Saturday, December 30, 2006

knitting obsession continues

I've officially lost my mind. This knitting thing is becoming an obsession. I went to a craft store today and found the prettiest yarn for what will eventually be a log cabin blanket (if I can manage to do it.) I got the idea from several places, but my major inspiration is from this site: January One. The picture doesn't do the yarn justice, I'm afraid. The blue, purple, and teal look the same here, but they really are quite different.

I also got this yarn for my mom's scarf. I now have yarn for Hannah, my sister, and my mom. I haven't decided if I'm keeping the one I'm working on or if I'm going to give it away. I know Rhea likes the colors, so it might be hers. I'm really excited about doing Hannah's. She's such a girly little girl, and she loves scarves. The pink, purple, and blue eyelash yarn will be perfect for her. I can just see her strutting around, wearing her new scarf. It's a cute picture.

Anyway, this is a growing obsession. I'm looking at knitting blogs too, it's amazing how many of those are out there. They are extremely valuable in terms of getting advice and new ideas. So if you have a knitting blog, please comment with your link so I can look at it!

Photo Hunters Theme: New

I've decided to do this thing called Photo Hunters, where they post a theme every week and you post a picture that goes with that theme. For details, go here: Photo Hunters.

Every Saturday, I'll be posting a photo to go along with the theme. These posts will be marked with two things, a label called Photo Hunters, and the icon at the top of this post.

I chose this photo to signify the theme "New" because it captures the moment when my nephew held his new sister for the first time.

Friday, December 29, 2006


I've been thinking alot about faith lately. I've never been satisfied with my level of commitment, or with my relationship with God. This is something I plan to work on a lot in the coming months. I think it's vital to have a spiritual life, a connection with something bigger than ourselves. Whether that is God or something else really depends on the person and their individual beliefs, but for me, it's God. And for me, it's more about the relationship than the religion. Here is a verse that spoke to me today. It's the perfect way to start this journey, as it tells about the results of being more spiritual.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

good times... good times...

I went out with some friends last night and we really had a great time. First, we went to Indulgence to sit and talk, and ended up playing cards. After I beat everyone at Rummy, Rhea and Chris attempted to teach me how to play poker. Learning to play poker is one of the things on my 101 in 1001 list, but I think I need a few more lessons. How do you remember all the hands? Of course, I've been told that I will be a horrible poker player because I can't bluff. Now, it's true that in real life, my face pretty much reveals what I'm thinking, but I can probably employ some of my acting skills (if you can call them that, lol) while playing poker.

Anyway, we had a really good time last night. We met up with Jeff, a friend from high school (and the first guy I ever slow-danced with.. lol) and that was fun too, since I hadn't seen him in 12 years.

I paid for the fun, though, because I only got 3 hours of sleep and had to get up for work this morning. We did inventory today, which means lots of numbers. I'm not good with numbers. But we got through it and we got to leave early too! So I'm planning to go to bed early tonight so that I can meet up with some other friends (and some of the ones that were there last night) at Soul Kitchen tomorrow night to see The Molly Ringwalds (again!) on Saturday night. As for New Year's, I don't have any concrete plans yet, but I've decided I will be happy with going out with friends and celebrating with them and a bunch of strangers, or sitting at home watching the ball drop on TV. Either way will be fine with me at this point.

finally learned the purl stitch!

A friend on a message board gave me a link to an online video and it did the trick! (Thanks, Jenn!) So now I can do all the basic things you need to be able to do to knit! Here are some pictures of the stockinette swatch I just made this evening. Yay! I think I can call myself a knitter now! Here's the link, in case anyone out there is having the same problem! Knitting Help

Guest Post Update

Apparently, Brandon got hooked on guest-posting after my blog and is now doing other guest-posts. I think I feel like the local schoolyard pot dealer now after discovering that my childhood friend who I badgered into trying his first joint is now hooked on heroin. I feel really guilty about it. But then again, I'm Catholic, so if this hadn't happened, I would probably find something else to

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Cleaning house

I think it's time to clean house, literally and figuratively. I always feel this way this time of year. For example, my bedroom is a complete and total mess. I'm usually a very neat person, but for some reason, there are clothes and books everywhere. The rest of the house looks great, but my bedroom is where I spend most of my time, so it's the real problem. There is clutter all over the place and I can't seem to figure out where to put all of it. A few months ago I organized my closet, but never really got to the rest of the room. Now, as I look at the clutter, I want to make it all go away.

My brain feels the same way right now, full of clutter with nowhere to put everything. How do you clean your brain? I've tried yoga, cardio, writing things down, and nothing seems to help right now. Usually the above mentioned methods do actually work, but for some reason they're not working now. Maybe the knitting will help. I'll try that later, after I'm finished cleaning this room a little.

I had a great day at work today. I finished the grant I've been working on, which is good. This program is even more important than ever now that the president's budget has a proposed cut in government help for seniors who don't have enough money for food. I'm going to be doing some advocacy in that area in the coming months, so I'm learning as much as I can about it. I hope we get this grant, because it could mean a lot of help for seniors in our area.

In other news, I'm still plotting out Deadly Council. I've got most of the preliminary stuff written, but it's time to start leaving clues to who the killer is, but I don't have that information yet. There has to be a killer for there to be a murder, lol. The YA series continues to play around in my brain. I'm going to start making notes about it. I think it could be good, but I've never written fantasy before, so it'll be interesting to try.

I started the "A Picture A Day" project yesterday. I'm really going to try to keep it up. I think it'll be cool to look back over the pictures. At least, it'll be cool when I have more than 2 pictures on there, lol. I think that's all I have to say. I'm off to get rid of the clutter...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Addicted to knitting

Okay, so we all know I'm the kind of person who becomes obsessed with new things. I love having projects to work on, and I'm always trying to find new projects to start. I started the knitting project because I thought it would be a good thing to learn, and my goal was to knit a scarf. I'm still working on that first scarf, but I've found out just how relaxing knitting can be, and I'm really getting into it more and more. I thought it would be fun to knit scarves for some of my family members, so I went to a craft store today to look at yarn. I found the most beautiful eyelash yarn in a solid color for my sister and multicolored for Hannah. I also bought two new sets of knitting needles. Eventually I'll probably have one of every size! So anyway, here's the yarn. I just thought I would share.

Yet another project...

I was looking around on 43 Things and found the coolest goal. Someone said they wanted to take a photo a day to document their lives. Since I just got the cutest little digital camera that fits in my purse, I decided to make this goal mine. So, of course, I started a new blog with only one purpose, to post my "picture a day." It's on the sidebar titled "My Sites."

Deadly Council

I decided to start working on Deadly Council again, so you will see a new progress meter in one of the sidebars.

I've also added my flickr badge so that I can share all my photos.

Monday, December 25, 2006

My Charlie Brown Christmas

This is my Christmas card to everyone, something I found while mindlessly surfing for something interesting to put on my blog. If you have 10 minutes, and you love the show Scrubs, watch this video. I read a thing that said the cast of Scrubs made this for a cast Christmas party a few years ago, but it's now on YouTube, so that everyone can enjoy it. It's too funny! I especially loved seeing which characters were done by which voices.. especially the fact that Dr. Cox is Linus. And Carla as Lucy... perfection! Merry Christmas!

Knitting update #2

Check out my 101 in 1001 blog for an update on the knitting project, as well as a picture of my work in progress. I'm still not getting the purl stitch, so this particular scarf is extremely basic, but I figured out how to bind off and I'm getting really good at the knit stitch. I'm still not very fast, but I figure that will come in time. Anyway, there's an update for you on that!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone out there had a great Christmas Eve and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Day! It really is the most wonderful time of the year, isn't it?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Xmas Guest Post By One Child Left Behind

Since my annual torture ritual at the hands of those who share my genetic material is not yet half over, I am bringing you a guest post by Brandon, formerly of the blog known as "one child left behind". I once described reading his blog as being like having a religious experience that doesn't involve being molested by a priest. Although Brandon has given up blogging, he kindly agreed to do this

Friday, December 22, 2006

Baking can be fun

Let's start off with a confession. I don't cook. I've never really had the patience for it, but this year I wanted to give baking a shot. So I hung out with my mom last night and we did some baking for the people I work with and we really had a great time! I forgot to take pictures of the lemon bars, brownies, and cookies we made, so I can't post them here, but I must admit they turned out pretty good. I might try this baking thing again sometime. I've also volunteered to do some of the cooking for Christmas dinner, so watch out family!

The YA series I've been thinking about is heavy on my mind. I keep thinking I need to start working on it. I've never really tried working on more than one project at once, so I think I might need to think about doing that, since I really want to finish the first Deadlines book and work on the second FaithGirls book. Then there's the little matter of finishing my 2006 NaNo. I guess I have a lot of projects to juggle!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Break From Blogging.

Okay, I haven’t made much progress lately on my to do list around the fortress, but I’m hoping to kick it into high gear after the new year. I installed most of the baseboard molding upstairs, before I left. Not because I was motivated, but because I got sick of seeing it in my living room and having to step around it. Plus when people come to visit and see it sitting in the same place for

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A day of writing

I spent the day writing today, but it wasn't fiction. Our quarterly newsletter deadline is approaching, and I am the editor, which actually means I write almost everything, lay it out, and then edit the entire newsletter. After that, I pass it on to my boss, who makes changes, and then we print it and send it to 6,000 people. Today I did a lot of the initial layout and some of the writing. I'll be finishing up by the end of the week, which is a little early, so that's good. I love the publications part of my job. It's such a fun way to communicate with people, and I can be creative, which is always good. So anyway, it was a good day. I'm getting back to the grant tomorrow, but will still be working on the newsletter. Multi-tasking is fun, isn't it?

Really, work can't get any better than it is right now. I really feel comfortable with my job, and I know I'm doing well, but there are still challenges to overcome and new things to learn. That's the way a job should be, I think.

I'm doing some planning for next year's writing. I want to start the year with several outlines and/or ideas so that I can just jump in and get to work. I think 2007 is going to be a great year for work and writing. I just hope it's a great year for my personal life too...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Knitting is hard

I have to go buy a better knitting book. I've finally figured out how to do the knit stitch, but I can't figure out how to bind off. The pictures just don't explain the process very well and I'm getting totally confused. It's so frustrating because I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, but I can't manage to do this thing that millions of people learn how to do when they are kids! Of course, I'm sure I'll feel the same way when I start learning how to sew. I guess I'm in for an interesting 1001 days!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Fake Christmas

We had fake Christmas over the weekend. At least, that's what I decided to call it. My sister and her husband are taking their kids to New York to visit his family for Christmas this year, which means we won't get to do our traditional Christmas Eve dinner and opening of the presents. So we did it this past Saturday. Now it feels like Christmas is over and I'm kind of sad. But actually, we had a really great time. The kids loved their gifts. Noah especially loved his mp3 player and the "wired for sound" hoodie that I got him. He had the headphones in his ears pretty much all weekend after unwrapping it.

On Sunday, I took Noah to see Eragon, which was actually a really good movie. I haven't read the book, but I might now. Of course, this is the same thing that happened with Harry Potter. I saw one of the movies (the second, actually) and immediately decided to read the books. Now I, like so many others, cannot wait for the seventh book. I guess it's about time for a new obsession... lol.

Today was a fairly quiet day at work, which was good. I have a grant due next week, so tomorrow I'm going to start writing that. I'm doing some research because we want to start up a program to give out food to senior adults. We don't have a specific program to address the nutritional needs of low income seniors yet, so I think it would be a great addition to our current services. This is part of what I love about my job. When I got to create a sort of template for a nutrition education program and then the grant proposal was accepted, it really felt great! Now we are implementing the program and it's even more exciting. It's awesome to create something out of nothing and then see it in action. I think next year is going to be very interesting at work.

I have been thinking about my goals for 2007. I know I want to do more next year than I did this year, especially with my writing. I'll have to really think hard about what I want to accomplish so I can post it here at the end of this year.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Diesel Me

Well, I just went through a barrage of tests for a health screening and I found out that my body fat is 10.7%. Even though I haven't worked out in over 2 months and I put on about 10 pounds recently, I am still at 10.7% body fat. This doesn't surprise me. Doing construction work makes me storng like, well, like a construction worker. And as many of you know, I studied Northern Eagle Claw Kung Fu

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Decisions... decisions...

So here it is, the decision I need to make. I want to go to grad school. I want to do it soon, before I get too old and tired to go to class (lol) The only problem is, I'm not sure what I want to study. I have several choices that would help with the things I want to accomplish in my life, and they all sound great, but I'm just having a hard time figuring out which one to do. So here are the options, in no particular order.

Fine Arts/Creative Writing - This would help me hone my writing and could possibly teach me something I need to know in order to become a published writer. The only problem is, I don't have to have this degree to have this career, so I'm not sure it's the best option, although it would be the option that is most fun. I know I would really enjoy the classes and would learn a lot, but I'm not sure a Master's degree in creative writing would really further my plans. But I'm not sure...

Communication - This would enable me to teach, which is something I really would like to do. I'd love to teach oral communication and public relations classes, as well as journalism classes. I could see myself being the faculty advisor for a student newspaper or a public relations society. I have all these ideas about how to teach students what it's really like to work in the public relations field.

Public Administration - This would be great for advocacy and policy, two things that I really enjoy that I never thought I would. With this degree, I would be more prepared to eventually become an executive director for a nonprofit one day, which is something I've recently decided I would like to do. I was talking to someone the other day and she said it's a very good degree to have. I need to research it further to see what it would do for me and then figure out if it would be better than the next option.

MBA - This option scares me to death, actually. It's not something I ever considered, but my boss said it is the best option to make me the most marketable. She said if I ever decide to leave the nonprofit sector, it would be easier to find a job if I have this degree. The big problem with it is, I'm not sure I can do the work. I've heard MBA programs are tough, and I'm just not sure I can do it.

So anyway, this is the big decision and I'm not sure what to do. I know I want to get some kind of Master's degree, I'm just not sure which one. If anyone out there has any thoughts, I'd love to hear them!

Ouch! Stock Thoughts.

Someone asked me recently why I matched the contributions in the charity raffle at the DC Blogger Happy Hour. There were two reasons. 1) Catholic Guilt; and 2) Ninja Stock Picks (tm) have been doing remarkably well over the past 6 months. I was actually up about 22% in the past 6 months on my Ninja investment strategy. So I donated a bunch of money to other charities and I figured the Karma

Monday, December 11, 2006

weekend: busy, but good

I'm still trying to recover from a busy weekend. In fact, it's been awhile since I've done so much in one weekend! It felt good to be so active, though. Throughout November I found myself withdrawing from any kind of social interaction because of the writing. I have to be very careful when I get that involved with a project. I can turn off everything and just focus on the project, and that's good because it lets me get it done, but it's also bad because I tend to ignore what I need. I need to find a balance between being so intensely focused on one thing that I forget about everything else and dealing with everything else to the point that I forget about the writing. I'm sure this is going to be a struggle until I figure out exactly how to handle it. The funny thing is, I'm a great multi-tasker at work, I just can't manage to do it in my personal life. I read somewhere that you should approach your personal life just like you approach your work life, and that's kind of what I envisioned when I made my 101 in 1001 list. I'm hoping it will help.

Speaking of that list, I've done 3 out of the 101 things on the list, and have started some of the others. For more details on the progress of the list or the list itself, go to the blog I created just for the project.

But back to the weekend. As I said, it was a lot of fun. I really needed some fun after the horrible week I had at work. I swear, if I had known it was going to be so awful coming back from being off for a week I wouldn't have gone on vacation at all! Of course, when I offered to cancel my week off and come to work to finish the big project we were working on I was told no, so it wasn't my decision at that point, lol.

Anyway, Friday was very relaxing and enjoyable, even at work. We had a Christmas party, and that's always nice. We had awesome food for lunch, met some of our board members, and all sat around talking and laughing for awhile. It was good. I think every company should do that every now and then. It's important to let off steam with coworkers, to just sit down to a good meal and enjoy each other's company. After the party, some of us went out for drinks. That was fun too. You really see a different side of someone when you spend time with them outside of the office.

Saturday started out kind of dull but ended up very interesting indeed. I spent the morning cleaning up and doing some laundry (really needed to do more of this!) and then went to lunch at my aunt's house. My mother's side of the family does Christmas early so that everyone can spend Christmas with their immediate families. We had a great lunch and spent several hours just sitting around talking. On our way back home, we went by Wal-Mart so that I could pick up the pictures we had made of the kids. They are absolutely adorable! While we were there, Rhea called and wanted to hang out that evening, so I asked her if she wanted to go to the party I was planning to attend. The JV girls were having a Christmas party that sounded great, so we both ended up going and hanging out there for quite a long time. It was a blast! After that, we went to Rhea's house and watched a movie, then we went to bed. I had to be up fairly early the next day, but we still managed to stay up until about 3:30. (I might be too old to do that anymore, lol)

Sunday I went to a coworker's church and sang two solos in his Christmas program. He had asked me to do it some time ago and I was happy to do it. It was fun, actually. I know this is going to sound awful, but I love singing in front of people I don't really know, because it means after it's over I get to hear good things about the performance. (see, I told you it sounded awful!) But my voice has always been one of the things I could be proud of, and it's nice to hear good things about something that you're proud of, right?

After the program I went shopping for Christmas gifts, but didn't really find anything I wanted to buy. I'm having trouble with a few people on my list this year. I'm also having a lot of trouble holding back on gifts for the kids. I always go overboard and I promised myself (and my sister) that I wouldn't go crazy this year. So I got each of them a big gift and a few small ones. Now I just have to get a few things for their stockings (the ones at my house) and I'll be finished with them. The people giving me trouble: mom, sister, brother in law, and a couple of friends. Not really sure what I'm going to do for all of those. My dad is taken care of, though, so that's a good thing. He's usually the most difficult, but he was very clear this year about what he wanted and it was easy to find and not outrageously expensive (like the things he usually wants.)

So I'll be doing some Christmas shopping this week. We're having Christmas with the kids next Saturday since they will be out of town for the actual holiday. I have to put a few more CDs on Noah's mp3 player before I wrap it. I really hope he's not disappointed that it's not an iPod. I thought this one would be better, though, because it has a radio too. Of course, it's his first mp3 player, so I think it's a good idea to start out with something smaller (and less expensive) and then work up to something bigger and more expensive like an iPod. But it's interesting how many of my CDs the kid likes. I gained some "cool points" by playing Green Day and Panic at the Disco in my car the other day. And now he likes Fall Out Boy and Jack's Mannequin because I played them for him. I'm constantly amazed at how mature he is for his age. He's only 10 but he seems like a teenager.

Okay, this is getting long so I'm going to stop here. Maybe I'll write more later. I'm going to do some research on writer's Web sites and maybe do some new things with mine. I finally figured out how to point the domain name to the actual site, so now actually takes you to the new site rather than a "we've moved" page. That makes me happy!

In other news, I'm going to be making an extremely important decision about my future in the next few weeks. Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Blogger Happy Hour

Well, the Blogger Happy Hour was good. I don’t think as many people showed up as usual because it was freezing out, but all in all it turned out okay. It turns out that I suck at raffles, but the fundraising went okay. The 50/50 raffle was won by some non-bloggers at a table who bought some tickets. In a way, it’s good that a non-blogger won, because if the winner had been a blogger with nice

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Too tired to think

This will be a short one. Work has been hard this week. I was actually at work until 1 this morning and then had to be right back there at 8. And while I didn't actually make it there until about 8:30, it was still tough. I feel like I could sleep for two weeks, but of course I can't. At least this weekend should be fairly restful. Anyway, just wanted to check in. Hopefully I'll be able to think tomorrow and I can write more.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Proof that I'm not a Jerk (as far as you know).

Ninjas have a long tradition of charity. In olden times, if a ninja was going to kill you on your birthday, they would ask you if you had a last request before you die. Many people asked to be spared, some asked for a threesome with double-jointed large-breasted twins, and some asked for flan. After you told them what your last request was, they would tell you to close your eyes and it would

Sunday, December 3, 2006

a need for some poetry

I was going through some old papers today and found a folder that contained some of my assignments from high school. Tucked away in one of the side pockets, I found several poems I wrote during that time of my life. None of them were particularly good, in fact, they were pretty much the angsty, over dramatic poetry you would expect from a teenaged girl, but it got me thinking. I actually haven't written a poem since high school. I don't know why. I think I might try to do that sometime soon. I also haven't done a short story in awhile. Maybe I'll do that soon too.

I started "The Artist's Way" this morning. It seems really good. I think it'll be very interesting to go through the course and see what happens.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

TGIO party

We had our NaNoWriMo TGIO party today and it was a hit! I'm so happy that so many people showed up and seemed to have a good time. We talked about our month of novel writing, and gave out awards to the people in the group who had the highest wordcounts. There was a girl in our group who had a wordcount over 200,000! Can you even believe that? It kind of makes my 50,043 words look small. But no, I won't let her accomplishment diminish mine. Well, one more day until I go back to work. I really am looking forward to getting back to the routine.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Lazy Day

Today was a lazy day and I loved it! I did nothing but watch Scrubs on DVD and play The Sims 2. The only problem with having a lazy day is that it doesn't provide much inspiration for the blog, so I decided to do a meme. I found a great holiday one, and since it's the first day of December, I decided to do it. So here it is, The Holiday Meme!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate with massive marshmallows!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? He wraps them, of course!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? It depends on if I’m doing a theme. A few years ago I did a beautiful blue, silver and white theme on the tree and it was really nice. But most of the time I just do colored lights and the crazy ornaments that I’ve collected throughout the years.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Of course!

5. When do you put your decorations up? Depends on what’s going on in my life. This year, I put them up a few days after Thanksgiving.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? My family has this stuffing recipe that is to die for! And no holiday is complete without green bean casserole.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Being Mary in the church Christmas play when I was 14. Also, the year my dad got hurt a month before Christmas and couldn’t work. My entire church got together and bought food and gifts for us and delivered all of it on Christmas Eve. That Christmas morning, we woke up to a feast and presents that we were not expecting.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I was 9 and I saw my dad making footprints going from the fireplace to the tree.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? My family gets together on Christmas Eve and opens all the gifts that evening so that my sister’s family can do their holiday thing on Christmas morning.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? The usual.. lights and ornaments.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? It never snows here. I wish it would, especially on Christmas.

12. Can you ice skate? Yes, although I haven’t done it in a few years.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? A Cabbage Patch doll when I was 10.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Spending time with family.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Sugar cookies!

16. What is your favorite Holiday Tradition? Going caroling with my church choir.

17. What tops your tree? I alternate between an angel and a star. This year it’s the star.

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? Giving

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? O Holy Night

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?? I love candy canes, for eating and decorating!

World Aids Day

Support World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day. Take a moment today and think of all the people affected by AIDS, and consider making a donation or doing something for your local AIDS group.