Friday, August 28, 2009

Drama o' the Week

Is it just me or is it starting to feel like a serial radio drama (boy am I showing my age or What?!) around here...

"Tune in for this week's Drama with Dynila!"

My week started out quietly enough. Monday was ~so~ exciting I went home at lunch to do some laundry. Yea, well...

I left my cell in the car to charge while I was living the high life with laundry soap. As I was pulling out of the neighborhood my phone rang---apparently it had been ringing for most of the 30-40 minutes I was in the house.

I use my cell for the freelance biz so I don't flip out when I see an unfamiliar number. It was Raidman's boss. *ooh boy*

Calling to tell me he was at ER with my husband. By the time I got to the hospital--fortunately only about 12 minutes from my house, traffic willing--I'd emailed my office mate, called my bosses, my backup at work, a friend to pick up J from school, the school to let them know who would be picking her up and the daycare to tell them not to expect her. It was a busy twelve minutes!

3 hours later... All the tests look good (he was there for chest pain... I'm pretty sure when the last of the dark dye from July is gone I'm gonna be white-haired due to stress!) but they want to keep him overnight and poke and prod him some more. Poor Raidman--I think there was even a treadmill involved...

Leave the hospital @ 6pm, run home to pack him an overnight bag, out to pick up the kid and dinner for the hubs and I, and BACK to the hospital for dinner, homework, and a family game of Yatzee (yes, we are THAT cool!) Then home to get the girl showered and in bed. Call the hospital to check on the man, then, finally, asleep around 130am cuz I was still coming off the adrenaline high of, "I brought him to the hospital because he was having chest pains...." and the follow-up call from the nurse while I was retrieving the girl, "Is this the wife of xxxx?"

Hint to hospital nurses: If you HAVE to ask someone that, the next words out of your mouth ~really~ need to be, "He's fine." then you can ask your stupid medication questions!

Moving on...

More tests, more blood taken, more tests, and lots of waiting in-between, and: He's fine. Heart looks great, heart function is rocking it. Apparently the chest wall muscle is inflamed, which caused (and is still causing, truthfully) the pain.

Net result: Take 2 super-powered prescription anti-inflammatory pills a day and show up for your regular physical in 3 weeks.

W H E W !

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Progress and the Lack Thereof

First, to get it out of the way...


The shopping bag is an awful, hideous, unmitigated disaster.

I'm still debating (a) whether or not to take pictures before I make it disappear, and (b) if it will simply 'disappear' or if I'm going to take the time to unravel it and retrieve my 5-6 balls of $2/ball cotton yarn.

I have, until this point, worked pretty much with solid cloth projects like scarves and blankets with the occasional open piece, but the open work was always very structured. The open work of the bag is...less structured. Too much so for me, as it turns out. My 15in bag is almost as tall as my 8yo. Yea, it's that bad.

I also frogged the Circulos this week. It was starting to show signs of the same affliction as the bag and well, that's expensive yarn. I decided to save it before I got so far that I couldn't undo it. That yarn just fuzzy enough to make pulling it apart a biotch and I ended up losing about 2 rows at the end due to tangles.

The net result of all this undoing?

A - Going back to what I do best & making a scarf for a pal who lives in a state where such things are necessities (*waves at Lanel*)

B - The last two weeks of wasted effort have really brought home to me the importance of something I've been avoiding dealing with: G a u g e.

It's time for me to make some dang gauge swatches. And do some research on maintaining an even tension. I can eyeball about half of my pieces and spot at least one place where I stopped work and came back later.

How? The tension obviously changed and the stitches are a slightly different size/shape.

Oh, and I picked up some yarn for a specific holiday project and a new crochet mag while at the hobby store with the girl :-)


Started my writing group on the 15th. The first session was a bit rough and we cut it short but did get some writing done so it was not a total loss.

This week (the 22nd) was much better! We wrote a lot, got a lot done and, even more importantly from my perspective, I got a couple of short pieces (fiction even!) that I want to revisit and expand. One for sure, maybe two.

We are looking at moving to Wednesday nights so that we can add a couple more people (who can't do Saturday mornings) to the insanity. It will give us a nice mix, too. A children's writer, me--mostly a copywriter and a bit o' fiction, a humor and business writer maybe even a spiritual writer/blogger if I can talk her into it.


Heh. The life and times of Dynila are a bit more than the usual level of insanity just now (which explains the awesomely optimistic last two I'm taking it a easy right now, sticking to the house for the most part, and trying to find some sanctuary and peace of mind. So if I come across as a bit antisocial right now, well, I am :-)

More later, mmmkay?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Day So Far

Today's theme song is Meatloaf's "Life is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back."


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Circulos in Apricot

Yarn-haters, save your time and skip this one--it's all about my nummy new project.

Since I finished the wavelength I decided to reload the handy project jar with another (hopefully, as I just realized I am using the wrong yarn) one-skein wonder port-a-project.

Kim Guzman's Circulos Scarf.

Mine is working up in Jagger Spun's Zephyr Merino-Silk blend in Apricot. I was super excited when I bought the pattern last year because I ~thought~ I had the perfect yarn. Yes, I already had the yarn. It was a love-the-feel-love-the-color-gotta-have-it impulse buy from my fave LYS.

I'm pretty excited about this project. It's an intermediate project and this is the third time I've started it. I'm 8 rows in so far (of an estimated 50-58) and this is the first time it has looked mostly like the picture. I think my stitches are still too loose, but I'm calling it my interpretation of the pattern and letting it ride.

I am proud of myself that I can do something, so far, that I was thoroughly unable to do a year ago. It's also something I taught myself to do, out of sheer determination (and frustration at not being to make more advanced projects because my technique was ALL wrong!)

Taking up crochet again (I learned in 7th grade home ec... how old does that make me?!) has taught me patience. It has taught me to forgive myself. It's taught me to laugh at my mistakes.

Since I write and edit and type all day, it also lets me explore my color sense in a physical way. I never realized how satisfying hand-crafting could be---even if it means I will eventually die with the world's largest collection of home-made scarves!

As a nice side benefit, hands full of hooks and yarn cannot be filled with snacks and munchies while watching tv. This has yet to have a visible effect on my waistline, but hope springs eternal!

PS - Lanel: What colors, how long/wide do you like, and are you allergic to any artificial or natural fibers I need to know about?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Volare, Vino, Finito!

DISCLAIMER: Justin, honey, we stomped grapes. There is a possibility I might not have cropped the feet out of all the pictures. You've been warned--scroll at your own risk!

Brenham, Texas is not exactly a resort town. It is purty, and it is home to the original Blue Bell creamery, which, by the way, is not open on weekends in the high ice cream season of Summer, but not exactly what most people would call a destination.

However, if you like flowers, in particular antique roses, native plants, or hardy specimens that can handle the Texas heat, you can swing 15 miles north of Brenham to the Antique Rose Emporium nursery in Independence, Texas.

On our way back to town, after sweating like draft horses (like this fake one overlooking town) at the nursery we got a tad lost. This turned out to be a very good thing since we found (a) antique alley a couple blocks off main, but did not have the time or the heat tolerance to explore it and (b) Volare Italian Restaurant.

Click the link and look at their menu kids!

OMG the food was soooo good! The artichoke & shrimp fondue was to kill for, rich, creamy, and they did NOT skimp on the shrimp. My entree was super nummy (even cold out of the hotel room fridge the next morning it was delish!) though Ma seemed less impressed with her veal piccata.

The sauces were amazing and it was pretty obvious from the taste that they make their own in-house. Theirs was probably the best marinara I've ever had; light, tomato-y, and fragrant with basil and thyme, but not overpowered by it and not at all heavy or pasty.

The deserts... Oh! Ma had tiramisu that was so gorgeous I was almost tempted to steal a bite. And I can't stand tiramisu! I had the creme brulee. This was a first for me and it was yummy! The sugar shell was a beautiful tawny golden brown and crunched just the way (I'm told) it's supposed to. The pudding or creme or whatever it's called (not a food blogger, remember!) was a little soft for me, and a bit bland on it's own, like thickened cream pudding. Add a little of the sugar shell, though, and it was magically transformed. I'm pretty sure the sugar was infused with a lemon somehow--it gave the sweet cream pudding a light, airy citrus flavor--not strong or tangy, just wonderful!

Can you tell that I like to eat? lol..

The rest of the day, both before and after dinner was spent lounging by/in the pool with margaritas masquerading as Sonic slushies ;-) I worked on my scarf a bit while Ma and I played this, then got a solid 8hrs of sleep---something that hasn't happened in weeks. Go me!


Yesterday we dawdled at the hotel reading and doing our nails, til it was time to check out of the hotel & head to the winery.

We got there a little early and decided to do our tour and tasting first, then stomp some fruit of the vine. The tour was a little disappointing--they winery got a HUGE (14 bins) for them load of wine grapes from an area grower the day before and we were unable to go into the cellar due to a fume issue---they aired out and later tours got to peek in, I think.

On the plus side, I did get to learn the difference between a vineyard and a winery. Being a vino noob, the fact that there was a difference was news to me!

We tasted 4 wines and paid a little extra to satisfy my curiousity and taste a couple of ports. I confirmed my dislike for strong reds, particularly oak barrel reds. I tried a red/white blend that was aged in stainless and found it to be much smoother. I think I just don't like that tannin tang. The portsn were alright with the delish local artisan chocolates they served them with, but not really to my taste. The flavor was super stout, and definitely for small sips only. On the plus side, the port samples were larger than the wine tastings and, at 19.4% alcohol w/ no breakfast, pretty damn good by the time we got to the bottom of our glasses.

(Brought home two bottles of the Blanc DuBois, too--by far my fave from the tasting, though the Collina Rossa was pleasant, too.)

Buzzing a tad, we headed out to get grapey.

This is where we found out we had to PICK the grapes before we could stomp them.

The hike down the hill in the humidity (it rained in Brenham this weekend!) the fighting off wasps, bees, and fire ants, and trek back up said hill pretty much took care of the slight tasting buzz. Oh well. Now comes the fun part.


Found myself with a lot of time on my hands again today and I... finshed the wavelength scarf! Go me! It's done, the ends are woven in, and it now just needs washing and blocking. It was a perfect one-skein project--love that there were only TWO ends to weave in! I ended up with a whopping 3 yards of lace merino left that will probably go into the scraft box for the kiddo.

Below, my unblocked masterpiece:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Over & Out

My mom hit one of those round number birthdays this week. To celebrate we are off to a small Texas vineyard that puts their unusable season end grapes to profitable use by letting people pay to come stand in buckets and stomp them ala Lucy's Italian Movie. I hear the town where the vineyard is has some sorta firefighter celebration this weekend (eye candy!) so this should be fun.

Which means I will be away for a bit--the hotel has wi-fi and I could take my computer, but I'd rather hang out with my mom--sorry blogiverse.

J had friends over last night -- wanted to give their mom a little relief after a rough day plus she has my kid like ~all the freaking time~. I had big plans to work on a book I need to lay out (yes, I'm still freelancing in fits & starts) while the kids were holed up in J's room doing mysterious small person things (please not another ceiling fan swing!)

*sigh* What actually happened is that we took the kids to dinner, came home and they holed up in her room as planned. Then I sat on the couch and watched Raidman play Rock Band 2 til about 1230am and watched some "Castle" on the dvr til almost 3.

Crocheting all the while! I finished the first large panel of my shopping bag. It went from 13 rows to complete at 42 rows. I even got 4 rows done on the 2nd large side before calling it a night.

Also got a full row & change completed on the wavelength scarf yesterday (kind of a slow afternoon at the day job). It is in its jar in the trunk of the Bug to take to the hotel and work on tonight--the shopping bag requires too much in the way of extra supplies (more yarn, stitch markers, etc) and the scarf is all neatly packaged.

I lurve my project jar!
(sorry for the crummy phone pic)

Book club tomorrow night so I don't see myself back at a computer til Monday sometime, but I'm fairly certain you will all survive without me. Somehow.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


(non-yarn content, too, this post -- scroll for it baby!)

Pics later, I promise, gotta get 'em off my phone!

I had to choose between yarn & blogging yesterday since my regular afternoon/evening routine was interrupted by doctor's appointments and grandparents in town.

The yarn won. I got another 8 rows on the new shopping bag's 1st panel.

Not much, I know, but learning a new stitch pattern on a project like this is always slow going. I have no idea how long I crocheted yesterday, but it was long enough to watch 2 more episodes of "Heroes" on the DVR with the commercials skipped (sorry NBC!)

Today I finally got to work on my scarf again! I haven't touched it in months, so that was nice. It's a very small yarn/hook though, and a very long scarf, so got a few inches done in the 15min I had on break at work, but that's all.

Also managed to get another 3 rows on the shopping bag ("Burn Notice" on the DVR, lol) tonight, so pretty sure I made my 20min for the day. Woohoo!


I was part of a small writing group a few years ago that met at a restaurant in Hyde Park that was so danged crunchy I couldn't even get coffee there (FAIL!).

I quit going for a while due to family stuff (it was 2hrs on a Saturday morning) and when I went back about 4months later, they were GONE. A little digging on the Writer's League of Texas website tells me the group apparently called themselves, "15 minutes of fame" and had a Yahoo! Group and other stuff I had no clue about. They moved to BookPeople (i.e. even ~further~ into Austin!) and now appear to be defunct.

What I liked about this group was the format. I don't currently have any writing goals other than to do MORE of it. I have no target market, nothing I want critiqued, etc. The group was very freeform, loosely based on Natalie Goldberg's, "Writing Down the Bones". Met for 2 hours, socialized a little, then did 10-15min sprints based on prompts suggested at random by everyone, then read aloud.

You ~could~ bring a WIP and read from it, instead, if you wanted an opinion, but writing was supposed to be done with the prompts each time. It was a refresher, a mind and word expander for 2 hours a week. I wrote a lot of dreck. I got stumped and wrote nonsense sometimes, but by golly I WROTE.

I also wrote the only piece of fiction I've ever sold at one of these Saturday morning sections. It was flash fiction and sold to a now-defunct webzine, but, by george, someone paid me ($10--woohoo!) for my fiction.

I'm trying to start something similar with Jenn.

Something closer to home, so my precious escape-from-the-house time isn't mostly spent driving downtown. Something with no heavy expectations of me, particularly since I am living in the land of the dayjob these days.

Jenn wants something with a structured (at least a little) critique format so she can work on stuff to submit to publishers.

We're working now to establish a happy medium, most likely still based on "Writing Down the Bones" (gawd I love that book!). Will let you know when we figure it all out and will put out a call for other interested writers once we have something firmed up.

In other news: I'm going to be a grape stomper!

I'm taking my mom to a small vineyard this weekend for her birthday so we can channel some Lucy & Ethel and gets our feet purple. There will be photographic evidence of this expedition (it's included in the package) but there are no guarantees I'll share the pics.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Project!

In an effort to actually MAKE my goal of coming into hands-on contact with my yarn every day this month (ha!) I took my scarf project in it's little canister up to work today to work on in my off moments. Then ended up running to the grocery store for the fam over lunch and not having any free moments.

I got home and stared at my afghan. I'm using a way oversized hook for the yarn, so it's pretty airy, but still heavier than I want on my lap when it's our 45th day this year of 100+ degree temps.

With this in mind, I decided to start something new. Really new. Up til now everything I've done has been pretty simple--scarves and super simple afghans. This is pretty darn simple, too, but still a new thing for me.

I'm making a shopping bag to keep in the car--I seem to always forget to have a bag on me when I go to the library and always manage to leave with more books than I stopped to drop off. I'm working on this absolutely adorable bag from, the Shopaholics Shopper.

I went with Lily's Sugar 'n Cream because (again!) I got a bunch on clearance this Spring when Hobby Lobby reset their yarn aisle. My main color is sage green with the citrus fruits ombre for the trim (& possibly the bottom since I have 4 balls of the green and 2 1/2 of the ombre).

I DID start this tonight while watching old Heroes on the DVR (5 more eps & I'll be caught up!) and got four rows in. Then had to frog the last two because I realized at the end of row 4 that I'd frelled the beginning of row 3 and it was just ~wrong~.

But I touched yarn! I even managed to start making something with it! Woohoo!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bought Me Book

Well, it's 1043pm and, once again, I have yet to lay hands on yarn today.

I found myself having to choose after work between going to the grocery store or going to the book store. The book store won and let me tell you, I heard about the lack of milk in house when I got home. The things I do for this blog!

I brought home a copy of Easy Beaded Crochet. I saw it Saturday when I was shopping for small people birthday gifts (for the uber fun pool party Saturday night) and books for my reluctant reader and talked myself out of buying a book for me. All the purty lampwork beads yesterday made me rethink that decision. So at least I got a fiberrific book.

There's a scarf in there, supposedly 20's inspired, that I want to try. The yarn in the book is green, but I have something of a similar weight/feel in a sweet pale mulberry color that I got for an even sweeter price at the discount shop last year. I just need to check my arts and crafts stash for some beads.

I'm a little concerned that the beads will misshape the scarf, and the directions in the book even indicate that this is a strong possibility. That's the clearest part of the directions, sadly. The directions in this book are extraordinarily brief. I'm almost sure I can figure it out, but the sparseness is a but intimidating.

I still have an hour (yes, Candy, I spent 20min on a blog post, what can I say, I'm slow and friggin' verbose) so Imma go grab some yarn... :-)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Salado Art Fair Round-Up

I went with my mom and aunt to the 43rd Annual Salado Art Fair this afternoon after helping a friend do a little moving (okay, a LOT of moving, but I was only able to help with a little due to prior plans above).

Sweat ungodly amounts in the nicely overcast, cooler-but-so-humid-it-didn't-matter Texas sunshine. Quick rundown because I'm exhausted, STILL need a shower, and it's already after midnight and I gotta be at work @ 8:30am.


These ladies had original oils on display that TOTALLY would have come home with me, if I had several thousand dollars of disposable income. My faves are not in the galleries on either of their websites, but I'll be watching them and looking for prints down the line. The websites, sadly, do NOT do justice to their paintings:

Jeanie Yu Wyatt and Natasha Mylius


Lorena Martinez's Austin Gourmet Foods : Taste-tested her spinach, garlic, and herb fettucine and it was to-kill-for yummy. Plus whole-grain organic, so not too shabby. I know my kids (that is, Raidman and the girlchild) wouldn't touch the stuff, though, so I brought home a couple smaller packages of her zucchini pasta (sadly discontinued as an unpopular flavor) just for me! All Mine! Muahahaha!


There were a lot of glass artists who work with dichroic and lampwork beads at the show, but my fave by far, was this lady. Her website is sparse, but she does shows most weeks here in town so I can go look over her stuff whenever I want. :)

Speaking of sparse websites, I wonder if AGF would be willing to trade web copy for organic pasta... Hmmm...

Saved my favorite for last: The Literati Bookmark. I could go on and on about how much I love this thing (not to mention how many I bought!) but I did that earlier today on my book blog, here.

I was really disappointed that there were no fiber artists (yarn geeks to you unbelievers) at the show. :-(

I did get some wicked pretty pics of the trees in Salado creek when the three of us waded into it to cool off--apparently a traditional part of attending this event for my mom and aunt. Will try to post later this week.

Managed to blow my 31-days of fiber already. Today was yarnless, but lots of art!

Partial credit, maybe?

I did get a few inspirational ideas. All that gorgeous lampwork has motivated me to head back over to Half Price books and pick up the beginner's crochet-with-beads book I saw there yesterday--will try to do that over lunch tomorrow.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fiber is Fun!

Okay, if you are one of my many non-fiber/yarn obsessed friends, feel free to go away. For, like, a month. I've decided to take part in Fiber 'Tudes Daily Dose of Fiber 31-Day Challenge.


I've been neglecting my yarn lately. I've added to my stash, a bit fanatically, but not only am I not doing anything with it, I recently (last weekend, while cleaning my lair office) frogged* a bunch of WIPs that I decided were not what I wanted them to be. So I have all this yarn, all these patterns, and I'm not doing anything with them.

*FTR, I'm a crocheter, not a knitter, but we don't have a special word for this in crochet so I borrowed the knitting term. The Fiber 'Tudes gals are knitters, but I hope they won't mind me hooking along this month.

Oh, and the holidays are coming and I'm feeling the need to inflict homemade gifts on everyone I love again, haven't done it in a year or so.

Current WIPs (that were not taken apart for their yarn) are an afghan for my aunt, and a fancy scarf for me.

The afghan is a super simple ripple variant mostly Simply Soft with a little fancy stuff I got on clearance thrown in every 5 rows or so.

The Wavelength scarf, well, if I ever manage to finish it and get it blocked (I ~need~ to stop stalling and get some foam mats for blocking projects) it will be fantabulous. The pattern is here and the yarn I chose, inspired by the pattern's name, is Ella Rae's lace merino in color 106 (the teals).

Pics of WIPs later, gotta get the girl ready for a late afternoon swim party :-S