Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Finished a crochet project at last!

I've been working on these amigurumi dinosaurs since June.  I'm fast enough crocheting the wider parts but I'm not so good when the circle is only 8 stitches around.

This is the brachiosaur and the stegosaurus I made.



The stegosaurus is my own pattern creation.  I got the brachiosaur pattern from Claudia Vodermaier.  My dino does not include the back ridges because I was informed by my 4 year old "Brachiosaurs don't have plates Mama!"

I'm going to remake both of them, with some adjustments, in pink and yellow for my nieces. The brachiosaur's neck will be a couple stitches wider & slightly shorter & his body a maybe a couple of stitches narrower, plus I'll include the ridges.  The stegasaur will be bigger all over.

But first I have to make a triceratops

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My favorite birthday year

Today is my birthday!  I am 41.  41 is a rather dull birthday year, coming right after the big 4-0 and before the Ultimate Answer (42).  There really isn't much to say about it except - nope, no perimenopause yet.

However, exactly 20 years ago was my favorite birthday year, the year I turned 21. There is more background story to why my 21st birthday was my favorite than just the alcohol I was now allowed to consume. There is the drama of offers made and reneged on repeatedly in the years prior to my birthday. While drinking is the focus of the story, it was never really about the drinking. It was about the sheer irritation and annoyance of constantly having the metaphoric rug pulled out from under you.

The drinking age in West Virginia as of January 1985 was 18.  Yes, that is right, 18. The nationwide push to raise the drinking age back up to 21 was gaining steam but my home state had been holding out. They made a token gesture though around April or so. The state government announced that as of July 1st you had to be 19 to buy alcohol, and they very kindly added a grandfather clause, if you were 18 by June 30, you could still drink. So anyone born before July 1, 1967 was legally allowed to purchase beer and liquor.  I was born on July 20th.  Missed it by *that* much. I, and everyone else born in the second half of 1967 were pissed. What made people born in June more responsible than us? That's just mean!

Not that the majority of us had any trouble getting alcohol when we wanted it. Unless you looked really young, you rarely got carded.  I looked really young. It isn't that I wanted to drink specifically. Had I wanted a beer, there were some in the fridge at home I could have with my parents full permission. It was that something I regarded as a right was being taken from me.

So ok, fine, I'll wait a year. I'm a freshman at WVU, which then the #1 party school in the nation, obtaining alcholic beverages is not a problem. We had keggers and grape & grain parties in the dorm rooms and I was a pledge at AOTT, the number one party sorority on campus. Not drinking was a bigger problem actually.

Then word came down from above (the national government) to the state "You will raise your drinking age to 21 or we cut off your highway money." WV is a mountainous state. We need our federal highway money to keep the roads driveable. So the state legislature caved in and said on August 1st 1986, you will have to be 21 to buy alcohol. And they didn't grandfather it!!! There was no fine print reading "must be born on or before July 31, 1967" this time. You must be 21. Period.

What this meant for me was that I was legally allowed to drink for 11 days and then at midnight on the 12th day it was all over.  I know people who stockpiled beer and wine coolers in those last couple of weeks of July because it would be 2 more years before they could get any. The new drinking age also brought more rigorous ID checking. So everyone who's fake ID said they were 19 now had to go get a new, better, more realistic ID that said they were 21. I got one. Not especially because I wanted to drink but social life was in bars and at frat parties & they now had to check your ID.

Honestly, I've never much cared for beer. I was more of a wine cooler girl. But bars never offered 25 cent wine cooler nights.

I was again irritated and annoyed by this change in the drinking age because one again I was being denied a right. Not only that, I was losing one I ALREADY HAD! It could have been the driving age, the voting age - it wouldn't have mattered. I would have been pissed at the way I was being yanked around for any of them.

Early in 1988 I began to be nervous. Were they going to do it again? Would they find some reason to raise the drinking age to 22 or 25 this time? Once again the carrot was being dangled in front of me. Would I at last be able to grab and keep it?

They left it alone. Finally!  To celebrate my long awaited, lost and regained legality I had a tequila party. It might not sound like a big deal but for a bunch of people who's budgets usually ran to 25 cent draft night, buying bottles of Jose Cuervo was highly significant. We had shots, margaritas, tequila sunrises and something called a prickly pear that involved pineapple juice. We ate nachos, burritos, enchiladas, chimichangas, and quesidillas. It was a great party and my favorite birthday year ever.

So far.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Summer jobs

I had a summer job all through my teen years. It was the same job, except for one memorable year.

When I was 13 I started working in the concession stand at the lake of a local park. We sold pop, pizza, hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream and crackers. We also rented out peddleboats and clubs for mini golf. During festivals and large gatherings I would spend hours making cotton candy.  I was paid a whole $1.20 an hour that first year.  I was earning a whopping $3.35 my last year there, when I was 19. There was a core group of us who were there every year and we had a lot of fun those summers.

When I was 18 I got a job at Walt Disney World for the summer. I sold ice cream at Epcot Center. It was the first time I had ever been really far away from home by myself. It was very exciting but I missed my friends back at the lake.  They wrote me group letters and I sent them postcards (this was back before email & the internet).

The following year I was back at the lake for one last summer. We had a lot of parties that year.

After that my jobs lost their seasonality. The pizza restaurants, bars and retail shops I worked at in college are open year round & I had summer school, so I couldn't come home to work anymore.

Friday, July 11, 2008

No vacation this year

My favorite place to go in the summer is to my hometown, Wheeling, WV. We usually stay for 4-6 days. I get to eat my favorite Di Carlos' Pizza, stuff myself with pepperoni rolls, take my kids to my favorite local park, play mini golf and go paddle boating. We go the Cabela's and look at the fish and other animals & do some shopping.  We get to visit my parents and my brother & his family. My kids get to play with their cousins for several days and we usually all go to the Good Zoo.  The last couple of years my folks have rented a cabin at Oglebay Park for all of us & before that we crowded into their small house, that used to belong to my grandparents.

This year though, we don't get to go. My parents now spend 11 months a year in Florida instead of 8-9. So they sold the house to my uncle and rent an efficiency apartment for a month while they are in town.  My dad organizes a couple baseball tournaments in July and he has to be there or they probably would just stay in Florida apart from occasional week long visits here & there. 4 additional people will not fit into an efficiency apartment (especially one that shares a kitchen with another apartment). There are no cabins available at Oglebay due to a golf tournament and no hotel rooms in a 50 mile radius due to those baseball tournaments and Jamboree in the Hills.  July is a busy month for the tourist industry in Wheeling and like it or not I am now officially a tourist. I have no 'home'  there any longer.  I have to start making reservations in January for our July visit.

My parents are coming here in August, on their way to Florida, and will stay a few days, so at least we will get to see them. We'll see my brother's family at Xmas. But this means I will have to go 2 WHOLE YEARS with no Di Carlos pizza. I'm seriously bummed about the pizza.  I love that pizza.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Music in Me

I don't listen to music very often. I'd like to while I am on the computer, but it is in the family room and the kids make too much noise playing, or have a Wii game on, or someone is watching TV and I feel guilty wearing headphones to shut my kids out even more than I already am by being on the computer in the first place. Unless I am alone in the house, I don't listen to music very often at home.  I listen to audiobooks at the gym, which mostly leaves me with the car for music.

I have a Zen Vision M mp3 player now. It has 40GB, holds a couple dozen audio books, my entire music collection, a ton of photos plus I don't know how many videos (I don't use the video function much).  I mostly use it to listen to audio books at the gym, waiting for appointments or when I am in the car. Problem is lately I'm listening to not family friendly books. Assorted curse words are heard, sexual situations, violence, etc. It was one thing when I was listening to A Bone of Contention and my son wanted to know what a whore was. It is an historic mystery set in the late 1100's. The sleuth was a whoremistress. The word was being appropriately used in it's proper context. (He also asked what a bishop & destrier were) But I wouldn't like to explain the use of whore in a modern pejorative context.  So audio books are out in the car for now, leaving me with just music.

Before the Zen I had an iPod mini. A nice little 4GB player.  I traded up to get more space and the video option. I gave the iPod to DH, who has never used it. I found it the other day and decided to load it up with all my music and just leave it in the car or at least in my purse. That way I'd always have music ready to go & wouldn't have to go through bookmarking the audio book, checking to make sure the bookmark took (I never trust it, but it has always bookmarked things), backing all the way out to the main menu, going back into the music playlists, etc and then having to reverse it all to get back to the book 20 minutes later when we get to they gym. Plus I don't mind if the kids play with the mini. I'm terrified they will accidentally lose my place in an 8 hour audio book & it will take me 45 minutes to find it again.

Here is my problem - I don't know how to categorize music.  When I say 'load all my music' I am talking about 350 tracks, 100 of which are Celtic and another 50 are kiddie songs. I have about 200 songs that, in my mind, fall into 2 categories - 80's and not 80's. 40 or so songs are 'not 80's', leaving me 160 songs to subdivide into manageable playlists.  I eventually came up with 80's alternative, 80's pop and 80's metal/hair band.  Most of the music in 'not 80's' is from the 70's, except for some Nickleback & the Bare Naked Ladies.

When was the last time I encountered new music? ummmmm....

Friday, July 04, 2008


What Your These Fireworks Say About You

You are focused, single minded, and intense.

You don't let others see your intensity often, and when they do, they are quite surprised.

You burn brightly, but you also burn steadily.

You have the endurance to get the one thing you desire most.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

June accomplishments

I read 22 new books. I also reread 17 of them and 3 others. On April 1 I started keeping track of my reading as part of the 50 Book Challenge on Library Thing (the challenge being to read 50 books in a year).  I was 100% certain I'd meet the 50 book goal well before the 12 month mark.  I was not expecting it so early. As of June 30th I had read 56 new books and reread 20 more books in 3 months.  Granted, 40 of those new books would probably be called 'fluff' but still, I read them.

I scrapped 14 layouts and earned a 40% discount at SSD.

I cooked dinner 5 nights a week every week.
I went to the gym at least 2x a week every week

I patched 5 cat clawed holes in the pool ring, one of those holes I patched 4x before the patch actually held.

I was accepted as a Hawt Freelancer on Traci Reed's CT.

I was given a guest spot for August on Eva Kipler's CT

The boys and I read 19 books, most with a dinosaur theme.

DH bought a motorcycle

I finished 3/4 of a crochet dinosaur and am a third of the way through another one I am designing as I go