Latest Publications

In the arts of antediluvian crafts…

More stuff I made!


I would tell you that this is my first attempt at tatting, but that would be a lie.  This is probably attempt number 23 at tatting, after tossing 22 other attempts before I could figure it out.  Thank goodness for YouTube videos and books and the internet.  It took me forever to figure out how to get my stitch to “move”.  Once I did, then I figured out how to make a circle and make picots and join things together.  Now I have lots more to figure out.  It will be a LONG time before this girl ever makes one of those gorgeous tatted angels for anyone’s Christmas tree.  But for now, I have this lovely 1.5 inch diameter doily.  I’m nothing if not practical.

There’s antimony, arsenic, aluminum, selenium…

I just read a great book, Twinkie, Deconstructed (My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated into What America Eats), by Steve Ettinger.  I found it by searching my library’s index for Wyoming.  It’s all about the ingredient list on a Twinkie, and what goes into making all of those ingredients. 

I liked this book a lot better than some of the books I’ve read about the “shocking and horrible” things that go on in the food industry.  I tried reading Fast Food Nation once, and it really just annoyed me.  Some of the things that book described as shocking and horrible just really aren’t.  I’m supposed to be offended and hurt and shocked by the fact that fast food restaurants employ high school students and don’t offer good pay or benefits??  Please.  (That part of the book actually talked about the high school where Tina went to school – at least that was interesting.)

The Twinkie book was interesting and informative, but also humorous and fun.  I mean, let’s face facts.  I’m not going to cut processed foods out of my diet anytime soon (I’m not a big fan of Twinkies, but I love those Swiss Cake Rolls!).  It was fun to find out just what goes into making those processed foods.  And equally fun to find out that even when I bake something “from scratch” at home, there’s still boatloads of chemicals that go into that!  I’m not much of a science person, but it’s just fascinating to read about how they can take all these chemicals that are INCREDIBLY dangerous in minute quantities on their own, mix them all up with some other stuff, and come out with something like flour or artificial flavor or food coloring!  And the author didn’t write it from a perspective meant to get us all flipped out and scared – more from a perspective of “Wow, that is interesting!!  I had no idea!”  Did you know there’s only one actual preservative in Twinkies?? 

The coolest thing about the book?  There is a whole chapter pretty much dedicated to FMC Wyoming!!  That was the chapter all about baking soda (surprise).  In fact, here is an excerpt.  It was awesome to read about a place I’ve been, where I’ve worked (although it didn’t mention my powerhouse), and where my family members have worked for years.  Thanks, Dad and Papa for doing your part to nourish my need for junk food.  (And glass and detergent and homebaked food and cat litter and all the other awesome things you do!)

Just sittin’ with your knittin’ all day long…

I made these!

OK, they are not super impressive.  But – I made them!  It was really sort of an experiment with my fun new Knifty Knitters to see what different stitches and techniques and stuff looked like, so I could try to figure out what I’m doing before I try out a “real” project.  (Hope everyone likes washcloths, since that’s pretty much what I know how to make so far!)  I have some other stuff made too (hats and a scarf), but I need a model so I can take some pics of them.  I still think I should learn “real” knitting someday, but it just seems so complicated! 

Oh, I also made some legwarmers.  (Feel free to insert snarky laughter here.)  I got the set of looms just before the Snowmass trip this year, and was trying to learn how to do stuff during that trip.  Well, the first night we were there, the house was COLD!  Like in the 50s.  Even at night during one of the coolest summers ever, it seemed warmer outside than in!  And I really hadn’t brought any cool weather (or cool house!) clothes.  I know, it’s the mountains, in Colorado, and you should always pack for every possible temperature.  But I didn’t.  So I’m sitting there with my knitting looms and my library books about loom knitting and my yarn, and I thought, “Some warm socks would be so awesome right now.”  But socks seemed way too hard.  And the books had patterns for legwarmers (easy, since you’re knitting in a circle anyway).  So I decided to make some legwarmers, with the full intention not to wear them ever in front of people.  Now they’re in a drawer under my bed.  We’ll just call it good practice.

Like a night at the county fair

We went to the county fair over the weekend! 

Our county fair is kinda small and quiet and relaxed, especially after the big spectacle of the Stampede – no carnival or concerts or craziness.  A LOT of 4-H stuff though.  But I like to go and check out some of the animals and the crafty stuff.  At the county fair a couple of years ago, I fell totally in love with the pygmy goats, and have wanted one as a pet ever since!  They are ridiculously cute and adorable.  And I think it would be fun for Tillie to have an actual livestock animal (other than Grover and Dog) to herd.  So far, I don’t have one.  But it’s on my list of stuff I seriously need.  This year, I didn’t see ANY pygmies!  It was a bummer.  But the big goats were still super entertaining.  They were funny – we saw so many of them stealing food from their neighbors, begging me to come play with them, and one was even trying to escape – he had his mouth around the door latch, and I seriously think he was going to figure it out.  One poor guy had an itchy head, and was rubbing his head on his enclosure, the way Dog rubs her head on walls. 

We looked at all the domestic arts stuff next – pictures, baked goods, veggies, quilts, all kinds of stuff.  Some of my favorites – Cookie Monster cupcakes, a quilt that looks like a doll house, a quilt with crooked seams (I wasn’t being judgmental, I swear – I was just glad to see some imperfections – makes me feel better about my own projects!), and hand spun yarn.  After we got home, I checked out the rules for entering the fair – there are approximately 5 kazillion different categories in my age class, so I totally think I should enter something next year.  Maybe I could get a ribbon!  Some of the 5 kazillion categories did not appear to be very well-represented – if I pick one of those, and I’m the only entry, then I could totally get a ribbon!  Yes, I am completely okay competing only against myself.  How else will I win?!

I don’t know how the 4-H animal kids do it.  I am a big huge crybaby, and would never be able to raise a baby animal and then sell it, for food or otherwise. 

The winner takes it all…

The loser standing small…

And the loser is me! 

I usually stay pretty even at card games – win some, lose some.  Depends on the game of course, but I do okay.  And I always always always win at Trivial Pursuit.  If I lose at that, it’s because someone is cheating – I won’t mention names, but sometimes people with the initials T.G. are big cheaterheads who “take liberties” with their rolls.

Lately, I am LOSING everything!  I lost at least 4 games in a row of Trivial Pursuit (not counting the games that are customized for the newly 5 year old Maddie – when she’s on my team, I usually win).  And I don’t think any cheating was involved!  Tonight, I got completely destroyed at Nerts.  AND, my performance on Jeopardy (yes, from my sofa) has been really slow and pathetic lately!  How am I ever going to exchange witty repartee with Alex Trebek if my brain is too slow to answer any questions??  So the question is, where has my brain gone, and when do I get it back? 

I found out this week that I am kinda anemic, so I have to start taking an iron supplement.  I did a little research (at least I remember how to use Google), and found that anemia can go along with things like RA, and can cause fatigue, weakness, lightheadedness, along with more stuff.  I’m blaming the missing brain function on the anemia and the lessened oxygen flow to my brain.  That’s my story anyway.  I’m competitive enough at games that I’m totally ok with blaming my poor performance on faulty body chemistry.

I melt…

Last weekend, I went to the Greeley Arts Picnic.  Of course, the main attraction was the food (especially the crepes!), but there was a lot of art and crafty stuff to check out too.  I always like to go look at things and think, “I could make that!”  Or, more often, “Tina could totally make that!”  More often than not, I don’t actually make any of it.  But I always think that one of us could do it, if we set our minds to it.  Or if I went and picked up a bunch of new crafty stuff for a new crafty hobby.  (My latest is the Knifty Knitter set.)  Michael’s LOVES me.  They’d better, anyway. 

One of the busier booths at the fair was one that sold melted wine/liquor bottle cheeseboards – they were selling tons of these things at about $25 each.  Stuff like this.  This one, I KNOW I could do.  I did it in 3rd grade.  OK, so I didn’t really melt anything myself.  But, along with the rest of my class, I brought a collection of glass bottles to school, which Mr. Art Teacher melted in a kiln!  Very cool art class project!  So, see, I know that I could do this project.  All I need is a bunch of glass bottles, and a kiln.  Slightly more expensive than my Knifty Knitters, but still.  Possibly more expensive than my car.  But you have to spend money to make money, right??  (I didn’t just make that up, did I?)

Some rules would have to change, too.  I’m generally not allowed near power tools, sharp objects, or hot surfaces.  Some of those rules are for my own protection, others for the protection of my house and everyone in it…  Maybe this is a hobby for Tina.

She’s got a secret garden…

OK, not so secret.  But check out what we got out of it!  Try to ignore the general scrubbiness of the spokesmodel. (more…)

C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me…

I made stuff today!

These are Cracked Sugar Cookies, also referred to as “crack” sugar cookies due to their addictive nature!  (more…)

Would you like to swing on a star?

Look at the new awesomeness I have in my backyard!!

Tina brought the swing from her Mom’s house, and built the frame for it and painted it a couple of weekends ago.  It’s well shaded by the jungle of trees back there, and very nice to sit on!  Tomorrow I might try out laying down on it with a book.  We’ll see if I can manage that without falling out.

After it was all set up… Tina, Maddie, & Jimmy built this cute little colorful birdhouse out of popsicle sticks!  It was waiting for me to see when I came home from work.

My wonderful cement bench is now on the side of the yard, in front of the vines climbing up the fence and shed.  I do have a very pretty picture of it, but I don’t seem to be smart enough today to get it rotated and cropped and uploaded and linked and all that.  I’ll try again when it’s light out, and I can take some pics of the crazy garden too.

Cool clear water…

I went swimming today!  Outside!  With sunscreen!I keep thinking I need to do something resembling exercise, but I have LOTS of excuses not to.  One of those is that I have to get up SO early to get to the rec center for lap swimming before work.  So this week is another shutdown week, which means, in theory, that I could go swim laps anytime – I don’t really need to get up early.  As it turns out, the outdoor pool near my house has lap swimming in middle of the day, so I tried it out today.  As I suspected, I am dreadfully out of shape.  But it was nice to swim outside and at least get a little bit of exercise in – exercise that doesn’t involve sweating or protective headgear.

I rode Tina’s bike again – I rode to the parade on Saturday, then road with Tina, Jimmy, & Maddie to the grocery store yesterday.  I tried to get Maddie to trade me on the way home, so that I could ride in the trailer (with Jimmy pulling it!) and she could ride the big bike, but no dice.   She and Jimmy were both pretty much against that idea.  I’m starting to convince myself I need a new bike – and Jane is helping convince me, with her notes about her cool new bike and her friend’s great bike – anyone care to donate to the “Syd Needs a New Bike Fund”?  🙂

Tomorrow I’m going to head to the therapy center (also near my house!) for a water exercise class.  They have this awesome warm salt water pool – I’ve taken some great arthritis classes there, but I think I’m going to try out something a tiny bit more strenuous.My only problem now will come next week, when I have to fit work back into my exercise schedule.