Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sock it to me...

Dropping in on other people's blogs is so much fun.

The other day I was visiting total glitter junkie talented crafter Dawn, where in a burst of post birthday euphoria she had shared this picture:

She had teasingly subtitled the picture with these words:

"Another W-I-P...not rocket science to figure this one out. :0)

She was right about that; she had already tipped her hand by sharing that not just one, but TWO of her sons will be getting married soon. That of course means not one, but TWO Mother of the Groom dresses to sew for.

I figured out what she was up to right away:

If you have ever read her blog, you know how much she loves sock monkeys!
She makes them all the time!

Wouldn't this be just the most perfect Mother of the Groom dress ever?
I mean just look at is mostly beige.

Everyone knows Mothers of the Groom are supposed to wear beige, and shut up.

Wearing this dress, well, doesn't it just say "No, you shut up!"

Said of course with the playful inflection used by twentysomething girls as an exclamation of gleeful wonderment.

But hold on....remember, Dawn has not one, but TWO weddings to dress for.

The boys are non-identical twins. How cute to wear two dresses that are not quite the same, but still sorta are the same?

I let Dawn know that I was on to what she was up to.

She zinged back right away that she wanted to see me make a monkey hat.

Sadly, neither of my children are getting married any time soon, Dawn. They are not even dating seriously. It would just serve to make me feel even worse to be making a Mother of the Groom or a Mother of the Bride monkey hat when I know I don't as of yet have any reason to wear one.

Someday though...

For now, all I can really do is dream.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

War and Peace, the feline edition

This is not our cat.
This is our neighbor who lives down the street's cat.
He looks a lot like our Tigs, but he isn't Tigs at all.
His name is Giovanni.
We know this because he wears a green collar, and it says so, right there on his little dangly tag.
Giovanni likes to walk along the back fence between our neighbor's yard. He saunters in, slowly waving his thick orange tail. He always takes his time getting here.
Tiggie just shrugs when he sees him coming. Tiggs likes to keep things simple.

Eh, you are orange. Orange is good. Whatever.

Hart on the other hand considers this to be an all out invasion, an assault on our sacred land.
Our borders have been breached! The enemy is upon us! All out war must be declared!

You can tell when Giovanni comes visiting: Hart goes full voice, his vocal scales soar up and down, hitting ear piercing high notes and heart stopping low notes, and he throws in a few kitty cusses just for good measure.

Then the two of them square off and things really cut loose in the yard.

This goes on just about every day. It's a cat feud that seems to have no end.

Near as I can figure the official Gray Cat Foreign Species Relations Policy goes like this:

Good To Have Visit My Yard:

1. Possums
2. Raccoons
3. Green/Brown Anoles (they change colors and are delicious too....)
4. Grey squirrels
5. Small black garter snakes
6. Enormous water snakes
7. Box turtles
8. Green Frogs
9. Brown Toads
10. Assorted butterflies
11. Spiders, also assorted
12. Wood peckers
13. Wrens
14. Blue Jays
15. Red Cardinals
16. Carolina chickadees
17. Hawks
18. Grey Titmouse
19. Assorted humans of various sizes, colors and age
20. Beige Geckos

Not Allowed To Visit My Yard:

1. Orange cats with green collars named Giovanni.

(A miniture orange rose in bloom right now amidst the battlefield.)

The weary soldier reports to his Commander for debriefing. The enemy has once more been scattered, our borders are once more secured.
Time for a cup of joe, a nap, and perhaps there will be a little catnip this evening to celebrate the victory.
Good job Feline First Class Hart!
Semper Fi.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Less shush, more lush, all while wearing a perfect hat.

My fellow librarian Hope flagged me down awhile ago with an invitation to attend a wine tasting that was to be held in an area close to where we both live.

She didn't need to twist my arm to get me to agree to go.

I had it written on my calendar, in ink, in no time.

Bernie had it written on his calendar too.

The only one who didn't get it written on his calendar was Bernie's boss, who called for a company meeting that required Bernie to be in Philadelphia on the day after the wine tasting.

That meant Bernie wouldn't be able to go to the wine tasting.

Drat. Oh well.
I broke the news to Hope that Bernie wasn't going to be able to come.

Hope's husband had attended a previous wine tasting with her and had a grand time, but this time he decided if Bernie wasn't coming to this event, then he would let just us girls go.
No problem-o.

Bernie left a nice note on my lap top before he left asking that I enjoy the event and think of him.

Honey, I surely did.

And I took pictures, just like you knew I would, just so you could see.

Here's the nosh selection. The cheeses and meats were great!
Hope said there were only about half as many people as last time, but everyone was really friendly. The guy who purchases all the wine for HEB grocery store in Kingwood did the talks on each wine.
Here's a flash: He says if you have a question about a wine that he is unfamiliar with at the HEB, he will open the bottle for sampling right then and there in the store.
Now doesn't that make the idea of running to the store for milk and bread sound much more interesting?
Hope was adorable as usual. She taught me a few things about wine, and we had a good time comparing our impressions about the wines that we sampled.
Hope is all about the bouquet. That's the hardest part for me. I'd rather just let the wine infuse my entire palate and concentrate on the flavors, and enjoy the color of the wine.
Structurally, a wine glass, a hand, and the shape of the pool of wine combine to create a very pleasing composition, wouldn't you agree?
Back as alway to millinery...
A few years ago I bought a hat on eBay solely because it had a self fabric grape cluster design on the side and veiling.
At the time, I thought to myself: This is the perfect hat to wear to a wine tasting!
It cost something like five or ten bucks...but oh, how fun it would be to taste wine while wearing a hat with BOTH grapes and a saucy little veil.
I never dreamed it would be this many years before a wine tasting invitation would come my way, but I was right. It was fun.
It was well worth the wait. I enjoyed six wines, plus a flute of champagne as a welcome.
I've discovered the perfect way to keep a wine diary too. Just take a digital pictures of the wine label, then write notes on paper about the wine. Later load the pictures into one file dedicated to wine, and export them to Picassa web, where you can add your notes about the wine, and the occasion.
I suppose if you like your handwriting you could even take a picture of that.
Later it becomes possible to have the book published, with the pictures and the text neatly together.
Isn't that better than just writing alone?
I think so.
This was the best Pinot Noir. Pretty color, several flavors rolled out as I sipped.
I absolutely LOVED this one. It tasted exactly like butter and a bit of pear. I'll be getting some of this for our collection for sure.
Our college has recently added a hospitality and restaurant management course. As librarians, it is our duty to collect books to support the curriculum of each course on campus.
The addition of a degree in hospitality has made it necessary for Hope and I, as collection development librarians, to search out the very best resources to enable students to learn about and understand fine wines.
The library is amassing a fine collection of wine books and videos thanks to our efforts.
As reference librarians...well, let's just say that after last night, I think we now know a bit more about how to answer reference questions that might possibly come to us about wine.
But wouldn't it be wise for us as information professions to continue to seek to become even more knowledge on this subject?
Of course it would.
Dedicated librarians. We gather information any way we can.
Every chance we get.

Millinery: Mad hatter puttin' on the Ritz....

I never would have predicted it.
I am just ga-ga over top hats right now.
Everywhere I look I see top hats; top hats on rockers, models, men in airports, tiny top hats as facinators, in Jane Austin movies...

Time to drag out the ol' dansk crockery pot, and get cracking!

I actually blocked this hat a few weeks ago, but what with company and nano noveling, that was as far as it got. I knew I wanted to wire the edge of the brim this time, and that would mean having to cut off the excess hat material, something I had never been brave enough to do before.

(Stop groaning Kate. I know, it is ridiculous that I've never dared do this before.)

I'm just a big wienie about cutting woven straw!

For what I had in mind, I knew just tucking the edge of the hood under wasn't going to work this time, so this morning I took a deep breath, and stitched in a sweat band to size the blocked hood.
(I usually hand sew but I started at 8 and had a Bible study at 9:30, so I was in a hurry.)

I double stitched the wire in place, trimmed the excess brim material, then loosely stitched the lace on by hand.

Be impressed with the is from the late 1800's, perhaps even older.

Love the lace, love the lace...couldn't bring myself to cut it, so I left the end as a tail.

Who says top hats only work with tuxedos and on Rock Stars like Janis Joplin?
Forget needing to wear a tux; a pink shell, long sleeve shirt, grey slacks and sandals will work just fine.
Sandals because it is freakishly hot here today.
(I see that the deck needs to be raked. The Mexican gardeners are just not keeping up. I 'm considering trying a Canadian guy, if I can get him to ride on down here on his riding lawn mower machine. I hear his leaf raking duties are at an end, and I'd hate to think of idleness befalling such a nice guy.)
I think next time I will make the brim just a bit narrower.
(Note to B. and kids: Check it out: I finally learned how to use the camera's timer and flexible tripod! Whoo hoo!)
Close up of the back with the lace falling in a tail.
The lace is accented and secured with a pearl pin that my MIL gave me awhile ago.
A couple people at the Bible study actually were brave enough to talk with me and say they liked the hat. As I hopped in my car to leave, the group leader waved at me, and called out across the parking lot "Bye Mad Hatter!"
In a New Jersey accent no less.
You'd be proud of me. I didn't correct her...actually the "mad hatter" style hat has a crown that is wide at the top, then narrows as it heads to the brim. I think this style is closer to a riding hat, if anything.
Details, details.
Who cares?
Call it what ever you want.
It's just for fun anyway.
(More information about the history of the top hat here and a lovely on-line shop of Victorian/Edwardian top hat/riding hats here. I am especially drolling over the Victorian Ascot model. Actually, all of them are pretty darn awesome, the whole blooming website!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Reading levels.

Genius reading level blogwriter Lovella suggest I find out what exactly is the reading level of my blog.

cash advance


And I tell ya, like, it ain't been easy writing for that level of reader either?

You have to deliberately misspell words, throw in a few horrific sentence structures, and reign in on multi syllable word usage.

You know, just to write like how the kids in college write?

Sometimes you gotta wanna blend in with the college crowd.

Big shout out to all my co-workers at the college formerly known as North Harris Montgomery County Community College District.

Lone Star College librarians: I salute you!


So, with our new name, can we now drink this at the reference desk?

PS: After posting the above, I ran the test again.

Guess what?

cash advance

Maybe the machine liked the beer!

Monday, November 12, 2007

No particular rhyme or reason

Seen about the neighborhood this weekend:

A mushroom with a rosy red top above a pleated collar.
Teen age girls across the street apparently have admirers. Or at least people who notice them enough to want to festoon their home with toilet paper in the night.
Zinnias are visited by butterflies, unmindful of the fact that summer is long since over. (Hey, enough with the mid 80's and humidity already! It's getting close to Christmas, isn't it?)
White egrets elude my ability to capture their image up close.

And I continue to novel....

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Free Range Writer

I've been traveling between two worlds the last few days; keeping up with my life in Houston while also creating an imaginary world in Central California, as part of my National Novel Writing Month's noveling.
I'm so far behind in my word count it isn't funny, but as Sue Grafton assured me in an email this morning, I can do this!
(Yes, that Sue Grafton, the A is for Alibi author. Us Nano people hang with the best.)
This year is my second year at Nano writing; and boy is it nice to be able to write anywhere I feel like it.

Free Range Writer: Me!
Lap tops: They are a wonderful thing.

Before I got a lap top computer, all my writing was done in the room pictured below.
Emails, photo editing, writing, web surfing...all of it was done only in here using a desk top computer.
The room is to the left as one enters our home. The french doors to the room have a matching pair across the foyer, the second set leads to our breakfast area and kitchen.

I had my computer monitor in the cubbie to the left, next to the chair, and a pull out keyboard tray is still just under that space.

If I sat at the desk as the chair now faces, I could see out the windows to our front yard, and a painting of the breast plate (urim and thrurim I think are the correct term) of the priests of Israel. Each of the twelve tribes had a specific stone; the painting is of those stones.

The entire room was already "done" when we bought the place. The wall covering and window treatments really appealed to me at the time. A serious mahogany library/study type area, perfect for both of us to use!

We shopped for a partner's desk, and felt very something or 'nother...
Like we should serve brandy in a sniffer or play only classical music while wearing blazers and cravats.

In the corner by the french doors is a chair and foot stool. Occasionally one of us humans still sit there, most often to read the morning paper with a cup of coffee in winter.
The beach painting was done by Bernie's grandmother, the other picture is a collage of our kids in their first years of life.
The cats usually include this chair as one location in their circuit of daily naps.
Convenient for them, their litter box is discreetly tucked behind the chair almost out of sight.
Not always out of smell...if I am neglectful of my daily dipping duties.
The little side table is my grandmother's sewing table. The table top pieces were gifts to Bernie from his mom and dad.

Behind the desk hang Laura's diploma from nursing school, and my diploma from library school. I make a tsk sound every time I look at them; her BS degree diploma looks so much more impressive than my Master's degree diploma from Texas Womans University.
Stupid ol' TWU...I hated that school.
My bike gets wheeled into the room as it is just inside the front door. Usually I leave my bike in the foyer. It is easier than maneuvering it around parked cars in the garage. Texas houses may be over sized, but their two car garages are built just for two cars. Anything else is a tight fit.
Bernie used the room when he first was officed at home, then he was moved back to a company office.
At the same time that happened, I was officed at home, my company being based in Washington DC at the time, and my job required me to fly around the gulf coast area to teach attorneys research skills.
I worked using a company lap top on the main desk, and still used our desk top computer for personal work. I still feel comfortable using two computers at once, with waaaayyyyy too many windows open for most people's comfort.
After I quit that job the office was only used for when we had to use our own desk top computer.
Since I got a lap top last January, neither of us go in there much at all, except to scoop the litter box, and drop stuff into our files.
Funny how something as simple as the machine that is currently resting on my knees as I type can make an entire room unnecessary.
(The cats don't see it that way at all. They function nicely as both desk top and lap top models as they see fit. They feel that this space is perfect for show casing them, and should be maintained for their personal relaxation needs.)
While they are napping, I'm going to get back to noveling.