Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tapgurl Bedazzles!

I have traded my knitting needles for craft glue.

Glitter doesn't make you talented, but rhinestones and sequins get you noticed.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Homage to Nancy Botwin

I bought myself a present this weekend. No particular reason I just, felt that I deserved a little something to say "You done good so far Jones, and you haven't completely cracked up yet!"


At first I thought that it would be something knitting related, but after scouring some of my favorite yarn related sites, I couldn't come up with anything. Then I went to Amazon.com where nothing from my cart or my wish list jumped out and said "Buy Me Now". So I closed up the pink computer and decided to wait until the "buy me bug" bit. I didn't have to wait long.


Saturday as I'm going to the boys' house for a cook out with friends I realize that I need a decadent, caffeine filled drink.


So into the Starbucks I go. (In my opinion, this is by far the best time of the year to indulge in the Starbucks. All of those warm and fuzzy holiday inspired drinks just make me go all gooey and happy inside.)


So I'm waiting at the counter for my Creme Brulee Latte when I spy it .


What was once described to me as the Tickle Me Elmo of the Starbucks World, the cold tumbler. A couple of my knitting friends had these this summer and when I tried to get one they were out. Unless of course I wanted to go to Ebay and pay $50 for one......whatever.


But there in front of me on the counter it sat. Ready to be my "Happy Saturday, you haven't gone postal on anybody" gift. So I grabbed it and got back in line and bought myself a present.


Now why all the fuss on an overpriced, although planet friendly advertisement for Starbucks? Well let me tell you. Spring 2010 was kinda an unhappy time and suddenly I found myself running a dance studio and trying to keep my remaining family members and myself together. Heavy grown up stuff for the girl who would be Peter Pan.


But I sucked it up, bought a few bottles of wine and moved forward. But first I realized that I needed a heroine to emulate. My first thought was of course the fabulous Scarlett O'Hara, but I rethought that idea pretty quickly when I remembered that after Scarlett's mother died, her father went crazy and then broke his neck.


On to female heroine number two, Holly Golightly. The light came on with that one when I realized, I will never be that thin and I don't like throwing parties that much. Besides to emulate someone more self sufficient. As Georgette Mosbacher would say, a woman who used her femine force.


I always pictured myself as the Auntie Mame type, but I had reserved that mindset for when I got older and my eccentricities would be more accepted. Or I could at least say that I don't give a damn and really mean it.


And then one hermit-like weekend when I indulged myself by watching a marathon of the first four seasons of "Weeds", one of my all time favorite shows, it hit me. Nancy Botwin.


In the face of death she had to suddenly take care of her family and protect them in the most creative way that she knew how. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not selling the wacky up in here, I just like her spunk. Plus she did it all with a lot of style and the ever present Starbucks cup.


I recently (last week) got promoted, but I am not about to blow my raise on a daily Starbucks run. That would be stupid. But I can sip away at the overpriced yet earth friendly advertisement for Starbucks, while I contemplate my next covert move..... how to find a new take on the 3 year old class tapping to "Grandma got run over by a Reindeer".

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dishrag Tag Glory

My prize box arrived!

Thank you Emily and thank you to my team!
Love and Shuffles,
Carmen

Friday, October 15, 2010

We're #1

If you don't believe me check it out for yourself.
http://yarnmiracle.com

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Box has landed!

Can't type, gotta knit!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Needles at the Ready

Hello October!
One month down of classes and so far okay. But I will talk about that another time. For now it's all of about Dishrag Tag. I predicted that my team was in it to win it, and so far my girls have not dissappointed. If you don't believe me take a look at the standings that I have posted on my page, my team Doggone Dishrag Addicts are in the lead. Squeeeeeeee!
The box is on it's way to me and I am ready to KNIT!
Victory will be ours!!!!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September?

I can't believe it's September already???
Part of me is astounded and part of me is glad that we made it through the summer.
I've been working on registration for the studio this past couple of weeks. Understandably we are starting a bit later than other studios, and that is partly by design.
It became apparent to me over the last couple of months that the studio was now completly under my direction. That reality hit home one day when I was at the studio listening to messages, when I heard this one.
"Hello, this is "Ms. Blah Blah Blah" from the City, calling in regards to your studio's grant. We understand that Mrs. CJ has recently died. We would like to express our condolences, and we are wondering who the new director will be?"
Oh! I think that is me?
For the past 17 years, I have happily flown under the masthead of dance teacher. In particularly as we have grown, tap teacher.(period) And I liked it.
Mama was able to run the studio any old way she wanted too, and I let her. I was the tap teacher.
I was happy with my title, and I enjoyed my role. It especially helped with the parade of dance teachers that my mother employed over the years who instantly took a disliking to me because I was Ms. CJ's daughter, and therefore couldn't really have to much talent. After all if my mother wasn't the owner I wouldn't be teaching, right.
Well three PLATINUM Level dance trophies to your Gold Level trophies and a full scholarship from Curtain Call Costumes and the Dance Council...B*&^%!", quickly put all of that noise to rest.
But I digress. I was the tap teacher, but now I am the director. And what does that mean? I'm still trying to figure that one out.
For now it means planning a scaled down schedule. And I think it will mean starting from scratch, which actually feels kinda good. Because as a few families have already realized, the studio under my direction is going be a whole lot different. By now a few students will have gone to other studios, while others have gotten involved in school activities. So I'm thinking of it more as starting anew as opposed to taking over.

And now in knitting news. RACE ON!!
Two years ago I entered the "DishRag Tag" and came in dead last! I took it in stride though. I was so excited to finally get the box, that I immediatly sat down on the couch ripped it open and started knitting. I think that I finished it around 11 or so. And at the time, I had a really zen like attitude about the whole thing. How I was connecting with all of the other knitters who had knit this same pattern before me. And how I was the last stitch in the thread, blah, blah, blah. I even took an early lunch break and ran to the post office to get it mailed off.
I then emailed Emily, the organizer, to let her know that my team was not the last place team in '08, but the First place team in '09. She blogged about my winning attitude and then her husband lit a firecracker off the top of my teams box.
Well to all you "Revenge of Dishrag Tag(ers)" out there, I just want you to know that this year I am back and darn it my team is in it to win it!
GAME ON!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Back in my shoes

Today I put my tap shoes on for the first time in a long time. And it was okay.
Today I also taught again for the first time in a long time, and it was okay. It was weird, but it was okay.
The great thing about tap, it's all in the rhythm. And teaching tap is the same way. Just hold onto the rhythm.
The girls were great today. For some of them it was their first day back at the studio since my mom died. And I think that they felt it, okay, but something was missing.
But once the class started and I put the music on, then we just fell back into the rhythm.
Over the past few months I have had to get used to being there without her. For the most part my family and I have been in and out, never staying more than an hour or two. Checking the mail, voicemail, cleaning a few things out, mowing the lawn.
The three of us have all said the same thing, it feels like she is there. Sometimes that feeling is okay and sometimes not so much. The oddest thing for me is not that she's not there, but that she's not about to come in the door at any moment.
There have only been a handful of times, when I was there and she was not. And if she wasn't, then she was calling every half hour making sure that everything was okay.
Last night she didn't call to make sure that I was going to be at the studio, she didn't call this morning to make sure that I was coming. She wasn't in her office or behind the snackbar when I came in, she wasn't there to tell the girls how good they sounded or to check on there shoes when we took a break. And she wasn't there when class was over.
Since she died, everyone has been asking me what was going to happen to the studio? And I honestly had to tell them that I didn't know. I still don't know.
When the studio first opened, she kept calling it mine and I kept calling it hers. Finally we settled on ours. But when I went on the road it became hers, it had to be. She always wanted to share in it with me, but Mama didn't always share well, and I didn't want to fight about it with her.
The one thing that we always agreed on was the Tapgirlz! So that part of the studio will live on. She loved seeing them perform as much as she loved seeing me perform. That was the one area where there was never an argument, tap and the Tapgirlz.
It felt good to put my shoes on again. It felt good to teach and see the girls again. We just fell into the same old rhythm.
So I guess it's time to stop shelling out money on pedicures.

Monday, March 1, 2010

This is why I don't COOK!

Originally this post was going to be about how I was starting out March eating healthy, exercising at least 3 times per week and finishing up old WIP's.
And then I decided to make myself one of my healthy new meals and it all just went to hell after that.
A couple of weeks ago the boy and I ate at this really great vegan restaurant, and we both discovered quinoa. Well knowing that I would be embarking on this new adventure to get back to the better eating, better living, back in shape me, I looked up a few recipes and headed to the health food store to get me some quinoa.
One of the recipes that I was most excited about was Cheesy Quinoa Pilaf with Spinach.
Now a few years ago, I was on a really great diet program that not only taught me how to eat right, but got me cooking. And it was great, and before you start the jokes about the only reason I lost weight was because I was eating my own cooking, I'll have you know that the people that I worked with were amazed at the wonderful lunches that I brought in everyday that I had cooked myself. Most people didn't even realize that I was on a diet until the weight started dropping off.
But I digress, my main rule for a recipe is that it can have no more than 5 ingredients and can only be cooked in one pan, pot or dish.
I should have known better when I read the ingredients, but I thought if I can tackle going back to school then I can take on a dish with 7 ingredients.
So fully armed with quinoa, olive oil, sunflower seeds, garlic, spinach leaves, lemon juice and goat cheese gouda, I decided to make myself dinner.
All was going well at first, I started the quinoa to boil and put my pre-wrapped sweet potato in the microwave to cook.
Then I realized that the goat cheese gouda had to be shredded and I didn't have a shredder. No worries, a few years ago I asked my parents for a food processor for Christmas and I hardly ever use the thing anymore but I remembered that you could shred cheese with it, even though I never have.
So the quinoa is finished cooking and the instructions say to drain it in a mesh strainer, well all I have is a regular strainer, and so I get the brilliant idea to cover the holes with a paper towel and let it drain that way. So far so good.
Now I have to heat up the olive oil in a seperate pan and then add the sunflower seeds, all is well.
I am searching for the top to the food processor when I suddenly hear this long hiss coming from my microwave, it's the sweet potato, and the hiss is getting longer and louder.
Oh sh*t, it's gonna explode! Luckily it didn't it just sort of died down with a little pop at the end. Good, no exploding potato's tonight. I can sooo do this.
I have got the food processor out now and all hooked up, I take the skin off of my goat cheese gouda, stick it in the hole thingy at the top, turn it to 4 and proceed to food process. Only it's not processing the way it does on TV. It's kinda whiring and really slowly slicing my cheese.
Wait, slicing? No I need shredded cheese. So I take the food smoosher out, dig out the cheese that has lodged itself against the sides and flip the blade over. I am a genius, this is the shredding side, it says so right on the blade.
Bing! Sweet potato is done. Part one of dinner now complete.
I put another piece of cheese in the hole, slide the food smoosher in and hit the button, but again more whiring and a little grating, so I push harder.
And then I start to smell something funny, well the microwave just dinged so I know it's not that, the sunflower seeds aren't quite yet toasted and I have them on low heat so it's not that.....then I notice the food processor and the little knob at the top has a strange white goo forming around it's edge. And that's when I realize that the smell is the food processor engine overheating.
I immediatly stop it take the top off and the smell is worse. Melted plastic and goat cheese gouda do not smell good together. See.
Unfortunately the melted plastic has dried really quickly so I can't get to my cheese, but I found a wrench, tightened it around the melted thingy on top and cracked it away from the processer. Double unfortunately the bottom plastic under the blade has melted to and I can't get the blade to come off the container. Darn it, I want my cheese, I paid $7 for that cheese it is going in my pilaf!
I can see the cheese in the container I just have to take the blade off and then I will slice the gouda really thin. It's supposed to melt in with everything else anyway.


As you can see I got the blade bent back and got my $7 goat cheese gouda!

Now here's where things start to go a little hinky. I very easily found my food chopper and chopped my garlic added it along with the spinach to the oil, but I kinda didn't let enough water drain from the quinoa in my strainer and when I added it to the hot olive oil it started to pop a little like popcorn. Little bitty popcorn. But again, I was not to be defeated I was so close...
The last direction in the recipe is to add the cheese. So I grab a handfull and plop it in. That's when I start to notice that not all of the cheese looks like cheese. Some of that white stuff is ground up bits of plastic from the food processor. See.
In the background you can see that the goat cheese gouda is white, just like the bits of plastic that I picked out of the pan.
As I stand over the hot stove picking out bits of plastic from my pilaf and contemplating how in the hell I get myself into things like this, I realize that I have actually turned into my mother. Luckily the fire department didn't have to be called, but this one is definitly up there. Won't she be jealous?
Believe it or not I actually plated all of it up, and stood there looking at it, wondering if I should eat it.
I decided to go ahead, but be careful of little plasticy bits that I might have missed.
The first bite wasn't to bad, neither was the second. The third I thought was plastic, but it turned out to be a sunflower seed.
I kept alternating between the sweet potato and the pilaf. Not sure if the wonky taste is the goat cheese or the burnt plastic? Or a really jacked up mixture of both.
Bite 4 and 5 I definitly found plastic which made me realize that I needed to stop the madness and clean up the kitchen. Maybe I will try this dish again some time....after I buy a cheese grater.

Bon Appetite!
P.S. The next time ANYONE gives me crap about not cooking, I'm going to tell them to stick it!

The Great Texas Snowstorm

It snowed for two whole days!














































-originally posted 2/25/10, but somehow while taking out a picture I deleted the original- oops!







Friday, January 29, 2010

The one

For most of last year I worked on a temporary assignment with a woman who used to be
"The Executive Assistant for the CIO of Communication" for a large company that dramatically downsized. And I know that she used to be "The Executive Assistant to the CIO" of this company because when I first met her she told me that she was "The Executive Assistant to the CIO" 11 times in one day.
Over the course of the 6 months that we worked together, she tapered off from the 11 times a day to about 2-3 times and towards the end she was down to at least once a week.
I didn't really care for this woman and she point blank didn't like me.
We were on the same level, and she didn't like that. She needed to be above someone, and since both of our badges to her dismay read "Office Clerk", she was none to happy.
Me, I just wanted my direct deposit every week. I could care about title's just pay me my salary and let me go home.
All this brings me around to my current job and some revelations that I had about it and her recently.
We all knew that she was unhappy and yearned to have some sort of Senior Staff Admin Assistant Glory on the Highest Title and that she really wanted to work for an Executive as opposed to a manager. But I always thought it was just about the status of saying this is what I am and this is who I work for. But I am now realizing that it was more than that.
It's about being the one. The go to person in the office.
She didn't have any social skills to speak of and my manager said that was the main reason that she didn't like me. I talked to everyone and everyone easily talked to me. She didn't talk to anyone and she only snarled and grunted at me, so I thought that she had a mental problem and went on.
I have been at my new job for 4 months now, and I still love it. But sometimes it tires me. Because now I am the one.
We are out of coffee, tell Carmen she will get more.
Stinky in the office, tell Carmen she'll call and make it go away. Still smells in the office, tell Carmen again!!
We need paper,pens, to schedule a meeting, reschedule a meeting, time and attendance adjusted , anything and everything...I am the one that they come too.
And at times it is a heady feeling. My boss loves me, she tells me so and apparently people around the hospital have commented on my personality and skills. But it is a heavy weight.
In past real jobs, I am the one who comes to work, usually takes lunch by myself to go run errands or read a book, then goes home.
If something went down, unless I was involved, happily I was the last to know. Until now....
I know everything now, and sometimes that's not a good thing. Sometimes I know when someone is going to be written up, or suspended, or fired....
And I don't like being the one to know that, because usually I know a day or two before that person does and it makes me sad.
Don't get me wrong, for the most part I still love my job. The days fly by. I never know in the morning what is going to happen and sometimes I love that. But sometimes I find out stuff that I just don't want to know.
This Christmas, I was sitting at my desk typing mailing labels to send out and listening to my "Charlie Brown Christmas" CD and all of a sudden I realized that for the first time in a long time I was really happy and very much at peace. It felt wonderful.
Today I spent most of the morning setting up new mailboxes for everyone and running the Friday morning Bingo game. Yesterday I scored mugs for the whole department, cause I'm the one with the hook up in PR.
I love that I am not surrounded by gray cubicle walls and that I get to walk around a lot. That is a hell of a perk for being the one.
And quite a few times I have been pulled into senior staff meetings that started off being very serious, but ended up with managers throwing candy at each other and making really bad jokes. I get to see a side of the management staff that no one in the office gets to see or would ever imagine was there, because I'm the one.
So I understand why the woman that I temped with was so unhappy, you don't have to try so hard when you're the one. Everyone comes to you, you don't have to come to them. Now that doesn't quite excuse her stank attitude, but I do understand it better.
However , when it comes to days like today when you don't get to say goodbye to a very nice person, who started the same day that you did and you have to turn in his badge to the HR department, it really sucks being the one.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Question of the day

Should I forgive him?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Knitting ADD

As I sit on my couch what do my wandering eyes behold but this



1. Pair of basic socks

2. A pair of Sweet Socks designed by my friend Jenn.

3. The Bulky Ribbed Mini Scarf from Lion Brand .

4. A pair of Warm Wool Mittens, that I cast on last night because it's NAKNIMITMO...duh! Also from Lion Brand .
5. A Yarn and Needles dishcloth for a friends birthday.


6. The Lady Eleanor Scarf from Scarf Style. Which is finally growing!
Oh and I almost forgot this one.
My Branching Out Scarf from Knitty, which brings us to total of seven UFO's.
And what's really sad, 4 out of the 7 seven were cast on in the last 4 days. I'm not sure what's going on, but I had this sudden urge to knit EVERYTHING!
Oh well, I have yarn, I have needles, I'm enjoying myself. And hey, there are a lot worse addictions in this world.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pink Shoes


I didn't realize that I had so many. :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The first No is the Hardest

And that first no was said to none other than myself. You see one of the main people I have to say no to is me.
No, you can't spend $200 on a knitting retreat, means yes you have the money to pay the second installment of this semesters tuition.
No, you can't join the Rockin Sock Club, means yes you have money for books for said semester.
No, do not buy those potato chips, means yes your ass has a chance of shrinking a little bit.
So you see, the No's are not just for my unsuspecting family, friends and numerous acquintances, they are for me as well.
I did have to hand out a No to my mother this afternoon. And it was hard, but it made me feel so much better.
Mom: Happy New Year, hadn't heard from you. Can I expect you at the studio this Saturday morning?
Me: No, I am taking a "Starting your own Business" class at the Ft. Worth Business Assistance Center.
Mom: Oh, well I guess I can figure something out. Will you be taking the girls to competition this year?
Me: No, they're not into it.
And that was it. Short, sweet and direct to the point. She is not happy with me right now, but I haven't been happy teaching for her for the last 17 years.
I don't know if the No's will get any easier for me to say, listen to, or for others to hear. But I do know that acknowledging my wants from my needs and sticking up for myself without any apologies sure made me feel a little bit better.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Year of "No"

I don't really do resolutions per se, I like to try and set goals for myself.
Last year I had two big goals, to pay off my credit card debt and to go back to finish my degree.
Because of the big "U" incident I didn't pay off the debt, but before the big "U" I was about half way there. Since the new job I have begun hacking away again in ernest so the new goal will be by Summer to be debt free.
I also didn't get to finish my degree, that was supposed to be the main activity for the summer of '09 but since I spent the summer dealing with the "U" and all of the sadness that went with it....the degree got put on the back burner.
But a few weeks ago I registered and put down my first tuition installment for the upcoming semester, so at least part of that goal was accomplished.
So you see, a major setback only yielded some minor dents in the goals.
Of course I had other goals, lose some more weight figure out what to do with my business. But since the "U" lasted from April till October those objectives also got put on the back burner as well.
I am happy to report that the job is going really well. It's the perfect job for my personality. I work with people, but not WITH people if you know what I mean. I'm never on the phone with anyone longer than it takes to transfer them to voicemail and even though I have a desk job, I am not trapped in a little gray cubicle.
Back in late September as the fog was lifting from the "U", I happened to be flipping through the TV and I came upon a religious show. Couldn't tell you who it was or what it was about, but the closing message was that sometimes when you are in a situation God will take you out of it, but sometimes God will make you go through it so that you learn from it. I knew then that God needed me to go through what I had gone through so that I could fix my life to come.
Which brings me to my main goal for the 2010.
NO!
That is going to be my word for the New Year. And I know you must be thinking that after my little religious tangent that it seems an odd goal for the year. But hear me out.
In the past I have said yes to a lot of things for people because I just didn't know how to say no. Somethings... no most things I enjoyed, but 90% of the time my saying yes to them, meant that I was saying no to me.
By saying yes to teaching for someone, performing for someone, errands, favors, parties, you name it for someone, I usually ended up robbing myself of time that I could have been spending on me,my business, my relationship and my sanity.
No, is going to be said to a lot more to friends, family and the boy. As much as I love them and it is going to shock the hell out of them, because I am the yes girl. Have been all of my life. No to them is going to mean yes to me.
Yes to studying so that I can finally complete my degree.
Yes to exercising so that I don't get winded walking up a flight of stairs.
Yes to staying at home by myself on the weekends so that I can recharge my batteries and deal with anything that life has to throw me. Because I have a feeling there will be some family battles waged once I start shelling out my no's.
So this year No will really mean YES!