Thursday, December 25, 2008

Pretty, right? I thought so. So how has your holiday season been? Mine has been very relaxed and calm. Last night we had dinner at my mother-in-law's home. I bring the same thing every year: Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. It is delicious, and one of the few things I can eat there. I've come to the realization that even though many people know I'm a vegetarian, its not really something they keep in mind come holiday time. Not that I expect people to cater to me, but something more than mashed potatoes, crackers, and the crudites platter would be nice.

Today I'm actually cooking, and yes, its more than dessert. I'm making brisket, latkes, brussel sprouts, asparagus, and bruschetta. Its my own little bit of Jewishness during the Festival of Lights. I'm hoping that drinking coffee with Bailey's is kosher.

Santa did bring me some new boots and a new running top, and Sephora Santa (if you're not familiar with that Santa, go here) brought me a new Shu Uemura eyelash curler and Nars' The Multiple in Orgasm. I like Sephora Santa.

I had plans to go snow shoeing today, but I fell asleep on the couch after yummy Jet Potatoes and the afore-mentioned coffee with Bailey's. You don't know this Jet Potatoes of which I speak? Well, if you were at my "Run-n-Brunch" event this past May, you'd have eaten them and raved about their White Trash goodness. For those of you who either 1) ignored my invitation, 2) were not invited because I don't like you, or 3) don't fit into either #1 or #2, but weren't here anyway, below is the original recipe.

Jet Potatoes

Preheat the oven to 450.

In a large bowl, melt one stick of margarine (I use butter, but the original recipe uses margarine). Add to this one can of cream of mushroom soup, 8 ounces of sour cream, one bunch of green onions (chopped), 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. of black pepper. Add to this one 2 pound bag of frozen "country style" hash browns (these are the ones that are cut into cubes- DO NOT use Potatoes O'Brien that have the green peppers, they make the dish taste icky). Stir well until all potatoes are covered. Place this mixture in a greased 9" x 13" pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the top with 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and a mixture of 4 cups crushed Corn Flakes and 1/2 stick melted margarine (I use the pre-made Corn Flake crumbs and omit the butter, for obvious reasons). Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the dish is bubbly and golden brown on top.

Traditionally, these are served at my mother's house with Sue Wallace's Monkey Bread and Peaches & Bananas (literally, canned peaches mixed with sliced bananas), and the beverage of choice is coffee with Bailey's, until my dad and brothers bust out the Chartreuse and get all goofy. Enjoy this with your own family, whomever they may be, unless you're in the neighborhood, then stop by and see us. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Which Ghost Brought THESE?!...

So, I have ghosts in my house. Seriously. There has been more than one occasion where the following has happened to me:

1. I am sleeping upstairs in my bed, with my body facing the edge of the bed, back to the bedroom door.
2. I am actually half-asleep, like in that dream state just before you really wake up.
3. I hear slow, deliberate footsteps coming up our stairs. It sounds like men's dress shoes (we have wood floors).
4. My husband has always been away at these times, and let me tell you, I lock those doors tight. I don't want to deal with any of his friends stumbling over to our house from the bar because they know I won't kick them out.
5. So the steps continue to my bedroom, and move around the bed to where I'm "asleep."
6. I feel- that's right, I FEEL- someone sit on the edge of my bed right next to me.
7. I try not to pee on myself, count to three, and with my eyes still closed, I flip over so my back is now towards the ghost on my bed.
8. Once I've flipped over, I open my eyes, look at the alarm clock, and the time is always the same: 3:33 am.
9. I can't make this shit up.

So, my point is this: was it that ghost who brought the Chupacabra of Cookies to my house (they are the Candy Cane variety of the Evil Lofthouse Cookies. They taste like butter mints.), or was it one of the Christmas ghosts? And if it was a Christmas ghost, was it the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, or Future?

Let the debate begin...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Renovation Dirt Can Look Cool, Too.

Top photo is some dirt that was behind the old cabinets in the kitchen. The cobwebs and shadows give it that abstracted look. The bottom photo is the same photo as the top one, just with some iPhoto filtering. I like 'em. I'm always tempted to give art as a gift, but its just too personal of a medium for me to impose on someone as a gift: "Look! I created this, and I want you to treasure it as if it were my first born!" I just don't think its practical- and if I'm anything, I'm practical.

So, I'm thinking of creative ways to not spend mountains of cash on my friends this holiday season. My ideas so far include: 1) cookie exchange; 2) my W.T. recipe collection; 3) knit hats and/or scarves; or 4) handbags all around. In all actuality, it will probably be a bit of each of those.

And if you don't know what "W.T." is, then you get a hat. Knit out of icky acrylic yarn.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Out and About with My Peeps

Don't we look happy and well fed? My Peeps from the left: Susan (a new friend), me, My Favorite Redhead, and Lynnie Poo. By this point, My Favorite Local Celebrity had to leave us for her bartending gig (but she looked soooo cute in her new skirt/boots/overcoat combo!), and I had switched from vodka gimlets to bottled water. I was wearing my spankin' new green birthday coat (thank you, Mother-In-Law!) from BB Dakota , bought at the locally owned Gigi's Boutique. I did manage to get a good pic of My Favorite Local Celebrity at her bartending gig (below). She's on the right.

Anyhoo, I did get a bit of holiday shopping done, and I don't think I'm the only person with this problem: What do you get the kid who has everything? I struggle with this every year, and usually end up getting clothes, or- worse yet- books (at least from the kid's point of view). Now, I know that I would be geeked with nice clothes or a good book, but when you're seven, the aunt that gives you clothes or books is L-A-M-E. So I think I'm gonna get the kid this game I saw on the television called djubi . And maybe a cool t-shirt for good measure.

So that was Friday. Saturday and Sunday were spent getting creative with left overs, squeezing in a workout at the YMCA, and being surprised that I was not hung over. Really! Now I just need to start hiding all of the displaced items laying around the house (due to the Neverending Renovation) so I can decorate my house all sparkly like. I think I may even host a cookie exchange...

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday surrounded by people they love, and spent the rest of the weekend making themselves happy. Have a great week!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Today began with hot coffee, the annual Turkey Trot 5K (complete with a new runner- Go Red!), and now some chillin' before we head to the mother-in-law's for our Indian-themed (Indian as in India, not Native) Thanksgiving dinner. I even painted my nails for the occasion.

However you spend your day, remember that the focus is to give thanks, even if you're giving thanks for not having to see certain people all the time!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Two Scenes From The Windy City

So, like I mentioned before, I went to Chicago with The Devil last weekend. Fan-freakin'-tastic time, too. After the circus on Friday night, we went to The DIY Trunk Show , a huge hand-made goods market. We saw lots of cool things, met lots of cool crafters, picked up a few gifts (like pins for Katie and Hannukah that say "I'm a Crafty Mother Fucker"- it gets them off my back for bailing on the craft show I normally go to...), and saw the above picture. Yep, its a cat in an apron. After some discussion, The Devil and I decided that the vendor didn't get that the cat in the apron was strange; she probably thought she was being clever or cute. Its even more strange when you see the hound dog peeking at you, too. After crafting ourselves silly, we headed to traditional consumer fare, like Crate and Barrel, The Container Store, and Sephora. Dinner was sushi at Ai , billed as "The hottest new sushi in River North." No complaints on our part- it was simply wonderful.

We also managed to avoid actually seeing The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival and Parade, but did run into the yahoos in the subway. So many people! They actually close Michigan Avenue to ALL traffic for the parade (between Oak and the bridge), and we were able to walk down the middle of the avenue, north to south, because of the lack of cars and cabbies. It was after the event, and I ran out to the middle median (before people started crossing the street again) and snapped the picture below. Absolutely quintessential Holiday Season in Chicago scene. *sigh*

Alrighty then- that's it for now because I'm off to "get my stripes painted on," as Mr. Fix likes to say. That'a man talk for "partial highlight and trim." Miss Rhonda does me good, so I'm off!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Greatest Show On Earth

I'm not talking about the circus (which I saw with The Devil this weekend in the Windy City), but rather the spectacle of plain ol' people, doing what they do in the streets of Chicago. I love people watching. I love trying to imagine what's going through their heads as they walk down the street, or ride the subway, or eat their sushi.

I have a point, but I will have to make it in a seperate post later today or tomorrow as I need to return to work right now. Enjoy that photo above of the finale from circus, and have a great Monday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

First It Was "Jingle Bells" In The Grocery Store at Halloween, and Now This.

Yep. 21 degrees outside right now, and we got hit with this yesterday afternoon. To discover (or rediscover, as the case may be) my true feelings on Winter and its evil cousin, Snow, please refer to posts from last Winter (which in these parts, lasts from late October until Memorial Day).

Just so I can write something more pleasant, see how pretty those Globe Amaranth are with the bit of white on top? And look (below) at the starkness of the bones, rocks, and snow...all the varying shades of white. Pretty, I guess, in its own Wintery cold kind of way.

Bundle up and don't forget your hat and gloves- most of your body heat is lost through your extremities!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Renovation Update

Kind of an uneventful weekend around here- Mr. Fix doesn't hunt the Big Bucks, eh? So he stayed home this weekend and built more cabinets, while I did some hunting of my own for our Almost-as-Long-as-the-Presidential-Campaign Kitchen Renovation.

The photo above shows the very messy kitchen (where today, believe it or not, I actually made soup from scratch!) and the cabinets as they look now. The bank to the right of the stove are new and really just the shells. The stuff to the left of the stove has been in for awhile, but they have fancy new drawers now with fancy new European glides. And soon they will have fancy new hardware from Resoration Hardware . We chose the Gilmore Pull for the drawers (4" wide in the satin nickel finish), and the Aubrey Pull for the doors (also 4" wide in the satin nickel). We are still on the hunt (groan) for hinges and pocket door hardware.

Below is another shot of the kitchen, as seen from the dining room. The shelves to the left are new, too, and are waiting for the glass from the glass place before the doors get painted to match and installed.

Other things that have been occupying my time? Well, Daughter #1 had her first college open house this weekend in Chicago at Columbia College . In typical teenager fashion, she didn't have too much to say about the school, but managed to text me several times from Sephora , and even braved eating Sliders at White Castle . Say it with me on that second one: gah-ros-ah!

The rest of the day was spent running (a nice 5K through the park), wishing The Devil a speedy recovery from the little sick bug she caught (totally messed with our knitting plans!), mowing the lawn/downed leaves and mulching the garden one last time before the snow that has been falling actually sticks, making the afore-mentioned soup (a deelish vegetarian vegetable and barley soup I make from scratch!), and then...well, right here, right now blogging and stuff. It could be an early night.

However you spent your weekend, I hope it was productive in some shape or form. Have a great week!

Monday, November 10, 2008

White Gloves and Party Manners

I'm not kidding here: me and my sister, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with Full Force, each had a copy of this book growing up. I vaguely remember actual etiquette lessons, too. The author, Marjabelle Young Stewart, has a son, Billy, that we went to school with. I remember Billy's Miami Dolphin's coat (which I wish I could find a pic of online) more than his manners from that time period, but I'm sure- given the right setting- they were impeccable. He's a US Navy fighter pilot, now- just like he wanted to be from the moment he saw Tom Cruise in Top Gun.

Why am I telling you this? Blame it on the New York Times and this article: "All Apologies" . I, too, find myself correcting others' manners. People who are old enough to know better. I'm not talking about teenagers, here- its mostly other adults, young adults like Henry Alford mentions. And I, too, feel like an old fuddy-duddy (Although, would an old fuddy-duddy have just scored some sweet Citizens of Humanity jeans on eBay? I think not.) when I correct or gently prompt people.

I've often thought about conducting lessons for the kids I work with, and even bought a book with helpful tips for every day of the year. But I think the best way to teach is through example. I'm very conscious of saying "please" and "thank you" around the students, even the older teenagers. Sometimes, if I'm feeling adventurous, I'll say it in Potawatomi. Regardless, remember what your Elders taught you about manners and common courtesy. A little can go a looooonnnng way in making a positive impression.

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm So Happy I Don't Have To Move To Canada

What a surreal night last night. I found myself wanting to be transported to Grant Park with all those people I used to curse at during the Taste of Chicago. And then to wake up this morning and realize I wasn't dreaming and Senator Obama had become President Obama...bliss with my morning coffee.

I planned ahead, though. I took the rest of this week off and left instructions with the rest of the staff at work: Do NOT call me. We'll see if they remember. I thought that I might have to start packing for my new life in Toronto, but since the election came out the way I had hoped, I'll be staying put here in Southern Canada.

What else? Well, Mr. Fix and I are going to a wine tasting with Fast Jessica and the Fast Doctor tonight. The food is being done by a woman who used to cater in Napa, CA and our hopes are high for a tasty evening.

Tomorrow I'll be attending the opening for the Northern Exposures exhibit . Both Mr. Fix and I had pieces selected for this juried show (me= "Glance (David)" and him="Media Generated Viruscape"). Mr. Fix will not be attending, just me and Tha Doctah (not Fast Doctor) and some of our "hippy-dippy-post-menopausal" friends (that's what Mr. Fix likes to call the staff at the arts center). Cash and prizes are handed out at this shindig, so maybe I'll have something more to report on Friday.

The rest of today will look like this for me: eat Greek yogurt with strawberries; drink more coffee (good, hot coffee- not the reheated stuff. Mr. Fix left his thermos here this morning...); paint the trim in the kitchen (my way of "helping" with the renovation); go to the YMCA and workout a little; finish knitting my sweater (see picture below); get dolled up for my date night; have Mr. Fix drive me home and put me to bed (because I'm a lightweight).

For all of you knitters out there, I couldn't afford to buy enough Noro yarn for the entire sweater when I started this project (um...about 18 months ago!), so instead I bought Lopi Lite wool in a heathered plum color (its actually got a bit of red undertones to it) for the body and sleeves, and bought Noro's "Kureyon" in color 148, which is a variegated yarn with the same plum as the Lopi, but with some purple, maroon, magenta, olive green, and black. I'm using that for the ruffled edge trim on the front of the cardigan, plus edging on the sleeves. I'll for sure post pics when its complete.

And now, I'm off! Its a beautiful day today- again, temps in the upper 50's/low 60's- and the sun is shining. Have a fantastic day!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Time For a Change

Do your civic duty and VOTE today! Smile while waiting in those lines at your polling place- it keeps people wondering!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Renovation Update, With a Little Love

For all of you wondering how the renovation is going, I present to you my new kitchen sink. It is a lovely 18-gauge stainless steel undermount single bowl, with a depth of 10-1/2". I know it doesn't look like an undermount, but that's because the concrete counters haven't been installed/poured yet.

Nice, huh? Mr. Fix has been busy framing out the cabinets with rift-sawn maple (that means its got this cool, wavy shimmer to it) while the rest of us have been smiling at the new appliances. It was a bit strange to look in the refrigerator the first few days we had it, though; we had no food (since I am the only person in the house who knows where the grocery store is. And the laundry hamper. And the recycling bin. I could go on...) and it looked like we just picked up the floor model. Its full now, and everyone is smiling at it even more.

Mr. Fix did, however, take the time to cook us dinner on Saturday night, and cooked it up with an extra bit of love:

Awwww....yummy fingerling potatoes planted by his hands, tended in the garden by his hands, harvested by his hands, and then lovingly cooked by his hands. I ate this one in one big, noisy CHOMP! *giggle*

Hope this starts your week out with a smile!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Greetings, My Fellow Witches!

And a beautiful and Happy All Hallowed Eve to you! Are you going trick-or-treating? I'm going to be working (yes, on a Friday night) on my department's project: "The Trail of Terror!" There is a nature trail that runs behind the school buildings and bus garage and the like, and my boss and other staff members have turned it into a haunted trail. Bonfire, hot chocolate, and hot cider at the end, if you make it out alive...

I wasn't going to post anything about my race last weekend in Cape Cod, because the race itself was kinda shitastic. But I've had time to think about it, and for your reading pleasure (and to help usher in this new season of "giving thanks") I'm posting here my "From The Editor" article from my running club newsletter.

Can you recall the last time you were let down after you allowed yourself to build on the anticipation and excitement of something new? I sure can: my latest marathon adventure. Yep, the one I was sooo excited about because of the key sponsor (Dunkin’ Donuts), and how I’d get donuts at the end of the race. The one where I was going with one sister, one friend-of-sister, two friends, one spouse-of-friend, three children-of-friends, and one mother-of-friend. The one in a beautiful location (Cape Cod). The one where I’d have all of my training come to fruition in the form of a 4:40 finish time.


I should have suspected things were not going to be as they seemed when The Double Dee lost her ID at the airport in Marquette. No, wait- it dropped into a security bin and she wasn’t allowed to look and try to find it because the gate agents said “We’ve already checked, and its not there.” Liars. By the time we landed in Detroit, the ticket counter had called and said- oh, gee!- they found the ID in a security bin.

Another bad sign? When my sister, Katie texts us “Boston is $*!!@# “ and has to do four laps around the airport before being able to pick us up. Another stick in the spoke of us Midwesterners? Traffic round-abouts.

The hotel (the host hotel, even) had our room ready, but the toilet was leaking, and we had to change rooms. And even though the place needed updated decor and a good hosing down with Febreeze, it was quiet and the shower was hot.

The race expo was small but sufficient. Dunkin’ Donuts had fresh coffee and donuts for runners coming to pick up race bibs and timing chips. It was here that another sign showed up: two of our running posse would not be running. One strained IT band, and one nasty case of plantar fasciitis. An afternoon of shopping up and down Main Street, viewing little cuties in their costumes for the Halloween Parade, and an encounter with a store devoted entirely to cupcakes (Cup Capes of Falmouth) brightened spirits all around.

Saturday night the rain came down in sheets and the area was blanketed with thunder and 60 mph gusts of wind. Sunday morning broke with a light drizzle, 94% humidity, and volunteers and spectators wishing everyone “good luck.” I honestly didn’t think I’d need it.

Fast Jessica started waaaay ahead of us (and finished that way, too, in a fantastic time of 3:36), and then I left Katie and Kimmie at mile two. Things were going great, the rolling hills were really tough, I was hitting every mile right on pace, and then just past mile 17, but before mile 18, my left hip went *ting* and popped like a shoulder impingement. My leg literally buckled, and I had to catch myself. Talk about being caught off guard! I managed to get to mile 18 and the next water stop, but resigned myself to the following pattern: running until the pain came back, walking until it went away. I crossed the finish line in 5:24 a bit sore, a bit tired, and absolutely ready for my donut.

Guess what? No donuts. Nope. As a matter of fact, the finish line area went like this: 1) Cross the finish line. 2) Volunteer places finisher’s medal around your neck and offers congratulations; you smile and say, “Thank you.” 3) Volunteer wraps space blanket around you, while another volunteer removes your timing chip. 4) Walk past a table set up with cups of water and Cytomax, mixed in too weak a solution. 5) The End.

No donuts. No bananas. No oranges. No bagels. No “Six Pack Running Posse.” No 4:40 finish time. How do you salvage such a disaster?

You remember to be thankful for being able to finish (my sister and her friend dropped out at mile 16). You remember to be thankful for having friends to comisserate with afterwards. You remember to be thankful that the rain stopped, and the 65-degree sunshine came out to smile on your shoulders. You remember that you bought two cupcakes yesterday, but only ate one. You remember the mantra: “Any day I can run 26.2 miles is a Good Day.” You remember to be thankful for experiencing something new, even if you’ll never repeat the experience again.

And so the rest of the weekend was uneventful. With that behind me, I can focus on my next marathon adventure and the coming of the new season, Winter. I know that after the rush of anticipation and excitement of these big, new things- and any disappointments along the way- I’ll remember to give thanks for the smaller, more familiar ones.

And there you have it. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It Is Time

Itineraries are printed off and double-checked. Fast Jessica and the Fast Doctor are already in Boston, and me, the Double Dee, Katie and Kimmie (how cute do they sound?!) are touching down tomorrow.

Breathe in tonight, crisp Great Lakes air; breathe in tomorrow, salty Cape Cod sea spray. Breathe in and out Sunday morning; repeat for 26.2 miles (approximately 4-5 hours).
Breathe in, cross the finish line; breathe out, catch your tears of joy.
Breathe in, delicious donut smell; breathe out, and begin planning the next run.

So goes the weekend for me. I'll report back on Tuesday (unless I get all fancy and update from my crazy-too-many-functions-for-one-piece-of-technology phone) and let you know how everything was, donuts included!

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Renovation: The Saga Continues

This (below) is what it looks like in my kitchen as of 9:00 pm Friday night. Notice the beautiful new window, and beneath it, the space where my kitchen sink once was.

And this (below) is where my kitchen sink is now. Resting haphazardly among old cabinets and dog poop, taking in the ammonia smell from the rabbit hutches.

After that was taken care of, Mr. Fix ripped up the old linoleum from under those cabinets, and stripped the last bit of flooring. This morning he is putting in a new subfloor before fixing the plumbing and installing base cabinets. The ripping up stuff with a crowbar looked like this:

Ah, yes. Just a flurry of activity. On a happy note, I'm learning to mess around with the camera I've had for three years now. Hence the photo above, capturing Mr. Fix's activity.

And on a bummer note, got a call from The Double Dee this morning. She is going to Cape Cod next weekend for the marathon , but has come down with a nasty case of physical-therapy-needing plantar fasciitis, and will not- "unless there is a case of Divine Intervention"- be running with the rest of the crew. If anyone else out there has had this condition, you know it sucks, big time. And if any one of you out there is a runner, especially a distance/marathon runner, you know what a drag it can be to train train train, and then get injured. But, in true Double Dee fashion, she was optimistic and upbeat. Don'tcha just love your optimistic friends? They can make you smile whether you'd like to or not.

Enough chit chat for now- Mr. Fix and I are going to fiiiiiinnnnnaaaaallllllllllyyyyy get appliances. Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Let's Call It Fall

Crisp air, bright flowers with dying-back vegetation, and one week until my marathon can only mean its officially Fall, or if you prefer, Autumn.

Besides making art, gloating over my winning pick for Project Runway , and being busier than all get out at work, I'm considering adding to my proverbial full plate. I am about 80% sure I'll be going to the only craft show I've ever gone to (sponsored by my mother's school/church) to sit and socialize with Katie and Hanukkah, and hopefully make some cash. The show is the weekend before Thanksgiving, which gives me about one month to pull some tricks out of my hat. It may mean taking Fridays off of work for awhile (not a bad idea...). I'm going to play non-committal again and say "We'll see."

Other news? Mr. Fix has finally begun constructing our kitchen cabinets. Yay! I've been told that the base cabinets will be installed this weekend, which means no kitchen sink. That's right: no kitchen sink. I can deal- I'm not really what you'd call a "cook" and have certainly advocated for the exclusive use of Chinet at least once before now.

I've just re-read everything I've just written, and you can't even tell I'm going to kill the dog, can you? I sound normal and upbeat, right? Good. Because I came home from work around noon today to find the #**!@ dog asleep on my new couch. Death is his mistress now. (And lest you be disturbed by the notion of me actually murdering the animal, please note that my husband does not let me near any firearms- or even chainsaws and stuff- and that said animal will be relegated to basement living for the rest of his pathetic days.) Aaaannnnnddddd....onward.

Okay, I feel better now, and my clear mind will make it easier to complete my "fun" work here in my "studio" (just a small room at the back of the house). Start some laundry, turn on the iTunes, and make it work! Carry on! Have a great weekend.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Couple of Pieces

So, every year our local arts center, the William Bonifas Fine Arts Center, hosts a juried exhibit of Upper Peninsula artists. I entered three pieces this year, and well, we'll see what happens. The first piece (above) is from late 2006/early 2007 and is felted wool. It's title is Glance (David).

Next up is a piece I titled Roots or Wings. Its a collection of smaller pieces that I intend for viewers to "read" from the top left to the bottom right, like a person would text. I know its hard to see all of the individual frames, so I've also included a detail shot. The medium used for this piece is a mix of some watercolor pencil, acrylics, embossed stamps, and machine stitching.

The last piece I entered for consideration is titled Happy Little. It is hand embroidery at its most detailed and labor intensive (for me, anyway).

As I mentioned before in a previous post, I'm working on two new pieces. I'm also trying out a new handbag pattern, with the potential for a craft show with my pseudo sister, Hanukkah (she makes fabulous jewelry , and in her spare time, teaches junior high art in the Chicago area), and my actual sister, Katie (yes, she of the "dragging my feet to the finish line" school of marathon training). It's tempting to commit, even though I'm busy as all get out. For one, they are two fantastic ladies, and we have a blast doing this show; two, I'd get in a visit to the fam before the holidays; and three, I'd get to meet Baby Grace. I'm 80% there...

In a bit of spousal bragging, I'm also posting pics of the three paintings Mr. Fix submitted to the same juried exhibit. For your viewing pleasure, please to enjoy (top to bottom): Media Generated Viruscape, Avocado CP3PO, and SOTA.001. All three are acrylic on panel, and are pretty big compared to my baby fiber pieces.

And lastly, I'm not forgetting, but I am still thinking about Project Runway and how the final three panned out. I guess I knew the judges/producers kept Bipolar Stupid Kenley around for a reason, but boy oh boy did I wanna see Jerrel's designs walk the runway! Did you see those gowns? So much bling! So much shiny shiny to attract a magpie Sagittarius like myself!

Well anyways, my money is still on Leanne. That wedding gown was just gorgeous. Makes me almost want to get married again. Almost. Check it out below.

The photo doesn't even begin to do it justice- it was striking. The other designer to make it to Bryant Park was Korto. And as I have been in the past, I was a bit underwhelmed. Didn't like the wedding dress, but loved the bodice of the bridesmaid's dress. Lastly, Leanne has an Etsy account/store! The Devil forwarded me the address, and I'm more than happy to share it with y'all. Go here .

Now, I'm off to find some nourishment for myself and Daughter #2. Have a great weekend.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


The image kinda says it all: Girls Rock!

I am, of course, referring to the newest girl member of my family: Grace Elizabeth, born October 4th and weighing in at a not-too-traumatizing 8 lb. 7 oz. (considering her older brothers came in at 10+ lbs. each) and a respectable 18 1/2" long. Mother is my sister, Sissy and she and hubby Jack have two sons, Jake and Connor. Finally, some estrogen! Congrats! Now I need to start on that cashmere sweater for Grace!...

What else is up? Well, I'm all done with shiva for Paul Newman. He was so fantastic. I am now recovering from a 16 mile run I skipped last week because I was still sick. I'm better now, and I was talking to my friend, Fast Jessica, and thought out loud that training and running for a marathon is a lot like child birth; months of work and preparation, and right at the tail end of things, you ask yourself "Why am I doing this?" and hobble your way through 16-18-20+ mile runs. The reward is, of course, in the final product (baby or finisher's medal...which do you prefer?). And, inevitably you have that bout of selective amnesia and forget all about the pain you went through just moments ago and begin planning your next race. Or child. Whatever.

Project Runway had such a shitastic ending this week. I could just feel the judges wanting so very badly to punch Kenley in the mouth. And honestly, if I had that reach-through television I've been dreaming about, I'd have offered up my ubiquitous Bucket of Bricks to the judges so they could throw them at Kenley, too. Now we just have to wait and see the finale...are we taking bets on winners? I'm gonna go with...Leanne. Just a hunch, and plus, I like her stuff. Honestly, I'll be happy with anyone except Bipolar Kenley (The Doctah pointed out some very interesting similarities between Kenley and people who suffer from bipolar disorder).

Okay peeps, I'm outta here. Have a great week!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Its Time to Sit Shiva

I haven't been this sad about a celebrity passing on since Harry Caray died. I've known this was coming for a long time, but I was disheartened this morning. There I was, reading my new issue of In Style when I heard the announcement on NPR that my longtime boyfriend (of sorts) had died. Behold (above) the beauty of Paul Newman in his prime state, and go buy some salad dressing.

*sniff sniff*

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Home Stretch

WOW! So not only are we down to the last five designers on Project Runway , but we are counting down the games until my beloved Cubbies win their division title and make it one step closer to a (hold your breath and cross your fingers) World Series! Cue that cheesy song...

And now let's strut back to the runway. Interesting challenge, I think. Some people might think it was boring, and may have asked, "What's so hard about designing an outfit for these college grads?" Well, from the judges' comments Wednesday night, there were some designers who just did not get it! Let's dish:

The Losers: We'll start with Leanne and her dreary teacher's dress. I agree with the judges that it looked better with OUT the jacket. I don't understand why on Earth Leanne decided to go with- and the girl agreed with- a dress. Everyone knows that elementary teachers need to be five thousand places at once (metaphorically speaking), and that sheath just doesn't cut it. A smart, chic outfit with knit on top and trousers on the bottom would have been much better, even if is a cliche to dress teachers in dowdy double knit. Let's move on to...Suede. Ms. Fix thinks that Suede has questionable taste. Ms. Fix says that Suede would have to totally answer to Ms. Fix if he designed that 1989 jacket and Forever 21 dress for her daughter! Ms. Fix doesn't like Suede too much this week. And now the big loser, Joe. Nina Garcia was so right: he hit every cliche. But boy, did I wish I had that reach-through television again when stupid Kenley started laughing. She is just so annoyingly wrong wrong wrong.

The Winners: While we're on the subject of Kenley...I hated it. Obviously a cop-out for her, as she just made something for herself and decided for her client it was perfect. It was well made, though, and a great style for the grad's line of work. Next up is Korto: I loved the jacket. I liked the dress. I hated how short the dress was. The girl didn't have the legs to pull off something that short, and those closed round-toe pumps made her legs look even schlumpier. Our big winner- second week in a row!- is our Sagittarius friend, Jerrel. It was absolutely spot on. I'm so glad he didn't mess with the girl's hair (other than to get rid of that skunk stripe), since it totally played into her personality. The outfit was divine- great classic pencil skirt, shiny and feminine blouse (with a bit of sex kitten peek-a-boo fabric on top), and then that knit cardigan that screamed "I watched Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and loved it!"
Behold the winning design (below).

My predictions for the Final Three designers (who, at this point in the real world, have already shown at New York's Fashion Week) are Jerrel, Korto, and Leanne. Are we wagering bets???

Other news? Well, today was National Native American Day, so I didn't have to work...but I did anyway. I'm pretty bad at the whole "time off" thing. What else? Dunno. I'm supposed to go clean up a local ski hill that has for the past dozen years or so been used as a garbage dump (illegally, of course). My mother-in-law spearheaded the clean-up campaign, so I kinda feel obligated, but we'll see. I may have other things to do besides help the environment.

Scheduled to do a 16 mile run on Sunday, and let me tell you, it'll be S-L-O-W. I'm battling this hellacious head cold right now and can't seem to go three minutes without needing to grab a Vicks-infused Kleenex. The Devil is still out of town, so my runs have been solo. Only six more weeks until the "Sweetest Sponsored Race This Fall!" I may find time to post again this weekend, should anything amazing happen. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Art

So I had a brainstorm idea last week about two new pieces I'd like to start on, but first a word about my "artistic process."

Many times I'll have certain imagery in mind, or a series of images that I link together to make sense to me, or sometimes I'll think of words- something akin to what Jenny Holzer did with her "truisms" - and then the image will come to me. Its this last type of process that I've used to come up with two new pieces of work. I'll only tell you the titles, and you'll have to guess at what the imagery will be. Correct guesses get a _______!

#1: "Its easier to kick the dog than it is your husband."
#2: "I Don't Belong Here."

Maybe you think that I'm putting the cart before the horse, what with giving out titles before having the completed images? Well, listen up non-artist-blog-reader-types! The images are alive in my head!!!!!

Crazy? Maybe. Have a nice rest of the week. Also, if you don't know who that is in the photo above, you're really not an artist! Hmmmph!

Monday, September 15, 2008

What Makes It Okay That Its Monday?

Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win! HOLY COW!!! And not only that, but they did it in style! First, Carlos Zambrano comes back and pitches a no-hitter (the first for a Cubs pitcher in 36 years), on Sunday, and then today Ted Lilly made it as far as the 7th inning with his own no-hit bid; although Lilly finally gave up a run, the Cubbies still prevailed over Houston 6-1.

All I know is that I feel like singin' that dang song really loudly..."Go Cubs, goooo! Go Cubs, goooo! Hey Chicago, whaddya say? The Cubs are gonna win today!" Woo hoo! Harry Caray is smiling down on the Windy City Northsiders!

And how was your weekend? Mine was C-O-L-D! Ugh, do I hate the cold weather. See us fire signs (see previous post) don't take kindly to the water or cold- snuffs out our "fire," don'tcha know.

So this week at work, I started my after school program for the kiddies. It serves kids in grades 1-6, and this year (so far) I have 55 little darlings from 3:00-5:00 pm, four days per week. Have you ever tried to fit 55 kids in a regular sized classroom? Let me save you some trouble: you can't do it. At least, not if you want them to be able to work on homework, or an art project, or math drills...So this week will be one of trying out different methods of classroom management. It may involve splitting the kids up into smaller groups, moving around to different areas of the building, who knows? But I'll figure out a way to "make it work!" as Master Guru Gunn says. That is, after all, what I get paid the Big Bucks for! Ha!

What else? Well, Katie finally got her flight and our rental car for our trip to the East Coast ( the Cape Cod Marathon ). If you're in the Boston area on the 27th of October and feel like having lunch with a very nice stranger, let me know and I'll hook you up with Katie- on a platonic level, because she's got this boyfriend named Paolo.

Enough drivel- I'll post again on Thursday, after the fabulousness that is PR happens. Have a great week!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Sagittarians are on FIRE!

Read carefully the "good" and "bad" of my astrological sign, and file away for future reference. It will help you understand the mysteries of the Sagittarian mind...

Okay, that was complete bullshit. :o)

Kind of a cool challenge this week on Project Runway . I'm not sure that I like when the producers bring back the designers who have already been eliminated from competition, but it sure caused a bit of someone's diva behavior to come on out! (Uh, yeah, that would be Donna Summer and Utah Gay Keith.)

Let's get down to business, shall we?

The Losers: Blayne-licious and his "pooping fabric" design were awful from conception. Stupid Stella certainly didn't help by having such shiteous taste, either. Icky. Kenley's mish-mash monstrosity was so much costume, so not avant garde, I wanted very badly for "reach-through television" to be a reality so I could pound her in the head and call her that word My Favorite Redhead and I are not supposed to say (but we said anyway at Maple Beach!). And gee, her ousted partner, Wesley, was such a lively personality- I wanted to reach through and smack some life into him. (All that ugliness makes me a wee bit aggressive.) Suede and Jerry's Aquarius mess was so boring. That outfit is like the outfits you see on the Butterick 99 cent patterns: Sewing 101. And then Donna Summer (Terri) and Utah Gay Keith's Leo design- strike that, it was all Terri. That was one of those designs that looks great only from very very far away and out of focus. Otherwise you could feel the cheapness of the materials through the television waves. Again, reach-through tv would have come in handy to smack the diva right out of Ms. Summer. Auf to Blayne and Terri.

The Winners: I got that Korto and Kelly used Aquarius for their inspiration, but what were those crepe paper streamer thingies across the bodice? Confusing. Joe and Daniel's dress was very pretty; I loved the fabric that looked like some sort of horse's hide print- and I mean that even though I hate the animals- so "natural" yet so glam. Leanne and Emily's Scorpio was great. I, too (just like Master Guru Gunn), was sold on the exoskeleton idea. And I thought that the way the black came up and over and around the one side to totally cocoon the model's head was right on. And so that leaves us with the big winners: Jerell and Jennifer's super sassy Sagittarius creation. Where do we start? Well, during the work time part of the show, My Favorite Local Celebrity and The Doctah and me all went "Ohhhhhh!" when we saw the shiny fabric with the men's wear skirt. That jacket was to die for. And (always important to me) the finished product/styling/presentation was flawless. He used a twisted arrow as a headpiece! Brilliant (below)!

Hmmmkay...what else is there to write about? Well, Nona Bologna is reportedly visiting tomorrow night, and I think that The Doctah and me will be bringing her to see Daughter #1 play in the marching band. Hey- don't you think that its kinda an obligation for a high school marching band to play "Gonna Fly Now (the theme from "Rocky")?" I DO! I've been lobbying Daughter #1 to get it on the playlist, to no avail. They do, however, play some Cirque du Soleil stuff that only _______ (insert word Red and I are not supposed to say) really like. Sorry, Katie, but its true.

And remember the other day when I posted that the temperature was only 48 degrees? Well, another sure sign of cold weather came to me via US Postal Service: I got my rates guide from Ski Brule . I'm thinking that a long weekend for New Year's Eve would be fun, and am trying to get Brother Peaches and family to get on board.

The Devil is out of town on business, so I'm on my own for running tomorrow. Here's hoping that your weekend starts off as energetically as my own!

Just A Minute...

...and I'll be right with you! So, I don't have time to post on the fabulousness that was Project Runway last night, but I will later tonight. I promise! Now, get to work, or I'll tell the rest of the girls you're bad tipper!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Can You Believe No One Made A Wrap Dress?

Above: From Diane Von Furstenberg's Fall 2008 collection.

Time for my weekly Project Runway rant!

Seriously now, Diane VonFurstenberg is known for her wrap dresses, and not a single designer chose to create one for this challenge? Did they think that they'd be chastised for taking an easy route or something? I think a wrap dress would have been a welcome sight, especially after seeing what they DID come up with!

The Losers: Blayne's bloomers were terrible! Most women are curvy and to place the band of those pants right under the knee creates such a definite line- who wants their legs cut off there? His top half was great, though, as was his styling. Jerell's get-up was too much and not enough for me. Too much when put together like he did, and not enough on their own (boring!) to really make a positive impression. Joe took the "Shanghai-ness" a bit too far. Maybe he was still channeling his inner drag queen? Costume-y, poor construction (really, at this point you still can't get your seams to line up? Go back to home ec. class!), and incongruous design elements- blech! And the biggest "lose-ah," Stella: All that fantastic fabric in DVF's studio and all she used was a boring tweed and shiny black leathah stuff? Aside from the fact I'm over her attitude and shizz, the design was not there. Boring trousers, "magician's cape," (HA! That was an awesome comment by the judges!) and that crazy bloused top, which to me looked like a sleeveless polo shirt gone terribly, terribly wrong. As one judge said, "Stella wasn't stellar tonight."

The Winners: Kenley's dress was pretty, and Michael Kors nailed it when he said that she got the "Shanghai" just right. But it was a simple dress, nothing exciting. I think she lost touch of her own style in favor of- her words!- creating something "for sale!" I think she needs to remember that she's the designer, and if her designs are worthy, people will buy them. If she only wants to make clothes "for sale," maybe she can get a job designing for Wal-Mart. Korto's dress and jacket were fantastic. I loved the shock of yellow from under the skirt, but I think it should have been a longer hem. It seemed to me that she ran out of fabric, or forgot that the model was going to be wearing heels. And for my favorite- and the judges, too- Leanne. Two weeks in a row! You go, girl! That dress was magnificent! The color was deep and rich, the draping of the neckline and the sensuous ruffle down the back of the skirt- oh, my! And then to juxtapose the nubby grey jacket with that collar with the gown? W-O-W! See for yourself (below).

So I was left wondering what the next challenge will be? Who were those shadowy figures coming out onto the runway during the previews? My curiosity is piqued!

And now on to other news...The Devil had work to do, and I have an eye appointment, so my tempo run is waiting until 11 am or so. Maybe it'll warm up by then (current temperature? 48 degrees).

Also, Mr. Fix was not one of the 120 or so people arrested in St. Paul Wednesday night; he arrived safe and sound just in time to make dinner for the family. He did, however, spend a considerable amount of time with the bottle of Febreze in the car (oh, those smokers!). Have a great weekend.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Think Its Really Over

Summer, that is. See the photo above with the pool, smiles, and 90 degree heat? Oh, it was sooooo magnificent! I am an unabashed heat lover, so that kind of weather is just perfect, especially if I have no plans or schedules to keep. That was how I spent a majority of my Labor Day weekend: sans plans. I was, of course, at the annual tradition of Hog Days .

I ran in the 4 mile Hog Days Stampede (36 minutes or so, the new results weren't posted yet), did some bar hopping, and...that's really about it! Usually I watch the parade ( I love a marching band and bagpipes), but I opted to swim instead. Usually I go to the flea market, but I opted to avoid the parking hassle. Usually I get flat-out drrrruuuuunnk at least once, but I opted for moderation this year, which I was especially glad to have done after seeing our newly "adopted" sister, Ashley/Paris, after playing a game called "Edward 40 Hands."

Do you know this game? Well, its a take on the movie "Edward Scissorhands," where Johnny Depp's character has scissors instead of hands. In the game, the scissors are replaced with "40s" of beer; in the case of Ashley/Paris and everyone else who participated, bottles of Boone's Farm were used. Now, here's the tricky part: the bottles are duct taped to your hands until they have been emptied by drinking the contents. The big trick is using the bathroom, I guess. Ashley/Paris (who bears a resemblance to a certain heiress, and shall from this point on be only called by that name) finished her Strawberry Hill in 18 minutes. Sister-in-law Jennifer made her puke it back up and come home for the night. Ah, to be young again!

I chose to stay in that night and play Farkle and then Shanghai Rummy with Sissy, Gack, Salcha, and Chin-ho. Yes, those are nick names, and no, I won't tell you who they really are.

Anyhoo, I returned home Monday and the kids started school on Tuesday, and Wednesday Mr. Fix drove to the Twin Cities to see Rage Against The Machine , playing across the street from the Republican convention. He's not home yet as I type this, nor has he called. He is on strict orders to never call me from jail, as I will not bail him out. So, either he'll show up later tonight, or he won't. Either way I'll post on what we're all eager to talk about: Project Runway !

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Bridal Party Looked Resplendant in Jewel Tones

As promised, here are "before" and "during" shots of the Gladstone High School Cross Country team's 2nd Annual 5K Fun Run where I ran with fellow fierce women dressed in bridal gear.

Top photo, from left: Denise, Robyn, Jessica, Rachel, Deb, and Stacey.
Bottom photo, from left: Robyn, Denise, Stacey, Rachel, Deb, and Jessica.

The day was lovely, just right for a wedding. It was, however, mondo hot in those get-ups, and we were all sweating our patooties off before mile one. What made this race worth while? Well, it helped a local school, helped fund a program we all believe in, and during the race, we wondered out loud about the people you see running marathons (that's 26.2 miles for those of you not in the know) in costumes. Were we really part of that crazy club? Yes and no. Yes, running in costume was great fun, it added some levity to the morning and quickly parlayed any thoughts of "getting a PR" during the race; we were able to focus on what, exactly, we ran for: it made us all happy. I'm sure there are more reasons than that one, but doing something you enjoy- that makes you happy- is absolutely the best reason to do something. Agreed, mon cherie?

And I saved the best for last: once you crossed the finish line, you had to make your way down the Slip 'n' Slide! Below, our "bride" Stacey (in her own wedding gown from her now-ended marriage) literally "takes the plunge." (groan...)

It was a blast, and we were throwing out suggestions for next year's costumes before the half-mile mark. Outsider suggestions welcome, just be sure that we can purchase the makings of the costumes at local thrift stores/dark corners of bedroom closets/dusty boxes under the bed.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Watch This

Okay, so I was visiting one of my favorite sites, Ninja Please , and this was posted. Effing awesome, indeed. Note: not for kids!


That's the sound of me, relaxing. So Ms. Johnnda and I drove to Plymouth, MI to visit My Favorite Redhead last weekend. We had so much fun. Such a lovely, relaxed, no-hassle time being girls (even if Miles and The Mouth Doctah were around). We even got a sneak peek at Red's wedding dress! Beautiful, sexy, delicate, feminine, appropriately luxe. I'd love to post a picture of Red in the dress, but I'm afraid the Mouth Doctah would look, too, and we just can't have that.

So I'll post a pic of my latest shopping score: diamonds!

I know they're small and you can't really see them (its hard to take a photo of something like that when you've got smiles in your eyes!), but trust me honey, thems diamonds in that band! And with the band of my Timex sports watch, it looks tres klass-ay, no? I'm very happy with my purchase, and hope that this is just the first spot of sparkle in a long and happy relationship with my local jeweler.

And now for talk about some other kinda bling: Project Runway and the drag queens!

How fantastically bitchy were those "girls?!"Could there have been anymore sequins and body shapers? Oy, honey, this was so fantastic, I could hardly contain myself. So let's dish about the designs: my favorite was not the winner (Joe's Sequin Spangled Sailor), even though it was tops for the judges. My fave was Donna Summers' design (Teri)- it had drama, art history references, fantastic styling. It oh-so-subtly brought up the comparison of today's drag queens to performers of kabuki, fer chrissake! Check it out:

I also like Korto's Flaming Booty. And ya know, I actually kinda liked Utah Gay Keith's Stevie Nicks-meets-Freddy Kruger dress. The queen who wore it had no expression whatsoever, but I liked its punk aesthetic.


That's all I'm going to say on that. What did everyone think of the "text your answer" question re: who would you rather see in drag, Michael Kors or Tim Gunn? Good gravy, Michael Kors probably dresses in drag when he's home. He probably models his own clothes for himself. Master Guru Gunn is totally the one to see in drag. What kind of get-up do you think he'd wear? And what would his stage name be? Ohhh, we'll have to let that stew a bit before we shout it out loud.

Okay, so tomorrow I'm off to a local 5K (benefiting a local high school's cross county team). I'll be wearing a bridesmaid's dress. I'm not kidding. I'll post photos before I head out for a shopping trip to Appleton with Daughter #1, two of her friends, and Daughter #2. Have a great weekend!