Tuesday, January 29, 2013

easiest knit cowl scarf evaAAARrrrr!!!

so, i haven't taken up my knitting needles in a long time and that made me curious to see what one skein projects pinners were pinning on pinterest...  *tries to say it, not spray it*

the night that i happened to browse, this was the most popular pin:  

i had size 13 circular needles, but not the hat sized length and  i had one skein of caron brand, acrylic, 4 oz yarn and lion brand, fisherman's wool yarn, 6oz.

unlike knit and bake's directions, i cast on more than 49 stitches (my circular needles were longer).  for the caron brand acrylic, i cast on 61 stitches.  for the lion brand yarn, i cast on 71 instead (i was worried that this may not fit over my friend's big head...).

i really love how they turned out, and happily so did my friends who received them as gifts.  

i'm very thankful to knitandbake for posting the easy instructions to this lovely project.  if you just started knitting and would like to try circular needles, this is a great project!  :)  

really, you can do this!!!

thanks for coming by and reading!  happy tuesday!

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Lindy Hop Challenge - Day 7 - Dance Friday

Day 7: Something you really want to learn

I really want to learn to lead.  :)

Dawn Hampton leads Virginie Jensen and Frida Segerdahl:

Rebecka and Emelie Decavita:

Laura Keat and Jo Hoffberg:


 rare vintage social dance footage of women leading and following:


Laura Glaess & Jessica Yoon:

Ruby Red:


i LURVES me some ladies leading lindyhop....

*heavysigh* someday....

Happy Friday!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lindy Hop Challenge - Day 6 - Friday Dance

Day 6: Your favorite group dance (shim sham, tranky doo big apple, etc)

shim sham.  no contest.   but then again, i'm (an) old (school dancer) and back in the day,  the only group dance/jazz routines i learned were the shim sham, the jitterbug stroll, and the madison...  in my own defense, i was limited of time and money....

via Frankie and Erin -

there is something very comforting (to me) in the knowledge that despite the language barriers, i can shim sham with groups of complete strangers, pretty much everywhere on the planet...

i would like to finally learn the big apple....

a more modern interpretation with ryan francois and remy kouakou kouame:

lastly and not so secretly -  i hope that the whole swing rueda thing comes back into vogue...  (ha.  snort.)

i hope you had a happy friday!   (posting on saturday because yesterday was just a little crayzee....)

Monday, January 07, 2013

boo boo draft, take 2.

paloma & me (& porkchop, in the oven), 10/2005
a friendly word of unsolicited advice for my fellow bloggers who are clearing out their drafts folder in anticipation of some pre-spring cleaning....

i was going to delete all of my drafts without looking at them...  i know, WHAT?!

thank goodness i had a change of heart...  i found something i wrote in 2005:

"early in the morning, before any rational human being is normally up, even before the yappy dogs next door start to bark, paloma and i can usually be found underneath a down comforter - i try to coax her back to sleep, she gently pokes around my head whispering "mommy nose", "mommy eye", "mommy ear", "mommy hair".
well, recently, on another one of those quiet dark mornings, she gently poked my neck (see: cystic hygroma) and said, "mommy boo boo".

i knew this day would come and similar days will follow. the stolen looks will grow into questions and the questions into conversations. and eventually, she'll be disappointed and somehow i'll have to swallow all of it up for her, like all the many times i've done it before with all of my loved ones, and gradually siphon away a little bit at a time - forever - because that's what i do ...

a few years back, the thin man (pre-kid) and i were in vegas for some reason a few months after our wedding. we were newlyweds, just back from our honeymoon.  we were walking down the main drag and i caught someone's eye - some random guy...  and i saw it coming, like clockwork, this random guy turned into instant thoughtless jerk and yelled something insulting at me about my neck.  i kept walking and in that split second said a silent prayer, hoping the thin man hadn't heard.  but he had and turned right around and shoved him, almost starting a fist fight...  i managed to pull him away and some random tourists got in the way of the jerk but there it was...  a vacation day almost ruined by ignorant hurtful words....

how do i realistically go about teaching my child to tolerate imperfection? what is the consolation in knowing that chaos is the genuine nature of nature? or that beauty is "in the eye of the beholder"?
what possible consolation can i offer her if/and/or when she's teased at school? besides (getting another surgery that will not solve anything really...)

i'm constantly fending off the thin man's requests to meet the elementary volleyball team he coaches. i do it mostly because paloma always interrupts games by chasing after the ball in play. but, i don't want to meet them because after a day with paloma, i don't have the energy to withstand the innocent scrutiny."

to say the least i'm glad i paused to preview this post...  it's been a lifetime since the paloma had so few words...  (lol!)  

recently, the kids have confessed to me that their classmates are very curious about me and sometimes not very nice about it.  my heart aches and sometimes breaks for my kids and the regular (hopefully, not daily) teasing they endure by classmates at school.   

i thought after living thru a tough childhood, i'd be prepared for a second and third one lived by my children...  as a kid, i learned not to hide....  to embrace my inner and outer freak, to raise my freak flag high... ;)  my mother helped by not fighting to "normalize" me for the comfort of everyone else.  

but it's much tougher the second and third time around... i know childhood is tough anyway....  but it absolutely kills me that my "normal" kids get teased because of their "abnormal" mom....  a long time ago, i considered going back for more corrective surgery after i got scared by some other moms who predicted this scenario...  but, i couldn't justify going under the knife again, to normalize myself for nameless faceless people i hadn't even met yet.... 

the kids have become very good at explaining basic science (you don't have brown hair like me, does that make you weird or just different? if you are i are different, why is one of us weird and the other isn't?) and talking to their friends about their feelings (when you talk about my mom like that, i don't like it and i don't want to talk to you right now.)

i'm so proud of them for being able to talk about it so openly and courageously. they get that from the thin man. i was never a talkative child and am not usually a talkative person.  but their text is something that i know backwards and forwards, sadly...  i also know how comforting it feels to whisper your worries to an open heart/mind, to give and receive unlimited and spontaneous hugs, to embrace the parts of your self that the rest of world is seemingly afraid of, and to pray and hope for friendship, tolerance and peace.

in the almost 10 years, i've been a mom, i've failed at so many events, so many times...  hopefully, this is my event, the one that lands me a ribbon....  :)  

(ok, besides the "i can do everything with one hand wrapped around a baby" ribbon....)

thanks for coming by and reading, i hope you had a pleasant "re-entry" monday...  :)

Friday, January 04, 2013

Lindy Hop Challenge - Day 5 - Friday Dance

(in an effort to re-attempt the lindyhop blog challenge, i'm going to try to start posting weekly instead of daily... & friday dance seems as good a day as any to do it...)

Day 5: Your favorite Lindy Hop variation dance (charleston, balboa, shag)

so...  i'm not sure it this is a question on which variation i like to dance or like to watch..  ?? 

of the three, i like to dance charleston, but not solo - which i gather is more common among the purists these days...  i don't actually know how to bal or shag... i'm told i fake it like i know it... sadly, i  just never got around to it...  and now,  i don't have the money nor the time to devote to learning another dance...

and honestly, i don't often find performances of those three dances that inspire me to get up and dance...  you should probably sit down for this next confession...

i really like to watch west coast swing.... 

ok.  fine, i'll type it bigger...

i really like to watch west coast swing.

please don't hold it against me  or anyone else for that matter...  part of my spectatorial (is that a word?) love for WCS is that so many of my favorite leads (and follows)  either came from that tradition into lindyhop or vice versa...  something about both dances - the basics, the philosophies, the history, the comedy -  blend well together... and speaking from experience, leads who WCS always seem to lead really well.  they almost always cover the 5 C's that i look for in a lead - clear, careful,  creative, cheerful and conversational...  i should probably clarify those in another post... 

ennyhoo....  here are some of my fave lindy-ish/west coasty mashups... 

(and for the record i would freeekin KILL OR DIE ( no, not really) to go to The Boston Tea Party... and learn me some WCS...)

and then, there's this west coast video that ALWAYS makes me laugh...

happy friday!!!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

read: the girl who circumnavigated fairyland in a ship of her own making

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1)The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

i'm pleasantly surprised at how much i enjoyed this book.  in many ways it reminds me of alice in wonderland, but i find september a much more likeable, relatable and stronger heroine than alice.

i was waiting to lose interest but the pace of the imaginative storytelling and the gradual unveiling of the extraordinary realms of fairyland kept me going.

my only complaint - i would've liked to see and learn more of september's companions, a-l and saturday. (i hope that isn't a spoiler)

i'm especially looking forward to introducing my daughter to this book who has a love for winged beasts, fairies and adventure.  slightly worried she might want to make the trek to fairyland through a wardrobe though...  ;)

originally, i picked up the book because i saw its sequel on the shelf at my local library. although that looked tempting, i decided to read in sequence.  hopefully, the sequel doesn't disappoint because the first in the series certainly did not.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

eye habs eh code en by nodse....

besides my laptop screen, this is my view today...

my short & stout teapot (brand new in box, that i scored at the thrift store for a couple of bones), ginger and peach tea w/ lemon & honey, and my fave (it's seen better days) mug that i bought during a visit to the Cabazon Dinosaurs. clearly, they need to find a new source for mugs and i need to get a new one...

looking back, as a child, i was rarely ill. i wasn't the kid who got the award for perfect attendance, but it was really rare.  my pediatrician used to joke that because i was hospitalized for extended periods and pumped full of medicines, i would be fine....  "chicken pox? probably clear up in a day." "dog bite?   is the dog ok?"

and for most of my adulthood, my health luck held up...  then, i had the paloma.....

i guess i should be mildly comforted that "it's normal" for "things" to go "wackadoodle" after the birth of a first child... "Eczema?  Are you a new mom?"  "Allergies that you never had before? Are you a new mom?"  "Acne breakouts that you also never had before? Are you a new mom?"  >_<

and now that i'm 40, i'll be sure to break out into song with each and every new health related surprise!!!

Can you just see me at my first mammogram:

no. let's not go there...

ennyhoo... i read somewhere on teh interwebs that:

* drinking a cup of warm water with half a lemon everyday really helps to boost immunity...

* drinking spearmint tea helps to alleviate acne...

*  ingesting local honey will proactively desensitive an allergy sufferer from airborne allergens in the spring...

so, i actually started doing these things a few months ago....  this cold is maybe the second (full spectrum) cold, i've come down with since the kids started biowarfare school this year. usually i catch colds at least once a month and i've noticed my symptoms are mild and don't last long...  hopefully, i will see changes in my allergies this spring and the acne before the paloma goes to high school - and then we'll both have spearmint teas....

ok now, is when you pat my blog on the back and tell me how proud you are of me....  >:)

yeaaaaaah.....  thanks for helping to clear my lungs...   stay healthy, dear friend...  :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

happy new year! greetings 2013!

ugh...  i can't believe how long it's been since i posted to my lonely neglected blog....  but really...  how many times have i written these words in the (almost 10yrs old) life of this blog???  lol...  :) 

onwards!  i guess...  :)

looking back on 2012, i realize now it was a "rebuilding" year.  last january, i challenged myself:

"...to be a better me, friend, mother, wife, etc...to continue to challenge my creative process by sewing more (and altering less - i find i've been altering more clothes (not recycling, restyling or upcycling) for friends & friends of friends. i hope to cut back on that...), crafting more, writing more and drawing more.... being more consistent about these challenges, stopping the procrastination & ignoring the fear of failure...."

sadly, i didn't sew, craft or draw more in 2012.... and i will try not to define that as failure... hopefully, i ended up challenging/channelling my creative process in different ways...

looking back, in jan & february i did an "ok" amount of sewing, dancing and blogging. 

in march, i celebrated my 40th year on earth with a weekend trip to san francisco to celebrate with some of my dearest and closest friends and to dance my boo-tray off.  it was unforgettable...  so blessed!  it was very difficult to leave and  i was a blubbering mess at the airport...  incredibly bittersweet...  probably why i didn't even blog about it...  i should probably write a post-post-post dance weekend birthday recap....  :) 

paloma celebrated her 9th birthday with a trip to the local Claire's to shop and get her ears pierced.  FINALLY! (filipino ancestors be satisfied!)  then, we headed to American Girl Place for some more retail therapy and so Piper (the doll) could get her ears pierced too and get some glasses to match paloma's...  After a stop at the Lego and Disney stores, we had lunch at her favorite restaurant, California Pizza Kitchen.

in april, i did more sewing...  and even more dancing....  and slowly came to the realization that i had "somehow"  (ha. snort.) injured my back.  keep in mind, i have always had back problems since i fell down some icy, concrete stairs in college.  so, when there's a problem with my back, i'm acutely aware...  i was advised to stop dancing for a couple of...  wait for it....  MONTHS.  the silver lining - i found a lovely chiropractor who was a wonderful companion on the road to recovery...  while i recovered, i read a fair amount ( i read 14 books in 2012!  3 shy of my personal challenge of 17 though... ) and caught up on a LOT of tv - Supernatural, Dr Who, Sherlock and Downtown Abbey mostly....  and then, the paloma's school choral group got to sing the national anthem at a Sox game!!!

and then, i got a job in may!  i KNOW!? totally out of left field...  with my apparel background, i didn't think i would ever get another similar job in a related field, here in chicago...  i currently work for Otabo assisting designers with their initial inquiries & updating them on the development and manufacture of their footwear  collections...  it's been a very educational, inspirational and exciting 7 months.  the transition from sahm to wa&ohm continues to be more challenging than i thought it would be...  and we're taking it one day at a time...  :)

in may and june, we welcomed two babies into our family!  my stepbrother and his wife brought baby olivia in the world on mother's day.  My little (?) sister and her husband celebrated the birth of  baby rafael in late june...  Canada, you lucky country...  ;) 

porkchop graduated from kindergarten in may and paloma completed 3rd grade with good grades and an A award (a wonderful award citing her improvements over the year).  we were and are very VERY proud...  and relieved...  shortly thereafter began another long summer of whining and complaining...  thankfully, it still occurred a whole foot or two beneath my ears...  *sigh*

in july, i started dancing again - AND THERE WAS MUCH REJOICING!!!!  i also took some archery lessons...  who's going to have a valuable skill come the zombie apocalypse??  THIS GIRL!!!  *fistbump*  i'm fighting the urge to buy a no frills (is there such a thing?) bow/arrows & set up  a target in my backyard....   >:)

we welcomed a new kitten to our family in august.  we had a little health scare with bailey, our 17yo elder kitty.  after a visit to the ER, they determined that she had some kind of brain tumor and probably wouldn't be with us much longer...  they gave her a month...  so, we thought to soften the emotional blow on the kids (us, really) we might get a kitten.  so,  after a couple of trips to the ASPCA, we found and adopted rascal.  he has lived up to his name many times over...  what a handul!!!  :)  and bailey?  4 months later, she's doing fine.  she had a checkup recently and everything...

i tried and failed at another blog challenge in august as well....  i may try to resurrect that challenge though, it was a really good one based on lindy hop.  and i really need some inspiration to rekindle that dancing fire...  not so recent events and people in the chicago dance community soured me on dancing...  but i can't dwell on it anymore, it's absolutely killing any kind of love i have for dancing... 

september came and went.... thankfully.  :')

in october, the thin man and i celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary!  WOOT!!  YAY US!!!

and then, i was totally lame and didn't even post pictures of porkchop and paloma's AMAZEBALLS costumes as dr. who (tennant) and a weeping angel...  another post i must recap... 

november and december have been quiet and reflective for the most part.  the thin man celebrated his birthday with his new love - his iphone 5.  i swear - he and siri got a thang going on....  O_o  the porkchop also celebrated his 7th birthday with 6 of his closest buds...  they ate pizza and played video games while screaming...  i assume it was the closest thing to a fraternity house i will ever experience...  a few days later, i could hear again....  christmas and new years were spent quietly at home with my family this year...   a charming change from the bustle of travelling we usually have at this time of year...

all in all, we had some very good and very bad times in 2012.  for some of my closest friends and family, it has been the worst year, riddled with terrible, terrible events....  with only friendship and support to offer, it has left me feeling so helpless and unhelpful for them....  we'll just persevere to be present and constant and patient...

well, i sincerely hope that 2012 was good to you and that 2013 proves to be full of good surprises and prosperity and love, lots and lots of sunny and comforting love...  because we all deserve copious and abundant amounts of that...


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