Friday, September 30, 2011

"And I gladly stand up ..."

When Sweet Daughter takes a bath, I often sit in the bathroom and play music on computer. Tonight she requested Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA". It was Grandparent's Day at school, and she noted that one the grandparents was a "Camouflage Guy" and they played that song. So, it's been on repeat for over half an hour, and I'm listening to some interesting interpretations of the lyrics, to include "Across the pies of Texas ...".

And the chorus -- instead of:

"And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA."

I heard:

"And I’ll stand up,
Next to you and still eat today ..."

"And I'll stand up,
Next to you and defeat her still today .."

(I corrected that one right quick.)

And, my favorite:

"And I gladly stand up
Next to you because my feet still hurt today ..."

But after listening to it for close to 45 minutes, I was hearing "Paul is dead", so who am I to critisize?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mittens from Hell

I've made 18th century mittens before. Somewhere between 6 and 12 pair, and they aren't exactly complicated. But this latest pair were possessed, I swear. I started them last December. I ripped them out and started again in January. I've started them over at least four times. Then, when knitting the mate, I realized about 3/4 of the way through that it was a little wider than the other. WTH? Then I realized that I was running out of yarn, but that's happened to me before. Worst case scenario, I simply unravel from the bottom until I'm done, and then I pick up the stitches and knit back down in a contrasting color. I squeaked by with may an extra 15 feet of yarn, and oh, did I mention that I'm having issues with my gauge lately? (Lately being the past 11 months ...) These turned out waaaay too big. But that's okay! I figured I can full them (shrink them on purpose) up a bit. Can't make them bigger, but I can make them smaller! And guess what happened? No, they did NOT end up too small (and I have no idea how I lucked out there), but the discrepancy in width is now really obvious. And I think they're still too big. I'm sorry, Chris, but these are going to have to tide you over for now. I'll try again later. Maybe in 2012.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cool things to do with your mouth

This even makes "Firework" palatable.

H/T to Staghounds from whom this was shamelessly stolen.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Knife Question

As a result of the rampant knife meme, it has been brought to my attention that I am woefully underbladed.  It’s not like it’s a surprise … I don’t carry one on a daily basis because I usually have no pockets. Five days a week I’m in a skirt of some sort and heels. I have a small Leatherman multi-tool that lives in my purse, and the micro-SOG that is on my lanyard next to my badges. The pockets on some of my jeans are too shallow to carry anything worthwhile but then I thought … my key ring! I have plenty of room, and it’s usually in reach. So, if you were to recommend a knife to put on my key ring, what would it be? I don’t want a Swiss Army knife with all the tweezers and the toothpicks and whatzits. I just want a single, useful blade.

Thanks in advance …

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

OC again

I guess the whole point of doing something outside our comfort zone is to try to get to the point where you are comfortable doing it. That, or you just love misery. The whole OC thing has pretty much become a non-issue for me. Either the sight of a six foot tall, middle-aged mom openly wearing a pistol and teasing her daughter by threatening to rip off her am and beat her with the wet end if she doesn’t shape up doesn’t cause any raised eyebrows in my neck of the woods, or I’m just totally oblivious to it. (So much for SA, eh?)
 No problems at the mall, the big box home improvement store, the fabric store, or the cheeseburger place or the donut shop. My local hardware store doesn’t bat an eye, but maybe that’s because I took my matchlock musket in to show them one day. My favorite local pizza place seems to greet me even more enthusiastically than they used to. One thing I have noticed, though, is that I’m much more cognizant of my behavior when I wearing my pistol. I can’t pretend that I’m invisible and that nobody is paying attention to me, like in high school . I realize that everything I do and say is being judged (consciously or not) in context of the gun. So, while I’d much rather glare at salespeople, ignore attempts at pointless conversation while standing in line, or start ranting when I’m asked if I’ve found everything I need, I find myself being polite. Engaging, even. Sometimes actually downright helpful.
Proof in my mind that  being armed in society is making me more polite, at least. And that's a start.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How to clear this drain?

Our driveway slopes down towards the front of the garage, and at the lowest point, their is a drain. This is a good thing. Unless the water is coming down faster that it goes away at which point it likes to visit the interior of the garage. Well, after 20-plus years of stuff washing down the drain, it's full. What's the best way to get this thing cleaned out? I have no idea where the drain goes, or what the water does when it gets there.

The drain is in the circle on the upper right. The drain cover (lower left) has been removed for the picture.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My knife.

Because all the cool kids are doing it, and because I only have one knife (I'm not counting bayonets, or other stabby pokey things), here's my knife. I wear dresses and heels to work, and seldom have pockets. This fits on my lanyard along with my badges, and doesn't cause any raised eyebrows. (And North? I'm showing a little blade just so you don't pick on me like you did JayG.)

Let’s start with cake.

In case you’re new, or don’t remember everything you read on every blog, Sweet Daughter is rather fond of cats. She requested a “Hello Kitty” cake for her sixth birthday. So we poked around the interwebz and came up with our version of the Hello Kitty Cake. I am no artiste when it comes to cake decorating. I've always preferred a cake taste good over looking good, so a professional-looking cake has never been a priority. Here's what we did ...

Start with a two-layer cake mix/recipe. Bake one 9” circle and one 9” square.  Attempt to have the cakes come out of the oven at approximately the same height. If you are actually successful, go out and buy yourself a lottery ticket because your luck is just that good.

If you’re really “detail oriented”, cut a circle and square out of paper the same size as your cakes in order to make a pattern so you don’t mess up when it comes time to cut the actual the cake. Go ahead and cut your cake pieces and realize that they bear only a faint resemblance to the paper pieces.

Go ahead and dry fit the pieces together and notice that the parts from the center of the cake are MUCH higher than the parts from the edge. Take a serrated knife, and carefully saw off some of the high spots while shrugging your shoulders and assuring yourself that the frosting will hide a multitude of sins.

Slap some icing on the pieces of cake like mortar on bricks and stick them together. Recall something about a “crumb coat” from reading all those fancy cake-decorating sites, and carefully ice the sides of the cake, then the top. Calculate how much icing you have left and start filling in the low spots. Congratulate yourself when you realize you’re made just the right amount to frost the whole cake and have it look somewhat level even if it does look more like a mummy than a kitty.

Try to make a bow out of “Fruit by the Foot” and silently curse whoever thought it would be a good idea to run serpentine lines down the length of the thing, causing it to fall to pieces. End up shoving a couple of rows together to make a wider piece on top of a piece of waxed paper. Cut out a bow shape. Realize you can’t peel the waxed paper off because everything is too sticky and floppy. Stick the whole thing in the freezer and see if that helps. (It does.) Quickly peel the waxed paper off the rapidly thawing bow and slap it on the cake, thanking the stars above that your daughter thinks you just worked magic instead of fussing about a sub-par bow.

Add jelly-beans for the eyes and nose, black gel icing for the whiskers, and do not obsess about things you'd do differently. Instead, bask in the glow when the birthday girl tells you that you “rock” and gives you a hug of epic proportion, and vow to remember this in 10 years when you can do nothing right.

Long time ...

… no blog.
Let’s see …
Earthquake, hurricane, major changes at work (I’m still employed for now at least, yay!), Sweet Daughter’s 6th birthday, the first day of school and the added responsibilities of 1st grade and the additional homework, a tropical storm and rain of “biblical proportions” (we’re fine, we’re on the “up” side of a hill), trying to explain to SD what happened on September 11th ten years ago (at one point I was fighting back tears and all but yelling “I really, REALLY HATE BAD GUYS!”), and helping my sister with a massive yard sale.
Time to start catching up.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Last Monday, Sweet Daughter and I went to the Regional Amusement Park. The good news is that I found some great discount tickets online, and the weather was perfect like only the back side of a hurricane can be. Mid 80’s, sunny, breezy, and no humidity. Not only that, there weren’t any lines. Nada. None. Zilch. Zippo.  The longest we had to wait was for any given attraction to finish its current run and then it was our turn.

The bad news is that they don’t let you go armed. They don’t even let you carry a pocket knife -- although they did let me check it at the front gate so I didn’t have to go back to the car. (Well that, and the fact that none of the roller coasters that SD could ride had enough room for my knees.)

SD wanted to wear matching shirts, and while I’ve always secretly laughed at families that do that, I will admit that there are some distinct advantages. The people running the rides can tell which kid you belong to. If, heaven forbid, you were to get separated, you can point to yourself and say “she was wearing a shirt like this!” But best of all, if you choose wisely, you can influence how you are perceived.  Because nothing says “I’m not a victim, nor am I a threat -- unless you mess with me first” like matching Kalishnikitty shirts.