Tuesday, October 24, 2006
This year, I am not doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for those of you who are among the uninitiated). I have come to the conclusion that my writing style just doesn't allow for writing 50K words in a month.
But I did come across something I can handle. Via Laid Off Dad, I learned about NaBloPoMo. National Blog Posting Month, for those of you who can't figure that out. The goal is to post every day for the month of November. I can do that. If you are interested, click on the link in the title to sign up. To get a groovy icon to put on your blog (which I have yet to do) click here.
Oh, and someone recently asked me about my presidential campaign. I have not abandoned it, but I realized that the elections are not next year, but in 2008 (yeah, I can be slow like that). So rest assured, my fellow Americans, that the Birthday Party candidate will be updating soon.
And just as a side note, let me just say that I seem to have acclimated to living in the South. When I left the apartment, the temperatures were in the 50's, and I was freezing.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
I am my father's daughter. And my mother's, too.
Let me explain
My dad had the soul of an artist. I always wished that whoever advised him when he was in college (he did two years before dropping out) had pushed him toward art instead to business. For a tough, blue-collar guy who served in the military and grew up during the Depression, he was surpisingly sensitive.
My dad loved watching home improvement shows on TV. Now, we didn't have cable, so it was pretty much whatever was on PBS. He always thought that he could build whatever Norm Abrams was making, or whatever. The problem was that even if he did attempt it, he wouldn't be able to.
It wasn't that my dad didn't have the skill. He was amazing with wood when he wanted to be. The problem was that my dad didn't like to follow directions. He didn't measure anything ever. You know how they always say, "measure twice, cut once" to avoid mistakes? My dad thought that measuring took the fun out of things. He had a picture in his mind, and he somehow made the picture tangible.
Now, things didn't always turn out the way he planned. He made a paper towel holder for the kitchen that was really great, but the two sides the tube holder went into somehow ended up uneven and really not looking anything alike. But it had a certain flair to it nonetheless.
The best thing my dad ever made was a stable for our nativity set. He didn't measure anything at all. I know this for a fact because I watched him the whole time. But somehow or another, even with windows cut into the sides, it turned out absolutely perfect. Oh, it's a little lopsided, but when you think about it, buildings then, especially somethng like a stable, probably were. That's what makes it so perfect.
My dad also did wood carving. I saw pictures of some of the pieces he made and sold, and they were beautiful. For some reason, though, he quit doing that. I think it was probably because the arthritis in his hands was too bad.
My dad alos never used power tools, except for his drill. if he had to make a hole in something, he drilled a hole through the center and used his coping saw to cut out the hole, then he'd sand it until it was smooth. I think he liked the challenge.
Now, my dad was capable of creating and using measured drawings. He took drafting classes in high school, and in fact he designed a World War II Memorial in his old neighborhood (if you are in Pittsburgh, take a drive down Spring Garden Road. If you are coming from town, it will be on your right, not much past my uncle's old bar. Of course, you most likely don't now where that is, so I suppose that's a moot point). I think he just didn't like working from them because they were...uniform.
Now my mom, on the other hand, was all about measuring. She sewed, knitted, and crocheted. And even though she grew up in the 40's and 50's, not many women of her generation did that. It was already a dying art, and now it is fading even more.
When my mom was making something, she was all about precise measurements. Even if she was making something as simple as a scarf, she knew exactly how long and wide she wanted it to be, and she knew exactly what the guage was of the yarn and needles she was using. If things didn't turn out exactly the way she wanted, she'd rip out all her stitches and start again.
When my mom was trying to teach me to sew, she'd get really, really frustrated. See, I was like my dad, and didn't like to measure. If I was knitting, I never knew how many stitches I casted on, so I never knew when I dropped stitches. If I was crocheting, I never knew how long my chain was, so I never noticed when my piece got progressively more narrow. And if I was making something from a pattern...forget it. Somehow, I never could manage to cut on the lines of the pattern. Nor could I manage to sew a straight seam, either by hand or on the machine. I personally didn't care, but it drove her up a wall, and usually ended up in tears for one or both of us.
I think that's why I liked making things with my dad more than with my mom when I was little. He'd give me a board, let me pound nails in anyway I wanted, and make string art from it. He'd let me draw a pattern freehand on a piece of board and try to cut it out with the coping saw. He'd never get mad when I couldn't get it perfect because, "that's what sandpaper is for." We'd make these really ornate paper cards (another skill my dad had) with fancy cutouts, and even if I couldn't recreate the lacy patterns he seemed to create without even trying, it was OK (though it wasn't OK when we used my mom's fancy sewing scissors to cut the paper because they were finer and smaller than the other scissors).
I find it funny (peculiar, not ha ha), then, that I find myself drawn more to fabric and yarn craft now than I do to woodcraft. Now, I could blame it on my bad experiences with wood in academia (wood shop in OVT in 7th and 8th grade, Scene Tchnology in college), or my absolute fear of power tools (which they made us use in academia, no matter hard we begged to use a plain old coping saw or hack saw). But I really don't know.
But the really interesting thing is that despite the fact that I crochet and all that, I never measure. I just make a chain until it looks long enough and go from there. Then, when the piece looks done, or when I run out of yarn, it's done. As a result, I have some of the strangest looking pillows ever seen in my apartment right now. The one I finished last night is a case in point. It's about six inches wide, about 18 inches long, and about 3 inches high. I decided to make this one kind of like a bolster, so I had to make two end pieces. Well, I didn't measure, and they didn't quite fit, but I faked it. I also bought cheap stuffing (not going to do that again, I think). The result is a a weird, lopsided, lumpy mess. But at the same time, it is amazingly cool.
My point to all this is that I seem to be combining the best qualities of my mom and dad when it comes to creating. And I think that is pretty cool.
My next obsession after crocheting pillows is going to be quilting. We'll see how that no measuring, no pattern thing works out with that.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
You scored 83% knowledge and 64% obsession!
|"'Did you like question ten Moony?' asked Sirius as they emerged into the entrance hall.|
'Loved it,' said Lupin briskly. 'Give the five signs that identify the werewolf.' 'Excellent question.'
'D'you think you managed to get all the signs?' said James in tones of mock concern.
'Think I did,' said Lupin seriously.
'One: He's sitting on my chair. Two: He's wearing my clothes. Three: His name's Remus Lupin...'"
Well done! You are obviously knowledgeable and you have a great attention for details. You have a keen interest in the magical world, but you do not become so emotionally invested that are are no longer objective. It is important to keep your wits about you in dangerous situations, but you are able to do it with ease. You are an excellent teacher, a loyal friend, and a worthy opponent. As long as you keep a bit of Wolfsbane Potion on hand, you should manage well. Anyone who wouldn't want you as an ally is being totally Riddikulus!
|My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:|
|Link: The Harry Potter Obsessed Test written by ack_attack on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test|
Saturday, October 14, 2006
So yesterday I was trying to find a recipie for corn chowder that is in a cookbook I can't currently find. I found it, but in my search, I happened upon a recipe for crockpot apple cobbler. I made it, and it was good, but cobbler is really a bit of a misnomer. It's closer to an apple crisp, I think. I've included the recipie below, along with my modifications, and what I plan to do next time I make it.
The recipie calls for eight apples, but I used 10: five Granny Smith, four Braeburn, and one Mcintosh that I bought by accident. That's a pretty good mixture of sweet and tart.
The recipie called for 3/4 of a cup, but I used a full cup. Might have been a skosh too much - it was a little richer than I would have wanted. You could substitute margerine if you wanted to, I suppose, but why would you?
The recipie calls for 1 3/4 cups, and doesn't specify what kind. I used right around two full cups, half brown and half white. I think I would probably go a little lighter on the sugar as well
The recipie says a teaspoon, I say the more the better. I love cinnamon, so I put a lot of this in.
- Granola Cereal
The recipie says 2 cups. I used around 3. I bought plain granola, but the instructions suggested fruit and nut granola. I don't like nuts, however, so I bought plain.
Peel and cut up the apples. I used a mixture of slices and chops, mainly because I'm really bad at cutting things. Toss them in the crockpot, and mix them together with the sugar and cinnamon. Now, the directions say to melt the butter and coat the granola, but I didn't do that. Instead, I cut up the cold butter into pieces and mixed it in with the apples and sugar. I don't think it really makes a difference. Then put the granola in and mix everything up. Cook it on low for about 6 hours.
It was really good, but with the texture, it would be best suited as a topping for ice cream or waffles or something like that. What I did when I served it was to mix in more granola. That gave it a little more heft, and a little bit of crunch.
I think if I make it again, I will only put a cup of the granola in at first, and then put the rest in about an hour before it is done. It needs some in there when it is reducing to thicken it up, but it basically disinegrated.
I'll share the corn chowder recipie a little later.
Crockpots are a good thing (or they would be if I didn't keep breaking the crockery. I have three pots, but only one crock.)
Posted by Sheryl at 4:11 PM
Friday, October 13, 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Well, I am officially a loser now. The computer geek who's into cross stitiching and fly fishing closed communication with me because he thought I was boring. Sigh. I'm going to die alone surrounded by fish wearing little sweaters I crocheted for them.
Forgive my emotional whining. I have cramps again - still no results, but the cramps are there. Boy, are they there.
I'm also wearing all black today. How much more emo can you get? I suppose I could play funeral dirges while I work, but I doubt my coworkers would appreciate that.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
If not, this should confirm it.
If You Were Born in 2893...
Your Name Would Be: Emi Iara
And You Would Be: A Time Traveler
Apparently, normal names are going to disappear in 800 years.
|You Are Homer Simpson|
You're just an ordinary, all-American working Joe...
With a special fondness for pork rinds and donuts.
You will be remembered for: your little "isms" and philosophies on life
Your life philosophy: "Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel."
|Your Career Personality: Independent, Insightful, and Ingenious|
Your Ideal Careers:
Video game developer
|You Are 64% Shy|
You are a very shy person, and it has started to impact your life in a negative way.
If you can avoid human contact, you usually do. And as a result, you miss out on a lot.
|You Are 92% Lady|
No doubt about it, you are a lady with impeccable etiquette
You know how to put others at ease, even if their manners aren't the greatest.
|You Are 50% Weird|
Normal enough to know that you're weird...
But too damn weird to do anything about it!
This one I can go with...
|Your Hillbilly Name Is...|
Who knew? My grandmother's middle name was Pearl, though. Perhaps it was meant to be.
|You Belong in 1973|
If you scored...
1950 - 1959: You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!
1960 - 1969: You are a free spirit with a huge heart. Love, peace, and happiness rule - oh, and drugs too.
1970 - 1979: Bold and brash, you take life by the horns. Whether you're partying or protesting, you give it your all!
1980 - 1989: Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - and successful during the day.
1990 - 1999: With you anything goes! You're grunge one day, ghetto fabulous the next. It's all good!
|Your Monster Profile|
You Feast On: Lasanga
You Lurk Around In: The Ocean
You Especially Like to Torment: Dentists
I like this one. Surfing dentists of the world, watch out!
|Your Animal Personality|
Your Power Animal: Deer
Animal You Were in a Past Life: Panda
You are a fun-seeker - an adventurous, risk-taker.
While you are spontaneous, you are not very rational.
|You Are a Conservative Democrat|
Frankly, the way most other Democrats behave embarasses you greatly.
You pride yourself on a high level of morals, and you have a good grasp on right and wrong.
It's likely you think America needs to get back to its conservative, Juedo-Christian values.
Why aren't you a Republican then? Because you believe the goverment helps more than hurts.
|You Belong in Brooklyn|
Down to earth and hard working, you're a true New Yorker.
And although you may be turning into a yuppie, you never forget your roots.
|You are a Believer|
You believe in God and your chosen religion.
Whether you're Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or Hindu..
Your convictions are strong and unwavering.
You think your religion is the one true way, for everyone.
|You Should Learn Swedish|
Fantastisk! You're laid back about learning a language - and about life in general.
Peaceful, beautiful Sweden is ideal for you... And you won't even have to speak perfect Swedish to get around!
|You Are Rowlf the Dog|
Mellow and serious, you enjoy time alone cultivating your talents.
You're a cool dog, and you always present a relaxed vibe.
A talented pianist, you can play almost anything - especially songs by Beethoven.
"My bark is worse than my bite, and my piano playing beats 'em both."
|You Belong in San Francisco|
You crave an eclectic, urban environment. You're half California, half NYC.
You're open minded, tolerant, and secretly think you're the best.
People may dismiss you as a hippie, but you're also progressive, interesting, and rich!
|Your Band Name is:|
|You May Be a Bit Dependent...|
You're more than a little preoccupied with being abandoned.
You need a lot of support in your life, at all times.
It's difficult for you to survive on your own...
And you don't reallly think you ever could.
|Your SAT Score of 1320 Means:|
You Scored Higher Than Howard Stern
You Scored Higher Than George W. Bush
You Scored Lower Than Al Gore
You Scored Lower Than David Duchovny
You Scored Lower Than Natalie Portman
You Scored Lower Than Bill Gates
Your IQ is most likely in the 130-140 range
Equivalent ACT score: 30
Schools that Fit Your SAT Score:
College of William and Mary
New York University
United States Naval Academy
University of California, Berkeley
|You Are Bert|
Extremely serious and a little eccentric, people find you loveable - even if you don't love them!
You are usually feeling: Logical - you rarely let your emotions rule you
You are famous for: Being smart, a total neat freak, and maybe just a little evil
How you life your life: With passion, even if your odd passions (like bottle caps and pigeons) are baffling to others
|You Have Your Sarcastic Moments|
While you're not sarcastic at all times, you definitely have a cynical edge.
In your opinion, not all people are annoying. Some are dead!
And although you do have your genuine moments, you can't help getting your zingers in.
Some people might be a little hurt by your sarcasm, but it's more likely they think you're hilarious.
|Your Aura is Blue|
Spiritual and calm, you tend to live a quiet but enriching life.
You are very giving of yourself. And it's hard for you to let go of relationships.
The purpose of your life: showing love to other people
Famous blues include: Angelina Jolie, the Dali Lama, Oprah
Careers for you to try: Psychic, Peace Corps Volunteer, Counselor
|You Should Be a Science Fiction Writer|
Your ideas are very strange, and people often wonder what planet you're from.
And while you may have some problems being "normal," you'll have no problems writing sci-fi.
Whether it's epic films, important novels, or vivid comics...
Your own little universe could leave an important mark on the world!
|You Are a Chihuahua Puppy|
Small, high strung, and loyal.
You do best in the city with a adults - young kids could crush you!
|Your Christmas is Most Like: A Christmas Story|
Loving, fun, and totally crazy.
Don't shoot your eye out!
|You Are 30% Left Brained, 70% Right Brained|
The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.
The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.
|The Movie Of Your Life Is A Cult Classic|
Quirky, offbeat, and even a little campy - your life appeals to a select few.
But if someone's obsessed with you, look out! Your fans are downright freaky.
Your best movie matches: Office Space, Showgirls, The Big Lebowski
|You Are 0% Extrovert, 100% Introvert|
You avoid people at all costs
You aren't one for social interaction
And you limit your interaction to a select few
Thank God for self checkout!
|You Are Expressionism|
Moody, emotional, and even a bit angsty... you certainly know how to express your emotions.
At times, you tend to lack perspective on your life, probably as a result of looking inward too much.
This introspection does give you a flair for the dramatic. And it's even maybe made you cultivate some artistic talents!
You have a true artist's temperament... which is a blessing and a curse.
|Your Boobies' Names Are...|
|You Should Rule Jupiter|
Huge and hot, Jupiter is a quickly turning planet with short days and intense gravity.
You are perfect to rule Jupiter, because you are both dominant and kind.
You have great strength and confidence, but you never abuse your power.
You are always right. Even if you make mistakes, you compensate for them... before anyone knows it.
Headstrong and ambitious, you always have a goal in mind. You are optimistic and believe thing things will always work out.
|You Are Boston|
Both modern and old school, you never forget your roots.
Well educated and a little snobby, you demand the best.
And quite frankly, you think you are the best.
Famous people from the Boston area: Conan O'Brien, Ben Affleck, New Kids on the Block
|Your Scholastic Strength Is Deep Thinking|
You aren't afraid to delve head first into a difficult subject, with mastery as your goal.
You are talented at adapting, motivating others, managing resources, and analyzing risk.
You should major in:
|You Are Greg Brady|
Outta sight! Suave and all American, you tend to be clean cut and upstanding.
You're friendly with most people and a huge flirt (sometimes even with family members!).
|Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence|
You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.
You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.
|You Have Good Karma|
In general, you like to do the right thing when it comes to others.
Your caring personality really shines through.
Sure, you have your moments of weakness - and occasionally act out.
But, all in all, you're karma is good... even with those few dark spots.
|You Are 60% "Average American"|
You are average because you donate to charity.
You are not average since you rate your appearance 4 or lower.
|You Belong in Amsterdam|
A little old fashioned, a little modern - you're the best of both worlds. And so is Amsterdam.
Whether you want to be a squatter graffiti artist or a great novelist, Amsterdam has all that you want in Europe (in one small city).
|Your English Skills:|
This color scheme works better with the balloon, I think. I shall be playing off and on for the next few days...
Posted by Sheryl at 1:29 PM
Monday, October 09, 2006
OK. I have lots to say, but I don't feel like typing it all tonight, especially since it looks like I won't have anything to do tomorrow at work.
But I do want to say that I'm corresponding with someone new on eHarmony. He is a plain-looking computer geek from the midwest who's hobbies include cross stich and fly fishing. In short, he's my kind of guy.
I'm not getting my hopes up, but yeah.
Oh, and I bought a gallon of iced tea tonight (Community, which is really the best on earth), and when I set it dow on the table when I got home, the jug just split along the bottom. That made me sad.
And Studio 60 actually had some plot this week. what a novelty!
Oh, and I'm loving The Amazing Race this season as well. Especially the couple from Kentucky, even if they are a characature of Appalachian folks.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Posted by Sheryl at 3:11 PM
Monday, October 02, 2006
I have my car! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Is that enough exclamation points?
I think I've been having transmission problems for the past several months, and didn't realize it. All the weird noises, the seemingly bad alignment, and all that other stuff are all gone. I've never had a car with a computer thingy before, so I guess I didn't recognize the transmission problems for what they were.
I'm a little frustrated at work right now. Kind of a long story as to why, but I am. I'm still the happiest I've been in any job, though.
I have a really weird rash. At first I thought it was bug bites, but now the skin around the little bumps is bruising. never had that with bug bites. If it isn't better tomorrow, I guess I'll call the dermatologist. Blah.
Finally, Studio 60 suffers from the same problem as my writing - great characters, no plot. But Matthew Perry is kind of like Rob Morrow for me - I'd watch him in pretty much anything.
I also learned on the PBS show on hippos that they are related to both cows and dolphins. Which is weird and cool.
And I learned that I never want to hear the sound of hippos defacating again in my whole life.
Just a quick comment while I wait for the mechanic to call
Posted by Sheryl at 1:24 PM
What do you think of this dress for a semi-formal (but pretty dressy) office Christmas party? I'm just looking right now, since Kenny the transmission guy pretty much owns my next two paychecks, but it never hurts to look early. There was another dress similar to this one that I liked, but it was sleeveless. I thought that I could wear that one with a wrap, but that might be too much.
The dress is $100 which is kind of a lot, but I don't think I'm going to find anything for less than that. I looked on eBay tonight, just to look, and apparently eBay sellers think that women who are larger than average should either wear a caftan whenever they go out in public, or that they should dress like they are really size 2's and make themselves look utterly ridiculous.
Just my rant on a Sunday night...
Posted by Sheryl at 12:17 AM
Sunday, October 01, 2006
First, go read TG's blog entry in celebration of her and her husband's 11th anniversary. I was really touched by what she wrote.
Second, I am watching a program on PBS about hippopotamuses. When I was little and tripping over my own feet (as opposed to now, when I am big and tripping over my own feet), my mom used to say that I was as graceful as a baby hippo. Well, in the water, baby hippos really are graceful. Huh. Who knew it was a compliment?
Posted by Sheryl at 7:20 PM
Posted by Sheryl at 7:01 PM