Monday, April 28, 2008


I have to say that thinking back, it is an absolute miracle that my mom asks my advice about makeup and hairstyles.

I mean, really. There was the summer I turned my hair orange with Sun-In on a camping trip with my friend Loretta. There is all the sparkly pink and purple makeup I used to wear - and since I have ruddy, Irish skin this was much better in theory than in practice.

There was my curling-iron-home-perm-and-aquanetextrasuperhold-addiction in high school.

There was the college phase I went through where my hair was so long it was three different colours and I wouldn't dye it - white-blond on the ends, dishwater blonde in the middle, and darker at the roots. (I have that dry, coarse, curly, always-turning-white surfer hair in real life that is always changing colors, except that thankfully now my hairdresser controls it for me). And I wore fuchsia lipstick (Ultima II) for most of that time. And I mean, it was "Here come Jennifer's lips!" pink.

Next I sold Mary Kay (Lord, what WAS I thinking) and wore as much makeup as I could at any given moment, and the little stash of tiny plastic Avon lipsticks I kept hidden in my bedroom in third grade. (I didn't care what colors looked good on me. I just thought about what I wanted to wear that day.)

Nobody in their right MIND ought to listen to me about makeup and hairstyles. know. I learned. I managed to figure out what works and doesn't, and despite the fact that my mom saw every single one of my crazy experimentations, she now trusts me to help her with makeup. Although I never really committed *serious* makeup offenses like outlining my lips with dark liner and filling in the middle with light pink, I did pluck my eyebrows into tadpole shapes until I got to college and realized how old it made me look. Years of working with makeup artists and trying to figure out what works has actually made me pretty confident in my ability to choose a look for people. But it was pretty funny getting here.

My mom (in my defense, and also because it is funny) used to put Scotch tape on my bangs and cut along the bottom. Which worked great as long as she got the tape straight - but she never did. So I have about ten thousand pictures of me in grade school with crooked hair. Which again, wouldn't have been so bad - except I wore glasses, which DID sit straight, and provided a line by which to measure the crookedness of my hair. (Why she never just cut along my GLASSES I will never know. I should ask.)

And really, she is always asking my opinions about makeup. So this weekend when she swiped the concealer out of my makeup bag and tried it out, I didn't think twice. We went makeup shopping and she said the concealer was just what she was looking for. (Bobbi Brown, for those of you who wonder. It's a miracle elixir.) But on the drive home yesterday I started thinking about all my little experiments over the years and thinking about how funny it is that she asks me at all. By rights she ought to run the other way when the topic of makeup comes up.

But she doesn't - how cool is that?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Shacking up

(Just kidding. I am NOT shacking up.)

This is a non-comprehensive, subjective review of a book called The Sh*ack. If you're not interested, move along - it's ok! I just have a few comments about it.

I won't lie to you - it did make me cry. (So did Bridget Jones' Diary, though, so take that however you want.) It's an interesting premise for a book - it's primarily about God's compassion. In that respect it will encourage you to confront some of your preconceived notions about HIm. And that's good. I have always been a fan of books that make you do that.

But - and it's kind of a big junk-in-the-trunk but - that's about it. After two days of reading it I realized it kept leaving me feeling empty. It was like a weekend of eating snack food - it tastes good at the time but by the time you're done you're sort of bloated and don't feel well. The reason? It presents a very one-dimensional view of God. I prefer my deity in three dimensions, as He reveals HImself in the scripture. If you google around you will find plenty of theologians who are complaining about the gaping doctrinal holes the book contains. I don't need to restate them here - just know that the theology is incomplete, not always a full-developed picture of God's nature, and may make you very angry, or at least confused. It doesn't actually answer the question it sets out to address. And it's very tediously written. The first five or six pages felt like I was walking in sand.

Be careful of taking your theology from a novel. The minute you say it's okay to do this, you give me the power to write a novel with a main character named Jesus who says whatever I want and has automatic credibility because of his name.

If, however, you are looking for a fantastic allegory that actually addresses the issue of human suffering, check out Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. You will never, ever regret it.

Somebody is NOT a morning person.

I mean SHEESH. Get that thing out of my face!

Somebody is just NOT a morning person.

(Actually, Fee is now so famous she travels with bodyguards, and makes terrible faces for the paparazzi.)

And somebody else is rolling a bit lighter these days:

Schmade is rolling a bit lighter these days.

Not that you could tell from this blobby picture, but I do think his face is thinner.

Grady has been going for walks with me at night. I kid you not! He patrols the building, and when he gets scared, he runs for the door. (You don't know how happy that makes me.) I bought a little loop harness thing and used it last night and it's ok - unless he panics. Then he coughs because it pulls on his throat.

I think Zyrtec is finally working for me, or else the Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids I've been taking. Everybody says the C helps a ton, including medical websites. I don't feel congested anymore though I can still see the allergies a bit on my face. You know what I mean, right? Puffiness. Blech. But so much better to be able to breathe! And not have those ridiculously itchy eyes.

I am knitting a pair of arch-shaped socks with Sundara sock yarn in Green Tea. I don't remember if I mentioned it but I am knitting this pair in ribbing, thanks to the many people on Ravelry who've done it. It's a simple concept to work the decreases in pattern but you'd think I knitted them in the dark - very messy on one side while I tried to figure it out. The basic concept is, knit like the pattern (in my sidebar) says till you get to the top of the foot. Then when you do the decreases for the arch shaping, make your decrease work with whatever stitch is next.

So if - working from the center top of the foot - you are knitting 2x2 ribbing and you come to the end, which would be k2, p1 if you centered your ribbing pattern over the foot, you do a k2tog, because the stitch AFTER the decrease is a knit stitch, and you want to keep it in pattern. (ssk on the other side, where the stitches read p1, k2 as you come to them.) Then you do a knit round and decrease again - also a knit to keep it in pattern. Knit a round. The NEXT round is going to be a purl decrease to keep it in pattern, so p2tog on that side, and ssp on the other side. (Do that like a ssk except put both sts back on the left needle after you slip them, and purl two together.)

I am not a morning person either, so leave me a comment if that doesn't make sense and I will try to show you better.

I entered my bookshelf in on Facebook and man, am I schizophrenic. At the moment I'm reading Theodore Rex (biography of Teddy Roosevelt's presidency), a book called Making Comics, and The Element of Lavishness, which is a book of letters between a writer and her editor, and is completely fabulous. They are all COMPLETELY different.

Oh, and I finally read The Shack. Would anybody like a review? You know how I am, right?

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Sunday, April 20, 2008


So, 53 different people left comments for my contest, and I'm giving away 11 patterns - 10 from the random drawing and one for the best salon name. I laughed my head off at these - thanks so much for leaving a comment!

Which is Heide, who passes Neiman Barkus every day on her way to work. Congratulations, Heide!

The 10 random winners are:
1. Helena (Metropawlitan Dog)
2. Karen (Groomingdale's)
3. Soxanne (Tortoise and Hair)
4. Yarnbeans (Ocean Waves and Cuts - but points for the Chinese Restaurant name as well!)
5. AnnMarie (Lidz ?)
6. firemanshunny (Hair to Eternity)
7. Carol (Human Groomin')
8. Beth (Hairitige)
9. Gretchen (Mo Hair - and others)
10. Danielle (Anita Kurl)

Did everyone laugh as much as these as I did? I always check the yellow pages when I travel for funny salons. Here are some of my favorites:

The Bush Whacker
Cuts n' Blessings
Hair Force
Wig Villa
Bark N Tweet Pet Boutique
The Barking Lot
Hair Apparent
The strangely named "Before and After Unisex Salon" - sounds kind of like an operation is involved

Anyway, if you're on the list - email me and I'll send you a pdf of the pattern! :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

1-5-1 Hair Salon Contest!

All right, here's the deal!

Leave me ONE comment with ONE cheesy hair salon name from your area, and your town or state:

1. It can be a hair salon or a pet grooming salon but it must have a punny name (think "groaner").
2. It has to ACTUALLY EXIST.
3. It can be from the phone book or something you pass every day.
4. Like this: "In Daytona Beach there is a salon called Hair Force. HAHAHAHA!"

For every FIVE comments I get I will give away ONE free download of my Reversi sock pattern. So 50 comments = 10 patterns!

Seriously, all you have to do is look one up! Contest closes Saturday April 19 at midnight.

**Update** please leave me only ONE comment per person, though you can include more than one salon name. I'm keeping a count. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Getting politicky

Go watch this video, then think about going to Angry Renter and signing the petition.

It's true - why don't renters get tax writeoffs the way homeowners do? Why do we have to pay for them to own a home?


Happy, day

Here's a little something for y'all if you're feeling the pain of tax day...

Dave Barry talks about taxes.

Monday, April 14, 2008

One of these things is not like the others...

A few weeks ago I bought a couple of toys from the Cat Shoppe here in town (home of the catnip cigar Fee enjoys so much). There's one called Da Bird, which is the only thing I have ever seen Grady chase until he just can't get up any more. The other big hit is an 89-cent peacock feather. I have no idea if it's an ACTUAL peacock feather, but that doesn't seem to bother Fee.

I mean, this kitty is SERIOUS about her peacock feather. See what I mean? Here is the old one and two replacement models I bought this weekend:

One of these things is not like the others

The funny part is that I really didn't think she'd mutilated hers all that much, but I could see the top was kind of breaky so I decided to get some new ones just in case. But when I lined them up? Ack! Fee the Destructor strikes!

The other hilarious cat thing is that Grady and I have been out on a couple of walks. He seems to really enjoy walking around and around the building next to ours. There is a breezeway so he can do laps. He seems to know the position of our door, but not which floor we live on. It's been kind of interesting watching him try to find it. I think yesterday it finally clicked for him.

After the walks, he comes inside and lays on the big tile floor in the entry and pants like a dog. Between the regular non-fat-cat-cat-food and all the playing, I can actually feel his ribs for the first time ever. He's 11 and not slowing down a single bit.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Random Spit-Take Friday

I was just thinking about what a rotten kid I was—I got into trouble one time for asking my dad if the brownies we were making had nuts in them or not.


"Oh," I said. "They must be girl brownies."



I frogged my Socks for Veronik socks. The Sundara yarn is just too visually complicated and pretty for lace. I have started a 2x2 leg, and I think I'll make a pair of Arch-Shaped Socks (opens PDF) out of it.

I love the yarn so much. It looks like crushed velvet.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

One of these, please!

Yes, yes, I want a Fatboy!

And I just saw Run Fatboy Run. It was good.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Presenting, Reversi!

Queue this on Ravelry!

Finished Reversi

The Reversi pattern is finally done. I would like to especially thank Julie of Knitilicious for being my patient, thorough, and kickin' test-knitter.

Reversi is a pattern that challenges what you normally think about sock and lace knitting. You don't have to do the decreases the "prescribed" way. I came up with these socks starting with a lace pattern in Vogue's most excellent sock book. By modifying certain things and changing certain other things, Reversi was born. I didn't stop at the pattern repeat, though - the heel features a lot of flip-floppy things as well (and so does the toe). Reversi is sized for an 8" diameter foot. (If you need smaller or larger you can easily knit it at a smaller or larger gauge, or take out/add in pattern repeats.)

The pattern is suitable for adventurous beginners - if you can knit in the round, increase, decrease and are willing to follow instructions on how to knit a flap heel, you can do this pattern.

The price is $5 US.

I haven't had any luck getting PayPal to work properly here, so let's do it this way till I figure it out. If you want to buy the pattern, send me an email at meangirlATcomcastDOTnet - doing the usual replacements. I will send you a PayPal invoice and we'll work from there. I am sorry about that extra step - I don't know what I am doing wrong.

NOTE: If you purchased this pattern before 5/5/08, there is a correction to the heel flap! The error and what to do instead are here. Let me know if you have any trouble with it.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Ugh, Thursday already?

Well, time flies.

I've had overwhelming, painful sinus pressure in my face since Monday. (Wanna see a neat trick? Press on my right cheek and that eye will water! Oooo!) Last night my doc called in some cortisone. I haven't taken it in years, so it was a surprise to take the first dose this morning and feel like I could run around the block 16 times by 10am. I don't like being riled up, and I don't like cortisone, but there isn't any way I'm going to recover from my allergy mess right now without it. I'm still in pain, but Mom says I should start feeling better this afternoon.

Pollen is turned up to 11. Actually, "25" is the top end of "extremely heavy" and we are at 27. So it's actually kind of a wonder I haven't stopped breathing altogether.

Needless to say, not a lot of knitting going on this week. I apologize for my absence and as soon as I start feeling better I promise to post like crazy. :)