Tuesday, May 29, 2007

And He Just Lives to Sabotage Me...

I guess you come to a point in marriage when you've pretty much said it all, seen it all etc. Your reason for living at that point becomes finding new and more exciting ways to drive your spouse crazy. Now, before I start, let me say that I do this to Blake all the time. Just see the post about setting booby traps. The fact that he's not bouncing off the well cushioned walls of a rubber room at this point is really a testament to the strength of his character. Or, I guess it could be proof of the lack of a better option...

Anyway, I think I mentioned that I hate my digital camera. Well, things have not improved in spite of purchasing a card reader. I thought I had it all worked out and that should have been a sign that I would have been better off actually stomping my camera and taking a drawing class. It might be less stressful to memorialize big moments in my life in watercolor or charcoal. Well, the minute I triumphantly burst into the kitchen with Amazon box, Blake was there to tear down the moment. I opened the box and showed him the card reader. I was proud of myself for having purchased some tech equipment and he said, "It won't work".

I admit that I took a minute to consider my options at that point. The only weapons in sight were a plastic baby spoon and a sippy cup. I don't think McGyver could have even done anything with that. So, in the interest of fair play, I let him explain.

"Rememer how I dropped the computer and broke the network card off in the (whatever the entry point is called)? Well, it's not fixed so this isn't going to work"

What I wanted to say: Good God Almighty!!! All I want is to upload some frikackin' pictures and it's one thing after another!!! Argh!!!!!

What I actually said: "Oh, OK. I guess I'll keep it since you'll get another computer soon"

Actually, I think this post should have focused more on my increasingly dramatic reactions to minor inconveniences but I like to think that Blake is plotting against me. Like America, I do better if I have an enemy to blame for my misfortunes. Plus, it takes up some free time thinking of ways to get even.


Speaking of getting even, I set another unintentional booby trap this weekend. I packed a bag full of ingredients so that I could make guacamole for a cookout on Sunday. I planned on making it "on-site" since I'd run out of time at home. I put everything, including my knife, in a grocery bag. I had actually put the knife in an oven mitt so that it wouldn't just by lying in the bottom of the bag.

Wouldn't you know it? Nosy ol' Blake starts going through the bag and rearranging things and, according to him, nearly cut his finger off. First off, I think the old "mind your own business" credo applies here and I DID put an oven mitt on the knife. How could he have missed that?

Honestly, you'd think he'd have developed a healthy paranoia by now in order to avoid some of these problems.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Recent Projects

As promised, I am including some pictures of more recent stitching projects. The first one is a sampler that I did for family friends that just moved into a new home. I wasn't sure when I started just how it would come out, but I really love the primitive look of it. I think this may be the first of many samplers that I will work on. I just love the primitive, colonial look. I also like the frame that I picked out since it looks old.

This one is a cute little project that I worked on last fall. I really wanted to finish it for Christmas, but I just didn't make it. I finally got through it sometime in January since we had so much snow/cooped-up-in-the-house time.

The snowmen were pretty easy since the fabric was a big count. That was actually a good thing, though I'm quickly becoming a bit of a fabric snob. Occasionally it is good to work on soemthing easier because I don't have to strain my poor eyes. Plus, the easier projects tend to come together more quickly and it feels great to actually finish something in less than 3 or 4 months...

Hopefully I will finish up some projects in the next few weeks so that I can show off a bit since I have nothing to be proud of in the quality of my photography.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Why I Hate my Digital Camera...

Reason #1: I can never, and I really mean never, find my frickin' USB cable when I need to upload pictures.

Reason #2: I actually have to have a USB cable to upload my pictures. When I actually do have the damn thing at hand, I feel a bit like I did when I had to use my cassette player to load programs onto my Tandy. The difference of course is that the Tandy was cutting edge for the time and the USB cable seems a bit ridiculous. If there is an alternative, please let me know. I very nearly stomped my camera to bits after looking all over the house for my cable. It is a bit of displaced fury for sure, but it's either stomp the camera or abuse poor Blake. Given that he can fight back, I would surely choose to stomp the poo out of the camera and then just tell him that I lost it and need another one. Sadly, it would be believable...

The reason that I'm so irritated is that I was going to share with you my silly little hobby. I've been into it now for about three years and thankfully my skills have improved a bit since I started out. Drumroll....

I have been doing needlework and I have totally dorked out over it. I started off by stitching up a baby gift for my friend Cindy. At the time, I couldn't think of a good gift and she'd received so much nice stuff by the time my lazy bee-hind got around to doing something for her. So, I got a tip from a coworker about a great needlework shop here in Tulsa and headed over to pick up some supplies.

That project turned out really well, so I kept at it and really found that I enjoyed the craft for a number of reasons. One, it requires a certain level of patience. I don't think I need to elaborate here too much, but I would say that my general self improvement is coming along nicely. Anyway... Two, I've found that in order to stick with needlework, you have to come to appreciate creating the work and avoid focusing on finishing the piece. When I started with this, all I could think about was the final product and how long it would take to finish something. But, as I moved on to more challenging projects, I found that just putting a few stitches in was very satisfying.

I'm including a couple of pictures of my most challenging work to date. This was a baby gift for my friend Jenny's baby girl Caroline who was born in April of 20o6. It was a race to finish this one in time because I grossly underestimated the time it would take to finish it. I kid you not, this one had about ten different shades of beige. I thought I would go completely blind. In the end though, I think that it was worth the work but seriously, I finished the night before I flew out to Seattle to see her and new baby. Whew!

Blurry Photo of the Finished Piece

Detail of Baby in Moses Basket

I wish I had better pictures, because there are some pretty nice little birds on the sides of the basket. The thing that made this project even tougher is that it is stitched on 32 count fabric (I'm pretty sure that is right). This means that there are 32 threads per inch so the holes in the fabric are teeny. Anyway, because they are so tiny, you generally stitch over two holes so that the picture ends up being an appropriate size. However, in order to make the baby in the basket appear as delicate as possible, the face and hands are stitched over one thread. I don't know if you follow, but it was practically impossible for me to stitch the face and hands because my eyes are terrible AND I'm not terribly dextrous. So, much cussing ensued...

Again, this hobby is really teaching me some patience.

Hopefully I will find my USB cable and will be able to upload some images from more recent projects. If not, I will probably smash much of the computer equipment in my house. Stitching has done nothing for my anger issues.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Officially in the 'Holm

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We did indeed make it to Stockholm in good shape and with fairly good attitudes. Cayton was basically an angel on the trip over. We only had one run in with a whiny, nordic sweater wearing crybaby who was actually about 35 years old. And I was worried about Cayton! Apparently the guy expected to be able to put his friggin' chair in my lap and not have to deal with me (or Cayton) occasionally hitting his chair. I was so sorry to have disturbed His Majesty. I was not aware that a member of the Swedish Royal Family would be aboard the same Continental tin can/plane that we were. Oh well, I guess you can't expect perfect behavior out of everyone...

After gathering our stuff at the airport and passing through a pretty easy Customs process, we were on our way to the city. The airport was about 20 miles outside the city, so it was a pretty good taxi ride. Cayton was so tired that she obsessively asked for "More Milk!". However, when we gave her the milk she shoved it away and said, "No milk!". I guess you can't expect a two year old to be rational after an eight hour plane ride.

We taxied straight to Josh's hotel since we figured that our hotel wouldn't be ready. He has a pretty sweet set up there with the concierge lounge on his floor. After a little breakfast and freshening up, we were ready to explore the city. By explore, I mean we taxied over to our hotel, took showers, and then crashed for a nap. It was a bit of a rookie mistake, but all in all in turned out well. We were able to stay up later that night for drinks with Josh, Lindsey and Mike. We partied Euro style - we drank and talked while Cayton slept in her stroller. I wish American lawmakers could see the wisdom in allowing babies in bars...

I think after all of the things we saw and all of the new experiences we had, the best part of the trip was just hanging out with our friends. The city was absolutely beautiful and it provided a unique backdrop to the time that we spent talking and catching up. It was a bit like old times, but with a strange new language swirling around us. I probably need a week or two to let the memories form completely in my mind and I will write about them. But, my immediate impression is that good times with good friends can make even an epic journey seem manageable.

Friday, May 04, 2007

...and miles to go before I sleep

It's 4:00 Newark time and we're about to start leg two of our trip to Stockholm. So far, it's been an uneventful trip with Cayton really performing extremely well on the plane from Tulsa to Newark. I have to really give her credit since the plane was really small and everyone on the plane seemed really grumpy.

Anyway, the next leg will test our mettle as parents I'm sure. The total flight time is 8 hours and we'll probably feel every minute of it. But, one advantage we have is my brillance as a travel planner. I suggested we purchase a day pass to the President's Club and it worked out amazingly. We camped out in the Family Room and Cayton and I took a long nap. Then, we took advantage of the showers and we were all refreshed and ready to take on the hop across the pond.

I look forward to sharing details of this undoubtedly "exciting" flight...

More to come-