Maude has a face-up!
So, way back when, I was named the lucky winner of ThriftyDoll’s Face-Up Giveaway on BlytheLife. I was SO EXCITED, especially because I had only recently gotten my first Middie and she was looking pretty shiny and reflective in photos. Since I am often shooting in low light or with a camera phone, I really wanted her to have a matte finish so her beauty would shine, rather than the surface of her face.
Jenni was excellent! She worked with me to figure out what exactly I wanted and as a result I am completely, 100% pleased with the outcome. Maude is looking gorgeous!
Of course I happened to be moving during the middle of this process, which dragged it out a bit more than just the usual time needed for overseas shipping and back. It was so worth the wait, though!
As you can see, it’s a pretty natural look, with subtle shading that adds up to a great effect without being super noticeable. I think that this kind of subtlety is especially difficult to achieve. Well done, Jenni! I also love the earth tones she used, which I think accentuate Maude’s unique hair color perfectly.
Now, as you can clearly see in these photos, Maude is in need of a major hair treatment. I haven’t done anything to her hair since I first took her out of the box, and she’s kind of static-y yet at the same time sticky/greasy. Her bangs are also SUPER uneven (and there are a few random hairs of different lengths here and there), but I want to give it a thorough washing before I tackle a trim. So that will be the next step in Maude’s very slow journey to being settled into my Blythe fam.
Thanks again to Jenni and to BlytheLife!
Today I am in a massive state of #hulksmash technology rage. I can just feel my blood pressure being way higher than it should, so writing this is my effort to diffuse it and maybe even formulate a plan for solving the problem.
A few days ago, Flickr changed something that made it impossible for me to upload any photos from my phone to their service. This is, I believe, because my phone is running a seriously old version of the Android OS (2.2.2 AKA Froyo). That is because shortly after we bought our phones, Virgin Mobile decided to never update the OS again, not that they told us that this would happen or was even a possibility. *shakes fist* It was the best phone Virgin Mobile offered at the time, so apparently we should have known that they would abandon it (and us) and not give a crap about it.
I am a Flickr pro user and have been for years. I understand that for a company to keep updating its apps to support older versions of mobile OSes is annoying and time consuming. But it’s really, really frustrating for a loyal, paying, customer like me to suddenly discover that without warning I can’t even access their official app on my phone, and that all the third party apps out there won’t allow uploads to Flickr, either. Flickr has slammed the door on my phone and apparently That Is All.
Being in a transition-y time with moving, I’m not in a position to be able to use my standard setup for downloading and editing photos with my DSLR (it’s complicated, but to sum up: I use Lightroom on my Macbook and the photo library is stored on my PC’s hard drive [where it can easily be backed up onto my external]. We don’t currently have a good enough wifi signal, apparently, for that connection to stay stable long enough for me to edit and then upload photos, even with the PC hard-wired and the laptop right next to it and only six feet from the router. And I don’t want to fuck up my Lightroom library by moving or fragmenting it.), so I’m relying on the phone for any photos I want or need to take.
Given the lack of support we’ve gotten from Virgin Mobile regarding our phone model, we have been planning to move to another company anyway, but figured we’d get as much life out of our current phones as we could. Given that we paid for them out of pocket and they are now apparently virtually worthless, whatever we do next is going to cost us. Which of course we can TOTALLY afford while we’re in the midst of selling our house and moving and etc. (Haha. Wait, not actually funny.) (Did I mention that my PC hard drive and external drive both crapped out and had to be replaced? How about that my 3DS died and, because I cannot stay sane without Animal Crossing amidst all this other stress, had to be replaced?) I’ve read that you can hack the OS on the Triumph, but that it’s pretty damn easy to brick it while doing so. I haven’t got any experience hacking phones yet, and having no phone at all is not an option, so I’m reluctant to risk killing it altogether.
I haven’t found any good overviews of no-contract options from reputable sources yet – has anyone seen any? (I’m not falling for the new so-called no-contract plans from the major carriers that end up costing you just as much or more than their contract plans.) Any and all suggestions for this stupid situation will be appreciated.
image courtesy of Jeff Adams
When you’ve been searching for a new job for awhile, you get into a routine of filling out applications, crafting cover letters, and always being on the lookout for new postings. After you get a job, switching from that job-seeking routine and mindset can be tough. Sure, you’re busy learning your new job (and possibly moving, selling a house, or other such major life changes), but when you’ve had a focus on constantly looking for the next great opportunity, it’s challenging to stop looking. It’s like getting sucked into Pinterest or falling down the tumblr rabbit hole: you’re always scrolling to see if one more neat thing might pop up. You have to find a way to turn off that desire to look around, to stop imagining that there’s something better just out of sight.
Writing this I can see that there’s a pretty strong analogy to relationships. It gets tricky there, though, because, for me, anyway, when I committed to my now husband, I had fallen ass over teakettle so it was pretty damn easy to not care at all about whatever other options might have been out there. But with a new job, is it ever that kind of twue wuv? I can’t imagine that it is. Every workplace comes with issues and in pretty much any job you end up inheriting some problems that should’ve been fixed long before you arrived. And you’re dealing with a multitude of relationships that are way more fraught – when the other person has the power to fire you (or you, them), it’s a different sort of dynamic than a romantic relationship, and no one wants that kind of farts-and-all intimacy in the workplace.
So maybe it’s more like buying a house. Even a move-in-ready home comes with things you can see right away will need to be fixed or changed, as well as hidden shoddy workmanship that only becomes apparent over time. It takes patience, hard work, a support network, and probably some adult beverages to get through the rough bits that inevitably arise.
All of this is to say that my new job is going well but that it’s taking an effort to get out of the job-seeking mindset. (My librarian researcher maximizer1 nature certainly doesn’t help.) While I’m not actively looking, I still see position postings in my twitter feed and on facebook and such, and it’s tempting to think that one of them might be The Perfect Job. But really, there is no perfect job. Certainly the specific challenges of any position are going to vary, but of course the grass looks greener when you haven’t yet stepped over the fence. It’s only after you’re already committed that you can really see what’s going to drive you nuts. And there’s always something that will drive you nuts, so you may as well do your best and be happy!
Of course I’d still love to win the lottery and be able to do crafting and writing and other creative pursuits as a full time job. Who wants to buy me a ticket?
1. I am a happy maximizer: I enjoy the information-gathering process immensely, and I gain a tremendous amount of satisfaction from knowing that I have considered all the options. Maybe I should be working for Consumer Reports?
Last night K was out in the yard with Coraline and noticed that there were a LOT of Japanese Beetles on one of the trellises. I looked them up to find out what they were called and how to get rid of them, since they seem to be doing a real number on the foliage of these vines.
So this morning I headed out first thing with a bucket of warm soapy water and started knocking them into it. Perhaps they are less active in the wee hours, because they were quite subdued and mostly just fell right into the bucket. Lots of them appeared to be mating, so TWO FOR ONE SPECIAL. I realized, though, that I was going to need a ladder to reach the higher vines. As I went to the bedroom to put on some real shoes in order to climb safely, I realized that I felt…something under my shirt. I put my hand on top of my tee, near my bellybutton, and felt a beetle moving there. ACKKKKKKKKKKKK! Lifting my shirt so the bug fell onto the carpet and dancing around like a fool, I quietly (others in the house were still asleep) and ridiculously freaked the eff out. SERIOUSLY. These beetles are not huge, but they’re not that small either! Especially when compared with my bellybutton. SHUDDER. Plans for further beetle drownings were then put off in favor of a really, really hot shower.
We went to see Pacific Rim today, and while it was fun, it was not the no-holds-barred awesomefest I was hoping for.
For starters, I have a long-time adoration for both Godzilla and for robots, so there were two giant marks in PR’s favor right off the bat. I’m also a fan of big-to-the-point-of-silly action movies when they’re done well. Guillermo del Toro has a pretty good track record. Twitter was also all abuzz about how kickass PR is, so with all of this put together I went in with high expectations, which were sadly not met.
On the plus side, the Kaiju were pretty cool. And the Jaegers were also decently cool, though I wish they had been more stylized. It’s a Guillermo del Toro movie, come on! He’s like the king of neato stylized worlds and creations. On to my major nitpicks.
One: I am definitely experiencing Destruction Fatigue. This was just the most recent in a very long line of movies in which vast cities are destroyed, giant fragments of metal and concrete are hurled around like confetti, and the action happening is so frantic and close-up that you can hardly even tell what is happening. A thing is smashing another thing and now they are smashing into other, bigger things while they hurtle around smashing each other! Now I can definitely appreciate the power of a gigantic explosion, and the devastation of a city destroyed. Many movies have used this type of action and destruction to great success. But when it happens over and over in pretty much the same way and without any particular thing to latch on to, it loses its effectiveness. I was really pleased to see that a non-sequel giant summer movie can still get made, but this one didn’t speak well for itself.
Two: PR is an action movie and as such one doesn’t necessarily expect that the writing will be strong, but it was seriously weak here, both in dialogue and in storytelling. Even a talented actor like Idris Elba couldn’t save some of the formulaic lines. There was a lot of repeating the same thing over and over, to make sure that the idiots in the audience understood, I guess? (We got it.) And in the storytelling, there were just a really lot of scenes when a lack of consistency or illogical scenario took me out of the moment. Such as: the Jaeger is picking up shipping containers and then dragging a huge ship around as a weapon and then moments later the pilots are like, “Oh yeah, we should use the GIANT FUCKING SWORD THAT SEEMS TO BE PRETTY MUCH 100% EFFECTIVE.” Ya think?) Also: I’m not a science expert, but aren’t Kaiju supposed to be reptilian or amphibian or something along those lines? Something that isn’t a mammal, anyway, so why would they have umbilical cords? I know, I know, they’re aliens and they can do whatever they want. Also: I get that it’s a dire situation, but doesn’t it seem like blowing up a nuclear bomb in the center of the earth is going to have some major drawbacks down the line? I’m not saying that they had a lot of choices, but it seems like a plan with a pretty big downside. Also: the whole concept of two people being able to operate a Yaeger effectively is really far-fetched to me. Many of us humans can barely coordinate one body with one mind, let alone two minds that are supposed to be able to balance and do complicated physical fighting simultaneously. (I know, I know, willing suspension of disbelief.) Also: at the beginning of the movie, the premise is that the two pilots connecting to run the Jaeger have to be super-compatible in order to make it work well. Like brothers or father and son or some other really close male-male combination. Yet at the end, it’s like, who’ve we got? Throw them in! Also: if you’re a society trying to fight these Kaiju, why would you create Jaegers that are just matched (or outmatched) by the Kaiju – why would you not create something bigger, stronger, and more easily able to defeat the enemy?
Three: This was Yet Another movie that spectacularly failed the Bechdel Test. I mean, seriously, people. One female character. ONE.
Four: This is probably a combination of items two and three, but I just couldn’t find any characters to connect with. None of them were fully fleshed out enough to feel like I could empathize with them. Even the nerds!
Five: Pacific Rim did not seem capable of finding humor in itself. I’ve likely been spoiled by smart movies like those made by Edgar Wright, but I believe that you can do genre well and at the same time have fun. There were a shit-ton of Big Summer Action Flick cliches in this movie but without the knowing wink that would indicate that the filmmakers were aware of them. I expect more from Guillermo del Toro than I do from Michael Bay, is what I’m saying.
All of that said, it was fun at times, and I’m glad we saw it in the theater (at a matinee, so it was the cheap show, thank goodness) since I don’t think it will translate that well to a small screen. And Ron Perlman is pretty much always awesome, so there’s that.
So! It has been ages since I posted, because I have been doing All The Things and not making any time for this. The first thing that happened was that Fox did a crackdown on people making Cunning Hats, which prompted a massive flood of orders in our AnneArchy shop. I got orders for 70 hats in a matter of days! That meant that I spent most of April and May knitting hats and not doing a ton of other things.
Except that I was also interviewing for and being offered a new job! I spent a good amount of time driving back and forth between Canton and northwest Indiana doing interviews and doing paperwork for my new job. I’m now a librarian at a community college library! It’s a change from public libraries, but I have some familiar terrain in that I’m going to be able to focus on customer service and making sure the library is of use and is well-used by the students and faculty.
We also prepared our house for sale – as you might guess, there wasn’t a ton left to do since we’ve been so focused on completing improvements over the last six+ months. We had it listed and got an offer a few days later, and sale is now pending. FINGERS CROSSED, EVERYONE. I don’t want to jinx it so I’m not going to talk any more about that right now.
Then, a little over a week ago, we made the trek to Indiana for good. We’re staying with my uber-generous sister and her hub for the time being, until our house is sold and we figure out where we want to land for the long term. Coraline has been learning all the tricks and having massive fun playing with Susan’s dogs. Note to any internet evildoers: the house is under the watch of tough-guys with the tendency to over-react, so no funny business.
So all in all, it’s been a crazypants couple of months! We are settling in gradually, but really looking forward to being done with the house-selling part of the transition so we can relax. Here’s to awesome change!
This one has been waiting for awhile! I made it several months ago but knew I was going to give it to Susan for her birthday, so I wanted to wait until I had actually presented it to her before posting the pics. So, presenting, the Little Leaves Lace Wrap!
This is another one of those knitting projects that uses a fairly simple, easy-to-memorize lace pattern that ends up looking really elegant and more complicated than it really is.
I had actually purchased this yarn with Susan in mind, back when she still lived in Florida. It’s very lightweight yarn that could be worn in warmer temps. Which means that she can use it anytime now that she’s in a more temperate climate.
Though these colors feel somewhat beachy, I think that they suit Susan really well regardless.
I hope she enjoys wearing it!
Ever since I found this post about making your own Mexican spice mix, I have been addicted.
This time, I made chicken breasts in the skillet with this seasoning. I tend to put in a little bit more crushed red pepper than the recipe recommends, because we like it a little bit spicier.
I used a little lime juice on the chicken as well, and cooked over medium heat, turning once after about 8 minutes (these chicken breasts were HUGE). After I removed them from the pan, I added some shredded cheese to K’s portion and let the meat rest for about five minutes.
I cooked the chopped sweet peppers with the same spice mixture. I would normally add them to the pan the chicken cooked in, but this time it got a little bit burninated, so I cooked the peppers in a separate pan. Despite the chicken pan looking burny, the chicken itself was fine, and it was all delicious!
The kitchen floor is in!
Since the kitchen isn’t super large, it went quite quickly. We pulled the fridge out first, tiled behind it, and then moved it onto the new tile and continued to tile from there, which worked well.
So now the flooring matches through the house! It really makes everything look more cohesive.
We still need to put in the trim in the kitchen and dining room, and now that we’re done with the other jobs in both rooms we’ll probably tackle that in the next few days.
While the cooktop was out of commission during the countertop project, I was forced/inspired to come up with some alternative means for cooking dinner.
One of the things I did was cook both chicken breasts (skinless, boneless) and pork chops in the oven, using the same preparation techniques. For each, I put the meat on a baking sheet and added a modest amount of olive oil on the meat, then turned the meat over and sort of smooshed it around so that the olive oil got all over both sides.
Then I added seasonings: my basic is salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and some lemon juice. Then I cooked on 350 until the meat reached a safe temperature. Then let the meat sit for about five minutes and serve! This is essentially the same way I cook meat in the skillet, I just flip it over every four minutes or so when on the cooktop. You can switch up the seasonings with whatever suits your fancy – if we’re doing Mexican, I use appropriate spices and sub lime juice for lemon.
In the photo above, you can also see another of my recent projects: some cool hot pads. I found some Star Wars fabric in the remnant bin awhile ago and realized that it would be perfect for a small project like this. And who can’t use a few new hot pads? After making these I finally got rid of some that I remember buying when I moved into an old place I used to live – and realized that when I bought them it must have been the late 90s. Time for them to move on!