Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Off to Dallas...

Well, the weekend proved to be a busy one with not much time to stitch. And what time I do have has been devoted to putting a few stitches here and there on exchange projects. This past weekend was mixed. I had to deal with the tail-end of our heatwave and I was at my wit's end. Being a "foghead" for most of my life, I have no idea what to do when the temperature is above 75 degrees...unless I'm on a vacation and in a swimsuit. In that case, I could care less what the temperaturer was as long as there was water, a margarita and a sliver of shade somewhere near me.

Saturday, I decided to try that Bar Method class. Talk about a drill sargeant experience! I was corrected at least 50 times, had a love/hate relationship with the instructor, saw more Lululemon women clad in one room than ever before and had a very tough time climbing up my building's 50 stairs to get home. The soreness in my thighs lasted a good two days. How the heck am I going to be hard-core about this for one month?! It may kill me...but then, what doesn't kill you does make you stronger...right? I'll think about that a little more.

I did finally go see My Blueberry Nights and what was even better was that it got moved to a theater near me. Yay! There were four of us total in the theater which wasn't a big surprise since Wong Kar Wai definitely isn't mainstream and that's what the majority of the populations heads for. It was a good movie...not great...but enjoyable. Crazy lovelorn waitress is all cuckoo over this boy, involves a cute waiter in her heart's lament and they become close. She decides that the only way she can move on is to move away and she leaves but sends letter to cute waiter. He tries to track her down to no avail and he is left to wonder what may have been until a year later when she returns to him in his diner and he makes her feelings known and they share a blueberry kiss. Plus, there was good use of music but the director is good like that.

Next, was a work function. By that point, it was 4pm and all I had had all day was popcorn and yogurt. Yep, the brunch of champions! I heard there was cold pizza in the fridge and snagged a slice. While I was chowing down, the guys were sneaking lovely pizza-eating pictures which subsequently made it to the departmental hard drive. Sometimes, it's really hard working with a bunch of guys who treat you like a little sister.

The rest of the weekend was reserved for what seems to be a failing "relationship" and a fun Sunday watching the Bay to Breakers spectacle. That was so much fun! And talk about a circus. I love Bay to Breakers and usually participate but since the last couple of months were so busy, especially this month, I decided to settle on just taking it all in this year versus being a part of it.

We are quickly moving into the middle of the week and I soon head off to visit family in Dallas. I looked at the weather forecast and it's supposed to be mid-90's and humid with thunderstorms on the horizon. OMG!! Gonna die...I'm not made for those types of weather conditions. I can only hope that there will be some fog here when I get back...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Class is Over!

Yesterday, my instructor posted the final and I decided that I must get it over and done with. I hadn't really prepared but it was open book...how hard could it be?! Yea, it was hard...really hard! Each time I thought I found the answer, I had to reference to another part of the code book and come to my own conclusion. It was only a 50 question test and I had three hours to do it in. Three hours! Hey, I'm a smart cookie, I know this stuff, I've been reading about boring codes for the past 8 weeks...this'll be a breeze. Not! As the clock ticked on, the more stressed and frenzied I became. I couldn't believe it as taking me so long to go through the questions. There were only 50 of them! At last...I hit the submit key and I got my score and time. Time passed was 2 hours and 56 minutes. Geez! I had only had 4 minutes left?! Score...I passed! 84% Frankly, as an open book test, I should have scored better than that especially since I passed all my quizzes and discussions with flying colors. But...I passed! Yay! That means class is over and I get my certification from the State.

It is such a relief to have this class done and behind me now. I finally have my weekends back and can do fun stuff. I think that was what was bothering me most about the class besides it being really boring...it was eating away at a lot of my personal time. I finally feel like I have time to stitch, go to the movies, pick a random neighborhood to explore on the weekend and follow my own agenda.

School's out for the summer!

Monday, May 12, 2008


Ay, what a week. Why does it seem like the older you get, the more weight you put on, the more forgetful you become and the busier you get?! I'm not even married or have kids! I would give anything to be a twenty-something now. I wouldn't have taken all that time for granted and moaned about being "soooo bored!" Now I moan about being "sooooo busy!" and not having enough time to do everything I want. Lately, the things I feel like I've been missing out on are stitching, movie viewing and checking out local events. I don't see much of those things happening until June! My class does finally end at the end of this week. I need to take my final and state certification exam by Friday night. After that, I am free from class obligations...woohoo! I cannot wait...it will be a huge weight off my chest. But freedom does not arrive that easily. I'll have a couple of events to attend between Saturday and Wednesday of next week and then I leave for a long weekend to visit family in Texas. Freedom begins the Monday after Memorial Day. So for the time being...still busy and a tad stressed. I miss my lazy evenings and weekends!

I have been able to squeeze in a little bit of stitching. I finished the stitching on my HoE Freebie Exchange and had started another freebie piece in case I changed my mind on the original freebie I picked. Now the original freebie has grown on me and I think this current freebie would be a good little christmas pillow ornament instead. The colors I picked scream "holly jolly" to me. It's a very quick stitch and I decided to use Gloriana thread. I've never used silk thread before and this Gloriana floss is dreamy! It's very soft and hasn't knotted at all. I haven't been able to progress onto my personal stitching though...not enough time for that. Now I just need to decide how to finish my Freebie piece for my HoE partner. Decisions, decisions...

This weekend, I drove to Alameda to pick up my framed Love You Mom project from The Urban Forest. They have framed a couple of pieces for me in the past and done a good job plus they are the framer that NiaH recommend to their customers. I loved the overall look of the project and the pale gold lattice frame really looked good with the colors of the piece. However, I was a little disappointed. If I'm going to drop $60 to frame a small 7x7 piece of needlework, I would really like it to be perfect. I am very selective about what I take to a finisher since I don't have a lot of extra money to spend. This was a special piece since it was for my mom and for Mother's Day but when I received the framed piece, there was a small little chip in the finish of the frame right in the front and a small little dark mark on the stitched piece itself. Both aren't completely noticable but I know how I turned my piece into her and I am also a completely neurotic perfectionist when it comes to my things and things I am giving away. So I was less than thrilled. Of course, everytime I go to this shop, the framer is never there so I couldn't voice my complaint to the person who actually did the work and see if they could fix it or tell me what to do. I did tell the lady who was manning the store at the time and she touched up the nick in the frame so it wasn't as noticable but it is still noticable to me. I am a little frustrated and don't know if I should let it go or call up the framer and let her know that I wasn't 100% happy with the work done. I do kind of feel like she is the only experienced needlework framer around here. NiaH exclusively refers her and the other needlework shop near me couldn't even name one framer that she knew of. I don't anticipate having anything to frame in the near future...Fairy Moon would be the next project and she only has 40 stitches in her at best right now. Do I really need to be all that specific to a framer that when I pick it up, I expect there to be no chips in the frame and no marks on my needlework?!?! I couldn't very well leave my piece there to take up this discussion with her at a later time as Mother's Day was the following day and I couldn't show up empty-handed. It put me in a tough spot of sucking it up and dealing with it but I guess I'm not dealing with it very well if I've talked this much about it already. Oh, and since I was all preoccupied with the disappointment of a less than perfect piece, I wrapped the gift and forgot to take a picture of it framed beforehand. I told myself to take my camera to my folks for when my mom unwrapped the gift, I could take a picture. And you know what?! I forgot again! Next time I head to the folks, I'll remember to take the camera to snap a shot to share. I was doubly bummed out that I forgot to bring the camera since my brother came by the folks with Mondo, his wanna-be-a-bunny chihuahua. Mondo cracks me up!

In other news, I am totally debating whether or not I want to try this exercise program called the Bar Method. There is a studio very close to my job and it has received rave reviews. The only problem is that it's very pricey. I can deal with pricey if I see good results and am commited to the program. Ummm, commitment would be my other problem. I'm lazy and love to go straight home and veg in front of the tv, stitching and snacking most of the night which is why I need something like the Bar Method. Ideally, I'd like to tone and lose 10 pounds but it's not really the number on the scale that bothers me...it's the jiggles. I am seriously debating trying their introductory offer when I get back from Dallas and immerse myself in the program in that month and see what results come into play. I think I can realistically try to go to the classes 3-4 times a week. If I don't like the program, don't see results or think that it's way beyond the means of my pocketbook, I'll probably just sign up with a local gym that has a cheaper and unlimited yoga program per month. It would be cool if I could go to the Bar Method class at 6am on weekdays before work but that would be hysterically funny as I can't even get up before 7am! How do people get up that early to workout?!

And my goal for the week is to go see My Blueberry Nights before it leaves the theater. I've been saying I would go see it for three weeks now and I am scared it will leave the theaters before I see it. It's a small, unadvertised movie about a lovelorn waitress played by Norah Jones of all people. She is not why I want to see this movie though. It is directed by Wong Kar Wai. If the ex left anything to me (besides loads of frustration), it's an appreciation for movies that are "outside the box". Wai directs films that pull at the strings of emotion and make you think. Normally, his films are in mandarin and subtitled in english but this movie is all in English. I've been dying to see it since it's come out but it's only playing at small obscure theaters in the city that aren't all that convenient to me. I must check this one out! Maybe today?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Blahs...

Despite having a nice time on my weekend getaway, I came back with a minor case of the blahs. My return to work was less than smooth and I am a tad irritated with my coworker for not helping me with work tasks while I was away. I had to try and get a good two days worth of prep done in less than three hours first thing Monday morning. Definitely far from the "welcome home!" I would have liked to receive.

Things with M seem to be a tad stagnant. Lately, I've been doing most of the calling and I usually end up talking to him when he is out, with people or on his way somewhere. Less than the undivided attention I would like when having a conversation especially considering I make sure I have the time and limited distractions when I talk to him so that I can listen and take in what he is saying to me. I feel like it's time to take a step back and see what he's up to or what his next move is. Despite the fact that he has already met some of my friends and I've met some of his, the relationship aspect has been moving a tad too slowly for my taste and I think I've reached the point where things either need to ramp up and progress or we establish that we are better as friends. I know that we are both busy...me with the godawful class and him with house stuff...perhaps things will get better in the next couple of weeks? I don't know...

This godawful class is driving me berserk and stressing me out. I have a term paper due on Sunday on a video the teacher supplied which I am supposed to view. I have tried viewing the video at work and at home and on multiple computers with no success at all! How the heck am I supposed to write a paper on a video if I can't even watch the video?!? Seems like a critical element to the paper, no? The hours are ticking away and as I get closer to the deadline, the more stressed I am feeling about this class and the desired outcome. I've sent an email to the instructor asking what to do and I think his video may be the same one as one I found on youtube but these little technical glitches I keep experiencing with this class only wastes my time and makes me very frustrated with the class and the learning process. Not to mention writing this paper is probably one of the last things I want to be doing right now...right up there with the exam I need to take next week for the same class.

Since I am juggling the class, the boy and the blahs...I don't have very much time for stitching. That frustrates me too. I hope this case of the blahs doesn't last very long. I really haven't got the time to deal with it...

Monday, May 05, 2008

A Balanced Diet...

While I was in Pismo Beach, I gave AM her very belated birthday present. Her birthday was in March but with the distance between us and me being so busy, I didn't have time to complete her present until I had the quickly approaching deadline which was our weekend getaway. Since AM hears me drone on and on about patterns and fabric and floss and colors and what my nightly or weekly progress has been on what project...I decided to make her something so she could have of her own. AM isn't a crafter at all so it's very nice of her to listen to me drone on and on about stuff she has no idea about! (Hi AM!) A lot of what AM and I talk about on a daily basis is food and how the yummy food (or booze) betrays us and how we can still eat the yummy food, how the food influences our weight and not having or wanting to exercise to counter the effects of the yummy, but albiet not good for you, food. Geez, why can't cake be a health food?!?! So I decided to make her A Balanced Diet by Lizzie*Kate. AM likes cookies...me, I like cake more...if you haven't figured that out already! I decided to finish it as a flatfold so that she could put it in her office as a decoration. Lucky her! I still work in a cubicle! It's my first ever flatfold and I'm very happy with it. I realize I could have been a bit better cutting the matboard exactly the same but I think I need a heavy duty matcutter as my wimpy one is not very good but given it's my first one...I really liked it! Here is the front...

And here is the side...I used some pretty blue trim that matched the backing fabric.

And here is the backing fabric...I picked a pretty blue paisley fabric to go with the deep blue floss used in the upper half of the saying in the project. Plus, I wanted something fun and trendy which would catch the eye of visitors and not make it appear as some hokey handmade something or other that AM's granny friend made for her.
AM said she really liked the present plus the extra goodies I included for her (cookies, champagne and Sephora gift card) so I was very happy. Yay!

SLO-Town Recap

I'm back and have loads of pictures to share so be prepared for a photo-heavy post! I had a nice weekend away. I drove down with Claire and met AM in Pismo Beach. I've only driven through the area and that was about 8 years ago so it had been a really long time since I've been in this up and coming locale of the Central Coast. The weekend was filled with lots of chatter, way too much food, even more wine and what I would like to think was a good time had by all.

Here is the view from the deck at the hotel. This was not the view from the room but from the public deck at the rear of the hotel near the lovely pool and spa that we didn't have the time to visit. I guess all that wine tasting got in the way of sunbathing and beachwalking!

Birdie footprints in the sand
On our arrival, we took a walk to Pismo Pier and then walked back to the hotel. Here is the view on our walk back.
On our visit to Alma Rosa Winery, I came across this little excerpt from a poem hidden behind the door. Considering the pretense for the weekend, I had to take a picture. It reads "Now here it is, the morning after the night before; The drinking and singing are sone... Red-eyed greeting the bird-song dawn, Trying to remember all of last night's fun." This poem does hit home as there have been many headachy mornings in my past where I have tried to remember how much I have drank, what regretful things I may have said and most importantly, how the heck I got home! My days are much tamer now...I don't usually get all crazy despite people calling me a "wino". This was also an interesting winery as they claim to be completely organic...interesting.
The vines at Justin Winery. The grounds at this winery were beautiful and welcoming. Plus, their Orphan wine was super yummy...
Another vineyard snap at Justin Winery.
Here is a snap of the bizarre and eclectic collection of wigs and hats at Clautiere Vineyard. We had a few laughs trying on the various ones as we wine tasted but I do have to say that the attitude of the pourer left a lot to be desired. There was that visible "oh great...more people" air to the gal as we walked in and it didn't make this seemingly fun place feel very fun. I would have walked out of there with nothing if their port hadn't been to die for. It was funny how one of the places reviewed to be one of the most fun wineries in the area was one of the least fun for us.

Final evening hoping to catch the sunset...showing off my cute feet!
Pretty flower that caught my attention as we were waiting. Yes, I know...easily distracted.
Ohhh, look at the waves!
I love these beach pictures...I can't ever imagining living far away from the ocean. I have lived near water my whole life! And even when I go on vacation...it's usually to some beach destination or tropical place. I had a lot of fun staying so close to the water and listening to the air, wind, water and birds. It was relaxing. Besides the photos above, some of the top sites of my trip were the Taste of the Valley tasting room in Solvang. The guys working there were very fun, friendly and gracious. They had some wonderful wine available to taste and it was VERY difficult to decide what bottles to take home with me...and try to limit myself!! I would definitely go back to socialize with the pourers here as they set the experience. Thanks Eric and Phil!
I absolutely fell in love with every wine at Opolo Winery! It's a good thing we headed back to try this place as we had to rush to make our lunch reservation and had to initially skip over Opolo. We had to retrace our steps to go back here after lunch...good thing we did. I had such a hard time deciding here as well, and so I became a wine club member!! Yep...it was that good. Plus, the pourers here were wonderful. They made an effort to draw out conversation and were so friendly. They gave you samples of sausage and chocolates to try with their various wines. I walked out of there with their Voignier, Sangiovese, Cabernet and Late Harvest Zinfindel. I'm having wonderful dreams about that Late Harvest...omg, so yummy! Can't wait to treat myself with opening that bottle one day. Anne, our pourer, was a total doll and made me an Opolo fan! I can't wait to get my shipment in the Fall considering I took my summer shipment home with me! =)
And our last winery stop was a ton of fun and a complete surprise. We stopped at Tobin James before heading home and talk about a party winery! They have three wine bars in the establishment and each has at least 20 people at each! It was funny to see bikers and their babes wine tasting too. The pourers here were extra friendly and made a tremendous effort trying to find a nice wine for our "doesn't drink a lot" friend, Claire.
And last but not least, I was told to go to the Old West Cinnamon Roll place in Pismo Beach. I love sweets as do my friends so it wasn't hard to convince them to go try this place with me. The cinnamon rolls were great! I ordered an original with cream cheese icing and it was yummy!
So SLO-town trip = lots of fun!