Thursday, October 4

Being a bit girly?

For those who know me, it comes as no surprise to say that I'm not a "girly" kind of gal. I didn't (don't) often wear skirts, jewelry, makeup, high heels, nail polish, or product in my hair. I just...don't find the effort to look interesting to be worth the time: I could be knitting, or gaming, or hanging out with friends who love me for who I am and not because I'm wearing the latest fashions or trends. I'm simply uninterested in the whole spiel. You will never catch me reading any of those fashion/makeup/trendy/tabloid type magazines, either, unless there is nothing else to read within a reasonably accessible radius, and by "nothing else" I would include nutrition facts on a cereal box, information on a toothpaste tube, and the evacuation plan in the seatback pocket in front of me during flight. It's just who I am.

But sometimes, I like being girly.

Yeah, it's taken me a couple of decades to admit it, but sometimes skirts are fun, makeup isn't always all chemically, some jewelry is cute or even beautiful, and I'm okay with that. I recently spent a few weeks negotiating custom orders on Etsy (when will they bring back alchemy*, I wonder?), and I'm thrilled with the results.

First, my kid sister said she wanted an apron for Christmas. For those of you who know her, you're well aware of her recent obsession with cooking just about any recipe she gets her hands on--and she's quite good at it. She's also a bit more into looking...perfect?...than I am, so she's not too thrilled when her less-than-stellar coordination means mashed potatoes on her pants or marinade on her shirt. So, an apron, huh? Off to Etsy I go! I searched for quite a while, until I found Perdoozy's shop; she makes aprons that look like they ought to be those cute 50's vintage dresses. Actually, my sis is whining about wanting Perdoozy to make her a dress, but you get what's available, ne? Perdoozy was a great help in looking all over to find the right fabric for my sis' reversible apron, and when it arrived, sis was thrilled with the end result. I kind of (definitely) liked one of the other ones she put together, so I bought one for myself as well--being on a diet means a lot more home-cooking, so I need one, right?

As for the other, I wanted to get a few nice jewelry items for our 3rd wedding anniversary, but I was too picky to buy just anything. I posted on the Etsy forums asking for someone to make me a custom bracelet, and after several responses I settled on Shijewels. Shi (pronounced "shy") is a really awesome lady, and while she worked on my bracelet (a mix of 2 of August's birthstones and 2 of October's, for my birthday and Daniel's, respectively), we talked about a number of things and became friends. I asked if she might be able to do what I had really wanted for my birthday, which was a moonstone pendant, and she said she'd give it a try. Lots of searching for stones and wire-wrapping later, she showed me two potential pendants. I picked one for its symbolism, asked for yet *another* customization, and she added that extra-special touch--I am so appreciative of the way she kept going the extra mile for me! Visit her Etsy shop (or blog) if you're wanting something extra-cute and affordable!

Since we're friends now, I guess, she decided to send me an extra little something--after the bracelet and necklace had already shipped--and I got it today: a pair of fire opal and carnelian earrings. Here's a shot of all that pretty stuff:

By way of saying thank you, I've knitted a Calorimetry and some fingerless mitts to fit Shi. You know, it's weird, when I bought this skein of yarn, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do with it, I just knew I needed to have it because it was just right for...something. Now I know!

And today I applied for a job with Wal-Mart. It may not be the perfect job, but it's only temporary (until grad school...sigh), and I took and passed all the tests for 1.) getting a job; 2.) getting a management position; and 3.) getting a salaried management position. Now I'm afraid they won't hire me because I'm overqualified or something. We'll see.

Also, I like Daniel's new PSP. There, I said it. It was blasphemy, but with all the games from SquEnix coming out soon, I think it will be...useful >=D

*Alchemy: on Etsy, it used to be a function where buyers could request custom objects and put their personal limitations (color, price range, media, etc.) and sellers would post their offers to make the item, thus allowing the buyer to make a good decision as to who was willing to do custom work that they liked and whose style they would appreciate. I'm hoping it comes back soon.

Friday, September 14

On wisdom teeth, birth, a goddaughter, and sleep deprivation

The title pretty well sums it up. On the 7th, which is my dad's birthday (happy 51st!), I got my wisdom teeth out (just the lower two). I spent 3 days in a complete haze of hydrocodeine and squishy foods with 7-up. Day 4 I switched to ibuprofen and got packed up for the trip to Mustang, to stay with my grandparents (dad's side). On the 11th, I rolled in to my grandparents' drive at about 10:45 pm, printed off directions to the hospital and tried to fall asleep--but that just didn't happen. Wednesday the 12th I woke up at 6:28 (just before the alarm), dressed quickly and ran to the kitchen for some breakfast. I chatted with my grandpa while I ate, and he helped me pack a lunch so I wouldn't have to buy an expensive one at the hospital. I left at 7:30, dealt with the crawling early morning traffic on the way in to OKC, got turned around 3 times because of crappy directions (curse you, Google Maps & Mapquest! Update your info!), and finally made it up to the right hospital building by 8:15.

Ran up 3 flights of stairs--then down, then back up after retrieving my cell phone from the car--only to find the whole building was poorly labeled. By following some rather vague signs, I arrived at the elevators and waited 5 minutes for one to even show up. I talked to some extremely pregnant ladies I can only assume were headed up to check in, and we all squeezed into the elevator to go to the labor & delivery wing. I asked the nurse at the station facing the elevator if she might be able to direct me to Hannah's room (I didn't want to call and bother Hannah and her husband, in case they were sleeping), and the exchange went more or less as follows:

Me: Um, excuse me, I'm looking for my friend who checked in last night for her scheduled induction, her name is Ha-
Nurse: (disgusted tone) I need her name!
Me: Um, yes, her name is Hannah Fortney.
Nurse: (Writing slowly) Anna-
Me: No, that's (enunciating) Hannah, with an "h".
Nurse: Anna?
Me: No, (enunciating like a Hebrew ch/h) "Hannah"!
Nurse: (Annoyed, scribbles out "Anna", writes "Hanna")
Me: There's two "h"s.
Nurse: (Vacant stare)
Me: The second one goes at the end...?
Nurse: (Adds an h) Last name "Courtney", that's C-O-U-
Me: No, Fortney, with an "f", like in...frog.
Nurse: Courtney?
Me: (Spitting to enunciate the "f") Fortney. F-O-R-T-N-E-Y.
Nurse: (Vacant stare) How do you spell it?
Me: (Barely containing contempt and frustration) F-O-R-T-N-E-Y.
Nurse: (Writes it down, finally, after crossing out "Court") She's not on my list.
Me: Should I check somewhere else, or is there something else you can check?
Nurse: (Light goes on) I can check the computer, one moment. (5 minutes later) B-05.
Me: Thanks, could you point me in the right direction?
Nurse: Down the hall, left, left, then right. (Thrusts paper into my hands, ignores me)
Me: Thanks much...

As it turns out, the correct directions were "right, left, right" but I had to ask a *doctor* where to find it (and felt bad, too, since the nurse-attendant person should have given clear directions). Hannah was fine, but bored and tired, as was Sean. At some point, I managed to finish another Calorimetry, but couldn't focus on the sock I'd brought to knit to keep busy. We hung out and chatted until her dad and sister showed up, then talked a while longer until Hannah decided she wanted more meds and kicked us out of the room.

Long story short, at 5:09 (5:11 hospital time, but literally everyone's cell phone and/or watch said 5:09, so that's what I'm sticking to), Mara Lily Fortney came into the world weighing 7 lbs, 4 oz, with a full head of dark curly hair and brown eyes. Long feet, mama's nose, and generally agreed to be the cutest thing ever. Hannah did wonderfully.

I'm a godmother =)

Welcome to the world, munchkin, we're glad you're here.

Wednesday, September 5

In which I get lost doing things I probably didn't need to do...

More knitting. And gaming, incidentally, but who's counting?

Finished that Calorimetry for my husband, with some wonderful alpaca yarn from Celia on Etsy, and he liked it well enough to request similar fingerless mitts. This may have something to do with the fact that, in spite of our living in the separate upstairs of my in-laws' house, his mother likes to keep the place at about -30 Celsius or something (okay, maybe 70 Fahrenheit, but either way the whole place is on the same central heating and air, and it's cold). So I made some fingerless mitts. They look really silly without someone's hands in them.

Then I had this brilliant idea: I can make Calorimetries for my girlfriends for Christmas. We've all got long hair, it's more convenient than a hat, and between Hannah's efforts and mine, everyone probably has about 47 scarves by now. There's only so many times you can say, "Oh, thanks! Another scarf! I needed one in this particular shade of turquoise...."

I got Trauma Center: Second Opinion for the Wii. I like it, and I felt like I was doing pretty good going back and getting S-rank on all the missions--then I figured out I was doing it on the easy mode. It's fun, but challenging at times, even on easy, and the story's fairly interesting (note: I have not played any other version of Trauma Center, so I don't know if it's rather redundant or not). The control system works fairly well, and it's not too gory or anything, so I like it =)

Tuesday, August 28

A-knitting we will go

I've been busy lately. Not really, but I like to think so.

Back in the late spring I bought this yarn from sweetcheex76 on Etsy and decided it was so wonderful I needed an awesome project for it. I quickly used one skein for a scarf, but was at a loss for the other skein--I wanted matching head- and hand-wear, but I just don't like hats since I've always got my hair up, and mittens just don't hack it when you're fishing in your purse for your keys (yes, I know gloves do, but it's such a nice yarn I didn't want to rub holes in it). The solution? To take the pattern from the scarf and apply it to the head wrap--a Calorimetry--and to fingerless mitts (no cables for me; they're really just a tube with a hole in the side that you turn into a thumb, but hey, who's counting?). I present the Argosy set in all it's pseudo-lacy glory:

And next on the needles will be another Calorimetry, this time for my husband, who also has long hair that is always in a pony tail. We know he'll love it since he loved his first scarf*, a monstrosity created as I re-learned to knit just after my freshman year in college.

*I used the only skein of yarn I owned, then went to the store for another, which was obviously a different color since it had been 7 years since I bought the first. Hideously clashed, but well-loved, I give you the Permanently Unfinished Scarf!**

**Yes, he does wear it in public

Tuesday, August 14

Getting a little personal

You know, this time of year school's starting up again. My kid sister (not so little anymore, she's getting her permit soon!) starts her sophomore year tomorrow and is not looking forward to it at all. My brother, on the other hand, is starting college and can't wait to become a...a...something, but he's pretty into it. We grew up in a college town, and that means low tuition and decent scholarships if your grades are good, so he's not too poorly off (but constantly griping about not getting a free ride like I had [note: Tough cookies, kiddo! You could have applied yourself, but you chose not to. Not my fault!]). Even my husband is doing school stuff now, which might come as a shock to those who know us--he's finally "settled" on graphic design and seems to be enjoying his new drawing tablet (anniversary gift). We have a new kitten, too, and she's occasionally getting along with our older (4 year-old) cat; she chews on everything as only kittens can do, and we still have to keep them in the bathroom at night sometimes (so she won't chew on us). One of my best friends just moved to Texas for law school, and another went with her girlfriend and girlfriend's daughter to North Dakota so her girlfriend could do her Master's. Another friend is having a baby, and still another is finishing up school while working full-time to support herself and her husband. Makes me feel like I ought to be doing something more, you know?

Monday, August 6

Games for the reader in you

Anyone who knows me knows I've been a bibliophile since preschool; I devour anything that can be read and love books of all genres. Since learning Spanish, I've done my best to improve my vocabulary by reading, and I hope I'll soon be able to do the same in Japanese (those kanji can be really frustrating, 'kay?). Most people would argue that video games are similar to television--your brain goes on autopilot and you don't really have to think. I agree that some games are, in fact, just that. Others, however, can involve just as much imagination, and occasionally reading skills, as a book, in addition to eye-hand coordination and critical or creative thinking. Most, if not all, of the games I prefer to play fall into the latter category.

I recently finished Chocobo Tales, which was honestly one of the cutest games I've ever seen. Fortunately for the more grown-up players out there, it stops short of being cutesy and has a quality story line that drives the game. Though its entire basis is mini games and card battles, it is enjoyable both *because* of those, and as a story game in its own right. You play as a chocobo trying to save the world--and his friends--from an evil book/spirit of darkness, and must defeat mini and micro games to earn cards for the "pop up duels" and free your friends from their imprisonment. The music is a great combination of new songs and revamped themes from other Final Fantasy games, and the artwork alternates between a cut-out crayon-colored 2D and a more current 3D approach. Though some of the mini and micro games are overly familiar to those who've played other DS minigame collections, and some are downright evil (relying far too much on skill [Shiva & Ifrit score mode?] or dumb luck [Magic Pot luck?]), it's highly entertaining and something you could easily use to hook a friend for a bit of download play or occupy a younger child for a few minutes. I'll spare you any more detail, since so many other sites have said it all. Well worth the $30, and it has plenty of replay value in single cartridge downloadable mini games as well as wifi card battles.
~~For the bibliophile: all mini games are found in story books with twisted versions of fairy tales or Aesop's fables, and the bad guy is an evil book. What more could you want?

Another great game (that I *haven't* finished) is Odin Sphere. You can't tell much about the game by its name, nor deduce from the gorgeous artwork that this is one of the most compelling RPGs in a long time, but unless you've been living in a box, you've probably heard about it already. For those who know me, I rank it right up there with Kingdom Hearts, and that's saying something. The inventory, health regen, leveling--all of it seems honed to perfection. For example, when enemies die, they release phozons, which are required for your special attacks as well as to grow fruit to replenish your health. Every level will have mandragoras (veggies) that are necessary to make potions to protect you from heat or cold, remove status ailments, damage enemies, or otherwise help in some way. And those fruits and veggies, along with a few other items that sometimes come from winning a level or defeating certain enemies, can be used to cook recipes which add to your HP and character level. Using a separate counter for your phozon and health levels, you must work to keep your character balanced (or unbalanced, depending on your preference). The alchemy system allows you to use up items in your inventory for more room, and the higher level a potion is the more phozons it releases upon creation--phozons you can use to level your gauge or grow more fruit, which can then be used.... Honestly, I think it's probably the cleverest system they could have devised, and my only real gripe with the game is that it's kind of too big for the PS2--there are times when there are many items/enemies/phozons on the screen and the game slows to a crawl. Definitely worth buying, and worth playing again and again.
~~For the bibliophile: technically, you're a little girl sitting in the attic with your cat, Socrates, and reading all these books about people living the same story from different perspectives. Not all the stories directly overlap, and all of them are incredibly compelling. You can play the stories again and again, which makes perfect sense to me--you don't read a book just once, right?

That's enough for today, really; I should get back to downloading applications for school. When will the horror end?

Wednesday, July 11

First Post! (teehee)

Everyone starts somewhere, I suppose, and this post is the start of my new blog. As you (all 2 of my readers, I suppose) can tell from the title, I'll be writing about two of my biggest hobbies: gaming and knitting. As near as I can guess, I'll mostly stick to writing about works I have in progress, games I'm playing, fiber I'm spinning (new! make your own yarn for the knitting! I think I need a sheep), and things I plan on doing in either arena. There may also be a few posts or fractions of posts devoted to my kitties (they're crazy), my husband (drives me crazy), my family (crazy...noticing a pattern?), my friends (mostly crazy), and anything else that may strike my fancy on any given day. That's it for the all-important first post, I think, so stay tuned....