TCR—Team Cupcake Racing

It's true, despite how hilariously stupid and kitsch it may seem, that I harbor a long-held dream to set up an awesome Australian mountain bike race team called Team Cupcake Racing (TCR).

Ideally there would be some sponsor involvement, Cannondale, Oakley, Cyclinic and KOM...with the additional sponsorship of someone like Greens or Betty Crocker. Alternatively, it would consist of stops at Woolies before races to pick up bargain-buy pre-made cupcakes, of sugary, trans-fatty goodness.

Anyway, this brings me to the kit design...what sort of cupcake would feature on the jersey's and kicks and dare I say cupcake arm warmers?

As I trawl through loads of cyber junk looking for an answer to this cupcake-jersey-conundrum, I stumble upon a veritable library of cupcakes at CuteAddict's blog.

In terms of cupcake awesomeness, I like the pac-man cupcakes:

Yet I struggle to find a non-phallic explanation for these ones (from a purely Freudian analysis, something happened to this cupcakes creator very early on in the piece...). They're also called 'dude cakes' um...:

Anyway, if I was a cupcake that looked like a 'dude cake', I would certainly contemplate doing this:

Anyway, this brings me no closer to a jersey design for my awesome dirt-bike racing team, except that I know for sure that I am not having dick-cakes on it.

Cupcakes with teeth, sure. Maybe even a skinsuit—yeah baby. Imagine that—a skinsuit with supcakes all down the arms, on the pockets. That would be totally hardcore.

I mean, not everyone respects the cupcake—despite their universal appeal in sweet sugary-frosted form—as a legitimate jersey adornment.

But anyway, cupcakes on a skinsuit would surely be a better choice than a skin-colored one, right? Especially a ginger-nut running a skin-coloured skinsuit with a leaf printed on his nads...eeeew!

Anyway, I need to find people other than me who want to ride TCR. I may be a solo soldier for the cause for a while...

I've been A.W.O.L.

and I forgot to bring my camera!

The best babysitter in the world (my mom) is in town, so Brad and I took a little getaway.

Here's a brief rundown of our travels:

We stayed at the Seaview Resort near Atlantic City. It's a great old hotel. Beautifully restored with 2 golf courses, lots of pools, clay tennis courts and a spa with all the amenities.

My first stop...The Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon for a Signature Facial and Lactic Acid Peel. Sooo relaxing, and just look how young I look!!!

For the first time in 2 years I played golf.

We played 18 holes on the Seaview Bay Course. It was fun hanging out with Brad, but I'm not sure I have the attention span for 18 holes. 9 holes is about my speed. We used a golf cart, but I'm still so sore!! I guess hitting a golf club at full speed into the grass about 200 times will take a toll on your muscles! If it wasn't so expensive I would have headed back to the spa for a massage!

After golf we headed to the Borgata in Atlantic City for sushi, drinks and blackjack....

I won $10. No lie. We played blackjack for 2 hours and I won $10. Better than losing right? And I LOVE we had a ball.

We ended our little couples retreat with a trip to Cape May where we had lunch at the Blue Pig Tavern. I had the most delicious lump crab and asparagus salad and Brad had a pulled pork sandwich which he thoroughly enjoyed. I have never had a pulled pork sandwich, and I have no desire to try it. The term "pulled pork" kind of freaks me out.
It sounds medieval.

So there you have it...

Sounds like an itinerary from "The Dating Game" doesn't it?

I deliberately left the laptop home so I wouldn't be tempted to spend any of my quality time with my husband surfing the net.

It was definitely the right decision.

Enough about me. What have you been up to?

Insmonia 24hour mud-fest

You know you're a scrapbooker when...

even your dog is embellished! He's talented, it's perfectly centered!
I was making a Christmas card, yes, Christmas, it's less than 6 months away you know, and Linus was hanging out with me. When we went upstairs he looked at me and I couldn't stop laughing. He kept the snowflake on until I got a couple of pictures, then he licked it off. Later today, it will be decorating some poop in the yard.
Today is Week 1 Lesson 1 of the Photographers' Workshop. I'm a bit worried, there were 20 pages to print out, and I've got a busy day. And Kerry made me an iced coffee late last night and like a sucker, I drank it up, and then wondered why I was awake enough to watch a movie that ended at midnight, why I was awake at 1 am, and 2 am, and then again at 4:30 am. So my busy day might just include a nap.

Insomnia...24 hours of mud on ya' bum!

Despite the rain holding off for the duration of the 2009 Geocentric Insomnia 24 hour race, held out near Petrie, the incessant rain of the day and night before bore some uncomfortable consequences for the course.

I was riding with Team Chain Gang, and they were all pretty relaxed kind of folk ('we can stop riding whenever we long as it means we've won it'). This meant that as long as we were enough laps ahead that no other team could touch us with a six foot pole, we could quit.

The track was sloppy, sloppier than the washing at a nursing home following a dessert of prunes.

The 7km loop started off muddy, but you could cut through the sludge with some good mud tyres.

Almost immediately, the track began to disintegrate, and it went from giggles in the mud, to being seriously unfunny. Not that going sideways isn't fun—it sure is. It's just that going sideways, not very fast, while not being able to put any power down in the sludge AND while thinking about how you're going to have to replace every pivot and bearing on your not fun.

Managed to keep my head on for my first proper night triple laps at 10pm, but not being able to sleep (at ALL, not even ten minutes throughout the whole race—eep!) meant that by my 3.30am laps, when I had well and truly begun to lose the plot and my bike started the same sort of disintegration as the track, were a nightmare. I was riding like the biggest goose, having to stop of about ten times per lap due to chain suck didn't help either.

My lap times blew out.I was coughing like a crazy lady and not very happy. However, the bulk of the race was now over.

My final lap was at about 8.30. As a team, we only had to ride until 9.30 or ten to be guaranteed the win. I got changed as fast as possible after that final lap, and looked for a warm, sunny place to sit in the sun. My team mates, bouyed with excitement of sun and the certainty of a win, suddenly decided that they were going to keep riding for a bit longer, as decision I cannot fathom and can only label as 'sick'.

Witing around for presentations was hell. I had not slept from 3am the morning prior, so at 12pm I was 30 hours down on sleep and speaking spanish, possibly even a little emotional for no reason.

What was pretty cool, considering the way I felt I was riding (poorly) and the amount of effort I was putting in (ie: definitely NOT racing XC speed!), I managed to take out the fastest female day lap.

And night lap.


List of all the food ingested over the 24 hour period—from 12am–12am
(* denotes food ingested during the graveyard shift):

Salad and feta sandwich
Carrot bread
Soy Mocha
Pumpkin Risotto
1 Gel*
Several Jelly snakes*
A few smarties*
A chunk of blueberry cake*
Oats with seeds and sultanas
A few more marshmallows

And you really don't want to see what I ate AFTER it was all over. 24 hour racing is officially silly, and does strange things to your digestion and metabolism!

Brisket hangover

I will be making bbq'd beef brisket again, just not for lunch. That way I don't have to get up before every single person in town to get it on the bbq for smoking. It was delicious, Kerry's co-workers approved. It didn't last long. Recipe from start to finish was from the America's Test Kitchen Family cookbook. Best darn book out there. I took the dogs out back to play with my camera. I needed to get a photo for the Artfreckles Snapshots of Summer challenge. This week was Beauty and the Beast.
Linus, being the lazy dog that he is, could only sit for 4 shots and then had to lay down.

He didn't really want his picture taken, Sally on the other hand was very cooperative although I've discovered that when I have the camer infront of my face, she closes her eyes and looks away so I have to be fast.

And the money shot...Beauty and the Beast. Check out Mr. Tubby's face, he's freaking drooling!

And one last shot...this is the way they both sit on the stairs to survey the yard. Although they NEVER sit together like this. Why don't kids behave this well for photos when promised a little dry dog treat?

What a difference a year makes...

Another USTA team tennis season has come and gone. As you recall, the last couple of years I had a TYRANT for a captain. I had an undefeated record, but she was still incredibly nasty to me.

She was an unsportsmanlike bully and I'm really surprised casting didn't snag her for "The Real Housewives of NJ."

This year, I chose to play under the leadership of the most, polite, adorable sweet woman. My record this year was NOT very good, but I had so much fun.

Here is her letter to the team after a really enjoyable, drama-free season.

Hi everyone,

Congratulations to everyone for a great season! This was our first year back together (with some very special new additions) and we had a winning season!

We had so many fun, competitive matches and we always showed our team spirit by staying to cheer our team mates on even when our matches were finished. Winning is always fun, but it's how we handle the losses and what we choose to do moving forward that means so much more. I am really looking forward to working hard and trying to improve my game for next year's season. I really loved being your captain and I am looking forward to celebrating with all of you.

On behalf of our team, I would also like to say a HUGE thanks to Bob! You are a great coach and are always inspiring us to do our best.
We look forward to the fall season and our clinics with you.

What a breath of fresh air!

Given the choice of an undefeated season under the leadership of a mean bitch, or a horrible record with a classy kind captain...I'll take the latter.

"You do not lead by hitting people over the head - that's assault, not leadership."

-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Tenacious Tea

At the moment I have Menghai Factory's 2005 "Ba Ji Pu Bing" (Grade 8 Pu'er Cake) in my cup. I'm on my second day of drinking this good, mild shu pu'er.

Yesterday marked 48 hours spent brewing many infusions from the same pot of gao shan leaves before I tossed them out. They probably could have continued juicing, but two days was enough.

8 days ago, I ended a 3 day brewing session of a pot of a Taiwanese oolong, an inexpensive Alishan from a local store.

In attempting to place the reason why one pot of leaves could go so long, the idea that these teas were better than those I encountered previously crossed my mind. These teas, though, were relatively inexpensive, except for the Ba Ji Pu Bing (which is no longer available from online vendors). The oolongs taste good, but have textures and aftertastes that are only acceptable. Better leaf appeared an incomplete answer.

Next I suspected that perhaps my brewing improved. Also not the answer.

Today I realize I am using more leaf and initially brewing faster, in a kind of reverse Grandpa-style, or a hyper gongfu. Later infusions I brew longer, and what I discover is that, with the additional leaf, the teas brew some flavor for at least 2 work days full of drinking, often longer. For about a third more leaves, I get another day of brewing, saving me that other 2/3 that would have been in the next day's pot.

This frugality is truly ridiculous for someone with as much tea on hand as I am grateful to have. I may go back to my old style, simply to make the leaf cycle of jar-teapot-compost move faster. But when I'm lazy and wanting to pay little attention to my tea at the office, this method works great.

Thought I'd pass it on, and I'm curious if anyone else does something similar or to the same end.

Early Morning Brisket Update.

I woke up at 3 am, without an alarm clock and realized that the beef had to sit at room temp. for an hour before hitting the grill and the wood chips had to soak for an hour. So I made my way to the kitchen in the dark. Then I laid awake for about 45 min. before drifting off again only to be woken up by the alarm clock at 4 am. Kerry figured he might as well get up too. The dogs on the other hand didn't think it was such a great idea.
The beef, much to my dismay, was too big for the bbq grill. After telling Kerry that next time we need a bbq we will be getting a much bigger one, I cut the brisket in 2 pieces.
He left for work smellling like a hickory stick. I'm sure the neighbours think someone's house burnt down during the night, it smells so smokey but oh, so yummy both inside and outside.
I will never tell anyone that I am making them brisket for lunch ever again. Unless it's left over from the night before.

Oh yuck!

I have just massaged the beef. The brisket needed a spice rub so I got the honours. My least favourite thing to do in the kitchen ... touching raw meat!

World Cinema 101

World Cinema (or Foreign Films) often gets dubbed as an elitist genre, something that only snobbish college students would be into so they can show off how knowledgable and cultured they are. Some people also think reading subtitles is tedious work. However, these films often offer a lot more substance-wise than their American counterparts. Film from other nations serve as quick slice of that culture. Films can illustrate political tensions, explain important historical moments, show you that nation’s style of humor, and reflect the national point-of-view. You also don’t need a “sophisticated” palette for these types of films - if anything they are presenting a story that you wouldn’t hear typically in the States. So if you are up to learning a bit while being entertained, here is my guide to World Cinema.

The Introduction

Lola rennt, Germany, 1998 A rapidly paced film, we follow a young woman attempting to find 100,00 deutschmarks in 20 minutes to save the life of her boyfriend after he botches a job for his crime boss. This film is fast paced and shot in real time; there isn’t a dull second in this film. The film’s soundtrack also mimics this pace through its usage of rhythmic techno. Overall, it is a cleverly made film that doesn’t disappoint nor does it take itself too seriously. In my opinion, it is a perfect introduction to how interesting and creative world cinema films can be.

Lagaan, India, 2001 This film is one of my favorites and it definitely is what ignited my interest in world cinema. However, when I try to describe it to people I realize it sounds pretty silly and many are quick to judge it. Lagaan is a Bollywood musical set in 1893 about a cricket match between Indian peasants and the British colonial government over a tax dispute that is nearly 4 hours long. Yes, this is an epic musical about taxes and cricket. This movie also features incredibly well developed characters and a superb musical performances. It also effortlessly weaves in commentary on religion in India, British colonialism and the caste system among other topics. This film has romance, action, comedy, drama, and wonderful dance and music performances. Lagaan is an expertly crafted film and demonstrates the prowess of India’s filmmakers.

My Sassy Girl, South Korea, 2001 I’m not usually a fan of romantic comedies, but this film is an excellent love story. This film is based on real-life events between a young man and a drunk girl he encounters on the subway. Their relationship is full of hilarious enconters that are often at the expense of the young man. However, in the second part of the film the origins of this girls odd behavior are further explored and we come to understand that things in her life are much more complicated that initially perceived. This film balances humor, drama, and tragedy well and the ending result is a thoughtful, entertaining romantic comedy. It also doesn’t hurt that this film is one of the most successful films in Asia, to the point it was getting compared to the frenzy over Titanic in 1997.

The Midterm

Russian Ark, Russia, 2002 A masterpiece of technical skill is probably the best way to describe this film. Russian Ark explores the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg during different times through Russian history. The film is absolutely gorgeous and has seamless transitions between time periods. What is even more impressive is that this 90 minute film was taken in one single, uninterrupted shot. The film is similar to what one would experience if they visited the Winter Palace museum, but the usage of different time frames makes the film much more interesting.

Le Huitième Jour, Belgium, 1996 This film is an interesting take on the “unlikely friendship” theme. This film follows the relationship between two men: one an overworked business man and the other is a man with Down’s syndrome. This film heavily emphasizes how disabled people are often swept to the side in society, but in reality if people took the time to get to know and understand people with disabilities they would see their humanity first and disability second. The film itself is bittersweet, but the message behind the story is one that needs to be told more often.

Paradise Now, Palestine, 2005 Highly controversial, this film looks at the human realities of suicide bombing in the West Bank and Israel. The film shows the journey two friends take that leaves behind their average lives to become part of the chosen, the suicide bombers. This film has received a great deal of attention, positive and negative, because of how it portrays suicide bombers. While I did not find the film to be advocating violence, I did see that it supported the notion that suicide bombers are real people, with full human emotions, and are not the soulless robots that they are portrayed as in the media. This film is a powerful statement from a part of the world that is far too often spoken for rather than heard from.

The Final Exam

JSA, South Korea, 2000 This film’s plot is about an international investigation of murders committed on the boarder of North and South Korea. While the story presented is an interesting mystery, the far more powerful aspect of this film looks at what occurs far before the murders, a friendship between two South Korean soldiers and two North Korean soldiers. This film presents not only the political tension between the two Koreas, but also highlights the tragedy and pain the national divide has caused to their respective populations. Considering the mounting tensions between North Korea and the United States, I think this film serves as a great tool in understanding the history that resulted in the division of Korea and the attitude South Korea has toward reunification.

La Historia Oficial, Argentina, 1985 Another film that analyzes political history, La Historia Oficial ties the adoption of a young girl into a wealthy family to Argentina’s Dirty War. The film focuses on the adoptive mother’s journey to determine the origins of her adopted daughter and if the girl was taken from one of Argentina’s “disappeared”. Her journey leads her to come into contact with mothers of disappeared children and realize the actions the Argentinean government had taken to repress political dissenters. This film also explores aspects of feminism and family dynamics. Overall, a exquisitely made film on a topic rarely discussed in the United States.

Cidade de Deus, Brazil, 2002 Rarely is a film this multifacted. Cidade de Deus follows the story of a young man growing up in the shadows of his older brother’s gang involvement in Rio de Janeiro’s poorest slum. While the film tells the story of gangs and their crimes, this film differs from many other stories in similar settings because of the psychological depth of the characters. The story told here is completely unpredictable and does not fall into using stock characters. This level of character development in this film gives the entire film a completely different feel, a more dynamic and interesting texture. The film is all at once brutally tragic, comedic, and uplifting. A true masterpiece - a film that stands on its own in terms of quality, concept, and plot.

Glaze and Surface Texture Explorations

It's been a long while since I posted to my blog. A few things have happened to cause the delay.

First, I had an emergency move to a new apartment. The new place has very little natural light, and my attempts at macro photography of my tea sessions and pottery pieces yielded very poor results, jeapordizing my commitment to make this a visual blog.

Second, my routine quickly became: wake, work, cook, clean, pottery, gym, sleep. On weekends, I have been visiting my ailing father, building a container garden, traveling for business school interviews, and occasionally having tea with the LA Tea Affair or other groups of friends.

I have returned, macro photo studio in tow. The brown background pics are the last photos of work I took at the old apartment. The white background pics are new pieces. Many more to come in the following weeks.

Currently, my studio time has me exploring lidded forms, glaze calculation, and surface texture.

Initially, progressing through pottery in the order of bowl, cylinder, vase, lidded form, teapot seemed the most logical in terms of building skills. While that may still hold true, I failed to realize that somewhere along the way I might get stuck or, as is the case, choose to stay in one subcategory of forms because I enjoy them so much. The progression above also indicates naivete about other variables: some pieces are easy in one size, more difficult in another, and the kind of clay used (stoneware, porcelain, sandy stoneware, etc.) also influences the relative ease.

Glaze calculation's science and adjacency to cooking captured my interest, too. After reading up on the subject, I have been experimenting with altering glaze recipes, and have produced some nice variants (and ridiculous failures). Without my own kiln, though, formulating recipes from scratch will prove a time-consuming process.

Black Star Gaiwan

Above is a glaze layering combo whose results suprised me. The Mother of Pearl glaze melts the black glaze I applied over it, creating a bluish fur texture. Detail:

Black Star Gaiwan

Here's the same combo on a kyuusu-style teapot I made. The spout, while better and more functional than my last, hideous teapot, still needs major work. Unfortunately, I neglected to poke a hole in the lid for proper air pressure. The lid fits so tightly that water does not come out when the pot is full.

Black Star Kyuusu

Black Star Kyuusu

I have picked up some tips & tricks regarding surface texture. The two jars below form the results of two variants of a single process. With the first jar, it gives the piece a texture like human skin, though the photographs capture this poorly:

Dragonfly Jar - 2

Dragonfly Jar - 3

Dragonfly Jar - foot

In this jar, dry clay and small holes acecnt the slight cracking texture. I really like the raw earth look to the piece.

Raw Earth Jar

Raw Earth Jar - detail

Raw Earth Jar - top view

Raw Earth Jar - foot

I have new pieces that take this technique farther, but I am waiting for them to finish firing. I will share them soon.

Hopefully, though, my next entry will be a tea entry.

Oy Vey! What have I gotten myself into?

After forgetting that today Emily had to go to school to pick up her report card, I started my Texas Style BBQ sauce for tomorrow's BBQ beef brisket. The sauce was surprisingly easy to make, although it's not at all sweet like the bottled stuff we are used to.
Emily got to school, I drove her and then came back to read my brisket recipe only to realize that if I have to massage the brisket with the rub I made 2 days ago ( I hate touching raw meat), and let it sit for 1 hour afterwards, and then bbq it for 1.5 hours and then bake it for 4.5 hours and let it sit for 1 hours before cutting, I have to get up at 4 am. Who's stupid idea was this?
I woke up at 4:30 am today, because someone was breathing very loudly, Sally, and I actually thought it was someone in another room of the house talking. Freaky! But good to know that the sun comes up around that time so I won't be bbq-ing in the dark tomorrow.
This brisket making better move me up to sainthood.

Sweet Victory

I'll explain later.

Hump day already!

The week is going by so fast, already the middle of the week!
I woke up feeling like someone pummeled me in my sleep. I'm so sore, I think I just slept funny.
I think I'm pretty smart, I realized I could save the MP3 files from The Photographers' Workshop to my ipod and listen to them while I do other things, instead of sitting in front of the computer listening. Sometimes, I just can't believe how smart I am.

I made more purses, I will list them on and hopefully sell a couple to offset the cost of the crazy fabric collection I am obtaining. If I think it's getting too bad, I'll just go to my mom's and then I'll realize I only have 3 drawers of fabric, she has a room, and that will make me feel better. Although she doesn't have a scrapbooking room and I do.

Au Revoir!

That's where I'm headed this weekend, see ya!

Sunny series roundup.

Well, it seems as though the XC season is all but over here in Sunny SE QLD, with only the State Championships remaining, all the way up in Rockhampton. Should be fun.

However, the Sunny Series, run by Two Wheel Promotions, concluded with the third (actually the fifth due to rescheduling) race at Illanbah two weeks ago. Due to Aiden's terrible bout of quiche/chilli schnapps/punch/donut/flourless chocolate cake and hommus-induced food poisoning, we were unable to make this round.

However, this was the smallest XC turnout for the elites of all the series, and both our XC Sunny Series leader status remained.

It has been a fun series of racing, and will hopefully set me up for a better year racing national series.

Round 1—Adair

A fun clover-leaf shaped course, with three short (but nasty) climbs punctuating the sweet singletrack. Aiden rode to victory, while I ran through the bunting off course and came in third.

Round 2—Karingal

Yet another fun course—swoopy leafy singletrack, no large climbs but several short-and-hurty ones. All out a good course for the singletrack slayers out there. Aiden took the top spot on the podium in elite men, while I managed to pull a swifty and get there in the elite women's category.

Round 3—Illanbah

Postponed due to rain, this one became round five, which we were unable to attend due to Aiden's mystery-itis (see above)

Round 4—Mt Crosby

Mt Crosby was one for the power climbers, with a long (ish), open, grass climb punctuating the fun singletrack course. Some technical rock gardens and 'bar checkers' kept you on your feet (or on your bike...) while the payoff was the steep, swoopy and ultimately fun 'snakes and ladders' section. Aido once again took out first, while I was a couple of minutes down in second.

Round 5—D'Aguilar

D'Aguilar was a punishing course, and perhaps the most fun I had racing through the whole series...mainly because I played the game and sat behind for a bit. It was nice to have the ball in my court rather than going all out, then reaching back into survival mode. Fun and challenging descent, and a pinch climb featured in the pain fest. Playing the game worked out well—both Aido and I took out the top spot.

Day off? Right on!

Yesterday, in the post-conference lull at work, I decided not to go into the office (if you can really call it that. It is, after all, someone's living room).

So instead, I decided to do Nebo on the dirt. It took me 50 minutes to get to Gap Creek car park from home, involving a myriad of twisting bike paths and single-track. I met Jo there, and we began out adventure up Nebo.

I have a confession—it was my first dirt Nebo. While I have done many a road Nebo-painfest-type ride, Nebo on dirt was entirely new.

It was great to be able to gasbag the whole ride too. Base miles are the best kind of miles to do, because they're easy, you can do them with buddies, and they make you feel awesome for the rest of the day. So after climbing for around two hours, and then descending (with a lot more climbing!) for another hour, or thereabouts, we were back at the Gap. I hardly felt like I had been out for four hours at that stage, so I rode home through the bikepaths—some pointed towards home, some pointed the other way.

Coming up the Ashgrove path towards Enoggera Rd, the path was flooded. And when I say flooded, I mean that the white-water rafting world championships could have been held there.

It's amazing the things that Ashgrove bike path turns up!

I, being stupid and maybe a bit too game, decided to wade across the furious, poo-brown rapids to get home. I had run out of food at this point and stupid things began to seem really smart.

Anyway, it was all good, and now I am planning my next 7 or 8 hr mega epic. Yet racing 100km Enduro is still too far (my mind boggles...)

Tuesday, can't come up with a title to cover everything.

LOOKEE LOOKEE! Catalogues are in the house! Call me if you pre-ordered! Some scenes from the car show, this sign was funny and according to Emily it's wrong, she can float.
There were some awesome bikes! Kerry liked this one!
I made a couple of purses, this one is done the right way.
This one was done the wrong way, due to my watching Jon and Kate make their announcement, but I fixed it and it I liked the way it turned out, although it needs ironing.

Women I Hate and/or Am Afraid of, Part One: The CAREER WOMAN

She's scary.

You should fear this one.


While you shove your face into your calzone, 2 cans of Coke, and brownie, she dines on a light lunch of a house salad (dressing on the side) and a glass of Perrier.

She can spend twenty minutes on the phone with a client, laughing over having ordered the wrong thing at a tapas bar. But if you briefly mention your experience of being mugged in a public restroom by an elderly woman equipped with an Uzi in Danzig to your co-workers, she shoots you the look.

She's the one dropping names at the business conference's cocktail party. Apparently Brent Bozell, Alan Greenspan, Rachel Maddow, every single member of Congress, and the President have all publicly praised her and offered her jobs within ten minutes of meeting with her. And she goes to parties with them at their country clubs. And while she's sucking up to all the bigwigs at said cocktail party, either you are A. not invited, B. part of the set-up crew, or C. late, completely sweaty and gross from running there in the 99 degree Farenheit weather, and spilled cocktail sauce all over your white suit right after you got there.

This is the CAREER WOMAN, prissy, stuck-up, and one of the most feared creatures in DC and NYC. Her mission in life, as far as you can tell, is to make you look like a complete idiot in front of your boss and get you fired. Whenever something dumb happens to you -this will happen frequently- she will always be there, ready to shoot you a condescending look of pity and loathing.

She will always look better than you in her Ann Taylor/ Brooks Brothers wardrobe. Her buttondown shirts will never get wrinkled, and her feet don't get hurt from wearing pointy-toed, 4 inch stiletto heels every day. The two of you can take the exact same commute route on the train, but while you stagger into the office lobby, drenched with sweat due to the July morning heat, she will be absolutely pristine.

The Career Woman will also always be more on the ball than you. Your boss asks you during the meeting for a brief proposal outline. You fumble around for it in your folders, swearing that you had it just a minute ago. And right before you find it, wrinkled and the ink smudged, she loudly announces that she took the liberty of typing one up herself, with copies for everyone, but "you don't mind, do you?" Whenever one of your superiors asks you a question, you trip over your tongue and display your incapacity for articulate speech. Career Woman will interrupt you and give an immaculate reply, all the while arching her brow at you; she also coaches the board on public speaking.

Career Woman is evil. Everything she does serves the purpose of making you look inferior in comparison. You see, she knows when you won't have time to really look good, and so she'll go out of her way to look much better. She knows what limited clothing funds you have, and so she will casually drop in her conversation, as if everyone shopped there, that she got her shoes from Neiman Marcus.

But even though she hates you and wants to make you feel bad, she feels the same about everyone else. Career Woman lives to be the most accomplished, most stylish, most intelligent one in the office. Unless she isn't getting recognized as being the best every second, she is miserable. Not only does she take over everyone else's responsibilities, she also volunteers with her local political club, takes cooking lessons, brags about her prowess in ballroom dancing and equestrian, and on top of all that, finds time to work out. You know Career Woman, even if she's not in your office. She went to high school with you. You know, she was in charge of Student Government, she was the theatre stage manager, the NHS, Beta Club, and Key Club president, valedictorian, and she won every single academic and leadership prize. You hated her. Basically, Career Woman is Tracy Flick all grown up.

She's almost impossible to get rid of, since all your superiors seem to think she's perfect. So what nutmeg of consolation is there for you? Well, even though they kiss up to her and praise her all day long, the rest of your co-workers also hate her. With a passion. And while this itself won't change anything, eventually your superiors will start to notice that she hasn't actually been doing any real work; she has just been killing time and lying to everyone about it. Your superiors will notice, because either you or your co-workers will have installed security cameras around her desk. O sweet, sweet victory.

A Missed Opportunity

Hey! That's what I do when I'm on the potty...

As I've mentioned before. I joined "Freecycle" in hopes of snagging myself a treasure.

(Such as an antique armoire, or an Apple Laptop.) Thus far, I have not been successful.

Today, however, a real gem came in:


Toddler potty. It could use a good scrub. It was handy for park and beach trips. The seat if broken, but I believe it can be replaced.

You've got to be kidding me? I can have a dirty, feces encrusted potty, with a broken seat...FOR FREE???!!! I was elated.

But guess what? Of all the dumb luck. Someone else claimed it before I had a chance.

Life can be so unfair.

Some stuff I've been into...

What do I do when I'm lacking blog material??? Talk about "STUFF!"

Here is some stuff I like:

My J. Crew Straw Beach Bag...

I have other summer bags, but this is the one I carry ALL THE TIME.

And it's on sale for $29.50.

Go buy (After you finish commenting on this post.)

Clark's Artisan Collection...

I always pictured Clark's as gooberish looking walking shoes, but they have some really cool sandals.

I got these wedges (The Erda in Peanut) and they are so cute. They look exactly like a pair I saw at Anthropologie for $200 and they only set me back $65.

I've been trying to cut down on the caffeine/aspartame consumption and I've found a marvelous alternative. Herbal Iced Tea.

My favorite....Pomegranate. Runner up...passion fruit.

So good, no calories, no caffeine, cheap...what could be better?

How about you? Any cool stuff you want to share with the class?


I just remembered Cr8buzz!! Do you guys still do it?? I used to be so concerned about my "Buzz Ranking!" Weird.

Is it still around? I can't even find it.

What's the 4-11?!

The first day of the rest of my life...with my camera

The day I have long been waiting for has finally arrived! Karen Russell's The Photographers' Workshop started today. I have already printed off my Week 0, lesson 1 info, read it and uploaded a picture for Week 0 assignment. Too bad I have to go to work.
So, rainy Monday morning, bring it on! I'm just happy to have started the class I never thought I'd get into!

Not to shabby if I do say so myself.

I woke up early this morning with the sewing bug. I had found this purse pattern on-line, it looked super easy and was, except for the fact I had to actually draw the pattern. I used Pellon iron on interfacing to give it some body. I'm learning things. Like even though the purse looked big in the picture, and big in the pattern, it's actually not as big as I thought. That and the strap could be longer, and maybe a little skinnier. But I made it, in less than 3 hours, and I'm pretty happy with it. I even remember to put the magnetic snaps in before I got it all sewed up. The fabric a bit too autumn-ish, so I might pick up some summery stuff and make another one.

Domo Kun

This is Domo Kun. He's from a Japanese kid's show. Emily and her friends love him, even though we don't get the show. At the convention and in a few store in Metrotown, they had lots of different Domo items. One was a small, like the size of my palm, stuffed Domo, he was $23. We decided we didn't need him.

I went to Fabricland yesterday, there was a one day sale, everything was at least 50% off. Patterns were dirt cheap so I bought this pattern and some fluffy brown fabric and some red felt.And I made's a Domo cell phone holder. Front. Back.

Side. The kids said it looks like he's wearing a back pack and that it was super cute.

It didn't take me 3 hours to make him, but he was a bit trying. Because sewing is not my strong point, I had to do lots of dry runs to wrap my head around how to sew him together. In the end I only had to do some stitch ripping on his mouth.

The next entry in the writer's notebook...

Continuing on with my daughter's writing.

This one had me rolling on the floor...

A Complaint to McDonald's

Oh McDonald's

Why Are You So Fattening?

You only give toys to make money

Not to make little kids happy

You are just plain nasty

What if a person gets food poisoning from you?

Then how much would people like you?

You are unhealthy.

Someone told me your water is dirtier than toilet water.

So McDonald's...

The only good thing about you is...


Thank you-Meg

P.S. Burger King is better.

I swear, I think I'm going to have her write my blog from now on. She is way funnier than me!!

My daughter, the comedienne...

I was going through my 9 year old daughter's school stuff and came across her writer's notebook.

There are some real gems in there.

Here's the first one.

Why Mickey Mouse is Better than Donald Duck.

1. He never does bad things.

2. Unlike Donald, he wears pants

3. Disney likes him.

4. He has knives, but he only uses them for cooking, not when he is mad at people.

5. He has no anger issues.


I will be featuring more of her writing in upcoming posts. Trust me, this one cracked me up, but she has WAY better material.

Stay tuned.

Aunt Flo

Warning: If you are a man...stop reading now. You have been warned.

My Aunt Flo is visiting, and quite frankly I can't stand the bitch. Especially the first two days of her visit.

I'm seriously considering ablation. My husband and I were discussing my feminine issues, and we both decided that 2-3 days a month is way to much for BOTH of us to suffer.

In the meantime, I was looking up some homeopathic remedies, until I can see the doc.

Now here's my question...since I have almost ALL these symptoms, do I buy ALL the remedies? (Symptoms in bold and italic are especially problematic for yours truly...)

Bovista: Premenstrual problems with puffiness in the extremities, fluid retention, and a bloated feeling often indicate a need for this remedy. The woman may feel very awkward and clumsy, and may constantly be dropping things because of swollen-feeling hands. Diarrhea occurring around the time of the menstrual period strongly indicates this remedy.

Calcarea carbonica: PMS with fatigue, anxiety, and suggest a need for this remedy. The woman may have problems with water-retention and weight gain, tender breasts, digestive upsets, and headaches. Periods often come too early and last too long, sometimes with a flow of bright red blood. A general feeling of chilliness, with clammy hands and feet, and a feeling of being overwhelmed cravings for sweets and eggs are other indications for Calcarea.

Caulophyllum: This remedy is often helpful to women with a history of irregular periods, difficulty becoming pregnant, or slow childbirth due to weak muscle tone of the uterus. Symptoms include discomfort during periods and a heavy flow of blood or other discharge. Drawing pains may be felt in the pelvic region, thighs, and legs. Stiffness or arthritis, especially in the finger-joints, often is seen when this remedy is needed.

Chamomilla: A woman likely to respond to this remedy is angry, irritable, and hypersensitive to pain. Cramping may come on, or be intensified, because of emotional upset. Flow can be very heavy, and the blood may look dark or clotted. Problems are often worse at night. Heating pads or exposure to wind may aggravate the symptoms, and motion (such as rocking or brisk walking) may help to reduce the tension and discomfort.

Cimicifuga (also called Actaea Racemosa): This remedy can be helpful for irregular and painful periods, with shooting pains that go down the hips and thighs, or cramps similar to labor-pains that are felt in the pelvic area. Headache with pain and stiffness in the neck and back will often occur with PMS. The woman is likely to be intense and talkative, becoming agitated, fearful, and depressed before a menstrual period.

Kreosotum: Headache, nausea, and a heavy flow that makes the genitals and surrounding skin feel irritated and swollen are indications for this remedy. Kreosotum is often indicated for women with PMS who feel irritable and uncomfortable, and have a strong dislike of sexual activity.

Lachesis: Women who need this remedy are usually intense, with a tremendous need for an outlet, both physically and mentally. Symptoms of PMS include congestion, headaches, flushing, surges of heat, and an intense outspoken irritability—often with strong feelings of suspicion or jealousy. When the flow arrives, it may be heavy, but brings relief of tension. Intolerance of restrictive clothing around the waist or neck is another indication for Lachesis.

Lilium tigrinum: This remedy may be helpful if a woman is inclined toward rage during PMS, makes other people “walk on eggs,” and is extremely sensitive and irritable. Pressure in the rectum and in the pelvic region, with a sensation that the uterus is pushing out, may make her feel a frequent need to sit or cross her legs. Emotions and excitement aggravate the symptoms, and fresh air will often bring relief.

Lycopodium: PMS with a craving for sweets and a ravenous appetite (sometimes a bulimic tendency) suggests a need for this remedy. Digestive upsets with abdominal bloating and flatulence are often seen, with the person feeling worst in the late afternoon and evening. Menstrual periods may be delayed, followed by a heavy flow that goes on for extra days. A woman who needs this remedy often wears a worried look and lacks self-confidence—although she may be irritable and bossy to pets and family members. A desire to be alone, but with someone in the other room, is another indication for Lycopodium.

Nux vomica: When a woman with PMS is extremely this remedy may be of use. Uncomfortable, irregular menstrual periods can be experienced, often with a nagging urge to move the bowels before the flow begins. Constipation is common, and constricting pains may extend to the rectum or tailbone region. Anger, mental strain, physical exertion, and impatient, pushy, and intolerant,overindulgence in coffee, alcohol, or food can aggravate the problems. The woman often feels chilly and improves from warmth and rest.

Sepia: A woman who needs this remedy with PMS feels weary and dragged-out, wanting others (especially family members) to keep their distance. She often feels taken for granted and overworked, becoming irritable or sarcastic if demands are made. Late periods or scanty flow with a feeling that the pelvic floor is weak, or as if the uterus is sagging, often indicates a need for Sepia. Dampness and perspiring may aggravate the symptoms. Warmth and exercise, especially dancing, often restore some energy and brighten up the her mood.

Veratrum album: Menstrual periods with very heavy flow and cramping, with a feeling of exhaustion and icy coldness suggest a need for this remedy. Vomiting and diarrhea are often seen. Periods may start too early and go on too long. The woman feels worse at night, from exercise, and from drinking things that are warm. Cold drinks, small meals, and wrapping up in warm clothes or covers may help to bring improvement.

Okay, so let's go over what my loved ones and myself deal with 20-30 days a year.

I feel overwhelmed with strong cravings for sweets. I am angry and irritable with a heavy flow of blood. I am agitated, fearful, and depressed, with a headache and backache. I am intensely outspoken with an inclination towards rage. I am bossy towards pets and family members. I have a strong desire to be alone. I am impatient, pushy, and intolerant,and overindulgent in coffee (and Diet Coke.) I feel taken for granted and overworked, becoming irritable or sarcastic if demands are made. I also experience cramping diarrhea and exhaustion.
If you're a man, and you read all this...would you kill me or what?! No court would convict you.

If you're a woman, can you relate?

I think I'll go mix me up a Midol cocktail, with a side of Valium. Come to think of it, I'll mix up a pitcher for the whole family.


You would think a manufacturer that puts out such high-quality componentry would get their state-of-the-art carbon-spoked glory wheel right?

Well they didn't, they offered a recall.

And then this is what happened to the post-recall wheel: