Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'm determined

Some days posting on my blog seems like a lovely little way to share what I'm thinking...and other days it feels like one more thing I *need* to do.

To make it easy on myself, I'm going to leave this post-in progress up for a while, and as things pop in my brain I can add them and then let them get out of the way of the work I'm doing.

- I really enjoyed the movie of RENT. Having listened to the soundtrack countless times and having seen the stage show only one, I was able to spot a few things that were changed (reinterpreted), but I'm sure I didn't get them all. And the fact that I mostly listen to albums now on shuffle on my iPod meant that it was harder for me to tell when song order changed. But I did notice a few words changed here and there.
I thought there were some issues with the direction - mostly the Roger/Mimi scenes and a few of the dialogue to song transitions. But they weren't disruptive enough to ruin my enjoyment of the movie. The movie fit the "world" that I have imagined when listening to the CD over and over again, and I thought that the things that were altered for the big screen were done well. It seems to me that it was a good stand alone movie, although I have an extremely biased perspective and I know what was going to happen (or be said) before it happened (in most cases) I could be totally wrong on that one. And given that musicals are just generally not popular anymore, I don't really expect people who aren't fans of the show to go see it.

- There is no need for us to purchase any more toys for Stewart (unless we need a new cat dancer or laser pointer - the interactive toys he likes). Lately, all of his "playing alone" energy has been spent on the plastic rings and former rings from milk jugs. On Sunday morning, he was even fetching...we kept throwing it from bed, and he kept bringing it back. He also still enjoys "helping" while I knit.

- A late review of the set I designed in July. One of my college professors saw it and just told me that I did an "amazing job". Aaaaahhhhh. :-)
Full disclosure - he's also a friend of the family. He and my mom were good friends in high school. But that didn't mean that I got A's on everything when I took his classes...and he didn't have to use the word amazing if he didn't want to...

- We had a nice visit with family in Ohio at Thanksgiving. All three grandparents seem to be well and we had a great time with friends that lived across the street from me growing up. My friend Heidi and her husband have two adorable boys. Bobby is 3 and Brendan is 6 months - we haven't seen Bobby for two years, so the change was pretty amazing.
Lots of time to knit in transit and while we were there. I might be ready for Christmas after all.

- It seems as though R and I will be dumping our gym membership in favor of putting together a small "gym" at home. We both have some hand weights, so a treadmill is first on the list. I find myself surprisingly excited about this plan. The only issue at this point is figuring out how we can afford a new TV for the exercise area (or a new one for upstairs so that an old TV can move down).

I'm sure that more will come to me this evening, but it is nearly time to go get the bus.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A week has gone by...

...and my lack of posting wasn't intentional. It's just been busy enough that I haven't made the time. And when I did have time, I was on dial-up at my grandmother's, so not much time.

The saga with the picture rail continues. It's all up, but it needs some more futsing. The new bedspread came, the fabric for the headboard is pinned and the curtains are ordered. The room is nearing completion, but the evening doesn't seem to afford a lot of time for that unless I get home early.

*sigh* I really want to post, but I really need to go to sleep soon.

I'll try to make some time tomorrow night. Meetings all day tomorrow.

Monday, November 21, 2005

the Bedroom and Harry Potter

Bedroom Drama:
(Get your mind out of the gutter!)

I'm very proud of myself. The darned picture rail for the bedroom has been in the works since March. *sigh*. We painted the bedroom for three weekends in March and April. (It would have taken less time if I would have primed the wood trim. duh.) Sometime in April or May, I got the pieces of picture rail cut and in June I found the time (and good weather) to stain them.

Last Sunday, I started the process of putting the trim up. I got the flat trim on around the doorway to the "dressing room" and I started on the picture rail. But, it was Sunday evening, and I ran into a few snags. I found two pieces that didn't quite fit (too big) and I found that nailing pieces into the exterior wall was not easily workable. The layer of furring below the plaster is pretty thin, so it didn't take me long to get to masonry. And 6 penny nails don't easily go into masonry.

So yesterday, I got the smallest masonry drill bit at home depot, and a bit more motivation. I cut the long pieces, and got them in place. I successfully nailed the exterior wall pieces, with the help of my new drill bit. And in the end, I got all but one piece up on the wall, and all of the holes filled with wood putty. The final challenge was the "long" wall. The only wall long enough for an 8' piece and another shorter piece. If this wall was straight, I would have finished everything but the final staining last night...easily. But, the wall is wavy. (I could also mention that none of our corners are 90 degrees and I'm really not working with the right tools for that kind of situation...but I'm not really going to complain.) After realizing that nails were not sufficient to secure the trim to the wall, I broke out the drill and a 3" screw - thinking that having one in the middle to pull the trim in at the "worst point" would be sufficient, and nails would work for the rest of the length. But, after about 2 seconds, the screw pulled out of the wall, and I was back at square one. I fussed a bit more, but without more 3" screws and considering the way the plaster crumbles around the holes, there wasn't a whole lot I can do.

Tonight I will cut my 8' length of picture rail in half and hope that the shorter span will be able to accommodate the nasty curve in the wall better. I mean, honestly, it's not like all of the pieces that are up are super secure and perfect. We're dealing with plaster walls in a 90 year old house. There isn't a lot in those walls to really get secure into, I'm using a hammer and nails (not a nail gun) and none of the walls are really flat. I realized long ago that trying to use a stud finder in this house is just a fruitless effort...although it might be useful on the third floor or basement, so maybe I'll find a use for it someday.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:
(No spoilers, but if you're planning to see the movie, I would wait to read anyone's comments until you've formed your own opinions...)

Overall, I enjoyed the movie a lot. There is a little part of me that wishes they would have made it into two movies - I missed Mrs. Weasley and it seems like there were a lot of characters that only got a scene or two (not enough Snape!), since there were SO many characters in this book. But I think they did a good job of focusing on the important plotlines from such a long book. And I had a good time and thought that the story climax was very well done.

I just have two critiques. I don't remember having a problem with Dumbledore in POA, so I don't know if it was a bad acting choice or bad direction...but I really got a sense that *someone* just doesn't understand what Dumbledore's manner is supposed to be about. He doesn't yell or shake Harry by the shoulders. He was just more *intense* and fast paced than the Dumbledore that is portrayed in the book. I'm really hoping that this was poor direction, and that this issue will be solved for Dumbledore's important parts at the end of book 5 and throughout book 6.

There also felt to me like there were pacing issues throughout the movie. And I don't actually think it was the whole movie, but there were definitely points where the pace from scene to scene felt very "jumpy" and a few non-action scenes that felt unnecessarily slow. And a few of the scenes in the great hall were shot in a way that made the hall seem smaller and more intimate than usual.

To make a few unfair comparisons, I feel like Chris Columbus did a great job of portraying EXACTLY what was in the books, which was great for the first one, and maybe a little overkill for the second...but I still enjoy watching them. I think Alfonso Cuaron did a wonderful job of "interpreting" the book as a movie. He did not present the book as literally as the first two, but he also didn't distort any of the characters or lose any important qualities from the books. It's a fine line, and I think he did the best job of walking it. I hope he directs another HP movie.

I guess in the end, GOF is still my favorite book and it is a better movie than the first two, but I think POA is still my favorite movie thus far.

Friday, November 18, 2005


A friend posted this link on her blog, so I had to try it, too. What does your name mean?

I would post this as a comment in her blog, but she doesn't allow anonymous commenters and I don't have a livejournal. :-P

Beloved : French

Peaceful, poised and understanding you do not let anyone or anything disturb your innate calm. You are tolerant of others no matter how their behaviours or beliefs differ from your own. Not attached to material or worldly affairs you are free to express your true self. Displaying great wisdom and serenity people are naturally drawn to you for guidance and counsel. Your courage and presence of mind see you through any adversity.

For fun, I plugged in the cats, too. I'd say the last line of Nora's is true, Effie definitely thinks she's a famous beauty and the first line of Stewart's is *very* true.

Light : French

You are charming, talented and have a very positive attitude to life so it is hardly surprising that you attract success and recognition. Focussed and patient you understand that material rewards are a result of discipline. Being so creative and with a need for self-expression you may be drawn towards the arts, travel is also likely to be important. A loyal friend, you are a person who must be allowed freedom and independence.

Famous beauty : Greek

Energetic and courageous you stand up for your beliefs and for what you desire. You are independent, strong willed and fiercely competitive when needed although your ambition is tempered with patience. You maintain a positive attitude and with a more organised or practical approach to life material success is very likely. Your immensely loving and generous nature brings joy into peoples lives and ensures your happiness.

Steward of the household : English

Life is never dull with your adventurous and restless spirit. You are always on the move and seeking a new challenge to pit your wits against. Being in touch with nature you love the outdoors. You have keen intuition and a desire for knowledge and you can be something of a crusader. When you apply discipline and tenacity to your energetic mind then leadership positions are easily available to you.

The Decorating Bug

I have been bitten again.

(Hopefully this post won't scare my husband too much.)

In my case, the decorating bug hit when I ordered fabric samples from Country Curtains. I have to say that I am very impressed with this feature. The thought of going from store to store to find the right curtains is not appealing (I'm very picky) and there is great fear associated with ordering curtains from online vendors (or even catalogs) sight unseen. If you go to the country curtains website, you can request up to ten free samples of their fabrics. This totally rocks! I have the convenience of ordering online (or by phone) without the fear of the fabric looking different than expected on arrival.

So now I know what curtain fabric I want to put up in every room on the first and second floor of our house (not including the bathroom). This not only makes me excited about ordering curtains and adding some color to our rooms...but it also makes me want to start painting. Several rooms are painted, but my new color plan makes me think that one room should be repainted and makes me glad that I haven't painted the kitchen cabinets yet, because I'm rethinking the direction I was going to take that room.

The sad part of this plan is that it includes less use of purple (and it's various shades) than I would have anticipated. But at the same time, I realize that none of these color schemes preclude the major use of purple within a room (a.k.a. my big purple couch). In thinking it through, it is probably good to avoid purple walls, considering the number of purple accessories I already own and am likely to receive in the future. Besides, my love of purple does not prevent my adoration of many other colors. And, in general, my favorite shades of purple are dark and rich, and having those on the wall would probably drive my husband to take away my paintbrushes.

Also, it might make the most sense to save a deep, rich color like purple for some part of the basement (when Rudy's office is no longer down there) since so little light penetrates the space anyway.

I just needed to get all of these thoughts recorded, so that I can go back to work without distraction. I need to leave on time today, so I can get out of town before the craziness of Light Up Night begins!

I think it will be a good weekend. Stuff at home tonight, Rockettes tomorrow, Harry Potter on Sunday...and there is a pumpkin pie and whipped cream in the refrigerator, so Rudy should be happy. If only we can find time for some driving practice...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I wish...

...I would have asked my question earlier in the day. It prompted a meeting with the "big boss", that I now need to prepare for before I can leave tonight. *sigh*

But I do work better with a deadline...

No exciting title for this post

I love the Irish Hiking Scarf Pattern! And I am knitting it with the softest and warmest wool I've ever had on my needles. It is elizabeth lavold's Chunky AL - 50% FS Alpaca and 50% Peruvian Wool. I will be making something for myself out of this stuff after the holidays - no doubt!

Knitting Christmas presents seems to be the most exciting thing going on for me right now. I am looking forward to seeing the new Harry Potter movie on Sunday afternoon and I'm happy that I don't need to clean the house this weekend since we aren't hosting Thanksgiving (although I might do some cleaning just so I don't feel the need to do any during the long weekend.

I am also in the process of putting together suggested window treatments for the house. It will likely be a while until we can do more window replacements, so some fabric at the windows could certainly help, especially with gas prices expected to climb this winter.

I had a good walk on Monday, but lunch plans prevented one yesterday and will prevent one today. Hopefully it won't be rainy on Thursday - rain is definitely harder to deal with than the cold at this point in the year.

I've been feeling a little "blah" lately. It's not all of the time, just here and there. I'm hoping maybe it is just tiredness and getting myself to bed earlier will help. I managed to get about 8 hours last night - it is a trend I need to continue!

And last, but not least, Grandma got to go home yesterday! I haven't had a chance to call yet, but Dad said she sounds good. I hope she got a good night's sleep last night, back in her own bed and without a roommate. ;-)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Weekend Update

Friday evening I started another knitted Christmas present (which I finished Sunday night).

Saturday morning I had a wonderful massage. In the afternoon and evening I fluctuated between doing nothing and organizing things in my office and computer. It was gorgeous, so after walking over to the coffee shop for chai, I came home and opened windows for the kitties.

Sunday we slept in. Once we were up and about, I finally start working on the picture rail in the bedroom. I discovered the need for a few tools that were not immediately available. So instead of finishing the picture rail, I ended up going through the tool/paint area in the basement. I put up a set of shelves for all of the paint and paint supplies (it's been on my mental to-do list for a few weeks, but I hate being down there with the kitty litter smell) and went through all of the piles and shelves of stuff down in that room. Three garbage bags and a quarter roll of paper towels later, the unfinished area of the basement is a whole new place. There is still a shelf of stuff to get rid of, that we have to figure out how to get rid of, but the rest of what is left is all stuff we *want* and not just stuff that was left for us.

(Note to self: When we sell a house, don't leave a bunch of crap in the basement and garage for the new owners. It's just not nice or necessary.)

So I probably need a smaller masonry drill bit than the one I uncovered last night. So once I have that, I can finish the trim. Hopefully by this weekend, if not during it.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

New Template

There wasn't really a nice purple template available, so I chose the one I liked the best. The overwhelming whiteness of the old one was annoying to me.

While I was updating I added links to some of my completed knitting projects. It is not everything, but those are most of the projects that I've taken pictures of. I'm much better at taking pictures of presents than stuff for me.

I've also added links to the blogs that I read regularly so it will be easier for me to get to them quickly. If you know of a blog that you think I should be reading, let me know.

Progress. I like it.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Sun influence

If it would have been as sunny at lunchtime as it is right now, I probably would have been good and walked.

Bad Amy.

Instead I bought more yarn for Christmas presents. Mmmmmm. Now that I have thought of presents to make for everyone I am definitely in less of a funk about the impending holidays than I was...

3:30am wake-up

With 5 of us in the bed, I usually wake-up at some point during the night because I am too "trapped" to move in my sleep. I have learned to accept this. I can generally fall back to sleep in a few minutes, the disturbance usually occurs about 4 hours after I've gone to bed (so I am relatively confident that REM sleep isn't being disturbed) and I have learned that despite the incredibly cuteness of the "puddles" of cat on the bed, my sleep is most definitely more important than theirs. I don't get to nap WHENEVER I want to.

When I fell asleep last night, Stewart was sleeping on my legs. I was in a comfortable position, so no problem. But when I woke up at three o'clock this morning, it was because my legs were falling off the bed! Both he and Nora were sleeping between Rudy's legs and mine, and apparently Stewart had been stretching to the extent that my legs were traveling slowly to and over the edge of the bed...

Along with his need to take up as much space as possible while sleeping, Stewart also likes attention, and lots of it. As soon as he sees that I am at all awake, he comes up to my head for attention. In this particular case it worked out well, because it freed up the lower portion of the bed so my legs had a resting place again. But I did have to direct Stewart a little bit to prevent him from leaning on Effie. And it took a few minutes to convince him that I was done rubbing his head and in need of going back to sleep. After a few minutes of unrewarded finger nibbling he got the hint, put his head down on my chest, and we both went back to sleep.

As far as I am aware, the other 3 in the bed were not disturbed by these rearrangements.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

My tunes

I like shuffling with my iPod because it usually reminds me of a few albums I haven't listened to in a long time. I think there will be some more Moxy Fruvous and Radiohead after lunch. ;-)

Chips on My Shoulder - Soft Cell
I Remember That - "Saturday Night" World Premiere Recording
The Ballad of Czolgosz - Neil Patrick Harris - "Assassins" 2004 Broadway Cast
Doctor Robert - The Beatles
Whistle While You Work - Adriana Caselotti - "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"
I Love My Boss - Moxy Fruvous
Instrumental: June Meets her Twin Sisters - Rachel Portman - "The Joy Luck Club"
Phone Call - Jason Graae - "Lucky Stiff"
Instrumental: The Grand Waltz - "The Sound of Music"
Capitol Radio - The Clash
No Surprises - Radiohead
Gordo's Law of Genetics - "A New Brain" 1998 Original Cast Recording
A Wink and a Smile - Harry Connick, Jr. - "Sleepless in Seattle" soundtrack
Gulf War Song - Moxy Fruvous
Foolish Games - Jewel
Hey Now Everybody - They Might Be Giants
I Get a Kick out of You - Patti Lupone - "Anything Goes"
Instrumental: Precedent - Howard Shore - "Philadelphia"
Tchaikovsy Rococo Variations - VI: Andante - Leonard Rose
Round Tables, Square tables - "Falsettoland" Original Cast Recording
Twelve Days to Christmas - "She Loves Me" Original Cast Recording
There is a Light - Nick Cave

There were a few more...but I was in such a work groove that I forgot to record them and I don't feel like going back to get them.

Going to meet a friend for lunch. Yeah sushi!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I'm bad

I didn't walk yesterday or today. No good reason, just laziness.

Maybe watching "The Biggest Loser" this evening will provide motivation.


Quick Update

Grandma is doing well. She has come a long way in a week, and honestly when we left the hospital on Saturday night she seemed totally fine. She stood for ~10 minutes while we said goodbye, her speech is normal and her comprehension is there. She will be in the hospital for rehab for as long as she and the doctor think it is necessary. It sounds like she doesn't mind the rehab, but wishes she could sleep in her own bed at night. Where she will go after this is still TBD - but I have a feeling she wil be going back to her apartment. There will just need to be some extra precautions put into place because she could have another TIA at any time. So no more driving and we'll probably come up with a schedule to make sure that someone talks to her every morning.

What happened last week was scary, but she seems to have recovered really well. Hopefully we have a lot more time to spend together. But I am very happy that I went to Ohio. Seeing her doing so well made me feel better and if something awful were to happen now, at least I have seen her. I'm still not ready to lose her...but I know that none of us (including the doctors) can really prevent future scares.

On the knitting front, I was planning to post pictures last night...but after Effie had taken over my lap I realized that my wireless card was upstairs. Meaning no access to the server where the pictures are stored or the internet where I would post them. Maybe tonight, if I can get eveything I need before I'm trapped on the couch. :-) I've been getting lots of xmas presents knitted, some of which are for people who don't read there might be more than just photos of baby stuff posted.

My December 26th-31st vacation will probably involve getting lots of photos (knitting and otherwise) online. I always have hopes for that week that are just way too I will try to keep my goals within reason this year!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


I find myself occassionally in a quandry about how much personal information to post here. On one hand, the only people I've told about this blog are close friends (most of whom don't have their own blog to link mine to) and on the other hand *anyone* could be reading this.

I guess the balance has to be found in writing what I need to "get out" while still being careful.

I am concerned because my grandmother is not well. On Sunday, my paternal grandmother had a minor stroke and then another on Monday. At the point, we are told from my aunts and uncles that she is recovering well, she has made a lot of progress in the last couple of days - including talking, smiling, sitting up in a chair and telling my uncle that she doesn't like the neurologist. Sounds like the Grandma that I know.

So beyond the good news that she is recovering well and she has a great team of doctors and nurses looking after, the main reason for concern is that this is a chronic condition that the medical team can't keep from happening again. They are running tests, she is taking medicine, and she will be going to therapy...but another stroke cannot be predicted or prevented.

I am heading to Dayton on Friday, as are my parents. There is nothing specific that we will do, other than see Grandma and the rest of the family. Hopefully there is a lot more time to be spent together. But I can't help but think about how quickly Rudy's grandmother went from being stable to being unconscious...and then being gone. It's possible that I would be less anxious to go visit this week, had it not been for the experience with her earlier this year.

On a positive note, I had a fabulous time at a baby shower last night. I have taken pictures of the knitted presents, but they haven't been transferred to a computer yet. The mother to be was so appreciative that she started to choke up. Yeah! Pictures - soon, soon.

Now knitting progress on Christmas presents can continue without distraction. I love reason to go yarn shopping without guilt. ;-)