Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday ramble, and an O.S.

Office Special - the first drawing in my new sketch book.
Autumn is coming. The hot nights have given way to breezes of crisp air sneaking through my still-open window at night. I love the smell of it. The land is replenishing itself from the first of the fall rains; the river has gotten just that bit louder. The leaves are starting to turn. It’s not quite over, but the signs are there that Summer is finished. Today, the sky is vivid blue. It’s the kind of day I want to be in the saddle, overlooking some amazing view, gazing out over my horse’s perked ears, feeling the sun on my skin, but refreshed by the cool air that’s blowing around me. It’s windy. It’s so beautiful.

Ignore the lame slideshow and just listen to the music. A Belgian composer
I forgot I loved but rediscovered by accident.

This is the time of year I miss most living in New Hampshire. It’s when the Indian Summer arrives with its colours and crackling leaves, where small towns have pumpkin festivals, and you can start wearing your pea coat again. Oregon hasn’t quite achieved the palette of a New England autumn, but it’s still a beautiful time here. It’s also a blessed time for us mountain-dwellers. It’s too cold for campers, except the most determined diehards, and yet not snowy enough for the hordes of skiers to come marching up the mountain. It’s the short, brief time when we get our touristy mountain towns mostly to ourselves.

October is a busy month. My husband’s birthday is on the 10th. Our anniversary is on the 16th, and my little brother’s birthday is on the 25th. There are also a couple of birthdays on hubby’s family’s side as well. His nephew Bryan gets a year taller. And grandma turns 87. Time marches on.

Sincere apologies for my foul mood yesterday. That sort of thing *really* makes me grumpy.  I really cannot stomach ill-will between people.  It sets me off.  Obviously.

I enjoy Halloween. I complain every year how I was cheated of it as a kid. Growing up in Belgium was great, but I missed out on some American traditions I wish I could have enjoyed. We never do much on Halloween. This year, we are thinking about going to a Halloween party at Edgefield, we shall see. It’s not like staying home is worth it, since we never get trick-or-treaters anyway.

I’m in a reflective mood lately. I’m still clinging to lingering hope, trying not to set myself up for more disappointment. I can’t help it. I had always planned a future with a child in it. It’s hard to picture it now without one. But nothing’s permanent. Nothing’s set in stone. Things could happen, who knows? Should I send the little things I’ve collected along the years to Goodwill? The set of Beatrix Potter books, the copies of the Velveteen rabbit? The little silverware set made specifically for a Victorian child, the bibs and bowls and cups my sister gave me once. The handmade wooden rattle? Should I just let it all go? I don’t know. The idea of letting go of those little material things feels like I’m letting go of hope. I’m not quite ready to do that yet.

It’s probably for the best anyway. We are living on a tightrope financially anyway; a child would make that all the more challenging.

I’m still stuck at 27-29 lbs. It’s so annoying. I’m hoping this plateau will shatter soon, and I’ll start losing again. Hubby is still stalled, but he’s lost a smidge this week.

The back. It has a lace insert.
The front yoke, has a lace insert too.
On the sewing front, I’ve finished a nightgown (except for the closure). It turned out better than I had hoped. I really didn't have a lot to reference, honestly, so this design is pretty much pulled out of my derriere.  But I need something to wander around in at night during the retreat, something comfortable and that looks somewhat the part. I've since added a little lace around the collar and around the 'waistline' with a ribbon woven in to tie it.   Here are some pictures of the yoke and back, before I attached the gathered gown itself... I took some photos of the completed gown with a better camera, but I forgot to get them off my husband’s camera. I’ll post them when I remember.

I’m working on a chemisette right now. I’ve been doing it all by draping on the most part. I discovered that when I consolidated my fabric stash, that I was pretty much covered, except for maybe a few yards of silk might be required for a ball gown. Not sure yet.

Someone love me, please?
This is Jesse. She is our pot-head/alcoholic neighbour’s daughter’s dog. She drives up here to stay with her father, and brings Jessie. Jessie spends all day left alone outside. She is fearful and she cowers and pees herself if you make a sudden move. She sees our happy little dogs, and she wants to be part of our family. She comes in our dog-door and stands at the glass door from the laundry room and pines to come in. Lately, she’s been spending her evenings with us. She goes ‘home’ at night. She is sweet and attention-starved. Just like with OC the Opportunistic Cat, we are being ‘adopted’. I’m not sure if she’ll ever end up being ours completely like the cat, but she’s welcome for whatever time she needs of us.

Have a nice weekend all. Check it out! An office special. I got a little sketch book that I carry around with me. That’s the first drawing in it.  It's not a great drawing, but what the hell. I'm amazed I could squeeze out something creative, honestly, with this dry-spell I've been in.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Keep Your Spam To Yourself.

I hate forwards. I really do. There are few things that will set me off more than receiving a random forwarded message with some cheesy pictures or a saccharine quote or some stupid chain letter in my email inbox. I’ll get even more pissed off if it’s from someone I never hear from at all. In my mind, there is nothing more obnoxious than just being one of many on a blanket mailing list for useless crap. If you can’t be bothered to drop me a personal note, you sure as heck had better keep your spam to yourself! Especially if you are family. If you are family, then that’s the biggest crime of all.

I especially hate spam that is made up of some really idiotic political stance. I get some from people I know that are so bad, like when Obama got elected, someone I know sent me a spam with a picture of the White House with watermelons covering the front lawn.  Nooooo, their objection to the president has *nothing* to do with race at all... <--sarcasm.  It really cracks me up when these groups of people insist their hatred for Obama has nothing to do with his being black, when they keep circulating racist spam between eachother. It's disingenuous and moronic. My own in-laws deny it, and still forward every moronic racist email to my husband (not to me). ::ai ai ai::

Today, I got this gem from a friend at the barn. Bless her heart, she’s a wonderful person, but sometimes I just think she doesn’t read what she sends. When I get pieces of sh*t like this, I will automatically REPLY ALL and expose that part of me few people see... the full-on bitch.

This email was very long, and formatted and written by someone who might have been developmentally disabled, not sure. I had to break it up into seven different images so you could all share in this wonderful example of the unapologetic ignorance of people in this country. I truly believe that people who think this stuff is laudable ought to have their right to vote revoked, because they are too stupid to be allowed to. Anyone who believes this contrived, made-up attempt to spread ill-will towards other ethinic groups should be shot into the sun.  This email is very likely a feeble fabrication. And yet stupid people gobble this sh*t up like it's mana from heaven. ::gods::

It begins with an almost incomprehensible opening sentence and some really bad clip-art. And I strongly disagree with the 'not a joke' statement. This email *is* a joke. An embarrassing, ignorant joke. 

You see, apparently Budweiser itself had a strategy to deal with ‘those who laughed at those who died on September 11’. I’m intrigued... shall we go on?

Pass it along and spread the ignorance and stupidity? Umm... no.  I will not assist in perpetuating ignorance. I will read it and mock it, and then reply to everyone and tell them all they're idiots.

Common sense to anyone with brown skin on September 11th and for some time thereafter was to lay low. There were people who were so angry, they got up, picked up a gun, went to the nearest place where they knew there would be someone from the middle east or in several cases, Asia, vandalized their shops, shot at the safety glass, and beat them up. Even Sikhs were attacked. It was like someone declared open-season on anyone who looked even remotely Arab. I remember this time quite clearly. It was awful watching scared Americans doing stupid things--and I'm seeing a lot of that lately too. Aaanyway...

Anyway, I digress... so according to this email, these supposed ‘Arabs’ in California, were doing a happy-happy-joy-joy dance and singing praise to Allah while pointing and laughing at the footage of the planes hitting the towers being cycled on whatever news channel, completely disregarding the folks in their store, apparently. Hm. So believable. Asshats are saying: "I'm going to buy that hook line and sinker because I'm a massive MORON."

So this employee, who is likely existentially-challenged, who wasn’t angry about the attacks or racist in any way, truthfully told the boss what he saw. :::mmhmm::: And the decision was made to pull all the Budweiser products from the store.

On a side note: have you ever *had* Budweiser? Seriously? My proud Belgian upbringing forces me to declare that this is NO punishment. Budweiser is horse-piss. It’s disgusting. Pulling their products improved the store’s quality by about 88%.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure Budweiser as a company probably wouldn’t endorse a race-based unilateral decision from some egghead distribution manager and truck-driver at some white-trash California town. They would avoid that sort of negative publicity like the plague, and fire the asses of the boss and the 'employee'.

I like how the town is immediately painted into white-trashness by declaring that Budweiser is the beer of choice, BTW. Fun!. Aim high people. Anyway, apparently this action by the existentially-challenged employee and his boss qualified them to represent the whole county too! LOL.

Ok, on with the riveting story.... you see, it continues...

NOT THE PEPSI PRODUCTS! OH THE HUMANITY! The health of the town probably improved when they took all that crap out. They were probably forced to buy food that requires assembling and cooking! POOR PEOPLE!

YAY! ANOTHER SMALL AMERICAN BUSINESS DESTROYED! YAY FOR US! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! We bankrupted an Arab (only 8 years after September 11) with our awesome product withdrawals. We so excited! How awesome are WE!? Pat ourselves on the back, we've successfully contributed to the downward spiraling economy! Yaaay!

Good ol’ American Passive Aggressive Ass-Whoopin’? Um no. Good ol’ American Ignorant Racist Idiocy, more like it.

I love this one ... ‘If you can read this, thank a teacher (if you wrote this, you need to go back to school, I’m afraid)’. The second bit made me LOL. “If you are reading this in English, thank a soldier”. LOL! I had no idea our military has been engaged for over two centuries in a battle to protect the use of the English language in the United States. Yay for soldiers! They keep English alive! I can see the person who wrote this, their eyes glistening with tears of pride as they mash down the caps key and tap out these lines, their chest swelling with patriotic fire.

NEWSFLASH: There is no official language in America. English just happens to be the language that 96% of us use. Although a great number of languages are spoken here. It is a country of immigrants. Get over it. Just because you are too lazy or stupid to learn another language and broaden your horizons doesn’t mean everyone has to make life more convenient for you. Get over yourselves. 

Oy, what a stupid statement. It’s so stupid, that if stupid were something tangible, this email would probably have enough mass to create a black hole. But this last picture puts a big whopping idiot-cherry on top of this whole pile of spam-poop:

Let’s elevate pure ignorance and stupidity to PRIDE. Because that’s what it is, peeps. It’s good ol’ American Pride that encourages people to victimize and hate anyone who isn’t Aryan and who doesn’t have the language skills and political knowledge of a barely evolved primate. PRIDE is sending out messages that are filled with lies created for no other purpose than to propagate hate and ignorance.  PRIDE.

How embarrassing! I am seriously embarrassed by people who write this crap, and who spread it around like fly-covered-dairy-queen-soft-serve-like sh*t.


Oh, and remember, if you don’t send this, you HAVE NO SOUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ::eyeroll::

Good grief. No wonder this country is going to pot. These dunces are opining and making up spam when they should be digging our ditches.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I am so happy this week is OVER. Happy Friday!

Office Special "A love letter and a rose."
It's been a stressful week to say the least. It began with an agency inspection of our largest Oregon facility by the Oregon DEQ with someone from the EPA along as well.  On top of that, we had a few other crises to throw into the mix, and right now I just want to curl up into a ball and sleep for a week.  I got nothing done of my routine stuff at work because of all these distractions, and the month is ending and I have SO much to catch up. ::groan::

The sidesaddle, after careful fitting, is not the right width for Tag. Bummer. But the bright side is, I put it on eBay and it sold in less than 12 hours for about $250 more than what I was selling my dressage saddle for. SCORE! I will use extra for bills and some to put a deposit on a new model that can be found with XX-wide trees.  That's fine, because I have a few pounds more to lose before I ride sidesaddle in earnest.

Tag's foot is still somewhat lame, but getting better. I will see this weekend if he's improved. Silly horse.  I'm still stagnant at 27-29 lbs (depending on the day). This is the longest plateau I've had, and hubby is also stuck at a plateau.  We both think that we're getting too cavalier with the points calculation, and have decided to go strictly with the program again so we can start the weight loss again. Damn it!

We discovered a new treasure trove. I'm not sure if I mentioned it already, but I'm too lazy to check.  There's a sugar-free bakery in Clackamas just off HWY 205. Now, in my pre-weight-loss days, I'd have curled my lip at this place, imagining a wealth of bland, weird tasting sweets. But now, we are always looking for treats to make this 'lifestyle change' manageable.  We discovered that the sugar free bakery makes AMAZING eclairs and cream puffs and they're only 2 and 1 point each??!!!! Hello!  You need to check this place out: Just Delicious Bakery. They do mail order too.  So I have a box of bavarian cream puffs to look forward to after the commute home.

Happy weekend all. I'll be sewing. And sleeping.

Friday, September 16, 2011

An office special on a Happy Friday.

A quick and forced office special.
I have SO much sewing to do for the retreat and I haven’t spent any time on it. I have been in a bit of a funk since the last post, granted, and my creative muse has scampered off somewhere into the wilderness and left me uninspired and bland for a few weeks. The thing that sucks is that I have all this sewing to do, I should be drawing, and working on a book, I should be reading for my review site, and I am not. I am completely stagnant. I actually *forced* myself to draw my office special today. It’s not very good. I get up in the morning, barely able to peel myself from bed, I go to work, I spend the day at work, I go home, I idle about at my computer and TV until bedtime and then I struggle to fall asleep, only to find myself having to wake up five minutes after my head hits the pillow (at least that’s what it feels like).

My Dassenplank project has ground to a hideous halt because the carpenter who seemed so excited about the project took the seed money and has vanished off the face of the earth.  I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, but I don't have a good feeling about the fact that he is ignoring my emails. He did call and leave a message to me saying he'd been called away to Utah or Idaho to do some work out of state, so I'm trying to give him a chance to prove himself a decent person before I lose it. But it's hard when you give someone your trust, and think they're decent and they do something untoward like take money and then disappear. It wasn't a lot of money on the greater scheme, but in our financial situation, it would have helped towards one of our bills for sure.  We'll see if he comes through. I still have hope that he will.

Tag is still languishing in the wound-department. I haven’t spent very much time with him these last two weeks, except to swing by, overcompensate with carrots, brush his sleek coat down and take off. I’ve been working on the sidesaddle thing too. Until I can afford a full reflocking, I’ve ordered a cheap channel riser to lift the seat off of his back a bit and even out the saddle a bit, otherwise I’ll tip back off of him ::hahaha:: I also need to find the funds to have a balance girth made for him still. Blurgh!

The ORS Regency Retreat is totally sold out. That’s exciting! I have to sit down and finish up drafting the new set of bonnets and hats for the workshop. I’ll start posting the little minis as I go along, but I haven’t been making minis right now, since I haven’t been doing much of anything except exist.

So here’s a list of what I will need to sew before December 1 for the retreat:
  • 2 day gowns 
  • 1 robe
  • 1 ball gown
  • 1 redingote
  • 1 new hat/bonnet (plus finish up the patterns for the workshop)
  • 2 chemisettes
  • 1 fishu
  • 2 mob cap
  • 1 false sleeves
  • 1 dressing gown
  • 1 night gown
  • 1 apron
  • 4 shifts
  • 2 petticoats
  • 1 pantelettes, maybe 2
  • And the big one... A new set of stays. Garr!
I also need to save up so I can order three pairs of stockings, go out and buy some shawl(s) among other things.

What I want to make after the retreat stuff is done:
A regency period riding habit (here’s a little blurb about them I did on the ORS blog)

Today’s office special is sort of connected to a project I’ve started for Etsy. It’s a kitty cat (four cats actually, a calico, a grey tabby, a black and white cat much like the above image, and an orange cat) I’ve had them printed on fabric through Spoonflower (still waiting for the swatch/yard of kitty fabric to test them out) so I could make some bean/plush cat dolls. I’ll make them, dress them in little regency gowns with pinafores and pantalettes, or in a skeleton suit if they’re boys (orange cats are usually boys and calicos are mostly girls). We’ll see how well the doll-design works with my first test-swatch.

I’ve resolved to sew this weekend. I MUST!!! Hubby will be gone most of Saturday anyway riding around with his Italian mistress, the Ducati. ::hehheh:: I will try to sew on Sunday too, but I owe my horse some quality time this week.
Have a delightful weekend. I’ll get over myself, I promise, and will be back posting projects sooner or later. I’ll try to do some photos of my projects this weekend. TRY. If I can find a decent camera and enough light to make it work.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

No for now.

So, we’ve been told that we pretty much do not qualify to adopt a child from the state. There aren’t that many kids, apparently, and there is a glut of 200 adoptive families competing for them. And those 200 adoptive families apparently have a lot more going for them than we do; disposable income & whatever other things she (our social worker) determined. The fact that I had taken therapy in the past also has come back to haunt me. I *could* have just not bothered to have my psychologist from two and a half years ago send in the form at all. But for the sake of honesty, and to prove I’ve taken positive steps to towards working with my depression, I asked my doctor to help out, and that has bitten me in the derriere.

The social worker walked into our house with a negative attitude from the start. She sat down to interview us and asked us one question. Just one. Why are you trying to adopt through the state? Our reply was about fertility issues, and the fact that we are not able to go the traditional adoption route and her response was: “The DHS is not a program set up for people who can’t afford to adopt through private agencies.” I found that statement to be well... insane. How does our affording it or not have anything to do with our motivations? She also said that our continuing to try for pregnancy also was a reason for them not to consider us... so people who are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant or who have other kids can’t adopt? I’m not getting this. She stayed less than twenty minutes. She said “It’s not a no, but it’s a no for now,” and she got up and walked out.

Talk about being crushed. After having our hopes lifted up by the DHS trainer who put us through certification training, the social worker came in and pretty much squashed them—and in the coldest, rudest manner possible. It was really insulting, honestly, to have someone who knows absolutely ZERO about us make a decision based on four emails, some generic forms and less than twenty minutes in our presence with one interview question on the table. There’s no consideration that regardless of our not living in a cookie-cutter McMansion housing development with five cars and a boat, we are perfectly capable of providing a loving, nurturing environment for a child. There’s no thought put into how much we were committed to the process. There’s no sense in this decision. We might not be perfect, but we are perfectly adequate—and I believe that it was unfair to just dismiss us and I resent having my motivations put into question, or be treated as if we had less than legitimate intentions.

Anyway, I spent my long weekend trying to wrap my mind around the whole thing. It’s tempting to let the depression run with this decision, and to fold myself up into a fetal position and cry my eyeballs out, which I am often tempted to do when things are painful. But I can’t do that. I’ve got to force myself to move forward. I’ve got my husband to hold onto. I’ve got things to focus on. I need to working on the things before me. I have the ORS retreat to sew for (and hat-patterns to finish). I have my sidesaddle project and habit to look forward to. I have a book to finish. I have my weight loss to focus on. I have to just take on that time-tested attitude that what is meant to be is meant to be. If we are meant to have a child, it will happen to us in one way or another. It might not be in adopting a child through the state of Oregon, who knows?

So that was my weekend. I was busying myself lamenting that while marathoning Star Trek Voyager. At least one good thing came from the weekend; and that is my weight has finally started to move again. I reached the 29lb mark on Monday (but it’s back up to 27lbs today). The 30lb mark is a big one; I can’t wait to hit that mark. Another good thing discovered this weekend was the existence of a sugar-free bakery with the most delicious cream puffs (HUGE cream puffs) for only ONE WW point. Seriously! One point! They also have éclairs and cake and cupcakes and cookies and candy... some ranging rather high point-wise and others being ridiculously points-cheap. Yay I say!

I’m not sure if I talked about Tag’s stupid injury, but yet again, Tag has managed to acquire an injury that is taking forever to heal. He had it already during our trail ride that I posted about earlier. It’s a large sore on his foot, but it isn’t causing any lameness. He had this 55-gallon poly drum in his stall with part of the side cut out to act as his feed trough. But as my horse likes to mess with things incessantly, he battered the drum-feeder with his front left hoof until it cracked and then proceeded to get his foot stuck in the fissure and scraped off some of some old scar-tissue he had on his foot (probably from a similar injury in the past), leaving a gross gaping wound on his foot just near the pastern above the coronet. But it didn’t end there. I tried to bind it up and bandage it, but that didn’t work. He pulled the bandage off. I put a bell-boot over his bandage and he tore that off too. Then on top of that, the wound must have been itchy because like some obsessive dog, my horse began to chew at his wound whenever he’d torn the bandage covering off. So last week, we had to buy him a muzzle. Yes, I’m serious. Tag is wearing a giant muzzle. He is also bandaged up to the knee. Dumb horse. And so I face another few weeks of lost riding time thanks to a wound that won’t go away.

Anyway, Saturday, I took my newly acquired sidesaddle with me to the stable to see how it fit him. The tree is perfect, but it requires reflocking (re-stuffing) underneath the seat in the panels, and I have to find a way to lengthen the over-girth which was about three inches too short. I also need to find a custom balancing girth that’s 54-56” long. It will take a little tweaking before I’m actually sitting in the saddle, but it’s going to work nicely. It’s a good size for him and the seat is a good size for me. It sits on him well, isn’t too long for his body and the tree lies nicely against him. I’m so pleased with this trade. I feel like I totally scored. Comparable saddles are $1000-$1300. The leaping horn is adjustable, which is nice. I’m debating even bothering making a habit yet, because of my shifting weight at this point. And I still have some work to do before I ride him in earnest with the sidesaddle. The saddle itself needs modifications, and the horse itself needs some groundwork and some saddle work to prepare him.

Other than that, and a forest fire burning north of where we live, little else has happened. The long weekend was peaceful, in spite of my feeling downtrodden by the social-worker’s visit. I haven’t been very creative lately, but I’ll try and get back on that wagon soon. Once the oppressive summer heat passes, I’m always a happier person. Happy Wednesday all. :)

Here’s a long movie of Tag loose in the arena, making me run around as much as I made him. :^D As always, I’m loud because the camera is right up by my face, so turn down the volume if you don’t want to hear my stupid giggling.


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