Thursday, September 28, 2006

It's Picture Day!

Hey, look, an actual picture of jewelry on a jewelry blog. What a novel concept.

This is the lavender/green embroidered bracelet that I’ve been working on forever (it seems like forever anyway). I finally finished the embroidery part and thought I’d do a quick scan before it gets applied to the bracelet blank because it’s so much harder for me to get any kind of a picture once this project gets three dimensional and won’t fit in the scanner any more. I have a new camera now, though, so hopefully the pictures will come out better this time.

Anyway, this stage is done and I’ve got the purple ultrasuede backing already applied to the bracelet blank. Next step is to finish cutting out this piece, glue it to the top of the bracelet blank and then do the beaded edging and I’ll be DONE.

I’ve already got the next embroidery project underway, but it’ll be eons before it’s even close to being finished. Still, I learn something every time I do one of these projects. In this one, I improved on my color selection and did a better job measuring the pieces and staying within the measured boundaries. I like the scattering of pearls throughout the piece as accents, but I’m not so happy with my idea of alternating size 15 seed beads with size 11 seed beads in the body of the bracelet. It works okay to do it in the bezel around the center cab, but doesn’t work so well elsewhere. I also need to work on not crowding the beads together too much. A little more room here and there will help improve the look of things. Finally, I need to do a few more “outline rings” around the larger beads so I get more of a “pond ripple” effect there. Overall, though, I think this project is an improvement over my first bracelet project.

These guys do take such an awfully long time. Maybe it’s time for another earring project to switch things up. Hmmm….

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I wanna new drug...

Hi. I’m KJ and I have a shoe addiction. I’m telling you, shoes
are the new crack and zappos.com is the new dealer in town.

I mean, really, “brocade ribbon AND an ornate crystal buckle.” This pair is beads, jewelry, sparkly stuff AND a shoe all rolled into one. I’m powerless to resist.

Help me.

Must...resist...lure of... shoes ...that don’t...go with...anything I own (but are really super cute nonetheless). If nothing else, I'm just enjoying the fact that shoes are even AVAILABLE in a color called "cyclamen."

And as long as I’m going to hell anyway, I may as well go straight for the hooker shoes, right? Figures this design came from JLo. Although this pair in purple is slightly less hookerish and more 40’s bombshell which, with my curves, is a look that so works for me. And now that I think about it, they would go with my new gray suit...

Hmmm...would it be, um, bad form to wear hot shoes to work?

Of course, it may be too late for me to worry about that now considering I’ve already worn red, patent leather, ankle-strap peep-toes AND cheetah-print stilettos (yes, Sparkle, on two separate occasions) to work. Hee!

But, the pair I will probably actually buy (because I’m so annoyingly practical...er MOST of the time) is this pair. Second choice is this pair in dark blue.

Now, where did I put that winning lotto ticket? Oh, and if a certain SOMEONE would hurry up and ask me out on a date, already, I’d have a place to maybe actually WEAR some of these beauties besides the office. Getting compliments from co-workers is not nearly as nice as watching a guy trip because he’s busy staring at your legs and thinking lascivious thoughts. I know, because I made the whole guy-trip thing happen once this summer by way of the Anne Klein “killer sandals” (as previously mentioned here) and a knee-length denim skirt and it was quite an enjoyable experience.

Did I mention I only have 5 lbs. to go to hit my initial weight-loss goal and I look fa-bu-lous in a size 12? Okay, conceited, I know, but I’ve worked REALLY hard to get this far so I figure it’s okay to take some well-deserved pride in my accomplishment.

KJ

P.S. As long as you’re sharing in my obsession(s), check out this totally cute purse .

Friday, September 22, 2006

P.S. Update

A little update to the post-script of the last entry. Turns out what they're actually singing is "Go ahead, be gone with it."

But my way is funnier ;-)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

KJ

Book Review

I’ve finally had a few spare minutes to put a book review together so here it is.

I’d like to review “Karavans” by Jennifer Roberson, but I’m not sure it’s fair to review a book that I haven’t finished. I’ve tried like heck to slog my way through this book for about the last month and I’ve finally given up. I just don’t care what happens to these characters. You know, it’s one thing to do gradual character development and drop tantalizingly obscure clues about the exact nature of some of the main characters, but there’s a point where it just stretches on for too long and I lose interest. I’m two-thirds of the way through this stupid story and I still don’t know what the Shoia are or what Alisano really is or does or why it’s such a threat. The book is called “Karavans” and yet the karavan has only JUST NOW left the rendez-vous point and now it’s TURNING BACK! Yawn.

It’s a shame because I always enjoyed Roberson’s “Sword Dancer” and “Cheysuli” (okay, Jenie, you can stop making gagging noises over there in the corner…I can hear ya, you know) series and I was thrilled to hear she’d finally gotten around to putting out some new books. I’m very disappointed.

So, I suppose those of you with more patience than I have could still go and give this book a try (especially once it comes out in paperback) but I’m officially calling it quits. Do me a favor, though, if anyone does check this out…come by here and let me know if it ever got any better, m’kay?

Thank goodness for the next book that, in stark contrast to “Karavans”, was a rip-roaring ride from beginning to end. Only took me about 3 days to finish this one and I had to force myself to put it down each night to get some sleep. I’m talking about “The Lies of Locke Lamora” by Scott Lynch. This book got a lot of great press prior to its release and I’m glad to say it doesn’t disappoint. The story follows the career of a gang of thieves and con-men known as the “Gentlemen Bastards.” I’d describe it as a bit of “The Sting” meets “The Godfather” set in a Renaissance-era Venice that was built by a vanished alien race and which is currently endowed with magic and lots of nasty sea creatures (don’t go swimming in the harbor!). It sounds like there’s way too much going on, but Lynch manages to pull all these disparate elements together to create an interesting and fresh-feeling background world (which is getting harder and harder to do these days) peopled with colorful characters.

This is Lynch’s first published novel as far as I can tell and it does have a few rookie mistakes in it, but they are so minor as to be barely noticeable. Lynch employs a shifting time-stream method of telling this story – flipping back and forth between “present” events and Locke and the gang’s childhood training. While not a mistake in and of itself, it’s just not a technique I’m particularly fond of. It does serve to break up the almost incessant action of the current storyline, though, so it’s effective in that sense. The other things that bugged me a bit were a couple of characters whose storylines were never really resolved. One never actually makes it on-stage in this book at all, but is just referred to very frequently. I assume she’ll make an appearance in a sequel, but still, a bit annoying. Another character gets done away so rapidly that the reader wonders why that character was even necessary to begin with. Lastly, I thought a couple of the plot points were fairly simple and obvious – which flies in the face of Lock Lamora being the most “clever” thief around. It made me wonder why he wasn’t able to “out think” the opposition on a couple of occasions or come up with better plans. Again, these things are so minor that they certainly didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the book. I had no problem paying full price for the hardcover version and I’ll definitely be looking out for a sequel.

Oh, and one small warning. There’s a definite dose of violence in this book (it is about gangsters, thieves and murderers after all) so steer clear if you can’t handle that. Also, I wouldn’t get overly attached to any of the characters…

That’s it for this week.

KJ

P.S. Does anyone else think that part of the chorus in Justin Timberlake’s song “Sexy Back” sounds like the backup singers are singing “go ahead big boner”? Or is it just me…

Monday, September 11, 2006

Kids say the darndest things

So, tonight when I was putting some 1% hydrocortisone cream on my son's face, he asked what I was doing. I explained it to him and he responded "but mommy, why do you have to put hieroglyphics on my face?"

After I picked myself up off the floor from laughing, I had to spend the next 15 minutes explaing the difference between hydrocortisone and hieroglpyhics. To a 3-year-old. I can hardly wait until he needs help with his calculus homework...

KJ

P.S. I've finally solved all the problems related to updating the website. I've got access to the server and I have Dreamworks software re-loaded on my computer. So, updates will be forthcoming the next time I have a free weekend...which should be in about 2 weeks.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Mall Redux

Overheard at the mall today:

Approx. mid-twenties Girl #1: (points to patent leather shoes) "I really hate all these plastic shoes.

Friend of Girl #1: "Yeah. Plastic is totally gross."

I swear - did the mothers of this generation teach them NOTHING at all about fashion?

But, I didn't let it bother me because I woke up to a wonderful surprise this morning. Despite having a cold for the past few days and fighting a certain monthly intrusion of Mother Nature and having therefore suspended the dieting and working out during this time period, I got on the scale this morning to find that I'd dropped FIVE POUNDS since Friday!!! I have no idea how this happened considering that I never made it to the gym after Tuesday and I ate (shhhh!) cookies on Thursday AND Friday. But hey - whatever works!

Woo Hoo! 5 more lbs. to my initial goal, baby!

And when I reach that goal - these are what I'm buying myself as a reward!

Go me!

KJ

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bathroom Whisperers

There’s this weird phenomenon that I’ve noticed and I can’t decide if it’s just happening to me or if everyone knows about it and just doesn’t say anything? I’m talking about “bathroom whisperers.” Have you ever been in a restroom and heard the person in the next stall whispering to herself? Because it happens to me a lot. There were two of them at my last job – and they did it every time they came in the restroom. I’ve encountered them out in public (well, public restrooms) as well. And now there’s one here at my new job.

What is up with this? It’s not people talking softly on a cell phone. Although I’ve heard that happen, too, and it’s just wrong. There are some places where you should be “temporarily unavailable.” Call the person back for heaven’s sake – that’s what voice mail is for!). But bathroom whisperers are different. They’re just talking to themselves in a whisper the entire time they’re in the bathroom from the moment they enter until they come out of the stall. They only stop when they realize someone else is there. And yet, I can never understand what they’re saying. What’s so important that you have to tell yourself about it in the restroom? And repeat it over and over in a whisper?

It’s weird…and kinda creepy, too. I want to understand what causes it (because I’m all scientific and stuff like that, yo) but mostly I just want it to stop because it’s weirding me out, dude.

Just me?

Bueller?

{sound of crickets chirping}

Okay then.

KJ

P.S. The marine layer is back with a vengeance so that means the good hair phenomenon is history. Not to be seen again for 3-10 years (I noticed that seemed to be about the normal span between previous occurrences).

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Good Hair Days

Let it be known and proclaimed throughout the world that on this date in history, I experienced the rare noteworthy event known as a “Good Hair Day.” I know, I know, but really, it’s true. I wouldn’t lie about something like this (well, okay, I would, but in this case, I’m not). Today’s hair has exactly the right amount of “poofiness” to look like natural body without approaching either Texas Big Hair or 80’s poodleness. It’s not frizzy and it didn’t fall flat.

This made me nostalgic for the known “Good Hair Days” of years gone by:

October 31, 2003: Perfect, thick, shiny hair – brought to you by post-partum hormones. This one was actually captured on FILM! Sadly, the picture fell victim to the great re-organization project of ’04 in which I lost more stuff than I actually organized. The hair also fell victim…or rather, it just fell out when the hormones departed. Sigh. I miss that hair.

June 1, 1994: Test drive of hairstyle for upcoming wedding. Sadly, hairstyle on actual wedding day did not live up to the promise of the test drive (nervous bride = sweaty, droopy bangs). Maybe it was an omen?

February 27, 1985: Ah yes, the 80’s. When it took me 3 hours from shower to finished product to do my hair and it still never looked right – except for this one date. My layered perm was at just the perfect stage where it had relaxed enough to not be frizzy, but the roots hadn’t grown out straight yet. My perms always had about a 3-day span during which they looked the way I wanted them to. This particular span happened to coincide with the ZBT “Red Light Affair” party. So, after the appropriate application of gold-glitter-filled mousse and Sebastian Freeze ‘N Shine Spray and a skillful two-hour session of diffuser, hot rollers and curling iron, I donned my hooker costume (now that I think about it – there were an awful lot of “hooker-related” party themes in college and yet we girls just kept falling for it) and headed out. Sadly, this moment of hair perfection was short-lived due to a group of drunken party attendees who thought that “beer showers” sounded like a good idea. R.I.P. perfect hair.

December 25, 1982: Christmas of my senior year in high school – shortly before I made the fateful (and saaaaadly misguided) decision that I was “bored” with long hair and wanted to be the blonde Pat Benatar instead. I thought I was hot stuff for about 2 seconds until my boyfriend of the time saw the new ‘do and commented “Nice. How long will it take to grow back?” Actually, I don’t think my hair has ever forgiven me for that whole debacle because that’s right about the time it started to get darker and darker until I had to start dyeing it blonde.

Ah, the glory days.

KJ

P.S. Today’s great hair day brought to you by a can of Tresemme “Ultra Light Mist” hairspray and the lack of a marine layer (also known as “fog” for you non-Southern Californians).

Friday, September 01, 2006

Poll and Book Review

So, now that everyone’s had a chance to catch up on just how truly fascinating life at chez divorced single mom is, here’s the question for the day. What’s the appropriate action to take when one is approached by a guy who seems perfectly nice and with whom one appears to have things in common, but who is not so hot in the looks department?

Things to keep in mind while answering this question:

1. Number of other current prospects = 0
2. Guy is not a troll – just no initial sparks and isn’t really “my type.”
3. There’s no way in hell a guy who IS “my type” will EVER ask me out. I have aspirations waaayyyy beyond the boundary of my league.
4. The ethics of encouraging someone’s attention when you strongly suspect there’s no future in it due to lack of attraction.
5. Wondering what it would be like to be in the driver’s seat for a change. This includes the semi-bitchy and no doubt immature desire to be the “just not that into it” party (i.e. the one who doesn’t care about returning phone calls and/or has no motivation to stress over whether the other party likes her or not).
6. Number of other current prospects = 0
7. The desire not to “settle” ever again. Because look how well that turned out the first time…
8. The chance to be the hot half of the equation for once.
9. The opportunity for free dinners and adult conversation.
10. My experience with really good looking guys (which, admittedly, is somewhat limited) is that they are major jerks.
11. ANYTHING is better than sitting home alone on Friday nights watching re-runs of “What Not to Wear” for pregnant women, right?
12. Did I mention this is the only game in town right now? I mean, yes, Cowboy Guy finally e-mailed me back, but it was a kind of strange, intense e-mail and I’m thinking I may need to just back away from that situation. So Looks 3 Guy (as in “dance 10, looks 3” – it’s a “Chorus Line” reference…rent the movie) is pretty much where it’s at right now. There was one other guy who sent me a wink and I responded, but nothing back from him since then so I’m not even giving him a cute nickname for the blog.

Okay, that’s it. The polls are open. Remember, my dating future is in your hands (but no pressure).

Now, on to the books. Yes, I’m actually doing a review on Friday like I’m supposed to. Try not to fall over in shock.

I won’t bore you with reviews of the dating self-help books I read because they were, for the most part, a waste of time. However, there’s one small exception – although it’s not really a “self-help” book so I have no idea why it was in that section of the store, but it was so I suppose the store considers it to be self-help so that’s how I’ll have to refer to it. I’m talking about “Between Boyfriends” by Cindy Chupack, a former writer and executive producer for “Sex and the City.” It’s a collection of amusing anecdotes and essays about her dating experiences – I’m guessing some of these are things that were pitched as episodes for the TV show but didn’t make the cut. She’s got a great sense of humor, the stories are amusing and ring very true (which is funny and yet it’s kinda sad at the same time to know that’s what awaits me out there in the deep, dark waters of the dating world). I particularly liked her idea of the “male harem.” Always wanted to get me one of those. Anyway, if you know anyone who’s single or who is “between boyfriends” I highly recommend this book as a little pick-me-up and something to do on those Friday nights when even the losers of the world have failed to ask you out.

Next is “Kitty Goes to Washington” by Carrie Vaughn. This is the second book about Kitty, the late night radio talk show host and her (mis)adventures as a werewolf. In this installment, Kitty is called to Washington, DC, to testify before a Senate committee on the supernatural. This would seem far-fetched unless one remembers that Dee Snyder, the frontman for “Twisted Sister,” once testified before Congress and a werewolf seems tame compared to that. Along the way, Kitty runs afoul of the local vampire community, a rather sinister government medical lab and an Unseelie sidhe preacher who claims he can “cure” vampirism and lycanthropy. When I reviewed Vaughn’s first book in this series, I commented that it was obvious she was a novice writer, but she had some good material to work with and hopefully would hone her craft in later installments. The good news is that this book definitely has a tighter plot structure and flows a lot better than the first one did. The bad news is that there are still a number of “rookie” mistakes here – chief among them being a particular TV broadcast that Kitty convinces the people around her to allow under circumstances that one would have to be totally gonzo nuts (not to mention stupid) to allow a TV broadcast. This was far more unbelievable than her being called to testify at a Senate hearing. The supporting cast of characters was more thoroughly fleshed out this time even though some of them are clich├ęs and at least one of them appears to be a direct rip-off from Laurell K. Hamilton’s “Anita Blake” books. Although, I find I’m not that broken up about it. If I can end up with a series that has all the fun and excitement of the original Anita books without all the “Penthouse Letters” style porn of the later books then I say bring it on. This book was a definite improvement over the first book so I look forward to the next installment to see if the remaining problems can be resolved.

That’s it for this week. Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone! Drive safely!!

KJ