Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ten on Tuesdays

For me the summer is officially here since I am off contract now. It's time for working in the garden, playing in the backyard, grilling on the patio, and working house and other miscelenous projects. And all of that fun and productivity makes one thirsty.

Therefore 10 Favorite Summer Beverages


  1. Water- Start with the basics. I've always been a big water drinker. And I drink it right from the tap. None of this bottle crap. (Unless I'm out and it's that or soda) Occasionally, I'll toss in a little lime, but I'm happy with some straight ole water. 
  2. Frozen Strawberry Lemonade- Throw some lemonade, ice and frozen strawberries in a blender and go to town. Vodka is optional. 
  3. Gin and Tonic- Classic and one of my favorites.
  4. Rum Punch- I have a wonderful recipe for a delicious rum punch that is very addictive. 
  5. White wine- Nice and dry. None of that sweet stuff for me. 
  6. Mike's Hard Lemonade-Love this stuff and it comes in a handy variety pack. The Black Cherry is my favorite out of all the flavors. 
  7. Beer- Even though beer is getting pushed off my personal menu for various reason, I always seem to crave one when doing phsiycal work in the heat. It's just something on a cellular level that manual labor plus sun equals beer.
  8. Cosmos- My boss makes a mean one of these. 
  9. Margaritas- prefer them on the rocks but wouldn't turn down a frozen one. 
  10. Hard Cider- a nice alternative to beer.
Hrm....a lot of alcohol on that list. I'm not a big soda drinker...nor do I drink milk. So that leaves me water, juice and booze. As big a tea drinker as I am, I don't do iced tea, unless I brew some of my hot teas and chill them. Traditional American 'iced tea' is heinious, and 'sweet tea' is just an abomination.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Catch a glimpse...

I've not a lot of time for writing at the moment but you catch a glimpse of what I am working on and thoughts therein on my Twitter feed and on Instagram as well. You can find me on both under Gothknits.

Come see the pretty.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

Ten Things (Or Subjects) You Wish You Knew More About

This is appropriate as there are a bunch of projects before me that would go far smoother if I had some more knowledge. So here goes....

  1. CAD (Computer Assisted Drafting)- I learned basic skills in this back in college but had little need to keep up on it. And with my 15 year reunion in a few weeks, that should tell you how rusty those skills are. In the various directions my career is going, I am finding that I really should know this and not rely on my husband to do all my CAD for me. 
  2. Projection Technology- We are being asked more and more to do projections for our productions. It is becoming a standard in the industry and we just aren't set up for it. A coworker and I are going to be working together on this. 
  3. Photoshop/Illustrator- I can do some basics but I am finding that I really should have some training to help when I need to design something or adjust something for work on the fly. 
  4. Gardening- it is garden time again and I just feel so overwhelmed some days. 
  5. Painting- there is always something new to learn.
  6. Cooking- I'm a fairly good cook, but I'm stuck in a rut. I think learning more would expand my culinary concoctions. 
  7. Pastry- This is an art all of its own. And a skill I am rather dodgy with.
  8. Electronics- so I could do all my own gadgety stuff without having to wait on the husband's skills.
  9. Sewing- I can never find what I want to wear, nor do I (currently) possess the skills to make such a wardrobe. Quilting falls into this category.
  10. Spinning- My wheel languishes with my lack of knowledge. Need to rectify that.  

 I am neck deep in a design project, complicated by a medication hiccup, therefore the writing has been sparse. The drawing and producing on this end has been plentiful....but the knitting/sewing/writing has been sparse.

But there should be news soon.

Hopefully.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mommy and Little Miss days...

 [author's note. I wrote this earlier in the week and for some reason it didn't post. So I'm posting it now. And then going to bed. Because Migraine. Enough said]


because Little Miss has a fever. We spent the morning yesterday in Mommy's bed watching movies and I introduced her to the joys of breakfast in bed.

I have been wavering between getting things accomplished or just resting with her and knitting and doing research for my upcoming design project. She tends to be rather clingy when not well, so I have a feeling that she will be deciding just how much I can get done around the house during her convalescence.

Sunday was the MS Walk and after doing only the 2k I was completely wiped the rest of the day. And then yesterday I flared...in a bad way. The only reason I went to work was because I had a few show notes and an important meeting. 

Now that I'm back and "settled" the cleanout continues.

I did a little rearranging. I'm slowly cleaning out the attic room, hoping that it leads to progress in it's completion. Even though we are somewhat halted on the mancave/playroom (damn that stupid sewer pipe!) we are using the space. We've put up all the drywall we can. I may start doing the joint compound work next week during Little Dude's vacation week. We are still deciding on material for the wainscoting. We keep eyeing the PVC beadboard for it's obvious benefits in a basement setting but the cost is so much more than our other choices.

In rearranging the living room we did away with the large (ugly particle board) entertainment center.


We moved it downstairs instead. Here is the 'couch' Little dude made for himself out of two chairs and a tiny gym mat. Gotta love that innovation.


I also brought down a work table from the attic and set up a little station for working on models and miniatures.  (I'm pushing the Geek-boy to finish his Warhammer 40K unit and go hit the gaming tables).

This weekend I emptied out this file cabinet to store the minature sets. It also was a great place to shift the drawer units to and give more work area on the table top.


 The drawers were acquired when a local yarn store went out of business. They were for embroidery floss. I love them and use them all over the house. Little Dude has one dedicated to his small Lego bits.

We just brought down my drafting/drawing table as well so that I can have a place to work on my designs.



We already set up the kids' train table and bean table down there as a good play area in the depths of winter.

We had also re-purposed Little Dude's old Ikea dresser for dress-up clothes after The Big Bedroom Switch-a-roo. Geek-boy has his desktop set up down there as well so it's turning into a nice little area. If we can just conquer the moisture issues down there and move the waste pipe, we will be all set. It will make a nice get away in the heat of summer, without wasting energy running the air conditioning.

I'm continuing to weed through my yarn stash and hitting the art supplies as well.

We're doing a similar clean-out at work and I find myself writing Craigslist ads for tools and items we could never use on stage.







Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

10 Foods That Belong Together

Hmm...interesting topic. Why do I think I'm going to be hungry after this???

  1. Dark Chocolate and Mint- whether in the form of patties, squares, or these fabulous chocolate mint brownies, they are perfect for each other.
  2. Chicken Wings and Blue Cheese Dressing- true Buffalo wings made with Frank's Red Hot.
  3. Mashed potatoes and Gravy- chicken gravy, turkey gravy, pork gravy, beef gravy....it doesn't matter it just needs to be there and in copious amounts.
  4. Tortilla chips and Chile con queso- this doesn't last long in our house.   
  5. Potato chips and French onion dip- But the dip has to be Heluva Good
  6. Fresh Brussels sprouts and Bacon- Either halve the sprouts and oven roast with the bacon or completely pull them apart and lightly saute in the drippings and add the cooked bacon back in at the last minute.
  7. Kielbasa and Pirogi-Yes. I'm a good little Pollack.
  8. Chocolate pudding and Whipped cream- I may or may not have been indulging in a pudding cup from a hidden stash and the can of whipped cream after the minions went to bed last night. But I'll never tell.
  9.  Eggs, hash browns, and bacon/sausage- the perfect breakfast to me.
  10. Tomatoes and Basil- together fresh paired with cucumbers or fresh mozzarella or blended together for the perfect sauce. They are even beneficial to grow next to each other. Now that's a perfect pairing.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

After the con.....

I have returned. I spent most of last week off at the USITT annual conference, which was in Fort Worth this year. I've not been to one of these in 15 years. It was quite different from what I remember. Back then I was still in college; now I am a professional in the field. I had gone to the one in Pittsburgh in 1997 and again to Toronto in 1999. We always kind of laugh when people talk of a work conference as a 'vacation'. Maybe for other fields, but we're an industry that works from sun-up until the wee hours. Why would our conference be any different?
Every day is filled with discussion sessions, teaching sessions, hands-on workshops, commission meetings, showcases and xxxxxxxxx . And then there is the Expo floor filled with booths from vendors, organizations and schools alike giving out swag, demonstrating new products, drumming up business, conducting interviews mixed with the chaos of friends new and old meeting. It's fun to put faces to the voices on the phone you order from, or play with a new fogger or automation system. Programming is scheduled from 8am until 7, 8, 9pm or later. And there are no meal breaks scheduled in, so you often have the dilemma of "do I attend this really interesting session on XXX, or do I eat?" Sometimes you might pick a session where they feed you. This is not kind of conference where you go to a meeting or two with a catered lunch and spend the rest of the time at the pool.

And I loved it. Even though it dang near killed me. There was a lot of walking. A LOT of walking, and even with my cane it wore me out. Luckily we booked the hotel that was right across the street. I made some new friends, finally put some faces and face-to-face time with people that I have corresponded with for years. I learned tons. Was inspired even more. And somehow I ended up chairing a session for next year's conference. (And I was totally sober when that happened. But then again, it was an 8am session).

Texas was lovely...for what I saw of it. I didn't wander much further than 4 blocks from the convention center, and that was to hunt for food. The weather was much nicer....86 in Texas in March is nothing like 86 in Hartford in August. Especially when I come home to be greeted by a freak snowstorm the next morning.

Things I learned from this conference:
  • Have business cards. Even if you aren't looking for a job. It's the best way to pass along your information.
  • Have a portfolio handy....both online and a brag book in hand. Again, even if you aren't looking for a job, people are going to ask to see your work. 
  • Take pictures and write everything down. You will be so inundated with information that you will never remember what happened 5 minutes ago.
  • Bring your own tea if you are picky about what you drink. (so glad I did this)
  • Powerbars/granola bars are your friends. Have lots of them on hand.
  • Talk to everyone you can. You never know what may come of it. If you like someone's work/idea/project, tell them. Everyone likes positive reinforcement. 
  • Don't be bitter. (at least out loud) There were a few Debbie Downers that ruined a good moment or two. 
  • Remember this is a small business. Everyone knows everyone whether you realize it or not. 
  • Drink More Water. 
  • Ask the locals where they eat. 
  • I hate iPads (borrowed one from the University library for the trip to use instead of my laptop.)
  • I can out eat a bunch old techies and a Army veteran under the table where all you can eat ribs are concerned. (Sorry Riscky's. You didn't make any money on me that night.)

And now I am back. Dealing with paperwork, waiting for a designer to arrive, cleaning/organizing the shop, and researching/writing up ads to see extraneous shop possessions on Craigslist. You know the budget is bad when you are selling things just to fix/replace your other things.

I did get knitting done on my flights. And I only had one schmuck ask how TSA let me through with my (circular) needles. I told the guy (who had an uncanny resemblance to George R.R. Martin so I didn't want to be rude in case it was him and he decided not to finish the books because of some snarky knitter) that TSA discovered that we knitters were far less dangerous with our needled than without them.

This is what I managed to get done while flying and waiting in airports. I did knit a little in sessions but I often had to take notes, and with the cane knitting while walking was out of the question. The yarn is Glissade from Ball and Skein. (I swear I'm addicted to her stuff) in the colorway Elderberry. The color perfectly matches the new color of my hair. (What you expected me to go to Texas looking like a normal person?) What you see is slowly becoming the Medusa shawl by Amanda Muscha. I originally fell in love with this pattern because the lace is more geometric than flowery/frilly looking. So far both the yarn and pattern have been wonderful. The beginning section of this is perfect airplane knitting paired with an audiobook. (Bleak House by Dickens via CraftLit).

Otherwise I returned to a perfect shitstorm of a friendship imploding and new and scary health issues. One is the usual waiting game of doctor's appointments, tests, and more doctor's appointments. I'm doing my best not to dwell on the horrible notions that keep drifting across my brain. There's nothing I can do until I know more. And as far as the other one....who knows.

*sigh*

Back to reading about reed organs and band saws.

Monday, March 24, 2014

I should be in bed...

but I'm not.

I'm packing.

Well, I was packing. I've been side tracked by Twitter and hunting yarn shops in Ft. Worth.

Yep. I'm heading to Texas for a work conference. Without the family. I've never been away from the kids more than 2 days. This is going to be interesting. And the Geek-boy has his load-in week while I am gone. I think his work is going to learn 1. just how much he does and how much they rely on him to ditch everything else for them and 2. just where is priorities really lie. Meanwhile I'll be hobnobbing with people in the industry and possibly hitting the spa in the hotel. Just think. I will have almost a whole week where I will be allowed to us the bathroom on my own. I won't have to do someone's hair every morning while they steal my breakfast. And I won't have to wipe anyone's butt aside from my own.

This is my first real trip since being diagnosed. I'm slightly (very) anxious about it. Especially since the Geek-boy won't be there to help me and keep me calm. I hate flying. I'm stressing about going through security with all my meds. I'm worried I won't have the stamina to do all the walking around the convention. 

And speaking of diagnosed today was the two year anniversary. Woo hoo? With two major treatment changes over the last year I can't say it has been a fun ride. Part of me kicks myself for going off the infusions when I did. Had I hesitated a little longer, we would have had the study in our hands and known that it was safe for me to stay on it. And in those months of going off that and onto the pills and back again I know I lost some of what I had. And I am beginning to doubt if I will ever get it back again.

Enough of the depressing stuff. Packing has been insanely helpful in the Fifty Things project. I'm not sure if it was my tendency to procrastinate or the OCD, but my forays into The Closet of Doom led to a huge clean out. What is The Closet of Doom, might you ask? It is a strange anomaly in our house created by half-arsed renovations by the former owner. It used to be a part of the kitchen. It someday will be a part of the bathroom. But now it is a tiny space (about 4feet wide and 10 feet deep?) with open stud walls, various forms of flooring, and a bare bulb that serves as a linen, medicine, cleaning and catch-all closet. After this weekend, it is far more organized. Between that and my clothing closet I was able to add a bunch more to the list.

Tossed this time:
  • Travel sized toiletries we will never use
  • Old expired medicine and product
  • Travel alarm clocks (cell phones do this now)
  • Ace ankle wraps (too small and elastic cracked)
  • The disposable underwear from the hospital acquired when I had the minions. (Done with the baby making here. Don't need them)
  • Fake nails bought for a costume.
  • Old eyeglasses (going to the donation bin at the library)
  • Numerous scented lotions, body washes, bath extras and fancy body scrubby things. (Toss what's bad and donate what isn't)
  • Inflatable bath pillow. 
  • Stretchy skinny jeans (I don't even know how I got these)
  • Pull over fleece jacket (not to my taste. It can keep someone else warm)
  • Shoes
Fifty Things Total: 15

Not bad so far. I expect to make some huge progress when I return from the trip. And now I must to bed.