30 October 2006

Baby Booties & Bonnet (for the Humlet) (Modelled by Billy) (Who is growing a beard) (And who thinks his shirt will make people think he does LSD)

27 October 2006

Reasons to love job #2

People thought I was crazy when I decided to pick up two extra jobs and also try to start a business while working full time. Well, even though I am exhausted today, I have to say that at least job #2 has some surprisingly wonderful perks.
Such as?
The fact that yesterday afternoon I was *required* to attend a staff wine tasting. This resulted in all the of-age staff sitting around a huge table drinking about 15 different and amazing wines and drying to figure out *which* of the gourmet pastries, cheesecakes, tortes, tartes, puddings, etc went well with each of the shiraz, cabernet, pinot, riesling, sparkling argentinian wine without a varietal, late harvest riesling, weird south african wine, etc etc.
And, what is more, after this complete insulin-spiking indulging requiring a vomitorium, I had to work. Ever drink a few glasses of wine, eat about 10 desserts, and then try to function on any kind of a normal level? Well, it makes work a lot of fun, but also very difficult to stay awake for, what, with the sugar crash, the wine and all. So, I ended up spending most of the night sipping wine tastes and chatting with some coworkers I've been wanting to get to know. Artists. Creative people. Visionaries. People who aren't afraid to work hard. People who know the difference between a bad and a good pinot (I don't yet). People who aren't afraid to take risks and try something different.
And, I tell you what: this feeds my soul. This is the reason I got this job.
Not that I complain about the other perks mind you.
The icing on the cake was the owner calling me about 9pm last night telling me I could take home whatever left-over wine I wanted.
Yes, whatever I wanted.
Whatever of the about 15 bottles of wine sitting around.
I chose a tawny port and the rest of the Goiya South African wine (which, by the way I highly recommend--it has almost a chocolaty, cinnamony flavor that is really unusual. I guess this is from the pinotage grape).
This makes getting home at midnight and not being able to sleep and being tired all day at my real job worth it. All of the preceding makes it worth it.
In between work, work, work and soap making endeavors I have been knitting. I have specifically knitting for a baby shower for one Humlet and her future mom this weekend. Lot so fsmall, fuzzy, baby-type things. Not usually my style, but it does have an appeal of its own.
In other fun and random news, I got 90% off of four days worth of spa products from Lady Wellness through a very limited marketing campaign they are doing. One day is a massage, one is a facial, one is a body wrap, and one is either a mani or a pedi. All of this for $55. Plus you get a free week membership at this club, some fitness classes, fitness consultations, and $80 in gift certificates.
How could I not take advantage of this?
And now I am going to talk about aliens.
So, there was an close encounter of the first kind (for a technical explanation of this, please visit www.mufon.org) in central North Dakota recently. The story made the front page news of our local paper. I couldn't believe it. This very unassuming, very not-believing-in-ufo's type of family has had three separate incidences with strange creatures on their ranch. The most recent was a shoot out between a 16-year-old kid and a 9 foot alien with claws who was trying to steal his pregnant pig. And as I type this I realize how ridiculous this all sounds, but that is exactly the point--who could make this up? And why?
I will tell you one thing--in that part of the state (and further west and a little bit south) aliens could fly around for days and probably no one would see them because almost NO ONE lives out there. At any rate, everyone thinks the story is ridiculous and not news worthy. I think it is very interesting and weird from a conspiracy theory sort of point of view (one that I am not necessarily prone to believing, but am prone to find interesting). Some people believe that there are bad aliens or demons or whatever that have been messing with our dna. Some people even go so far as to say that the passages in the Old Testament referring to angels having "relations" with human women are true--and they the reason the aliens/demons/whatever did this was to bastardize our dna to piss God off or for some other sinister reason.
Do I believe this? I have no idea. I have read a lot on it. Someone actually manages to make a living writing books and articles and researching this stuff, yes. Believe it. Several in particular refer to Sumerian legends (Sumeria=oldest known culture on earth) that describe extraterrestrials that took early (i.e. not fully evolved) hominids and added their own dna sequences to make smart "workers" for their purposes. Egyptian legends tell a similar story. Even Mayan legends talk about this stuff.
Where does this stuff come from? Well, some would say from Satan. I don't know if it is that simple, though I definately don't agree with all the things these experts have to say. At any rate, it is interesting to think about, whether it is true or not. And since I am an "ideas" person and like to ponder things, this is all food for thought for me.
And also, I have to confess to this day I am still paranoid (though not as badly as earlier in my life) of being abducted by aliens, and if I have to stay on parent's farm in the bed, alone, to this day I will still sleep with the lights on.
Because, obviously, the aliens wouldn't abduct me with the lights on.
Anyway, some people say the reason for the cattle mutilations and the women being taken on spacecrafts to have their plumbing inspected and sheeps testicles being missing, etc, etc, is because the aliens are experimenting with our dna.
Sounds like a great movie. I do love me a good sci-fi movie.
I am certain at this moment that my mother and father are regretting ever having taken me to E.T.
Speaking of being visionary, my brother has become a visionary in the past few years and has taken up photography. He likes it so much that now he is thinking of opening a gallery in our home town (one that my husband and I may be involved with in some way, shape, or form). I am totally excited about the prospects of something like this happening in rural areas. It just gets the thoughts churning and the ideas flowing even more. I love it. I wish I had more money to contribute to it (and to several other business ideas I have). Money always seems to be the limiting factor. I had the idea of putting a coffee shop in the gallery. Do you know how much commercial espresso machines are? Some are upwards of 15k! That's more than a fairly nice car. I couldn't believe that.
There is a whole science to espresso. I know this because I watched an instructional dvd on it at work last (between the wine, visiting, and not-doing-very-much-real-working). It is fascinating. There are only two varieties of coffee. I found this interesting because for tea, there is only one tea plant. One. There are no "varieties" of tea--just different ways to cure the same tea leave. It's similar with coffee. The difference is mostly in the type of roasting that is done. There is a lot of difference in caffeine and flavor between the two varieties, too. So that gives you even more flavors than tea, mathematically speaking. There is a whole science to how to steam the milk, too. There are about 10 million wrong ways to steam milk, and really only one right way. It is very interesting and inspiring to me to think of all of these things and to think about being really good at making tea or coffee or espresso or even growing my own grapes.
Ideas, ideas, ideas.
No money, no money, no money.

18 October 2006


17 October 2006

Birthing a project

I guess I haven't blogged in awhile. Since I got back from grandma's wedding, I have feverishly been trying to finish this stupid pie shawl project (with the Rainbow clouds of mohair) that I have been working on since April, I think. I believe I became inspired about it again after making sizeable progress on the shawl on the drive back and forth to Mott. So, that momentum propelled me into two and a half weeks of solid knitting mania. I have done NOTHING besides work and knit. This has been a serious battle I have been waging, folks, but I finally tackled the shawl, mohair, short rows, lace knitting and all. I will post pictures as soon as I get around to actually taking them (maybe tonight while it is blocking).
Today is a list day. I think it is better to make top eleven lists. This helps indulge my penchance for excess and exaggeration and overachieving. So, here is my top eleven list of most desired careers:

1) self employed doing something creative, sophisticated and earthy
2) performer--preferrably stage performer, operatic most highly preferred
3) housewife
4) trapeze artist
5) pastry chef.
6) missionary
7) horse wrangler on my own ranch where I would probably do horse therapy
for people with disabilities
8) hollywood gossip reporter
9) lavendar farmer in Provence or owning a vineyard and making wine
(actually these would be much further up the list, but I just thought of
them now)
10) taste tester for Godiva (with automatic liposuction included in the
benefits plan)
11) a Rockette
Yes, a rockette. Look at their legs. Wouldn't you want to have legs like that? And a built-in workout for your job?
What's your top eleven?

02 October 2006

"I feel a blog coming on..."

This is a comment my mother said in reference to my profusion of keystrokes in regards to what she was anticipating as my reaction to the previous weekend. And why is that? Why, this past weekend was Rinestone Grandma's wedding.
My grandma married someone, yes, but that is not all. The man she married is 18 years younger than she and is also my father's employee.
It is a strange thing seeing your grandmother getting married. I was happy for her; happy that she has found companionship; happy that she got to have fun planning her wedding; happy that she found joy again. However, there is also another side of me that was just feeling sort of outside of myself--watching the situation--feeling the entire thing was just incomprehensible and very odd and weird. I was playing music for the wedding at the same piano where I also played for my grandfather's funeral. In fact, it was one of the last times I played that particular piano and played piano in general.
Grandma looked hot, I have to say. More like 50 than 73. She wore a gorgeous lilac colored gown ala 1940's style with mermaid seams and beautiful beading (I couldn't tell if there were rinestones, but there were definately sequins). She had a cute, little barrette in her hair and lots of jewelry and all of that. It was a rather unemotional wedding (this I compare to my own wedding in which I was sobbing so hard I literally almost couldn't make it through my own vows). No one cried or anything. We played a lot of the old fashioned dance music and music from musicals (that's kind of redundant to say, isn't it?), etc, etc. I sang Someone to Watch over Me, which has to be one of my favorite songs EVER. When you sing in Mott no one will look at you, giving you the impression that they are mortified that you are singing, but then afterwards, you can't get away from anyone for all of the compliments and congratulations you will receive. It must be a German Russian thing, I don't know.
Anyway, back to the wedding. My friend, Matt, who is acquainted with all parties involved in this wedding, gave us the idea that we should decorate the semi-truck that Frank, the groom, drives for my dad. So, we did. My siblings and husband painted the windows, tied on paper wedding bells, etc, etc. And we picked them up after the wedding in the semi. I thought that grandma would be filled with much consternation, but instead, she just laughed and laughed and then climbed right in like it was nothing.
There was an indicent at the wedding between the two families. Well, more like between grandma and one of her new step-sons. Grandma insisted that there would be no high-chairs for the babies at the reception. Well, lots of people had little kids, so they tried to bring their own, and she wouldn't allow it. So, some of the family members became UPSET and LEFT the reception, to which my grandmother replied "They need to grow up."
This was no small affair. There was the wedding, then we paraded down mainstreet (following the semi, of course, which is affectionately known as Ozzie) honking horns, then out to the reception hall for the dinner. And there was the kissing and the cake (with pillars and a fountain), the matching purple and lilac decorations, the guest book, the host couples, the dance, the whole nine yards. And, according to Hettinger County standards, they are officially married by virtue of having the Chicken Dance performed and participated in.
I had an overly-large amount of involvement in this wedding b/c not only did I do a lot of the music, but I also made up gift baskets for the attendants (yes, there were attendants). So, for the past 9 months I was getting intermittently nagged from grandma about practicing music and getting the gift baskets done. The most frustrating thing was that she didn't seem to be able to accept certain things about the timing of these items and would forget most of what I would tell her in regards to this, so it lead to redundant nagging with me trying to remind her of past conversations, the results of previous naggings. Anyway, I hate nagging. If there is one thing you should know about me, it is that nagging will get you absolutely nowhere. I don't require nagging. I am 99% of the time plenty self-motivated to get tasks completed without your help. Well, if there is one thing that you need to know about my grandma it is that she is a control freak. Therefore, she delegates and doesn't REALLy delegate, if you know what I mean. And I know that I wasn't the only person experiencing this phenomenon. EVERYONE involved in the wedding in any regards (even my mother, who was her "Personal Representative" [yes!--and no, I have no idea what that means]) was experiencing The Nagging. Sigh....I think a lot of people were experiencing the following emotions in regards to the wedding being completed: 1) relief, 2) emotional exhaustion 3) hysterical laughter.
Well, after The Highchair Peacetalks (my mom and dad trying to smooth things over with the grooms family), my sister (after several dixie cups full of merlot) said "Let's short sheet their bed!" to my mother, myself, and my sister-in-law.
This was the most hilarious thing we could ever have thought of (this is after several ice cream drinks, a White Russian, and something else I can't remember). Except the most funny thing is that my mom was the only person who knew HOW to perform this action. And the even funnier thing than that is that she did NOT hesitate for a moment to start figuring out how we could get away with this.
So, picture, my friends, what Rinestone Grandma's bed looks like. It is a virtual mountain of mattresses upon which are the tightest, crispest, most wrinkle-free sheets and blankets you can imagine, put on the bed in the most meticulous way. She puts the army to SHAME!
So, after figuring out an alibi, convincing grandma to give us her housekeys, and driving all the way into town, there are the four of us in the bedroom looking at the bed, and it went something like this:
"How are we going to do this?"
"I don't know..."
"We have to remember exactly how it looks like. Let's just take a moment to look at the bed and figure out the order of everything."
"Ok. First is the teal pillow, the the light blue, the other teal. In front of that is the peach and the teddybear."
"Yes, Put them over there on the floor in that exactly formation."
"Ok, so this is how you do the shortsheeting. [insert explanation here]."
"Mom, that sheet is not tight enough. And it isn't centered. You need to bring it over an inch towards Angie's side."
"Ok, that's better."
"Oh, I am making foot marks on the carpet. She's going to notice all of the foot marks on the carpet, and she's going to know that we were here."
"Well, try not to walk around so much."
"Ok, now, that blanket.....that blanket was down further--maybe another six inches."
"Now, how do we get these corners so perfect on the end of the bed?"
"How are we going to get this HUGE comforter to fit on such a small bed?"
This was work, people. This was serious business.
And after all of that--do you know what we got? Absolutely NO reaction from the newlyweds. Which leads me to conclude....maybe they haven't been to bed yet?
Speaking of gross, I had a really terrible cough when we got to my parent's house. And with my parents, grandparents, and others there offering solutions to the cough, somehow my husband blurted out "Do you want some Vic's Vaporub." To which my mother replied "Why, do you want to rub it all over her chest????"
Who says something like that?
Anyway, they are hitched now, the wedding is over, and everyone can go on with their lives. I wish you call could've been there.