December 11, 2009

Au Revoir

This morning I took my husband to the airport. He's on his way to France. Again. For free.


This time it's only a week though, so I'll have him back again next Friday night. Also, this trip makes me hopeful for his career. Strangely enough, his advisor back in Madison invited him to go, all expenses paid. Meaning he chose DS over other, current, students. Exciting for what that means about his talent, but kind of sad for the options for the current round of people.

At any rate, this is both good and bad for me personally. The good news is that with me being so swamped at work (how long has it been since I made a blog post??), severely behind on deadlined crafting projects, and heavily addicted to the game Dragon Age: Origins, some time alone will probably be helpful in getting back on track. The bad news is that without DS, my sleep schedule always becomes highly erratic, and having him to talk to has been keeping me sane. I mean really, if you're just going to be a complete ass on the phone, you should probably do your shopping on the website instead. I'm just saying.

I'm finding it hard to believe that it's mid December. Even with the tree up, lights outside, Christmas cookies in the house, all of that and it feels like any other time of the year. Is it because I'm not going home for Christmas (AGAIN?)? That it's officially "cold" here at 50 degrees and a little rain? That there are like 30 new blooming plants outside?

Whatever it is, I find myself paying more attention to the Facebook statuses of my Wisconsin friends (thank you Facebook friend lists, for being amazing development), scouring them for snow related information. Also, I find myself getting excited about my trip to Kentucky planned for January.

Now, if you'll excuse me, me and the cats need to snuggle this morning. They need reassurance that just because their daddy is gone, doesn't mean they're abandoned.

Back-posting may follow to fill that... very long gap of silence. Because occasionally I did some stuff these past 2 months that I might want to remember later.

October 20, 2009

October 18, 2009

Winston's Drinking Problem

A while back I read that cats are quite often dehydrated. Thus, anything that gets a cat to drink water should be encouraged. This is probably why those cat drinking fountains make so much money. My cats have always seemed to prefer faucets, and that's why you will often find our tub dripping.

Recently, Winston has discovered that he likes water. No, he LOVES water. Especially if it's not his. If you have a cup of water, he's going to drink out of it. This is troublesome if you actually wanted that water. Or a dry table. Because I'm a pushover, I've just been holding the cup for him while he gets his fill. I'm always surprised by how much of it he drinks. And then I need a refill...

His latest find is the pot full of cold water that DS soaks his hand in to help with his eternally sore climbing fingers. Does Winston care that DS's hand is submerged in this pot of water? No. Not at all. In fact, I think he might consider it seasoning.

Fall and Food

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you've probably heard me complaining about the warm weather we're having in Santa Barbara. Not that it's been unbearably hot. But there is something distinctly wrong with picking pumpkins in shorts. This is not an activity you're supposed to do in 86 degree weather. We did, however, and we still managed to enjoy ourselves.

We went to Lane Farms, which is in town and about 3 or 4 blocks from our apartment. They had a nicely sized corn maze which was actually well designed. At least, DS and I were lost in it for quite a while. We never did find the exit, but finally managed to find the entrance again. This is partly to be blamed on us assuming the exit should be on the opposite edge, and partly on DS deciding he was too hungry to enjoy further attempts.

There were no tractor rides out to the pumpkin patch; in fact, there wasn't anywhere to go. It's a small place. The pumpkins were all nice looking though, and arranged in rows around actual pumpkin plants that were still growing. The best part? They had pumpkin butter and apple butter for sale! We love that stuff SO MUCH.

Last night DS experimented with a marinade for chicken that involved olive oil and orange juice and zest. It was so juicy and delicious! I was in charge of the salad. We've discovered that we really like spinach, and it's relatively cheap here, so all salad are spinach based at our place. Most of my salads consist of spinach, pine nuts, and then whatever fruit we have lying around. Last night this was dried cranberries, the left over orange slices not used for the chicken, and I added some tomato slices to mine. The tomato was from my downstairs neighbors' backyard, and had been on the window sill for a while. It was time to eat it. I wasn't sure how it would go with the cranberries and oranges, but I was happy to discover that oranges and tomatoes actually taste good together! The whole thing was topped with raspberry vinaigrette. And also there was Sam Adams Oktoberfest beer, in my new "Paper Bag Parade" pint glasses.

Today for lunch, we had cored apple slices, banana slices and almonds with peanut butter, apple butter and pumpkin butter as dipping options. Who knew that bananas and pumpkin butter go great together? Also, so do almonds and apple butter!

All in all, things here are good. I finally got my first paycheck, so we were able to stock the fridge again with things that are actually yummy, instead of a bunch of cheap stuff that would keep our bodies working. We're still working to make ends meet, but at least we can do so on bellies full of scrumptious food! Also, I'm enjoying discovering random foods that go well together. Food is becoming a sort of art form for me. Like an experiment in taste. As long as I don't have to use the stove...

October 14, 2009


I've been keeping myself too busy to blog, but as I have a brief respite, I though I would give you a quick run down on what I've been doing.

1. Made hand-dipped peanut butter balls for my husband's 30th birthday. A LOT of them. This was the very last one, and as I keep them refrigerated until I eat them, they get a little sweaty. However, I have yet had someone taste them that did not fall in love. My papaw's recipe is still the winner!

2. I've been volunteering at the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care place. There was one afternoon of "training", and now I go in a few hours a week. My first day I was sent to the zoo to pick up a sparrow that had nearly drowned in a pool. The poor thing was nearly dead when I got him back to the center. I held in my hands under a heat lamp for an hour, occasionally feeding him electrolytes. Now he is happy and perky, and awaiting the healing of an injury before being released again. I have learned that as long as you have gloves on, you get over touch bird poop very quickly. And also the meal worms some of the birds eat. But this is worth getting to help pretty little things like European Starlings, Meadowlarks, and Warblers get well. Also, Starlings and Sparrows are tricky bastards. When cleaning a cage, we put the bird in a temporary enclosure to help keep them calm. This is usually a basket with some netting or a towel pinned to the top. These little guys would be in there, and then I'd go to the kitchen for fresh food and come back to them hopping around on the floor like it's perfectly normal for a bird that can't fly and has one taped wing. Sneaky!

3. My scarves have been surprisingly popular! Also, a family member ordered seven to sell in her bricks and mortar store. So most of my free time for the last two weeks have involved heavy weaving. I've been very happy with the results:

This one is in Lion Brand Color Waves in Lava. It's mostly black with a lot of jewel tone accents.

Here are four scarves done in Red Heart Casual Cot'n, one each in Trailside, Preppie, Majestic, and Falling Leaves. I need to get more of this yarn. The scarves feel wonderful, and I love the colors.

And sadly, I'm already out of Falling Leaves.

4. I started a new job on September 28th. Now that training is over, I'm doing real work. So far, I actually kind of like it. It pretty simple stuff, and I get to talk to people all day. Considering I only interacted with one person in my previous job, this is an improvement.

5. Today I got off work early, and all the scarves are mailed. So I'm taking a break before starting into the Christmas ornament production to curl up with Winston and a book. Speaking of Winston... if I'm in the craft room, he's in he craft room. And if there are clean clothes that aren't put away, they are without a doubt his new bed. On Monday, DS's pile was too high to lay on, so he just shoved his face into them and fell asleep...

September 29, 2009


Holy moly I'm tired. I had to get up early, with an alarm clock, like a normal person today. And also last Friday. You see, I have a job again. Nothing much mind you, easy stuff that pays what feels like minimum wage for Santa Barbara. But minimum wage is at least a paycheck, which is much better than the nothing I've been getting. The first two weeks is just training, so only 4 hours a day. This is both good and bad; good because it lets me transition back into a working person again (outside the home at least), and bad because we could really use a full-time paycheck. I think in this case the good outweighs the bad though, so I'm cool with it.

You may be aware that today is DS's birthday, and that he is officially 30. Last week was also my friend Sam's birthday. To celebrate, we're having a joint party here at our apartment tomorrow. Thus, I spent the weekend cleaning (with DS's help), seriously cleaning the craft room/office (SERIOUSLY; as in filed 6 months worth of floating papers and found all the carpet and desk space!), and then doing other things. For example, I made a super sweet birthday banner out of felt and fabric (photos and a tutorial to follow when I'm not exhausted), and because I love him, a LOT of peanut butter balls for DS. Also lots of earrings for Sam for her birthday (with major design help from Juliana!). Those last three things didn't get finished over the weekend though, so I finished them tonight. Oh crap, scratch that. I have more PB balls to dip in chocolate. *sigh* Hey, I get off at 12:30 tomorrow!

Well, as long as I get to sleep soon (it's 10:09 right now), I should be well rested for the festivities tomorrow. In the mean time, here are some photos I've been meaning to share for a long time.

Felix and Winston, crow hunting. Not that they'd know what to do with one. I'm positive Winston would run away in terror if one actually came to the window instead of taunting him from the power lines.

A rare moment of shared love. They did this a lot as kittens, but not so much anymore.

Also, it's pretty rare that I can get decent photos of Felix. She's not very photogenic.

I love how he has his leg sprawled over her. He takes up so much space!

Look at them holding hands!

She really is a pretty cat. I'm happy to finally have some pictures to show that.

Did I ever show you these? They're my Settlers of Catan cookies, made the first night that the group of six of us that regularly play games together got to play this particular game. We had needed the 6 player expansion, and the game stores were sold out for a long time.

This is homemade royal icing, dyed with food coloring, and piped with different tips onto that break and bake sugar cookie dough (I could only make so much from scratch in one night).

Here they are laid out like the game board. Blue is the ocean (ports), yellow is wheat, black is ore, green is forest, white is wool, and red is brick. That one lonely cookie with only yellow sprinkles is the desert.

The cookies were a lot of fun to make, though my icing designs got sloppier as they went, because I ended up being late. Not really a quick project. But tasty!

September 24, 2009


My mother requested a custom scarf as a present for someone. She wanted something in purple that included hearts. I've been studying anything woven I can ever since I bought my loom, so I knew a heart pattern was possible. Of course, I had never done anything other than a plain weave, with my only experiments thus far being in color placement in the warp and weft. So I decided to take this challenge! And it was a challenge, though thankfully one I could handle. I tried several different techniques from the only book about weaving in the entire Black Gold Library system (which is a terrible shame), and finally settled on the loop effect. It would seem inlays are best made with different yarns, with the thicker yarn used for the pattern. The contrast helps make the pattern visible. Since I was using two identical yarns (other than color), I had to make the pattern really stand out to keep it from blending into the background. The end result is an identifiable shape that is puffy. I have to say, I really like it.

looks pretty cool

one sided
hard to weave in the ends of the pattern yarn...

I do think I could get the pattern on both sides, though it would increase the working time by quite a bit, and use a lot more yarn. I'll have to experiment.

I have an order for six scarves to be sold in a family member's store. I decided that I needed to buy yarn in bulk to help keep costs down (seriously, yarn in my local craft store is EXPENSIVE), and found this site called Smiley's Yarns. I'm almost ashamed to admit how much I bought.. but I will use it, and a good selection on hand will help my creativity. And I keep telling myself that at least I took advantage of the expensive flat rate shipping; got my money's worth there! More importantly, they have some HUGE discounts on their sale yarns, so the cost of materials going into each project will be drastically reduced. It's kind of a weird site though, and I got nervous today and checked the BBB, just in case. Luckily, they have a good rating. Probably should have checked that before giving them my CC information.. :P oh well, what are you going to do?

Finally, the 2009 ornament is coming along, and they should be done by November 1. I am taking pre-orders, which will help me know how many to make. So if you want one, let me know! You won't have to pay until they are ready for shipment, so don't worry about possibly hating the design (though so far, I have gotten really good feedback from the people I've shown it to)!

September 20, 2009


Today I got the most rewarding message via my Etsy store. A previous customer was writing to tell me how much they loved my pen dangles, and wondering if they could get any more. The note then devolved into some extended ramblings where they touched on various things they loved about my other products. This part was in many ways better than the first. It reminded me of how I might write to someone if I were feeling like a fan girl over something/someone I loved. It was without a doubt the most flattering message I've ever gotten from a stranger regarding my work. I would make anything for them! It was very inspiring.

I had the pleasure of watching two movies yesterday with some friends. One was born and lived the first 12 years of her live in Colombia, and I felt as if I were providing her with an important cultural experience. I mean, Robin Hood Men in Tights was a significant part of my childhood! And who hasn't see Monty Python and the Holy Grail a hundred times? She had seen the first movie before, but this time she watched it with earnest and found many things in it to love that she hadn't seen before. Both movies helped her understand some of the sayings we all use without thinking about it. It was a lot of fun watching them with her and seeing her enjoy them.

Did you know that Stargate SG-1 is available for viewing on Hulu? Currently 7 seasons, and they're adding the rest. I had never seen this show before, but I had noticed it on Sci-fi a lot, and decided to give it a try. It's actually pretty good, though of course it has an element of cheese to it. It's hard to find good sci fi that doesn't have an element of cheesy, so I'll over look it. You should give it a try.

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September 16, 2009

Birthday updates and more

Today I saved the life of a Western Scrub-Jay. At least I'm hoping I did. I found it in my yard when I went to get the mail, and immediately knew something was wrong with it when it didn't fly away from me. I think its wing was broken. But I called around and found the phone number for the local wildlife care center, who told me how to safely catch it, and then I turned it over to them. In return for their help, I have offered my volunteer services for as long as I'm unemployed. We'll see how that goes.

A pretty, and delicious pair of cupcakes that DS and I treated ourselves to for my birthday.

DS and myself.

My birthday cake!! My friend Sam made this for me. It is super moist chocolate cake with a later of raspberry sauce in it. SOOOO yummy! I'm still enjoying it :)

In the way of presents, in addition to the cake above, I received the new Alton Brown book (which is AWESOME) and a starter kit for Art Clay (handmade silver stuff, here I come). DS is excited about both; the first because Alton Brown is the coolest, and the second because it came with a butane torch. He's wanted one ever since a friend brought one to a cookout and used it to make caramelized fruit (and also torching things).

*le sigh* so cool. And the book wrapper comes of into a full size poster. Woo!

September 14, 2009

Creative Roundup

I've mentioned a few projects I've been working on from time to time, but haven't been posting pictures. This post seeks to fix that.

Bookmark for Luke's birthday, consisting of copper, sodalite, unakite, and hematite.

Pen dangle for Luke's birthday, consisting of betel nut, wood, and a sleep goblin charm.


Curtain close up, and also the cat tree.

Nine patch quilt for the Drama Queen's new baby.

My "signature" on the quilt, consisting of Sleep Goblin, my initials, and the year.

One of the new scarves in the store.

September 11, 2009

Conversation with the Plumber*

Plumber: So Sleep, are the kids at school?

Me: *confused* I don't have any kids..

Plumber: Really? Then who do the toys all over the place belong to?

Me: *looking around frantically* Toys?! I have toys? Where?!

Plumber: You know, the drumset and other things in the living room.

Me: Those belong to us.

Plumber: Oh! Are you a musician?

Me: Um, sort of? *looks at the piano* But the drums are for the game Rock Band.

Plumber: *confused, maybe slightly embarrassed* Oh. *perking up* Well, if you need to practice.. *grin*

Me: No really, it's okay.

*Plumber came yesterday to snake the kitchen drain. Stupid thing just stopped draining. No slowing down first, no warning. Just BAM! You can no longer use the kitchen sink or dishwasher! My downstairs neighbor works in construction, and was kind enough to help me the night before, but we only managed to make a mess. As it turns out, our pipes are old and nasty enough to be disintegrating, so all we managed to do was extract a lot of oil black water that I was informed was rotten pipe. It was disgusting, to say the least.

The whole toy conversation really threw me. I had no idea what he could be talking about when he said there were toys all over the place. My first thought went to the set of wind up tub toys I have (because I really like wind up toys, and who could resist a submarine that says "deep seeker" on the side??). But no, he meant our video games. No one has ever assumed I was old enough to have children big enough to play with something the size of Rock Band instruments. I mean really, they're not exactly small. I'm thinking a kid would need to be at least, what, six? I'm still carded for alcohol and given suspicious looks from time to time for crying out loud. What would I be doing with a six year old?

Originally, this encounter had me slightly embarrassed at the lack of order in my apartment. The more I think about it, the more it just makes me feel old. Maybe this guy is just so out of touch with technology that the only scenario he could come up with is that I must have children? But he wasn't all that old either, 40 at the most. And my parents are in their 40's and know about video games...

Whatever. Screw this, I am not old! Even if I will be 28 tomorrow, that is young baby! And I will play video games until the day I die, so there!

September 07, 2009

Luke's Visit: July 3 - July 6, 2009

Location: Paseo Nuevo Mall, rear steps
I love the tile work on these stairs.

Location: State St, near the Amtrak station
This tree is CRAZY! Each set of branches is like a perfect star.

Location: Stearn's Wharf
I've cropped out the bird poop covered thing the camera was sitting on. Helps a lot!

Location: Corner of Stearn's Wharf and State St.
Luke wanted to post with palm trees. He's very fond of them.

Location: State St, near the yummy danish bakery
Luke is petting a statue of a squirrel. He's nice to animals.

Location: State St., in a side thing full of sculptures.
Luke looks over Ben Franklin's shoulder to see what he's reading.

Location: Same as above.
The french horn player of a trio looks at the cellist with longing.

Location: Same as above.
DS "smiles" for the camera. He's a jerk.

Location: Craft room, my apartment.
Winston and Felix decide they really like the air mattress we bought for Luke.

Location: Santa Barbara Winery
Luke says "cheers"

Location: Same as above
DS and I demonstrate the uplifted pinky technique.

Location: Santa Barbara Zoo
Luke shows us how awesome the frog mask is.

Location: EWWW! Exhibit, Santa Barbara Zoo
Luke with Gecko on glass

Location: Santa Barbara Zoo
Pretty Leopard

Location: Same as above
Sleep/Scary Leopard

Location: California Trails Exhibit, Santa Barbara Zoo
Luke poses in front of the new condor exhibit

Location: Santa Barbara Zoo
Scary Lion. GRR!

September 01, 2009


1. It's September 1. What? I seriously don't understand how time can move so quickly here.

2. This is the last week of my 2 week temp job. It's a shame, because I enjoy it. I also don't have anything lined up for after, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

3. I had a very weird dream last night. Weird in terms of both storyline and characters. Why was I dreaming of people I've known since 1st grade but haven't seen since high school? Not sure, though I would guess that the pictures showing up on Facebook of my skipped 10 year reunion have something to do with it. The weirdest thing? I dreamed of this guy, Buddy Sampson, who in fifth grade I had a huge crush on. I remember I sent him one of those notes in class with the yes and no check boxes. He checked no. He seems sorry he couldn't make me happy, but I did not forgive him.

I don't remember much about him from high school (I'm beginning to find I don't remember much about high school period, but that's another story), and I certainly haven't seen him since. So why dream about him now, 10 years after seeing him, and 20 after caring? Who knows, but the dream was at least fun. There were speed boats and seals and beluga whales. So thanks for that Buddy!

4. In a normal place, September would bring to mind aspects of Fall, such as harvest, pumpkins, colored leaves, and cooler temperatures. Here we're having a heat wave, sleep with THREE fans in the bedroom, and all the palm trees still looks like their normal stupid selves. Fall is my favorite season, and I'm a little afraid of how spending one here will affect me. Time makes no sense without seasons! Maybe that's why I feel flabbergasted over it being September.

5. My husband and I watched Major League last night. I had never seen it, and that upset him very much. I have to say, it's a great movie. I think it made him very happy to listen to me getting excited about it.

6. Which reminds me, married life is awesome. I don't think I say that enough.

August 17, 2009

Job Hunting

My job hunt may be wrapping up, which is a relief. Though I will miss everything about not working except the lack of pay. I really am well suited to staying home all day, and hope that I have the chance to do it again in the future. I'm currently working with a temp agency, which immediately found me 2 1/2 weeks worth of work running a register at a campus bookstore. Today they called and said they may have a temp-to-hire position for me. The pay is perfect, but the company requires an interview and background check first, so we'll see.

More importantly however is that DS is job hunting. His is a much longer process which will likely last around 6 months, and the job wouldn't start until Fall semester of 2010. It's nerve wracking, but what can I do about it? We were very worried that budget cuts would result in no job openings this year, but so far he has a list of 15 schools he can apply to. Since I don't have any real interest in the university itself, apart from hoping that DS likes it, I spend my time researching the towns where these schools reside. My favorites so far all have rivers in them, and a lot of trees. Like this:

Of course, it's not all that likely we'll have a lot of choice in the matter. I will be happy if even one school wants to hire him, and I fervently hope that school doesn't end up being in Mississippi or something. Because honestly, I would die. I was not made for heat. *shudder*

Meanwhile, I don't start training at my temp job until Wednesday, so I'm still pretending to be on vacation. It's glorious.