Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Where you been?

Hello my darlings. Yes, I've been in sort of a de facto hiding, sewing my little hands to shreds. Why? I dunno. As Captain Kirk once said about the most important reason for climbing a mountain, "because it's there."

First, here's a look at the golden dress. The crinkly satin fabric is shiner than I'd remembered, but I believe the results are fetching, made even better by those black lace mitts I picked up at an antique store. This is one of those rare times when fabric and pattern come together to be amazing, and even though it's meant to be of average difficulty as I remember, I did as well as I could with it and it looks just the way it's supposed to. The hem's a bit less than I could do, but it looks all right from the outside. The crinkle actually works in my favor.

I then turned my attention to a 1931 pattern (that's Vogue Vintage, for those of you keeping track. I know there's a lot of you). Imagine my surprise and slight horror when I noticed that I'd cut pieces for a size 8. In fact, my pattern was all size 8. I'd gotten this pattern ages ago, and on the outside it had size 6 in the list of measurements, which it typically only does if a size 6 is available. However, I looked at it more closely, at the cutting layouts, and determined that in fact there is no size 6. More to the point, I examined previous patterns and determined that this pattern has so little ease that it would probably fit properly, unlike my size 6 skirts with similar lack of ease...they tend to be a little snug late in the day.
Crisis averted. I took in an eighth of an inch more on seam allowances where appropriate though, just to tighten it up a hair.
I tried on the dress on Sunday, and I have to say I was a little distressed. It seemed like it was going to be not so great. The hips fit perfectly, but the waist was almost baggy. this is a belted dress, but even when I tried it with a trial belt it seemed like it would be too big. I resolved not to judge too early, and to just go with it and finish the dress as directed. I was glad I did so, because it came out fine, and when I put it on, I realized that it fit almost perfectly. It's supposed to have a little bit of overhang above the belt, as you can see from the front shot. The back in the closeup looks quite wrinkly and even badly sewn, but it's actually a few other factors: the way the light catches the pleat, and the fact I'm turning around. Also, I didn't have it quite pulled up properly above the belt, and it is just the tiniest bit big in the waist, which always on me shows up in the back because I have such a long back. Certainly, I didn't sew it perfectly, but I spent quite a lot of time examining pictures I took, and have determined it's as it should be. My next plan in relation to this dress is to use some gorgeous velvety fur-type fabric I have in a slightly pink silver and make a cape. I'm doing another dress first, but then I'll do the cape. I'm nervous about that because I haven't worked with such a sumptuous fabric before, at least in this context, but we shall see. I don't know how much longer my energy will hold out but the act of creation is sort of alluring to me right now.

If you're wondering why all the pictures, someone sensible once told me I should make a scrapbook of all my sewing projects, good and bad. I haven't really gotten down to the scrapbooking part of it yet, but I did take pictures of a few older projects and will continue with that track in the hopes of someday logging it all.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

All done

So, it's Thursday, I'm hanging out in the office after a whirlwind of portfolio-returning activity, looking forward to heading home soon and spending quality time with my apartment and my sewing machine. Everyone's full of holiday cheer and cards (sorry, people, I don't really do Christmas/holiday cards...the sheer volume of the list of friends I would need to give cards to is daunting to a girl who most of the time can't even be bothered to write a letter. I thank you, however, for your consideration and love in sending me holiday cards). The dress I'm making is almost finished, and I'm looking forward to listening to more of Harry Potter 6 on tape whilst I do the finishing work (hemming being possibly the most boring sewing work in the universe), and de-static the dress, and then take some pictures if the time is right.

I haven't watched a whole lot of TV lately, because reruns are boring, so instead I will provide a general list of some important TV moments and trivia of the last couple months.
Biggest TV regret: Missing most of the episode of Saturday Night Live on which Hugh Laurie appeared. It was by the grace of God alone that I got to see part of it, including the "protest song."
Second biggest TV regret: Missing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Biggest TV frustration: Lorelai and Christopher. As I have indicated to many, I disapprove strongly of this Gilmore Girls relationship. Christopher, despite being handsome, is boring as hell. I have been known to leave the room when the two of them are on together. The conflicts of this season have been poorly chosen, I think.
Most interesting surprise viewing: The Snow Queen, a strange and artful adaption. imdb.com's current reviewer was rather scathing, but I think the person also sort of missed the point of the style of the adaption. It was sort of like looking in a nickel odeon.
Biggest go-girl moment: The end of Prime Suspect 7. I do heart Helen Mirren.
Spiciest TV-related dream: I admit I had a dream about Ty Pennington last night. (adding to what has been an EXHAUSTING dream month, from falling out of bed because of spiders to the night when I seriously had at least seven dreams, several of which sort of blended together, but AFTER I'd woken up and fallen back asleep. How many times can I need to put in contacts in a dream?).
Most sympathy for disliked person: Melrose, ANTM. Sure, girl is a little annoying. However, she's also smart and can do just about anything. She reminds me a little of me, and a few of my girlfriends felt the same way about themselves--educated woman, many interests and abilities, and a bit of a know-it-all, a bit show-offy. But that's what you're supposed to have in competition, and I for one found it refreshing to have a girl who wasn't vacuous as these girls tend to be. That being said, I'm not sorry Caridee won, because I think she's lovely, and that crazy elephant picture rocked. But I'm hoping for big things for Melrose because she has a wide array of things to do. What worries me is that, because she has so much going for her, people will just assume she can fend for herself and not give her anything. Possibly this fear is unfounded. I hope so.

OK, that's all I can think of right now because it's 5:12 and I want to leave. However, before I do, I have a very important question: Does anyone here love comedian Jim Gaffigan like I do? He's coming to Toledo Feb 9 and I want to go. Sadly, it's the same night as the BG vs. Michigan hockey game here, but it is not the same night as MSU, so that's all right.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Watch out for dummies!

If anyone needs me, I'm in the midst of my workroom sewing away as though nothing else in the world is happening.
This is probably for the best since I passed no fewer than three people driving like idiots on my way in to the office today.
Why is it that people don't remember how 4-way stops work? As in, when the person directly in front of you goes, and there are other people waiting at the stop sign, then you are not next? A neighbor of mine nearly got run over by a truck, and I could have been broadsided myself except that both of us were watching for such shady behavior.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sorry, kids

Open apology to my BG hangout peeps:
Sorry, guys; this weekend turned out to be unexpectedly crowded with social and event engagements. I have these times when no one wants me and I hide in my house and do crafts, and then suddenly I must erupt from my home in a swish of silks and wool and see everyone I know. I love you, though, and will see you soon.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Banner Day

So, yesterday evening turned out to be unexpectedly full of nice surprises.
I had a pretty short day, actually, which was gratifying and easy. I walked home and, on my way, noted that The Cookie Jar had Raspberry Linzer Roll cookies that day, so I stopped and ordered some. I went home and got my mail, which included:

The Circle Journal, an awesome circulating journal written by some of my family. It's my turn!
A hefty check from Verizon, a refund of my cellphone security deposit! YES!

I went back to get my cookies, and then settled in for the evening. I watched a little tv, started cutting out pattern pieces for a dress while listening to Garrison Keillor, ate more cookies than I should have (delicious shortbready cookies with raspberry swirl), read a little of two books (an old favorite, Primrose Day, which I checked out from the library, and the last Lemony Snicket book, which I bought even though I haven't read the others. It just sounded good. And it is.), watched more TV (ANTM finale and Top Chef and Medium), and generally relaxed before ending the evening by catching up with the journal.
The only thing I haven't gotten to do for a while is have a bath. I believe that's on tonight's agenda, or perhaps tomorrow. I have a sort of cinnamony bubble bar that will go great with some spicy soap my sister got me for my birthday. I also have plans to do a hand spa with some fun products I got from my friend. Let the luxuriating....continue!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

And now it's time for word association

Gilmore Girls: WTF?
Vince Vaughn: available
ANTM: season finale!
Body: plus four pounds
Dinner: meatballs (again)
School: no more grading, whoo hoo!
Dreams: scary animals
Fabric: I'm going to make a sweet dress this break!
Sewing machine: stolen from Mom (sorry Mom)
Music: "Mushaboom" best song ever right now (thanks, Carrie)

Monday, December 04, 2006


I was about to get all cranky and whine about how some people, namely Steve, haven't posted much lately, then realized I haven't posted since Tuesday and maybe I should shut up.

Last night I had a delicious dinner. Here's what happened: I was in Meijer on Saturday night (after an abysmal hockey game. I don't want to talk about it.) getting my groceries stocked up. I actually have a fairly full freezer and cupboard right now, but I was out of some essentials (milk, for instance) and some healthier produce. I was passing through frozen foods, looked to my left, and saw...
a giant bag of meatballs.
For some reason, this sounded awesome. Slow cooker, I thought. Meatballs like the ones my Mum made for graduation.
So yesterday between church and attendance at A Christmas Carol I dissolved some beef boullion, threw in some flour and some mushroom soup, and mushrooms, and dumped in 40 meatballs. I stirred 'em up and left them on low, and there they were when I returned home at 5. I made some mashed potatoes and dumped meatballs on them, and ate the lot with some apple salad. So good. I had to reheat the meatballs because my front room is so cold right now that my dinner got cool too fast.
It was great. Then, I took a nap and then watched the new Librarian movie: Return to King Solomon's Mines. It wasn't as good as the first one (and by good I mean the right mixture of derivative, goofy, adventurous, and entertaining), but it was worth watching.

TV in general lately hasn't been much to post about. Everyone is in reruns, you know, and while that was helpful in the "final standoff with essays" week, this week is about me and my needs. This girl needs to be entertained, and if new ANTM is all she gets, girl gonna get sad. This week, looks like new Gilmores, old House (sad), new and last ANTM, new Top Chef, new Medium, and thank-God-because-I-heart-Winchesters, new Supernatural.

Girl also gotta be warm. My morning classroom was probably cold enough to keep potato salad fresh all day. And right now I have the uncomfortable feeling that the heat might have broken in the office building, because I feel the strange sensation of cold air hitting my body. I believe I shall be going home early today. I barely made it out of bed as it was this morning, and I don't see any reason why I shouldn't return there as soon as possible. So soft. So warm. So snuggly.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

In which my forehead gets out of control

Once upon a time, Amanda Latrenta stood before her class, ready to introduce the Proposing a Solution assignment. Amanda pointed to a sizable blemish on her forehead and assertively said, "Problem." She paused, waiting for her meaning to become clear before she asked, with a wry and slightly wicked smile, "Solutions?"

I vividly remembered Amanda today, telling me that story when she was a group leader. Today, I had a gigantic whitehead on my forehead; only it's not there now because this morning I absolutely had to get rid of it. So instead I have a gigantic and almost-uncoverable red mark which will almost certainly scar unless I exercise immediate skin emergency procedures.
This was a zit in the full meaning of the word, and I NEVER get them. I get pimples, certainly, most commonly along my jawline or in the nose area, but this was a full on disaster, like I'm about to sprout a horn and magic and become a unicorn. We are not in the days of the Cosby Show when a girl like Vanessa can just put a headband over it, and it was really too low to rock a low-slung bandana, even. As a girl with quite a lot of forehead anyway, this was absolutely unmitigated neon sign territory. And I had to teach three classes today.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go wash my face; even now I can feel my make-up making plans to create a permanent exhibit up there.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Another year older

So, the birthday has come and gone. I received many exciting things and participated in several exciting activities. So, I will sit here on my lunch break and explain a few things to you while I eat my fried chicken and squash casserole.
Some reviews:
Poco Piatti, Levis Commons, a Mediterranean tapas restaurant. I have never been to a tapas restaurant before, but my love of Mediterranean cuisine is well documented, particularly of the Greek and Italian persuasion. Poco Piatti does both of these but throws Lebanese into the mix for good measure. The restaurant is brand new, at least it is a new location, as there is also one in Toledo. Our group on Friday night was quite large, and ordered things throughout the night, and frankly I was impressed with the staff's ability to adapt to the confusion and make sure we all got our dinners.
If you have never been to a tapas restaurant, it works like this: Basically, you order a bunch of appetizer-sized items to eat. I suppose you could just eat what you ordered, but our group sent the items around the table so we got the widest sampling possible. For instance, I had: saganaki kasseri (OOPA!), hommous, Greek salad, half a cabbage roll, several small pieces of thin pizza (one of which was hazelnut, potato, and pesto pizza--almost obscenely delicious), pumpkin gnocchi, calamari, chicken wraps, goat cheese agnolotti, artichoke hearts, and Lord knows what else, and turned down servings of several other dishes that didn't seem to quite go with what I was eating. The menu items are numerous, naturally, and this location also has a few full-sized dinners if you prefer. Best of both worlds, what?
I had to laugh because this young little couple were sitting at a nearby table and they kept looking at ours with wide eyes, possibly wondering how nine people could put away so much dinner. And we really did. There were some leftovers boxes, but we did a lot of damage. As a party, it was wildly successful. But you could also go there with just two people and get your own things or share a few and come in fairly cheaply. In fact, my friend Michelle and I did something similar at Biaggi's for lunch once. We just shared, and were both super full. The nature of our ordering system was also fun...we ordered some things, decided we'd also like to try others, and by the end of the meal were hoping that we hadn't ordered anything else. What a great way to get full.
This was all followed by some delicious German chocolate cake made by Carrie, which was sweet enough but not too sweet, perfectly ending the evening's gourmet adventures.

Now, about Pop 5.
I've never played Cranium before, and I usually say no to Trivial Pursuit. In fact, I'm really not an adventurous game player--always refused to play Pin the Tail on the whatever at birthday parties, preferring to watch or roam around for a few minutes to myself. I'm too competitive, and the stress always gets to me to perform perfectly; I have what could be called a winner's complex. But I let my energies be seduced by my friends (who were kind enough to see through my laziness and maneuver me into playing Pop 5).
It's a version of Cranium in which it's not the word or phrase, it's the manner of its delivery. You have five choices, naturally, including drawing, sculpting, humming, acting out, or tossing letter cubes and coming up with words to guide your team. You have a certain amount of time (before the pop light goes out) to make your team say whatever is on your card.
We played boys vs. girls, which was 3 vs. 4, though I can point out here that one extra person really does not make much difference at that point. We played five rounds, and the girls ultimately came out with the best 3 of 5. Of my great and tragic moments, consider the following:
1. My utter failure to get across Genie in the Bottle through sculpture. I sculpted a bottle with smoke, but the bottle was of poor design. My failure was offset, however, by Paul's equally unfortunate (though well sculpted) Charlie's Angels clue.
2. My massive success in sculpting Hill Street Blues. Maggie proved instrumental to this, helping me earn the respect of my fellow players in the sculpting department.
3. If you heard the words "packet" and "decade" what would you guess? If it was Pop Rocks, in the food and drinks category, you'd be right. Well done, ladies. The gents were particularly confused by our telepathic ability here.
4. How in the name of all that is right in the world do you get across "Please don't squeeze the Charmin?" Even if you could successfully get across toilet paper, or even Charmin, and then squeeze, I can guarantee that no one in my group would have gotten the whole thing. This was perhaps offset by Jane Fonda Workout for the boys.
5. My personal favorite, because it represented a judgment error by the men (the opposing team has to rank the different ways to present clues according to points value), who ranked humming to be worth top number of points for "Star Trek." That was a total gimme for me. Carrie, my fellow sci-fi fan, got that one immediately.
This game strikes me as very instinctive and crafty. I truly enjoyed it, almost as much as I enjoyed rocking the boys' faces off. Girls Rule!
Other particularly satisfying moments were Maggie doing Flashdance, Carrie sculpting Dallas, and Melissa's enthusiastic portrayal of Just Do It. On the boys' side, Paul telepathically guessing leg warmers, Steve's portrayal of Ozzy Osborne, and Nathan's outstanding skill with letters at all times were most impressive.
A good time was had by all, and I was exhausted when we finally finished. This is a game I would most definitely play again.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wednesday smash-up

Music that has been in my head in the last two days:
"Smack my b***h up..." (just that line)
The African Queen theme music.
Why those two things? I really can't say.

I feel sad today, which is a real bummer considering tomorrow is my birthday. My hope is that my birthday outfit will force me to at least behave in a happy-go-lucky and possibly frivolous manner. I kind of need to be "on" tomorrow in order to enjoy the aging process.

Speaking of which, I can't remember if I mentioned this, but a few weeks ago I actually made someone examine my head to see if I had any grey hairs. The funny thing is I wouldn't care if I did have grey hairs, though I might kick a fuss about it openly, but I at least want to know if they're there. I don't want them to sneak up on me. He said I didn't, but I'm still suspicious. It's awfully difficult to tell, you know, with the blond. Which reminds me, I need to re-dye my streak roots. Maybe that's tonight's project post-presentation.

Presentation? Yeah, forgot to mention that. I'm going and doing a panel or solo presentation at Owens in Toledo tonight, on my dance-poetry thing. I have five pieces, three of which are old and resurrected, one of which is newly choreographed, and one of which I'm going to improv while someone reads it. Should be good times. The only things that ever make me nervous about such things is a: actually remembering the words, and b: being able to speak the poems loudly enough, and with enough breath. Oh, and c: getting hip or back cramps in the middle, as at Christmas Eve services, when I had an enormous knot form in my hip whilst I was dancing. On with the show though, right?

Doesn't it seem weird that I haven't done any television reports lately? I guess I haven't had that much to say lately. There's no Project Runway, and Top Chef just made me irritated last week. "Scandalicious"? I have to say, though, that I enjoy Gail Simmons and I wish she were the host. At least the host wasn't wearing hot pants this week. How obvious can you get? Oh, and Camp Glucose? I don't approve of that name.
Heck, I haven't even watched Supernatural from last week yet.
Let's talk for a sec about Gilmore Girls. A lot of people have complained about the slip in writing since the creator left, and while I can see what they're getting at, my concern is much more plot-related. GG seems to be falling into the set-up trap...where weak plot segments are supposedly meant to sneak by because they build up to an interesting plot component. Certainly, a Christopher-Luke showdown might be interesting, as might Lorelai backing out of this flybynight "marriage." But to be honest, I am not enjoying watching Chris and Lorelai, nor am I enjoying watching Luke be "reborn" as a considerate man. It all rings false and kind of dull. With this show in particular, I am not okay with it being weak for a few weeks because it's going to be awesome eventually. GG doesn't work that way. Even when things go amiss or build up, the show needs to be charming and captivating, and right now it's just uncomfortable, and not in that "oooh, uncomfortable and tense" way, but in that "oh. uncomfortable. look away" kind of way. It has its bright moments, as in Michel insisting on being called Captain (hilarious), but it's stopped being truly quotable, as evidenced by my now too-quiet cell phone not receiving text messages from Steve for half an hour.
Rock my socks off, Gilmore Girls! I command it!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Winter Wheat = Existential Questions

Hi, kids.
So, it's Winter Wheat time, and I've already been to sessions. Isn't that great? Total number of sessions I went to last year whilst in charge? 0. I'll admit, I've been to some that didn't really speak to me, just because they weren't a good fit for my current writing life, but I've also been to some that really helped my mind in some way. Actually, I've walked away with at least a little something from every workshop.
Tonight is a reading by Dan Chaon and David Baker, which will be fun. Currently, I should be doing a bit of work, but naturally I'm not. I'll do a bit in a few minutes; drafts and whatnot. My head feels sort of hot, though, like it's drunk in too much noise and thought. It's better than last night's feeling, which was utterly exhausted. I couldn't even meet friends at a restaurant, not for dinner or for afters. Just too bloody tired. In fact, I almost passed out from lack of sleep and lack of food.
Today, I wonder, why am I a writer? What has made me choose this as the core of my career? Well I remember the time when I was meant to decide direction, in the later portion of college as I prepared to grad school. Why writing, and not dance? Why not something else like Lit, or even science? I am at that point in my writing life when I've been out of grad school for a few years, and I'm wondering what I'm fit for, and how many stories I will be able to tell, how many experiences to convey. I somehow need to know why I've made this choice in order to continue it. Do I deserve to be a writer? Is that what I'm supposed to be? My 28th birthday is less than a week away. Has that 28-year-old, white, single, female entity with brown hair and blue eyes made the right decision?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Happy Due Date to ME

So, I was supposed to be born 28 years ago today. Instead, I made my mother and my doctors wait. I always celebrate a little today anyway, since it represents such a great countdown.
This week is going to be nuts. I'm getting drafts on Tuesday and Winter Wheat starts on Thursday and lasts through Sunday, and somehow all of this has to get finished. Here's the plan: Set the VCR for anything and everything I could possibly wish to watch this week. On Tuesday and Wednesday, plow through a class per day if humanly possible. If I get done with a class and have an hour or two free, I will watch a show or two to relax. Thursday through Sunday I will apply myself to the third class as best I can, an hour here an hour there. I plan to be done by Sunday evening so I can then plow through any remaining TV I might have.
The moral of the story is, don't talk to me about TV this week. I'm working!

Last night, I had a solo dance party with some Lambic and a full moon. Tonight, Monday, is the last free night I'll have for a week. If you need me I'll either be in the tub or in my pajamas under a blanket.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Cookie Jar

All right. I have a few things to say today.
First, a bit of word-of-mouth advertising.
I was walking home last night and passed a little place on Court St called the Cookie Jar (basically across the street from Spots). I'd seen it before, and I'd also seen other businesses in and out of there before, and for some reason I thought, you know, I could just do with a great cookie right now. So I went in. As I quickly found out, it isn't a bakery where you just go in and pick out what you want or buy one cookie from a selection on a tray. You actually order cookies in sets of 6, 8, 12, and 13 or something like that (or trays of more cookies) and then in 20 minutes or so they are hot and ready for pick up or free BG delivery. Every day they have chocolate chip, peanut butter, and oatmeal cinnamon raisin chip. Then, they have a special cookie, and there's a calendar of what they'll have.
I ordered an 8-set with two of each kind of cookie (10 dollars) and went home for my 20 minutes, then headed back. I received a box and some napkins and took them home, changed into pajamas, and then pulled the box into my lap and opened it. Inside were 8 large, fresh, and hot cookies, two of which (the peanut butter jelly variety) were in muffin cups with some vanilla frosting to drizzle on top.
What can I say? I ate an oatmeal raisin and a PBJ cookie on the spot. They were soft and rich and pretty big. Realistically, one cookie would have been enough, and therefore in my opinion worth the price. They were delicious.
Now, it is 11 o'clock on a Thursday morning, and I am enjoying my second PBJ cookie, warmed for 15 seconds in the microwave, and it is equally delicious. I asked the gal in the shop how business was, and she said it was picking up through word of mouth since they haven't done much advertising yet. So here's my contribution. Great cookies, perfect for events like showers and small parties, even big parties if you cut the cookies up. The Cookie Jar. Court St. November 17? Pumpkin pie cookies. I'm all over that.

So, advertising aside, I am now through my antibiotics cycle, and I do feel better, though I do not in fact feel healthy yet. I was sleepy in a big way yesterday and the day before, and to be honest I still feel sleepy. I really can't wait to be done teaching and conferencing so I can go home and take an actual nap (nap was once again missed yesterday). I am owed a bath since I haven't taken my weekly bath yet this week, so maybe that will be on my post-Supernatural agenda for the evening.

Speaking of TV, did anyone watch Ghosthunters Live on Halloween? I did, or at least I started to. I had to teach on Wednesday, so I couldn't stay up for all of it, but even so as I watched the first two hours I kept falling asleep due to illness and Triaminic, and finally gave up and set the recorder for the last hour. The fellas were out at the Stanley Hotel, inspiration for The Shining. I did see several interesting personal experiences in what I did catch, and I gather next week is the reveal for the investigation. It was a very great idea and I wished it had been a weekend so I could watch the whole thing as it was going on. I don't think they caught any apparitions or anything, but it still was fun to watch.
I have something to say to ye of my friends who are Lost fans: Quit knocking the polar bear. So many of you are so caught up in the conspiracies and the characters, and you forget that the original premise was spooky island with mysterious black object and creatures. That is what attracted me in the first place, and every time we look get a look at either of these entities, I am all on board with it.
And now a few words about Top Chef; first, isn't it funny how they replaced one limp, glassy-eyed host with another limp, glassy-eyed host? They selected someone who would traipse about wearing short shorts (inappropriate much?) but she still has the same bored tone and languid diction. She doesn't sound excited to be doing what she's doing. The female judge has far more vigor and spice, and I wish she could be the host.
On the positive side, don't you love Betty? She's just the sweetest thing. When I say that, I don't mean she can't take care of herself, but you can tell she genuinely loves cooking, loves people, loves to sell food, and doesn't care what kind of food she's making. I'd hire her to be my personal chef because I think she'd always be positive about the food she was making and she'd be nice to me. I hope my Betty bubble never bursts.
And don't you always feel apprehensive about those "regular folks" food challenges? You know about half the chefs are doing to say something dumb or insulting about their customers. I hated especially hearing at least two of them say something to the effect of, I came here to make fine cuisine. Uh, have you watched ANY of the previous season? Did you not learn the lessons they learned and therefore know what might be coming? Last season they went to a gas station, for pete's sake. Get into it! Do your job.
I will be watching Sam and Ilan with interest. Next week sounds scandalous, which I hate...I want to see them live or die by the knife, and not by their stupid cheating. Reality TV lives for scandal like this, but in shows like Top Chef, it really takes away from the point of the experiences. You don't want to have a bad taste in your mouth with a cooking show.

I guess that's it for now. My brain still isn't quite all together.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Hot Lips

If you're wondering how awesome I looked at a recent Halloween party, or, on a related note, how I look as a curly-haired blonde, well...here.

Somehow, I had amazing foresight this year. The theme was the 70s, and my original idea was to go as Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest (the movie, naturally). So I was prepared to go and find a nurse uniform, old school, and do my hair in rolls as I learned while they were trying to design my Evita wench hair
back in the day (p.s. later designed it my self).
But here's what happened: Friday, I had to take my car to Findlay to get looked at and fixed (let's address the cost of that later), and I planned to do a little shopping afterward for my costume. There just happened to be a Kohl's nearby and, as I was talking to my mother on the phone (about the cost of repairs), I decided that maybe the better part of valor this year might be something simpler, something warmer, something like Major Margaret Houlihan of the 4077 M*A*S*H. I hadn't planned anything wig-related, but something told me--yes.
Then, inside Kohl's, I found the perfect pants and sweater. I mean perfect...they give the aura of Hot Lips's customary outfit, but they are also wearable clothing for the future. I went into Meijer and found a wig, and then I was on my merry way. I'd looked for dog tags, and planned to maybe go to Claire's once back in BG, but then I thought, eh, I can make some with tin foil and posterboard. I got home, ate some lunch, and went to school. And that's when it happened.
I started to feel like hell.
I was developing a massive cold. Suddenly, my purchases felt a lot wiser. I hadn't wasted money on anything I'd never get to wear. I had bought stuff that I could wear any old time, just in case I didn't get to go to the party at all.
By the time the party came around, I was feeling better, so I suited up, including a hat that I just magically had, and was off. One of my hosts was dressed as Hawkeye, and so I had some company and everyone knew who I was right away (p.s. he had dogtags...from Claire's). The costume was slightly sexy, but also warm...I think it's the first genuinely warm Halloween costume I've had since I've been here. I wasn't showing any skin at all, in fact, which suited my mood. And, I got a chance to test out blond. Good times.
Today...going to the doctor. That's right, for once I'm giving in and seeing if there are any drugs out there for me.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Culinary Masterpiece...Eventually

This weekend I attempted to make a roast for the first time, specifically a ribeye roast. It was basically the last non-round roast left at Meijer, and it was two pounds. So I did my little calculations for time to roast and how to get the Yorkshire pudding together (oh yes, it was all out cookery), made a cake, and planned the exact moment to get the roast in the oven. I was about five minutes past that, but still figured I'd be in good form.
By the time my guest had arrived and I was ready to get the thing cut up (having measured the temp with an instant read thermometer and planning for five extra degrees of post-oven, foil-covered cooking), it was still pink in the middle. Doh! Back in the oven for another ten minutes cut up in slices. I was a little bit appalled. Here I'd planned to have everything all set up and ready to eat at 6:10, and it took at least another twenty minutes on top of that. I was sad. I was frazzled. It was noticeable.
Just once I'd like to get a perfect meal ready on time. Is that too much to ask? Just once I'd like to be an attentive and smooth hostess ready to just hold a conversation and see to my guest's needs.
The roast tasted fine, so that was good. And the pudding, while a bit dark on the bottom and crispier around the edges than I'd like, also tasted fine, particularly with gravy on top. The roast, as small as it was, didn't have a lot of drippings, but I managed with what I got and a boullion cube. Truth be told, the gravy was made in haste and wasn't my best work, but it was all right.
The fresh green beans turned out perfectly, despite their rather hasty and distracted preparation and cooking.
And the cake? Oh, we ate far too much of the rest to eat cake. I had a piece later. It was good.
So, what I've learned is that the roast should be started at least twenty minutes in advance of the time I think it should, and then I can keep it warm until it's actually required. Possibly this plan will lead to tough meat, but as long as I check it frequently it should be fine.
I'm thanking goodness I decided not to roast a small chicken, was was my original plan.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wednesday TV rocks.

So, I know you are all dying to know what I thought about PR last night, and here is a rundown of my responses:
Tim Gunn all verklempt? Priceless. I love you, Tim Gunn; you are beyond humanly possible in nobility and class.
The resolution of the Jeffrey concerns? Warm and fuzzy, just the way I likes it. As I mentioned earlier, when we found out four designers were going to Fashion Week, these four all have flashes of brilliance and entirely different tastes, and I was more than gratified that they all seemed content to be there with each other. The proposed compromise to the budget problem and the resolution of the investigation made me feel happy for them all. I could not have been more delighted if I were sozzled.
I was disappointed that Michael's collection seemed straight out of the Frederick's of Hollywood clothing section (yes, in fact they do sell clothing). Actually, there's another catalog they resembled even more, but I can't remember it. It has a similar flavor, but less of a rep. Certainly that's a style, and sometimes even a popular one, but I don't think it was his best work. I have a theory: Sometimes with young poets, I see the most creative work come out of exercises and projects with restrictions. It helps them seek their own style even as they strive to meet constraints. I think that's where Michael is, sort of finding his way still and how it might fit into reality of clothing. Note that the looks he showed in his audition portfolio (I noted this before Nina even said anything) were very similar, yet the looks on the show were crafty and innovative. Right now, Michael performs best when given rules to deal with. As he develops, he'll hopefully come into his own inner innovator.
Major props to Uil. I LOVE that little bone belt thing at the top of several of her dresses. My friend Amanda and I are in agreement that a different order to the collection on the runway might have softened that jarring neutral-to-print moment. But, I think the amount of applause she received during the showing is a good indication of its potential; I love that they included Nina saying she'd already had questions about getting in touch with Uli.
I am in love with Laura's collection. I would wear any of those dresses, and I am drooling over that low-cut one with the black lace cups and the little moue it made at the cleavage. Do you know how hard that is? It was exquisite. Not rangy, certainly, but Chloe won last year with a similar contingent. Fern Mallis didn't care that it didn't have range, either. I want Laura fashion. I want her to design red carpet dresses as long as she desires to do so.
I am still mad that Jeffrey was mean to Angela's mom. Likewise, I did not find his collection personally pleasing (or rather, like it made me want to wear the clothes). However, I am not upset that he won, because it was a collection with a point of view and with range, and I can absolutely see the woman (or girl, really) who would lean in that direction. I've already heard many comments lusting after the zipper dress. My favorite was actually the short navy blue dress, even though it didn't quite match up with the rest of the collection; actually, I didn't find Jeffrey's collection to be as cohesive as some pointed it out as being; the point of view was consistent, but the outfits sort of ranged to different degrees off that line (eg. that short wispy babydoll thing that looked like she put on an apron and called it quits).
In any case, I am left with the same feeling in which I started the show (post-results of investigation): Pleased for the designers, pleased for me, and excited about all of their potential career moves. It feels, as Tim Gunn so aptly said, that everyone is a winner!

Now, Top Chef has begun. It looks like it will be a snipy sort of season, which I hate, but the mere inclusion of Harold Dieterle as guest judge alone made me want to watch. He looks like he's been living well. I did enjoy that gal who made frog legs southern Sunday style. That's the way to eat! I also felt like the second group's mystery box ingredients were weirder than the first group's. I've been wondering if they felt the same way.
Ghosthunters was ok, but not as exciting as last week. Lost...I know a lot of people have dissed it, but I loved the polar bear. Any episode with monsters is okay by me. As far as ANTM goes...well, I'm sad to see AJ go, because her walk is killer.

I'm looking for a Wednesday tv anonymous group. Any takers? Things have gotten out of hand.

Monday, October 16, 2006

My skin has had it with fall.

Bleh. My skin looks old. As fall creeps through this year and the air dries while the temperature drops, my skin has put forth its protest with shadows under my eyes, mysterious tiny blotches, and dryness no matter how consistently I use my quality lotion. It's not cool. It also doesn't help that my allergies have peaked, as they do every year in September/October. Also my birthday is coming, and I fear I'm finally starting to look my age, rather than the several-years-younger thing I had going on for ages.
To combat such issues, I took a weekend and did a lot of nice stuff for me. On Friday, as noted, I went to the hockey game after the baseball game (TIGERS WIN! WOOT!. It ended up that I arrived right as the second period was going to begin, which was pretty perfect. I also went to the game Sunday and...well, this needs some explanation.
I'm trying to get a chapbook manuscript prepared for a competition. I don't do well in competition, but I wanted to send my demon poems. The only problem is that I didn't yet have enough, and while I've been picking away at it for a month, I needed about five more pages. I spent much of the weekend writing and revising poems! Do you know how long its been since I did that? It rocked my socks off.
One of my favorite demon poems to date was written at a hockey game. For some reason, that combination of being on my own with crowd background noise, the ability to look up and let my mind drift even while focusing on the puck, and sitting sideways on a bleacher, all while bundled into sweater and jersey, really makes my brain put out good work. And sure enough. I took my book to the game Friday but didn't do much. Sunday, though, proved to be most profitable, and I turned out exactly what I wanted to...the pack of poems needed another sort of imagistic poem full of figurative language and metaphor, something just a little spacey, and that's exactly what I wrote! How cool is that?
I have enough pages now to finish the chapbook up, but a couple of them aren't as strong as I'd like, so I'm going to try to write one or two more as well. It is awesome!
Then, of course, I took a bath on Sunday. That pretty much sealed the deal.
Weekends off rule!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Important October Details

First, a question: Does anyone know who the character Edith Ann is? Think 70s here.

Second, some thoughts about cheese; I've discovered the most magnificent cheese, and it is Sage Derby. If you enjoy cheese and like something a little unusual, and if you enjoy sage, you should eat this cheese immediately. I got it at Stimmel's Market.

Third, my car is being sad. Wednesday night it almost didn't start at all, and twice yesterday it quit when I tried to put it into reverse right after starting it. Baby, don't play that game with me. I love you and want you to be happy. But I need to get places, you know what I'm saying?

Fourth, Project Runway: I can't talk about it. It's too much to process. All my BG PR peeps were in a tizzy with me.

Fifth, I now, officially, watch too much TV.

Sixth, tonight I have to make a decision: watch Tigers or go to the hockey game? Can I do both? Would I be able to watch the Tiger game anyway? Would it make me too nervous? Should I bring some knitting to the game so as not to get nervous about that? Or write a poem, like I did "Blue Birth Demon," which got published? I don't know! I love it on Fridays when this is all I have to think about!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Ok, Ok, maybe Do Not Disturb is excessive. I would certainly answer the phone or the door, and I wouldn't be upset about it.
But I gotta say, TV is heating up big time tonight. Witness...
8 pm: America's Next Top Model. (It's true that I abhor the teenaged dramas of these girls, but I love watching the photo shoots and seeing the results. I just mute the drama-in-the-house parts).
9 pm: Lost. (Stupid Steve. You are responsible for this desire to watch.)
10 pm: Project Runway. (Obviously the highlight of the evening. There is some drama afoot here, I know, but I love the episode where Tim visits everyone at their homes, and I look forward to seeing what everyone is up to).
11 pm: Ghosthunters. (PREMIERES TONIGHT! Oh yeah, baby. Actually, the show is at 9, but Sci-Fi takes massive pity on me by reshowing the ep at 11. Bless you.)
And, on top of all of this, game two of the Tigers vs. A's showdown. Tigers up 1 game, and as an obsessive Tiger fan of yesteryear (how many of you had a mini-Tiger shrine in her bedroom? How may of you dressed in a Tiger t-shirt and leggings and cap every time a game was on? How many of you carried a portable radio around the yard no matter what when there was a game on? How many of you fell blissfully into dozing from the 4th to the 7th innings on Saturday afternoons, tummy full of Faygo creme soda or Coke float? How many of you got as close to the TV as possible and stayed as quiet as possible during late night games so parents wouldn't tell you to go to bed?)
It's all good in the house.
Also, this weekend I planted mums.
Also, I ate a lot at home. One of my requests was oven-fried chicken, and oven-fried chicken I got and ate a huge amount of. My Mom rocks. Meanwhile, my Dad and I examined mysterious holes in the lawn out by the lake, holes that don't really go anywhere but are also not hidden as squirrel holes tend to be. It's quite unusual, but as Dad said, might be good for the lawn, aerating it and such.
Ah, home.
And now it's time to teach.

Monday, October 02, 2006


By the way, I had another of those shining moments of recognition on Saturday. I was watching Harry Potter 4 and eyeing Mr. Crouch for the first time with that "where I have I seen him before" feeling. I was concentrating on the voice and the eyebrows, but just couldn't manage it. Then, later, I had my answer. Vicar of Dibley. Roger Lloyd Pack plays Owen. It was nice that Vicar of Dibley was on no more than an hour after I'd had that question to begin with. Didn't even have to wait until I had computer access. It was sweet.

Is it true...

...that I bought no fewer than two sets of pajama pants at Victoria's Secret for my new habit of changing into lounge pants when I get home? Yes.
...that I searched in every store I frequent, and some that I don't, checked every sales rack in reach, looking for the perfect black pants before deciding that, on balance, it was better just t0 pay full price for a nice pair at Express? Yes (after wasting 2 and a half hours. And they're a little bit big, but I think they'll be okay. I'm kind of between sizes at Express, but I really wanted a nice pair of pants).
...that I went to the Orange and White hockey game on Sunday and had a marvelous time? Yes. I have a student on the team, for the first time ever, which kind of rocks. And BGSU does not play MSU until February, so I have lots of Falcons-cheering time in between. Hockey season has begun!
...that I took an absurdly sparkly bath on Saturday? Yes.
...that a pickup truck flipped over in front of my house on Saturday night? Yes.
...that the truck flipped over while I was in the bath? Yes.
As far as I know, the truck driver lived. My neighbor was convinced he was dead, but after the crowd dispersed and the tow truck was getting ready to collect the truck, I asked an officer, who was very nice to me, and he said the guy was talking a little as they got him on a stretcher and into the rescue vehicle. They definitely had to pry off the top of the cab and the windshield to get him out. It was very scary. I haven't found anything in the news about it, so I guess he's all right.

Friday, September 29, 2006

A few bits and pieces

Yesterday the issue of Backwards City Review that I'm in came to me! Hooray! The poems look great, and I felt proud reading them. My professor Larissa Szporluk is in there, and also my friend Dan Rzicznek, which is sweet. Their poems are also awesome.
My Dad is pretty cool, too.

About Project Runway this week:
I know a lot of people have felt that the producers and judges wussed out.
I feel differently. My problem with reality shows so often is the lack of poetic justice. Witness the extremely irritating character of Monique on Top Model, who failed the day's challenge, has a huge attitude problem, and didn't take a good picture this week, but still believes she is the queen of the house. I can't watch this show while she's on it because her brattiness ruins it, and I fear it will be forever before she is axed. (I can't say this is true for sure, I just worry). So, on PR when it came to three designers I frequently enjoy and one that I respect for designing, I feel great that the decision made favored my own indecision.
Not only this, but the prospect of four collections is extra exciting to me because I love the final runway show. Furthermore (as if you needed another reason), I felt such a friendly vibe-- all the designers hugged after they all made it. No one was sad or angry. They all are so different, and as much as they have sometimes criticized each other, I think this group has generally done so from a design standpoint, and haven't been mean about it (even Jeffrey, whose character is frankly cantakerous, has softened his criticisms on these designers). I may be wrong, but the feeling after the show seemed so positive and excited to me. It makes me really anticipate Olympus Fashion Week with all attention forward. The reunion show may dampen my spirits a little, but let it just be said now that on October 18 I will be riveted to that screen.

In other TV news:
House? Hilarious. "You can't stop our love!"
Supernatural? Complicated, but oh do I heart Dean in scrub pants and t-shirt.
Gilmore Girls? GAH! ON AT THE SAME DARN TIME AS HOUSE NOW! WTF? VCR definitely in overdrive henceforth. I choose to record GG because I can watch it later in the evening in my jammies, with some ice cream and wet hair, and it goes over pretty well.

Ok, go away. I need to write some poems.

Monday, September 25, 2006


I was starting with some allergies or cold-related nonsense last week, possibly related to some seriously cold and wet socks last Tuesday, so I decided to spend most of the weekend alone, ensconced in my house. I slept a great deal of Thursday and Friday, and took a nice walk to the park with a pastry and coffee. By Friday evening, I was ready to get busy on a project. So, I went and checked out the unabridged The Hobbit on audiotape as well as a PG Wodehouse (Jeeves and Wooster, don't you know), and headed over to my workroom (which, as it turns out, is quite a bit warmer than my own apartment...good news if you are at all familiar with my heating bills. I will not need to turn up the heat so high when I am working and need to have my arms free from blankets).
I digress. For quite some time I've had some dark navy blue fabric with cream pinstripes. It's a suiting fabric, very simple, with a very slight sheen to it. The plan had been to make a suit, and I even had a pattern including a lined jacket and simple skirt. With the high number of other projects I've had, however, and the timing (I can't, for instance, see myself working on a full suit in July), I hadn't gotten to it. Also, jackets are hard, and I'd had variable luck with previous ones. This weekend, though, I decided it was time.
I discovered as I got the fabric out of the closet (did I mention how delighted I am with my new crafts arrangement?), that I didn't have any lining fabric in the correct color. I must have used whatever I bought for something else. I did not feel like going all the way out to the fabric store (did I mention I was wearing pajama bottoms?). I did uncover, though, a lovely cream satiny fabric with grey ochre and blue flowers on it, and was pleasantly surprised to notice that, not only would it be suitable for the lining, but it would look professional and as though that had been the intended pairing all along. I had bought this fabric for a nightgown. I often buy a few yards of this silky stuff (really like a very thin and light satin on the outside), in whatever pretty pattern I can find in the clearance. It's not a very ironable fabric because it doesn't hold much of a fold, but it's not overly difficult to sew and it has a lot of applications. Now I'm excited because I've found one more potential use and will not have to hold myself in check when I find prints I like.
With this discovery, I launched full on to make my suit. I started with the jacket, and truth be told it was indeed a tough task, mainly because I was being very careful with it. Actually, the creation of the lapels (typically very difficult for me) was much easier than previous projects! I was excited about that, and about how it all came together, even more so because this all went down while I was listening to a story perfect for sewing to (I'd never read The Hobbit). As I stitched in the lining, I grew happier and happier with my fabric choice and, although I didn't do the best job with attaching the sleeve part of the lining, from the outside it looked great, and I know it will "ride up with wear." The skirt went pretty well; I didn't do the best job on the hem, so I may take it out when I have some time and redo it (the fabric has the slightest bit of stretch to it, and I found that the hem is tugged just a bit too far to the left, creating the smallest of bends in the pinstripes). I even had a little time last night before I quit to cover some buttons with scraps of fabric and stitch them onto the jacket, and make a little tie belt with the leftover silky.
The result, I must say, is very professional, and I am very excited that it all went so well. No major disasters at all. It was a great way to spend a quiet weekend at home. I'm most delighted about the lining discovery and above I have included a picture (ignore how bad I look! it was late!) so you can see what I mean.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My crew, and by crew I mean my blog friends, are always putting notes up about albums they are looking to buy, or are excited about, or that are the best in the year, etc. I always feel a little left out, because I don't listen to a lot of current music, but I seem to hang around most with people who do.
Today, though, I'm excited about an album; it's not new, but it got me kind of geeked. It happened like this:
I'd never seen the entirety of Kill Bill, either vol 1 or 2. It was a lot like Pulp Fiction. It's not the type of movie I really go for much. I can appreciate why others would, but I myself would need to be in a special sort of reflective mood in order to watch. With Pulp Fiction, I made a sassy drink and got down to it. I haven't seen the whole thing since, just bits and pieces on TV, and I don't mind. The experience was encapsulated into that mildly tipsy sort of "aha. I see" mood.
This weekend, though, TNT was going to show the Kill Bill films, and I thought I'd give them a go. Friday was vol. 1 and Saturday was vol. 2; I finished my essay quota each night and sat down to it.
Well, vol. 1 starts with Nancy Sinatra singing "Bang Bang." Even if you know me pretty well, you probably do not know that I heart Nancy Sinatra. Also, I love that song. I resolved immediately (so immediately that I got up to write it down on my grocery list) to get that song in whatever manner possible. On Saturday, I traipsed my behind into Finders, looked the song up, and found the Kill Bill vol. 1 soundtrack on CD. I decided against vol. 2, since I had not yet seen the movie, but as soon as I got back in my car I put my new CD on and listened to "Bang Bang" at least six times. I didn't actually listen to the rest until quite a bit later that evening, and this is what I think of it: It rocks.
The only song I didn't care for much is the rap that follows O-Ren's speech. I might warm up to it, but the beginning, where the speaker is just sort of doing a "this is your life" sort of thing is dull, especially following the included scene after O-Ren slices Tanaka's head off. The difference is jarring in a bad way.
The remainder of the songs are exciting, and are very excellent traveling music. It's a good soundtrack because it evokes the mood of the movie very well. It has that special referential quality but also stands by itself. I love it, and it shall travel with me from car to workroom henceforth.
So take that, music flaunters.
Oh, and the films? Entertaining...more so than Pulp Fiction for me, actually. Not something I'd watch a lot, but worth a rental now and then.

Friday, September 15, 2006

This week on the small screen

Project Runway--are you kidding me? That was the biggest f-ing (that's right, I said f-ing, that's how mad I was) waste of an hour ever.
In fact, as I explained to my friend Amanda, I was so infuriated that during the commercials I watched the rest of a movie, and didn't even care when I missed a minute or two of the show if I didn't stop the tape soon enough. That's huge for me. As much of a channel surfer as I am, if I'm watching something I need to watch, the channel stays put. I mean, I put on my ballerina pajama pants! I made a huge bowl of buttery popcorn! I'd watched tapes that needing returning in the early evening so as to clear my schedule!
The challenge itself wasn't *so* bad, but it was boring. And this using scraps of fabric thing? OK, I like the whole waste not want not thing, but if you don't have rules about that, you're going to get nonsense like the purse-stuffing. Really, it was the type of "challenge" that makes you think the creators were really struggling. I don't want to even talk about how their plan for bringing back challenge winners completely blew up in their faces and ended up further eroding credibility instead.
Laura deserved her win. Michael was strong. I would wear Uli's dress, sleeves and all (but not the necklace).
That's it.
Thank goodness for Calendar Girls, which I watched immediately following this debacle. It was witty, heartfelt, and entirely entertaining, and I even watched all of the extras on the dvd to learn about the real-life ladies who stripped for a calendar in support of Leukemia research. Helen Mirren is full of sass, which I always enjoy. That lady can do absolutely anything, and it was nice to see other familiar faces like Julie Walters (Mrs. Weasley in HP), Penelope Wilton (Mum in Shaun of the Dead) and Celia Imrie (Una in Bridget Jones) doing something so completely daring, too. Now that's credibility.
Also on tap this week was The Exorcism of Emily Rose. I found parts of it creepy (mainly those all-alone with strange noises scenes), and it was worth the 2.50 dvd rental fee, or whatever it was. I like a nice, scary movie about this time of year, when it starts to get cold and the falling leaves make skittery noises across the ground when it's windy.
Evidently, Steve feels the same way. Zombies.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

TV Synthesis

Am I the only one who, while watching House last night and hearing that a child had two sets of DNA, when House said "How is this possible?" immediately thought CHIMERISM? Or however you spell it?
And I couldn't believe it took him an achingly long time to figure that out. The "disorder" is so weird, you'd have thought House would LOVE that and know about it instantly.
Maybe House didn't catch that episode of CSI when the criminal wasn't caught at first because of dual DNA. In any case, I thought it was a bit much for him to say "that's not possible." Even taking his level of distraction into account, I had a hard time suspending my disbelief that he wouldn't land on chimerism right away. I mean, there aren't many possibilities, but there IS one, you know?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Weekend in Scenes

Scene 1: Don't scream unless it's an emergency.
Screaming outside my window. Children walking their bikes up my driveway and then pedaling down the hill screeching at the top of their lungs. Why is everyone always in my driveway?
Scene 2: Saturday. 2 pm.
The heart feels sad for no good reason. Everyone is out in the sun. We all seem a bit uneasy. In the afternoon I stop and visit beside the booths. It is like a play. We might be saying "How are you?" or "Isn't it hot?" but we might also be saying "Cantaloupe and watermelon" or "This is what I'm saying. Listen to me while the people in the audience can't hear us." Someone points at the sky. Minutes later I know I should walk faster. The wind takes a turn for the biting. For the first time ever, I am drinking lemonade in the street and there are no bees. Where are the bees? Minutes later, thunder.
Scene 3: Sunday. 7:30 am. Phone ring #5. This time, I catch it.
"Is Dustin there?"
"Ah. No, you have the wrong number."
"Oh." Pause. "Is this Jeremy's phone?"
"No. It's my phone. It's...Abigail's phone."
"Oh." Pause. "Is this phone usually used by someone else?"
"NO. It's MY phone."
"Oh." Pause. Click.
Scene 4: Sunday. 4:00 pm.
I have burnt my lips with absurdly hot chocolate.
Scene 5: Sunday. 4:45 pm.
I am in a gigantic circle of people. I am wearing blue gloves with snowflakes on them. I am wiggling my hips and swiveling my shoulders. I am supposed to be flirting with people across the circle. I am instead enjoying that we are all moving in a circle and laughing happily in the cold.
Scene 6: Sunday. 9:00 pm.
Bags are strewn across my floor. I have been productive. I have bought: A bag with cloud fabric. Three bead bracelets. An adorable half-jacket. And things for other people. I have a quilt across my lap, and I am bent over almost double, hand-stitching the binding in place. I can't believe it is only 9 pm and my cheeks feel sunburnt but are really wind burnt. I have no work to do but this.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Giggled-so-much-couldn't-stop quote-of-the-week

I have to say that one of my favorite parts of the week is blogging about PR and then, even better, reading the comments of people's own responses to the show! That rules. And this week, we're all so clearly in agreement it gives me a great sense of peace.

OK, this is from my new book, The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel, by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht, in the section on gestures:
"In most Latin American countries it is considered phallic and very rude. In Brazil, the fig gesture means "good luck." In parts of the United States, it means "I've got your nose..." (179).

The first time I read that I had to read it again repeatedly because it made me laugh so much. It just sounds so funny to have I've got your nose thrown in there with the same seriousness as good luck or f you.
Ha ha! (said in scary Heidi Klum commercial voice).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

PR from Paree

So, Project Runway.
I liked this week's challenge, though I thought it definitely favored some designers' interests. An understanding of couture methods does not make a better designer, but it seems like several designers were aided in the planning stages because of this knowledge. Thus, Jeffrey and Vincent openly exercised their senses of self-importance, as though knowledge equaled skill. (Stay with me, Jeff fans...I'm on your side this week, witness below). I might have liked this challenge better had it been farther along, for a group of five or even the final four.
I have actually pinpointed the above issue as a beef I have with this year's PR...so many of the challenges have been clearly geared toward a particular designer's interest. While this doesn't guarantee success by any means, it does prevent that all-or-nothing zeal, that all-in-the-same-boat action that marks out a more exciting challenge. Witness the results of challenge 1, season 1: at the grocery store. Under such conditions, there is no choice but to innovate and everyone has the same challenge. When you have challenges that favor some designers, despite the uncertainty of the outcome, the design process isn't nearly as interesting for me. Essentially, I prefer a challenge that puts everyone on the same page start to finish. Something that is as unexpected in the delivery for everybody as in the conclusion. Cohen's skating garment, the grocery store, the garden store, the muslin challenge, the dog outfit--these are the challenges I truly enjoy, or that I can really get behind in principle.

That being said, Jeffrey clearly deserved to win. While others employed couture techniques, as was the challenge, Jeffrey embodied the concept of couture and took the risk based on that energy. I didn't enjoy his dress as a garment, but I enjoyed it as a couture-esque piece for the runway. This is unlike Vincent's "art" dress from the recycling challenge, which was enjoyable to me as neither couture nor art, and certainly not as a garment. Jeffrey pulled through with this one.
As far as wearable garments, I prefered Uli's, though as we've encountered previously I'm not a big fan of the fabric braids (though I think she pulls them off better than Andrae or Santino did). The color was exquisite and it really fitted my desire to see something new and different from Uli, but that was still Uli.
Has anyone noticed how hypercritical the designers are getting of each other's designs now? And of course, the judges don't always agree. We're really getting down to execution and taste here rather than design itself, which is interesting. I don't really remember that peer critique as much from previous seasons, though maybe it just didn't pique my interest then.

Anyway, I enjoyed this week's episode despite my complaint on principle.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Go Green!

In case you were at all uncertain of just how amazingly awesome Michigan State is: Kermit.

Toothpaste companies make me mad.

I knew I was in trouble when I opened my toothpaste and the colored part was orange.
Aquafresh, you make me sad. I was so happy just using regular whitening aquafresh. Now there are all these boxes I don't recognize, so many varieties that I can't remember what I got before, and I can't find at all my beloved plain whitening toothpaste. I picked a box of extreme clean whitening, which seemed like it would be plainish, except that it was fluoride.
So, once I got over my color shock, I brushed my teeth. To my dismay, it tastes like Listerine. What the heck? I am all about fresh breath, but I gotta say, medicine does not smell very fresh, and that's why I seldom use Listerine.
So now I have an entire tube of toothpaste that I don't enjoy. I'm getting used to it, and I will use the whole tube, but I fear that I will never be able to find the right kind again, and I miss that wintry-fresh feeling of my old toothpaste.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Labor Day Baking Extravaganza

OK, I'm sorry I wimped out on the BBQ this weekend, kids. If you had seen me in my kitchen, you'd know why I never turned up.
Basically, I got up quite late in the morning and within a half hour was wrist deep in French flaky pastry dough, begun when my kitchen was still pretty cool. Over the ensuing ten hours, I baked many, many cookies, including:
  • cream cookies
  • chocolate crinkles
  • chocolate chip
  • shortbread
  • petite palm leaves
  • tartines

It was madness. The French cookies, the last two, took for-evah (this is a day-long agenda full of rolling and refrigerating and other such things), and they actually ended up not being flaky pastry at all. I followed the directions as best as I could, but a: my kitchen got hot, especially with the oven on, which is a big no-no for French pastry, and b: I really am not much yet on the finesse involved in French pastry. I can make a crepe pretty well, or at least I have in the past, good enough for me, but this attempt at French cookies was not even as successful as the ones I made last time, which was using a Betty Crocker recipe for the pastry. This recipe was from a French cookie book I rather enjoy but haven't used much yet because Idon't have some of the ingredients called for. More practice is called for, and perhaps I should purchase some of the ingredients for batter cookies, which is bound to be a more successful endeavor.

I'm not going to say the French cookies were distastrous, because they taste fine. But the tartines ended up being more like pie crust sticks; tasty, but certainly not what I had been aiming for. The palm leaves are probably my least favorite of what I made...again, the taste is ok, but the texture is notably un-French. The other four varieties were easy-breezy by comparison. My favorite cookie that I made? Shortbread. Easiest to make? Shortbread.

Anyway, I was up to my eyeballs in dough and dishwater, respectively, all day. I even wimped out on decoration--the cream cookies are supposed to be frosted and the tartines dipped in chocolate, but I really only frosted a few and then decided I was done. Fortunately, I'd been cleaning as I went all day so the kitchen wasn't a super disaster. Still got some dishes to do.

Friday, September 01, 2006

PR Universe

Okay, so everything's a little better this week. I'm completely done with Jeffrey's attitude, but his outfit was very fitting this week and I don't mind his win too much. Personally, I thought the pants were atrocious, but I liked his shirt and jacket. He seems to be the type of person who (annoyingly) vents psychological frustration by belaboring a deflective point (that is, deflecting from his internal struggle) and making pointless gibes over and over until everyone is sick to death of it; in this case, since he is in the wrong in my view, it is exceptionally irritating. Basically, I'd like to see less of Jeffrey's mouth running in future, in favor of more time spent on the work.
I thought Laura's dress was adorable and also enjoyed Michael's outfit. While I liked Uli's dress, I agreed with Tim Gunn that it is a dress she already does very well, and hasn't shown much variety. She's a litle like Chloe in that she has stayed in her comfort zone a little too long and I can see the judges itching for innovation; I only hope that when she does innovate, it is something that maintains her sense of style and taste.
Does anyone find it odd that Vincent, when faced with dressing himself, said, basically, I like to be comfortable, I like to be simple? Does he imagine that women like anything different? He needs to look at some of the disasters that have emerged from his workspace and apply his own needs to that of his primary audience of consumers. Especially in light of his comments during the everyday woman challenge, I am seeing a serious disparity between what he's created and these ideals he puts forth. As for Kayne, well...he just didn't look comfortable. The outfit was indeed costumey. I'm hoping he turns on the jets pretty quick here.
This episode had the strange distinction of being one for which I knew what the challenge would be before it started. Sometimes you can guess, or find spoilers, but seeing the previews last week, I knew exactly what was coming when I saw them standing on the runway. I'm sure others felt the same...it was an odd sensation, but in a way kept me calm.
Looking forward to more Paris.
P.S. What happened to Michael Kors? It's like he woke up on the witchy side of the bed this week. While well justified in many of his comments, they were delivered with ichor this week. Sassy! Our new judge, Catherine Malandrino can pull this off...not so sure about Kors. He just ends up sounding cranky.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

This is just a quick post to say that I hope my students were not too embarassed seeing through the top two buttons of my v-neck sweater today. Probably, I should have pretended it was a cardigan and worn a camisole underneath, but I did not. Possibly also I oughtn't to have worn a black bra underneath, emphasizing said difficulty, but the black bra in question is my favorite and most comfortable, and I always give into that appeal.
Sorry, kids.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I heart Hugh!

Funniest part of the Emmy awards: Hugh Laurie and Helen Mirren.
Now, Helen Mirren is pretty awesome; I've said it before, in public. But it is perhaps more well known that I have a thing for Hugh Laurie, and last night I might have sighed happily if I hadn't been laughing so hard. Hugh Laurie's genius of comedic timing combined with Helen Mirren's dramatic, commanding stature? I laughed out loud through the whole thing, and in fact missed a bit of the middle because I couldn't hear it over the sound of myself in giggles.
Some people take a stab at being funny, and it's not funny, but it's okay, because it's an awards show and you're only really supposed to look pleasant. But this is not for Hugh Laurie. He's going to be deadpan and funny no matter what.
And he's hot.
That's right, I said hot.
And as far as I'm concerned, he could have read all the names for the entire Emmys and I would have listened to every word, and I might have even droolled a little bit.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


I fricking quit.

Reading Tim Gunn's blog and the responses to Andy's blog on the PR website, I agree with so many who feel the challenge was a perfect one, but ruined by incompetence and bratty behavior on the part of many designers. Instead of being appalled by the challenge, they should be appalled by their own ignorance. Even Vincent, who so gently claimed that designers should understand such things, had the second easiest model of the whole group, so the comments lost their credibility, as did Michael's design for this particular challenge.
My heart and best wishes go out to Uli, the only designer to avoid negativity and to produce something truly beautiful for a realistic everyday client in a shape we had not yet seen on the show.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Tonight it is with trepidation and not a little guilt that I will sit down and watch Project Runway. Trepidation because of last week's disaster and guilt that I am not strong enough to give it the heave-ho from my schedule. Alison was a designer I could be loyal to, like Daniel V. and Chloe, and now, no matter how talented some of the rest might be, I don't really feel loyalty to any of them. But, I do like sewing.
The good news is that I've learned from Andy's Blog that Alison is showing on her own at Fashion Week in September. That does my heart good and I hope she is wildly successful and that someday I might be able to afford an Alison creation.
An additional brouhaha comes in a more recent blog by Andy in which he posts a letter from Kathy Najimy, who was justifiably appalled by the comments made about Alison's model's size. Andy mentions that the area will be addressed again tonight, and I do look forward to that. If the show can put forth or instigate some earnest social discussion, I think I'll feel better.
In any event, I disagree with the ousting of Alison on the basis that the outfit made the model look big, or emphasized her size. She by no means looked fat, and I take umbrage to the idea that the judges were disgusted by her appearance in the outfit. I have seen outfits that are highly unflattering to a model, but personally (and I realize, subjectively) this was not one of them. It was art in a far better place than Vincent's.
And that is all I have to say about last week's PR.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tuesday: A reflection on laziness and then childhood

Hello my darlings.
I am wicked tired right now (and yes, I did just say wicked). I forgot how exhausting school is, or even just walking around and to and from school. I am looking forward to possibly several hours of TV tonight, including Simpsons and reruns of Gilmore Girls and House. I do like that, as tiring as school is, at least it justifies a nap when I get home, unlike doing absolutely nothing all day.

Ok...So, those of you who were present at Steve's, or who also watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia:
Remember when Charlie's Mom came in, in the crazy paternity episode, when I said "That is Miss Yvonne from Pee Wee's Playhouse"?
I was right.

Is anyone else watching Pee Wee's Playhouse on Adult Swim, and perhaps realizing how funny it is that little adultish jokes are slipped in there, but you just absolutely were too young back in the day to know they were there? Or to appreciate the subtle nuances? It's a little weird. But still fun to watch. Most of the time. There were some shady seasons in there, new characters that didn't make sense or that were annoying or whatever. Seriously, though, it's worth it just to watch Laurence Fishburne as Cowboy Curtis. Who knew?

Monday, August 21, 2006

In which I quite unusually take a stand on a religious issue that makes me annoyed and try to describe why

Church dumbness.
I know there's a lot of disagreement about this subject, but I dislike how people interpret the Bible one way, then argue against one's disagreements in a way that actually, ultimately, should apply to their own arguments, which is ignored, or, even worse, argue in logic that one cannot successfully argue against. Logic is like that sometimes...we can all be argued to that genocide, for example, is for the best of the world, but that doesn't mean it's on principles that you inherently can get behind. It presents an either/or situation that is inaccurate and misleading. Essentially, I've seen arguments that depend on a certain interpretation, for instance, here, when that very interpretation may fall into question, or ignores other quite obvious and salient facts and ideas.
Anyway, Romans 16, anyone? You can't have it one way and not the other. Some argue that Phoebe was not necessarily a teacher, and so women shouldn't teach in church, but the argument as described in the aforelinked article is actually that women shouldn't have any job in church that sets them over men, which contradicts many New Testament verses.
This verse from Timothy strikes me as one that has oft been interpreted poorly...in addition, it strikes me, as translated, as being Paul's ideas. They are his representation of what God wants, but they are a letter, an epistle to someone else. Should that be taken with more weight than, say, the Gospels? Or other words of Paul that go against this particular verse, as interpreted in the aforelinked article? Obviously, Phoebe's duties, along with others of her like, are not well defined in the Bible, which in itself makes me annoyed when such literal interpretations are adopted. I don't think it's right for us to assume we have all the information we are allowed to have, or that God wants us to have, or whatever.
Let us never forget that the first people in the Bible to report the ascension were women. I insist that women can be the bearers of the message to anyone, male or female.
Anyway, that's a bit of very unusual religious discussion from me.

Friday, August 18, 2006

In which I sign out and sign in again to fool blogger.

The desk, w/chair, and the hutch. All gaze on their glory.

More New Stuff

Point the first:
Nathan posted this on his wife's blog, and if you don't go watch the Sparty video, I'm not speaking to you right now.
Point the second:
Project Runway's results on Wednesday nearly made me cry. I can't talk about it this week, except to say that an egregious error has been committed, and the judges should be committed.
Point the third:
I got more furniture yesterday. It was a grand adventure. I decided it would be treat day, so I started with a trip to the New McDonalds, which has a fireplace and big screen TVs, but also less seating than the old, or so it appeared. It was like a business lunch McDonalds, with several large booth-type tables among other things. Anyway, I then jumped on the highway and headed to Jeffrey's Antiques, where I agonized for about an hour and a half and finally decided to get that china hutch and also a desk that I had seen previously, and which had been slightly decreased in price.
The problem occurred when I could only (and barely) get the hutch in my car (I SWEAR I measured that out and it should have fit better), and certainly not the desk (which after all was unplanned). So I called up my good buddy Steve to ask if I could borrow his SUV, traipsed home and called him again, with Paul, to get help getting the hutch out of my car, took the SUV back to Findlay, got the desk, got it into the apartment myself, and then looked after the SUV until Carrie and Paul swung by to pick it up before we all went to Steve and Liss's.
Phew! Crazy. Thanks everyone for your help, and I owe you favors all around. The furniture, I must say, looks great. I wish I could show you how great, but one again the picture function has refused to...function.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Fun with the First Day, and Thoughts on the Common Reading

OMG it is Wednesday again, already, which means PR is on tonight, which is good, but that I have just five days of vacation left before my life is full of shtooodents again. Help help help!
Oh, wait...I have all my bidness done for the first week. I forgot.

Here are some things I might do to shake up my students on the first day of shkool:

1. Show up in KISS makeup.
2. Crack open my Dr. Pepper, drink it straight down, and then belch so loud the windows in University Hall rattle.
3. Deliver my entire opening monologue in French.
4. Deliver my entire opening monologue in Hebrew.
5. Deliver my entire opening monologue in Sindarin. (that's elvish, for those of you who aren't nerds)
6. Wear my Star Trek costume.
7. Open fire with a super soaker.
8. Do the cancan in full regalia. (I used to do a double pirouette on the first day, so maybe that's not so funny)
9. Tell "My wife is so..." jokes, ala Rodney Dangerfield, for an hour.
10. Fashion origami puzzles out of everyone's syllabi, and insist that if they can't open them in five seconds, they get Fs.
11. Pretend that I was asleep under my desk when they all come in. Do not wake up until exactly 11:30.
12. Break a piece of chalk and begin sobbing uncontrollably.
13. Insist that a fire drill is called for, and that if we can't do it in thirty seconds, we have to do it again.
14. Prepare them all for the coming of Gozer.
15. Pretend I am Dutch.

Now, about Into the Forest. I'm reading it, because I though it might be interesting, more interesting than previous Common Reading Experience books have been to me. I've read ahead, actually, meaning that I've looked at the end and at a few key points throughout the book just so I know what's going on there.
The book is interesting, certainly, but also for me very frustrating. I didn't think I'd be irritated, but to be honest, those girls strike me as being kind of useless. The girl wants to go to Harvard but she can't climb up on the roof and melt some rubber into the leaky spots (mysterious and evidently purposeless chunks of rubber found in the workshop, anyone)? I don't believe it.
My response is not entirely to the characters as people, but to the characterization: The book seems to be about how useless everyone becomes without their precious gas and electricity, and I get that, and I certainly sympathize with those concerns. I think a lot of people would be useless, and I have very vocally put forth arguments in favor of the ability to do things more than one way, and to keep written records like, you know, books. Heck, I built a bookcase without the use of any power tools whatsoever. And this is my problem: the book chooses to ignore legions of people that grew up on farms without electricity, people who to this day still do not have indoor plumbing, and people who have dealt with the dangers of rural ruffians, etc. People who can in fact do things without power, and people to whom this knowledge has been passed.
Of course, the book covers one small area, so we don't know what's happening elsewhere. But, for instance, I did not think Nell's visions of farmer's markets and so on were all that idealistic, as they were portrayed. We've seen the worst of people after the hurricanes, but we've also seen the best in the midst of the NYC blackout (which, after all, is a closer scenario to that which the book describes). Being without the comforts of life are demoralizing, there's no question. But I object to a depiction of all characters as essentially idiots without their power. One moment that particularly bothered me was discussion of the doctors... essentially, it said sure, they're still around, but they can't do anything without their tools and drugs. Are you kidding me? Especially in rural areas like the one in question, doctors would know the local folk remedies and how to use their environment. Doctors know where penicillin and aspirin came from. An associated concern is diseases that aren't responding to usual treatments. I am more than willing to buy that problem, and the consequent deaths, but the book mentions people dying from simple things other than those diseases and the problem of distance, and I'm not going along with that. We simply have not reached the point where NO ONE aside from one old lady can figure out how to get medicine or how to treat basic wounds and illnesses.
Then there are the girls themselves. They'd gone through tragedy, certainly, but for me this is not a viable excuse. I saw nothing in the character of either that justified their complete and longterm inertia following horrific events. Or their lack of common sense. Even down to the elder sister's inability to dance without music...I can sympathize with wanting music, but did anyone once mention Nell simply going and singing while her sister dances? It would be better than a metronome. I also didn't buy that, with the eccentricity of the parents and their desire to keep the kids out of school, that they would permit the daughter to ONLY study online, even for Harvard. They would make pretty darn sure that a: Each daughter had survival skills that are clearly not being employed, and b: the studying daughter had a non-power-based way to study.
Basically, it seems like the book is showing how the girls learn skills to survive, and I do appreciate that, and that's what appealed to me in the first place; but on the other side, these are skills that, with the nature of the characters, they should already know (who runs around the woods without learning to build, let's say, a bird house?), and that others certainly know. In the larger implications, are we to believe that there are NO leader-types in the town that could and would step up and inspire others to do so? NO Samaritans? The book simply ignores some more obvious plot and character points that become gaping holes in the book's logic. I'm not willing, as a reader, to play into the book's isolated atmosphere and believe in the characters' struggles, or be invested in them, when there are so many things that cause my suspension of disbelief to crumble.
In short, if I'm going to read what comes across partly as a cautionary tale, then the cautionary tale part of it should be more realistic in examining the nature of humanity. We've gone a long, long way down a problemmatic road of dependency on and learning through power that could disappear in an instant. But essential character of humanity does not change...people with skills and values are still out there, people still have the instinct to band together to survive, and there are certainly still people who know how to fix a roof and teach it to their children.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Back to the Machine

I got the most adorable light flannel print fabrics yesterday. Why, you ask? Baby quilt, duh.
one has baseball bears on it. One has rubber ducks wearing sombreros and berets. One has baby hand- and footprints. One has summer garden stuff and words. One has moons. One has safari animals. One has a cloudy print.
All are darling.
Oh, such fun will be had.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Rocks in the Atmosphere

Many summers as teens, my sister and I would head outside in the pitch black of our yard, march through the dew to the floating dock stretching out in the water, lie back, and check out the Perseid meteors in August.
Often we would bring a strawberry shortcake Good Humor bar or two with us as a snack. Often the cat would join us, appearing silently out of nowhere--we learned to distinguish his arrival as an almost-imperceptible dip in the dock, so as not to jump out of our skins when his silk-soft head touched our hands. I think, though I may be remembering wrongly, that it was usually pretty warm out, and living in the country as we did, the stretch of stars available to us was intensely bright.
I relied on my sister's knowledge here...she knew a ton about astronomy and pointed me in the right direction for my scanning eyes. I'd stay out there as long as I could, and we'd count the number of meteors we saw. My sister had more staying power than I did, but it was a great time to experience sisterhood and awe of the universe.
Last night, after a busy day, at 2 am, I headed onto campus, found a dark spot on a knoll between two dark parking lots, bundled into my electric blanket (which is surprisingly warm even without electricity) and stared upward. It was cold, and my wet hair needed to be hidden under the hood of my sweatshirt, but the rest of me was pretty warm. As a matter of fact, it felt kind of good to be something other than hot for a change.
Not two minutes after I'd gotten out there, I saw a fairly big one, long and medium bright, though it was lower in the sky than I'd expected. I had to wait for a while for others, picking up one or two over about twenty minutes. Then a police officer came to check on my lone car. "Everything all right?" he asked the white bundle in the grass. "Watching meteors!" I called. "Good night for it," he said, and shut off the spotlight. I'm pretty sure he brought me luck, because I saw two pretty great ones right in a row after that, including one I could see burning up. I was just about done, wanting one more nice one, and I got it pretty quickly, shorter than the others but very bright, another "burn up." In half an hour, I'd seen about five really nice meteors, despite the brightness of the moon (last year the moon was new, but it was too overcast during the peak days). I felt pretty content and headed home to fall back into bed.
It felt good to get back in touch with a much-loved activity of my past; it was lonely this time, but it was special in its own way, being out there in the grass and the silence. I'm vowing to myself to pay more attention each year so I can restart the tradition.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Customer "Service"

First, let me just say that there's hope for the world after all. I hate those stupid shows! Hate them.

Anyway, so for the last week I have been patiently waiting for my landlady to have time to get my stove going, since the Columbia Gas people last Friday said the gas is on in there and my service was to start Monday. It's not urgent, since I'm not spending time in there much yet. But then she got in there and later called me to say there is no gas. Huh what? I am instructed, which gives me glee, to give them heck.
So I call the gas people and tell them, and this incredibly snippy woman just REFUSES to understand what I am telling her, that my hot water is not on my account, but the main house account, so the fact that it is working has nothing to do with whether I have gas in my apartment or not. She gets very huffy when I am trying to see if my furnace works (it doesn't) and warns me that, even if she sent someone out there that night, if it turns out to be a stove problem, I am out 60 bucks since it isn't a Columbia Gas problem. Oh, and if you have hot water you should have gas. (I think she repeated this about eight times, again, unable to understand that I don't pay for hot water, just cooking and heating). She is looking at my account info, and I am explaining that I have two apartments, and she has trouble finding apt 2 (my apartment I've had for five years), but then finally does...the hesitation should have been a clue to me. Remember that. So finally, intensely frustrated I tell her I am going to call with my landlady and call them back later.
I go to Grounds for Thought for some chai, and then I have a brainwave: I would be willing to bet money that the first time I called, last week, instead of putting me on apt 1, the new place, they've gone and put me on the MAIN HOUSE LINE, which is where all the hot water and other miscellaneous gas that isn't heating and cooking-related for each apartment comes from.
I call them back and this time get a very nice girl (I talked to billing this time, thinking it would get me further) and explain exactly what the problem is, and sure enough, the ...okay, I'm just going to call him an idiot...from last week, instead of putting me on apt 1 as I asked (I repeated "I have apt 2, and I'm adding apt 1" at least five times to make sure he had it, throughout the call), put me on the house account. GAH!
So instead of looking at my account and realizing that, if my old account said 2 after the address, the new account should say 1 after the address, the first girl I talked to completely ignored this discrepancy and was snarky to me. The second girl I talked to was calm, smart, and very polite. And, she informed me, the gas was decidedly off in apt 1 and, sadly, I won't be able to get service until sometime next Tuesday (which means I have to be over there and stay there virtually all day until they come, starting in the morning. Bleh.)
I thought this was over until I got a gas bill this morning for the house...almost 9 bucks in the two days I had "service." I called immediately to make sure I could disregard that and that the account was in my property manager's name.
The upshot of all of this is that I felt, once again, like a genius, because coming up with the main house line idea was really pretty inspired, in my opinion.
Picture me shuddering and trying to wash my hands of this whole thing. My landlady was very sympathetic when she called me later in response to my second message cancelling the red alert, acknowledging past poor customer service from CG.
So...WAKE UP, Columbia Gas. Some of your personnel are not getting the job done, and no customer likes to be bullied. Thank heavens for the girl whose name, I think, was Michelle, who straightened things out for me.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Genius/Apt update/PR

I've been calling myself a genius lately, not for any real reason, just trying to boost my spirits a bit before the school year. Getting everything into my car at IKEA made me a genius, for instance.
I had rather a stroke of brilliance yesterday when I was helping my friends Carrie and Paul to move. They had this picture left by previous tenants of a statue of a bull licking the hand of a maiden sitting on his back.
"I bet it's Zeus and...um...Europa," says I.
Know what? It was. I used to be quite a classic myths freak, and even though I haven't studied them in quite a while, somehow I came up with the name Europa. You know the story...how Zeus changes into a bull to carry Europa away and seduce her...I was thinking that was linked to the Minotaur story but I am misremembering that; in fact Europa's daughter-in-law had the Minotaur, so it is still linked. I had the Europa part right. The statue's replica is at Cranbrook in Michigan.
Anyway, I am a genius.

The apartment is coming along. I stained/painted (as in, stain that thickened into paint as I worked) my coffee table blue on Tuesday and am looking forward to getting more whatnot over there from my living space. I need to make it all conducive to my work. My stove isn't on yet, though, so I'm crossing my fingers that happens soon. Then I can buy a tea kettle and make cocoa. I can't decide what appliances to buy...a second TV? with VCR or DVD? Microwave? It's all very light and airy, which I think will help me settle down and write or grade or whatever. And there's room for my dance barre. Hooray! At last!

Project Runway.
Was anyone else kind of bored with PR this week? It's a malingering feeling from previous weeks, too, actually. Somehow there's some zest missing this season. People are fighting, sure, but that's never that interesting to me anyway. It all seems...sullen or sulky in a way, no fire to it. The challenges should be interesting, but the material we're being given to watch just isn't living up to PR standards. Some have complained that we're not getting enough of the designs themselves, and I can see that point; we aren't shown much of the sketch-to-product timeline, we're not getting much Tim Gunn critique, and we don't see some designs at all (unless they're crumpled up on a table) before runway. I looked at the clock when Tim Gunn was finishing his round of the workroom, and it was 10:20...forty minutes left for the two hours they have in the morning and the runway show? No, no, no. It's all off. And a "personal" consultation with the TRESemme guy? Really not that interesting. Maybe fun for the designers, but it didn't make intriguing TV. Having the models pick their designers was sort of interesting, but it still didn't quite have the investment of, say, the wedding dress challenge of season 1. I liked seeing more of Michael, so that earlier complaint is taken care of, but seriously. The show needs some life that isn't grumpy. I'm starting to like Angela more just because she has some energy!
As an additional, but unrelated complaint, the PR website is a disaster. I know I've mentioned that before, but today they have Tim's Take divided up into eleven separate little pages, which will take forever to navigate, and it's still in that tiny little print. WAKE UP, BRAVO!
Anyway, they've indicated that the next few challenges are going to be really tough, so let's hope they're not lying. I want to see grit, not just insecurity.
Okay, spoilers section.

I was glad Michael won. His outfit wasn't my favorite, but it was very sassy and I think he had one of the biggest design challenges with his icon. Pam Grier is such a strong personality, and he did really well with her. I really liked Angela's dress this week, actually wish I owned it, and the aforementioned element of fun in her life radiated from that dress. Laura created the perfect Katherine Hepburn outfit, smooth and not fancy, because Kate didn't like fancy all that much. Kayne also came through with his "dark Marilyn" ensemble, and Uli once again showed mastery of prints, though I'm starting to want a little more variety from her.
I didn't think Vincent's outfit was too bad this week, but Bradley's was a clear disaster. Poor Bradley. I don't feel like I ever saw his real design personality. I'm scared for Robert. He's letting the comments infect him, and he's really shaky right now. He has great talent, but he's too scared to use it to meet a challenge. That being said, his outfit wasn't terrible, and I actually didn't think he needed the scare of the bottom two this week, when that spot should have been Vincent's. Jeffrey...not so much for me this week. I wasn't gung-ho for Alison, either, though it was closer to the good side than the bad. Let's call both of them indifferent.