Sunday, November 9, 2008
fur tumbleweeds have started already. I decided to schlep the Roomba
over to try and keep up with the cleaning; I hate having to clean up
in a hurry right before they get back. Toby is bark bark barking like
crazy at the vacuum...and my dogs (for once in their lives) are
sitting here calm as anything, like "what? What's the big deal? It's
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I finally finished up the little bit of hand sewing I had to do for the last of this summer's baby quilts, and made it to the post office during business hours to send a package internationally. Violet and Avi, along with their mom, are some of my imaginary friends inside the computer. I came home this evening to read the best message board post ever:
"Yesterday I woke up to a world with President-elect Obama in it. And then I went to the post office to pick up a mysterious package and there were the two most beautiful quilts in it. Completely unexpected (I didn't even know you guys were over here doing this!) and so wonderful. 2008 was a crazy year, we finally got pregnant, moved to the US (and back) and watched this most incredible election for our friends in the south. I think these things will now always be connected for me in the most wonderful way, completely serendipitous that they arrived the morning after the best election ever.
I'm floored by your generosity. literally floored..."
I think she likes 'em ;)
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Spent some time this weekend feeling under the weather and decorating pumpkins. I stuck these on the outside of our patio fence and I've gotten a ton of complements on 'em from people walking past. Here's hoping no one gets a wild hair and goes on a pumpkin-smashing spree.
Aunt Bobbi crafted Frank and Rita some adorable sweaters which make them look like candy corns. I can't say that either of them are thrilled to have to wear clothes, but the sweaters are awfully cute.
Me: ::dials number. Phone rings. Much to my surprise, someone answers::
Woman's voice: Hello?
Me: Hi, is [woman's name] there please?
Woman: This is she.
Me: Hi, I'm CaptainLaura calling on behalf of Senator Barack Obama. I was just calli-
Woman: We think he's a stinking pile of crap!
Me: Well, heh, I'll just put you down as a 'no' then!
Yeah. It's like that. Huh.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
This weekend, however, he's been acting especially bad. I don't know if it's because he's bored, or what, but in the past 24 hours he's:
- Chewed 3/4 the buttons off my favorite green sweater, leaving big holes behind
- Mounched the strap off of one brown T-strap shoe. My only brown dressy shoes, of course.
- Terrified the neighbor's cocker spaniel
- Gotten into my craft supplies and helped himself. See below:
One of Jeremy's big things as we look for a house is having a space to himself where the dogs can't go. Now I can understand why.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
My liberal side tends toward the side of socialism - we've got to take care of everyone in a benevolent fashion. It's the government's duty to see to it that everyone gets a fair chance. There are plenty of people who are brilliant and hardworking, but for one reason or another, real life got in the way of great potential.
My conservative side feels like if everyone just took on the personal responsibility that's expected of them, we wouldn't have the kinds of issues we're facing today. I work hard in order to take care of myself and my family; why should anybody be allowed a free ride just because they can't hack it? Why should my tax dollars be used to bail out corporations and consumers who made risky decisions that I wouldn't abide by in a million years?
No where is this issue clearer to me than in the arena of health care. Having navigated the health care system both as a consumer and as an administrator, I feel like I have a good enough grasp on the health care situation to understand McCain and Obama's proposals. This is a good jumping off point for me to understand the candidates' platforms on other issues as well. I heard something during the debate this evening that scared the daylights out of me: something that completely cleared my indecision regarding the role that government should play in domestic policy issues.
In response to the absolutely great question "Do you believe health care should be treated as a commodity?" I didn't hear a straight answer out of either candidate. But at one point, while explaining his health care proposal, John McCain said:
"But the point is that we have got to give people choice in America and not mandate things on them and give them the ability. Every parent I know would acquire health insurance for their children if they could."
That's simply not true.
Someone very dear to me was strongly affected by a parent actively choosing not to insure his child. The fallout from that decision, made over 5 years ago, is still creating challenges: financial, emotional and physical.
The fact of the matter, from where I stand, is that there are plenty of people who still don't prioritize insurance. Whether it be a parent or a single individual, young or old, low or middle income, working or not, there are always better things to spend money on than insurance. While I agree that some people simply can't afford to pay, there are legions of others who spend that money on other things. Things that sometimes I feel should be lower on the priority list. There are others that I know who have worked very hard for not a lot of money, just to make sure they had reliable, reasonable health insurance for their families
Some of these first kinds of people carry on as usual, trusting that if they fall, someone will be there to catch them. And there always has been someone there to pick up the pieces and pay the bills after a medical catastrophe, be it a benevolent parent or relative, or Uncle Sam himself.
I think we can all agree that it's the administration's responsibility to help people who can't make it on their own. The question, in my mind, which has suddenly become clear to me, is this?
Is it better business to provide reasonably-priced (but federally mandated) health coverage and preventative care to every citizen, or is it more beneficial to let individuals deal with the free market of health care and coverage unhindered, then bail them out when they've gotten themselves into a hot mess over assuming too much risk?
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Last week or so, Jeremy and I were talking about illuminated manuscripts, for whatever reason. He asked me what the term was that means "fancy illustrated capital letters" in a manuscript. Seeing as I don't deal with medieval art history on a daily basis, I went to look it up in the first half of Marilyn Stokstad's Art History, a book I've kept around since my freshman year of college for reference.
Seriously, I've dragged this two-volume set around with me since 2001, moving every year. Jeremy always bugs me to get rid of it, but it's sort of nostalgic, y'know. These textbooks feel like one of the last vestiges of my college education, a souvenir from that part of my life, which, intellectually I've more or less left behind.*
At any rate, I first used the book's index to find the section on illuminated manuscripts. I flipped to the correct page, and read the 5-6 paragraphs. No mention of decorated initials. I had noticed there were a few other places the index listed, so I went through every mention of "manuscripts" in the whole book. Nothing.
Where did I end up finding the information I was looking for? Wikipedia.
*Believe it or not, there's not a pressing need to know about, say, Abstract Impressionism from a Marxist perspective in corporate America.** I *do* get complements on my ability to draw straight lines on chart paper, though.
**Don't worry, I still fiercely believe in the value of a Liberal Arts education. That's another post, however.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Work on Bobbi's quilt keeps getting pre-empted by people having babies. Clearly there is an easy way for her to jump to the front of the line... ;)
This quilt is for one of my imaginary friends inside of the computer. Her son was born at the beginning of July. About 30 participants sent in 5" fabric squares or pieced blocks. I ended up sorting them into light, mid- and deep tones, and arranging them in three sections. I added borders, plus a fair amount of my own 5" squares, to even things out a bit.
I quilted this one on the machine...yay for more practice! Auntie and I decided gray thread would work best for this one and it was a perfect choice. I'm really catching on to the fill patterns and I believe I'm almost ready to start doing more complex designs.
I really like the way this quilt turned out. I think if I had to do it over again, I might move the light squares away from the center and make the value arrangement a little less symmetrical.
I am starting to feel the pull to move away from quilting as a craft and focus more on the art side of things. Now that we have the longarm quilting machine, I can power through the quilting in a couple of days. The process is a lot less labor-intensive and much quicker, and I feel like I can re-do things more easily if I'm not satisfied with something. With the old way of quilting, by the time I finished one project (a year later, most of the time), I was so sick of looking at it and so ready to move on to something else I didn't spend too long evaluating or critiquing my work.
I'm also finding that I'm becoming either more of a perfectionist or more mature with my techniques. I really spent a lot of time on this project making sure blocks/seams/rows were all the right sizes and everything lined up perfectly. I anticipated a situation and made a decision to deal with it one way, then midway through the piecing decided I didn't like it. Instead of just living with my bad decision, I took the time to remove some seams and re-work the blocks that were off.
I suppose I'm more willing to go back and correct my mistakes with my sewing now because there are far fewer opportunities to do that in real life than there used to be. Here, I have a medium that is highly flexible and forgiving, and doesn't appear worse for the wear if you have to rip something out and try again...
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Auntie made Charlie's quilt. Her reasoning behind that was because Charlie is named after her father. And my father. But who's counting?
I made Robbie's quilt because he's named after, uh, my brother. We devised the pattern first, then found the turquoise fabric in Auntie's stash. It's a batik with little baby footprints all over it, and we figured it was pretty perfect for this. We kind of realized halfway through the planning that it would be neat to reverse the colors of the sashing and borders to make the quilts alike-but-different. We were going to keep the turquoise and yellow squares in the same pattern but we couldn't quite squeeze another block out of the turquoise fabric, so necessity made us change up the colors there, too.
The babies seem to like their quilts...I was over there the other weekend and one was laid out and both kids were laying on it, gurgling away.
That's my Auntie's beautiful yard and garden in the background, BTW. She works really hard on it and it really is as lush as it looks.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Well, just in the past few days I've started seeing junebugs all over the place. We also encountered some pretty serious mosquitoes at the Muny last night. But the best part?
Franklin ate his first cicada of the summer this morning. Yum.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
The University called me last week asking for money. Since they only bother me once a year, and because I actually didn't owe any money upon graduating, I sent them $50, which my employer matched. So, $100. Hear that? I'm paying for some kid to fall asleep in class right now.
Oh. Back to my original point. I'm not great at photoshop, and it drives me crazy to polish something that's just for illustration purposes, anyway. I bring you...
Captain Laura's newest Fantasy Realty masturbation technique...
10243 Julius Northway, Sunset Hills. Priced right, huuge fireplace, hellishly dated. What I could do if I got my hands on this place, though!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
As evidenced by my last post, I'm procrastinating on my projects by starting new ones. To be fair, my container garden was looking rather wimpy and the porch needed to be cleared anyway. I started a whole gang of seeds in April; sadly, none of them lived long enough to be planted outside. I did some cleaning and organizing outside yesterday, including getting rid of some stuff and consolidating what I had. I'm trying to cut down on my non-consumable purchases, so I planned to buy plants only for the containers I had.
This is the first time I've gone plant shopping with a map. In the past, I've just kind of wandered around and picked up things that I liked, or bought based on what kind of bargain I could get. That method generally ended in disappointment, badly composed container plantings, and an excess of marigolds.
It was actually kind of awesome to choose plants with intent. I don't spend a lot of time pre-planning my purchases for any kind of shopping, and I'm getting totally sick of coming home with a whole pile of stuff that doesn't go together in the least.
I wasn't really planning on buying any perennials, but when I stopped to get a closer look at this one, I couldn't resist:
I also picked up this one, which seems to be called "Tickseed." I'm mostly posting here in hopes of remembering the name next year, if this happens to come back.
I also spent some time washing the sliding door yesterday. This isn't the best picture, but I'm really happy to have wiped off all the dachshund nose art. Frank and Rita are working on a new masterpiece, though, so don't worry.
The dogs have been really groan-y today. I'm not sure if it's the heat, or what, but all Rita wants to do is make frog legs and lay around. Franklin harassed a toad yesterday and got a foamy mouth for it. Poor guy...it kind of serves him right.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
I made some shirts and onesies for the nieces and nephews...here are a matching pair that I did with iron-on inkjet transfers. Notice the 1337-ness of these!
The rest I did with freezer paper stencils. Which are, to say the least, the shit. I had good luck finding images on stock photo sites to base my designs off of. While this takes some skill with an x-acto knife, the designs come out crisp, clear, and soft (if you use fabric paint, which I highly recommend.)
I washed all the shirts inside-out in cold water and nothing came off. The best part? Rob and Ally seemed to like everything a lot.
I made the four kids a coordinating set of shirts. Dorky, but cute...
I'm currently working on my portion of the twins' baby quilts, a surprise quilt for an ADL member, and designing a birth announcement. Uh, and studying for the GMAT. And trying to find a house with Jeremy that we both want to buy. And, you know, working and stuff ;)
Gratuitous nephew pictures:
Robbie looks nearly identical to Rob did when he was a newborn...
Charlie chillaxin'...with a Grammie-knit blanket!
Here you can really see the differences and similarities in their features. Also: holy cow, there are two of them!
As an aside, I seem to have lost my break-the-baby fear in the years since Brianna was born. Must've been from working at the Portrait Studio. I had absolutely no fear about scooping 'em up. Weird.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Anyway, after that disappointment, I went over to the St. Louis Bread Co. only to discover that they had - that very day - discontinued my favorite sandwich. No more portabella and mozzarella panini. Might as well end it now before things get much worse, eh?
The co-workers and I went to lunch today at a total dive called something like "Taste of Chicago." Basically all kinds of street food. I had a gyro, which was actually pretty good. The co-workers' food was terrible and the fries were undercooked. The meals were relatively expensive for what they were. The best part? The manager and his employee nearly came to blows while we were eating. They were having a major conflict about how to run the cash register. Never again, eh?
Monday, April 28, 2008
We put Brianna into Rebecca's car and I leaned in to say goodbye. As I'm leaning over, this old man walks up behind me and smacks me on the ass with his clipboard, and goes, "you still have nice legs."
I turned around to look at him and he just walked away. I was pretty much speechless.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
I held a short conversation with my dad this afternoon via text message.
Dad: "Did you make it through the earth quake?"
Me: "Yeah, Jer woke up then woke me up. Otherwise I was oblivious. Heavy sleeper."
Dad: "Me too, slept right through her. Apple never falls far from the tree!"
I am a notoriously heavy sleeper. I've slept through bat attacks, alarm clocks, night time visitors, you name it. I'm pretty sure that Bobbi and Jeremy both hate my snooze button addiction with the burning fire of a thousand suns.
I also get very confused when I'm woken, and have been known to carry on full conversations in the middle of the night and not remember anything the next day.
When Jeremy woke up shouting last night that the bed was shaking, my immediate and rational thought was that it had to be ghosts. I woke up this morning completely convinced that our apartment must be haunted. Yeah.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
All in all, things are pretty good. I'm going to be working on cleaning/organizing, gardening, photography and SCUBA in the next few weeks. Yay!
#4 talk to my doctor about switching medications - did it, got more meds to take on top of what I already have, and I'll be going back in a few weeks to increase the dosage. So far the additional thing seems to have helped my sleeping issue.
#28 take longarm quilting course - Went with my auntie to Hiawatha, Iowa last week and took a one-on-one course at the Nolting factory. I have yet to try out any of my new skillz, but we've got some baby quilts to make!
#29 successfully bind a quilt using mitred-corner bindings. I did it, I wasn't impressed, but I'll try it again just to be sure.
#46 get season tickets to the MUNY. They are on their way! I knew we had to go this year...The Producers and Fiddler on the Roof all in one season?!
#51 research grad schools. I am pretty sure I know what I want to do. As long as #49, #50 and #52 go well...
#60 fix carpet issue in hallway - I've finally solved the problem, on my fourth attempt. Let's just say it took a lot of Liquid Nails.
#90 create some art from photos for TU. The poster-sized prints arrived last week. They are pending framing, then I can bring them to the store.
#101 find a cute pair of outfits for Rob's twins - I ended up buying a shit-ton of baby outfits at the thrift and consignment stores. Ally had her baby shower last Saturday and it looks like these boys are set for clothes for at least 6 months.
#99 and #100 - Done! Here's what Jake had to say about my work:
"Laura! Yes, we got the package. It is amazing, and we
couldn't be happier with how it turned out! That book you made is just
incredible quality. The pictures look excellent and it has such a classy style
with the black borders. We really enjoyed looking through it and laughed a lot,
I think we had forgotten how silly our commentary was. I'm going to bring it
into work tomorrow.
Last night we watched the DVD, which was also really well
done. I really can't thank you enough for how great everything turned out. The
pictures you took were perfect, it's really a treasure for us.
Anyway, thank you so much for doing all this work, it really
turned out better than we imagined, and we knew how talented you were after
seeing Sarah's pictures! I hope you are doing well and that we can get
together sometime soon!
Take care,Thanks again!-Jacob"
Sunday, March 23, 2008
For your amusement, here we are in 1998:
Thursday, March 20, 2008
- My upstairs neighbor is playing some sort of flute-and-gong meditation music, loudly.
- There is a horde of Indian children on Razor scooters terrorizing the apartment complex, and they're all afraid of my dogs.
- While we were walking just now, Franklin bit a duck in the neck.
It's times like this I wish I lived somewhere else.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
4970 Loughborough Ave.
This place needs some serious updating. However, it looks like it has a new roof, some new plumbing, and a new furnace. Furthermore, it is not in the ghetto, it's inexpensive and taxes are low. Two fireplaces, 1958 square feet, two full bathrooms. So the inside is a bit Little House on the Prarie. So? So?
In other news, it snowed like the dickens here yesterday. It took me an hour and a half to get home - a drive that usually takes all of 15 minutes. We got about 10" at home. There are more flurries expected tonight. Bah!
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
For your entertainment, the top five songs that get stuck in my head:
1. Return to Sender, Elvis Presley
2. Spooky, Classics IV
3. Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie, Jay and the Techniques
4. Meet James Ensor, They Might Be Giants
5. Benny and the Jets, Elton John**
I'd like to point out that I do not know the complete lyrics to any of these songs. Generally, I'll get one phrase stuck on repeat over, and over, and over. I start out singing it properly, but as I get more frustrated, I start subbing in my own lyrics, usually about the dogs.
Gah, I am so much like my dad on this. Must be genetic ;)
**I listened to this song for many years without a second thought. When we went on our honeymoon, the couple that sat across from us at dinner every night were our doppelgangers in many ways. One night, we had a conversation about songs that get stuck in your head, and how he sang the chorus from Benny to get songs out of her head. It's been in *my* head ever since.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Franklin make a new friend the other weekend. Grommit is an English Mastiff who is one of the gentlest dogs I've ever known. Even though he outweighs Franklin by, oh, 170 pounds or so, Grommit got down on the floor to greet Franklin and let him have a few sniffs.
The funniest thing was that Grommit drools. A lot. Every time he put his head down to check Franklin out, the ween would end up covered in dog spit. Who needs a shower?
Speaking of showers, Franklin ended up in the shower with me a couple of nights ago. He was pissed. I figured that as long as he was in there, I might as well soap him up. Yeah, not the best idea I've ever had...
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Thing is, I don't see the point of spending a lot for someone else's taste. Yes, there are plenty of beautiful houses out there, but everything I've seen would have to be changed to suit our taste, at least a little. It makes sense (in my mind) to buy something lower-priced and make the updates as we go (or, you know, pay someone to do it, but you know what I mean) to end up with a beautiful house that is perfect for us.
I know that idea goes against the "real estate as an investment" theory that many financial conservatives hold, but you know what? Fuck it. I want a house that is our space, just for us, that makes me happy to be in.
And now, what you've all been waiting for...fantasy realty volume 3!
7424 Carleton, 63130. Again with the no-fireplace, and it needs a lot of work, but this house could be a real gem. Also, it is priced reasonably enough that we could afford to fix it up pretty quickly. Hmph.
-I emailed the instructor to inquire about #11, learn to SCUBA dive. I have the $$ set aside for Jeremy and I to take the beginning course starting in April with the [MyCompany] Scubaneers. I have the form. The only thing left is to write the check and send in the form. Hopefully, we will be certified divers by the time we get to #43.
-I inadvertently accomplished #17 over the weekend. Jeremy and I went out to eat with the Maunes to Red, where I have never been, and I ordered, well, whatever I wanted. Go me!
-I put kate in charge of getting tickets to #47 - seeing the BodyWorks exhibit. This coming weekend is the last weekend of the exhibit, and they are having like a 63 hour marathon or something. Hopefully we will get to go.
-I talked with my brother to get advice on home project #60. I need to look in the storage space and see if we have a miter box - to get #61 done this week. That's my goal for the rest of this week. We'll see.
Monday, February 25, 2008
I have been stalking this house for MONTHS, I tell you. It is in U. City, north of Olive. I have actually been inside this house - I went to an estate sale there over the summer. The inside of this place is totally grotty and would need a total rehab - but I can't get over the rad windows and roof line. The inside actually has a decent amount of space. Also awesome is the full, clean basement. Lots of these atomic ranch houses were built on slabs. Great for California living, but not so much an option here in tornado country.
I've probably spent far too many minutes thinking about this house, but my rehab would involve taking out the wall between the kitchen and the dining/living area and opening up the whole space. We would need to have a fireplace added; being able to light things on fire is very dear to my husband.
I am really hoping that when the time comes for us to buy, we can find something in U. City. We might end up with a smaller house than we would have if we looked farther out, but that area has so many advantages. And - hello - single stream recycling! Duh!