Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Pizza

Here in Indiana we have a take-and-bake pizza place called Papa Murphy's.  An Irish pizza joint.  This delights me.  In the last few days they've been running ads for a special Jack-o-Lantern pizza.

Isn't that the goofiest thing ever?  I love it.  I'm going to push for a Jack-o-Pizza for dinner on Friday night.  I know Halloween isn't Friday, but Friday is Pizza Night.  I'm thinking this and one of the Ghostbusters movies that my brother lent us (he has both I and II on DVD, but who in their right mind wants to watch Ghostbusters II?) would make for a very satisfying Halloween celebration.  Maybe with the Charlie Brown Halloween special while the pizza is baking.  Because what's a holiday without a Charlie Brown special?

I may be about 25 years too old for trick-or-treating, but never let it be said that I don't know how to have a good time.

Lip Balm of the Day: Lavender Lemonade

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Any Techies Out There?

I'm seriously considering attending a couple of book conventions next year.  (Scared as hell about whether I'll be able to manage it physically, and concerned about the cost, but still really thinking about it.)  If I'm going to do this, I think that a portable way to tweet/text/email would be smart, to give me an easy way to catch up with people I know online.  (You know, "I'm in the lobby, where are you?")  Also, something that will take decent pictures.  And if I could keep the phone/data charges down, that would be very, very good.  Because I can't imagine myself using it much outside of trips like this.

Can anyone recommend a good device?

I was looking at the iPod touch, but I have some reservations.  It looks like it operates on wifi and does not require a service contract, which is a major point in its favor.  And, it works as an mp3 player, which is another major point in its favor.  (My current mp3 player, which I love, is pretty well maxed out.  If I'm going to add more music to my collection, I need something with more memory.)  But being an Apple product, I also have some deep reservations.  First of all, I generally find Apple products to be way over priced.  Is there something that will give me more or less the same functions for less money?  Am I tied to iTunes on this device, or can I download music from Amazon?  Most of my music has been downloaded piecemeal, a song at a time from Amazon.  I don't want to have to jump through hoops to put the music I've already purchased on my new mp3 player.  Plus, I have never had a positive experience with iTunes, and I don't want to start beating my head against that wall now.  Does the iPod touch take decent pictures?  Are they easy to transfer to the computer so that I can blog them?

Probably, I have other questions, but those are the ones I can think of right now.  Price, ease of use, access.  Anyone have any experience with this device or recommendations for other devices that might suit my needs better?

Thanks, y'all.

Lip Balm of the Day: Peach Melba

Friday, October 21, 2011

New Look

The leaves have changed, and after almost a week of winds and some rain, a lot of them are off their trees and all over everyone's yards.  We're supposed to dry up and warm up over the weekend, and I'm looking forward to it.  We should have this kind of chilly weather for another month or two.  I'm not prepared for it.  (It takes a lot of mental preparation, doncha know.)  And then it will get really cold.

I'm not 100% sold on this new look for the blog.  But at least it's seasonal 'n stuff.  It'll probably change again soon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wake Me Up

Sometimes, people are shitty.  Sometimes, on the internet the drama is so thick it's hard to tell which side is the shitty side, or if both are well intentioned, or if they're all just shitty.

So I'm posting a happy song.

And if there's ever any question, pay attention to the tshirt and Choose Life.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ya Wore Me Out, Kid

My best friend, her husband, and her son were here this afternoon for a visit.  The hubs has family here in Indiana, so they were able to carve out a little bit of time on their grand tour.  (That's not even a joke.  They've been on the road since Monday, and other than me they've seen/will see another friend, both sets of his grandparents, his father, and his sister.  All in different cities, as far as I know.)

It was nice to see Keli and Eric, but the real highlight was London.  The last time I saw him, he was about 3 months old.  He's 17 months now, and the cuteness factor was overwhelming.  We had presents for him, and once he got in the groove he really enjoyed ripping the paper.  And then once each package was completely unwrapped he had to be sure each of his parents got a good look.  The funniest thing to me was when London opened one of the packages (a book), and Eric got all excited.  "Richard Scarry!"  Keli was like, huh?  Apparently, she never read Richard Scarry as a kid (how is this possible?), so we had to explain to her that he was an author, and that his books always had a million fun things to look at.  Once the presents were all unwrapped, Eric grabbed London and immediately started reading it to him.  I have a feeling that's going to be the go to book when it's Dad's turn to read to him before bed from now on.

And then we sat down for some lunch.  Mom had made some potato soup, because it's one of those things that is really flexible and forgiving as far as timing goes.  It can sit on the stove and simmer for a while with no harm done.  (We weren't sure exactly when they were going to get here.)  I wasn't sure that London would go for it, but he loved it!  There was a smile and a "yum!" after almost every bite.  And he got very put out when Keli would sneak a spoonful for herself.  That was his soup, damn it!  There were also rolls, and London loves rolls.  So he was stuffing bites of bread in his mouth between little bits of potato and carrot from the soup.  Then his mom had what was apparently the Best. Idea. Ever!  She grabbed a little piece of his roll and dipped it in the soup.  He immediately made a dive for the soup bowl to try to do it himself.

Mom was practically incandescent with pleasure watching all this.  Especially every time he said, "Yum!"  It really was unbearably cute.

And then we all went outside so he could run around and play in the backyard.  And we could all run around after him.  I did very minimal chasing or picking up and swinging.  I would have liked to have done more, but frankly, I'm beat to my socks with what I did manage to do.  We had rain a couple of days ago, and it knocked a lot of leaves off the trees.  So Eric and London played in the leaves for awhile, which was also way adorable.  We have an old lobster trap under a tree in our backyard as decoration.  London spotted it and tried to crawl in.  Again, the cuteness factor was about 1000.  Dad managed to get pictures of some of it, although London gets weird in front of cameras and won't smile.  If he knew Dad was taking a picture there was no smile.  But there were quite a few of him playing and totally unaware of the camera.

And then it was time for them to move on.  :(  They've got a lot more miles to drive and people to see before they get home at the end of next week.  I was so glad to see them.  It was with my parents the whole time, and I didn't really get to talk to Keli about anything other than kid stuff and general chatter.  It was kind of like a 5 minute visit from an old life.  Very odd.

And now I'm all worn out.  For a good reason for once.  I took my sleeping pill early, and I hope to be crashing soon.  Night night!

Lip Balm of the Day: Gummy Bears

Friday, October 14, 2011

Something Crazy

I'm really, seriously thinking about taking on a new project.  There's a book I've read in the last few months, and it's stuck with me a bit.  Even better, it has a gorgeous cover.

Delish, don't you agree?
What I'm thinking of doing is knitting a shawl inspired by the book.  (No, there is no knitting in this book.  Just hot, macho, New York firefighters.  But knitting is my medium.)

There's a very popular shawl pattern called Clapotis.  (Pronounced clap-o-tee, or so I'm told.)  I like the concept of the shawl, but it's a rectangular, and I really prefer triangle shawls.  So right now I'm doing a bit of sketching and calculating (well, it's too late for calculating tonight, but definitely sketching) to see if I can convert it.  Several other people have done so, but not quite the way I'd like to do it.  So this will be a Becky Original, as well as my first attempt at knit design.

I've been looking for yarns to make this in, because I have a very particular idea in my head of what colors I want and how they should be used.  No dice, of course.  So I have two options as I see it.  First, I find an experienced dyer, try to explain my insane vision, and hope that whatever they come up with is in the ballpark.  Option two would be to buy some undyed yarn and all the pots and chemicals and try my hand at it myself.  While I think it would be great fun to say, "See this?  I created the design, dyed the yarn, and knit it, all by myself!" in not sure it's practical.  I keep getting hung up on the pots and chemicals (and face masks) and mess and expense of trying to dye it myself.  I've never done any dyeing, and I can't guarantee that my results would be any closer to what I see in my head than what an experienced dyer could do.  So there's that.

What I see is a shawl with lots of smokey black (they are fire fighters after all, and one of the heroes is Italian with gorgeous black hair) and splashes of red and yellow and orange.  Something that screams heat and fire.  (And also the orangey red is the hair color of the other hero.)  I want to make sure I get that smoke and fire theme across, because it would be very easy for these colors to get Halloweenie.  I don't want the yarn colors to mingle too much, or stripe.  I want what we in the fiber arts community call pooling or flashing.  Pooling is when you get, well, a pool of one color.  It can line up funny that way some times.  Flashing is like pooling, except that it zig zags across the piece creating a lightning bolt-ish effect.

If all works out as planned, I'll call the pattern Not Clap (because it borrows the theme from the Clapotis, and it's know casually amongst the knitting community as the Clap).  And then my particular shawl will be the Hot Clap-- a reference both to the pattern and the book that inspired me to knit it.

What do you think?  Too crazy or what?

Oh, and the Lip Balm of the Day is Pink Cake.  Too lazy to look up what all is in it right now, but it's yummy!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Grab a Boob Today

This totally cracks me up.  But it's also an important reminder.  So watch this video, and then grab a boob.  (Preferably one of your own.)  Practice a little self-love, ladies!

I know we spend a lot of time focusing on women and breast cancer in the month of October, but men really ought to be doing these self-exams, too.  If you've got nipples, you can get breast cancer.  So, men, give 'em a little fondle, too!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

September Gurls

I've been on a serious Bangles kick the last few days, and it finally dawned on me-- it's Jack music.  I'm going to have to take a look at some astrology references, but I think Ethan has a September birthday and Jack is December.  'Cause Jack seems to be associating this song strongly with the two of them.

On a purely aesthetic note (har), I don't like Susanna Hoffs' background vocals on this song at all.  (It's not so obvious in this live version, but her voice is a real kick in the teeth on the album version.)  She's too distinctive for background vocal and ends up standing out like a sore thumb.

The only other songs on Jack's soundtrack so far are Hazy Shade of Winter and If She Knew What She Wants.  (Jack is the "She" in that one.  He wouldn't even be offended at the idea.  He'd be the first to admit his head wasn't on quite straight (har) when he walked out on Ethan.)  So.  All Bangles.  I'm not sure if he's just a major Bangles fan, or if things will even out eventually.  I wasn't planning to start on his soundtrack yet.  In fact, I've been exceptionally lazy in the Magic/Discovery/writing department in the last couple weeks.  But I guess Jack is impatient.  He wants his happily ever after!

On a different topic, I have to admit I was wrong.  The garage sale went really well today.  Over $200 in sales and a full box less stuff packed up at the end of the day than went out this morning.  That's way better than I was expecting.  Mom is thrilled.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


My mother is subject to... enthusiasms.  She gets an idea in her head, and suddenly she's off and running in 15 directions.  (Of course, I am, too.  But in me it's fun and charming.)  I wouldn't mind if it was just her.  But when Mom gets an enthusiasm, she drags Dad and I along after her, whether we want to be dragged or not.

Her latest enthusiasm is to have a garage sale.  She decided on it just this past weekend.  We're having it on Thursday.  Never mind that there's probably enough shit junk crap stuff in the garage for a professional auction house to come in and do an estate sale.  Apparently, we're going to do this one small stack of boxes at a time.  I'd be overwhelmed with joy if we could just get Goodwill or someone to come empty out the garage.  Take it!  It's free!  But no, this is all precious shit junk crap stuff, and must be sold for top dollar.

I understand, to a certain extent.  There are antiques and such in there.  Mom and Dad have somehow become the storage repository for all of *their* parents' stuff.  (Even though they both have siblings who could have, and should have, taken responsibility for some of it.)  Mom sees it all as a potential source of extra cash-- which we could certainly use.  But what Mom insists on being blind to is the fact that she lives with two people with exhausting, chronic diseases.  I can't speak for Dad, but as far as I'm concerned, the energy expended in this ridiculousness is not worth the measly buck seventy-five we're going to make on it.  A good garage sale requires preparation and advertising.  Since we're doing this last minute and on the fly, there is time for neither.  Her goal is $50.  Fifty dollars for days worth of work, and if we're lucky we'll gain an extra 2 square feet of space in the garage.  Sigh.  Considering what she's willing to part with (barely), I think we'll be lucky to get $10 out of it.

What I haven't been quite willing to tell her yet, is whatever she doesn't get rid of now, I'm tossing when she's dead.  A few sentimental items?  Sure I'll keep.  But I'm not hanging on to boxes of "antique" linens.  Furniture.  For God's sake-- there are still baby clothes in there!  (My brother and I are both in our 30s!)  I don't want it, I don't want the hassle of it.  It's gone.  If we could get rid of some of this stuff now we'd all have a better quality of life, and my brother and I won't get stuck with the burden of disposing of at least two generations worth of junk when they're gone.  Mom complained all last winter that they couldn't park in the garage because it was completely full of boxes and junk (stacked 7 feet high, with only a narrow, take-your-life-into-your-hands, walk way).  Dad has lumber in there that we moved to Indiana with us when we came here the *first* time.  That was 1989!  He won't let go of any of that, either.  It's not just Mom who is clinging to this crap for all she's worth.

And what really frosts my cookies is that Mom suggested to me last night that I go through the two-- two!-- tubs in the garage that are mine to see if I can get rid of anything.  Probably I can.  But two rubbermaid tubs vs the whole rest of the garage (plus a rented storage space-- did I mention that yet?).  Which one of these is really the problem?  And she keeps coming in to ask me if I'm really sure that I don't mind if she puts out this piece of crap, or that pile of junk.  I finally just told her that I'm really, really sure that she can get rid of all of it.  Please!

OK, I think I better go now.  I'm getting even more annoyed than I was when I started this post, and I still have to go write up the Craigslist ad.  Damn it.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

24 Hours Later

It's been 24 hours since Penny arrived (at this point, more like 36-40 hours), and things are going well.

Oh, wait a minute.  I didn't tell you about this part, did I?  I named my new Kindle Penny.  She shipped from Pennsylvania (I know this because I checked the tracking every 5 minutes from the time I ordered her until she showed up on my doorstep on Friday), and I thought, "Pennsylvania.  Penny.  Perfect!"  I'm from Pennsylvania originally, too, so we started out with a lot in common. :p

It is different from my original Kindle, and there's been a little bit of an adjustment period.  The page turn buttons operate differently.  These click out (which is how I expected the K2's buttons to work, so I guess this is more of an un-adjustment), while the K2's buttons click on the inside edge.  I think I'm mostly used to the change in the buttons, but it is still weird every once in a while.  Also, there is now a page back button on both the left and right hand sides.  On the K2 the back button was on the left, and the button in that position on the right was the Home button.  I'm still reaching for that right hand back button when I want Home.

I don't miss the keyboard at all.  The only time I used it was when I would create a collection, and I'd type in the name.  (TBR, freebies, read, etc.)  Now there's a keyboard that pops up on the screen, and you use the up, down, left, right key to pick the letters one at a time.  Tedious, but creating new collections isn't exactly a daily project.

The funny thing about the change in size and button location is that I sometimes try to navigate as if I'm reading on my Sony Pocket.  They have 10 buttons down the right side that allow you to pick which book you want off the list.  With the Kindle you still have to use navigation buttons at the bottom center of the device to pick your book.  You basically do it the same way you do on the old Kindle, except the button is in a different place-- coincidentally the same spot that it's in on the Pocket, so that probably assists in the brain glitch.

So those are the things that are weird or different or that I just plain have to adjust to.

I'm loving that it is significantly lighter than the old Kindle.  The screen looks really good, and even though the overall unit is much smaller the screen is the same size.  The advanced e-ink gives a sharper image, and there's greater contrast between the text and the background, which makes it easier on the eyes.  There's none of the screen "flash" that so many people hated in earlier versions.  And it's much faster.  Sometimes, with the old Kindle, I would give it a command-- click the Home button for instance-- and then I'd sit and wait.  And wait.    And WAIT for it to finally take me there.  There's no waiting with the Penny.  I hit the Home button, and I'm on the Home screen.  No waiting.  It's lovely.  Even transferring stuff is faster.  The K2 was on Whispernet (Sprint, I believe), and signal strength isn't always so great.  Penny operates off of my home wifi, and so far it's worked like a dream.

To wrap up, there are some things that are different, and I'm adjusting.  There are some other things that work really well-- better than my original-- and I'm thrilled about that.  At 24 hours into our relationship (or 36-40 hours, whatever) I'm very happy with my purchase.  And at $79 I feel it was an excellent deal.

Oh, and the lip balm of the day is: Gummy Bear.  Yum!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Today Was a Good Day

I had an excellent day today.  First of all, I had the house to myself all day long.  Mom and Dad went with their Sunday School class to some sort of Jesus museum.  (It had dinosaurs.  I don't even pretend to understand that one.)  Anyway, this place was a couple hours away, so between driving there, touring, having lunch and dinner, and driving home again, I didn't see them until 9pm.  It was lovely and peaceful.

And then the thing that I'd been waiting for since Wednesday finally happened.  My brand new Kindle arrived!  It's light and little and adorable.  I spent some time loading books for the quarterly reading challenge that started at midnight, and then I started a library book that I was able to download wirelessly onto the new Kindle.

As if all of that wasn't happy making enough, my name was drawn in a contest on twitter.  I got a free advance copy of Carina Press's holiday m/m anthology!  In it is a new story by one of my very favorite authors-- Josh Lanyon.  Woo hoo!

Some craft supplies that I'd ordered were delivered, and I ate queso dip and tortilla chips for dinner.  (I'm a grown up, I can eat whatever I want for dinner.  Also, my mommy wasn't here to say no.)

After that, Mom and Dad came home, and we talked about their trip, and then we watched about half an episode of Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, which happened to feature a place here in Indianapolis and another place in Bucks County, PA (which is where we're from originally).  And then we all retreated to our rooms, Mom and Dad to zonk out in exhaustion, and me to watch some random stuff off the dvr and write this post.

Really, it was a fantastic day!