Thursday, June 30, 2005

I just ordered the coolest bumper sticker:

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I saw this on two different cars tonight and just had to have one!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Peppers and A Rant

This morning it was a flower, tonight it's a pepper!

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Every day I pass by a small apartment complex on my way to and from work. I checked them out when I was looking for a place two years ago. They were old and dark, small, no laundry, and hadn't been taken care of very well--typical of many affordable places to live in OKC, but they were okay. I think most of their residents were lower income people. The complex has been for sale for at least a year, the place was practically empty, and they weren't mowing the lawn. Someone must have bought them recently, because now there's a sign up advertising "luxury apartments with new management." Even if they're remodeled, there's no way they could ever be considered "luxury." But what will the new owners do do? They'll probably do some minimal remodeling, up the rent, and then there will be one less affordable place for working folks to live.

Why is it everything has to be "luxury" or "high-end" or "executive?" What happened to "average" or "simple?" Calling something "luxury" is just a way to get more money for something that probably isn't worth half of what you're being charged. It also protects the "haves" from the "have nots."

Everything being built in Bricktown, around Downtown, or anywhere in town for that matter is now called "luxury" or "executive." Basically what this means is that average folks can't afford it. There's lots of new housing being proposed for Downtown, but nothing will be available for under $150,000--and that's for an apartment. It's obvious that creating good, safe, affordable homes for lower class working folks isn't a big money maker. There's McMansions everywhere, and the only room at the inn these days is for professionals and rich folks--us worker bees will just have to be happy living in a slum somewhere.

Oh, and by the way, we're going to cut your public transit and your ability to file bankruptcy because you don't have any medical insurance from your two or three part-time minimum-wage jobs and you got too sick to go to work and you lost those jobs, but you have too many "assets" to qualify for food stamps or housing vouchers or any other kind of assistance. Oh, and let's factor in that you're single and don't have any dependents, so you have no chance of getting any kind of assistance, because it doesn't take that much money for one person to live on--surely you can find a job of some kind? And I'll bet there's some relative or friend that would let you sleep on their floor for a few months till you find three more minimum-wage jobs to replace the ones you lost.

There's not? Oh, well, here's a lovely cardboard box to live in. Have a nice day.

Sorry, but I needed to rant--I am so tired of people who sit around and whine because things just cost too much, yet they live in a $250,000 home, have a vacation home worth at least that much, drive a brand-new luxury car, and take vacations every other month.

Some people just need to clean off that looking glass and peer through it just a little more closely. One day they might just see themselves looking back.

I guess you can tell I don't plan on listening to *'s speech tonight.

(This probably makes no sense--sorry.)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

It's Saturday, so it's garden time!

We have eggplant in bloom:

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We have newly planted herbs:

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We have strawberries:

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And we have flowers hanging from the railing.

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Thursday while we were out to lunch, Judy, Missy, and I went down to the old Farmers Market on Reno. There are several buildings around the Market that sell produce and lots and lots of plants. Since it's the end of June, everything is on sale, so of course we had to buy--how can you pass up a 10-inch hanging basket for $7? I mean, seriously, it's just not possible. So I now have an Emerald Falls dichondra,

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and a mouse ears plant,

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as well as the two big flowering baskets hanging off the railing and the strawberries.

The garden place had TONS of stuff, including the biggest white hibiscus I've ever seen--it must have been ten inches wide. They had blackberry and blueberry and raspberry plants with fruit on them. They had tons and tons of petunias and rose moss and periwinkles and flowering vines, and I wanted them ALL. I could have just laid down in the middle of it all, rolled around like a dog scratching his back in the dirt, and been perfectly happy to stay there for the rest of my life.

Is it wrong to say I want more? I MUST RESIST! I feel like I have to sneak things up to the balcony now as it is--my neighbors must think I'm nuts. But the railing baskets look really nice--you can see the flowers so much better now. Some of my neighbors have remarked how nice it is to have some color around the apartments--they're pretty bland. I guess I'm okay as long as my landlady doesn't come knocking on my door (knock on wood).

And yes, we also have one completed pair of socks:

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I'm still working on the Opals, but I've decided to rip out the short-row heel and replace it with a regular heel. There just doesn't seem to be enough room in the gusset, and I'm afraid I'd never be able to get it on my foot. So that's what's planned for today.

As for my shawl, I've retyped the pattern, and hope that I can keep my place better this way. I'm going to try that this weekend, too. I'm really admiring the shawls that other people have completed so far in the Summer of Lace, but I'm having a little trouble getting myself kickstarted into working on it again.

I've been rereading the Jan Karon "Mitford" books this week--I've finished "At Home in Mitford" and am a hair away from finishing "A Light in the Window." I had forgotten how much I love these books. They're so positive and filled with joy and love, and the characters are so well written that you feel like you've known them forever. I can't wait to start reading the next one. I think there are six in all, so I have four more to finish them before the new Harry Potter book arrives. I think I can do that in three weeks.

I can't believe it's so late--why is it that time flies by when you're having fun but drags when you're not?

Don't forget Saturday Morning Garden Blogging, Vol. XVIII for more gardening fun!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

I have 'maters!!!

Four, in fact! They're not very big, the largest is about the size of a golf ball, but I don't care--they're HOMEGROWN TOMATOES!!!

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I think I'll have a tomato sandwich for lunch.

Oh, and my smallest pepper plant has a itty-bitty pepper on it! Yay!

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I get up early every Sunday morning so that I can do my laundry before it gets too hot. There's a small laundry room one building over in my complex, so it's not like I have to go anywhere, but I've gotten into the habit of doing it early, and I like it. I'm done before 9 am and still have all day to do what I want. This morning when I came back from putting the clothes in the dryer, I walked in the door and Maggie was sitting on the dining room table! Just sitting there in front of the computer, waiting for me to come back! I swear she's part cat (she doesn't appreciate this observation at all). I wish I'd been able to get a picture, but I couldn't move fast enough. Of course, when she jumped down, she knocked over the drink I had left there, so I had soda splashed everwhere. At least none landed on my computer or camera.

I have lots of little piddly things to do today, but the most important is to stay cool. We have a hot week ahead of us.

Oh, and did I mention my boss is gone all week?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Garden shots!

Yummy tomatoes--I think I'll have a couple to pick soon!! That's my eggplant in the foreground. The tomato plants behind the big one--not doing so good, but plugging along.

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Purslane and Torenia, the "wishbone flower," although I think they look like violets:

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A close up:

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And a long shot of the entire "garden:"

You can't tell from this last shot, but trellising my mandevilla on some sock yarn has made it go crazy. I think it's grown almost a foot just this week. It also looks like it's going to have lots more flowers, so I'm happy about that.

Here's today's Saturday Garden Blogging dairy from Frankenoid at DailyKos. Any of these regular Saturday entries are fun to read--lots of photos, gardening advice, and even some recipes!

I've added the "Summer of Lace 2005" button from Wendy Knits in an effort to "guilt myself into working on my shawl. How can I possibly be ignoring lace, especially lace made from alpaca and silk? I will work on this today. Even if I can just get one row completed a day, that's better than nothing at all, right?

My other goals this weekend are to finish one sock and repot a couple of plants. You can see I don't set the bar very high, can't you?

This week in June is always a little weird for me. There's my birthday, the anniversary of my dad and my grandmother's deaths, my late aunt's birthday (she was like a second mother to me), the birthday of a friend I haven't seen in years, Flag Day, and Father's Day--oh, and now there's also my work anniversary. It's this weird mixture of celebration, sadness, and memories. I never know exactly how to feel this week other than confused. My mom and aunt and I would always get together this week and go shopping and cook a big meal to celebrate. It was always a lot of fun.

But did I mention the boss is out of town all next week? How can I be confused about that? Whoopee!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I'm tired and sunburned, but look what I did:

No, it's not the world's largest rain gauge!

Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for the "Beacon of Hope" located in Founders' Plaza at Stiles Park!

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(I'm hearing Elvis' entrance music right now . . . duh duh duh, duh duh duh. . . .)

This 100-foot-tall monolithic sculpture designed by architect Rand Elliott is the centerpiece of the Founders' Plaza at Stiles Park. This park has been designed as a gift from the Oklahoma Health Center Foundation and its many generous donors to the Oklahoma Health Center for its 40th anniversary. The Beacon was installed today, and it was quite a spectacle. We had rain last night and this morning and were afraid we were going to be rained out, but the clouds cleared off and it was a beautiful day!

Now that the Beacon is installed, it will be painted a dark green. Once the Plaza is completed, the Beacon will beam a green healing light more than 5,000 feet into the night sky. The Beacon symbolizes "transformation." Formal dedication of Founders Plaza will be held later this year.

More information about Founders Plaza at Stiles Park and photos from today will be posted later at a blog I'm putting together.

Tomorrow is my third anniversary at my job, and I've been working on this project since Day One. It was a real thrill to see this happen today. This project has gone through several transformations to the final version, which is a $500,000 project. Even though I've just worked on the sidelines, there was a wonderful feeling of accomplishment in seeing this thing go vertical. This is MY park, and I'm very proud.

One more photo--this is my boss, Hershel, and our PR person, Terri, posing in the Park:

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Congratulations, guys! You ROCK!

But now, I have to go put some ChapStik on my lips--I think they're sunburned.

(And all you people who couldn't stop saying "erection" today--you owe me five bucks for every time you said it--you know who you are . . . .)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Birthday presents!

Lookie what I got for my birthday:

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That would be one bottle of Guy Buffett Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2001 from Judy and the "Making Waves" JnJ Knit Wits Kit from Missy! The Guy Buffett was on my list to try, so I was excited to get it. The Knit Wits Kit is a beautiful "fan and feather" type scarf. The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill (one of my faves) Silk Merino DK in the color River Run, and it is soooooo soft! I love it. Here's a close-up that shows the colors pretty accurately:

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I cannot, cannot, CANNOT start this until I finish the two pairs of socks I'm working on. If I don't get some of this stuff done, I won't finish anything.

The office lunch yesterday for my birthday (a day early because my boss had a conflict today) was at Zio's in Bricktown overlooking the Canal. It was a beautiful day, and I love having lunch on the patio when it's not really hot. We had fun, the food was great (chicken artichoke pasta--yum!), and we got to throw our leftover bread down to the ducks below us. Today Judy, Missy, and I went to the Peacock Greek Restaurant downtown and had a wonderful meal of homemade dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves) and Greek salad. Judy made a great dessert roll from chocolate cookies and homemade whipped cream, and I think the three of us ate at least half of it.

All in all, it was a great day--thanks, everyone!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

We had an early morning here at Casa Katya . . .

We had a big 'ol storm roll through here about 530 this morning. My poor sweet Maggie Girl hates lighting and thunder, so we were up. She's done pretty well through some other storms we had this week, but this was a doozy, and she just totally freaked out. We went back to bed for a while after the storm had passed, but I couldn't go back to sleep. However, nothing stops my girl from sleeping when she wants to:

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I promised sock pictures, so here they are. The first are my Koigu socks in Wendy's Toe Up Pattern:

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Missy and I had a laugh after listening to the YarnHarlot's interview on KnitCast this week. We've always pronounced it "koi-you" but apparently the correct pronunciation is "koi-goo." Missy's comment--"Well, she's Canadian, and the yarn's made in Canada, so I guess she probably knows how to pronounce it." Nah, I still want to say "koi-you." Actually, I think they should just call it "crack," as in "something so totally addictive I want to sell my first-born-child, of which I don't have one, but hell, I would buy several kids if it meant I could buy as much of this as possible and fill my bathtub with it so I can lay in it up to my chin whenever I want"--yarn.

The second sock is the first half of my Fortissima Colori socks:

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I'm to the heel on the second sock and hope to finish it this week. The striping matches up really well and the heel turned out pretty cool on the first one, but I'll be danged if I know whether the second one will even be close.

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The last sock photo, I'm afraid, will prove to the world just how weak I am. Not three days went by before I caved and started the Opal Lollipop socks:

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I love, love, love this yarn! Although I've had Opal yarn sitting on my shelf for quite a while now, this is the first time to really knit a sock (I started a Tiger sock once, but it didn't work out and we don't talk about it in public). I'm afraid I have worked on this and neglected my other sock this week, but I promise to work on the Fortissima this weekend. It's just that I hate knitting heels--it's that whole purling thing, it slows me down.

As for the shawl--haven't touched it. I'm working my way up to it. Same for the spinning--it just feels too hot right now to mess with it. My pretty spindle is still sitting on my coffee table, just crying for attention. I pick it up and play with it every so often, but that's as far as I've gotten with it. I'm just in a sock mood lately, I guess. I blame it on the internets.

Weekend gardening today has consisted on trying to save the second Gerber daisy I have killed in three weeks. I've never had this problem before--I don't understand it. I also cut back one of my grape tomato plants--it didn't look good, but there was new growth at the bottom, so I thought, "why not?" I figure if it dies after I pruned it, it was going to die anyway, so it wasn't like I intentionally killed it. I have a jade plant and a mother-in-law plant to repot. I'm hoping they'll both do really well after they get a new home.

I've found a new use for sock yarn! I decided to trellis my mandevilla plant--she's growing like crazy and needs some support. So I put four cuphooks up by the walkway ceiling and tied a piece of sock yarn to each one and then tied the other end down to the support stakes in the flowerpot. Hopefully this will work. If the yarn starts to fail, I'll go buy fishing line or something, but I'm trying to be frugal here, you see . . . .

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And here's the last two pictures, just random shots of my pretty flowers:

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Finally, this was my "Hallejuah, brother!" moment of the week (if you are easily offended or don't like really foul language, you should pass this up--I'm not kidding).

Monday, June 06, 2005

Why can't all Mondays be like this?

I love getting goodies on Monday! Look what I got:

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Missy and I were bummed that we were half a country away from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, but that didn't stop us from ordering from the online store! Isn't the internet great? Apparently the stuff at the Festival sold out like the first day, so I feel lucky that we got anything at all. I love the sheepy logo!

(The black legs off to the left are Maggie--she wanted to be included in the photo.)

And what's that sitting there next to the bag? Yes, it's yarn--but what kind? Oh, just the almost-impossible-to-find Opal Lollipop 1016! Can you say SCORE!!!!!

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I blame it on the Yarn Harlot--if she hadn't started some socks out of it and put the photo on her website, I would have never tried so hard to find it. It took several tries, but I finally found someone who had it in stock--thank you, Woodland Woolworks! Now I just have to convince myself that I need to wait until I finish the current pair of socks before I start a new pair--must resist, must resist . . . .

And, if that wasn't enough, I got these in the mail today:

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Six in one day--I think I went a little overboard when I was looking for garden catalogs, and I don't even have a garden! Oh well, I'll keep them to look at this winter when it's cold and yucky outside. I can put together a "dream garden" in my head. . . .

Speaking of my "garden," it's now become "party central" for all the birds, and they're eating me out of house and home. They emptied the birdfeeder this weekend, and today I come home to find that it's practically three-quarters empty again--in one day! I'm going to have to ratio the birdseed, or I'll go broke. I found a cute little hanging birdbath that I sat on the porch next to the feeder, and I think they've taken to it, too. We had four and five birds at a time, and Maggie will stand at the window and make whiney noises at them in her throat. I guess I can't complain--it's been fun to see who comes to the window. We continue to have lots of cardinals and bluejays.

I just started the heel on Sock #2 and hope to finish it this week. Then we'll have a photoshoot out with the flowers.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The first "harvest" of the season . . . .

I'm calling it a "harvest," anyway--I picked my first tomato!

Here it is, just peaking out from under the leaves:

Here it is after picking--it was about the size of a golf ball:

It was consumed immediately after harvest in a nice chef salad with field greens, cheese, croutons, and ranch dressing, with a semi-dry Chardonnay as the beverage. It was lovely.

I love summer . . . .