Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lucky cats

I've noticed the cats have been sleeping what seems like 20 hours straight now that it's getting cold. When they do wake up it's only to eat, drink, poop and fight. You'd think they'd be in a better mood with all that sleeping but no. The fur has been flying a lot lately!

My lingering cold has finally turned on me, I feel like I need 20 hours of sleep. I just don't feel right.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wii wishes

Today I signed up for automatic notification when a Nintendo Wii becomes available on any one of numerous sites online. For $6.50, I figured it was worth a try. I'd like to get it for a certain someone this Christmas and while I know my chances are slim, I thought I'd at least try.

Meanwhile, Faythe's ranting has inspired me to knit a simple sock. The only thing special about it is it's 100% wool, Cascade 220 to be exact. I've tried on other wool songs made of finer yarn and liked how they felt on my foot so thought I'd give it a try with another wool that would knit up much quicker. So far I'm pleased. The good thing about feet, they're not sensitive to potential itchyness from wool.

I'll let you know if I score a Wii. After I buy mine (see, I'm thinking positively), I'll post here if I learn of a site that's selling them.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A strange animal in the house

Friday Katrina and Kilo, her Sharpei, stopped by. Needless to say, the cats were shocked. They refused to leave the bedroom. Simba came out twice and stared at Kilo.

Kilo didn't care at all. He ignored the cats. Oh look, a Christmas present for Faythe in the background!

After they left, I checked in on them. Zoe wasn't so sure if it was safe to come out. Simba had resigned himself to his bed. Er, one of his many beds.

Funny little creatures.

Just a taste of our meal

We had all the traditional food Apollo likes to cook including macaroni and cheese, bread rolls, cornbread and sausage stuffing, greens, ham and pies purchased locally, Harvest Pumpkin and Dutch Apple.

Though I'm not a fan of stuffing, I was impressed with Apollo's rendition. He added chunks of sausage and corn. It wasn't gooey like all other stuffing I've been exposed to.

The ham was, and even now several days later, juicy and flavorful. Once, the juice from the ham just happened to drip on the rice in one of my left-over meals. It was pine-applicious.

The Harvest Pumpkin pie was very rich. It's comprised of a layer of the usual pumpkin followed by some kind of creamy pumpkin mixture and whipped cream. Delicious but must be consumed in smaller servings than usual.

Other than eating, the day was filled with football, knitting (odd combo) and lounging. Happily, I didn't over-eat. Frankly, the traditional Thanksgiving meal is getting quite boring to me. I guess it's because these particular food items aren't my favorite. I just may have to start a new tradition, much to Apollo's displeasure I'm sure. Maybe carne asade burritos or something.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Eve

Mariposa (sock #2) on the left, Jorge's heel flap almost completed on the right. Love them! There seems to be a problem with the bamboo needles though. They're warped, my grip is just a wee bit too tight. It seems.

I can't believe I have both Thursday and Friday off. This is definitely going to give me some quality knitting time. It's possible I just may finish a project or at least start a couple more.

My "personal chef" is already working on tomorrow's menu. Oh yeeeah!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ebony, ivory...

I went out to dinner with Katrina last friday. We ended up talking for hours. Literally...hours. She picked me up from work at 5PM, I got home sometime after midnight. Half the drive back was scary too, it was so foggy. Normally these sort of driving conditions don't bother me. I welcome driving challenges!

Anyway, back to Katrina. It was great getting together with her and just talking and talking and talking. You see, I'm not much of a talker. BHAHAHAAA! OK I am. WHATEVERRRRR! Hopefully we'll do it again. Maybe other people I know who live/work in that area will want to meet up after work too? *hint hint*

So you're probably wondering what this is. It's bread! Brown and white, mixed! I know I'm a dork but I thought it was cool so I brought some home. I knew Apollo would want to taste some of this equal opportunity bread. The dark part was sweet, I could swear there was a raisin or two involved.

When I asked if I could take some home, the waitress suggested I take some of the butter pats home too. I think she was joking. I took some home.

That stuff on the bread is Sun Dried Tomato Basting Butter. It's SO good. We picked it up at Anthony's Fish Grotto down at the bay.

Oh and they also have some yummy smoked fish spreads. Geeze, I'm slobbering now just thinking about it!

I'd really like to try out some coffee shops up in the North County area. Maybe knit or something. Again with the hinting....

Monday, November 20, 2006

Holiday shopping and a woman for Jorge

Well, I think it's safe to say the holiday season is definitely upon us. Sure, we started seeing Christmas decorations way back before Halloween but it's just starting to get crazy out there!

Because we had one of those nifty 40% off coupons from Michaels, Apollo and I drove to three different stores before we found the lighted tree topper we wanted. Traffic was crazy! Crowds were nuts! Christmas decorations were already starting to get picked over! Obviously we were competing against a bunch of other rabid tree topper shoppers. With coupons! (Maybe I'm exaggerating.)

I started to get grouchy. I got a sales lady in trouble. In my defense, she refused to let me buy an ornament on one of the display tree's even though it had a price tag on it. When the store manager found out, the sales lady was told to stop being lazy. I got the ornament. Oh yeah, definitely, the holiday season is here.

In knitting news, with Jorge's heel well on its way I started on Mariposa, Jorge's mate, today. Aimee had a brilliant idea; she said I should give the socks to myself. With that in mind, I'm really looking forward to wearing them. I only have a few short months here in San Diego where wool socks are appropriate so this is perfect timing.

Oh yeah, and I started mapping out the pattern for Apollo's stocking. Shhhhh! He doesn't know! I decided to put a snowman on it using some really fluffy white yarn for the snow. And blue yarn. Nice and manly colors you see. Anyway, I'll definitely post updates since he really only reads my blog when I remind him.

OK, back to Mariposa. Oh, and good luck with that holiday shopping. I myself have turned to the internet for most of my shopping. Phew!

My actual major was Art, minor in Humanities (go figure)

Your Scholastic Strength Is Deep Thinking

You aren't afraid to delve head first into a difficult subject, with mastery as your goal.
You are talented at adapting, motivating others, managing resources, and analyzing risk.

You should major in:

Foreign language

Maybe I should get on the elliptical now (NOT!)

You Are Cookie Monster

Misunderstood as a primal monster, you're a true hedonist with a huge sweet tooth.

You are usually feeling: Hungry. Cookies are preferred, but you'll eat anything if cookies aren't around.

You are famous for: Your slightly crazy eyes and usual way of speaking

How you life your life: In the moment. "Me want COOKIE!"

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Melenweit Mega Boots Stretch

I love this yarn. See how the color subtly changes from left to right?

Me and Jorge are doing great. As you can see I'm almost done with his leg. I took a few days off, I just don't feel like knitting when sick. I decided to wing it with the pattern. I started out with a simple pattern I found in a yarn store but then decided I didn't like the heel. It called for a Jo-jo heel. I prefer the traditional gusset heel myself.

So I decided to try EZ's method of percentages. I'm sure it'll be great but I'm still a bit concerned. I'm having a hard time letting go of of the confinements of patterns. :)

After I start on the heel, I'm going to start knitting a mate for Jorge.

Paper art

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Houston, we have a problem!

Well I have some good news and some bad news. It's always best to start with the bad news.

Bad news: It seems I've miscalculated stitches needed for Apollo's sweater. This may also be an understatement. After knitting for a while, gauge changed and magically grew from 4.5 stitches per inch to 4 stitches per inch. It's also possible I'm seeing things. I will measure again later. I also transposed one of the numbers when measuring his pre-existing sweater, making it much larger than reality. However when I do the math I still can't figure out how I came up with 243 stitches.

Apollo dared to pretend it was a hoola hoop!

Good news: All is not lost. I've only knit 5.5 inches. (Boo!) Ripping it out (Argh!) will stop me from knitting needles stitches, creating a huge sweater and will of course reduce the time it takes to make this sucker.


Most embarrassing moment for Zoe and I

So I'm sitting here at work, minding my own business. Struggling to stay awake, I'm nodding off. I just have to get more than 5 hours of sleep! I've been quite sniffly lately. I'm sure it's a combination of allergies and The Sickness that's been going around. Anyway, since my nose is full of snot, I decided to stifle my sneeze. I plugged my nose and...well, farted! Yes a big, stinky fart! AT WORK. There are eight other people here in the same room. Chad is directly to my right, so close I could almost touch him. Four others are in a row behind me. Nobody said anything! Not a word! I think it made them uncomfortable. If I were a guy I'm sure it would be different. I was just about to get up and leave the room when it happened but I decided against it. I didn't want to incriminate myself even more! Plus, let's just say that this was not one of those stinkless kinds, ok? I didn't want to stir up the air anymore than I already had.

I sent Chad a private message, "Did you hear that?" Apparently he thought it was my shoe. Or at least that's what he said, snickering to himself and refusing to look me in the eye. Wait a second, he must have known exactly what was going on! Why else would he even try to cover with that whole shoe excuse? *sigh* Somehow telling the world seems to make it all better.

To leave you with thoughts other than farts, here's a preview of photos of Zoe dressed up in her cheerleader Halloween costume. I know you probably feel cats shouldn't wear clothes and it's a bit hokey but come on, I don't have any kids! Plus, for all that she puts me through, at least I can have a little fun. She was very cooperative and didn't seem to mind the outfit. She even walked around with it on and finally collapsed in her bed. Good thing no other kitties other than Simba were around or she'd be embarrassed too!

If you ever had any doubts

'In a video clip on the network’s Web site, an off-screen interviewer says to Simpson, “You wrote "I have never seen so much blood in my life.”’

' “I don’t think any two people could be murdered without everybody being covered in blood,” Simpson responds.'

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Just when I figured out the perfect balance of projects...

Today I bought some Mega Boots Stretch sock yarn. I've been mooning over this yarn ever since I saw it at the shop when Aimee visited. So this morning I finally made up a good excuse to buy some: Christmas presents!! I trekked over on my lunch break and bought enough yarn to make several pair. Yes, maybe I was a bit ambitious. Yes, maybe the ladies at the yarn store were cackling while I drove off. They've probably been there, done that.

Anyway, I finally figured out the gauge and the pattern (I thought there was an error, I was so wrong) and started in on it. The size 2 needles were seemingly permanently bending from use, or was it my imagination?

I don't know how long it took but this is all I knit before I got tired and decided to go to bed. Yes, that's all!

I think I've been knitting with worsted weight yarn for way too long. I'm concerned, very concerned.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I guess it makes sense...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The West

Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.

The Midland
North Central
The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Will the real Rayleen please stand up?

This fall I decided it was time for me to face my nightmares and start repairing my credit. My credit problems were literally causing me to have nightmares. I was always running and hiding from something!

So, I made a phone call and made payment arrangments. Next, I ordered a credit report and went through it, looking for mistakes. After clearing all that up, I decided it was time to get a couple credit cards. You know, show someone that I'm worthy! After all, I'm not the same person now that I was in college. OK sure, I'm totally freaked out by the idea of credit cards (I hate owing money) but decided this was the sacrifice I needed to make if I'm ever going to buy a house. I decided the best idea was to get a card from a store I shop at. I mean, if I'm going to be there buying groceries I might as well use the card to my benefit. So, I looked up WalMart. If WalMart isn't going to approve anyone, who is? It seemed the safest option to start with. So, I applied online and was approved! Yay! I was well on my way towards responsibility! My credit limit wasn't high, but who cares? It's something to build upon! I applied for a couple other cards and got them too. Yesss!

Anyway, about two weeks later I got the card and called in to verify it. The person on the other end said my card was being investigated for fraud. Fraud! I just got the card! They forwarded me to the fraud department where I talked to a person from another country who politey told me there was nothing I could do and to call back in a month. I conceded. What could I do?

So tonight, over a month later, I called back. It seems the information I provided, the same information on my credit report and the same information I provided while applying and getting approved is not the information they have on file! They say I have to call back in another thirty days as my account is going to be investigated AGAIN for fraud. Remember, I haven't used the card. Nobody has. So I ask why? I'm calmly told by out-sourced-customer-service guy that nothing can be done, that he can't verify who I am. Let's preface this next part by saying I had a pretty bad day. Some of my peers called in sick leaving me alone with people just like I was about to become and with a very delayed lunch break. I was already a bit edgey. (Random cat photos to show their concern during this time)

I told the out-sourced guy that this was totally unacceptable, that I needed to talk to a supervisor. OK, I work in customer service. I'll let you in on a little trade secret: usually when someone asks to talk to a supervisor, they're passed on to a friend or someone who has more seniority or experience talking people "off the ledge." My supervisor rarely talks to customers. I don't blame him, really. This would mean he'd only talk to people when they're all pissy and who wants to do that? After being on hold for several minutes, I talk to this so called "supervisor" who says nothing can be done and they can't verify who I am so the account is going to be investigated. I ask, what part is incorrect? I don't need specifics, just let me know the basics so I can clear it up. I basically gave them all the information they need to steal my identity. Actually, yes, I gave them everything they need to screw me over! What more do they need? I didn't actually say this...not yet. All I wanted to know was what information was incorrect. I even sarcastically (yes I know, it's hard to believe) offered to call back every 30 days with a variation of my real birthday, drivers license or phone number until I got it "right." The guy refuses to give me more information and tells me to call back in 30 days to try again. So I asked to close my account. Even though I dinged my newly cleansed credit applying for this credit card, I was willing to just close the account and be done with it. He says he cannot close the account since I am not the real Rayleen.

This is when I start to raise my voice a little and the cats start running around like monkeys from all the excitement. I'm quickly transferred to another "supervisor." Maybe the real one this time? He repeats everything. I maybe tell him what bad customer service they are providing and how surely a large corporation such as WalMart should be able to provide better customer service. I ask if the phone call is being recorded and say "good" when he says it is, "I want a record of this." I continue to ask (demand) to close the account and if he cannot, to transfer me to someone who can do it for me. The person I had talked to before being transferred to the fraud department even offered to close it for me so I know it can be done. He says, it can't be done! Because they cannot verify that I am really Rayleen, then I cannot close the account. It has to be investigated!

I am not the real Rayleen! My account cannot be closed until it can be verified! I cannot verify I am the real Rayleen! Am I the only one who see's the problem here?? So we go round and round. Me asking to close the account and if he cannot do it to transfer me to the person who originally asked if I wanted to close it. Him telling me there is no way to close it since I am not the real Rayleen and that he cannot transfer me. Finally, he told me that if I did not calm down and listen to him, he was going to hang up.

I think this is right about when I started swearing (words that can be used interchangeably as verbs or adjectives) and telling him how he can provide me with a better customer service experience. I'm not sure. I felt hot and my eyes were bulging. Apollo had walked in from receiving his flu shot and stared at me. He later told me that he heard me out in the hallway. I was also jabbing my finger in the air and sitting on the edge of my seat. I was shaking, I was so angry.

Yes, it's true. I finally became one of Those Customers that I hate. The irrational crazy ones. The ones that make me dizzy. So I told him, "Let me help you out with that, I will hang up on you!" And I hung up. I called the original number and cancelled my card. Then I started crying from all the anger.

I know, this all sounds like I am crazy. Going over it again, I realize that I sound like my Mom. *sigh* Anyway, I was so angry at WalMart that I could barely handle the chats when I finally went back to work. I really had a hard time talking to them. In fact, I couldn't even really talk to Faythe or Aimee in instant message since I was still upset.

Oh, and the credit limit they were guarding so carefully? $100. The other credit cards I got from banks alotted me much higher credit limits. They knew who I am. I guess they get my money!

As you can see, I've decided I don't need this WalMart card anymore. I cut up the smiling, happy WalMart face with glee, carefully cutting out most of the numbers so some fake Rayleen couldn't call in and verify the account. Wouldn't that be my luck!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Apollo's sweater, take 2

After a half hearted attempt some months/years ago and due to some spoken and unspoken peer pressure, I finally cast on 200+ stitches last night and am happy to report I've knit a little over an inch. I'm using EZ's (heretofore referred to as Elizabeth Zimmerman) Seamless Hybrid sweater recipe in the round and am looking forward to actually completing it, if not a bit apprehensive about the shoulder area and neck. I've yet to decide what or if I'm going to add any special patterns later using a second color. Fortunately, I have time before I get to that point.

As you can see, it's black. This is the most acceptable "color" for a manly man, so he says. I was also instructed not to knit any texture. Somehow, this is not manly. I have no problem with smaller items....the commitment to a sweater is almost too much. Argh, the agony!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mini Christmas stocking

While Aimee was here, we combined two different stocking patterns to come up with this little guy. He's about 10 inches tall and 4 inches wide.

If you've never made a sock or are skeptical of double pointed needles, I recommend trying a stocking first. You can get a similar version of this one in Knit Christmas Stockings!: 19 Patterns for Stockings and Ornaments. It only took a couple hours, interrupted by talking and TV, to make it too. Try it, I dare you. :)

*** strikes again

Now that Aimee has gone, the plumbing has decided to act up. I guess you could say she's lucky she missed all the excitement.

At 5:45PM, the plumber has finally returned after leaving due to "another job" (bastard) and an argument over whether or not last summers $7K work his company performed was still under warranty. Funny how they couldn't find any record of it until the other job was completed.

Let me explain my frustration a bit; we left this morning at 5:45AM to take Aimee to the airport and returned about an hour later. It only took an hour for the toilet and tub to fill with sewer, toilet paper and what looks like pieces of carrots. We contacted our landlord immediately who contacted the plumber. It has taken a full 12 hours for the plumbers to finally take care of the problem. That's right, TWELVE HOURS.

The toilet paper that was merely slightly offensive on the steps outside is now inside on my floor along with an inch of water. A rolled up towel is being used as a makeshift dam to keep the fluids from contaminating the carpet in the hallway. Thankfully, I thought ahead and picked up the rug in the bathroom. The foam foot isn't so lucky.

Now, the rest of the tenants on the floor are complaining that their toilets and tubs are full as well. See, we're downhill. And you know where **** rolls. Never again will I live downhill.

I'm nursing a glass of juice mixed with Airborne while I blog. And wondering when I will finally, oh please, get to use my bathroom. A thoroughly bleach cleansed bathroom.

Duck lips

I'm staring at this advertisement on a Yahoo page right now.

Someone tell me, please, how is this attractive? I understand plump lips are seen by some as pretty but isn't this going a little too far? Which reminds me, the other day I saw Lara Flynn Boyle on tv. Her lips were freaking me out! It was like words were coming out of her mouth but her lips didn't move!! AAAHH

Aim left

The internet is so cool. Look out what Alaska Airlines is offering on their site now, flight status!

Neato. Looks like Aimee is going to arrive at PDX a bit early. We didn't do any typical touristy stuff while she was here. Like Aim described it, we spent our time like cats do. We ate, slept, pooped and played with yarn. Oh, and watched tv and played video games.

She accompanied me for moral support for my free flu shot. I expected it to hurt more but it was less painful than a cat scratch. My arm is sore today, especially when I poke it like this...

My cats were on their best behavior too. Aim was shocked that they didn't bite, scratch or slap back at us. I believe her words were, "They seem medicated."

It was good to have her here. We really needed to spend some time just talking and being around each other.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Yarn carnage

Hey, um, remember when I talked about a lace scarf I had started? Faythe bet it would take me a year to finish it. Well, uh, I was cleaning through one of my many yarn stashes throughout the house and hey look, I found the lace scarf!

There appears to be an issue here with the yarn. It looks like it threw up all over itself. *sigh* I just do not have luck with this sort of yarn. GAH!

I'm going to put it off to one side in a plastic baggie and untangle it when I am rested. And maybe have had a few highly caffeinated coffee's under my belt.

Less than 2 days...

...before Aimee is here! YAY! We'll be picking her up at the airport around 9AM Monday morning. I'm sure most of our time will be spent eating and laying around. Sad, isn't it? It seems we are following in our cats paw prints after all! I'm also going to spend some time completing the final phase of Knitter Conversion. I've decided she's going to, I mean, she decided (ahhh, manipulation) she's going to give intarsia or Fair Isle a try.

Though I've been warned by one co-worker that I need to "get a life," (he clearly does not understand the life of a crafster before Christmas) I finally finished the stocking I knit for my aunt. You know, the one I already finished? Well, I frogged the foot and changed the design. I'll post a pic later after I sew in the ends. I also finished a 2nd Christmas present of which I cannot discuss because the recipient may read this. I'm ecstatic! Why? It's not yet December! *all knitters gasp in unison* hehe

I already got my EZ book, Knitting Without Tears, from Amazon. Oh.My.God! In the past when I've read testimonials about her books and "recipes," I've always been a bit skeptical. That's skeptical with one eye-brow raised and both eyes squinked in suspicion. WELL. First of all, this woman is funny! In a kind of whimsical-no-nonsense kind of way. Secondly, everything she says totally makes sense! For example, here's how one of her basic sweater recipes begin: pick a yarn, pick your needles, measure a favorite sweater in inches, calculate gauge with yarn and needles, multiply gauge times inches. You now have the total amount of stitches to cast on your circulars! That's it! So obvious but here I am, excited at the concept. EEEE! OK maybe that's a little much. I'm just a little wound up because my baby sister is coming to visit! HEHehEHehEhe! OK, I guess I should get going. We're cleaning up a bit. I now understand why Faythe and Ryan were obsessive about the cleaning before my visit.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The life of a cat, it's all about comfort

We bought a new red corduroy cover for the couch. It's so pretty! I love the red! Red red red!! I think it's better looking in person, maybe a tad bit cooler. We folded Simba's fleece blankets (yes that's plural) and topped them with the cat blanket Faythe made. Of course, Simba thinks this is a great idea! Now, if only his food and water dishes were sitting next to him, I'm sure life would be perfect.