Monday, March 31, 2008

Wonderful Mail Surprise!

Today I came home from a very hectic day at work to find a wonderful surprise in my mailbox. At first, I was trying to remember what I had ordered until I saw the return address and realized what it was. It was my pinkeep exchange from Carol S.! I absolutely love everything! Thank you so much Carol! She stitched Remember Me from Praiseworthy Stitches and I absolutely love that flower. Very cheerful and very appropriate for Spring. She did a great job picking out something I like not to mention extra goodies! She included a lovely piece of light blue linen, a fat quarter of red gingham fabric, a couple skeins of red floss (she picked up on me liking you can tell by the pillow in the background of my picture), needles and some yummy lotion.
Carol is a wonderful stitcher and finisher. I hope to be as good as her one day. I kept examining how she finished the pinkeep so that I could get ideas for constructing the one I need to make for my exchange partner. Here is a close up of the front of the pinkeep. I love the colors in this piece!
And here is a snap of the back. More red fabby! I love red and I will find a special spot in my bookcase to display it!

It was a wonderful mail day indeed! Since I am already on the topic of pinkeeps and exchanges, I spent most of the evening trying to construct my pinkeep. I am 90% done. It seems to take me forever to do these things but this is only my first pinkeep so I am being very slow and careful to not screw things up. Not to mention I forgot there was sewing to do. Why did I think I didn't need to sew for this project?! At least I didn't prick myself this time! The only thing left for me to do is the embellishment. I had ribbon and I didn't really like how it looked and I have trim but it is the wrong color so I will have to shoot to Joann's tomorrow to get the right color trim so I can finish this and send it off to my exchange partner. And I was so hoping to be done and get this off to the post tomorrow. At least I will make it in the post a couple of days before the deadline so that's good.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Quick Weekend Post

It's late and I should be getting nice and cozy with my down comforter right now so I can catch up on my ZZzzzZZZzzz's and be refreshed in the morning but fact of the matter is that I'm usually a zombie first thing in the morning and coffee will be a necessity in the a.m.

I had a nice weekend which was all over the place. I did have two dates with the "new" new guy and I have to say, I am having a terrific time! Time completely flies and it just leaves me floored! Friday we headed into the city for a tapas dinner in the Mission. We started the night off with some crummy sangria. Sadly disappointing as I love me some sangria and I can make a pretty mean batch. Dinner was fairly good with the exception of the shrimp which was marinated in a good head of garlic. Gah! But as I keep saying, we can be left to our own devices and get along ok. After dinner, we walked in search of a lowkey bar to hang out in and continue our conversation. We found a Greek wine bar and managed to while away a couple more hours despite the weirdness of a Greek wine bar. They pretty much kicked us out as we didn't want to drink anymore and we headed to the car. I was shocked to find that it was already past midnight! We had managed to fill 5 hours with laughter, conversation, joking, wine and food. I had a great time and the company was steller. I had mentioned to him that I wanted to go to the Stanford to catch the last day of the Hitchcock Festival and he said that he would like to come along hence two dates in one weekend. Since he wanted to come along, I wasn't about to drag him to the double feature as that's a long time to sit in a theater. He picked The Birds and so he picked me up today and we headed to Palo Alto. We both needed a pick-me-up and we headed to a cozy coffee shop and sat outside to chat and catch up on the week. We headed over to the movie and let me tell you, those birds in the movie are scary! It was my first time watching The Birds...I don't know if I can look at birds the same way again! After the movie we enjoyed the brief organ music and then headed out in the cold to try and find a place we could tuck into and chat somemore. We accomplished that and whiled the hours away. NNG (new new guy) dropped me off back at home 7.5 hours later. Yep, it was a long date that didn't seem to last longer than the lenth of the movie! Me and NNG have a ton in common. Bay area upbringing, catholic schooling, immigrant parents, spanish, snarky, sarcastic humor, entertaining mannerisms and local residences. But we aren't so alike that it's boring. My mannerisms crack him up and his crack me up. We are both entertainers. I'm not sure if people understand what I mean by that. Usually, I'm the entertainer on dates, the one that talks the most...trying to get that other person to get out of their shell. I have no shell...not really...I go into dating with a "what you see, is what you get, take me as I am" type of an attitude because I know I will not change and I don't expect anyone to change for me either. I've dated so much that dates don't really faze me until real, true feelings start to mix in. I am the one who entertains...chatty, asks loads of questions, I have funny stories and I'm a good entertainer...but I am pretty tired of playing that role. This is a guy where the entertaining is 50-50 and I enjoy that. We click, we communicate amazingly well and we have fun. I am completely looking forward to seeing him again.

I did go to NiaH on Saturday to pick up the Bent Creek Love You Mom chart. I was hoping to grab the stuff and run but Mary noticed that the colors called for in the chart weren't really true to the picture image and I ended up spending 1.5 hours trying to pick out just the right browns for the project. I'm not even sure I'm really happy with my choices but I wasn't very awake at the shop because of my late night the day prior. I'll have to ransack my stash to see if I can find something better. I didn't really get stash...just the chart, fabric and three threads for the project plus one goodie for my exchange partner and some flossaway bags in the hopes to get organized so no good stash pics this time around. The rest of the day was spent running errands, tidying up and attempting to get through Lesson 1 of my work-related class. I managed to get through it all with just one missed question and minimal frustration.

It was a busy, hectic weekend which was enjoyable but did not provide any time for stitching or finishing. I am behind and must work on finishing my exchange project tomorrow as it needs to be posted by Friday. Oh and it has such a long way to go! I had hoped to have this all done last week. How did I get so behind?!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Stepping into the Whirlwind

I'm hesitantly taking that big step into the whirlwind of what will be the next two weeks. Work is CRAZY busy and I am starting to feel myself becoming a tense stress case because people expect me to do all my normally time-consuming things, plus extra projects plus meet big deadlines. The people who have to help me meet the big deadlines are big procrastinators! So a lot of my responses for help have been met with, "um, pretty busy, maybe I can look at that in a couple of weeks". It amazes me that I work with a bunch of people that want things RIGHT NOW...this very minute!!...but when I need can take forever! My big deadline is April 4th so I will be ecstatic when that date is past. I am hoping that my stitching time will not be affected by the stress but sometimes when I am stressed out, I can't concentrate on patterns and just need the time to stare blankly at the tv and decompress.

The week so far has been filled with the normal day-to-day things like cleaning up after myself, cooking and yoga. Tonight is another Symphony night. Normally, my symphony dates are not so close together. That should be's Mozart this time. The rest of the week will be more yoga and possibly a date.

Oh, I forgot to mention that part of the reason I am stressed...besides the big that my work-related class started yesterday. The instructor wants us to read one chapter per week, watch powerpoint presentations and do homework and participate in online discussions. All this needs to be completed by the Sunday of each week. It doesn't sound like a lot but it is when you haven't had to do anything academic in years! I haven't even cracked open the book! So this will be interesting.

So yesterday, I got to thinking about how I've stitched for many people but I haven't really stitched for my mom. She's the one who taught me to cross stitch and I think she has a lot of my earlier stuff when I was trying things out and not really what I considered good. But like a good mom, she keeps everything...serious packrat here. My mom and I always butted heads for as long as I remember...but the last year or two, she has mellowed out and I think that despite our different opinions and ways of life, we've accepted that we're different and don't really have the time or energy to be shoving it in each others face anymore. So now she's the mellow one and my dad has become the needy one. They've switched places somehow. Now if only both of them would get hearing aids, I'd be happy. But anyways, mom is acting cooler and I think it's time I make her something so I thought this would make a nice Mother's Day present.I liked it because over the years I have called her all these names except mum or mere. They should have ma because that's usually what I scream through the house when I'm trying to find her (def. needs a hearing aid). I have 1.5 months to stitch it and finish it. I'm not sure if I should frame it or make it into a pillow. My mom has so much crap I don't know where she'll put it but we'll find a place!
So with this sudden vision of enlightenment, I emailed NiaH and asked them if they had the chart and they do! Yay! So I am off to Alameda this weekend to kit the project and start it right away. Looks like poor Fairy Moon is going to the back burner for a while longer. I also need to finish (already stitched) two exchange a flat-fold and the other a pinkeep...neither which I have ever done before so I am a little nervous. I also need to read a chapter and do schoolwork...yuk! And I most definitely need to go to the Stanford Theatre to catch the very last day of their Hitchcock Festival. I must...I don't care what gets in my way...I am so there. They will be showing The Birds and Psycho. OMG, those are two of his best movies!

So it looks like along with a busy and hectic week, I will have a busy and hectic weekend too.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! I hope that everyone had a lovely Easter Sunday. Mine was very nice! I managed to drive into the city (yet again...third time this weekend) because I had to go pick up a St. Honore cake at Victoria's Pastry in North Beach for my aunt's birthday. It was her birthday on Friday but today was the first chance I had to stop by considering my hectic Saturday. This cake is my favorite cake ever and my mom loves it as well. I will make the trek into the city especially for this is that good! I love that Victoria's makes it in a smaller size that is good for 6-8 people. Usually, the cakes are garmongous and we are left eating cake for the entire week (which doesn't help my lose 10 pounds in '08 quest). With 5 people, only one generous slice was left as everyone wanted extras. Good thing I left that slice at my parents since I probably would have eaten that as well by now. North Beach was beautiful today. I drove in, found street parking right away (the Gods are truly with me today!), picked up the cake and went to my coffee version of Cheers...Caffe Greco. The guys who work here know me on sight and they are a funny bunch. They make my coffee just how I like and it's a primo spot to people watch all day if I want. I didn't have the time to people watch though. I read a bit while I drank my coffee and then it was time to head to my parents. I tried stopping off at Joann's and Beverleys to get fabric and goodies for my exchange but both places were closed! Looks like I will have to push the deadline. The Joann's near me is not that great and I really wanted to go to the one near my parents since it seems nicer and better organized. I don't know when I can get there now. Easter at my parents was nice and low key. We chatted, I arranged a ton of flowers, ate homemade chicken soup and ate really yummy cake. After that, I headed home to work on my exchange piece and relax. I chatted a bit with the new guy and I'll be seeing him at the end of the week. So overall it was a good day and a nice Easter. Above is a picture of daffodils that I bought at Trader Joes (so cheap!). Daffodils always remind me of the beginning of Spring and their bright yellow color makes me smile and feel cheerful. I thought I would share them with you as they sit on top of my tv so they are in my constant line of sight as I'm a tv junkie. Happy Easter!

A Beautiful Day

A couple of days ago, I asked Claire if she would check out a new place for brunch on Saturday. We always go to the same place and I just wanted to mix things up and I had gotten a Yelp email about comfort food places and it mentioned Slow Club. I like comfort food and I have heard good things about the restaurant in the past. Claire is a big walker so I have to trade going to brunch with taking a walk. Ok, I can do this but I should say that taking a walk with Claire is more like taking a three mile hike up and down hills or stairways within San Francisco so it really is a workout and I get very whiny which luckily, she can tune out. So we picked a walk in Potrero Hill and I know that Hill is part of the name but I never realized how hilly it actually is! I got a major glutes workout! At one point during the walk, we hiked up a moderately steep hill and this was the view I saw from downtown. Not the nicest view considering the freeway and new construction but it is a view that people don't usually see in postcards, etc.
We walked through a park called McKinley park which is dog-friendly so we made nice with the dogs. And as a native, I learned something new. Right off the park is the city's second most crookedest street. Everyone has head of Lombard Street but there is a section of Vermont Street that is as crooked if not more. The turns are 90 degree with about 4-5 curves in the street. It is not as scenic as Lombard but it was interesting all the same. We finally got back to the car after climbing the biggest hill ever and we made our way to Slow Club.

Slow Club was pretty cool. I wasn't fond of the interior...lots of silver, chrome and cement which made it seem too industrial. Potrero Hill is fairly industrial though. The food was good. I had the fried egg sandwich which was very yummy...and messy. Claire had the turkey sausage hash which wasn't like any hash I've ever seen but very tasty as well. I think next time, I'd like to sit outside if it was a nice day and there was a table free.

The rest of the day was busy. I had dinner and Symphony plans with another friend and we headed to Absinthe for a pre-dinner cocktail. Despite my curiousity about Absinthe, I couldn't bring myself to try an Absinthe cocktail. I opted for my usual sidecar and they make them perfectly here at Absinthe. It's a fun bar that has that whole feel of the "Belle Epoque" French period. I think next time, I'll have to ask the bartender to help me choose an Absinthe cocktail to say that I've tried it. We headed to dinner and to the Symphony. It was a great performance of Stravinsky's Firebird Suite that was conducted by an up and coming conductor from Venezuela who is only 27 years old. All I can say is Wow!

Saturday was a perfect city day!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Can't I Just Date in Peace?!

Before I go into it all, I know that the person I'm referring to in the story had good intentions but I really, REALLY wish I was more anonymous within the radial area that I hang out in.

On Wednesday, I had a date. It was a new guy, not the old "new guy". I was looking forward to the date and wasn't really nervous, things seemed on track and we had loads in common already. We'd proven to be very chatty in emails and on the phone, energy was good so it was time to meet. We picked a place and a time, we were both on time and jumped right into it fast. And frankly, it wasn't the typical first date least not straight off the bat. The new guy has lived abroad for nine years and 5 of those years was in the country my entire family is from. We had plenty to talk about regarding that. Different towns, weekend destinations, the freaky encounters with bats, taratulas, cockroaches, monkeys...oh and mosquitos. And frankly, the mosquitos are the worst of the lot. It's a beautiful country but that's what you get when you go to a tropical destination that has heavy vegetation. We probably talked a good hour just about that commonality! And the new guy has more latin mannerisms than I do and I'm the latin one...go figure! About an hour or so into the date, I feel an arm on my back and hear a "Hey Valerie". I was right in the middle of talking about something and that arm really distracted me. I turn around and see that it's one of my co-workers! Geez! Last thing I want to do when I'm on a date is run into someone I know...let alone a co-worker. They are chatty guys and rival old ladies in the gossip department. This particular co-worker is also on Match and I was hoping to God that he would say something stupid like ask me "Oh hey, are you on a Match date" because for once, this was NOT a Match date and don't really feel like divulging that bit of information to the new guy. I did the introductions between the new guy and the co-worker and the co-worker moved on. Whew!

After that encounter, I was so distracted. Lots of thoughts were racing through my head. Is he here on a date? Has he been here the whole time? Where is he even sitting? How come I didn't see him? But to be honest, I have tunnel vision on dates and when I'm out with friends. I completely focus on who I'm with and the conversation at hand assuming I'm having a good time. If I'm having a crap time, I'm all about people watching to get through the experience.

I managed to get back into the flow and we're chatting, laughing and joking and we finally get the bartender to come around to refill our water glasses but the real reason he headed in our direction was because the co-worker wanted to buy us a round. Gah! Dude, I'm on a date...stop bugging me! I've already had 2 glasses of wine and so had the new guy so we passed on the offer. We kept talking and then it was time to visit the loo. I passed by the co-worker and gave him a tap as I walked by and on the way back, he stopped me. He's all chatty and introducing me to the girl he was with...couldn't tell if it was a date or a female friend. He makes some comment about how people can't believe we (he and I) are latin based on how we look. Co-worker looks WAY more latin than I do...he's nuts! I make my excuses and get back to my date. The next thing we know, co-worker is near us again and making comments about how the place is trying to shut down and how it was so unlike me to "close a place down". Frankly, co-worker only knows me at work and work Valerie is very different from free time Valerie and I made a comment as such. But I was completely surprised that we did in fact close the place down...2 glasses of wine, no food and 3.5 hours later. We were so into chatting that neither of us was really very hungry! So I had a good time.

I probably would have felt more relaxed if it hadn't been for my co-worker being there though.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Highlights from the Weekend

My weekend was fairly productive and unassuming. I didn't have any major plans other than chores and was actually pretty focused on getting them done...for a change. I would make the worst wife. I detest cleaning...dishes, vacumming, dusting, laundry, organizing. I dislike all those things yet, I like a clean house. Go figure!

But it was a good weekend. I treated myself to a manicure/pedicure...and already managed to chip a nail. Ack! How does that happen?! I ordered take-out which I am still eating. I only do this once in a while because then I remember why I don't order take-out after eating the same thing for four days. It was yummy chinese food though so I'm not totally complaining but I probably will not be eating chinese again for a while now. I took the car in for it's oil change and headed to my parents for a visit and the opportunity to wash my four garmongous loads of laundry. Yes, I'm 32 and still wash my laundry at the folks. I got some decent stitching time in which is proven by my recent Sweet Dreams post and I managed to get a trip into the city in. I drove in yesterday to visit with my friend Kevin who I only get to see on Sundays, once in a while, because we have completely opposite schedules. We went to eat at the Bell Tower in Russian Hill where I had a huge, yummy bacon cheeseburger with fries and Newcastle beer. The waitress made some comment about how I was eating a "guy's meal". Yep, that's right. Every once in a while, a girl will gorge herself and eat a huge burger with beer and we're okay with it. We don't have to eat salad all the time! She was probably all freaked out that I'd eat like that in front of a guy but I have no shame. After lunch we headed to the theater to see The Bank Job. It was a beautiful day so we walked from Russian Hill to the AMC and managed to get in before the movie got crowded. It was a great movie with good actors although the only one I really recognized was Jason Statham, who I think is a cutie. It had suspense, excitement, sadness and humor. All around, all the things you look for in a good film. I do have to mention that while Kevin was checking out Saffron Burrows on the screen, the lady who chose to sit next to me was driving me berserk. I always get the weird ones when I go to the movies...the talkers, the cringers, the invading my space-ers. I always get to a movie early to scope out my spot and get comfy but people who make me move at the last minute because they are late annoy me. As do the people who check their cellphones repeatedly during the movie and the super bright glare in a super dark theater distracts me. And don't even get me started on people who think it's okay to have a phone conversation during a movie. Those people...get yelled at. Like I said, I have no shame. If I'm going to a movie, I sit down, shut up, turn off my phone and pay attention to the movie. I would hope that others do the same. Uh-oh...looks like I went on a mini-rant there. Anyways, this lady next to me kept putting her large bag in my legroom area and I kept knocking into it. Anyone who knows me in person knows I need my legroom as I'm more legs than anything else! As if having her huge bag in my way wasn't enough, she kept grabbing it and rooting around in it for who knows what and anytime anything potentially violent came up on the screen, I heard "oh god, oh no, I don't think I can watch" commentary and she cringed and covered her eyes. She did this through the previews and throughout the movie! Sorry lady, but if the movie is too violent for you, you should have gone to see Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day or Horton Hears a Who. I'm sure those are just as enjoyable but considerably tamer movies for someone so scared of violence. The movie was called The Bank bank robbery ever goes smoothly in any know there will be guns involved and people may potentially be hurt. It's the standard "recipe" for that type of movie. Despite the distractions, I was still able to pay attention, follow along and enjoy the movie though.

After the movie, we walked back to Russian Hill to collect the car and I was amazed that for 630pm, the sun was out, the sky was blue and despite the coolness in the air, the evening was perfect. It was such a beautiful day and I was just happy to be out in it. And that was the end of the weekend.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Infamous Wine Cabinet!

Ah, the infamous wine all it's wino gloriousness! AM has been asking me to write more about the wine cabinet...mainly she wanted to see a picture because she's been eyeing the same cabinet for her abode. I'm hoping that if she decided to purchase it, it is with much less hassle and anxiety than I experienced with mine. But all in all, I love it. It's small and compact which is a good thing for apartment living. It fits my jumbo wine glasses and champagne glasses. And look...even with all my wine, champagne and whiskey, it's still not full! I have four empty slats. I highly object to all those folks joking that I was a wino! Now I got to go buy more wine though...empty slats is no good. Ruins the whole flow...dontcha think? I am very happy that Crate and Barrel stepped up to the plate on customer service and leaving a happy customer behind. Now I can try to plan when I am going to go back to pick up the dinnerware I've been eyeing since last October. I guess I better get to packing up and donating my old dinnerware before buying new stuff though. It would make the transition much, much easier. If anyone has good wine recommendations to help fill my four slats, let me know. I like to be in the know.

Santa Baby...

I spent a good amount of time working on Sweet Dreams the last couple of days. In fact, I can't seem to put it down even though there are loads of other things I should be doing. I think I just have to admit that I am a one project type of girl. Although I need to try and change it up. The last week had been productive in the stitching department. I've finished all the stitching in Santa and am about half way through his goodie bag...just three presents and the drums with drumsticks and I can move up the side to the top border. I am hoping that once I reach that halfway mark, I can bear to tear myself away enough to make a decent start in Fairy Moon. For all my talking about how I was so eager to start her, I haven't even made one single stitch. This project has me pretty engaged and distracted enough as it is. I think part of my hangup is the dark fabric. It's beautiful fabric but my eyesight isn't what it used to be (ok, let's just admit here that my eyesight was never what it could have been considering I've been wearing glasses for the past 22 years!). Since most of my stitching is done at night and my eyes are tired from staring at a computer all day, the lighter fabrics seem more appealing at the end of the long day. I just haven't had any daylight time to attempt the start of Fairy Moon...soon though...very, very soon.
Say hi to Santa! Hope you've been good so far this year. You don't want to make the naughty list! I'll have to put Santa aside this week. I really need to work on my exchange piece as it has quite a distance to travel. I already know that I will have to devote part of next weekend to goodie and notions purchasing, construction and mailing. Should be interesting as this will be another "first".

Floss Stash!

Finally! After one month of waiting, I received the floss I ordered from Stitching Bits and Bobs. Even though, I anticipated a wait, I still didn't think it would take over 4 weeks to get my 28 skeins of floss. Most of this is for Quaker Christmas which now means that this project is fully kitted! Woohoo! The other floss was for my exchange piece but since Bobbie was taking forever to get this to me, I had to do an emergency purchase at NiaH as I didn't want to be further delayed. I called NiaH on a Tuesday and received them in the mail on Saturday of the same week. Why do I stray from them!?! I know why...that beautiful 4-letter word...SALE. Stitching Bits and Bobs always is having a sale and I like to save money. Crescent Colors and GAST does NOT come cheap! But I am wary of purchasing from them in the future. I had emailed saying that I was worried it was taking so long and if she could at least send me the GAST ahead of schedule so I could start the exchange project and she told me she would receive shipment in a couple of days however it wasn't until another week and a half that I received the email saying my shipment had been posted. I also had put in an order in the beginning of December and that order took six weeks to be posted yet they charged my credit card at time of order instead of time of shipment. I don't really like it when people have my money long before I have my things. If anyone has any leads on a friendly and service oriented online needlework store that has sales, let me know. Otherwise, I should just support my local needlework store which is NiaH. They are a great little shop!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Shades of Grey

Last night was a good one. My wine cabinet saga was over and I was happy to finally see it all brand spanking new and assembled in my dining room. After work, I stopped by Costco to buy a new dvd player and I managed to find the Sony one I was eyeing for $45. Total deal! So I drove home on a positive note, installed the dvd player and was able to finish the rest of Moulin Rouge. Yay! Now I am all ready for my Netflix arrival this afternoon. Can't wait! I can catch up on The Sopranos. I am so curious and hooked on that show despite it's violent pretense.

Most of last night, I worked on Sweet Dreams. I was really hoping to finish all the grey in Santa and his goodie bag but I couldn't. Almost done though and I will probably finish tonight...the grey that is...not Santa. So I finished the tree already and I want to finish Santa and his goodie bag and do the top border and name before I tackle all the backstitching. I figure I'll do half the project, backstitch that, then stitch the bottom half and then backstitch that. I usually backstitch everything at the very end but this is kind of big and there is a lot of different backstitching. The pattern even calls for something called "couching". Does anyone know what that is?! Looks like I will have to do a google search on that one. Sorry the picture is all wrinkly and jacked-looking. The camera wasn't picking up any of the white or grey which is what I've been working on for the past week so I had to shove it in the scanner and the scanner wasn't being very cooperative. If you look really hard, you can kind of see the white/grey shading on Santa's jacket cuff, hair and beard. I think I'll have santa done by this weekend...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Wine Cabinet Solution

So, I got a call from the same Crate and Barrel manager this morning that I talked to on Saturday and the solution is one that I really appreciate. We'll see how the transaction actually happens though. They assembled a wine cabinet for me and will deliver it to my apartment this afternoon and will take the old one with the disassembled parts away. Wonderful! I don't have to inconvenience friends again, borrow someone else's vehicle or haul this up 50 stairs. I'm just hoping that it doesn't get scratched between the store and my apartment. So happy! Now I've got to run home and get things together for when the delivery folks get there.

UPDATED: I went home for lunch today and right when I was leaving to come back to work, the delivery truck came. I wouldn't have even given the truck a second look as it wasn't a huge truck like I expected. Crate and Barrel didn't tell the courier service that I live in a third floor walk-up so it was just the guy and the cabinet. It's pretty hard to get a piece of furniture up all those stairs by yourself so I helped him and we got it upstairs ok. Thank goodness they had the foresight to cover it up and wrap it in plastic! It looks great. I got my landlord roped in to help the guy get the old stuff down as I felt downright bad for him. Yay!! Nice new ASSEMBLED wine cabinet. Of course, now everyone is teasing me about being a wino and needing a cabinet for all my wine but it will be more of a liquor cabinet and a much safer set-up than what I currently have right now. I'm really happy that Crate and Barrel came through on customer service.

And the Wine Cabinet Saga Continues! frustrated! And sadly, when I'm frustrated and/or stressed, I cannot stitch whatsoever. I think that despite it being enjoyable and relaxing on a regular basis, I fear completely screwing something up and that would, of course, frustrate and stress me out even more.

I did have an enjoyable weekend despite the issues of the wine cabinet and other annoying little things. Friday, I watched La Vie en Rose on video which won Marion Coittard the Oscar for Best Actress this year. The movie was superb! I love Edith Piaf's songs and I can have "La Vie en Rose" stuck in my head for days on end. I never realized that she led such a tragically sad life though so that was very eye opening. They also did a good job with makeup as Marion Coittard doesn't really look all that much like Edith and the scenes range from when she is a 20 year old to her death at 47 years of age. It was a fantastic film! Since I had to concentrate on the subtitles, there was no stitching for me that evening.

Saturday was a super day in the city. I drove in for an appointment and some errands, one which included going to Britex, which is the super duper 4-story fabric store downtown but as always, I couldn't find any fabric to fall in love with although there were great notions and trim. I'll have to go back with the projects to pick that part though. Perhaps next weekend. I decided to cancel my evening plans to tackle the problem of the wine cabinet. I drove to Crate and Barrel to switch out what I thought was the defective piece. In my original piece, only three of the four screws would tighten. On the second piece I got, only ONE of the four screws would tighten! What a fricken nightmare!! Of course, I've had it! I went back to the store to talk to a manager and did my spiel about how I don't expect to pay $300 for something that I still need to assemble and it still be crap. This isn't Ikea and as much as I love Crate and Barrel, I'm having second thoughts about the quality in the store. Blah get the drift. Then the manager suggests that they can give me a discount if I want to jerry-rig the cabinet. Excuse me?!?! So there went another little tangent about how that wasn't acceptable and how inconvenient this was since I had to ask friends to help me plus borrow a truck as I can't do this by myself up to my THIRD floor apartment in my little compact car. So the manager said he'd talk to the STORE manager today and get back to me. Okay, fine...all I want is a solution that will make BOTH of us happy. Happy customer = happy store with more purchases from said customer. The rest of Saturday had me cheering myself up by watching Moulin Rouge. And in the middle of me singing and dancing (yes, I am a dork!) along to the tango scene, my dvd player decided to conk out...literally. Gah!!! Multiple poundings has not fixed the problem! How am I going to watch my movies?! Looks like it's time for me to head out and buy a replacement. I did start my HoE Pinkeep exchange project and continued to work on Santa's hair and beard. Slow boring progress but I'll take a picture tonight to share.

Sunday, I headed to this little spot in the Mission for brunch called Maverick. It was tiny but oh, so yummy! I had the cornmeal pancakes with pork sausage and about 10 cups of coffee. You could have rolled me out of the joint. I was going to get the chorizo and eggs...mmmmmmm....memories from my childhood. But the ones at Maverick came with grits and I don't know about grits. What the heck is that? I had a try from my tablemate and they kind of reminded me of salty cream of wheat in a way. Overall....great experience. Oh, and their cinnamon encrusted donut holes are tha' bomb (as the kiddies say). I could have hoovered the whole plate of them! The rest of the day was boring stuff like errands and then I visited the folks. My brother stopped by with his little chihuahua, Mondo, who is a total trip. It's like he thinks he's a bunny. He goes around doing this little hoppy-run all over the house. I never considered myself a small dog type considering I am waiting for the day I can get a place with a yard so I can adopt a boxer but Mondo is a lot of fun. I pick him up and he calms down and then I put him down and he does the hop-run all over the place again. Strange little dog.

So not much stitching but I'll report later with my progress on Sweet Dreams.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


I've been in a nesting phase since the beginning of the year and I have to say that it's been nice. Slow...but nice. I managed to clean out a couple of closets and have three trash bags filled with junk ready for Goodwill. I need to still box up my old dishware and flatware and donate those too. And I still have a lot of work left to do...but I see progress and that makes me happy.

The last two or three weeks, I've been in a decorating phase. I got a new bookcase that matches my big bookcase and I'll probably spend some time this weekend actually organizing my books and some knick knacks on the bookcase so it looks nice and homey instead of all barren and desolate like it looks now.

Monday night, Claire came over and helped me with my new wine cabinet and futon cover. First the good...the futon cover is really nice! It's very simple and it's a light tan with gold threads weaved into a type of tweed fabric. I liked that it was darker that my current ivory one and that there was some sort of texture. Plus, my red pillows still go with it and it matches with the rug and the furniture in my living room. I only had to go to four futon shops to find it!! Once I did find it, I found out that it came with matching tan pillows that were nice but I really like my red ones and I pondered skipping it all together but the cover was the one I liked the most. I figure that when I get tired of the red pillows, I have an alternate look with these tan ones the cover came with.

Now the bad...the wine cabinet. It's a very nice wine cabinet and I'd be ecstatic with it if there wasn't some sort of defect in the one I received! I bought it at Crate and Barrel and for $300 and something that they are forcing me to put together, I would hope that they would at least inspect things before they box them out and send them off to the stores. So on Monday, we picked up the cabinet from the loading dock at the store, drove to the apartment and dragged all the pieces up to my 3rd floor walk-up apartment. That's right...three elevator...50 steps. Living on the third floor doesn't bother me at all...only when I got to get furniture up there. So we're upstairs with arms are screaming and that reminds me I should work out more and do weights but whatever. Claire and I get to putting the sucker together. We do the sides, then the shelves, than the back, then the bottom and attach the legs. We are almost done. Only the top, tray and drawer left to go. We get the top situated and Claire is screwing the blots in and then she says there's a problem. The very last bolt to go in won't. She tries...I try. The sucker is not going in. So we take the top off and measure and that side is .25 inches off from all the others. Great. So close and yet so far. I called Crate and Barrell and told them that I was having a problem with the assembly and that I believed their was a defect on the top (it can actually be the side so I have to research my theory a little bit more). The guy on the phone was very nice and amiable and at that point...I was more tired than annoyed. Apparently, I bought the last wine cabinet in that model and they are waiting for a new shipment. When the new shipment comes in, I will have to swap out pieces. It was a relief that they wouldn't expect me to take the whole thing back. It took me two weeks to arrange with Claire a day that would work for both of us. It would probably take me another two weeks to figure out when we could schedule a full cabinet swap. But just one piece, I can handle that easily. So hopefully, I can get this all done and figured out by the end of the weekend.

Because of the wine cabinet debaucle, I now have wooden wine cabinet pieces and box remnants all over my apartment. It looks like I went two steps back in the organization front instead of one step forward. But once the wine cabinet snafu gets taken care of, things will be loads better.

Maybe over the weekend I'll take pictures of the new "improvements" in the apartment. The bookcase and wine cabinet are dark wood so it won't show up well in evening pictures. I'll try to devote some daylight time to take some pictures of that and my progress on Sweet Dreams then. The tree is now all stitched on that. Yay!!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Prime Rib, Date #4 and The Sopranos

Weekend Recap...gosh, the weekend seemed like a Whirlwind!

Friday was nice. I got off work a little early and headed into the city to pick up my new futon cover. I still need to put it on the futon though but that will happen tonight. After that errand, I headed to meet some friends for a much awaited dinner at House of Prime Rib. Mmmmm, yummy! I'm not much of a meat eater but when I do, I do it in style! I love this color tones, old-school vibe and great service. Dinner was fabulous. The only disappointment I had was that they couldn't make a decent sidecar. It was actually pretty bad and I had to send the drink back. I figured for an "old school" establishment, thay'd have the sidecar down pat but they didn't. So I opted for a nice glass of pinot noir instead. And the wine was probably a better compliment to the meal in the end. After dinner, we caught up over coffee. Seeing old friends is always great fun!

Saturday was Date #4 with the new guy and my hesitations and concerns really rang true throughout the date. I haven't had butterflies from the very beginning and butterflies are really important to me. Not to mention I planned EVERY date. I wasn't feeling very comfortable with some things he had shared with me and I feel it best to keep this as the last date. I'm not dating to be the planner and the entertainer for yet another person and frankly, telling a guy where to take me makes me feel like a golddigger girl...which I am not. I tend to get a long better with assertive guys who know what they want. I tend to be the bossy planner in all other realms in my life but when it comes to dating and a potential romantic relationship, I want to feel like I'm the girl...not the assertive bossy planner bossing my guy around. So the new guy goes bu-bye and I'm back to square one. May not be so bad as the next month will be crazy busy at work and as if I didn't already have my hands pretty full, I have a work-related class starting up at the end of the month. I'll be lucky to make any huge progress in any of my bigger projects! After the date, I headed home and had myself another Sopranos mini-marathon. It was quite fun to just sit back and watch the drama unfold as I stitched more on my stocking. I'm almost down with all the stitching in the tree. That tree has seemed to take me forever. Once I truly finish the stitching, I'll share a picture.

The rest of the weekend was spent running errands and visiting with my folks. Pretty tame stuff.