Monday, June 22, 2009

Girls' night out

I never go anywhere. I work full time, and Himself is a doctor, so, the few times he's home, I want to be with him ... and I'm usually tired when I get home and just want to sleep. Tonight I let a sweet girl I've known since we were six talk me into joining her for a girls' night out (well, actually, in, at her place).

With some excellent cheese, and some excellent wine, a bunch of girls -- most taking the night off from kids as well as husband -- talked about babies (did you know olive oil makes a baby's bottom easier to clean, just like greasing a pan before baking?), in-laws (from experiences of many: don't live with them! Especially without the husband!), and husbands (they just don't understand why girls who have a maid coming have to clean up before the maid gets there!). We don't have any babies yet, of course, but it was still a great evening. Last time I did anything of the sort was January, getting together with my college roommates / bridesmaids. I'm the only married one of the four of us, so it was different tonight. Fun both times. The time before that was last July, going out to Galveston with coworkers just a few weeks before the places we went got washed into the ocean. But once every six months isn't enough... I must remember how much fun I had tonight, get over my hermit/homebody tendencies, and get together with girls more often!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Remember this?

I moved it inside because it was dying from our overwhelming dry heat. It then went into suspended animation because of the air conditioning. So, I moved it upstairs into our unused bathtub, where our zoned a/c sets it at 85 in the daytime (coincidentally, apparently the optimum temperature for tomatoes). This morning I have this:

Isn't it beautiful? Ok, one tomato, but I've never had any at all before, and at $1 for the seedling, it's given me more than $1 of excitement! The little flower beneath it may be producing another one as well.

Isn't it so pretty? This afternoon, I'll find out how it tastes.... so happy!
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Non-maternity maternity top

Below I mention my non-maternity maternity top. Here, as promised, are pictures:

As you can see, I haven't added the ruffles or fully attached the straps.

Or properly cleaned my bathroom mirror, it would seem... looks fine without the flash, though!

Honestly, I'm not quite as large as the top makes me look...
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dinner tonight

Earlier this week we had an excellent dinner -- one of those multi-bean soup mixes from the grocery store, in the crock pot all day, over rice, with pan-fried okra thrown on top. Tonight, I was going to make Indian-style okra, but ended up not having the canned tomatoes I usually use, so I used what I had, and came up with something very good:

Start off Indian-style, and sauté

1/2 tsp. mustard seeds


1 tsp olive oil

add 1.5 c okra, sliced,
1 can mild Ro-Tel (that's where it diverges from the Indian recipe!),
whole cumin, cilantro, and black pepper (whole or ground) to taste

simmer 15 min or so.

It was really excellent, and I think I may do it that way from now on!

(Sorry, no photo -- I didn't expect it to taste good! Image source for the above. (Yes, it says it's a persimmon -- looks enough like a tomato for me!))

Water Bills

If you had no water pressure in your house, but there was a hole in the sidewalk in front of your house where water was gushing out, where men had been working earlier that day, you'd assume a connection, right?

And if you called the city to say that there was a leak outside and that you had no water pressure, and then someone came out and fixed the gushing sidewalk hole, you'd assume a connection, right?

And if you then got a water bill for 43,000 gallons of water, rather than your normal 2,000 gallons, you'd assume it was connected to the above, right?

Apparently not, if you're the City of Houston. After talking with mumbly people on the phone who I can't understand, or people that assure me that there is no record of anyone doing work here (in which case we've got teams of rogue road workers!), or some imbecile who insists that her records show I have a pool and the high rate must be because I was filling it (if you can find a pool here, that would surprise me!), or two girls a month apart who each promised they'd send me a form to formally complain, and three people who each said I had only to pay the regular monthly payment for 2,000 gallons rather than that spike until things got sorted out (which I have been doing), yesterday I got a notice that my water bill payment is delinquent. No forms have ever arrived, needless to say.

I've never been in a situation like this, and it feels a bit like the twilight zone...anyone know what to do? I'm thinking I'll write an actual letter detailing everything (I wish I'd thought to get the names and supervisors of the road workers, but I assumed that, having a City of Houston logo on their vehicle, and since they're still working on my street several months later, they weren't rogue road repairmen!), but perhaps I should call my-uncle-the-lawyer to see what he says... I could possibly scrape together enough money to pay for the 43,000 gallon bill, but I'd rather not, and I REALLY don't want the City to get away with that -- who else are they doing that to?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Non-pregnant maternity top

So, you know when you see a cute pattern, and you make it up, and it's not quite what you expected?

I'm not pregnant, and not going to be for quite some time, but soon I'll post pictures of my unintentional maternity top (cuteish, though, so may as well keep it for the future!)...

Star Blanket

Himself's cousin is having a baby, their third. I've learned a bit about babies and blankets with each one -- after the first, I learned that ribbons threaded through eyelets, while pretty, get torn out as soon as baby can manage to tear it out. After the second, I was told that baby really loves corners, so could I possibly manage a blanket with more corners?

So, from The Diva Crochets, here's a star-shaped afghan. Her pattern really pulls when you make it (although apparently, from her picture, it comes out well with lots of blocking), so I made it in a way that seemed a bit more rational (and fit with one of the two ways she explained to do it), and here's pre-blocking (because I'll never remember to photograph post-blocking):

I used Lily's Sugar and Cream, 100% cotton, which was much fun to work with. This was begun as soon as they announced, before they found out what the upcoming baby would be -- it's a boy, and I think the colors will work well. I enjoyed seeing how it pooled -- always a fun experience with variegated yarns.

I also made an Emmeline apron out of a pair of cotton saris -- they're fun, because they come with their own border material, the red with a green and gold border, and the green (which you can see at the corner) with a red and gold border. The saris are very cheap (175 Rs -- about $3), and made out of thin cotton, the kind I used to wear all the time when living in India, but that wouldn't be appropriate for the only time I wear them now, to fancy events.

And just because I was near it when taking pictures, I bought this Tudor Rose needlepoint kit at Liberty's in London (but produced by English Heritage, I believe, or some similar organization) somewhere in the early 1990s, and it took me about 10 years to finish it. Never been much of one for needlepoint! Found that such kits are no longer sold, unfortunately -- it's all dinky cross-stitches of stately homes and abbeys. Which is nice, but not what I wanted!

What's the project that's taken you longest to finish?
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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Copying of ideas

I went a little ranty in a comment over here, so figured I may as well put it on my own site as well...

Short form, she sold a book and the person she sold it to started making things from that design; and she had someone steal both her book design on ebay as well as her code and listing, and even inpersonate her.

My response, not so much about her post as about people in general:

Yeah, there's all sorts of levels there... I've seen people post tutorials and then get furious when someone else posts about their finished project from using that tutorial (why post a tutorial if you don't want anyone to follow it?)... and if Keith Smith threw a fit every time someone made a book using the instructions he's published, he'd have no time to do anything else (why publish an instruction manual if you don't want someone to use it? -- not attributing that attitude to him!)... Or if my coworker who studied bookbinding at North Bennet Street started teaching fine binding (in which there's not so much variation as in "book sculpture"), and they went after her for copying their ideas... but, on the other hand, impersonating the person whose work you're copying and selling is something else entirely! There was an issue on etsy a while back where someone was using someone else's images and descriptions to "sell" nonexistent items (read more about it here: )... But there's also coincidences, like one I was amused by (when I made this one using a simple binding structure and a commonly-available paper, and subsequently saw this one on another site with the same common binding structure and a different section of the same paper). When people use the same basic concepts and shop from the same suppliers, you'll end up with some overlap... there's quite a few people who've, without a pattern and without knowing about each other, made 2x2 ribbed scarves with identical yarn before. Then there's people who post free patterns (my two favorite being Oh, Fransson's Margaret Bag and Rae's Buttercup Bag (which has what I think is a good solution at that post)), and expect people to use them (that's why they're posting them!), but ask people not to sell their finished products (and justifiably get angry when that happens). Neither bag is massively-enough different from other things out there, though, that they'd have a leg to stand on if someone made a *similar* product for sale... like how Vera Bradley fabric purses were all the rage, but when other people said, "hmm, cloth purse out of busy fabric, I could do that," it wasn't stealing her idea in any sort of bad way, although it was certainly derivative work (and usually priced accordingly).

I've gotten rambly... guess what I'm trying to say is, I think in your specific case about the ebay seller you're right (and in other cases it's also pretty blatant, especially when someone says "feel free to use this but don't sell it"), but there's other people out there who share their ideas, or even teach people (who've paid for the class) exactly how to make something, and then pitch a tantrum when someone else says, "hey, good idea, I'd like to try that!", even when the someone-else is just posting it on their blog and isn't selling it or anything... there's levels to all these things...

(My sister and I are going to make a million dollars off of this new apron concept that she's come up with and I've made, as she has vision and I have craft-ability, but that's why I'm not telling the world all the details of it or describing how it's made until I finish working on the design and we actually get some legal cover for it!)

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Man's Take on Menopause

I know it's not related to anything at all (will post on the weekend, I swear!), but I found this hilarious -- a man taking hormone therapy and having sudden empathy with his wife's hot flashes.

Monday, June 1, 2009


The Randomness Generator at gave me number 6! That would be Purple Paisley Patch who said...

I love the name of your blog, and I absolutely LOVE the gorgeous purple book you're giving away! I sooooo hope I win! :-)

Congratulations :) And for everyone else, hope you stick around -- I'm a sporadic poster, so I shouldn't take up too much of your time if you stick me in your reader!