots, but mainly: wretched, wretched dental trouble. To make a long story short, trouble began just as my regular dentist shut down for a long vacation. I thought I could wait it out, but I couldn't. Spent a couple days trying to contact my regular guy (they said to call if there was an emergency) but no dice. Called the dentist I'm assigned to through our coverage. Who wouldn't see me, because he was going on vacation for the 4th. Called my plan, who called around and made me an appointment, and transferred me to the new office so I could go right away. As I guessed, I needed a root canal. asap...and it was now July 3rd. And everyone was going on vacation. I managed to get an appt for the following Monday (I was offered dates as far away as July 26th!) and stuck it out...finally, the root canal got done, the pain from the actual root canal faded and now for two whole days I've been pain free again.
So that is where I have been. In pain.
Other things (which almost all have posts sitting in draft mode right now which will be finished soon):
it's been a weird and hectic week around here -- after getting conked on the head, we had a crazy rush deadline, I ended a long-time working relationship, Evan got sick, our deadline got lifted, we celebrated Evan's birthday, I got sick, we saw a hit-and-run accident (no-one badly hurt, luckily) which was scary, and to top it all off...
I woke up late at night to get some water and heard a drunk guy yelling in the street. As I got close to the window, I realized he was reciting Bob Dylan lyrics, and after every few lines would say "Thank you, Bob!". Suddenly, he asked the world "What was that song he won the Oscar for?! Didn't he win an Oscar?!" And when no answer was forthcoming he said "Oh, who cares, anyway!", proceeded to curse Dylan out and ended with the statement "I mean, you ain't no Johnny Cash, that's for sure!!". Then, all was quiet.
That was probably one of the biggest wtf moments of my life. I only wish I could have seen the guy, but it's probably better that I didn't.
Just wanted to pop in and say hello since I know from my email that some of you read Evan's journal...yes, I did take a good whacking on the head from that ceiling. (A good reason to use drywall, since it wouldn't have hurt nearly as much as 80-odd year old plaster and concrete!) Luckily, I was near the ceiling so the piece that hit me hadn't fallen very far before it broke over my head! No sign of concussion but I am still feeling it in my head and arm where it hit me. Anyway, that was a really long-winded way to say I'm okay and none the worse for wear. In my history of blows to the head, it wasn't even a really bad one. Be back soon to set some posts free from draft mode!
We celebrate it in the secular spring-has-arrived way around here (go read this for the best commentary on Easter I've seen in ages so I don't have to go into it, especially since I won't say it half as eloquently!) and this year that mainly boiled down to putting together a "basket" (really it's in a tin pail) for Emily full of colorful bunny stuff. Which I have just finished doing! More on that later....in the meantime, have a fun day no matter how you celebrate it!
With all the drama and deadlines going on around here, I completely missed the first day of spring last week! Luckily, I was just now reminded that Spring was here...because the ice cream truck made its first circuit of our neighborhood. Yay for Spring and Summer! And yay for chocolate soft serve!! Thank you, Lickety Split Ice Cream man! (Yes, I do know it's a man, I'm not making an assumption. His name is Dave. Unless he quit, that is. Yes, I had a lot of soft serve the summer I was pregnant. And in case you were curious, I am loyal to the chocolate dip chocolate soft cone in a regular cone. No sugar cones for me.)
A meme for our current apron swap! Um...i didn't write these questions, so I'm actually having a little trouble answering them! I'll try, though.
1. What is your first food memory?
Mmmmm...this is rough. Two very early memories involving food are leaving cookies and milk for santa; and eating fried fish after my brother arrived.
2. What was your favorite dish/food as a child?
I probably had a different one every year! A big thing I remember - cold fried chicken and sandwiches at the beach. The little bit of grittiness only made them that much more special!
3. Name one of your mini's favorite foods:
Strawberries. Cherries. Tofu. Konnyaku. Mushrooms. (The konnyaku thing is funny because Evan doesn't like it at all, and I am just slightly more than neutral on it, but she's all "I want some konnyaku!")
4. What was your mini's first solid food? Did they love it or hate it?
First mushy foods were rice cereal and sweet potatoes; first actual solids were...I think cubes of silken tofu? And, see above, she eats it as a snack to this day.
5. What was something you were excited to make for your mini for the first time?
Probably our favorite cookies since she was able to start "helping" me in the kitchen!
6. What is your favorite food memory?
Another really rough one, I have so many memories that are pegged to food! We always talk about this amazing Japanese omakase kaiseki meal we had at the Kitano in Manhattan though. I'll always remember that night! The above mentioned food at the beach is probably fighting for first place though.
7. Your mini's birthday party : All out theme with perfect kid food ala Martha? or Quiet family home party with scrumptious cupcakes? Something in-between?
So far it's been small (albeit with the fancy cupcakes) but she's only 2...I suspect I will have to rein myself in from going over the top when she starts having real parties!
8. Name one thing you absolutely love to make and eat when you are feeling like a kid again:
Hmmm. I have no idea. Cookies or brownies?
9. Name something you ate as a kid that you now look back on and wonder "what were my childhood taste buds thinking??" :
Ha! Easy one - pickles and applesauce. Maybe it's great but I'm afraid to try. Even pregnant I didn't eat anything that insane!
10. Name 3 things your mini loves (doesn't have to be food related):
Totoro, books, animals. Her wooden toy ones AND "her" cats (poor beleaguered things)
And David Seah has a brilliant idea for celebrating it: in the spirit of the movie, make this your chance to get things right. Move your resolutions to today from Jan 1st! Go read his proposal, it makes perfect sense. In a nutshell - Jan 1st is the worst time of year to make resolutions; you're tired and worn out from the holidays (And I think January can be a pretty dank month). It's true, this year I was so wiped out I didn't even attempt to make resolutions. So make them on Feb 2nd, after you've had time to get your head back above water and think more about them. He then lays out a whole plan for reviewing your progress based on the idea that today is 2/2, so on each following month/day pairing (3/3, 4/4 etc) you will take some time to think about them. He did leave out the 3/3 Girls' Day (which we celebrate every year!) and 5/5 Boys' Day holidays, but I guess they're not that relevant.
Of course, the trick will still be to keep your resolution list short and realistic; and to approach them in a fashion that makes sense. But that's a whole different issue.
Okay, I'm off to think about making 3 resolutions for this year! What will yours be?
Today I got my camera back (I know it's old and a bit clunky, but I love it) -- it broke over the holidays, okay, got broken. When it was dropped. By a baby. Whose mother let her hold it. MY FAULT! Canon repaired it and got it back to me lickity-split and boy oh boy did I miss it. Using the crappy old Fuji while it was gone has been painful.
I also got my big post-xmas treat - a full-size food processor (or robot culinaire, yay!), something I've wanted for years and just couldn't bring myself to buy. Reading recipes with Emily, I kept finding things that called for a processor, and Evan finally said "let's get one!" So we did. And it's here. And we have already tested it with every fading vegetable we had in the house. Emily does not like it at all (probably a good thing) but Evan and I were like "sprouty potato? DIE!!" Now I have to go back and find all the recipes I've avoided because I didn't have one.
We also got an unpainted set of Milk and Cheese vinyl test shots for me to do a paint master on. Slowly but surely, these figures are finally working their way towards coming out.
Now if the last of Emily's presents would just show up it would be the greatest day of the year so far.
Can it really be two years ago today? To me it feels like either a week or an eternity, depending on the day and how tired I am....
We planned to go to the Central Park Zoo to see the polar bears and penguins (two of emily's absolute favorite animals) but the weather is hazy and icky so we're going to wait for the next nice day. Cake and presents later! For now, just all the fun a two-year-old can handle. (which is a lot. today, it feels like an eternity...)
Earlier this year, my mom gave me some family aprons to keep. I'm fairly sure that all three were made by my grandmother and based on the fabrics I'd guess easily 50 years ago if not more. Finally I had a chance to get them out, iron them and really look them over, and here they are:
First up is this so-classic-I-can't-believe it example. The fabric, the colors, the contrast-trimmed pocket, this is so vintage looking it almost looks like modern retro. And it's in perfect shape!
Then we have this classic gingham with cross-stitching that follows the fabric pattern. Unfortunately this one is not in great shape, there's a large area of discoloration and one of the ties has actually torn (but is still attached). I'm hoping I can fix it up.
And finally, this cute apron that was my mom's. We know this because her name is embroidered on the pocket:
I absolutely love that fabric. I don't know that I've ever seen bees and chickens in a print together before, but it somehow seems perfect. This one is a bit fragile but definitely worth preserving!
I don't know if I could ever bring myself to use any of them, but it's really neat to have four generation's aprons (Emily already has two little ones of her own) all together.
to everyone who's commented or emailed their love, condolences and support; here or on Evan's journal. It really has been helpful. thanks to you all, and I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend with your own loved ones!
...because there's no title for this that makes sense to me.
We have just gotten back from an emergency trip south. One of my younger brothers (I have four) collapsed two weeks ago, and although he was revived on the way to the hospital, he never regained consciousness and died a few days later. He was just 30, and was one of the most amazing people I have ever known. I can't even go into how much he had to overcome during his 3 decades, because you wouldn't even believe it. But the 26 years he spent with our family (we adopted him at the age of four) were 26 years the doctors thought he wouldn't even have. And they were 26 years (I can't tell you much about those first four, but I gather they sucked the most) that most people couldn't have handled with the grace and aplomb he eventually developed.
In his words (written for a Japanese site a friend of his was writing about him):
Hello. I'm Josh. This is my history. When I was born, I was born with a disease called Cystic Fibrosis. My doctors told my parents that I wouldn't live to see my 5th birthday. Thanks to modern advances in treatment and medication, I'm still alive today.
At age 25, my C.F. became critical. The only thing that would save my life was a double lung transplant. I almost didn't make it because in the end, my lungs failed. I received my lungs at the last moment. Now I'm 30 yrs. Everyday I wake up, is a wonderful day. I'm so happy that I'm still alive! Now, I always make the most of everyday! Life is great!
Summing up 30 years of incredibly difficult health problems like that is so very, very Josh! And the 11 months he had after his double lung transplant were an amazing gift that he was grateful for every day. He really did say, again and again, "Every day I wake up is a good day".
What he also doesn't mention is that one of the reasons he got his transplant was that for 2 years, while his health was failing dramatically, he fought for a bill in Florida that would close a loophole preventing adult cystic fibrosis patients from getting the lung transplants that Medicaid had already appropriated funds for. The bill was passed on the last day of the 2005 session and has already saved the lives of several young adults in Florida with CF.
Unfortunately, he apparently developed a pulmonary embolism (we'll never know what from, or if it even had anything to do with his transplant) and it killed him before he ever got to completely re-adjust to his new life and lungs.
I don't want you to think he was some saintly do-gooder or anything though. He had a lot of interests that were purely selfish -- he was crazy, I mean crazy about Macross (transforming his Yamato Valkyrie collection back into "fighter" form from "battroid" form so they could be put away was a serious challenge); he drew, he built models, he played bass, he ran around with his friends and did all kinds of things. And the stories I could tell you about his younger days....oh my. But while he was decidedly human, he did fight for not just his own life, but for many other people's as well.
I am proud to have known him, and sorry that Emily won't. In his honor, a few resources:
I know organ donation is a touchy subject, because it comes back to that whole creepy "thinking about death" thing that no-one likes to do. But without donated lungs, he wouldn't have even had the extra year. And he himself was able to donate organs and save three lives last week. If you can't bring yourself to think about it much, please consider just checking off that box on your driver's license.
If you are willing to think about these things in depth, look into an advance directive -- not only can you specify what and how you would donate, you can make your wishes known on a number of (yes, touchy) subjects. I cannot tell you what peace of mind our family had because Josh had filled out one of these Five Wishes forms. We knew exactly what he would have wanted at every turn. I will be filling one of those out myself. Well, when I get up the nerve to think about all that stuff I will.
And again, if you have anything that really needs to be protected, kids or intellectual property or just things that you do want to go to the right home/person/place, think about a will. Icky, I know. (And actually, my brother didn't have or need one -- he was single with no kids, and did not have a family that does things like fight over people's stuff when they die. So, no, not everyone needs one.)
Anyway, that's about all I can really say about it right now. We're just trying to wrap our heads around the whole thing and get back to work, if not back to normal. I am going to take some time to think about things and what I am doing with myself, so I don't know how much or what I'll be posting soon. (As you may have noticed, even Evan is speechless right now.) Thanks for sticking with me this long, and hopefully we'll see you soon.
Emily's 2nd Halloween, and her first one with a slight clue what was going on. I made her this Cheburashka costume, which has great significance to us but which I knew would be interpreted by most people as a teddy bear (although a few people thought she was a puppy!) I had a serious moment of doubt working on this costume...I didn't think I could pull it off since I was winging most of it. But then everything clicked and it ended up working out fine. Furry felt is pretty awesome, although I feel like washing it would destroy it completely. And I'm not sure how comfortable it actually was -- but she didn't complain a bit, and even kept her hands inside the little paw-mittens!
We took her to the mall for their big trick-or-treat thing. She liked looking at the other kids a lot, didn't like adults talking to her so much, and ended up pretty overwhelmed:
She sure looked cute though! Next year: real door-to-door trick-or-treating! Well, maybe.
Best costumes at the mall: two little asian boys dressed as yellow-track-suit Bruce Lee and a Shaolin Monk. Their mom was really happy that Evan recognized both costumes!
SICK!!! Annoyingly sick! My first bad cold in maybe 3 years. I am lucky that I don't actually get sick that often because boy oh boy do I HATE IT.
Actually, I did get some cool stuff, lots of well wishes and so on. More on that later. I'm woefully behind thanks to being SICK.
One thing I will post today: Neil Gaiman has done the entire creative community a great service by doing this. Noting the lack of thought most creators have given to the disposition of their intellectual property, he's had a template will drawn up for writers (easily modified for artists and so on I'm sure) that you can freely download and use to cover yourself.
This is actually a subject close to my heart. I've heard several stories of people who died leaving their creations in the hands of family who absolutely should not have had control over their work (and either over-exploited it or supressed it). And while there was no intellectual property involved, I learned a valuable lesson when my uncle died leaving no will, a wife he'd never bother to divorce even though they'd split up a decade earlier, and a live-in partner who was absolutely screwed over by the wife. Very nasty all around. I've since had discussions on many occasions with creators who honestly never even thought about what would happen to their work if they died leaving no will. Think about it for a minute -- if you're very lucky, the law passes your work into the hands of a family member who loves and respects what you do. If you're like most people, it does not.
Anyway, enough of that! If you have intellectual property of any sort to protect (no matter how big or small), go download the will template and get that on your to-do list today!
So, the second apron swap is underway, and I'm squeaking my meme answers in under the wire! Mystery partner, I hope they help you out!
1. what kind of holiday party food do you like best? finger food buffet or sit down multi-course style?
Truthfully, while I love the sit-down dinner, I would have to go with finger food -- and baked goods, I like cookies and brownies and things year-round, but especially during the holidays!
2. do you make/use those little name cards for your table seating or is that just another little something that magazines are trying to add to our already long holiday to-do list?
I probably did that as a kid. And it always seems like a good idea. But no.
3. do you miss sitting at the "kid's table"?
Depends on which kid's table! Growing up, the kid's table was the place to be, where my brother and I could totally goof around with friends. I have been at much less fun "kid's tables" though. Funny, no-one seems to do the kid's table anymore.
4. any particular holiday party traditions that you like to do every year?
The holiday season can't start without fast forwarding through Macy's Thanksgiving Parade (we mainly just like the balloons and the "real" Santa); we also must watch A Christmas Story at least once, we drive to see lights, we listen every night to an episode of The Cinnamon Bear...and I'm really looking forward to developing new traditions with the baby! (Okay, I just realized that was supposed to be party traditions, oops!)
5. Which is your favorite winter holiday?
The whole season, although (our thouroughly secular) Xmas wins for gifts and the trees. I love the trees. (Just have to say, nothing beats Halloween though!)
6. do you make or have you tasted any good egg nog recipes...whether using it in a dish or as a drink?
I have never made eggnog but I like the flavor of it -- I can drink the crappiest eggnog and be happy, I swear!
7. fruit cake .... do you love it or think it should be used as a door stop?
I am always seeing recipes for "real" fruitcake that look tempting, but I've been so grossed out by the traditional brick-style that I just can't bring myself to try them.
8. What do you like to do to get yourself in the holiday sprit (ie. certain music, visiting certain seasonal sites, enjoying winter weather, ect.)
Um, all the stuff in question 4; plus wrapping gifts, and I like planning and doing a holiday card! And let's not forget watching the Rankin-Bass specials (especially Rudolph -- we love the misfit toys!), although we usually miss most of them.
9. What is your favorite holiday song and who sings it best?
Hmm, that's a rough one, I like the idea of holiday music better than the reality of it. As much as I might like any song, by the time I've heard it for 3 weeks straight I never want to hear it again. The Cocteau Twin's "Winter Wonderland" is a big favorite.
10. Any ideas for interesting holiday themed parties? (Even if it's really out there -- like renting a snow machine and having everyone build snowmen if you live in a no-snow areas!)
Hmmm, well, I have one but I'm keeping it a secret!! Bwahahahaha!!
Also, on the subject of trees, I am big into the artificial tree. Our main tree is white, and I decorate it in red and white, mostly (see it here!); then the 2nd tree (much smaller) is pink, decorated in red, white and silver (see here!). Also I have a tiny silver one that lights up on it's own that's decorated in blue (no photo).
Yay first day of Fall! We'll be celebrating it shortly with a drive to Mitsuwa, where I hope to find that pumpkin wagashi have arrived!
Our trip was long, but overall pretty pleasant, with just a few roadbumps. Yes, I'm going to bore you with the details:
Got off to a really late start, so we stopped later than planned. Needing to eat fast and get the Monkey Baby (that's Emily, not Evan) to bed, we opted for the Shoney's Buffet across from the hotel. BAD MOVE. REALLY BAD MOVE. Evan thought he was going to die. I didn't feel much better. Emily, being the brains of the family, had refused to eat anything other than a few forkfuls of rice, so she was fine.
Things were going really well and we expected to get to our destination early -- then, a tire blew out. On I-95. Going fast. With an outside temp of oh..95? (And parents of toddlers, you will feel my pain when I tell you this happened about 10 minutes after getting Emily to sleep in the car!) 45 minutes on the side of the road with a sleepy toddler was not fun, and I'm here to tell you that our emergency plan (episodes of Pingu on the laptop) saved the day! Emily sat in the shade and watched them instead of running onto traffic or climbing into the woods after ticks. After getting a new tire in Savannah, GA, we ended up getting into town (that town being Gainesville, FL) in time to have dinner with the folks at a decent local fast food bento place (called Bentos, originally enough), where Emily impressed her grandparents with her amazing miso-slurping skills (she can make a bowl disappear in minutes!)
A very nice day -- we spent the morning doing some (mostly unrewarding) thrifting, had lunch at my beloved Burrito Brothers, got Emily to take a nice long nap, and then -- disaster struck! While checking out the mall just to see what was there, Emily dropped her new bunny (bought for her that morning thrifting) and it was gone just like that. We retraced our steps, checked lost and found, to no avail. Our guess is that the moment after she dropped it, someone scooped it up thinking they'd just scored a cute little bunny for free. PEOPLE! If you find a cute stuffed animal that's been lost -- someone lost it!! And they may be crying. Be nice and turn it in, because the next kid who loses a beloved animal may be yours! And if you have Emily's bunny...I hope it brings you terrible luck!! (The good news -- that night, Emily got her arms loaded with stuffed animals by her uncle, who received way more than he needed during his hospital stay last year. "Puppy" quickly erased all memory of poor departed "Bunny".)
The main days of the reunion (which was just my mom's immediate family. which is like, a million people!) -- a cookout, then pool fun for all the kids, followed by a day at the beach. And by the way, if you are like, the suncreen police, and you make sure everyone has their sunscreen, and then you go bodyboarding and forget that all the sunscreen has probably washed off your face and you get your nose burned....you are an idiot. Yes, that would be me. A chocolate-dipped chocolate cone from DQ was, at least, some consolation.
A short trip to Atlanta to visit friends, where Evan was introduced to City of Heroes (and he wants to play badly) and got to eat some Krystals.
Mostly just driving, lots of pretty scenery and one shopping stop.
At last! SCORE! We found used bookstores, thrift stores, antique places with cool stuff. We were actually so overwhelmed we almost freaked out. We bought some cool stuff and are planning to go back for more someday! This is the kind of day that road-tripping is all about. Yay!
okay, I've gotta run so we can go look for my wagashi....hopefully I'll have photos of some of the scores we did make asap. Happy Autumn, everybody!!
we're packing up and getting ready to get on the highway tomorrow -- we'll be gone for a week visiting family and friends, checking out cool places and hopefully having lots of fun. If nothing else, I'll get to see about one zillion of my cousins! See you when we get back--and I've got lots of crafty goodness going on but no time to post it before we go. Yes, freezer paper is involved!! Stay tuned and have a good week!
You are a cohesive force - able to bring many people together for a common cause.
You tend to excel in work situations, but you also facilitate a lot of social gatherings too.
Beyond being a good leader, you are good at inspiring others.
You also keep your powerful emotions in check - you know when to emote and when to repress.
Your strength: Emotional maturity beyond your years
Your weakness: Wearing yourself down with too many responsibilities
I was tagged by Thien-Kim with this one; it's pretty fun!!
1. Go to Wikipedia.
2. In the Search box, type your birth month and day (but not year).
3. List three events that happened on your birthday.
4. List two important birthdays and one interesting death.
5. One holiday or observance (if any).
1767 - Mason-Dixon line, survey separating Maryland from Pennsylvania is completed.
1851 - Herman Melville's Moby-Dick is first published as The Whale by Richard Bentley of London.
1985 - Nintendo releases the Nintendo Entertainment System in the United States. There were too many to choose from! So I picked one from each of the last 3 centuries.
1898 - Lotte Lenya, Austrian singer and actress (d. 1981)
1919 - Anita O'Day, American singer
2000 - Julie London, American singer and actress (b. 1926)
2000 - Gwen Verdon, American dancer and actress (b. 1925) Okay, I cheated, but Julie London and Gwen Verdon on the same day?!
French Republican Calendar - Piment (Chili Pepper) Day, twenty-seventh day in the Month of Vendemiaire
I'm tagging Christopher, (who I just discovered is way into OTR like Evan is! Which is irrelevant but...) Also Mary and Cate, who I know haven't done this one.
Thanks to everyone who's been saying nice things over on Evan's journal. We got home a little while ago from the vet, where Mr. Jinx finally finished out his run here with us. He started to really deteriorate a few days ago, and this morning while we were waiting from a call back from his Dr., he got up onto a kitchen counter and then fell off and was unable to get back up without help. We were hoping he could make it to his 15th birthday next month, but still, nearly 15 years is pretty good for a kitty. Bye bye, Jinxie. Hope Pixie's waiting to show you where the best sleeping spots are.
update: Crushy is a little bounder! Not 6 hours after we came home with no Jinx, and he took possession of the bedroom again. (He gave it up about a year and a half ago). It was nice to have the kitty company though!
I was tagged by Matt days ago but...well, I don't really need to go on and on about how roadrunner is sucking the very life out of me, do I?
Four (day) jobs I've had:
1. salesgirl @ punk/vintage clothing store
2. receptionist @ hair salon
3. art director @ (very small) newspaper
4. counter person @ bagel shop
Four movies I can watch over and over:
1. The Women
2. The Thin Man
I know Evan will see this and be able to tell me of at least 5 more movies I have watched over and over. But right now I'm drawing a blank!
Four places I've lived:
Four TV shows I love:
None. We pretty much only watch movies. And even shows I did watch I don't feel the need to see again (like Northern Exposure)
Four places I've vacationed:
Four of my favorite dishes:
2. salmon with truffles that used to be served at Montrachet
3. asparagus maki (negimaki made with asparagus)
4. chili - practically any kind
Wow, that month went by fast. Things got busy, (more than a bit stressful) and most of all - our internet connection has been a royal pain, we've barely been able to get online in ages. (Looks like it's partly fixed, when I finish the job we're currently on I'll try and suss out the rest of the problem.)
Also coming once this job is turned in: my tie one on entries, cutie cupcakes made for Emily's birthday (no, she didn't eat any!), Miyazaki goodness and more! Also trying to fix a bunch of techy things, like set up a Technorati Profile for me and one for Evan. Anyway, hope your holidays were great and your new year even better. See you soon!
Hope you all are having a relaxing and festive holiday weekend. And remember, like I said last year -- avoid CBS' crappy parade coverage!
Update - just got a mailing that Puffy (a.k.a. PuffyAmiYumi) will be in the parade! That's pretty cool. I must say though, notifying your mailing list at 1 am the night/morning before the parade...? Not too timely. The mailing also said there will be dolls coming out soon. Dolls that I already saw over a month ago, hello! (Dolls which I may have to get since I have the other two doll sets of Puffy...)
"The days are long but the years are short." - John Leguizamo (InStyle Magazine, July 2005, via Metrodad)
"everyone is as happy as they choose to be" - Abraham Lincoln, paraphrased by my mom. (Okay, before someone gets persnickety, the quote is really: "Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." I like my mom's version better.)
Since the IMDb lists it, it's hardly a secret that yesterday was our anniversary. (Curiously, someone has added that I was born in Louisiana -- which is true -- no idea who knew that though!) We decided to keep it low-key because of time and $$ constraints, and this awful heat!! So we went to our beloved Mitsuwa with Baby Em and spent the afternoon having fun, even though half the place is closed down. We goggled at the way overpriced but super cute baby toys selection (Mitsuwa is so NOT where I got Em's swanky Totoro stuff!), Ev drooled over all the new vinyl Kaiju, we pored over (but did not buy) the Ultraman Daddy and Child Care Book, and I did buy a book of kid's clothing patterns & designs ("Child's Collection 2005" -- I love those books!) which came with free Usahana fabric to make a little tote or something. There's a fantastic plaid dress that's slightly Goth Loli and super-cute! I'll be making that one when she's big enough, definitely. We then got way too much food (even though half the restaurants were closed as well!), featuring tonkatsu for me, sushi & tempura for Evan, and Baby Em's first taste of tofu! And then I got my heart's desire -- more boxes of Re-Ment miniatures! (Their site is down, but here're some pictures). I cannot begin to tell you how much I love Re-Ment, I mean it's well-known that I love miniature kitchen stuff, fake food, miniature food, and especially fake mini food, so it's like this stuff was created especially for me. I only wish I could afford to actually collect them all!! Finally, we picked up some wagashi -- at last I got the goldfish bowl wagashi I always miss every year (from the rotating seasonal selection) -- and then we started home.
thanks everyone for all the well wishes and congrats -- if you don't know what I'm talking about, our daughter Emily Jane Dyer was born last week on December 30th. Evan posted the news so you probably saw it there. He'll be the main point of contact for a while as I recuperate and we both adjust to baby. Here's to a happy new year for us all!
Just popping up to say "hi" -- as you can imagine, things are out of control busy here getting ready for our new assistant to make her appearance. Everything's good, just head-spinning busy. And if things come down to keep me from posting again soon, I just want to say happy holiday(s) of your preference to all!!
As you have probably all guessed, things have gotten pretty hectic at this point, thus the lack of entries. What's new? Well, most of what's new you probably know from Evan's blog. Poor Stripesy. That was a bad couple of days.
Ikeas everywhere are sold out of those cute SP�KA ghosts, phooey. (I'm hoping they got bought up for Halloween and will come back eventually.) I know this because we have been to Ikea twice in the last few weeks and now have a load of unassembled nursery furniture (more for me to do, phew!).
Lots of house stuff getting done, I found what may be the only actual plasterer in the area to fix Evan's collapsed office ceiling (everyone seems to only do sheetrock or commercial work), so that was cool, plus the guy did an amazing job. Got all the tree work taken care of too, so we don't have to worry about anything crashing onto our roof this winter.
Work is in bad bad overdrive right now, too many jobs too far behind, but it is all getting done. And housework/getting ready for baby is drastically behind, but enough will be done in time for us to manage.
And speaking of baby, Baby X is cooking right along, everything is going well and she's scheduled to arrive just under a month from now. Of course that really means anything from 2-6 weeks, so I'm trying not to obsess over the "countdown". It's hard not to though. Come on, baby!! Get here already!! Um...as soon as I've at least finished fixing up the bedroom, that is.
As you may have guessed, we've had a lot of discussions about parenting this year. And while of course you want your kids (or nephews or nieces or close family friends of the under-5 variety) to like things you like, and reject things you don't, we've already agreed that you can only take that so far. (There's a reason they came up with that whole "lead a horse to water" saying.) And we also agree that we can't stand parents who express themselves through their children and shove their kids in front of them like props in an obvious, look at how cool we are to have such "cool" kids move. But it's a hard thing to put into words. That is why I love, I mean LOVE this blog entry from the new-to-me Being Daddy site. If you have kids, want kids, think you just might have kids, know someone with kids, take care of kids, etc etc etc, it's an absolute must-read!! Not only could I never have said it better, I don't think anyone could have.
First, I just have to say -- more belated thanks and hellos to everyone! Doing a two-day convention turned out to be a little beyond the limits of my energy. It's the first time I've really run into the wall of pregnancy-related fatigue and it took me out for days. Whew.
But today's complaint -- I had a regular Dr. appt today, and there was some huge problem that set everyone back by about 2 hours, so there was lots of tired and bored waiting going on. But that's not what was annoying. What was annoying was that most of the time we were waiting, there weren't enough seats. And it was amazing to see able bodied men (and women who weren't patients) studiously looking down at their magazines and newspapers so that they could pretend not to notice hugely pregnant women standing around the edges of the room. At one point there were actually four men sitting, and four pregnant women standing, and not a single one of them offered to give up his seat. (No, Evan wasn't one of them, he stood until there were finally free seats.) At one point an elderly woman stood up and offered her seat to a woman who was practically about to give birth and it still didn't shame any of these people into getting up. It's not just the children of today who aren't learning manners...Grrr!
Thanks to all of you for the well-wishes on the baby news!! You are all just too, too swell.
A couple of answers:
Yes, Josh, I'm really glad I don't live in Florida anymore!
On names -- we're keeping those to ourselves until after she's here. A baby-naming contest? SCARY!!
I certainly hope she does go into outerspace someday!
Don't know about the art thing, she'll probably end up an accountant or something. Then again, that'll mean she can support us in our old age so I shouldn't complain.
And you want to hear about onesies? Check these out. Okay, pretty spendy, but American Apparel makes incredibly great stuff. And they come in black. About as non-foo-foo as you can get! Oh, and now maybe a couple of you figured out why we added a bunch of onesies to our cafepress store...
non-baby comments: just read the manga of Spiral, I was pretty disappointed. It seemed so far off the novel I thought it might actually be an adaption of the movie (that would be the movie Rasen, not the movie Ring 2) instead -- but the big ringworld site says that it really is an adaptation of the novel. On reading the information on the site, I think it seems like a bad adaptation because of the awkwardness of the english-language version. It's really awkward, not what I'd expect from a Dark Horse product. Here's an example of one passage AHEM -- minor spoiler passage ahead!!:
Dark Horse: Inside Yamamura Sadako's body that has both male and female sexual organs, the spermatazoa and the ovum get fertilized. Next, such fertilized egg is released, and the regenerative DNA is replaced with the DNA of the fertilized egg.
Ringworld: Sadako... with her female-and-male anatomy, she could produce both sperm and egg and incite fertilization within her own body. Bringing the fertilized egg to fruition, however, would require removing the DNA from within the egg and replacing it with that of some outside source.
Okay, I don't know which one is more literally correct, but I sure know which one makes sense to me...anyway. If you get the manga, you might want to check out the Ringworld translation alongside it.
And finally, all I can say about Johnny Ramone is WTF? What on earth did that band do to bring down such an evil curse upon themselves? As Evan said, that is just so wrong.
As most of you have probably noticed, Evan and I tend to keep quiet about our projects until we feel confident enough to announce them. We've been working on a pretty major collaboration for some time now, and keeping it quiet hasn't been easy, let me tell you. But, we're pretty confident that we'll be making our expected ship date this December so we feel it's high time to let you all in on what we've been working on. So, we're happy to finally announce our latest (and by far greatest) House of Fun project -- our daughter, due right before Christmas this year!
Yes, that's right, we're adding a new little staff member to the House of Fun studio. I'm just about 6 months along now, and she's super-healthy and doing great. I'm doing very well too, at least these days. If any of you remember, I was really ill this spring -- yup, that was because of this baby. I was severely ill with pregnancy sickness (let's not call it morning sickness because it was 24-hours-a-day sickness) for about the first 3-1/2 months, but thank goodness things have gone well ever since that finally ended.
But now you all know why we have been so scattered, stressed and overworked this year. (Not to mention getting rid of things as fast as we can -- this house is small!) I expect this pattern will be continuing for quite some time. Don't worry, I won't be boring everyone to death with the details of my crib comparison shopping or decisions over how many onesies one baby really needs. But since that sort of nonsense does take up quite a bit of my time these days, you can expect a lame posting frequency from me -- sorry about that!
Anyway, so that's what has really been going on around here for most of 2004. Many mysteries are becoming clear, aren't they? ^_^ Thanks to everyone who has been supportive and just generally nice to us this year (and always) -- it all helped us get through the tough days!
In house news, this really should be part of the unfinished "my favorite tools" bit for the cooking class, but since I've had no time I just want to push on you my latest favorite thing, the in-drawer knife block that was delivered today. I've been wanting one of these for ages, but they all seemed too expensive or too junky. This one is great—it holds 6 knives, 6 steak knives (or small knives) plus your steel. And it only cost $17! (Most I've seen didn't hold that much and ran about $40.) The regular knife block on the counter was just bulky and annoying, and got so dirty. So, a bunch of stuff came out of the drawer and went into my new cool Fiestaware tool crock (mine is turquoise) and then the knife block went into the drawer. It's all so much neater and easier to get to now.
Finally, Evan's been having all the fun talking about movies lately, so I'm chiming in first with a report on The House Where Evil Dwells, a horror movie we thought might be quick and goofy and which turned out to be one of the most ludicrous things calling itself a film I've ever seen in my life. One IMDb user calls it "high camp", except it's not supposed to be…the best user comment is "Be Drunk. Very Drunk." It was hysterically funny, I have to admit. Giant talking cursing crabs going up trees? Talking heads in soup? Evil ghosts who act like naughty children? Awkward out-of-shape white man martial arts? Worth catching for a laugh, if you've got some downtime to spare.
Yesterday was like a totally charmed day. Days like that don't come along too often, so pardon me while I savor it a bit longer.
First, I got all my seedlings started (a little late, I know, but I forgot a couple things I was out of and had to wait to get them back in). It's so nice to look over in my office and see two big covered flats, condensation forming on the domes and all. This year I'm not getting too experimental. I've got one flat full of varieties of impatiens (a double, a mixed single, and my favorite, balsam). The other has a mix of a few things I'm trying out this year, but most of it is full of no-brainers like mint.
Then, a huge baby-shower-in-a-box I'd sent my just-about-to-burst friend Antonia arrived in the literal nick of time. It should have been there Wednesday, but finally got there a few days late, with what we're thinking is about 30 hours left. I made up a mixture of vintage baby items, a few fun things (like the awesome Twink book and CD set), and a bunch of stuff I made which I can now finally write up and start the projects section with.
Next, my regular checking of the More4Less Bargain Blog paid off when I was able to use one of their super-tricky deals to get a Rio MP3/CD-R player for $29 including shipping. (Not to mention a free Harry Potter PC game I can find a home for as part of the deal.) No more CD wallet on those 2-3 hour trips! And, no more burning vintage radio shows to audio format to listen to them in the car.
At that point, Evan got up and suggested we go out for a few hours since the weather was so nice (rainy, but warm). We headed out to Jersey and hit up the Edgewater Target where I was able to get these big metal tubs I want to use as planters. I have these junky big plastic things that the previous owners of our house left behind, and I've wanted to replace them since the day we moved in, but everything I've found was either too small, too ugly, or too expensive. I saw these big enamelled "beverage tubs" for $10 at a Target a week or two ago and thought they might be great to use in the garden. Found them at this Target and went for it, picked up two green and one yellow, for basically the price of one boring oversized planter from the local Home Depot. I can't find anything like them online or I'd show them to you. (My one moment of disappointment yesterday—I wanted the David Kirk Miss Spider watering can to water my seed trays in my office, but it was sold out.)
And finally, we ended our day up at Mitsuwa where we surprisingly didn't find any stuff we wanted to buy (in the toy/magazine/book/hello kitty/dishes/etc side), but had a nice meal (predictably, I had tonkatsu) and then stocked up on foodstuffs. Food highlight (I'll spare you the boring stuff): the instant Hello Kitty cakes I love in chocolate now come in banana and melon, tried the melon last night and it was great. We got some other cool new snacks but they're downstairs and I'm too lazy to go and check on what they are. One is called "chocolate pie", by Lotte, sort of a puff-pastry cookie with chocolate inside (didn't see that coming, did ya?); the other are these little chocolate and macadamia nut mushroom caps on cookie stems. Very cute. Evan also surprised me with a special Wagashi from the Minamoto Kitchoan. The one he got me isn't listed on their site, and I don't remember what it's called, but it's a plum wine jelly with a whole plum and gold leaf flecks in it. Mmmm.
And today's a bit of a loss, we have a family function to go to that'll kill our worktime today, but we should at least get a really good meal out of it!
Finally, the weather has changed and it's really Fall, not just technically Fall, and it's almost October. October has always been my favorite month, and Fall my favorite season, for a number of reasons: my birthday is in October; my favorite holiday, Halloween, is in October; it's the month that you get to start wearing sweaters and eating warming foods; nature goes into her whole Autumn display; and it holds the promise of Winter, which I really like in concept, but don't actually like when it's here. I also love the whole iconography of Halloween (yes, I'm one of those people who sometimes decorates the whole house for it) and making Halloween food and treats. Here's one recipe I'm definitely going to do this year—how cute are those? Now to just find the time to plan the party and…think of a costume. Guess who has zero ideas this year?
And here is my very first blog entry ever! Written while setting up the original jinjur site and installing movable type. Preserved here for posterity!
I'm writing this before even getting the page set up. But I've just finished putting this Version 0.1 of jinjur together after planning it for years. (Talk about having no life.) Since I forced my own hand by listing the URL in Kodocha #5 I finally had to do it. It's not a bad method of making yourself finish something - put in print somewhere so you really look stupid if you don't get it done. Hopefully I'll be able to get the rest going sooner than later - I think that getting this well-defined and separated from everything else will make it much easier to focus on this stuff when I want to, instead of intending to add some sewing article and then getting caught up in some revision of the Milk & Cheese pages.