Thursday, December 20, 2007

Self Portrait Thursday

I haven't done one of these for a while for a couple of reasons: I had been in a funk for a while, and then the funk was prolonged by the severe lack of sunlight I have been able to experience. Who wants to see a picture of me in the dark every Thursday? I propose that the answer would be no one!
Anyway, we have a snow day from school today, which does not bode well for my sister, who is flying into Boston today (at least theoretically). However, it bodes well for those who wish to try and catch snowflakes on their tongues! I did manage to get a few, too! Sorry about the up-the-nose shot, but try and focus on the more whimsical aspects of the shot:



Happy snow, everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Meet.... ummm... what's her name!

Well, I have NOT purchased a new doll, but I DID take one of my dollies and give her a pretty serious makeover! I didn't really take any 'before' pictures, so the only before pic is the one I have below. She's the light brown haired girl third from the left:



I bought her at a low price for the express purpose of cracking her open and giving her a massive makeover. Therefore, she was never named. And, I still don't have a name for her! She used to be a "Primadolly Ashlette" for people who know what that means. She was pretty tough to open up, and I ended up having to saw her head right on open. Yikes! I am a beginner Blythe surgeon, but it went okay. I'll outline the specs of the customization below, so if you don't care to read it, feel free not to!

First, she's looking around feeling a little nervous about her new surroundings:





However, Quinn makes her feel more comfortable and they are quickly telling secrets and giggling:




And now, here is a full length shot:


And here, she's checkin' out a picture of me, my siblings, and my paternal grandfather:



Okay, now for the boring stuff for dolly geeks: I removed her scalp, sawed her head open, rerooted a coolcat scalp in a custom three color blend from dollyhair.com (raven black, phthalo blue, and midnight blue). That part took the longest time, of course. I also gave her four new sets of eyechips, slightly boggled her eyes, slightly corrected her gaze, gave her black eyeshadow (on eyelids and on face) new eyelashes, new blush, lip stickers, sand matted her face, gave her sleep eyes and new pull cords. Then, I put her back together and trimmed her hair.

Now, all that's left is to put charms on the end of her pull strings and to think of a name! I'm not sure what her name will be, although the somewhat obvious "Blueberry" comes to mind....

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Another Round of Snow

A lot of it happened while we were sleeping last night, but I ventured out for a brief moment this morning to snap some pics. It was a gloomy day, but after having a nice, sunny day yesterday (okay, so it didn't get out of the teens... big deal!)

First up, we notice that the sidewalk has been grossly neglected. (Also, please note that I'm sorta wearing highwaters and that my boots are completely under the snow)


The plows were taking care of the streets and parking lots... thank you, Mr. Plow!


Middle St:


And again:




Important note: I actually brightened up these pictures a bit to make them a little more visible... it was a lot more gloomy out there than the pictures suggest. There was NO ONE out and about... it was quite frosty and snowy out there!

Later on in the day, we enjoyed some nice sleet, which ought to slick things up quite nicely. Again, I will be curious to see as to whether or not they'll delay or cancel school tomorrow. This is the third Sunday in a row we've gotten snow!

I had a pretty quiet day today. I got some chores done, some Christmas gifts prepared, and most of my Christmas cards have been written out and tucked into their envelopes, all ready to go.

Do you ever say something out loud at the same time as it is said on the tv? I just typed out "pretty quiet" at the same time as the newscaster said it on television. Weird. Cool, too!

I haven't mentioned knitting lately... that is because I don't currently have a project that is really catching my interest, believe it or not. Every once in a while, I take a little break from my intensive, obsessive knitting. I have, in fact, knit about 4 inches of the Socks that Rock Lenore pattern, and do like the pattern, but I've been more focused on the jewelry stuff lately. That's just how it seems to be going for me. Don't worry, I will ALWAYS return to knitting, and there will be projects and pictures to share... there had better be... I have about 30 projects in my Ravelry queue, and have plenty of yarn to work with!

One more week of school until... Christmas vacation! My sister Liz will be flying here in a few days, and we are already devising plans for all of that free time we'll have. Bowling was even mentioned... I'll try to remember my camera!
Christmas Cards

So, after I uploaded my photos onto Flickr today, I noticed that there was a new button above the pictures, suggesting that I "Edit Photos". Hmm, well, okay! I'll bite!

Turns out, it brings you to a page where you can do all sorts of things to your photos... crop, rotate, resize, adjust color, and also add various features... text, images, blur the edges, add a spotlight, so on and so forth. Now, I had been thinking to myself that it would be fun to make some Christmas cards with my Blythe pictures, and coincidence of coincidences, this new feature becomes noticed to me (no idea when it was actually added) on the first sunny day that I've been able to take decent pics in weeks!

So anyway, there were two finalists, shown here:





Even if making dolly Christmas cards isn't your thing, this is a fun tool to play around with.

Now, I'm all ready to fill out xmas cards tomorrow during the bad weather. Not everyone will be getting a dolly card, since there are many out there who are not big fans of dolls and have made their opinions very well known... but I know I'd be very happy to open up a cutie card like that!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

In Heaven!

I am happy as a clam today. I had a really nice night last night (will describe later on in the post), then woke up early, did errands at 5 different stores, and was home by 10 AM. It is sunny (but coldddddd) out, and I got to go outside in the sun for the first time in WEEKS. I intend to repeat this act at least once or twice more today, because I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Because of the sun, I was able to get some pictures in my apartment of the dollies setting up the Christmas tree. First, Quinn sneaks into my pink and white tree and checks out a bird:


Next, the girls trim the tree. Well, some of them do... Toby lazes about while everyone else puts up the decorations:


Willow thinks about what to put up next:



Toby shows us a sparkly ball:



I think she is determined to stay under the tree until Santa arrives. I'm sure there are visions of sugarplums in that giant noggin of hers!


So, that was fun. I enjoyed taking silly pictures and putting up the trees. They're both small, but I have two of them. Fun!

Anyway, last night, I went to Newburyport to visit my friend Heather. Our friend Sue and Heather's coworker Pam also came along. We walked downtown, and did some holiday shopping. All of the downtown stores stayed open late and many were serving cookies, wine, hot cider and so on, to attract holiday shoppers... and every single store was jam packed! I found just what I was looking for, and we had a really nice time walking around and browsing.

We did have a little bit of a scary moment on our way there... We were walking along, when suddenly a car veered to the side of the road and honked loudly. He then screeched forward and slammed into the parked car in front of him, and then screeched backward and slammed into the car parked behind him. There were about 5 car lengths in between the two parked cars, so this was a fairly dramatic event! After he screeched forward the first time, I suggested rather forcefully that we run away and around the corner. We then called the police. After we called, the guy (who had gone into the house next to his car) came out and looked at us, and we got all freaked out and ran away. We have no idea what happened next, because personal safety felt like the most important choice at that moment.

It was really nice to have an evening out. It was very cold, but the wind was not blowing and I was warmly dressed. It will help to balance out tomorrow, which looks like it is going to be sleety and cold and gross all day long.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sloppy, Snowy Day

It started snowing here around noon today, and it was really coming down. Many towns in the greater Boston area planned ahead and called early releases prior to the kids even getting to school today, but not Lowell! Teachers with long commutes started getting nervous pretty soon after it started to snow, because it was falling so quickly! About an hour before dismissal, I found the principal and told her I'd be happy to cover classes for any teacher who needed to leave early because of a long commute... after all, my commute is about 2 miles... I didn't exactly need to rush to get home!
I watched the "Lifeskills" class for a little while, which was fun. It's a small class of students with developmental delays, and they were watching a movie. They all know me already, so it went smoothly. I go in there whenever I need a little boost - they're a sweet group of kids who always make me smile!
Then, I had to go into an eighth grade science class, which was somewhat less awesome. There was the boy who showed me his leg and asked if I thought it was sexy, the two girls who attacked a boy and tried to pierce his ear with a pen, (and then tell him that the dot they put on his left ear meant that he was gay) then there was the boy who asked thirty times if he could go and get a drink even though he had done absolutely no work all class... you get the idea. I took it all in stride, though, knowing that I didn't have to be there for very long, and didn't have to see them again tomorrow... not my class!
Anyway, there was a lot of snow removal that needed to be done prior to driving home, and my two mile commute took over 30 minutes. I fared a lot better than some people... I'm currently watching the 11:00 news, and there are literally still people stuck on the roads who left work at 5 or 6 this evening. People reported a 16 mile drive taking 5 hours. Horrible. Just horrible!
No idea whether I'll be going to work tomorrow... I have the feeling that we might be going... the snow is tapering off, and they may be able to clear the roads by morning. We'll see.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

I could be a Vampire

Seriously... last weekend, it was sunny outside on Saturday but I was stuck inside all day. It was cloudy on Sunday. I am in a windowless office all week at work. Then, this weekend was a repeat... sunny on the day I'm stuck inside, cloudy all day today. When in the world will I ever get to go outside in the sun again? My next chance is six days away.

People, this is grody. I have pictures to take... doesn't the sun know that?!?!?

It's snowing again tonight, and I hear ice is expected to join it. I wonder if we'll get another snow day. If so, I hope it's actually snow and not wet sleet/ icy rain... cuz if it's just snow, i'll run outside and take the pictures out there! Why the heck not?

Yesterday was the last official jewelry selling event of the season. It was a busy week, and I sold a lot of jewelry! Huzzah!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

You know it's hot in your office when...

You step outside after work into sub-freezing temperatures and remark to your coworker, "aaaah, it is SO NICE to finally be outside!"

It's bad enough I don't ever get to see daylight or sunshine in the winter time due to the lack of a window in my office (and the fact that I arrive at work as daylight breaks and leave as the sun is setting). But to add insult to injury, it is OVER EIGHTY DEGREES in my office, and has been all week. I am miserable. By the end of the day, I truly cannot think any more. I ask people stupid questions I should know the answer to. I go home EXHAUSTED. I have complained bitterly. I daydream about running into the office stating that I'm going home and they can call me when my working conditions are actually humane. I have complained to the people who potentially could do something about it, but they say nothing can be done for now. I have also contemplated dressing appropriately for the 'weather', but that would involve more shaving than I normally feel committed to at this time of year.

I'm sweaty. I'm drowsy. I'm sad.

Car update: it mainly just needed a new battery. I also had them check over a few other things to make sure I'd make it through the winter. I can't even believe how fast the car starts now... I guess the battery had been going downhill for a while now.

Sorry about the no pictures thing lately. However, I'm not home during daylight during the week, and the days I've been home over the weekend have been extra cloudy. No vitamin D for me, no pictures for you!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

NooooOOOOOooooooo!

Well, actually, it's really not as bad as all that. Really. I went out to my car (fondly known as the Skittle due to its resemblance to a purple skittle) this morning, and was sorely disappointed at the lack of 'engine running results' I received when I turned the key. There were a few lethargic attempts at turning over, a few clicks, and then silence. Each subsequent attempt was met with an even less enthusiastic response.

Interestingly, I wasn't particularly stressed out about it. As I get older, things like this just don't worry me as much as they used to. Car problems happen, particularly to 9 year old cars that have lived outdoors all of their lives. AAA and my mechanic are called. Hours of work are missed. Car repair charges are added to credit car bills. Life goes on.

Now, my attitude may very well change if this car turns out to be surly for the last third of its life. I do indeed expect another good 5 years/ 60,000 miles from the Skittle... I have this grand plan of getting another car around when I turn 40, which is in exactly 5 years and 2 months, to the day. If the Skittle and I are destined to spend a lot more mornings like this, we are going to have to have couples counseling or something, because I don't intend to put up with such behavior!

Anyway, I'm back at home, waiting for the call from AAA... I'm no fool. You won't see me sitting in a parking garage waiting for them... I'll be on my sofa, writing this little anecdote on my blog, sipping coffee.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Someone Flipped the Switch to Winter!

Jeez! That was harsh! It is all coldycold around here suddenly! This past Saturday, the wind was quite fierce, blinding drivers with tornadoes of dead leaves. Sunday night, it snowed, and left us with... a snow day from work! Huzzah! Now, New Englanders are doing the 'duck walk' across lumpy, icy, snowy sidewalks and streets, foregoing standard fashion rules and bundling up like many-layered sausages, and scraping crusty snow off of their cars.

On mornings like today, when I forget my mittens, I drive to work one-handed, with the other hand under my leg to keep it warm, and switch hands as needed. My car turns over so slowly, I get scared it won't start... it's on mornings like this that I worry my car won't last as long as I'd like it to. C'mon car, you can do it!

When it gets REALLY cold, I will be walking outside and will suddenly realize I have been holding my breath because it's too cold to breathe. I don't like those days all that much, but I try to embrace somewhat colder days by making sure I'm appropriately sausaged into ludicrous amounts of hand knit items... can you ever be wearing too many hand knit, woolen items? Socks, sweater, scarf, mittens, hat... snuggly.

Now, there are only 17 more days until the days start getting longer again. Hurry uppppp!