Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Real Live LOLFail!

Several days ago, I saw this image online at the Fail Blog site. It was called, "I Want That One, Mom!" I thought it was kind of funny.

Today, I was killing a little time at the local Dollar General/Tree/Store/Bodega/whatever. The Post Office had closed at noon and I missed it by 10 minutes. Anyway, my plan was to get a drink and head back to work. When I walked into the store, it was straight into the Valentine's Day crap. And I saw a display of dolls, very similar to the one pictured above.

Doesn't it look like she's got pink eye??? This is what first caught my attention as I walked past the dolls.
And then, there she was...the sad cousin of the doll with the eye problem.

"Sweet Teens 18" doll" to celebrate being a teen!

Because acne can't be awkward ENOUGH when your teen...so let's throw in a lazy eye!

I wonder if the other dolls have physical impairments. Maybe that's why they're on sale!

Finally Some Good News to Share

Last week, I was FINALLY offered a new full time job, after two years of almost exhausting, nauseating job searching. I wonder what kind of crazy I would be today if I had been unemployed for that entire time, instead of just looking to leave a miserable fucking job.

But I digress.

I am keeping the floral design position for the time being, because it's just part time. But the new job is as the office manager for a local heating and AC place. It's going to be a nice change of pace, and I turned in my two week notice last Friday.

Do you know what I'm doing at work until my two weeks is up? Not a damn thing. As little as possible, at least for actual work. I've got such bad short-timers right now, it's unreal.

Because it's still the holidays, I had the office to myself yesterday morning. I took advantage of the solitude and broke out my latest issue of Mollie Makes magazine and the little kit it came with: felty fox brooches!

I swear, my work ethic is really not this bad. But when there are others who flat out refuse to do their jobs in their entirety, WHY should I bust my hump? I'll make sure everything I normally do will be caught up when I leave Hades.

In the meantime, I thought about my Mom the last time I went grocery shopping a few days ago. She always hated grocery shopping, while I happen to love it.

However, I was on a mad tear for canned chili for some reason. I snagged a couple cans of it, and then inspiration (and one of Mom's recipes) struck me like a lightening bolt: cream cheese chili dip! I needed cream cheese and Doritoes!

Holy high cholesterol, Batman!

To the Bat-ambulance, Robin!

I don't know if this was a recipe my Mom came up with, and it doesn't matter. Hell, for YEARS, I really thought my mom invented potato chip on sandwiches. I remember her making me a lunch meat, mustard and potato chip sandwich before I started kindergarten and thought it was the greatest thing ever! It was the day we moved into a duplex, and Mom was looking for an easy lunch for the two of us while we waited for the rest of our things to start arriving at the new house. I was in college before I saw someone else doing the same thing and I was shocked! :) I'm not too surprised to see this recipe online, because you can find anything you want on the internet. I bet I could probably find interracial little person clown porn.

Yeaaaaah, I'm not looking for that, but you get my point.

Anyhoo, I made that dip with the Doritoes for supper last night. It was fabulous. I was transported right back to being a kid again. All you do is combine them both in a sauce pan on med-high heat until the cream cheese is melted and both items are well mixed.

It was a good night. I'd like to think that Mom approved of my totally unhealthy supper. Thanks for giving me that recipe sooooooooooooooooooooo long ago, Mom!!!!

When I got home, I dug out the kit that came with another UK crafting magazine I recently discovered: Crafts Beautiful. The December issue came with some pieces of felt, Fiber Fill, paper and a die cut wood owl to make Christmas ornaments. I made the fox ornament and had enough left over to make a couple more.

The felt was really thick and heavyweight, but I didn't really care much for this kit because of the thickness. It was hard to push a needle through the layers and it actually felt hard on my right arm to make. I'm going to stick with my Mollie Makes issues instead. Crafts Beautiful doesn't really hold a candle to it.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mod Podge Mold Review

I've been meaning to write this review up for a couple weeks now, and it looks like I've finally gotten around to it:: Mod Podge Mod Mold, Royal Icons and the 16-Piece Mod Melts in White Milk Glass.

I recently picked these up as impulse buys at my local arts and crafts store. I personally am a Mod Podge fan, so I figured this would be a great little set to have. I could already envision myself buying more of the molds for different little embellishments. And those Mod Melts work in the cheapo little hot glue gun I already have.

"Do-it-yourself has never been easier or so much fun! Create your own embellishments to paint and attach to projects. Molds are made of durable, easy-to-use silicone. Add a touch of elegance to your projects with Royal Icons Mod Molds.

"Use Mod Melts to create custom embellishments for crafting projects that can be decorated with craft paint. Available in sea glass clear and milk glass white. Each package contains sixteen, 10” long mini..."

To be honest here: this was a disappointment, on two different levels. One might be my own fault for thinking I could make these teeny tiny little molds actually turn out. But they are so small and so detailed, it's a little difficult. Mod Podge might be doing it's customers a disservice by starting out with a series of molds so small, instead of providing different (larger) sizes as well.

And the areas that needed to be trimmed were so small (yet obvious) that I would have needed a tony scissor to get in there, but with all the crevices in the molds, I don't know that I would have been able to get them cleaned up as well as I would have liked.

But the biggest problem actually comes from the milk glass sticks. They don't harden the same way regular hot glue sticks harden. Even with the smallish tip of my glue gun, I had a hard time getting any uniformity or levelness to the molds as I was filling them because these milk glass sticks dry a lot faster than regular hot glue sticks. And they dry with a different consistency. With regular hot glue, you could conceivably use your fingertips (once cooled) to smooth out the backs of the molds. With the milk glass (I didn't see the sea glass clear ones to try), if you touch it, you automatically pull out a white stringy mess. You have to actually cut the strings off with a scissor if you get them. With a regular hot glue sticks, you can give the gun a little whip to the side and a little shimmy and the string basically disappears. Not so with these milk glass sticks. The glue starts drying almost as fast as it comes out of the gun, at least it did for me (and remember, I have a cheapo glue gun, so I don't know if that had any affect on it).

One other online review on the Plaid website mentioned having air bubbles in every one of their molds, even while following the proper directions. I didn't seem to have that problem on the fronts of my molds, but had a few on the backs, but that didn't bother me.

All in all, I'll stick with the regular Mod Podge but I won't be using the molds any more. Don't waste your money.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Finished Two Little Projects For Christmas

One of my co-workers at the arts and crafts store, Bree, asked me to make her step-mother a pair of fingerless gloves for Christmas. She bought a skein of Patons Shetland Chunky in Charcoal (#78042) and a skein of Lion Brand Vanna's Choice in Twilight (#502). It was enough yarn to make 2 pairs of fingerless gloves. I flipped the colors of the yarn for the two pairs.

The first pattern I used was from Getting Hooked. The only change was that I made the cuffs a little longer, because Bree said her stepmother has a tattoo on one of her wrists that she likes to keep covered at work.

The second pattern I used was I just made up as I went, and I used the pattern at Getting Hooked as my basis.

Start with the cuff, worked in rows and then sewn together to make a tube. You will work in the back loop to make a stretchable cuff.

Row 1: ch 12, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across, ch1, turn (11 sc)
Row 2: sc in first sc, bpsc in the other 9 sc across, ch1, turn (11 sc)
Rows 3- 32: repeat row 2 (32 rows total) be sure to regular sc in first st, and bpsc in the other, this will give a ridged look. 
Fasten off leaving long tail for sewing. Whip stitch together to make a tube.

The rest of the glove is worked in rounds, unless otherwise specified.
Row 1: Attach the yarn with a sl st to either end of the cuff, ch 1, sc in same spot sl st was made, sc evenly around cuff for a total of 32 sc, join with sl st to first sc.
Rows 2-5: ch2 (counts as 1st dc), dc in same st as slst, work 1 dc in each stitch around and secure with a slip stitch. You can lengthen or shorten the glove at this point, if you have a smaller hand do not make as many rounds, if you want your glove to cover more of your wrist and forearms you can add more rounds.
Row 6: beginning of thumb opening: ch2 (counts as 1st dc), dc in same st as sl st, work 1 dc in each stitch around, skipping the last 4 stitches in the previous row. Turn the glove and work the next row in the opposite direction.
Rows 7-8: ch2 (counts as 1st dc), dc in same st as sl st, work 1 dc in each stitch around. Turn the glove and work the next row in the opposite direction.
Row 9: closing the thumb opening: ch2 (counts as 1st dc), dc in same st as slst, work 1 dc in each stitch around. Chain 4 across the opening and secure with a slip stitch. 
Rows 10-11: ch2 (counts as 1st dc), dc in same st as sl st, work 1 dc in each stitch around and secure with a slip stitch. 
Row 12: ch1, sc in same st as sl st, work 1 sc in each stitch around and secure with a slip stitch. Fasten off the yarn.

Bree was really happy with these gloves and she knew her stepmom would be also.

Right now, it's almost Christmas and I feel like opening a gift early tonight. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Slight Bucket List Update

I had the chance to go to the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach.

'The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is a non-profit institution which exists to foster awareness, exploration, and understanding of the significant art of our time. Through excellence and diversity in our changing exhibitions and educational programming, MOCA stimulates critical thinking and dialogue throughout the Hampton Roads community.

"Regularly changing exhibitions feature painting, sculpture, photography, glass, video and other visual media from internationally acclaimed artists as well as artists of national and regional renown. By balancing its four primary activities—gallery exhibitions, studio art classes, educational outreach programs and outdoor art shows—MOCA seeks to involve a diverse regional public in the rich and active language of contemporary visual art. By operating at a national standard, MOCA received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 2010."

I wasn't there for a long time because there wasn't a whole lot to see there, and they don't allow photography inside.

"MOCA creates original exhibitions and borrows traveling exhibitions from other institutions. Work comes to the museum, on loan, through the generosity of artists, museums, galleries and private collectors. The museum does not hold copyright for the works on view. With the exception of Dale Chihuly's Mille Colori, please do not photograph the artwork, unless otherwise indicated in the gallery spaces."

I don't agree with the no photography rule, because I like taking photos of exhibits when I'm at museums. Of the things on display inside, there were so may beautiful things that I would have loved to taken photos of there. And their photography rules were too stringent for my tastes, even outside (but I didn't know about this until after I left the museum: : "All photographers (anyone capturing or recording an image by mechanical or digital means [film or video] for commercial, professional, artistic or recreational use) are required to check-in at the Welcome Desk upon entering the facility."

So I'm supposed to ask permission to take photos outside, even for my own use? Okay, so I broke the rules for my own desires and snuck a couple of pictures. I wasn't impressed with MOCA.

This room was for student artworks. Some of their student/non-professional artists had the best pieces of art there.

I thought the sunset and the little boy in the rain paintings were quite amazing, and the 2 busts were truly lovely. 
Barnaby Barford was part of the temporary exhibit. He works in video and ceramics. He did a trio of statues of Britany Spears, Grace Jones and Amy Winehouse each in different appearances as the three furies. I would have loved to have gotten good photos of each of them. I went online to Yahoo Images and couldn't find ANY images there of his three furies line. His own online gallery was pretty limited too. :(
This is the only place in the museum where photography is automatically allowed, without obtaining prior permission.

  • I want to go hang gliding in Kill Devil Hills, NC.
  • I want to see the archelogical dig at the Jamestown Settlement.
  • I want to go to the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.
  • I want to see KISS in concert, in the make-up.
  • I will get a job at some kind of animal shelter, and I'm going to be damn good at whatever I end up doing there. 
  • I will get at least one old, beat up piece of wood furniture, save it from going to the landfill, and refinish it. Holy crap, I'm still working on this one!!!
  • I'd like to go on an LCAC ride with my husband before he transfers to his new command. I had to cross this one off finally, because Shane left this command already. This bummed me out. I never got a ride on an LCAC out on the bay. Some of his family members did, and even though I offered to take any number of half days off from work, I never got to ride. 
  • I will go to see the Booth Trail in 2013. 
  • I will go to Natural Bridge, VA and the Shenandoah Valley and stay in a cabin in the woods
  • I will go to Hiddenite Gems, an emerald mine open to the public, in NC in 2013. 
  • I will go to the Richmond Zoo and the Virginia Zoo (they have done a lot of remodeling and I haven't been there for a several years). 
  • I will go to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. in 2013. 
  • I want to go to Tokyo some day. I would like to go to Hiroshima as well, but I've heard that Americans are unofficially unwelcomed there, and I don't blame the Japanese people if that's true. 
  • I want to see the pyramids and sphinx in Egypt. 
  • I'd love to see the Mona Lisa (she's in the Louvre in Paris) and The Scream (there are a couple, two of them are in Munich). 
  • I want to go to London, and maybe look for the TARDIS and the Doctor. 
  • I want to go to San Diego to see my best friend, go to Comic Con, wear a costume, take lots of photos, find an awesome looking Spider-Man so I can give him a hug for just being Spidey, and then walk a beach on the Pacific Ocean, looking for shells. 
  • I'd like to go to a taping of "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" if we ever go to California. 
  • I want to have at least one great, wildly creative crochet pattern published in a real book somewhere. 
  • I'd like to have our yard be featured for our Halloween decorations with a local tv station, so people might understand you don't have to spend big bucks on decorations and still put together a great display (I say this because we don't go as crazy for Christmas decorations). 
  • I'd like to win a challenge on Craftster. 
  • I'd like to compete on Craft Wars on TLC. I had to cross this one off too, because I'm pretty sure it's no longer on the air. I can't find any updated information on it. 
  • I will finish the Jedi costume finally and I will join the Rebel Legion in 2013. 
  • I will finish the doll house I started several years ago. 
  • I want to go to Ohio and see Ralphie Harper's house from The Christmas Story. 
  • I want to see Weird Al Yankovic in concert, and maybe even the Bangles if I ever get to California. 
  • I want to see the Barenaked Ladies again, the next time they come to Hampton Roads:This one is happening in August.
  • I want to take my friends to the Virginia Safari drive through park in Stanton, VA.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I Completed My Class!

I'm all edu-macated up on how to survive a zombie apocalypse!

Trying to be a Normal Person Again

So it's been about three weeks since Mom passed away. I've been working mostly, haven't gone to the gym, just doing the absolute basic essentials in life, and sitting on my ass watching a lot of tv. The feeling of being the weird kid in school, while I'm at work, is starting to fade a little bit. I started to realize how much stuff I've put on hold these last four months, and I don't think Mom would really approve of it. So, I'm trying to be a normal, productive person again.

Last night, I had Michelle the Cook over for supper and we watched "The Sound of Music Live" from the DV-R. I do love the movie version and was quite happy with the live televised version. The only thing I would have done differently if I ran that show would be to work on the audio levels. There were times the music was so loud (which sounded good), it drowned out the singing. But at least with Carrie Underwood (who I've never heard a single one of her songs) had enough volume for almost all of the program.

For supper, I decided to break out the crock pot. I looked up recipes for shrimp and came up with the "Company Casserole" recipe.
  • 1 1/4 cup raw converted rice
  • 1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 3 cups chicken broth (I used almost 4 cups of turkey broth)
  • 4 cups cut-up cooked chicken (leftover turkey here too)
  • 2 cans sliced mushrooms, drained I substituted a can of drained diced tomatoes because I didn't have mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 package (12 ounce size) frozen shelled shrimp
  • 8 green onions, chopped  I went for my staple, powdered garlic, instead
  • 2/3 cup slivered almonds  left them out because I figured they'd get soggy
Mix rice with melted butter or margarine in slow cooker. Stir to coat rice thoroughly. Add all remaining ingredients, except slivered almonds and some green onions to sprinkle over top. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours, or High 2 to 3 hours.

This recipe really looks like it's going to be soup, but the rice does absorb all the broth and becomes a spongy dish, although I wouldn't call it a casserole. I cooked mine on low for about 9 hours. While the casserole didn't burn, I should have cooked it for about 7 hours instead, but I was at work all day.

The other thing I finally accomplished last night was another gnome. Here's his back story. In September, I had a shitty time at a concert, left early, and went to an antiques store in Virginia Beach to window shop. 

I went back again shortly after that, bought the Santa, looked for the mermaid (she had been bought so I ordered one from Amazon just like the one at Barrett's, only cheaper), and realized they had a good number of garden gnomes. I went back a third time, and picked this little guy up. He's probably about 10 inches tall.

He was made by Artline in 1992, according to the markings on the underside of his feet. He was holding a tool or something at some point, which broke, but I can't get the rest of the handle out of his hand. He was originally marked at $16, then $6 and I got him for $5.50.

My grandma had an Artline cookie jar of Mickey Mouse when I was a kid made out of the same plasticy stuff as the gnome, so that's why I recognized the Artline brand immediately.

He's cute, but a little too "Disney/Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" for my own taste. I was going to do him as Uncle Sam, but then inspiration struck: he needed to be a leprechaun gnome, in honor of my mom whose birthday was St. Patrick's Day. He is a complete repaint, all the way around. He actually needed a lot of primer for some reason to get started.

There is glitter on his beard and hair, just because glitter MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER!

I even custom mixed paint colors to come up with a flesh color that I liked. 
Different shades of green and a healthy clear coat to protect his paint job. Only his boots are the same color as before. BTW, I love his little booty.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Good-bye, Mom

Today, my mom passed away. She passed around 9 AM. She fought the good fight for so long, the better part of 14 years, getting another and another and another form of cancer every couple of years. She was only 60.

We knew this day was coming, really, since Sunday. My father called me this morning to say we were down to hours, and then about 30 minutes later, he called again to say she was gone.

The bad/mean/pessimistic whatever thing about all this is when I woke up this morning, I felt like she would be leaving us today. I didn't like that feeling.

Right now, it's like being kicked harder than you ever thought possible, right in the stomach. I can't believe that she's actually gone, because it's kind of like POOF, no more Mom to love or talk to or get advice from.

She taught me to sew. Not outright or with any instruction, but by allowing me to play in her sewing supplies when I was a kid and having me watch what she did. Later on, she let me use her sewing machine. She kind of believed in trial by fire, and never seemed to think I was "wasting" her supplies.

She encouraged me to try new arts and crafts, by supplying me with those damned wonderful UK crafting magazines that I loved so much. She'd send me new yarns that her store got in, so I could tell her about them, because as she said, "I don't know a damn thing about yarn. I can't talk to the customers about it!"

There was a year when I was in college that I had a summer job at the local petting zoo. One night, we had a terrible storm. The tornado sirens were going off, one tornado had been spotted, tree branches and limbs coming down, thundering and lightening and raining like the world was coming to an end. The next day, I was supposed to go open up the zoo and start the morning feeding. I expecting some of the smaller animals that lived outside (fowl, bunnies) to be dead from the storm. Mom told me I wasn't going to go down there alone. She was expecting worse damage there than I was, and didn't want me to see that kind of carnage alone.

We gathered some gloves and garbage bags, and drove down there together.

Amazingly enough, all of our animals, both big and small, weathered the storm and survived. But Mom was a little heart-struck with sadness/amazement when we got to the big front gate. When I was unlocking it, we were spotted by Ruby, the donkey, and Ruby started braying for us. It was deep and soulful. Mom asked if I thought Ruby had been scared by the storm the night before and that's why she was crying now, because she knew she'd be safe since we were there. I said, maybe, but she always carried on like that when I got to the zoo, although she did sound a little sad that particular morning.

Another time, it was another case of Mom to the rescue at the zoo. Someone dropped off an entire litter of kittens. They were tiny and there was 4-5 of them. We took them in and started checking them over. Each one of them had goopy, infected looking eyes. I called Mom for some supplies (because we were a little bare-bones in supplies that day). She brought us all kinds of things. When she got to the zoo, me, her and a couple volunteers each picked a kitten, and spent some time cleaning those little faces and bodies up. They were just stunning when they were cleaned. I couldn't have done that without her.

Christmas was her favorite holiday. She typically started her Christmas shopping MONTHS in advance. Every year after Christmas, she'd swear, "Next year, I'm going to cut back, but I couldn't help myself this year. I kind of got carried away." Christmas 188 started a very funny trend that became our family joke every year: she'd get everything wrapped and under the tree or in the stockings...and then after every gift had been opened, Mom would realize she'd forgotten one more bag of goodies for me and my sister. She would hide things THAT WELL. So after she'd haul out the last bag (it was always a paper grocery store bag that was overfull), she'd call us back out to the tree and it was like Christmas v1.5 or something.

I forgot one year that I had a couple extra gifts for Shane stashed away upstairs in my crafting room. When I went to get them, as I came down the stairs, Shane yelled up to me, "Hey Patty, why don't you keep a list so you don't forget what you have???" :) Patty was, of course, my mom.

I hope that if there is an afterlife, that when she got there, there were her family members waiting for her, to take her in, so she wasn't alone in all this. Her mom, her sister, the dogs, even my mother-in-law...I hope they were all there for her.

Good-bye, Mommy. As I told her before, a couple of times, I was always really proud of her, and I will always love her and miss her. The world will be a darker, sadder place without her.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Did I Get My Crafting Mojo Back?

I definitely felt like it last night! And it surprised the hell out of me, considering the turmoil in my life right now.

LED candle inside the lantern, includes reindeer moss, faux evergreen, silk roses and berries in a foam disk, held in place with tape. This was actually made at the store manager's request. The lanterns are new, and she wanted one to have an LED candle and an arrangement of some kind, to go on display. These are actually quite roomy!

Wreath with net bow, Christmas picks and assorted extras.

Christmas basket with dark red poinsettias and lilies, with faux frosted evergreens and stems, and berries.
Christmas headstone saddle, with white and green silk carnations. This was actually just one entire bunch of flowers, with even the holly and fern leaves picked off and used as filler. I wasn't planning on making one of these last night, but I saw a woman that had grabbed one from the shelf and had it in her cart, so I figured I should replace it.
I have decided to take photos of my favorite arrangements, so I can have a portfolio of sorts. I never got to make this kind of stuff at the other two flower shops I worked at. At the first one, I was a floral assistant, so the actual florists got to do the fun stuff. At the second shop, I was a florist, but their arrangements were kept so traditional (boring) because that was the style that ALL OF THE CUSTOMERS liked, so the owner never wanted to try making anything different.

I really had to laugh at an article I read on Yahoo yesterday: "5 Jobs Nearing Extinction."

Endangered Career #4: Floral Designer 
2010 - 2020 Outlook*: -9 percent,
6,200 lost jobs

Daisies are stylish. Sunflowers offer your best wishes. And of course, roses are romantic. Floral designers create flower arrangements for special occasions and celebrations. But with this career not growing fast enough, they may not have much to celebrate themselves.

Why It's Nearing Extinction: Floral designers largely work in florist shops, where overall employment is expected to decline, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Instead of purchasing elaborate floral decorations from such shops, customers are increasingly buying loose cut fresh flowers from grocery stores and general merchandise stores.
I had one guy from the store tell me last night that all of the seasonal people that were hired last year were kept on after the holidays. That's a good sign for me, maybe because I'm not working in a traditional floral shop this time.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

One Little Ray of Light

My mom is still with us, although not any better. Along with all she's going through, I need to get the handle under the toilet replaced and the washer has apparently started to shit the bed. For some reason, I'm having a series of plumbing related problems and I don't know why.

However, there has been one little ray of light to come into my life. I haven't found a new full-time job yet*, but I did start a new part-time seasonal job today, at my favorite store! (They have a social media policy for employees so even though I'm very happy there already, I'm not going to take any chances and name it here.) I'm there through at least January, but the assistant store manager thinks I could get picked up for regular part-time after the holidays.

Today was my first day as a floral specialist. Their full-time person was happy to have me join her, once she realized I'm not going to replace her. Although, she's 80 years old and has been in floral for 30 years. If I can stick around for awhile, maybe there'd be a chance for me to get in there full time.

I made 3 Christmas wreaths and 5 cemetery arrangements. I was actually singing along with the music playing over the speakers.

I work there again tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it.

*I did not get fired from the hospice agency when I returned to work. It turns out that someone nameless (I didn't ask who) lied to the administrator about me on a number of things, so my job is actually secure, I've been told. However, I told my husband I was going to make it rain resumes when I got back, because I can't stay working in a place where I'm lied to, lied about and completely disregarded as a person. Plus, they fucked up my paycheck while I was gone, it was messed up for the first one I had when I got back, and it's going to be fucked up again 1-2 more paychecks. I found that out yesterday.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Back From a Visit Back Home

I just got back today from two weeks back home. My mom is dying, and she told me I was only staying two weeks because although she loved having me home, it couldn't change anything. She's ready for the pain to end.

She worries that she's too much "work" to take care of. I don't know how many times she said that to me, followed by thanking me for taking care of her and helping my father. I told her of course Id do it, and for longer if she'd let me, because she's Mom.

Hospice from this end started out as miserable. The nurses and aides have been good to my parents. However, the main person taking care of her was actually so mean and nasty to me, that it left me in tears a couple of days before I left. Everything I did and didn't do were wrong. I was happy to get away from that place. I had to hold my tongue harder than I ever did before, because I thought if I let loose on this woman, I might actually hurt this woman. Physically hurt her, to show her how badly she hurt me. The things she said to be were just cruel, and they included telling me I didn't appreciate their care of my mother and I didn't appreciate the time I had with my mom.




She was also offended that I didn't tell her I work for a hospice (maybe she felt threatened? I don't know), but actually I did, because I told her I didn't want to read her "what to expect at the end" book and why. I know that book. I've read it. We use it where I work now.

I'm not even going to mention who is providing this care. I just need to remind myself that I am done with that company. They are good to my parents, and that's all that matters.

If I hadn't appreciated the care, would I have donated the crocheted blanket that I made that first week I was there? It makes me wish I had lugged this damn thing back home with me and saved it for some one more in need and just nicer. Hell, I think the yarn kept me as sane as I possibly could be. It was both mind numbing and good to concentrate on.

This is Patron's Zig Zag Afghan. It's kind of a wonky picture here, but I didn't really drape it very well over the couch. It's about 5.5' x 4.5,' give or take. It was made with an H sized hook.

--1 skein of Patrons Silk Bamboo in color # W262122
--1 Skein of Patrons Lace Sequin in amethyst
--1 skein of Caron Simply Soft Light in magenta (#0011)
--1 skein of Caron Simply Soft in lilac (#9925)
--2 skeins of Lion Brand Wool in purple (#147)
--4 skeins of Trendsetter Yarns Merino VIII in color #335
--1 skein of Red Heart Super Saver in medium purple
--1 skein of Bernat Berella "4" in fresh lilac

I even got one more project done while I was there. Seriously, how are my hands NOT all gimped up? I found some Red Heart Team Spirit yarn in purple and gold (my college colors). I made a striped beanie with ear flaps, a 5.5' long striped scarf, and a pair of of matching wrist warmers. For the wristlets, I included a little bit of Red Heart Super Saver in medium purple. They have just the slightest length of thumb added. For fun, one wristlet has gold trim and the other has purple. The scarf is just rows of half double crochets (HDC), back and forth.

So anyway, I'm home. The visit was both better and worse than I was expecting. I mean, I actually even got in trouble already for being away from work for this, even though they knew I was leaving. It makes me wonder if I'll have a job waiting for me on Wednesday, and yes, like I said above, I work for that hospice still. Real support group, those bastards. Anyway, I know what the outcome will be, but I don't know when. No one does. I'm sure it will be enough to knock me to my knees. But I did find something that made me smile tonight.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I Had the Strangest Conversation Yesterday

Last year for Christmas, my husband got me a zombie support magnet for the Blazer. I hung onto it until we got the Fit and I slapped that baby on there. "Support awareness for the insatiable need of zombies to kill everyone with this Zombie Skull support magnet and watch of people frantically run away!" Obviously, this is meant to be a tongue-in-cheek car magnet. I haven't forgotten to take it off when I go through the car wash and it hasn't been stolen. But for the most part, I forget it's on our car.

The building I work in is shared by two other businesses. One of them is a title company. Just yesterday, one of the employees there stopped me and asked if that was my car, the one with the zombie ribbon on it. I said yes, it was. And then the conversation goes like this.

Her: I want to tell you something and please don't be upset.

Me: Okay. What?

Her: That zombie magnet is really kind of offensive, because that ribbon is meant for cancer awareness.

Me: Uhhh, no it's not. Any program that needs awareness can have a ribbon.

Her: Well, whatever, it's still really offensive and I'm a cancer survivor.

Me: Okay.

Her: Can I ask you to take it off your car? Just for this month? It's breast cancer awareness month and it's kind of offensive.

Me: It's Halloween.

Her: Just for this month.

If we hadn't been in the lobby of our building, during work hours, I think I would have lost my shit. I would have probably gotten in her face and yelled, "Look here, you moron, do you think you're the only person to have ever dealt with cancer? If you don't like my magnet, then don't fucking look at my car!" But I acted like an adult. There were just too many people around. I stared at her hard. I figured lying would be the best way to go. "Yeah. Sure. Whatever." And then I walked away.

The magnet wasn't coming off my car.

I came into work today and didn't say anything about it to anyone. Later on this afternoon, I walked past the title company's receptionist and she stopped me. "I have something for you," she said, handing me an envelope. The woman from yesterday started freaking out after I left, realizing how OUT THERE her request was. In fact, the receptionist said she called her three times after hours yesterday. I guess she realized her request was offensive. Restraint is the better part of valor, I think that's how the saying goes.

I opened the envelope. Inside was a lanyard that said "I heart zombies."

I just wanted to apologize for yesterday. I should not have said anything...it was just a moment of weakness for me. I know we don't know each other but I am not a mean person. I got home last night and thought about it and realized that I spoke too quickly without thinking. I am a cancer survivor and I am dating a guy who is a stage four cancer survivor. During a three year battle he lost 18 feet of his intestines, half his stomach, his spleen and half of his liver. It was a miracle that he survived. However, two weeks ago his CT scan showed two spots on his stomach and liver. He has decided not to go through chemotherapy or treatment and just wants to live his life to its fullest. I understand, but the selfish part of me wants to keep him around as long as possible. Anyway, it's been a rough month for me. You, and everyone else has the right to support anything that they want to support. If there was a ribbon that said 'support ladybugs' or 'support 49ers,' I would probably rock it on my car too. I hope you accept my apology."

I haven't seen her at all since yesterday. Up until this letter, I didn't even know her name. I think I'll ask their receptionist for her email address so I can tell her what my own experience has been, and will be, with stomach and liver cancer. Where work is concerned, I've turned into kind of a hateful bitch about Mom being sick and slowly dying, but I don't tell people what they should have on their cars. But then again, I was just starting to get over being a hateful bitch since my MIL passed away last year.

As for the lanyard, I don't think that I will wear it. At least, not right now anyway. It seems a little tainted in a way. I don't like it when someone buys me something as an apology for doing or saying something wrong. Personally, I'd rather just have a verbal apology. And since I got that from her, I need to let her know her apology has been accepted.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Paying It Forward

This morning, I stopped at Burger King for a breakfast I didn't even need or really want. I was wanting some unhealthy comfort food.

I pulled up to the window and the woman working it told me the woman in the car ahead of me paid for my order and wanted me to take a card. She was doing a "pay it forward" kind of thing for a local (unknown) mattress store in memory of a little girl.

I was kind of surprised. I told the woman at Burger King to keep the card and let me pay for the order of the guy behind me, and then let him have the card.

I don't know how long this little movement lasted, but I hope the guy behind me kept it up as well.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Another New Original Recipe: Alligator and Penne

As I mentioned earlier, I'm still trying my hardest lately to do more cooking and less shopping.

Today was another day for some kitchen creativity for lunch. It was good, but not as good as my brothless stew from a week ago.
  • 1 lb of alligator (If you live in Hampton Roads, VA, you can get alligator from the butcher shop at the Virigina Beach Farmers' Market)
  • 1 box of Barilla penne pasta
  • 1 jar of Kroger tomato basil pasta sauce
  • 1 can of Red Gold diced tomatoes
  • About 1/2 bag of frozen peas
  • Dried oregano, basil garlic powder, and black pepper
  • Fresh dill and cilantro
  • 2-3 tablespoons of pesto sauce
I cut the alligator into cubes and cooked it in a large pan on medium heat with oregano, basil garlic powder, and black pepper. Unlike the lamb, I didn't need to add any water to the pan for the alligator. It was still very cold and firm, almost completely thawed out, but it got very juicy when I was cooking it. In fact, when it was done, I had to drain it.

I added the sauce, diced tomatoes, peas, dill, cilantro, and pesto sauce to the alligator, and then covered it and reduced the heat to low and just let it simmer while I was cooking the pasta to the directions on the box. Once the pasta was done, I added it to the sauce mixture and continued to let it simmer for another 20 minutes. I wanted to make sure I had enough time to really infuse the flavors.

This was another good meal that I'm going to have leftovers from, for a couple more meals. If you've never had alligator, I highly recommend you try it. It's like really good, quality chicken breast.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Still Trying To Get My Crafting Mojo Back

Since last year,  I've been meaning to make a Christmas ornament wreath for our front door. I had a spool of Christmas ribbon and one package of ornaments tucked away up in my crafting room. I even picked up more ornaments and some hot glue sticks tonight at Wal-Mart, since they've got both Halloween and Christmas stuff out together. The horror!

I came home tonight an started on that wreath finally. It took me three tries, and it just wasn't happening. I'm throwing in the towel.

It was attempted, the first two times, on a wire clothes hanger. When that just wasn't working, I switched over to a cardboard circle.

For some reason, I wasn't getting anything to come out even remotely ROUND. Plus, I was starting to realize that these wreaths use an enormous amount of ornaments. When I switched over to the cardboard circle, I was making it smaller than original and that helped, just not enough.

I mean, my mojo is just waaaaaaaaaaaay off. I bought an LED pumpkin at Wal-Mart a few days ago. It's one of those craft foam ones that's covered in glitter. I thought, this time, I'm going to seal the glitter. So I used the same clear coat spray paint on that foam pumpkin, because like I just said, it was COATED in glitter.

I know spray paint will melt foam, but this thing was coated in glitter. As I carried it from the store to my car, I looked like a fairy had sneezed orange glitter snot all over my arms and shirt. There had to be enough glitter on it to protect the foam, right?


I sprayed it and left it on my front step to dry. I went back 15 minutes later to check on it. It was melty and bumpy, with white patches showing through. It was a good idea though.

I need my head examined. It's like I have crafting ADD right now or something. I'm staining and painting our interior doors, because I never did anything with them after Shane hung them. All of a sudden, I can't take them anymore. Most of them are being stained but I am painting a few. I do like the sudden burst of color through. It's making our bedroom darker, so of course, I'm thinking I need to repaint the bedroom.

Thank God For My Friends

I believe I have the greatest friends in the world, no matter where they are. I think it's because of them that I can get through Mom being sick. I am not, and will not be, alone.

Mom had a good day yesterday, and it was good to hear that in her voice. I think this whole process would be harder to deal with, if we weren't open about the future and the inevitable. I don't talk about my own feelings about her cancer, because I don't want to hurt her and make her wonder if we'll each be okay. Instead, she tells me what she wants and what she expects of each of us. Most of her expectations, I think I can achieve. I discuss my own personal feelings and thoughts with my friends and on here, at least I'm still getting it off my chest and out into the universe.

Mom still remains strong and brave, taking the time to teach my father how to run the dishwasher and do laundry. He's getting a crash course in grocery shopping while he takes care of her. I think that after 40 years of marriage, they are forming a little cocoon against the world, just the two of them, finally having the kind of marriage I wished they always could have.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A New Concoction: Chunky Brothless Autumn Stew

I've been trying my hardest lately to do more cooking and less shopping. Let's be honest, I like grocery shopping a little too much and it shows in our kitchen and pantry. And if I'm cooking more often, then I have a reason to invite my friends over to have supper with me.

I got a little creative in the kitchen today and I really liked what I came up with.

  • 1 medium sized carnival squash (This looks like a little green, white and orange striped pumpkin)
  • 2 bags of frozen steamer veggies (I had 1 bag of frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, and 1 bag of frozen potatoes and green beans in a cheese/butter sauce)
  • 1 lamb shoulder chop (I wish I had used 2 chops instead of just 1, but that's in hindsight)

I cut the lamb shoulder into cubes and cooked it in a large pan on medium heat with oregano, basil garlic powder, and black pepper. I added a little bit of water to keep it from browning up too quickly.

While it was cooking, I pierced the skin of the squash 4-5 times with a large fork and microwaved it for 10 minutes. It was super hot when it came out of the microwave so you'll want to let it cool because you need to cut it in half and remove the seeds. After it's cooled, dice it up.

I drained off the little bit of water that was left with the lamb when it was done cooking, then added both bags of veggies and the squash. I covered it and reduced the heat to low and just let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes. I was cleaning house while I was cooking, so I wasn't in a big rush to get everything done so I could eat.

When it was all done, the squash had become soft and those weird little frozen cheese/butter "disks" had melted down together to a very light sauce. Everything had a little coating of it. It was even pretty to look at, because without trying, I got all kinds of autumn colors in there: yellows, oranges, some white, and just a touch of green. Altogether, this ended up becoming kind of like a chunky autumn-type stew but without the broth.

Making Some Good Looking People

I recently came across two different posts on ROFLrazzi of morphed images of celebrities. One was of all the James Bond actors and the other was of the original and modern Star Trek actors. The "final form" of James Bond looks a lot like Roger Moore. And when you combine William Shatner and Chris Pine, you get a captain that's better looking than each of them as Kirk.

I decided to give it a try myself.

I wondered what a new Superman would look like, if he were a combination of Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh. Not too shabby. This new guy is pretty good looking.

What about Hugh Jackman and John Barrowman? I should have made sure John had a closed mouth smile. This kind of looks like he was braces.

Unfortunately, my internet connection dropped the site before I could morph Daniel Craig and David Tennant into one perfect looking Brit.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Back to Posting?

This last week has been hell. I've been trying to keep myself busy with yard work at night for as long as I can, just to keep worried thoughts away the best I can.

Mom's cancer is even worse than we thought. She's found out that there is no more chemo available to try and help her. The doctor promised her he's tried everything he could for her, but now, he's said he believes she has three months left to live.

She is braver and stronger than I'll ever be in life. She wanted to continue to fight, willing to try any other chemo he could suggest.

I talk to her every day now, and I am falling victim to false hope when I hear her voice. Today was a better day, but she still sounds like she was kicked down a steep, sharp hill by her own body. She didn't decline. She was shoved off a cliff. I hope for some kind of miracle, but I know better. I hate my hospice job so much right now. I know how it could be for when she passes. I know she hurts so much right now, and I hate there's nothing I can do for her. I would take any of the cancer away from her if I could.

The pain in my chest and stomach, as well as the pain in my heart and mind, actually scare me. If the hurt is this bad right now, while she is still alive, what kind of hell will it feel like when she's gone? Someday, the care packages from home will end. Someday, I won't have a mom to take care of me if I need it. But for today, so far, I still have her and it's the first day since last Tuesday that I haven't cried like a baby.

It's also the first time in a week that I've done anything crafty. It actually feels kind of weird to me to do anything normal like that. I've dropped out of volunteering at the local theater and with a wildlife rehab group.

For Halloween, my husband has decided he wants to be Gru at work. A bald cap, long nose and a scarf are on their way from Amazon, but I decided he also needed Gru's over-sized zipper pull.

I quickly made this felt zipper pull for him tonight while watching reruns of "The Big Bang Theory."

It's a little lopsided. Normally, it would have driven me crazy. Tonight, I just don't give a damn. But it's something. Maybe this will help me get over this slump I'm in.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Why can medical science make it possible to change your gender, but it can't cure cancer?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Made a Visit to Fort Monroe & the Casemate Museum

I won't lie...I went to the Casemate Museum and Fort Monroe in Hampton, VA just because it was free. It was kind of like an unofficial, non-listed entry on my bucket list.

"Completed in 1834, Fort Monroe was originally designed to protect the Hampton Roads waterway from an enemy attack and is the largest stone fort in America. Within the fort is the Casemate Museum, which chronicles the military history of Fort Monroe from the construction of Fort Algernourne, the first defensive fortification at the site in 1609, through the last major command to be headquartered at Fort Monroe, the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. The museum features the room where Jefferson Davis’ was held briefly as prisoner following the American Civil War, highlights Major General Benjamin Butler’s Contraband of War decision that granted refuge to 3 escaped slaves, and tells the history of the US Army Coast Artillery Corps. No longer an active military base, Fort Monroe is open to the public and admission to the Casemate Museum is free."

The whole area is just gorgeous, the architecture is amazing, and the museum is actually pretty cool. I was glad that I went.

There was a sign in the museum that said the archways were actually built according to the average height of men back during the Civil War. It was about 5'8", in case you were wondering. Not a whole lot of head room here, and I'm 5'5".

It took a lot of self control to not steal one of these possibly authentic bricks for my own rock garden. But it felt wrong so I didn't try.

I thought this little theater was just beautiful and so well maintained. Who knows what it looked like on the inside, but I would have loved to gone in. It was locked up tight.