Thursday, December 28, 2006

Reluctantly, This Is How Weird I Am

As if anyone needed further proof as to how weird I am! Marsha "tagged" me to do this on my blog, so here it is:

Six Weird Things About Me (in no particular order)

1) I have a huge --- and I mean HUGE --- birthmark on my left hip, which extends around my back and down my left thigh.

2) I have seen nearly every movie that Jean Claude Van Damme has starred in, except for the most recent ones (I think there are 2) and that gay pseudo-porn foreign one he did in 1984 (Monaco Forever).

3) When I was in 6th grade, I landed the part of "July" in the Neumann Players' production of Annie. The Neumann Players was a local musical-theatre group that showcased local talent. They were called such because they were founded or supported or both by the PTA of St. John Neumann High School down in South Philly. I don't even know if they exist any more.

4) I can't ride a bike, or roller skate, or skateboard, or ski, or surf, or swim, etc. (No, really, I CAN'T swim AT ALL. Some people say they "can't swim," meaning that they can doggie paddle and/or keep afloat. No, I SERIOUSLY SINK LIKE AN ANCHOR. I am terrified of the water.) I pretty much can't do anything. I am the least athletic and most uncoordinated person I know! :-P

5) I loathe, abominate, and despise Indian Food. The smell of curry nearly makes me convulse. Blech!

6) I don't know if this is "weird," but it certainly is unusual for someone my age: I have never broken any bones ever --- not that I am complaining. Well, at least I have never had a confirmed breakage of bone. I suspect that I might have broken my little toe on my right foot when I was a junior in high school. But I never went to a doctor or had an x-ray to confirm that.

Ok so how's that? That weird enough for you? :-P

Monday, December 18, 2006

Another Project Finished

And it's not knitting!

A few months ago, my parents bought a painting from JC Penny's catalog to hang in their living room. They bought it primarily because they absolutely loved the frame: mildy Rococco, distressed gold leaf, in an unusual shape. The "artwork" inside the frame, well, left a lot to be desired. It's one of those "paintings" that is mass produced somewhere overseas. Some poor dude in a sweatshop somewhere probably knocks out 50 of these a day. That says a lot about the "art" inside the frame. Anyway, the painting was supposed to be a depiction of Tuscany. Well, about the only thing about the picture that even remotely suggested Tuscany was the presence of three of those tall, skinny cypress trees that are common to Tuscan lanscapes. That's it.

Here's the painting. Now, from a distance, everything seems acceptable. But as you look at it, and if you click on it and get a bigger image, you will start to notice some odd stuff. Maybe you don't even know how to explain it, but you just know it's not right somehow.

The rather dull horizon notwithstanding, the first thing that I noticed was the odd, little, red "building" back there. What the crap is it? And why is it floating in the trees, which also happen to look like underripe broccoli florets? Is it Cloud City? Does Lando Calrissian live there? No? Then the structure has to have a base ON THE GROUND. This bugged me the most. I was also annoyed by the vague position of the sun. It's casting shadows in all kinds of directions, none of which are consistent. Pick a light source, people.

My mom was most annoyed by the colors, or rather, lack of colors. She said, "Yeah, the house, sure, but also, why is everything yellow and olive green?" She has a real point there. I've never been to Tuscany but my in-laws have and my dear, dear late friend Kathleen went there a couple of years ago and I saw plenty 'o pictures between the three of them. Tuscany does not look like it's in the throes of a nuclear winter. It's breathtaking.

My dad was practically crawling out of his skin over the picket fence. "There are no picket fences like that in Italy!" Well, I don't know about none in all of Italy, but there certainly are no fences in any of the landscapes of Tuscany that I've seen. Also, and rightly so, my dad was annoyed that the fence had no real change in size, even though it was obviously meant to move back in perspective from the foreground to the horizon line.

Sigh, what to do? So my parents asked me if I could "doctor it up." You know, just get rid of the fence, fix the house, give it a little more color, etc. Um...ok. This is impossible. My only
recourse was this:

Do over. So over the course of the last two or three weeks, I worked on a completely new painting a little at a time. My dad went out and bought a set of acrylic paints for me to use. They were pretty nice to use. Oils are a pain in the butt. I was worried about doing this because I am out of practice, artistically. The last time I undertook a major art piece I was in college, so we're talking like 1992.

Well, I finished it tonight. Now, I am sure it has plenty of errors in it. Look, I 'aint Bierstadt, ok? But I do think that it looks a lot better than the yellowy-green ode to the mutant broccoli that emerged after the nuclear holocaust on Cloud City. Personally, I like the poppies. I think those turned out great. Here is my painting:

I'm sure my dad will find some sort of problem with it. He always does that. He'll be like " about you put in another tree over there?" My mom will flip her lid. I think she'll be very happy. My mom is like that. If one of her children does anything, makes something, cooks something etc., and no matter how dreadful it is, she loves it.

So I am off the rest of the week until Friday! WOO! I will bring this painting over to them tomorrow morning after I drop Todd off at work.

Friday, December 15, 2006

My Secret Pal ROCKS!

I had the most wonderful package of goodies from my Secret Pal waiting for me when I got home form work today! What a nice way to end the work week!

First, let me say that I absolutely LOVE everything! Also, it must be said how intuitive my Secret Pal s about goody-buying for me. In fact, I was almost crying because some of the items in there we just so very thoughtful! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I took a bunch of pictures so here they are:

Here are all the items (A LOT OF THEM) all individually wrapped in the box:

I loved how the little packages had words and phrases written on them! It's such a cool idea. I'll have to use it for my spoilee! Incidentally, my Secret Pal sends me the cutest, most unique e-cards too!


So now for the unwrapped contents:

Yeah, see?? I told you it was A LOT! :-) There are 2 snowmen picture frames, Lindor dark chocolate truffle mini balls, Lemongrass and Olive soap and bath salts, a pack of Pirates of the South China Seas cards, a box of "Mack" toffee, a booklet with the cutest mitten patterns, 3 skeins of 100% merino wool in a lovely sage green color, and attached to the card is a pin of stitch markers!

Now for some closeups!

Here are the Lindor mini truffle balls. Oh my DOG, these are soooo gooood. I ate a couple tonight after dinner. I have never heard of "Mack" candy but I loved the box and I love toffee. So I am sure that I will enjoy it. I just had visions of Sean Connery taking a bite of some "Mack" toffee....Aren't the picture frames super cute? I have no idea how my Secret Pal knew this, but I absolutely ADORE snowmen. The decorations in my house are largely comprised of snowmen!

As soon as I opened the box, I was greeted with the most wonderful fragrance. It was the Olive and Lemongrass soap and bath salts. (Don'tcha just love the little scoop too?) They were in the fabric pouch that I have underneath the objects in the picture. Oh what a wonderful smell. So gentle and natural I started to get teary-eyed because it was just so perfect for me. Then I opened the Pirate cards, which I mentioned on my SP9 questionnaire as something I collect. And I just got all weepy because that's just such a sweet thing to do!

Now for the last picture of goodies:

So here's the booklet of mitten patterns called "Smitten," by Mission Falls. They are SO CUTE. I hope to attempt them someday! Maybe this can be the Christmas present net year for all the kids I know! They really are sweet patterns. And you can see the blue millefiore glass stitch-markers attached in the card. I love them. I never seem to have enough stitch markers! The yarn is absolutely, incredibly, gorgeous. It's so supple and buttery soft. NO itchyness whatsoever. I stroked it against my face over and over; it felt like fluffy silk! It's made by the same company that did the mitten booklet! I can't wait to use it!

Thank you so much, Secret Pal! Your gifts and thoughtfulness are very appreciated! :-)

Dying From The Absolute Coolness

Ok so, real quick...Nicole just showed me the text emote for "throw up the horns!" Ready?


How freakin' cool is that?!?!? Could you just DIE? I am like dying over here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Before I Forget Again...

I never put up my favorite pictures from Vermont. So here they are. These were all taken at a state park with lots of nature trails. It was the Groton State Forest, I think. Marsha probably can confirm that; she remembers everything. I, on the other hand, would forget my big, dumb head if it weren't permanently attached to my neck....

I plan on selecting three of these and blowing them up large to frame and put on my living-room wall. I'm just not sure which three to use, and if I should make them black& white or do some funky photo effects on them to alter the colors or exposure, etc. I think I want them all to be in portrait direction (rather than landscape). So that narrows it down a little. Anyway, enjoy.

an an



a 8


a dad

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Can Someone PLEASE Contact Me, Or Do I Have To Choke A Bitch?

I mean really, people. I don't know about everyone else, but I have had THE ABSOLUTE WORST customer service in the last month than I have ever had in my entire life. Seriously.

I ordered a Christmas gift for someone back on November 29th from a place called Maybe that was my first mistake: trusting a webstore with a retarded name like that. Anyway, they had the best price and best shipping price for this item. They are also, allegedly, a member of the Better Business Bureau (who ROCKS harder than AC/DC, because they settled a 8-month dispute that I had with Home Depot, lickety-split. I will eventually post about this too. It's just that the wounds are still too fresh....).

Well, the item, according to the website, was "in-stock." I ordered it. About a week or so later, I realized that I hadn't received any communication from them confirming my order or telling me that they are going to ship it, etc. So I checked the order status webpage on their site.


The order was there. They charged my credit card. But the status of the item had been changed to "back-order." Now, dear reader, I ask you: WHEN WERE THEY GOING TO TELL ME THIS? The answer? Probably never. To add insult to injury, the actual item STILL had "in-stock" next to its title. WTF? I managed to contain my rage long enough to type out this fairly coherent e-mail:

I placed order #3691 for "such-and-such item" on November 29th. According to your
website at the time I placed the order, this item was in-stock. Because I have not
heard from you about this order and it's been NINE days, I have just checked your
website to view my order status and it says that the item I ordered is on
, with the date "12/06/2006" underneath it (but it also STILL says
"in-stock" next to the item title)! This is unacceptable. I would not have
placed the order if I was told upfront that the item was out of stock and on

It is now December 8th. Do you or do you not have this item in stock? If not, I
cannot wait any longer for it and would like to cancel my order. If you do have it
in stock, I expect that it will be shipped IMMEDIATELY and can you please tell me
when I can expect to receive it?

Gina Waters

No response. Nada. The rage is now setting fire to my intestines. I wait all weekend. Nothing. Monday morning comes and I decide to call them. Of course, nobody is there to take the call because they are in freakin' California and it's like 8:00 am here in Philly. So I leave a message. Firm and concerned, but calm. ZILCHO. No call; no e-mail. I am totally incensed now. So yesterday, I sent them yet another e-mail:


I am writing again regarding my order #3691. I have not heard from you about the
status of this order, despite having asked you twice. I telephoned yesterday and
received no response. Below is an e-mail I sent on Friday, to which I also did not
receive a response.

Can someone please acknowledge that I exist and respond to me regarding this order?

Gina Waters

Can you guess what the response was? DING! That's right! NO RESPONSE AT ALL! I am so incredibly angry that I am like crawling out of my skin. I can't even explain it. I just...I's like...just watch this and you'll know:

Yeah. So, I am going to wait until 1:00 or so to call them, again.

I am having a similar problem with ANOTHER website --- this time a comic-book place --- about 2 orders that I placed on the 11th of December. The place is They have THE most confusing webpage and ordering system I have ever encountered. So confusing that I ended up having to place 2 separate orders instead of one, thus getting charged $6.95 for shipping two times. I called them yesterday just to discuss the orders because I am so freakin' confused that I don't know if they got one of the two orders and when either of them will ship or if it's even it stock or what. It's all kinds of fucked up. So, anyway, I called yesterday evening and left a message with a woman named "Mary." No response. WTF is wrong with people? These people are in Michigan, I think. So, I will call them again at lunchtime, too.

Ok, I realize that it's the Christmas gift-giving season. Things are hectic for everyone. But Jesus Tapdancing Christ, this is ridiculous.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Knitting...Almost There!

Ok so I've mentioned in a few previous posts that I am making a bunch o' scarves as Christmas gifts for four young girls and a little boy that are the children (and one neice) of two of my friends. Ouch, that hurt my brains.

So, anyway, here are the three scarves for the three daughters of my friend, Dana:

The ivory pastel one is for her youngest, who I think is 4-5. This was done using a ball and a half of Lion Watercolors in Shell and a skein of some random, light-purple, fuzzy eyelash yarn that I got in the $1 bin at Target. The pink in the middle is for her middle daughter who is 6-7. That is done with about 1/2 a skein of Patons Divine in Floral Fantasy (which is actually really nice yarn to work with) and one skein of Patons Carmen in Rose. And the purplish one on the right is for her oldest girl, who is 9 or close to it. That is done with 1 skein of Bernat Boa in Toucan and about 1/2 a skein of Joann's Sensations Angel Hair in medium purple.

I am also making another one of those purplish, feathery ones for my friend Julie's neice, who is also around 9. That scarf is about 1/4 done. I have to finish it by this coming Sunday. I think I will be able to do it without a problem.

Now for Julie's son, who is 3, I made a hat and I am about 1/3 done a matching scarf:

I am using 2 strands together of Lion Brand Homespun in Williamsburg Blue and the red parts are 2 strands together of the last, sad remnants of Lion Brand Kool Wool that I have in my possession. Sniff, sniff. I loved that yarn. So super easy to work with. Sigh. Anyway, I finally am doing a ribbed scarf. And it actually looks halfway decent. I like these colors together, too!

So that's my progress and what's been taking up most of my time. Oh, but I did manage to finish another Moebius scarf. Actually, as I was sitting in the dining room at my laptop checking e-mail earlier, I noticed Titus go trotting across the living room carrying it in his jaws. Nice.

Now I still need to finish that Mason-Dixon Washrag. And I want to start up on that rug for the bathroom. And I want to do my first cabling project, too. Too much to do and so little time! RAGE!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's A Cry For Help, Really kinda went ahead and sorta bought more yarn today. Yup.

My most favorite yarn seller on e-bay, Roxy's Yarns, just has too damn many good deals.

This is what I got:

Two balls of Plymouth Baby Alpaca Brush in light blue. I thought maybe I could make a very soft, skinny, cable scarf with this.

Two skeins of Plymouth Fantasy Naturale in the Brights colorway. Market Bag number 3, here I come!

And two big skeins of Schaefer's Miss Priss yarn in the Edith Piaf colorway. Look at this yarn, people. Can you gaze upon this yarn and actually tell me that YOU would have been able to resist it?! We're talking 300 yards per skein of hand-dyed, 100% merino wool deliciousness for $17, and you could have exercised enough restraint to keep your purse-strings all neatly tied up?


Ah, La Vie en Rose, indeed, Edith.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My Husband Makes Me Cry

Well...not intentionally, anyway. It's just that sometimes he says certain words or sounds or makes a peculiar face that just makes me cry.

Yeah, I know. The meds stopped working for me a long time ago.

I will now give you the litany of things that usually set me off:

1) Todd is from Virginia. No, that's not it. Haha. But it is part of it. Because he's a Southerner, he knows how to really lay on a Southern accent (stereotypically, of course) when he wants to. Todd is also an actor, by trade. So he doesn't really have a strong accent. Now, he will claim that he doesn't have any accent at all. This is not the case. He does. Just as sure as I have my bizarre Philadelphia accent, he's got a slight Southern one. Well, anyway, he made a stereotypical "hick laughing" sound one day. And he just kept on doing it like 2 seconds longer than I could handle and it made me cry. It sounds something like "hyuck, hycuk" over and over. I lost it. He can never do that in my presence again. I freak out.

2) Meatballs. He cannot say the word "meatballs" more than like twice in a row. And even that's pushing it. Because if he does, it's like saying "Candyman" or something. I don't know. It makes me upset and I cry. Especially since he often puts that heavy Southern accent on it AND accompanies it with those "hyuckl, hyuckl" laughs. I can't take it. Where did this originate? Ok we were playing Trivial Pursuit one day and he got this one question that said: "On the Howdy Doody Show, what did the Flub-A-Dub say when it got angry?" And we didn't know, 'cause Howdy Doody is about 30 years before our time. So the answer was "Meatballs!" Well Todd just took that and ran with it, saying it over and over, really loudly with that exaggerated Southern accent. I cried. And thus it appears on this list.

3) Pancakes. For the same aural reasons as above. However, here's the back-story: There was this movie called Cabin Fever that came out a couple of years ago. It's a horror movie. I don't do horror movies. Period. I just don't like them. In my entire life, I've only managed to sit through 2 horror movies in their entirety: The Blair Witch Project and The Ring. The latter disturbed me so much that I could not be alone in a room with a television for about a week. Anyway, back to Cabin Fever. So because I will NOT go to a theater and see a horror movie, Todd sometimes goes himself or with a friend. So he comes home after seeing Cabin Fever. He didn't like it. He thought it was stupid. This was no surprise to me, knowing that Todd pretty much thinks every movie he's seen in the last 4 years is stupid. So he said that there was this one scene in particular that was the dumbest, lamest thing ever committed to celluloid. He explained the scene, then he started yelling "PANCAKES!" over and over again in THAT voice. You know the one I mean. And I cried. For those of you who are interested, this is that scene:

4) A couple of weeks ago I learned that there is yet another thing that sets me off. We stopped to get Middle Eastern food for dinner from this take-out place called Bitar's. (REALLY good food, BTW.) We parked the car and before we got out he said, "Oh, I think we are out of soda. Should we stop somewhere to get some?" And I said, "Well, I don't really need it. Why don't you just get some here so we don't have to make another stop?" And he goes, "No. 'Cause they only have like HYCHUKKHAL, and SHLUCK MALTHLUK brands." And he said this with his eyes wide open and kind of got closer to my face, too. I lost it. I said, "Don't do that ever again; I think I am going to cry!" And I did.

Now what makes matters worse in all these aforementioned instances is that Todd thinks it's hilarious. Not that he does it on purpose just to get a good laugh, because he doesn't. Especially the thing at Bitar's. That was an entirely new neuroses for me. But I guess it's just that it's so freakin' STUPID that I cry. So he laughs hysterically. Like screaming out loud, tears streaming down his face laughing. Then I start both laughing and crying, which is actually pretty painful. You get to a point, very quickly, where you can't breathe. Seriously.

Other stuff that he does that makes me upset:

* sucks on ice cubes, then pretends to choke on them.

* crosses his eyes and pretends that he's having a heart attack or stroke

* drinks water right from the spigot in the kitchen (sometimes just to "clean out" his mouth, thereby spitting it back out after swishing it around). Yes... I know....

* bangs on the coffee table, or throws the controller, or curses at the top of his lungs, or, more likely, a combination of all three of these things when playing a particularly frustrating video game. Do not get me started on the "God of War" incidents of early 2006. Anyway, sometimes it's so intense, loud, and enexpected that I literally, physically jump out of my seat.

Yeah, don't marry an actor.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Unbelievable Yarn

Oh man, so I am addicted to yarn. We all know that. And I have a habit of having like 14 projects going at a time. Well, I read somewhere online about a person who knitted and felted a couple of small rugs to use in her entryway and bathroom. And I thought, "What a super idea!" So I am going to try this. I mean, how hard can knitting and felting a big rectangle be? It's not going to be anything fancy --- just a nice rectangular rug for my bathroom. Maybe fringe. I haven't decided.

So the person who did their felted rugs recommended Plymouth Italian Fingerpaints yarn. She said she used 3 hanks of it. I searched high and low for this yarn. Then I realized why I was having such a hard time finding it: it's been discontinued. Story of my life, really. Anyway, when I DID find it on a couple of yarn-store websites, it was outrageously expensive. Sometimes as high as $40 a hank. So, I knew I would need at least 3 hanks. There's no way I would ever spend $120 on a bathroom rug, especially with a man in the house, if you catch my drift....

Enter ebay, in all its glory! I found an ebay seller selling this yarn for $12.95 a hank. YIPPIE! Now that's more my speed! I bought 4 hanks, just in case. The color I chose was pastels #715.

Here is a picture of it as it appeared on ebay:

Well, the colors are pretty accurate to what the yarn looks like in person. But, really, this picture just does not show how amazing this yarn is. First of all? The hanks are FREAKIN' HUGE. Seriously, they are over 2 feet long. I've tried to find another picture of it fully extended out so you can see it. I'll try to take a picture of the 4 hanks I have tonight so you can see what I'm talking about! It has 132 yards per hank, which is a lot of yarn for something this gauge. Also, it's super soft and very large. They recommend size 17 needles, but I will have to go to 19 or maybe even 35 in order to get the right gauge for felting shrinkage.

Anyway, I am like totally GAY for this yarn.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Ok, Now HERE'S a Game For You...

Keeping in line with the absurdity of the Star Wars Transformers (see previous post), which I think we can all agree are the dumbest, ugliest-looking, stupidest toys ever committed to plastic, I have created the PERFECT new game for today's audiences. It combines both a classic, early-1980s game and a modern phenomenon! I am such a genius! Behold:


Hey, kids! It's the old-fangled game your parents played before video games but with a cool new twist! How's it work? Well, the 4 colored buttons randomly flash and speak 4 different Simon Cowell observations! Your job is to remember the order in which they occurred and repeat it by pushing the correct- colored buttons! But be careful! Each round adds a new color and comment! Can you keep up with Simon's snarky comments? It's fun for the whole family!

Real, disdainful Simon comments from everyone's favorite show, American Idol :
"Simply awful"
"I've heard better from dying loons"
"Abysmal, at best"
"A kick in the batch would be less painful"