Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ruining my Safeway Experience

I hate running errands after work and on the weekends. It seems to eat a lot of time when I'd rather be doing something else. A lot of the time, I'll use my lunch break to run errands at Safeway or Trader Joe's and just put my refrigerated groceries in the fridge at work. It's not ideal but I like getting it out of the way early and then I get to head straight home instead of getting all frazzled trying to squeeze my way through the produce section after work with everyone else trying to get dinner fixings.

The other day, I headed to Safeway to get the fixings for a veggie soup I wanted to try and make. While roaming through the aisles, I ran into one of the guys from work. The engine crews will stop at Safeway to get their lunch and dinner fixings everyday. I usually like running into them since I get to say hi and see how they are doing as I don't usually get to see them on a regular basis. I finish up my shopping and decide to get into a different checkout line than the guys and boy, was that a big mistake. The checker for my line and the lady she was helping was going all goo-goo ga-ga about having firemen in the store and talking about it. Obviously not very discreetly as I heard most of what they were saying and them being chatty cathys was totally holding me up. If I know that it would take so long to help ONE person, I'd have gotten in another line before unloading all my stuff on the belt. I just couldn't believe how blatant this checker was in getting all hot and bothered and holding the line up to chat about the firemen with her lady customer. If it hadn't been such an inconvenience to me to move all my stuff, I would have.

So thanks guys, for ruining my Safeway experience. I wish that people would realize that if it wasn't for that uniform, most people wouldn't even give these guys another look. They are just like everyone else. They have to eat and sleep and tend to their families and yes, their job is incredibly difficult and challenging and we appreciate them everyday for it but the fawning. The fawning has got to stop because not only is it embarassing to them, it's incredibly irritating and frustrating to me when I just want to pay for my groceries already and get on with the rest of my day!

To Biscornu or Not to Biscornu...

that is the question...

The next sign up for my exchange group is for a biscornu exchange. I've never made a biscornu ever! I don't know if I feel up to the challenge. On the one hand, it would be good to learn how to make and finish one. Learning something new is always good. But I also don't have much use for a biscornu. Isn't it for pins? I don't even sew or use pins for anything. Biscornus are quite interesting looking though. Oh boy, I just can't decide. Decisions, decisions. If I had the time, I'd make a practice one and then depending on how the practice one turned out, decide on the exchange. But I don't have the time. Although I am highly intrigued at the mention of the pinkeep. I've never made one of those either but they ones I've seen are very cute. I may have to hold out for the pinkeep on the next go-round.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

First Date of '08

I've mentioned it before. I'm not in much of a dating mood right now but I still want to be social once in a while or I may become a single crafting hermit who never leaves the house unless it's to get more yarn, linen or floss. Nobody wants that. I'm already talking way too much crafty-talk to my friends who don't understand what I'm even talking about since they aren't crafters.

I'm trying to be more selective about who I go out with after coming across someone's vent on a website late last month. The guy was complaining that he had just been on a first date with a woman who told him that he was her 47th date that year. 47 dates in a year?!? OMG, I don't think I could be that cute and witty on such a continuous basis. That's practically one new date a week! I've labeled myself a serial dater and picky. I have been a serial dater and am picky but I don't think I'm overly so. There are a lot of wack jobs out there. But I don't want to be the girl who has 47 first dates in a year. That's just ridiculous.

So I hesitantly accepted the offer of a coffee date over the weekend; half wondering if I really wanted to do this as beautiful yarn was calling my name at home. But I went ahead and did the first date meet-up at a local coffee shop. It was a nice date. We met for three hours and talked about loads of things. Talks of a second date are in the motion but no real sparks flying...yet. He's a "safe" guy which I should be looking for. Stable job, good family values, local, similar interests, a tad shy and seems pretty accepting of his 30's. That's all good stuff when you're looking for something long-lasting. I don't need the bad guy. I fall for it everytime. The bad boy with his motorcycle or his tattoos or his crazy and exciting job. It's all very interesting and fun but always frustrating and short-lived too. I don't need that in my life. Plus, I think I've come to accept that I may be too much of a "good girl" to put up with the "bad boy.

As a sidenote: I think it's odd when someone emails you out of the blue to say that they are in your town for a few days and asks if you'd like to meet up for coffee. It's one thing if it's someone you know but it's another if it's a complete stranger. I don't know what this guy was thinking emailing me! I know he'd looked at my profile in the past but considering I didn't even know his name, I wasn't about to make time out of my schedule to meet him. I may be adventurous with online dating...but not that adventurous!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Baby Hats!!

After my discovery of the doomed demise of Block #1 of my afghan, I decided to turn my attention to the baby hat I had wanted to make for a co-worker expecting a baby boy any day now. So I pulled out my little ball of pale blue yarn and cast on to make my little hat. Well, starting the baby hat didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked. I REALLY am rusty with these needles! The first time I tried, I only cast on 70 stitches instead of the required 72 so that was all wrong and I had to frog the little bit I started. So I tried again and cast on the right amount but when I tried to join the yarn, the stitches got all twisted and would have made for a screwed up edge/rim to the hat so I had to frog again! Grrr!! First the afghan, now the hat...I was getting very frustrated! But I prevailed and cast on again and things went smoothly for the most part. So I've got a pale blue hat to show plus a lavendar one that I had on my double points that I had to weave the loose threads on so I could use the double points for the blue hat. Here are the baby hats!
I realize I've been posting a lot about crafts so I'll have to find the time to talk about my first date of '08 tomorrow...hopefully.

Show and Tell!

I received a lovely email from my HOE scissor fob exchange partner, Michelle, saying she received my package. Yay!! I'm really happy that she liked what I sent. Hard to know what to make for someone you don't even know but I had a fun time stitching up the scissor fob for her plus it was my first one! I think this year will have a lot of firsts for me in terms of my craft-likes. Here is what I sent her as a whole package:

In the package, I sent her the fob, a skein of green varigated DMC floss and two Just Nan angel charts (Hope and Flora) as Michelle said she liked Just Nan AND angels. Those were a perfect pick for her. So glad I came across them at my LNS. I also sent her a cute little notepad that matched the fob and candy. Below are pictures of the front and back of the fob. It was a freebie design from Tantes Zolder which I thought was the cutest! Here is the front:

Tantes Zolder freebie design stitched on 32 ct. antique white belfast with Crescent Colours "Cupid"

And here is the back. I stitched the same border as the front with the year and both my initials and Michelle's.
I'm really glad she liked everything and I had a fun time with the exchange! It was also a good way to learn something new. I know now to try to put a fob together during the poor eyes and fingers...definitely need better light so I don't poke myself with the needle! I also should have stitched the back on a diagonal to match the front but I'm happy with how it turned out considering it was my first time ever. I'm looking forward to the next exchange/challenge!

In Love with Malabrigo...

I'm not a big knitter. That can be proven by the fact I haven't picked up any knitting needles in a year! So I'm a little rusty and cautious. Please don't talk to me while knitting!! I may lose a stitch. But I can handle listening to/watching tv at the same time. I've never been very adventurous when it came to needles and yarn. I'm a stitcher at heart and not a knitter. But I've managed to knit a few scarves, a few hats, a baby blankie, washclothes and one sock. Notice I said one sock and not a pair. Socks are hard to make and I was incredibly discouraged when said sock was a size or two too big!

Funny to think that when I started this blog, oh...three years ago was supposed to be about knitting. But with no camera and too much dating, my blog became a journal for all the crazy dates I've been on. Go figure...but back to knitting for the moment...

I've worked with lots of fibers...cotton, wool, fun, fluffy synthetics. Yarn just makes me feel toasty. It looks welcoming and has so many possibilities. The local yarn shop was offering this knit-a-long in the form of the afghan I've mentioned in previous posts. The yarn it calls for is Manos De Uruguay which is a color-rich wool yarn that's pretty but a little scratchy. I had reds and pinks in mind for my afghan but all the Manos reds were too orangy (ewww) and the pinks too pale. So the shop owner pointed out Malabrigo yarn. It was so soft and plush to the touch. Not something you find in 100% wool yarn. This yarn is awesome! It comes in amazing colors and it knits up easy. If I could jump into a big tub of Malabrigo yarn, I'd be in heaven. It's that warm, fluffy and soft! So I decided to pick four colors and do a rotation between the four colors to knit up the 12 blocks. I've got three colors bought and I'm happy with them but I am having a really hard time picking the fourth color. Maybe blog-lurkers can help me out here. The colors I've decided on are:

Geranio: it's a deeper pinky-red in real life.

Little Lovely: pink shades - variegated

Cactus Flower : lighter, not as bright in real life
Now for the colors I'm trying to decide on:

Vermillion : seems nice on computer but haven't seen it in real life...wonder if it's orangy and if it is, it wouldn't go with the color scheme

Shocking Pink : I kind of like this color but then I think it would be too much pink overall

Intenso: sorry the pic is so big, couldn't find the color on the manufacturer website. This was my original 4th color pick from my knitting shop visit. I liked that it had red and pink in it along with a tiny bit of orange and my original thought was darkest color to lightest in each row (i.e. geranio, intenso, little lovely, cactus flower). But then I became doubtful.

Amoroso : similar to intenso but brighter because it has more orange in it. I think I like intenso better.

So definitely having problems deciding. I still have time to pick my fourth color. I ran into a snag over the weekend. I was doing such great time on Block #1 and was all excited about it and maybe had about 50 rows or six inches of my 12 inches needed done. When I was showing my mom how well I was doing, I noticed an error about 1.5 inches from the beginning! Gah!!! It was way too far down for me to try and fix it and if I was going that far down, I may as well start over. And even though the mistake wasn't that noticable, the perfectionist in me wouldn't allow me to ignore the mistake and keep on knitting on block #1. So I ripped out 6 inches of lovely textured rib knitting to start all over. Now...I'm on row #2. Sad...very sad. So there will be no good progress pictures on that for a bit as this coming week is too crazy for me to get any real progress done. Too frustrating. So I'm loving the Malabrigo a litte less but it isn't the Malabrigo's fault. Note to self: Pay attention to the knitting outcome as you go along to catch mistakes early!! I still love the Malabrigo! =)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fob and Goodies has Arrived

When I arrived home from work today, I was wondering why there was a large envelope in my mailbox. My scissor fob and goodies arrived from Michelle all the way from Georgia! She stitched up a very cute sun fob that she said was a Clioratha design. She also included some goodies...cute powder blue scissors, a piece of mint green cashel linen (love the color!) and a couple of skeins of hand-dyed floss from Carrie's Creations and Six Strand Sweets. I've never worked with these hand-dyed flosses before so I'll have to find a special project to use them in. Thanks Michelle! Sorry for the poor's cold, rainy and dreary here and I'm hardly home during the day to take daytime pictures. I had fun with this exchange!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sick but Busy...

I'm tired...and behind...on everything! It didn't help that I've spent the last week sick and that I had too much of a good time at a company retirement party on Friday night so most of Saturday was a complete waste! Oh well, it's the having a good time part which is most important in that whole scenario. Despite being sick and incredibly tired and achy, I did have an enjoyable weekend. There was the retirement party...200 guests, fun music and lots of great people to hang out with. This was a company party though so it was interesting to see who got how drunk and what inappropriate things they said or did. Most likely, they won't even remember most of the events from the day. Gawd knows I don't even remember how I stayed out so late. Next thing I knew, it was 1am! Hence, Saturday being a day of rest. I was too tired, sick and ok, I'll be a little honest here, hungover to do much of anything that day. Things looked better on Sunday when I caught a double feature at the Stanford and saw "Notorious" and "The Philidelphia Story" with Cary Grant and had an awesome meal at Nola's nearby. Monday was another social day where I went to see a friend I hadn't seen in a while and we had lunch at Q and watched "No Country for Old Men" at the remodeled AMC Kabuki. I didn't care for the movie and I didn't really like that they made you pick your assigned seats when you bought the tickets but there is loads of leg room (very important for a tall girl!), the seats are super comfy and they have a bar! So that was the extent of my weekend. Sadly...there was no cleaning or laundry done so now my apartment is in dire straits! Looks like I will have to devote this coming weekend to cleaning.

I finally managed to work all the red in Santa's jacket and the tree in my Sweet Dreams Stocking and set aside that project to finally finish my scossor fob. I'm not a very strong sewer which is sad as my mom is a seamstress by trade. It took me most of the evening yesterday to stitch and stuff the fob and attach the ribbon. Not bad for my first fob ever! I think I will need to make a practice one for myself to see how people do cording and tassels. Those look so nice but I didn't want to try something seemingly complex my first time at bat. What if I completely messed it up?! I'd have been very frustrated and sad. I got everything packaged and mailed off to my exchange partner today and I hope it's well-received. Once she gets the package, I'll post picks.

I am setting aside my stitching needles for knitting least for the next week or two. I decided to start a 12-block afghan in yummy reds and pinks and started my cast on last night. The yarn (malabrigo) is a dream to work with so I want to make some decent progress in my first block before I get sidetracked by my cross stitch projects. My goal is to do one block per month and at the end of the year, I will have 12 blocks to sew up into an afghan. Depending on how the size comes out, I may make it a 16 block afghan since I'll have enough yarn on hand. But it's one block at a time for now. I'll be using the Manos Block of the Month pattern book with my Malabrigo yarn and will make one of each block. Block #1 is a textured rib pattern that I will knit up in "Geranio", a lovely reddish-pink color. I do seem to be in a red kick lately. I'll probably be sick of it by the time I finish this afghan project! But if everything goes according to plan, the afghan will match my living room perfectly and be added warmth in my chilly living room. I'm looking forward to this little project and mastering my meager and yet forgotten sewing skills. As a small side project, I'll try to whip up a light blue baby cap for a co-worker who is expecting a baby boy soon.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Vancouver Overview

It looks like I've fallen a little behind on my posting. I went away for a very nice and relaxing trip to Vancouver, Washington last weekend and have been trying to catch up since. I had been planning to visit an old friend and her family for three days and it was great seeing her. It's funny how we met. She used to be my downstairs neighbor in this crummy little apartment building I used to live in in the Richmond District. I remember that we moved into the building around the same time and despite it only being a 4-unit building, it wasn't until a year after moving that we bumped into each other at the mailbox. After exchaging pleasantries and introductions, we became great neighbors. Honestly, she took care of me a lot. I was always busy working, dating and living up to the demands of elderly parents who depended on me for far too much. I'm hardly a chef and she loved to cook and I would often get calls asking if I would like to come downstairs for dinner. Of course!! I love homecooked food more than I love leftovers! After many dinners, conversations in front of the tv and playing with her cat, Fuzzle, we finally discovered that we had the love of craftiness. Then I started to bring my projects downstairs ans stitch on her couch and chat. It was probably more estrogen than her poor husband could deal with but he was always a good sport. About a year later, they moved to Portland, had a baby and then moved to Vancouver.

It was my first trip to Vancouver and I absolutely loved the relaxation. I did think it was interesting that just two hours before I landed in Portland Airport, there was a tornado that hit in Vancouver. Luckily, it didn't affect the neighborhood my friend lives in. Tornados in the Pacific Northwest?!? That's completely out of my league...I deal with earthquakes, not tornadoes. But the weekend was filled with chatter, shopping, crafting, playing with Fuzzle and Kassie (my friend's 2.5 year old daughter) and movies. It was a great weekend. My friend's husband cooked us amazing breakfasts and dinners (yum!) and I felt completely rested and spoiled. I had such a great time.

But it was back to reality the moment I landed in Oakland. I got home to chores that had to be done and errands to run. To a personal inbox with 40 emails and a work inbox of 34 emails and a pile of personal and work email. So you can just imagine what I've been trying to do all week...catch up! I'm pretty caught up but still behind on some projects at work and well, the apartment has been getting messier instead of cleaner. I think the cold/flu bug I caught over the weekend hasn't helped me much. I haven't been able to get any cleaning done or very much stitching.

While I was in Vancouver, I was able to do some good progress on Santa's jacket in my Sweet Dreams stocking. I'll have to take another picture soon to share. I also started on my scissor fob for my exchange and have finished the stitching this week. Now I just need to construct the fob. I'm hoping to get that all done and in the post on Tuesday or Wednesday of the new week. I really hope that my exchange partner likes it. I'll post pictures of it and the goodies once my partner receives it. I want to start a new project but am holding off. I'm not a good juggler and can only handle one or two projects at a time. I don't know how people out there juggle more than 4 projects at a time. Plus, I will be busting out my knitting needles (and blowing the dust off of them) to start a 12-month afghan project. We'll see how it goes. It's been about a year since I've knit anything but I could totally improve my knitting skills. I figure that this afghan project will be a good choice as it consists of 12 blocks that are then sewn together to create an afghan. Each block is constucted using a different pattern, different stitch and a different color. Plus, the finished project is something that anyone can use. I'm choosing a medley of red and pink varigated yarn to match my living room decor. I'm looking forward to it and maybe meeting some new crafty ladies. I'm hoping to meet ALL my stitchy goals this year. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Stitchy Progress Report

Ok, I finally was able to take some picture of my stitchy progress so I can share. And I've made pretty decent progress on Sweet Dreams. It's been slow going. Mainly because the colors are all over the place and I have to stop and start again versus carrying over. I'm doing this as kitted since it's my first stocking and I didn't want to spend even more money on nice linen and high quality threads so it's just a cream aida and supplied threads. I'm not really fond of this floss though. It seems to knot up and shread with the constant handling and pass through the fabric which is highly annoying! I feel like I should have a pair of tweezers so I can pick out any little loosened lint so it doesn't blend in with other colors. But I'm determined to make it work. I was hoping to be farther along by now but I do have to admit I'm having fun with it. I did have a little challenge with myself. I wanted to finish the window and frame and move onto the red in the Santa before I put it aside and started working on my fob exchange and I finally reached that point on Sunday. Here's how it looks fo far.

I finally finished Plumpkin! Actually, I finished stitching it a while ago but I lost one of the star buttons, then I ordered some spares online but I ordered the wrong color (honey versus yellow) and then just ended up picking up the right button when I stopped by my LNS a couple of weeks back and then had to pick up the right color floss at Michael's. Regular DMC floss costs twice as much at the LNS than at Michael's and considering how much I spend on this craft, I can stand to save a few pennies somewhere. I'm hoping to find some cool halloween fabric and making this into a wall hanging once I fine-tune my sewing skills. Ok, I have to stop kidding myself. I need to learn some sewing skills before I can fine-tune them!

This weekend, I'll be in Vancouver, WA visiting a friend of mine and her family. I'll be bringing Sweet Dreams and the scissor fob stuff so I can stitch and relax with her. I'm wondering if my plans will be foiled by her cute and charming two year old daughter. I have the feeling that despite my "dear gawd, no kids" mentality, little Kassie will win my heart. Although...there is also the chance that my current mentality will be further reinforced. I am looking forward to a weekend away in the company of my friend whether I get to stitch or not.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Wrath of Mother Nature

There are a lot of "shoulds" today. I should be cleaning. I should be organizing. I should be writing that confirmation letter for my neice. I should get my stuff together for a visit to my parents this weekend. I should put my Sweet Dreams Stocking aside and start a scissor fob for exchange. I should be doing a lot today...but it's rainy and gloomy and dark and all I want to do is hike up the heater as high as it can go, curl up with a blankie and watch TV. It's just past noon and I've already watched a little bit of Bones, a little bit of Monk and watched the original 'Hairspray' and I'm listening to the commentary as I type. I did manage to take a couple of pictures for a progress post that will follow soon.

Frankly, I'm still trying to recover from yesterday. The Bay Area was hit by such an awful storm! One that, I think, rivaled the winter storms of 1995. In the past, I'd just battle my way to work, if it happened to be a workday, and just plug away at what had to be done. If a storm landed on a weekend, I'd hunker down and stay indoors but I think this was the first major storm that I've worked in a position of public safety support. We fielded so many calls seeking help yesterday that I was amazed and distressed. People called with problems such as downed wires, fallen trees, trees into houses, minor fires, power outages, flooding and broken sump pumps. When you get a call or two, it's ok. But when you get tons of calls and you know that your resources are already so stretched and the pumps you had on hand are already loaned out, all you can do is apologize and put them on the list and offer other suggestions.

I was amazed at the people who would call the fire department asking when the power would come on and then get irritated that I didn't have an answer. Last time I looked, PG&E was in charge of power and the fire department was in charge of putting out fires, providing medical aid, pumping out water from flooded areas, helping at traffic scenes, etc. When I explained that they had to call PG&E for status on power, the response was that they couldn't get through to anyone. No offense but that does not change my answer. I don't know when the power will be back but be patient, PG&E is out in the rain working as hard and as fast as they can to restore power to everyone just like the firefighters are out in the elements helping everyone who needed it.

When you come down to it, on the level of disasters, a winter storm does not compare to an earthquake (this is earthquake territory), blizzards, tornadoes or hurricanes. And despite how much we tell people and the news tell people to prepare, people are NOT prepared. I wish the public would be more prepared because the situation could be so much worse. Get sandbags and keep them in the garage if you're in low-lying areas. Put the sandbags out BEFORE the rain starts to minimize the amount of water to enter your house or business. Always have bottled water and canned food on hand. Have flashlights, candles, matches and batteries stocked. If your house gets flooded and you have a pump, have a small emergency generator in case of a long-time outage during a storm AND check it periodically.

In a true disaster, resources are stretched everywhere. An eye-opening example is that for the small town I work in, we have 100 firefighters to 100,000 residents. In San Francisco, I estimate 1,000 firefighters for 1.5 million residents. I can't find the exact number anywhere but that's a pretty decent guess, I think. If your community offers a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class...take it. It's free and the lessons you learn from it can be truly irreplacable and priceless one day. All you would need to devote is time. I know that time is hard to come by but if the knowledge and skills that you acquire in a 25 hour class can help make you, your family, your neighborhood or your block safe and comfortable until emergency resources are available...isn't that completely worth it?

At the end of the day, I was truly thankful to work with a hard-working group of guys, to have been indoors most of the day and to be able to go home at the end of the workday to a lovely yet messy apartment that had power. And I curiously await my own first CERT class so I can be more prepared than I already am.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Funny Stories

I just realized that I've had blog-worthy things happening despite my non-dating status but I keep forgetting to write about them. Or maybe I think that my reading public only wants to hear about my crazy dating stories?! I don't know but I'll share my stories, dating or otherwise anyways.

Earlier this month, I had to go to the eye doctor for my yearly checkup. Those who actually know me in real life know that my yearly checkups are important because I'm blind as a bat and don't want to get any blinder! Hey, the possibility is there with the hours I put in at the computer and stitching. Earlier that day, one of the engines stopped by the office to drop off paperwork and they needed help with some computer stuff so I helped out and they went on their way. Yea, I work for a fire department and it's really nothing to fawn over. These guys are like my older brothers and I am their loudmouth annoying younger sister! Helping them out is all part of the job and I get to fine-tune my sarcastic remarks. Anyways, fast forward to the afternoon and I need to head to the eye doctor for my appointment and things are going well...I hadn't gotten any blinder so far and the doctor asked me to switch from the contacts I was presently wearing to my glasses. The doctor had to leave the office to grab something and then all of a sudden I hear, "oh, there she is!!" and I turn around half blind, since I had just taken one of my contacts out, and see the same engine crew that had been at the office earlier. I scrambled to take the other contact out and slap my glasses on to see why they were there. At first, I thought one of them had to stop by for their own visual needs until they said that my coworkers had told them that I was at the eye doctor and they decided that they would come and visit me at the doctor's office. Talk about embarrassing! The real reason they tracked me down at the office was because they were giving out Starbucks gift cards to all the girls as christmas presents on behalf of the union and that they wanted to do it personally to each one of us. That, of course, is amazingly sweet but I couldn't help but feel embarrassed that I was the cause of the firemen scene at my eye doctor's office. They went on their way and I continued my eye exam. My eye doctor (she's female) was all flustered and excited to have a story to tell her family about how the *hunky* firemen stopped by her office for a special delivery for one of her patients. Oh gawd...see....embarrassing! But sweet...

Other interesting stuff...guys from my past coming back. Some I'm curious about and others not so much. One is the firemen that acted just like the stereotype. I'm not sure what his agenda is but I'm not really eager to find out. We just chat on the phone and crack jokes to each other and that to me is fun. We've been doing that for the past month and I haven't been pressed to schedule a time to hang out in person. He's suggested it but like most guys, he's vague about a day and time and without a set day or time, I'll flake on anything. I don't work well with the *play it by ear* philosophy of scheduling. But if you give me a day and a time, then I'll definitely be there. The other guy is someone who's emailed me off of match and frankly he seems like a nice guy but his eagerness and desperate air turns me off and makes me a little nervous. If I give him anything that truly links him to me, will he abuse it? I'm not really interested in finding out.

So for the holidays I got a wide array of gift cards. I'm the type of person that would prefer that someone try to *figure it out* and give me something that they put some thought into that they think I would like rather than get a generic gift card but sometimes I am thankful for them and this was one of those years. I was hoping for Crate and Barrel gift cards since there's new dinnerware, glassware and a wine cabinet that I've been eyeing for months. I was hoping with birthday (October) and Christmas, I'd rack in some Crate and Barrel dough with the hints I dropped. No such luck on the Crate and Barrel gift cards but I got loads of other ones so I decided that I would try and barter. I posted my ads on Craigslist and had mediocre luck. Some guy wrote me saying he'd buy them at half their value. I don't know who in their right mind would accept that offer! That's a rip-off! What an idiot...I took that as an insult especially as my ad was specifically for a trade/barter only! One guy asked for a trade in weed. Yea, no thank you...not a pothead and never was one to begin with. And then some other guy asked for a trade in *cough* sexual acts. Gah! Seriously, San Francisco is a lovely and wonderful place but there are some weird freaky people out there. In telling my weird contacts with people to a friend, she offered to do a trade with me since she had a Crate and Barrel card and just about any girl can use a Nordstrom card if they aren't presently lusting after plates! And I did get one sincere offer from a guy who wanted to do a similar trade. So we arranged a time and public place to meet to do the trade and he seemed very nice and sincere. He was chatty as I was checking balances on my phone when he suddenly asked me how old I was. Odd question I thought. So I asked him how old he thought I was and he said 23! I was ready to hug the guy! He was kind of cute and older but frankly, I don't know why he was asking about my age anyways when I already knew he had a girlfriend. But that comment made this 32 year old girl very happy! It was a nice ending to my year and now I have a good amount of Crate and Barrel money to buy my dinnerware....yay!