Late Days

Today I got home at 8:30 or so sat down to watch a little TV (recorded M*A*S*H), check up on the UCF news, and eat some Gouda and sliced apples with a small glass of port.

When I was trying to put together my timesheet at work (a document that tracks where and when I've used my time at work), the combined time for Wed-Fri was over 40 hours.

It's been a tough week.

Time for bed.


For Your Entertainment

Trollopalooza is done (fab photos on Janiece's blog), and I am sad to see my friends leave. I had too short a time with all of them! :(
I will be going to the east coast, probably in the spring to see Jen and Michelle and Michael. Then, I'll have to go visit Jeri, probably at the same time as visiting my sister, Karen. :)

Now, I can focus on the mountain of work that needs to be accomplished by the end of the week. Yip. Ee.

In the meantime, here is something fascinating for your browsing pleasure:
Enertia Bike - an electric motorcycle
How much? $12-15K


Weekend of Fun

- Jen A is here! Yayayayayayayayayayayay! She's sleeping in and I'm working a half day. This afternoon, I'll give her a tour of Denver - stopping at any gelaterias we happen to stumble across. Yum, gelato!

- Jen A and I had what seemed like days of fun packed into an afternoon and an evening. We went to lunch (had ritzy tacos), ate gelato (Jen loved hers: half Lemon Almond Poppyseed, half bittersweet chocolate), walked around downtown Denver, looked at my current buildings, looked at my old building, and browsed in Tattered Cover (spent money, of course). I took Jen by my old digs in Capitol Hill, and then made it to the Savory Spice Shop just in time. Then, we headed back to the house for a little respite before heading out again for dinner at a sushi place at 32nd and Lowell. We actually had only one sushi roll (caterpillar = eel + avocado), but decided instead on a seared Ahi tuna salad, which was delicious! Finally, we headed home again for a little Farmtown laboring (hopefully Jen has been convinced that FT is a black hole for time) and sleepytime.
- Now, I'm getting regular text updates from Michelle, letting me know about their progress, or lack thereof.

Late Friday:
- Michael and Michelle are stuck in Charlotte for the night, so I'll be picking them up tomorrow morning. Pleasure delayed! :/

Sunday Morning:
- Janiece and I met Michael and Michelle at the airport with signs that said "Drunken Trollop (and Escort)" much to the amusement of the people around us. Then, we hung out at a nice outdoor table (Did you know there were outdoor tables at the DIA terminal? We didn't.) until Jeri's plane got in. Then, we hung out at Janiece's until we decided to go to the mall to check out The Walking Company, a shoe store that Janiece had suggested to Michelle (who is a great walker). We also checked out some other places, including Aldo, Aldo Accessories, Sephora, Borders, and Papyrus. I managed to walk out of Papyrus without buying anything (only the large numbers of cards I bought the other day at Tattered Cover stopped me). Borders, I managed to keep purchased down to a minimum.
Then, we went back to Janiece's for a little R&R&I time (that's rest, relaxation, and internet). Once refreshed, we went to Junz (which I LOVE) and had a divine dinner. Only a few of us had sushi, the rest had yummy dishes ranging from a (slightly) spicy seafood pasta to beef and salad. The Chilean sea bass was also a popular choice. I also found out that Junz has an awesome chocolate creme brulee. Great. Now I know they have two delicious desserts there - how am I supposed to pick? A wonderful time was had by all.

- Scheduled for today: the SPA! (or, if you are of the masculine persuation, computer games!

Sunday Afternoon:
- Ah... We're all relaxed now. Mmmmm... And the boys are blowing up Nazis on "Company of Heroes." A different kind of relaxation, but no less valid.

Monday Morning:
Check out Janiece's blog for photos of the weekend! :D


Easy Farmtown Post

I totally stole these from MWT, but I thought you all would enjoy them anyway.

You thought I was a bit obsessive? Check this reference out...

And even if I didn't have work taking up all my time (all in a good cause, I'm going to be able to take a half day on Thursday, and a half day on Monday, woo hoo! Flex time at this point -- I have two deadlines breathing down my neck)... what was I saying? Oh, yeah. Even if I wasn't busy, I wouldn't have even THOUGHT of having a farm like the ones shown here.

Hugs to you all.


Not Sucking... Or Rather, Sucking Well

One good thing about having a job is that I now have the money (or will, once they pay me) to buy things I need. And I have needed a new vacuum for a while. I saved up credit card points for a Bed Bath and Beyond gift certificate and went in with 20% off coupon in hand. And still managed to spend quite a bit, since I went ahead and bought a Dyson. This Dyson, to be precise. It's nice and compact, and the only other option in that size was some no name brand. I'm so glad I got the small one. It was very easy to maneuver (not just because of the famous ball thing, but because of how light it is). It also worked very well for the most part. It had a little trouble with the pine cat litter pieces (not the sawdust, the original pieces). I had to empty the canister twice (the first time it was overfull), mainly cat hair, of course. The cat's weren't too wigged out, so that was good.

And now the house is nice and clean.



Here, But Not Here Here

Sorry about the lack of entertainment here. I've had a pretty busy week (and next week is shaping up to be even busier). I've been going in early and/or staying late to the new job. Supposedly it will settle down.

You'll also be super proud of me -- I've also been doing chores (no, not just Farmtown). I mowed the lawn, did laundry, made catfood, emptied the catboxes, and a couple other small things, all in the evenings! Yup! I know!

The trickiest thing lately is keeping up with communications. And getting the proper sleep.

Speaking of which... good night, folks!


Farmtown News

Recent conversation at Farmtown (dramatization)
Natalie: Your pigs like me!
Anne: Are you sneaking them treats? They're not supposed to have junkfood.
Natalie: I'm feeding them donuts!
Anne: And Cheetoes, I bet.
Natalie: Yeah! The crunchy kind.
Natalie: Crunchy Cheetoes, not crunchy donuts.
[After which we devolved into much LOLing and promises to capture this image with Photoshop]

I added a water feature to my rose garden. I really like it!
Man alive, do I wish my real garden was that easy to take care of.


Put to a Good Use

Remember the book Janice gave me called The Paper Architect?

I've been using it to make cards. It fun, provided you have the time to do it (dammit).

Here are the steps:

First, lay out the equipment. I bought some cardstock, some plain and some with patterns and colors on both sides. For Janiece's and Jen A's I used white cardstock for the building and then colored for the cover. Michelle's I did the opposite, patterned for the building, and black for the cover. (I'll be showing all three in these pictures.) Tape a photocopy of the design to the back of the cardstock.

Next, use a fine blade (often called an Exacto knife) to cut out the holes in the design. This part was relatively easy, since I have done it lots of times to make models in school. Jen A's was especially challenging - it's shown in the folding picture.

After the holes, I cut a few lines, where the card needs to open up. I also "score" (just cut one side of the card, leaving the other side intact) the folds.

After all the cutting is done, the score lines are carefully folded in the proper direction.

When it's properly folded, it will completely collapse when the two sides are pressed together (as in a card). As it says in the book, "each design is actually a complicated accordion fold."

Now that the building is done (I'll show you the final results in a moment), I put the design into a cover. It provides a backdrop against which to see the intricacies of the design. I had good luck finding some cheap and beautiful cardstock. (It was a book of cardstock missing its cover and an unknown number of sheets that I got for a buck!)

That cover sometimes needs a little additional love - somewhere to write stuff...

Here's the final product:

For Jen A, the London Eye

For Michelle, the Parthenon

For Janiece, the Colosseum


Farmer Fail

For those who expressed jealousy over my fabu lunch on Thursday ("Lunch: Yummy buffalo sandwich with provolone, mozzarella, tomato, fresh basil, greens, thyme, blue cheese aioli, and olive oil, on wheat.") --

I am eaten up with envy that you guys have gotten to explore the fun new features of Farmtown! I keep getting hints about how cool it is. I had to work late yesterday and managed to get on Facebook (and therefore read people's comments about the new coolness), but because my computer lacks Flash and I lack the administrator powers over my work computer, I was unable to get onto FT.
My sister saved the day and logged on as me, hiring out the harvesting and plowing, so that none of the crops rotted.
But late yesterday was followed by an early day today, so I still haven't gotten onto FT to check out the new features.

Gloat all you like, fellow Farmtowners. I'm going to do my best to get on tonight. :D


Long Days

This week I've added a second project to my "To Do" list, this one a Border Patrol and National Park Service facility in Texas. It's been a bit challenging, since I'm essentially putting 7 pounds of sugar in a 5 pound bag, but I'll get through it. I'm also trying to balance out how I spend my personal computing time when I get home. I definitely need to cut something from the roster.
In the meantime, I'm getting used to getting up early and trying to force myself to go to bed on time.
Speaking of which...
Good night, folks!

Oh, and for those who like a nice turn of phrase, here's a line from Eric, the silver tongued (or fingered, I guess) UCFer, speaking about an eldritch digital camera...
"and madness will photograph the Earth...."


Transport Upgrade

Most of you are aware of the fact that I have a bike. It's a 20 year old Yamaha Route 66 and looks like this:

Recently, I've been lusting over the 2009 BMW R1200GS. It's brand new, looks amazing, and for goodness sake, it's a BMW:

However, I saw my old favorite, the Suzuki S50, on the street last week in a gorgeous candy apple red.

I was torn. I think both bikes are fabulous (the BMW's engine is probably a bit more fabulous than the Suzuki), so how to pick just one? In fact, when Janiece's SmartMan asked me if having a new job meant a new bike was imminent, I said "yes" but that I was undecided whether to go straight to the BMW or to get something midsized first. The Suzuki is about 800 cc, rather than the 1200 of the BMW. My current bike is 250 cc. I'd also like to have one bike that I don't have to feel nervous if I leave it in a parking lot all day unattended. So, with all that rationalization: I'll probably have two bikes. Simple! :D


Farmtown Patterns

I love making patterns in my Farmtown fields. This one:

turned out particularly well, but I think I'm going to have to do it again. The resolution is not as good as I'd hoped. This one:

is better.


Party Time

Yesterday: mowed lawn, gathered recipes, sent invitations
- I put the ingredients for the pulled pork in the slow cooker on schedule. Next, groceries.
- Groceries done and liquor restocked. Next, put together the quinoa salad and sangria.

As usual, I got too busy to update the blog.
I finished putting together the sangrias (white and red) and the quinoa salad and marking the time as very late (getting close, too close, to the anticipated beginning of the party), I immediately began the vacuuming. I was just finishing up that task when my first guests arrive. One of them was my cousin, Susan, who is always so helpful in the kitchen. We tidied the kitchen table and Susan helped me finished the pulled pork and make the hummus (it is SO quick).
I lost track of the time as other guests arrived, including my parents, siblings and their spouses, Stacey and JR, and Janiece and her SmartMan. It was a potluck, so there were many tasty dishes, including potato salad, a spinach salad, three fruit salads, three dips (guacamole, dill dip, and my hummus) with various chips and crackers. The dessert was a delicious blueberry pie.
We had a lovely time. The guests all knew each other to some extent, with a few minor exceptions, so conversation flowed easily. Those whose temperment is less social amused themselves by simply listening or by playing with Matti and Martin. I got around to talking to most of the guests and hostess duties were pretty light. I do like the potluck style parties for easy and informal get togethers, but there's something fun about providing everything your guests need, so I don't think I'll give up formal dinners. There's a time and a place for everything. :)

Thank you to all my guests for the wonderful entertainment and tasty food you provided! We should do it again some time soon. :)


Burn Baby Burn

Apparently when they were giving out thumbs in the beginning, I reached into the box labelled "black" rather than "green."

Those plants I was so proud of, then left out in the hail, have now gone through a trial by fire. It's been a hot couple of days and I have them out on my deck (west side of the house). They're marked "full sun," but when I looked at them today at noon-ish, they were burnt to a crisp! WTF?

(This is them pulled back inside the house for their own protection from the freakin' elements.)

I seem to do OK with houseplants, but I can't seem to win with outdoor plants. :(

Again, I predict the mint and rosemary will do OK. The thyme will probably recover. The parsleys and basils are toast. (Sorry, Susan!)