It’s the little things

I had a productive and busy day today. I got up at 7:30 to take the dogs out and decided to stay up so I could turn my slow-roasted pork into chili.

Then, I set out to tackle the bushel and a quarter of tomatoes I picked up on Friday. I ran for six hours on Friday going to various farm stands, butchers and the grocery store and got nothing done on Friday. I had quite the list to tackle today.

First, the chili. I shredded the pork, syphoned off the extra liquid in my crock pot, then returned the pork to the crock along with chili beans and cranked up the heat.

Then, I set out to deal with the tomatoes. I started by putting the firmest of the tomatoes on cookie sheets, sprinkled them with extra virgin olive oil and salt and set them in the oven for a slow roast. Then, I tackled the rest of the tomatoes. I blanched them, peeled them and put them in stock pots to cook down.

Once the tomatoes were all chopped up and in pots, I made the meat for cabbage rolls and then set out to make them. I got the rolls made and in the roaster, covered them with cabbage and tomatoes and stuck them in the oven (after taking out the oven-roasted tomatoes). I put the tomatoes in a bowl and stuck them in the fridge to bring them to a temp I could work with. Meanwhile I did a ton of dishes that I needed to dirty all over again and I par cooked and cut down two dozen ears of corn to freeze.

So, it was a Godsend when my guy texted and offered to take me to one of the new Japanese steakhouses for dinner. See, after spending seven-ish hours with food, the last thing I wanted to deal with was feeding myself. We had a fabulous dinner, visited Harbor Freight & Tools and came back to my place. I was so grateful to not have to worry about feeding myself. Sometimes, it really is the small things.

Oh, and the dogs? Well just look how all my hard work tuckered them out.

Scoop curled up in the sun

Cody prefers to sleep on the couch

Speaking of that Japanese steakhouse: It’s owned by the same people who own my favorite local sushi place, Sakura. If you haven’t heard me talk of it, this is my favorite roll there, the Spice Girl

Yep, those are Pringles (TM)


Regrets only make you feel worse

I had a heckuva morning today. It started out pretty great. We got up, the dogs went out and I prepared myself to arrive at the Pigeon River Festival in time to see Spencer Kane perform. And, of course, to catch the Boondock Queen competition.

So, I crate the dogs and head out, first to get gas. I go in, prepay for my gas and a Diet Coke and go out to pump gas. I open my driver’s side door, push the lever that opens the gas door, pick up the pump hose, turn aaaannnnndddd, the gas door is shut. So, I hit the lever again. This time, I notice 1) the lever has too much give and 2) my trunk has popped open. Panic.Set.In. Especially because my trunk now would not latch.

I spend a few minutes jamming my key into the gas tank door hoping I can pop it but to no avail. A lovely gentleman who was on his way out of the station walked past me, then came back and offered up a suggestion. When I showed him how much give the lever had, he said “Oh, sorry.” Yeah, man, me too, me too.

I go back into the station, where the shift leader offers to try to help me (they credited me for my pre-pay) and when he and I can’t figure it out, I head over to Hires, which is a short drive that I could make through the Meijer parking lot in case my trunk, which is barely latched, pops open.

After telling them what the problem is, the guy at the counter tells me it’s going to be $25 to figure out what’s wrong and who knows on the fix. Panic.Getting.Worse. See, I don’t have a lot of disposable income. Sure, I could’ve swung a couple hundred bucks (which is what the kid at the gas station said a cable had cost an uncle), but who knows what woulda had to suffer because of it.

Henry the Honda during a Spring Break 2010 snow flurry. He's 10 and has 96,000+ miles

Now, for the point of my post…The panic was exacerbated by guilt at one of the initial feelings I had. See, I had done some “nice” things for people that cost me money on Friday. I won’t go into details because that’s not important. What’s important is that I began to feel “well, hell, had I not spent money on THAT Friday, I wouldn’t be in such bad shape now.”

Never fear, I berated myself but good for thinking that even for one second. Because, here’s the thing, doing things for people feels good not because of what you get in return, but just because. Altruism. How could I be having regrets for having done something nice for someone, especially since they didn’t ask it of me? How DARE I have those regrets!

Right about the time I got my mind right about the financial burden this could cause me, in walked a mechanic (having taken my car into the shop and promptly returned it to the parking lot). Panic was still in me and when he tossed my key and work order on the counter I thought “Oh, shit, they can’t even contemplate fixing it. Hell!”

But nope, problem wasn’t they couldn’t fix it. Problem was, there was nothing for them to fix! Ha! He noticed my trunk was unlatched, fixed that problem, took it into one of the bays and There.Was.Nothing.Wrong! I was thrilled. I was willing to pay the $25 for the good news, but it was no charge, they’d done nothing. I suppose they (all 8 or 10 guys standing around) did get a good laugh when I left though. I know I did. And, I was, of course, incredibly grateful it cost me nothing. Someone is looking out for me and for this I am thankful.

Oh, and, PRF was fantastic. And, I got to judge the fashion and interview part of the queen contest.
Watch three of the four contestants sing a Lady Gaga song to earn my respec… errrr, extra credit points.

I.Love.Mongo! Probably gonna do more on that in a separate post.

Holy crap! Did I do that?

I just took up knitting. By that, I mean, THIS YEAR. I’ve dabbled before, trying and becoming frustrated I couldn’t get the yarn, needles and my hands to work in harmony. It Just.Never.Worked.Out.

Well, perhaps it’s having a knitter at my disposal at work, someone to watch knit, listen to talk about knitting, it has finally clicked. I get it, I got it and I’m not all that intimidated by it anymore.

So, I set out to make something with this new-found skill and settled on a shrug from the Lion Brand website. I’d post a link, but unless you’re a member, you can’t see it.

Anyway, I don’t know why a shrug and I don’t know why I didn’t read the other knitters’ reviews of the pattern (seems anyone who has made it has found that it comes out looking nothing like it does on the model in the picture and the sizing is a bit off). I guess I just figured I needed to jump in and the yarn was on sale so…

I finished the shrug about two weeks ago, put it on and nearly did a spit-take when I saw myself in it in the mirror. You see, a shrug requires a body type I do not possess. In fact, I had a friend put it on to model for a photo shoot for my Crafty Living blog and she wasn’t happy with how it fit her.

Thankfully, I do have friends whose physiques are more shrug friendly. This week, it went home with Rebecca. I hope she likes it.

For purposes of this post, here’s another co-worker modeling it for my phone camera at my desk so I’d have a picture to post.

Check out the Wordless Wednesday post at my work blog for a close-up of the sleeve.

Crafting for CrabFest

I have a good friend, well, I’ve written about her, it’s Rebecca from ..all things visible and invisible. Anyway, her family gets together every year on Labor Day weekend with a huge pile of crabs straight from the East Coast and they throw themselves a CrabFest.

Earlier this summer, Rebecca’s sister emailed me a crochet pattern (a badly written crochet pattern) asking whether I thought I could make the crab it was designed to make.

Once I translated the pattern, I was off (with red, blue and white yarn) to make cooked and uncooked crabs. And I was so stinking happy with the first one, I rushed out on my deck with beach-themed props to take his picture. I present you Kirby (yep, was so excited I even named him).

Well, when we returned to work from the holiday, I found this tile pendant on my computer keyboard (Thanks Martha)


There is one thing I know well about myself: I am IMPATIENT. I am definitely an instant gratification sort of girl. I think that’s why I get projects done quickly, especially ones that I’m particularly excited about.

That being said, I’ve discovered a new love for a hobby/art that tests my patience: dichroic glass making.

I spent one hour Sunday afternoon with my friend Jaclyn and shards of glass at Glass Link, a local glass studio/shop. I made several pieces during the hour we spent at the studio and, when we left, Jaclyn expressed a desire to see what her pieces would look like “RIGHT NOW!”

I, on the other hand, was feeling pretty patient on Sunday. I knew the pieces have to be kilned and I knew we’d have to wait Until.Wednesday! That’s OK, that’s how it works.

Uh, fastforward to Monday and my patience = GONE. I wanna see my pieces. I wanna play with them and turn them into something. But, alas, we have to wait until they’re kilned.