BeeKay's Blog

crafts, food, makeup, clothes, shoes, books, cats, life

Vanity, Thy Name Is BeeKay, Part Two

Years ago, the spousal-unit, his brother and I went to Washington DC to see the sights and go to a Caps/Sabres game at the recently opened MCI Center.  My brother-in-law is a Caps fan, I will always be a Pat LaFontaine fan (he is the reason I started watching hockey – more on that later).  I had a sweet red-and-black marled yarn mock-turtleneck sweater, which I teamed up with a pair of nicely-fitting jeans and fabulous brand-new boots.  I wanted to look cute in case I had the chance to meet Pat.

The phrase-that-pays there is “brand new boots.”

We did a lot of walking that day – visited the Korean War and Vietnam War memorials and the Reflecting Pool, hit a few bars, you get my drift.

I was wearing brand new boots.

By the end of the night, I was LIMPING.  If I weren’t such a proud broad I’d have probably asked the spousal-unit and his brother to carry me to the car.  Upon getting home and removing said fabulous brand new boots found that both my feet were COVERED in blisters.  Each toe, my heels, even the sole of my right foot (who knew blisters could form there?) sported at least one frigging blister.

The next morning, the only pair of footwear I could tolerate wearing was my beat-up pair of Reeboks, untied.  At the time I worked in venture capital so had to dress up every day; and there I was, clad in a smart business suit and SNEAKERS.

Went into my boss’s office to report in for the day and he gave me a quizzical look.  “What the hell is it with the sneakers?” Bawf** wanted to know, as he surveyed me from head to toe (he was always interested in what women wore, probably still is).

“Bawf,” I said in reply, “I am a very vain and stupid woman.”  I explained the sneakers (and the limping) to which he shook his head and said, “You dumb @$$” (yes, we had that sort of close and personal working relationship, which I miss to this very day, but if you tell him I’ll deny it).

From them on out, I always made sure my footwear was fully broken-in before deciding to tromp around a major city in them.

**”Bawf” is a term on the Howard Stern Show and the way Gary Dell’Abate referred to Howard back in the day.  Bawf and I were both Stern fans (I still am) and I used to call him that as a joke (he HATED it).  But further testament to our working relationship … shortly after we started working together, I went into his office to find him cursing at his new computer.  He glanced at me and said, “I hate f—–g computers.”
I said, “Then don’t f— them,” left his mail and left his office.
At our annual holiday party one year, he recounted this story and said, “In that moment, I just knew that she and I would work perfectly together.”
And we did.
I miss you, Bawf.**
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It’s That Time of Year (Again)!

Holiday (and birthday) season is in full effect chez BeeKay, and I’m trying to keep things low key and serene. The spousal unit and I used to send out holiday newsletters, with the last being in 2008 (I thought it was 2009 but in retrospect we were too busy to send Christmas cards that year, what with being new small business owners at the time). We decided to renew that tradition this year, and I uploaded the first draft to Staples.com to print in color for review. Won’t be able to get it until tomorrow at 7:00 pm, unless I want to pay a rush fee (no, thank you).

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First draft, needs minor tweaks

Order. Cancelled. The spousal-unit will print it at work tomorrow.

Last night, we stopped by Target and bought a box of Christmas cards, just in case we didn’t have enough to accommodate our mailing list. While in the basement pulling together everything I’ll need to decorate the evergreen swag for our front door, I found two nearly full boxes of Papyrus Christmas cards—I love Papyrus greeting cards—in addition to last year’s left over cards. I think we are all set for this holiday mailing, once the newsletter is finalized. We’ll just need to get stamps.

Holiday Swag

I hope I can find a swag that doesn’t look this ratty.

This week, I have to clean the living room from stem to stern so I can put out all of my holiday tchotchkes, and so we can put the tree up over the weekend. I have a new tree skirt halfway finished (photo to follow) in case I don’t want to put out my tried-and-true holiday cats tree skirt (ditto).

We enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving with cousins Terry and Troy at their new home in Maryland. Their holiday spirit was in full effect, with at least five (five!!) festively decorated trees throughout the house, an amazing array of delicious food, and a house full of family and close friends. Needless to say, no one left hungry—Martha Stewart has nothing on those two!

I do have some gifts ready to be wrapped, and have a few more to buy, but I am stumped as to what to get my brother. I know cash or gift cards are always welcome but I find them unimaginative. I have no idea what size he wears, and don’t want to ask because he’s gained a lot of weight since he quit smoking. Perhaps some gourmet foodstuffs, as he is a foodie (which also accounts for his weight gain) and yes, a gift card (groan). Perhaps I will gift him a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated as a gag gift; he thinks it’s pretentious. “Do I really need to know what the dude was thinking while he harvested his home-grown turnips at their peak freshness? Do I look like I care? Get away from me with that crap.”

Lately, however, this place has been my go-to for inexpensive quality gifts.

As for birthdays, mine is the 15th, my brother’s is the 20th, and the spousal-unit’s is January 2. I hope to have the family birthday dinner at the Peanut Bar and couple’s night at Lang Restaurant (formerly Hong Thanh at Sixth and Court Streets in Reading). So glad tasty Vietnamese food is closer to home!

And further regarding birthdays, an Eagles win would be an incredible early birthday gift! Let’s go 11-1, Birds!

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Insomnia Strikes Again

Well, it’s almost five o’clock on Sunday morning, and Yours Truly is awake at an ungodly hour yet again. While the other inhabitants chez moi are snoozing snugly in their beds, I am sitting here (standing, actually) drafting a new blog post.

IDK why this recent phase of insomnia is ongoing. I take 10 mg of melatonin about an hour before I want to hit the hay—though I probably should not indulge in a couple of Starburst fruit chews after taking them. Then I get engrossed in “Forensic Files,” when I should probably dig up my Linguistics textbook from my junior year of college. THAT is the book form of Ambien, just without the sleep driving, sleep cooking, or whatever other sleep activities that are scary and messed up.

I have a lot of craft projects I need to crank out sooner rather than later. Can’t run the sewing machine at this hour because sleeping spousal unit. Maybe I’ll cut fabric for snappy bags, headbands, and pin basket linings.

OH! And speaking of candy, we won’t have to buy any for a good long time. We bought a shed load of candy for trick-or-treaters—in my neck of the woods, trick-or-treat is 10/30 and 10/31; it has been that way since I was a wee lass growing up here, which people who are not from here don’t get—not to mention my candy jar, which is fully stocked.

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Fully stocked candy jar

I’m sure cavities, or weight gain, will be imminent.

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Sweets from BJ’s Warehouse. I could spend all day in that place

  • 225 pieces/4 pounds of grape and strawberry Nerds (yuck), strawberry and banana Laffy Taffy (yum), and Everlasting Gobstoppers (double yum)
  • 145 pieces/2.5 pounds of Hershey bars (meh), Reese’s peanut butter cup minis (yum), Whoppers (more yum), and Kit Kat bars (meh)
  • 180 pieces/4.5 pounds of Skittles (YUM), Starburst originals (YUM X two), and Life Savers Gummies (yuck)

As you can see, the chocolate has been raided already, not by me.

I leave you with this:

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Get(ting) Back

So I have finally gotten my new(est) BlackBerry—no smartassery, please, I just can’t with a touchscreen—and got it up to speed. AND I have WordPress up and running on it! Yay me!

At any rate, four of the six prototype bowls have gone out, with two so far receiving rave reviews. I also received a 20% off total purchase coupon from JoAnn Fabrics, so you all know what that means, right?

It means yours truly is off to the bowl-creating races! I have so many creative ideas in mind, and can’t wait to bring them to fruition.

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Unfortunately, I neglected to buy a replacement pattern for the bowl; the original has clearly seen better days and has taken quite the beating.

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A friend of mine at That Place suggested I make miniature versions of the bowls for party favors. First draft is still in play.

I also have to take the time to clear out/straighten up the room over the garage so it can (finally) become the amazing craft room/spare office/spare bedroom/kitty haven I’m envisioning it to be. I just need someone (someones?) to help make an old recliner disappear. Older brother-in-law (OBIL) wonders how I work in organized chaos, given that the spousal-unit is a neat freak.

Also, last night I decided to try out a new macaroni and cheese recipe that included cremini mushrooms and liquid smoke. It did not end well. I will not bother you with it, dear reader, as it was not that great. I will stick with my tried-and-true mac and cheese concoction going forward, #thankyouverymuch.

As always… WATCH THIS SPACE!

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Back to Life, Back to Reality

As things were getting a little hectic chez moi, I took some time off for myself to decompress and chill out. It was nice while it lasted—I met some amazing people, had a lot of laughs, did a lot of soul-searching, drank a lot of coffee and smoked a lot of cigarettes (nasty habit that, I plan to quit once stuff is in order)—but alas, it came time to return to the real world.

Now I am back home and ready to go but there are so many things I want to do, but overachieving, overthinking, overanalyzing, and overdoing will do me no good.

So I’m going to take this day to relax and hang with Sarge for a bit, drink some cold diet
Coke, and get my new BlackBerry up and running.

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Look at this sweet little furry guy!

But tomorrow it’s time to get down to brass tacks and get moving. And boy oh boy, there’s a lot I’m looking forward to doing but one thing at a time, right? I’m going to try my hand at creating some new types of art, and need to get back to crafting. But again, one thing at a time, one day at a time.

Many, many thanks to Judy, Stephanie, Joanne, Mary, Andrew, Scarlett, Amanda, Bernard, Mark and John I. for helping me dig deeper to connect the dots, reconnect with and center myself, and continue on this thing called life. Thanks to everyone else there who made my retreat as pleasant as could be.

Huge HUGE hugs and kisses to the wonderful men and women I met on this stage of my personal journey (in no particular order): Claire, Brenda, Meg, Heather, Charlie, Matthew, Patty, Courtney, Sherry, Jen J., Cruise Director Julie, Julie-from-Maryland, the-other-Jen, the list goes on. Thank you for all the laughs, fun times, and incredible conversations, and thank you for honoring me with your trust.

I firmly believe that blasting Prince tunes at top volume helps cure all ills, so here you go:

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Insomnia Can Bite Me

IDK what it is with me lately, but I have been waking up these past couple days at the very ungodly hours of five or six a.m.

For no good reason.

It’s not fun.

And it’s not that I don’t have anything to do—I’m helping the spousal-unit with some documents he needs for work, plus I have fabric coming out of my ears and HUGE plans for fabric bowls and snappy bags, plus the way-overdue crafts I have been promising to finish for the past three weeks (I need to get them out the door sooner rather than later).

I swear, I am my own worst enemy.

I need to listen better to my therapist—she always asks me if I would belittle a friend the way I belittle myself (of course the answer is NO). “I just KNOW those slip stitches are going to look like [crap].” and “I just KNOW that pin is not going to work out the way I want it to.” &c.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

So I brewed a pot of hazelnut coffee, poured myself a Hugh Jass cuppa, and got to work.

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A gift from my friend Ashley

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'”

Words to live by, no?

So here is the latest crop of fabric. I have another 20% off my total purchase coupon for JoAnn Fabrics—I would like to get a new pair of scissors, maybe some more stabilizer—but I simply cannot come home with more fabric until these outstanding projects are done and out the door. (I have even yet still another 20% off my total purchase coupon but that doesn’t expire until early August).

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So, I have two shamrock bowls to finish today (press out and stitch the trim), then I will most likely cut the pieces for the Mickey Mouse bowl; tomorrow slip stitching and gluing and packing and shipping! Will need boxes and mailing labels as well … no rest for the weary, right?

See you on the other side!

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So Much For THAT!

Well, the pin and the bear are still unfinished—the pin because I could not find the proper glue, the bear because time was pretty tight, what with all the running around I had to do over the weekend—and this state of affairs has gotten WAY old. So my vow to you is this: these gifts will be out the door no later than the weekend.

Not too long ago, I promised the spousal unit that I would not buy any more sewing patterns/fabric/craft supplies until the shower curtain and Roman shade for the master bathroom were completed. My intentions were good.

As always, we know that good intentions pave the way to the underworld.

Also not too long ago, I completed a pair of shorts and got 3/4 of the way to completing a tunic (Simplicity 3799) only to find that XXS does not mean a woman’s size 2; it really means “will fit a two-year-old female.” I was bummed because I really needed a pair of black shorts that fit properly; also because I really really liked the black/white/red paisley fabric I chose for the tunic. No matter, as the material for each can easily be repurposed (but damnit! I really was looking forward to rockin’ that outfit!). At least I didn’t butcher the blue crepe with the embroidered anchors over this, I’d have really steamed my clams. And the paisley fabric is always available, so no worries there.

On my latest trip to JoAnn Fabrics, lo and behold, all Simplicity patterns were $1.99, so I bought a replacement pattern 3799. That doesn’t count, right? Technically it isn’t a new pattern, right?

Then yesterday, while the SU and I were shopping at Walmart, I stopped by the fabric aisle (it isn’t the department it used to be ages ago but that’s neither here nor there), I found a fat quarter with a Mickey Mouse print. SU’s cousin loves Disney; SU’s cousin is very particular in his tastes; SU’s cousin has absolutely no qualms w h a t s o e v e r about letting you know what’s on his mind.

Looks like SU’s cousin will be getting a prototype bowl too! I think this match of fabrics is going to look very sharp with a black band (Mickey outside, polka dot lining).

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I am slowly but surely trying to reorganize/tidy up our fourth bedroom so it can serve as my craft room/another spare bedroom. I found this article late last night. Mind. Blown. Some of these are definitely worth trying, of course not all at once, but I’m down with a lot of them! I’ll keep you posted.

 

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Crazy Random Things

On Tuesday, I had intended to sleep in a bit, as I had nothing of importance to do till two in the afternoon; but we all know the final destination of the road which good intentions pave, right?

So I brewed a strong cup of hazelnut coffee, texted Baby Bro, checked FB and email, and cleaned off the kitchen island (a weekly chore for me). Had to laugh when I found these:

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There are more out there … I can feel it

You see, in a past life as a client service manager, these were indispensable necessities – they carried backed- up files for on-site meetings, and files that were revised on site to save to our company server upon return to the office. Invariably, I would misplace one nearly every time I traveled for work. Luckily, I would back files up to a spare thumb drive, my laptop, desktop, and a CD or two “just to be safe”; I avoided catastrophes, but the constant loss of thumb drives became a running joke whenever I had to ask our office manager for a replacement.

Which was (pretty much) every time I returned from a business trip, sometimes even before departing on one.

Most of these are promotional giveaways, two or three are personal use, but there are quite a few I unearthed while cleaning out old business travel bags. Doubtless I will find more as I keep cleaning out my house.

You have socks go missing. I have thumb drives go astray. Perhaps they are together in some parallel universe having a laugh at our expense.

And maybe someday, I will meet up with my former supervisor and humbly return all the unintentionally pilfered office supplies.

There is a story (perhaps apocryphal) that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had a drawer full of her signature, ever-present, Hugh Jass sunglasses at home and/or her office. That may be me someday, although instead of sunglasses I’ll have about a thousand thumb drives (probably sunglasses too).

We shall see, I guess. If you have thumb drives that are free to a good home, I’m your girl.

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Casualties of Cuisine

The intention was to make ho-made homemade lasagna. As usual, another mile on the Highway to Hades got paved with my good intentions.

It is not the normal-formal everyday mozzarella-ricotta-lots of red sauce lasagna; I call it my sexy MF lasagna. Yes, you read that right. It is an amazing recipe.

Full disclosure: OK, it’s really a recipe I borrowed from Martha Stewart. I tweaked it as it was a bit too fancy for me—I’m too lazy to make ho-made homemade noodles (not to mention cheap as I don’t have a pasta machine and don’t intend to buy one as I have enough stuff already thankyouverymuch). Plus the spousal-unit doesn’t care for nutmeg.

My recipe (OK, MARTHA’S, I give credit where and when credit is due) calls for chopped celery, onion, carrot, and garlic. All very well and good until one considers that last week I sliced the crap out of my left index finger chopping celery for marinara sauce (OK, Giada’s marinara sauce) for rigatoni and meatballs, which is one of the the spousal-unit’s favorite meals. I waited too long to get stitches or Dermabond; had to settle for sterile strips and bandages. No antibiotics, as the knife was brand new, but I did have to get a tetanus shot.

There was a laugh to be had from this; I was explaining to someone what had happened (brand new santoku knife, chopping up celery, blah blah blah) and a guy friend chimed in “but what she didn’t tell you is, her husband’s name is Celery.”

Understandably I was apprehensive about doing anything that involved knives or cloth (blood stains are the devil to get rid of, you know, but this stuff works). As of this morning, the wound seems to be healing nicely, so I hope to get back on track cooking and creating.

Wish me luck and watch this space!

PS the phrase that pays was “I cut myself with a sudoku knife.” Damn that math game! And how’s that for a malapropism?

 

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An Exciting Past Few Days

[Edited 6/10/2017]

I have been one of the gainfully unemployed for over two years, and while sometimes not working was fun, on the whole it was soul-crushing boredom. I took up sewing again, got back into designing my own cross stitch patterns (I have yet to execute any of them as of this moment, but hey! it’s only 7:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning! the day is still young, right?), and took up meditation to (try to) get my mind serene.

On Thursday, my local paper had an advertisement announcing a need for obituary writers (part-time). The hours are great (afternoons, with some weekends), the office is conveniently located downtown (park-and-ride! mass transit! this would be awesome!) I lined up my references, drafted a cover letter, and sent in my résumé.

Another downtown employer is seeking a Visitor Experience Supervisor; résumé will be cued up and sent out shortly.

So hopefully within the next few weeks (days? a girl can hope, can’t she?), I will have a new gig lined up.

Last week, I sent a letter to the spousal-unit’s incredibly cool, generous, and talented aunt; she is an artist living in South Dakota and we correspond frequently. In the letter, I included photos of Maggie and Sarge.

In return, she sent me a piece of her work titled Notions and I have to say it will look amazing in my craft room! I can’t wait to hang it. Not sure what I will send her in return but it’s going to have to kick ass. (But now that I think of it, I have an idea … watch this space!)

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