Thursday, July 31, 2008

How evil are you?

Heh... >:}


You Are 34% Evil



A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.

In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Colors...

...this song, by Kira Willey, is featured on a new Dell color laptop commercial (and we know how I love finding cool new music from commercials). It's a song from her Dance for the Sun: Yoga Songs for Kids CD.  The commercial only uses a short bit of the song, but it captured me enough to seek out the rest. I found a few videos on Youtube that feature the song (including one with Kara Willey herself singing, I think), but I liked this one best. 

I think this song could be my own personal artist's anthem, color being one of the two main elements that inspire me creatively and personally. (Texture is the other, but I don't know any songs about texture. LOL) Anyway, enjoy...she's got a fabulously soothing voice to listen to...


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Go away...

Seriously...all bugs, bacteria, virii, illnesses and what-have-you...hear this:

GO. AWAY.

LEAVE. NOW.

THAT. MEANS. YOU.

While my cold of last week has mostly abated, I'm still coughing up a lung from time to time. This never bodes well.

And in the mean time, the girl child has been sick since Friday night. I thought it was just the all-day Projekt Revolution event that did her in (it was hot out there Friday, lemme tell ya), but she still hasn't bounced back. With her Crohn's, it is always so hard to tell if these things are because of a routine virus or something more serious. Waiting for the doctor to call back now.

There is never a good time for being sick, but right now? Busy. Busybusybusy. Running the boy child to his classes three days a week is really messing with me. And the grandboy is supposed to be coming to stay with us for a few days later this week, which we're all looking forward to but will be way more fun for everyone if illness isn't involved, you know? And there are appointments to get to, and a family picnic to go to this weekend. Oh, and we're supposed to have our family portrait taken on Friday for the new church directory...about the last thing I feel like doing right now. :P 

Anyway..here's hoping your week is going a little better than ours, and here's hoping ours turns around real soon. 

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Full moon...

...today! According to my moon phase widget to the right, it is technically full right now, though other sources say it will not be full here, on the east coast of the US, until 2:59 a.m. tomorrow. Either way, close enough. The view of it tonight will be full for me.

I love the full moon. I love the moon in any stage really, but full is...cool. ;)

Last night, around 8:30 or so, I got the urge to take a walk and look for the moon, as I knew it had to be coming up over the horizon somewhere. There are so many tall trees surrounding us that it is hard to see things close to the horizon, so I have to look for them. Thus, despite the mugginess of the evening and the summer cold I've been nursing all week, I took a walk down the road, toward the east, and as I started down the hill toward a clearing in the trees, there it was...big and reddish and just over the horizon...the almost-full moon. My heart did a little skip of joy. Really.

I love following the moon phases and am sad if the weather does not cooperate for good moon viewing. (June was a terribly sucky moon month for me...so much rain and so many cloudy, overcast nights. I missed the full moon altogether.) As the moon begins to wane and becomes harder to spot, coming up later every night, I start to feel a little sad. But then it circles back around, past the new moon to that tiny waxing crescent (I used to call it a "toenail" when I was a kid, LOL) in the sky...the first time I spot it, it makes me so incredibly happy, like seeing a good friend who has been absent for a while.

Me and the moon...I'm completely smitten. :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New(ly found) blogger love...

I love finding new blogs that don't just entertain but make you think and feel and reflect on the important things of life, big and small. I found one such blog tonight...I Live on a Farm. Her current post is most poignant.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Getting caught up: the random stuff entry...

And so the updating continues, this time with various randomness -- with pictures!

We here at Chez Beamer like to color coordinate our holidays as much as possible, thus this year's 4th of July breakfast of champions (or at least of me) was this...

...vanilla yogurt topped with black and red raspberries courtesy of Myrna's Naked Acre.

The dog is still here...

...though this time next week he will be heading home with his family, if all goes according to plan. I won't miss the random piddling, but I will miss him. He's a great little dog. (And I'm taking him to the groomers on Thursday to get him bathed and smelling pretty before his mommy and daddy show up!)

Speaking of dogs, we had to put our dog to sleep last Monday. Yes, sad, as I've never had to make that choice for a pet before. But Rosie was 17 years old, after all...she'd led a good life and at least now she's no longer in pain.

I took this picture of her a few weeks ago. She was having such a hard time walking even then. I remember thinking how that was probably going to be one of the last pictures I ever took of her. Even at 17 years old, she still had the prettiest face.

In other news, I followed through with my intention of having my chest tattoo improved upon...

...the moon and bird were the original parts of it...I had the bird recolored and the swirls and stars (representing Cassiopeia, in case you're wondering) added...this was right after it was done, so it looked pretty red still. I'll have to take a picture of it again now that it is healed.

I sent the tattoo picture to several friends, including a guy friend who is also a pastor. I realized belatedly that, due to my close cropping of the photo, it looks like I was sending him a picture with a lot more b**b than is actually showing...the angle of the shot is misleading, as is the angle of this shot...


...ahem...was trying to take a picture of me in my cool new purple shirt...with a somewhat low-cut V-neck...(didn't send this one to my pastor friend! LOL) Not sure what it is with me and all the self-portraits I'm taking these days. Between Facebook, Ravelry and Plurk and the need for avatar images on each, which I like to change often, it's just gotten me camera happy. ;)

Let's see...what else? Oh, what the heck...one more b**b shot...


No, really, I cropped that one much better. This picture was of the necklace I've got on, which I got off of Etsy from Wyanne, who is a most wonderfully gifted artist. Totally cool necklace!

Now let's play a game...check out this picture and see how many collections you can spot...go ahead...I'll wait...


:::doo, DOO doo, doo...doo, DOO, doo...doo, DOO, doo, DOO, DOOOP!!! Doodoodoodoodoo...:::

Ahem.

Ready? OK. Let's see...there are the buttons, that's one. And the yarn, of course (which you can see more of in the mirror, good grief!), that's two. And the inks. Three. The ribbon. Four. And what? What is number five? Yes...three, count 'em, THREE McDonald's Sweet (Crack) Tea cups. I didn't realize I was collecting them, but apparently I am.

What's worse is that I rarely crave sweet things, but I think the Sweet Tea is affecting me, because I went shopping last week, and you know how they say you should never grocery shop hungry? Well, you should never grocery shop hungry but especially not if you're also PMSing, because this is what you come home with...

Foods not only full of sugar, but with the WORD "sugar" in their title! Sugar wafers?? Oh my gosh. LOVE THEM!!! Seriously...for two days in a row, I ate NOTHING but sugar wafers and nutty bars until dinnertime. Is that pathetic and sad and horrifying or what? I NEVER eat sugar like that! And yet, last week, I could not stop myself.

And while it may look like the can of artichoke hearts is sort of out of place here, it was actually purchased with the intent of making hot artichoke dip. I know that's not a sugary food, but it's full of fat and no better for you, I'm sure, than all this sugar. (To date, I have not actually made the artichoke dip, so that's something, right? Should I go reward myself with a nutty bar? LOL)

Ok...I think that officially catches me up. Whew! Perhaps this will teach me my lesson and I'll try blogging a little more frequently from now on! These marathon picture posts are killers!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Getting caught up: the gardening entry...

I just posted this and it was way too long. I'd never read it so why would I expect you to. Thus...cutting the text...leaving you with more pictures! LOL Trust me, no one needs to read my rambling crap about my hatred of gardening. You'll thank me later. ;)

Earlier this summer, I insisted on planting a salad garden. Good idea in theory. Kevin helped me, it got planted, it grew, we ate salads. Then I lost interest and didn't keep up with the weeds and we ended up with the Black Forest of Death Garden, Part 2. (The unkempt, flowerless flower garden was the BFoDG, Part 2.)

Thus it came to pass, Kevin made a comment about the sorry state of the salad garden, and it was clear he expected me to do something about it. :::sigh::: So, last weekend, this is what I did...

I cleared it all out. In a bold move, I took the hedge clippers to the chard and just cut it off, since Kevin said it would grow back (and it has started to regenerate already!). I picked the last of the onions that were hiding among the weeds...


...accidentally got a few carrots, too. Aren't they the scrawniest things?? And then there is this one renegade Easter Lily that I'd forgotten was in the bed we used for the salad garden, and it miraculously survived the rototiller, came up right on the edge of the bed and the grass, and has all of these beautiful blooms on it! (We won't bother telling it that it is a few months late.)

The whole family ended up getting in on the act, which always helps motivate me...


And so the yard and the salad garden side of live looked much cleaner and far less scarier than it had been looking.

Then, in a weird twist of fate this week, I found myself with the urge to clean up the flower bed on the other side of the front of the house (a.k.a. the BFoDG, Part 2). I used to do up our flower beds every year...mulch, annuals...and by this time of year, they looked gorgeous with big, full plants. A few years ago, though, I lost the will to go to that trouble and started buying perennials instead. I love perennial gardens some of my friends have, and the lack of having to plant things every year seemed like a great idea. I had no clue that these things still would need major attention, to be separated and moved around and such. Not to mention, the perennials I bought? They were ugly. Big, green fuzzy things that took over. I largely ignored them for two years. This year, however, I dug them all out and pitched them down in the woods. Nothing in the flower beds was better than those things.

But now it was July, and I had exactly that...nothing in the front looking pretty. My only accomplishment from the perennial experiment was the day lilies thriving on the driveway side of the flowerbed...


I love orange day lilies.

I have no idea what each of them is called, though I know the little yellow ones (that were not blooming when I was taking pictures) are called Stella D'Oros, like the cookies.


I especially love this variety, as it reminds me of the ones that grow along the roadsides and, when I was a kid, my dad would stop and cut some and bring them home for my mom. I loved when he brought those lilies home. It's such a great memory.

Anyway, the gardening bug bit last week, and I know to jump on it when it does that, and so I did...I went and bought a truckload of mulch (because mulch makes everything look prettier)...

(And I totally think it is funny that the first three letters of the truck's licence plate are "YCK"...if you could see how beat up the truck is, you'd understand how "yuck" seems appropriate, though it is one heck of a reliable old truck for things like this.)

And then I went to Lowe's and bought pretty perennials...

And then I decided to rip out bushes. Seriously. We had two azaleas that had seen better days, and a small, scrawny green bush that was misshapen, all at the corner of the house. We've talked about getting rid of them, so I hooked up a chain to the tractor, had the kids wrap it around the bottom of the first bush, and yanked that sucker out. Moved on to bush #2...and it would not come out for anything. Long story short (too late!), I called Kevin and he told me to just leave it and he'd do it when he got home...which is his way of saying, "Oh my god please do not demolish anything else!!!" (I've already ripped out walls in the house while he's been gone...my bursts of motivation can sometimes be scary.)

So, he came home, tore out the last two bushes, and then we had the great idea to move a sizable rhododendron from the driveway side of the house up to that now empty corner, as the driveway side doesn't get enough light and the poor thing never does well. So, how else does one move a big bush?

With a tractor, of course. (How do people garden who don't own machinery like this?? LOL)

Getting it lined up...

...voila! One rhododendron moved about 15 feet to a new home. It is currently encroaching on one of the remaining bushes further to the right, but after it takes root again and begins to grow, Kevin will trim it and it will be fine. Hopefully. Or we'll end up with a big, dead rhododendron and have a huge empty space in the flower bed to fill...like this one...

(What it looked like pre-rhodo move. Those hostas sitting to the right then got moved down to the spot where the rhodo had been. I seriously dislike hostas. Not sure why.)

Good thing about waiting until night to do this was that everyone pitched in and helped with the planting and mulching, thus what would have taken me the better part of a day only took us a couple of hours. And now we have a happy flower bed...

Nigel the gnome is happy to be able to see daylight again...

And doesn't the mulch look pretty???

I was too lazy to change my lens from the 50 mm, so I don't have any full shots of the entire bed. Will take one of those sometime soon. Suffice it to say, it looks a little empty right now, but given time, these perennials should fill in nicely. Kevin is convinced I put too many in for the space they're supposed to take up, but I really like the "full" look, as long as the fullness is coming from pretty things, not weeds. And if it gets too full, we can always move them. Heh. ;)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Getting caught up: the knitting and spinning entry...

So, I promised pictures and I promised I'd post and try to get caught up. I figure it might be easier to do so if I break it down into a few posts so I don't have to use every tag under the sun to categorize one long post.

Let's start with all things yarn related...a very good place to start. :)

First, I finished my first Hooha sock and have turned the heel on the second...

It is a) very hard to take a picture of your own foot from an angle conducive to seeing the details of a patterned sock, especially with a 50mm lens that you are too lazy to change out for a different one that would allow better picture taking and b) the pattern in this sock, while adding a nice texture to it, is subtle enough that the variegation of the yarn makes it hard to see anyway, but it's a little easier on the sock blocker, so here's a second picture of the Hooha sock on the sock blocker...


Next, I mentioned earlier that I'm participating in the Tour de Fleece. Now for the pictures...here's the roving I'm using, sitting prettily by the spindle I'm using (which I actually purchased some months ago from the one and only Amy Singer when she was purging her goods...how cool is that?)...

And here's my first finished product of actual spun and plied yarn -- classification: irregularly bulky...

And this is what a skein (skeinette?) of a whopping 9 yards of handspun looks like after the twist has been set and it's been fondled and oohed over by its maker...

And while 9 yards doesn't sound like much (figure I had to actually spin 18 yards in order to get 9 plied yards...so, that's much different, right? LOL), it IS enough to put in one row on my Swiftly Turning Afghan, which is coming along beautifully...

Who knew that a garter stitch afghan could be so satisfying to make and pretty to look at?

I love how the colors come together, and how the different weight yarns create such a unique and pleasing texture...


The idea of trying to add my own homespun to this project came after I set out looking for some of Cosy's hand-dyed homespun to add to it since I only had commercial yarns for it when I started. Nothing would have been wrong with that, but I love being able to use yarns that are singular in their character. Actually, Cosy's yarn is what is featured on the swift in my new blog banner up above -- aren't the colors just incredible? Here's another picture of Cosy's handiwork...


Another recent finished project is a purse I made for my niece for her birthday...here it is being modeled by my girlie...

And here's a shot of the best part of it, I think...the flame lining, LOL...

...for which I actually had to pull out my sewing machine...

Can't remember the last time I used it. I always feel so Suzy Homemaker when I sew. :}

In other projects, I'm still working on a baby sweater I should have finished months ago (yes, making it a 12 month size so at least the baby in question won't have outgrown it by the time she gets it!). And I'm taking part in an afghan square swap with one of my Ravelry groups, so I'm working on my first square for that and have it about half done.

So, so many other projects I want to be working on, and so many more I need to work on for gifts. Just not enough time in the day to get to them all!

Monday, July 7, 2008

I'm in love Matthew the Comcast guy and want to have his babies...

That might seem a little extreme, but here's the story...

In my post from yesterday, I mentioned how my desktop had quit talking to the Internet. Our other two computers connected just fine, so it really wasn't a Comcast problem, but after neither the hub or myself could figure out what was causing the problem, I opted to call Comcast to see if they could give me any ideas.

I called, around 8:30 on a Sunday night. And here's where it gets so magical: 

1. I got a person on the phone for whom English was his first language and I could fully understand what he was saying to me.

2. Despite the fact that he quickly deduced it was not a Comcast service issue, he walked me through several other things to check to try and deduce what the problem was, even though this was above and beyond what he really needed to do.

3. He had a great personality, a good sense of humor and seemed to actually know what the hell he was talking about.

4. Even though he could not, in the end, diagnose my problem 100%, he did point me in the direction of what he was 99% sure it probably was -- my Norton antivirus program.

5. After getting off the phone and uninstalling Norton, I could get to the Internet, no problem-o, therefore Matthew's hunch was RIGHT!

So, let me recap: I called a customer service number, got a person who SPOKE ENGLISH and KNEW WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT, he was PLEASANT, and he was WILLING TO TAKE THE TIME TO DO SOMETHING HE WASN'T REQUIRED TO DO to help me. AND HE WAS RIGHT.

I don't know about you, but I've had some really suck-ass interactions with customer service people in recent years, half of them reading from a script in semi-broken English, and if that doesn't work for you, sorry, we can't help you. (In defense of outsourced customer service people, I did have a most delightful conversation a couple years ago with a person working for HP who was based in Bangladesh...he too solved my problem, but that cost me $20 an hour.) Considering that, perhaps you can see why I am so freakin' enamored with Matthew the Comcast guy...enough that I'd undergo tubal ligation reversal surgery in order to bear his offspring just to show him my undying gratitude.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Spinning update...

Ok, I know it's only been one day since the beginning of the challenge, but I thought I'd report in just to say that I've successfully spun and plied a whopping nine yards of something that rather looks like a kind of yarn. Definitely not a consistent weight the whole way through, and definitely erring on the side of a bulky weight on average, but...yarn. Pictures of said yarnishness coming soon. 

(Seriously, I've taken a buttload of pictures in the past week or so, all with the intent of blogging them...it will happen eventually. I think I'm due to do a "life in pictures" entry soon. The problem is that I download my photos to my desktop, which has, for some mysterious reason this week, decided it does not want to connect to the Internet. I think it may be jealous of all the time I've been spending with the new MacBook. :::sigh:::)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Writing on the wall...?

Because it's a laid-back Saturday, I'm spending an inordinate amount of time reading blogs, which always leads me to find new, fun things with which to distract myself even further. Here's one such thing I came across... 


What Your Handwriting Says About You



You are a fairly energetic person. You know how do pace yourself, and you deal well with stress.

You are somewhat outgoing, but you're not a natural extrovert. You think first before you act. You tend to be independent, rational, and logical.

You are balanced and grounded. You know how to get along well with others.

You need a bit of space in your life, but you're not a recluse. You expect people to give you a small amount of privacy, and you respect their privacy as well.

You are somewhat traditional, but you are also open to change. You listen to your head and your heart.

You are a decent communicator. You eventually get your point across, but sometimes you leave things a bit ambiguous.


Hm...wouldn't the fact that I'm choosing, on a warm, sunny Saturday, to sit on my arse and read blogs instead of going outside and doing something more active kind of contradict that first assertion? There are several other items I could dispute in this one...not the most accurate of memes. LOL But then, it's a meme, for pete's sake! Why would I expect it to be all that accurate? And really...who thinks these things up? Is it all just some algorithm that generates random results? Or is there actually some scientific basis for these things? I'm sure it varies from quiz to quiz, but it always amazes me that some can be completely spot on and others couldn't be farther from the truth.

And on that note, I should probably get up off my arse, go outside and get a life. ;)

Start spinning...

So, today begins the Tour de France, the annual bike race. I enjoyed riding my bike as a kid as much as any other kid, but it was not something that carried on into adulthood with me. The fact that I grew up in a rural farmland-ish area that didn't allow for safe riding on very windy and remote roads probably contributed to this, as I only really ever rode my bike when we were camping and had a nice paved campground loop to ride on. 

As an adult, the closest I've come to bike riding was one ill-fated spinning class I signed up for at the gym. It nearly killed me. Seriously? There is something wrong with an activity that you choose to do voluntarily but then your feet are locked into the equipment so you can't leave even if you want to...and they probably know you're going to want, especially if it is your first spinning class and you are out of shape and you feel like your lungs are going to explode within the first ten minutes. Have you ever almost fallen off a stationary bicycle only you can't fall off because your feet are fastened into the pedals, and you can't manage to reach down and unfasten them because you're suffering an aneurysm from the insane exertion that you voluntarily put yourself through, and even though the class teacher is saying, "Feel free to go at your own pace!" you really can't because the freakin' bike has taken on a life of its own and won't stop spinning? Yeah. It's not pretty.

Thus, anytime you hear me refer to "spinning" as an activity that I'm taking part in, you can be pretty well assured I am not talking about the kind that has to do with two wheels, but instead the kind that has to do with wool. And that's what I'm talkin' about today...its time to start spinning because it is not only the start of the Tour de France, but also the first day of the Tour de Fleece. Now that's totally up my alley!

The idea is to set your own personal spinning goal to try and accomplish during the time frame of the Tour de France. (Specifically, this year's challenge is supposed to be completed with only stash fiber, which is not a problem for me because even though my roving stash is quite small, I'm sure I've got more roving than I'll be able to deal with in the next 22 days.) Seeing as I'm a very inexperienced spinner, and I only spin on a drop spindle as I don't own a wheel, I thought I'd keep my goal small: spin some small amount of yarn that I can actually DO something with. However, I have rethought this and I'm thinking maybe an even better goal for me would be to spin regularly throughout this challenge and work toward becoming more proficient at it...then maybe I'll be able to spin enough of something that I can actually use it. 

So...between now and July 27th, I'm going to try and spin a little bit every day and get better at this craft. We'll see how it goes! I'll post progress updates as I go.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Yarn meme...

...similar to the one I did a while ago, only different, because it has to do with yarn! Found this at Cosy's blog and thought I'd play along because I still haven't taken the time to write a real post yet! (I'm such a slacker...) and because I love any excuse I can find to look at photos on Flickr!

Yarn meme

1. Mona Lisa, 2. Wool, second edition (Ull, andre versjon), 3. Most of my hats..., 4. Just a Orchid, 5. eastlake I norah gaughan I berroco vol. 3, 6. Crayon Fence, 7. Lizard Ridge is Now an Afghan!, 8. Tattered heart stitch markers, 9. Finished!, 10. A touch of wisdom - Ale Ramírez, 11. ~ Light ~, 12. The Spring Mat

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.


(If you click the image and go to Flickr, you can mouse over the individual images and see the notes of explanation I added for my answers. Some are more self-explanatory than others.)

So, here were the rules and the questions the photos answer...

Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr search. Using only the first page, choose an image. Copy and paste each of the URL’s into the mosaic maker over at FD’s image maker.

What is your first name?
What is your favorite yarn?
What was the first thing you made with yarn?
What is your favorite color?
Which crochet or knitting designer do you have a crush on?
Favorite handmade gift you have received?
Dream project?
Favorite notion?
What will you crochet/ knit next?
What do you love most about yarn?
One word to describe your craft.
Main inspiration to craft.