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Random babblings of a fiber-obsessed nutcase

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I LOVE AppleCare..... Jul. 16th, 2019 @ 05:39 am
because - they are going cover this:

apple watch devoured

that, my friends, is my Apple watch. or...was. Let me explain - Suki and Chloe HATE each other. not dislike, HATE. we keep them separate to prevent, well, things like that from happening.

Sunday I screwed up. i went to grab the laundry hamper, and Suki got out of the bedroom....and went straight for Chloe, who was napping behind the couch. sigh.

i - stupidly - tried to break them up. Suki got me instead of Chloe.....after she broke the watch band (seriously - the stainless pins that hold the ban to the watch are broken), she got me.

i'll be fine - eventually. they could only put in 6 stitches, due to having to let bites drain. (3 bites...2.5 cm, 2.5 cm, and 2.0 cm). my wrist is swollen to the point of deformity, and it hurts to breathe. it could have been worse - the watch caught 2 teeth, instead of me. (although one of the bites is right where the watch face sits on my wrist. it's....well, interesting.)

we haven't had The Talk yet, but we will. i can't do this again. still allergic to all pain meds - i have been taking benedryl like it's candy, just to get a little pain relief (2 aleve, 1 benedryl. still hurts, but gets it to a level i can mostly deal with. nights i take 1 hydrocone and 1.5 benedryl.....i can sleep in short bursts. fun times! itching like mad....but so far the pain relief is worth it.)

the worst part? no knitting. you KNOW it's bad when i can't knit!

anyway - why i love AppleCare. we had called in 3 weeks ago because the watch would freeze up randomly and not respond to my screen taps. a hard reboot temporarily fixed it, but it had started up again last week. i decided to call in yesterday to tell them to cancel the claim #, since i was pretty sure "mauled by a dog" wasn't"t covered...and found out you get 2 accident claims. we're going in to a store on Saturday to get things worked out.

so, apple wins again.

in other news, the Duncan turned 1 year old yesterday. no pics, because i can't easily snap a pic of him one-handed. especially since he is very concerned over my arm......Lord love him, he keeps hurting me trying to make it better. (he's asleep on my foot right now.)

i need more ice, so i need to wrap up. hope y'all are having a better week than me!

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I did it. I deleted my Rav account... Jul. 9th, 2019 @ 07:39 am
because I can't stand for discrimination - of ANY sort. (FYI - discrimination doesn't just cover skin color or sexual orientation. It covers anything one can use to "other" people.)

Honestly, I'd been thinking about it for a *long* time - especially after R. started demanding people buy patterns from People of Color (that term is SO racist - it's just Colored People backward. I HATE it - we ALL have a color. Some are darker, some are lighter, some have a different tone......we're PEOPLE.).....I have NO IDEA what the pattern designer of ANY pattern that I own looks like. I don't run a background check before hitting buy it now. I buy patterns because there's something about them that speaks to me.

I didn't get to join the Rexit - I hit delete July 5. It took me that long to download all my PAID FOR patterns - I'm still not done organizing them! - but I did it. I joined in 2009 (at least, that's when my earliest projects were listed), so I had a LOT of stuff to delete/download. At least it's done - I have to delete Herself's account next, but I need to have my stuff organized first. (She suggested I keep it and use it to get more free patterns ("Mom, don't the liberals like giving stuff away for free? They shouldn't mind, then - right?" Clever, cheeky girl. :lol:) but I just...can't.)

Meanwhile, I found a list of folk that agree that discrimination is OK - they are now off my vendor list. I'm kinda sad - some of them write really lovely patterns (and I have a LOT of them on my currently owned list....:sigh:) but I simply can't support someone who supports ANY sort of discrimination - or who agrees with the libel that a small percentage of half the US means that ALL of that half are racist, white supremacists. Statistically speaking, that isn't true.....and realistically speaking, that isn't true. It's like saying that ALL gays are pedophiles.........just because a very small number of gays are. (I am NOT saying that - it's an example wrong-think.) Designers that I like that haven't openly agreed with R are still on my OK list - and I've found websites for most of them. I even ordered from 1 last night! (6 patterns that I didn't need, but I found out she'd been booted off R back in May. I don't know why, but I can certainly support her. She's Russian/Slavic, and her designs are *breath taking*. One of these days I'll knit a few up!)

I'm not going to toss the problematic patterns - I acquired them before this kerfuffle, and paid for some of them with real money (others I got with free-for-a-limited-time offers. :shrug: They showed as paid for in my R library, so.....I honestly couldn't tell you which ones used real money and which ones didn't, at this point.) Going forward, I'll only be purchasing from non-discriminatory designers - it's not like I really *need* any more patterns at this point. I have....well, I'm up to 1,400+ in my database right now, with.....at least 500 more to go. No, I don't have a problem......really. No, I don't expect to actually KNIT all of them - some of them are just so gorgeous I couldn't help myself. I use them as inspiration (especially the shawls. I don't wear shawls. They sure are pretty, though!)

Ah, well. I think I'll stay away from any of the new knitting sites for a bit.....I really do NOT like social media. R was a convenient place to get patterns......so is Love Knitting. And Etsy. And direct from the designers. :shrug:

(And...I think R did this with an ulterior motive. I *think* they might be thinking about selling....but their membership numbers have always been suspicious to me. 8 mil members? I think that's a bit high - especially since their "active right now" numbers were never over 50K. If even that much. I think the numbers are padded - a lot - and this was a good way to drop them without anyone getting too suspicious. This is just me thinking out loud, though.......I have nothing to back it up. Just....feelings. Which are as good as facts, right? :wink:)

Oh - shout out to Tap Forms! LOVE it! I haven't figured out how to link my project page to the pattern page, but everything else works beautifully! I even have forms set up for my sewing projects, so everything will be in one easy to access spot. I *highly* recommend them (if you're on iOS) - or any database app, if you're not. It makes finding downloaded files *SO* much easier!

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:sigh: So much for tolerance.... Jun. 23rd, 2019 @ 01:11 pm
It seems that Ravelry has gone off the deep end. They just announced that pro-Trump things are forbidden. F*Trump items, are, of course, encouraged........I thought Ravelry was a place for yarn-lovers to hang out, not a PC zone.

I'm already in Rav jail, because I said I didn't care what pronouns others used to describe *me*. I can't post, but I damn sure can spend money with them. That kind of shows you what's important to them, huh? (Full disclosure - I don't buy many patterns from there, anyway; I'm there mostly for the free ones. I HAVE purchased - with actual money, even! - some patterns, but the majority of my library are free/coupon patterns.)

I'm trying to decide what to do......I'd already decided to keep my project pages in-house (Tap Forms is GREAT. I can access them from ANY device. I need to buy the Mac version; I have the iPad/iPhone ones, and all my sewing patterns are cataloged. (THAT was a chore!) I think I'm going to have all my crafts in one data-base, since I go from sewing to weaving to spinning to knitting to.......:lol:); I won't get any feedback, but honestly? I don't need feedback. I just want to keep track of what I've made, when, and out of what so I can see how long they last and what needs improving. :shrug:

I've not been idle whilst in jail - I've almost finished another sock, and I've got a new shirt for Himself about half-way done. It's a lovely, lovely cotton (from "a famous Hawaiian designer!" from FabricMart) that is sewing up like a dream. Once I'm sure the fit is correct, I'll knock out the rest of his fabric (FabricMart had a sale earlier this year on Ralph Lauren shirtings.......Oh. My. Gosh! is this stuff lovely! I can see why they command premium prices!

I have some shirting yardage for me, too - I just need to find the perfect pattern. I made a couple of Sew Over It's Lottie shirts.........kimono sleeves, collar......I'm not sure I really like the fit. As a pajama top, sure - but as an everyday top? It's little too......boxy. Unshaped. Comfy, sure, but......:shrug: I'll dig around in the pattern stash and see what I can find. I'm leaning toward a Grainline Archer......but it doesn't have any bust shaping, and that's what I don't like about SOI's Lottie. :pondering:

Ah, well - so it goes. Those who brag that they are tolerant.....are showing their true colors. I just wonder - who are they going to attack next, once all the conservatives are gone?

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Been a while.. May. 23rd, 2019 @ 05:36 am
let's see:

1. Friend of family passed; SIL and her cousin came down and spent a week with us. Busy, crowded, but fun. They left the day before

2. Comic Con! It was a blast. Herself met her favorite MHA voice actor - he's sweet. They all are. We spent far too much time standing in line, but it was worth it.

3. It's kidding season here! 7 so far (1 more doe to go) - the totals are currently:

4 girls and 3 boys. We've had 3 sets of twins (g/g, b/b, and g/b) and 1 single (g). So far, no major interventions have been needed - fingers crossed the last one goes as easily.

4. Been sewing. Have made some hip purses - I saw one at the Con, and realized how useful they are. I dusted off the embroidery machine, and have made a few for the shop - just need to get more hardware so I can finish them and get them posted. Thinking about maybe making some geeky reusable shopping bags....we'll see. They're easy and I need more, anyway......

5. Mom had cataract surgery on 1 eye; the other eye is due to be done mid-June. Fun stuff! At least I had my knitting.....:lol:

6. We were approved for an Ag Exemption! Taxes next year will be a bit easier to bear - Thank the Lord! I'm still scrambling, trying to pay THIS year's amount. :sigh: (Don't ask. NSDH is....never mind. Seems all our financial problems are my fault, somehow.....:sigh:)

Ive got 7 hungry goatlings - later!

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So. There I was, all set... Apr. 14th, 2019 @ 03:47 pm
for Comic Con (coming this Star Wars weekend (5/4. Give it a minute. Say the date like Sir Alec with a mild lisp. May the......fourth. Be with you! :lol:)). At NTIF, Herself had an idea for the punniest cosplay - urban assault pants and boots, with a grammar-centric shirt, red pens, and our Boba Fett helmet. I'd be a Gramandolorian! :rofl: We hit the Army store the next weekend where I picked up the pants and boots (no worries- they'll be used for Nerfing, too!) I was all set, and rather proud of myself, when we got an email from the Con.......ALL the voice actors for MHA are going to be there. Oh noes!

Fortunately, we have a cosplay hoodie pattern, and JoAnn's had all their fleece on sale. I traced off my pattern....decided it looked "small", so added to it, then panicked and decided to make a test sew, first. Walmart had fleece for $3.50/yard, so I grabbed 3 yards, ran home, and...this happened:

hoodie - dragon back

hoodie - dragon front hood

I had planned on doing a plain one....but got to the hood, where the instructions said "if adding details, STOP and do it now!" and...well, why not? It turned out too big - because, of course, the pattern was correct. :sigh: Still, I've worn the heck out of this thing, so - win!

Then I cut out the good fabric. I decided I needed an All Might Silver Age hoodie (Herself has a Golden Age one, and you can find those all over the place. The Silver Age.....not so much, unless you want a cheap printed one.) I think it turned out pretty good:

hoodie - AM front finished

hoodie - AM sleeve finished

hoodie - AM back finished

hoodie - AM back cape

Yes, it has a cape. No, it's not permanent. Just funny. :lol:

Then Herself decided SHE needed another hoodie...this time, Bakugou. I told her SHE needed to sew it herself, so......we ran out and bought the fabric (which was now *70%* off. Woot!) While she dithered on beginning (just started today) , I decided to whip up another one....this time, Uraraka.

hoodie - Uraraka front finished

hoodie - Uraraka back

I even sewed in the back piece! I'm proud of this one - I had found (and purchased) a pattern, but upon actually looking at it, decided it wasn't accurate enough. (Yeah, yeah - it's a hoodie. Still......if I'm going to put in the effort, it's going to be as close as I can get it. :shrug:)

So. That's 2 days down - 3 if I do use the Gramandolorian cosplay on Sunday. We'll see.......

Anyway. Taxes are due tomorrow - yes, a LOT of people owe this year. No, it shouldn't be a surprise - withholding was Decreased this year. Withholding is a payment plan for the taxes you owe......DEcreasing the "payment" doesn't decrease the amount due. Anyone who's surprised by this wasn't paying attention. (That'd be a LOT of folks. :sigh:) Add to it the fact that exemptions were changed, so most people can't go long form anymore, and the fact that taxes due go up almost every year, and.....yeah.

We were at a funeral yesterday for one of our clients. We had just finished his return......and he was in a fatal truck accident. Very sad.....we've already contacted his heir, and have offered to help with any financial questions they have.

I *really* need to start working on jeans soon. I am running out of pants to wear - for real. And undergarments........at least we're done with taxes for the moment. We filed 3 extensions, but have time before they are due. Think I'll try to spend some time in the Studio this week, working on "real" clothes.

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Other entries
» Of Insurance and Wolfhounds...
OK, NTIF was this weekend, so I'm tired. It was fun - I have new yarn! And Herself sold 3 pairs of earrings! And I might be able to move Himself's kilt hose (he'll never wear them, and told me it was OK to rehome them.) Moving on...

Re: Comment from Anonymous on my entry on my worthless health insurance. "I wold keep that insurance like Gollum wanted to keep the ring." You DO know how that ended up for Gollum, right?

Look. YOU might be able to afford to *waste* $709.00 per month on a crappy product. *I* cannot. *I* cannot afford to throw $6,000/year away on something that does NOTHING. Do the math:

$500/month premium. $25/visit, that DOES NOT INCLUDE x-rays, lab work, MRIs, etc. ($40 for approved specialists/$60 for NON-approved.)

Let's see how this works out, shall we?

Let's posit 1 doctor's visit per year - because you are healthy. Doc orders a bunch of lab work. So. Using my numbers above, you are out $6,000 for insurance premiums, $25 for the visit, and.....let's see. X-rays are $231 on my plan, let's assume lab work will be.....less than (because I am trying to be positive, here.) $115 for the lab work. That adds up to $6,140.00 for *1* visit.

What about self/cash pay? Well, my doc charges $85/visit - which INCLUDES lab work. I think it includes x-rays, as well, but for argument's sake, let's say it doesn't. The Ortho charges $100/visit for self/cash pay. Let's look at THOSE numbers, shall we???

2 Doc visits = $185. X-rays - you know what? I googled, and x-rays cost on average, $260 - $460 for CASH pay. Let's average those numbers, which gives us $360 for the x-rays (and I was charged - WITH insurance, $231.)

So. Had I gone in under self-pay, I'd be out $545. That's IT. I would have SAVED $5,595. But some anonymous person thinks I should keep this crappy insurance.......why? Because YOU have insurance that costs you $709/month? Why should I cause financial hardship for me and mine just because you do? That...makes no sense at all.

Oh, and prescriptions? You can get free discount cards that will help offset cost of prescriptions. I don't take any prescriptions. I WON'T take any - most of them have more side effects than I am comfortable with, and I can find herbal remedies that a) cost less and b) have little to no side effects. So.......:shrug: NO, I won't keep this waste of money. You do you. If you like spending that much money ($8,508/year, if you do the math), then more power to you. I do suggest, gently, that you run the numbers, though. Unless you have a life-threatening condition (which, actually, we ALL do - we are all terminal. Death WILL happen to everyone at some point.)...in which case, well, do what you gotta do.

On to FUN stuff: Wolfhounds, and the life with one. :lol: We're on #3, now, so I have a *little* bit of experience.

For your first one, I'd HIGHLY suggest going rescue, and getting one at least 1 year old. 2 years is better - the brain fairy doesn't visit before 18 months for girls, and 2 years (IF you are lucky!) for boys. Puppies are...a LOT of work. Bree was 6 months old when we got her; Duncan is now almost 8 months. (I need to register him...wonder if the AKC will accept his full name "Dammit Duncan!" ? :rofl:)

The chewing stage started at about 5.5 months with him (Bree was.......well, not as bad. The worst was my Bible - she took it outside and shredded it. Guess she thought she needed to INJEST the Word. :lol:) So far, we've lost a few shoes, a TON of dishtowels (I really need to buckle down at the loom. Really.), 3 skeins of yarn, charging cables, a portable DVD reader (it's still usable, but it has some new.....markings), some belts, a My Pillow, and - just yesterday! - the husband's hand-knit, hand-felted, Balmoral hat. :sigh: The main problem is that with Wolfies, if they can SEE it, it's theirs. Or so they think.

And when they are tall enough to see over the table before they have a brain, well........

Don't get me wrong - they are FANTASTIC companions. They are NOT "dogs" - they are honestly more like people that just happen to be in dog-form. Even at this young age, you can see him *thinking*....he just doesn't have the brain-power yet to realize what is a bad idea. (Hey, SOMETHING had to give. You grow THIS fast in such a short time, something has to be put on the back burner. The brain lost out over massive size. If you can deal with that, then stop waiting and grab a Wolfie!)

So far, we've not had a Wolfie try to go over our 4' fence. They are sight hounds, not jumpers. (Don't take them off-leash anywhere. You.....might get them back, eventually, if you have enough cheese. Cheese is like their kryptonite. Buy stock. Or goats, to make your own. Cheese has it's own line-item in my budget.....) They are VERY independent. Don't expect them to play fetch - they will do it once, maybe, then stop, look at you, sit, and VERY clearly tell you "What. You want the damn stick, YOU shouldn't have thrown it away. YOU go get it." They are not good watch dogs - they are, generally, standoffish to strangers, but they won't *guard* stuff. They'll guard *people*. THEIR people.

Duncan is, so far, the most...shy Wolfie we've had. He doesn't bark at strangers, he just pulls back and watches them. He will warm up, if you don't force it, but he won't go out of his way to check people out. Most Wolfies will stand there and boredly allow strangers to pet them, IF Mom and/or Dad says it's OK. If cheese appears, well.....they are your best friend. :lol:

I hope I didn't scare you - seriously, I love this breed to death. Because of the size, the usual puppy antics are magnified, and you have to keep reminding yourself that yes, he IS still a baby. They don't *need* a lot of space (no, really!) . They are professional-grade nappers - most of the day is spent speed-bumping around the house, with spurts of the "zoomies". (I did a post a LONG time ago, outlining Bree's typical day. It consisted of a bunch of photos of her sleeping in various spots in the house, following the sun beams. They don't really outgrow that....)(Nov 11, 2010, if you want to journal-dive. Seriously, it's just Bree sleeping around the house.)

Food-wise......they don't eat a lot. Honestly. He's getting...maybe 4 cups/day of puppy chow (but I need to switch him over to adult food soon. I think there's a little too much protein in the puppy chow......we'll see.) Bree got.....2.5 cups, maybe? We have 5 dogs, and go thru 1 bag (40 pounds) of puppy and....3 bags (40/50 pounds each) of regular dog food/month. Vet care is a little more, because of the size/weight, but - so far! - they've all been healthy.

But. Life-span is about 8 years. TOO short, but there ya go. I wouldn't miss it for the world.....but it is a short time. :sigh: I think it 's worth it, though.

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» Monthly Update
Let's see....busy, of course. Picked up more work - I'm now helping do tax returns. Fun stuff - no, it really is. Tax returns are fun, and relatively easy. I know it won't last - 4/15 is coming up fast! - but the extra money is good. The regular contract job is ticking along.

Health: I have insurance now! It SUCKS! Went to the doc about my leg 2/5.....total waste of time. The NP didn't listen, caused me more pain (I went in at a solid 8. Left at an 11.), and lied to me ("I'll call you in a few hours." 6 hours later, *I* call. "She doesn't have time today. She'll call you tomorrow morning". Next day, at 1 PM "Oh. She's LEFT FOR THE DAY." At 3:30 "She looked at them, and they're negative." Um. Either you lied to me about her leaving for the day, or she took the X-rays home with her, or she didn't actually look at them, or she came in just for li'l 'ol me. Right.). :Sigh: Made an appt. with the only Ortho in town (for some reason he's NON-Approved by my insurance. Um...he's the only one in town, so how can he NOT be approved??), who also didn't listen and caused even MORE pain. I quit. (He also didn't LOOK at the x-ray - not that it showed anything. Bones heal in 6 weeks - I am 6 MONTHS out from the injury. Bones are healed, and the X-rays are worthless. He said he'd send me out for a MRI if exercises didn't work. Um - 6 MONTHS, dude. Exercises aren't going to do jack except cause more pain. I'm DONE.)

See, this insurance doesn't actually cover anything. We pay $500/month for....this. Regular doctors are $25/copay. (Not bad). X-Rays are NOT covered ($251/copay. That doesn't apply to the $1,500/person deductible.), neither are MRI's. Or lab work not done in the doctor's office. Specialists are $40, unless they are non-approved, in which case they are $60. ER visits are $200/copay. Once you meet your deductible, you're only covered UP TO 70%. Did I mention it's $500/month ($6,000/year) for this....."coverage"?

The insurance we had at the husband's previous job was what you expect. Yes, it was more per month (the retirement coverage was $1,000/month for the 3 of us; he was paying $500/month for him and Himself), but co-pays (both regular doctors AND specialists) was $30. ER visits is $100. Once you meet your deductible ($750, with a family maximum of $1,500) you're covered. Period. The husband's carpal tunnel surgery (BOTH arms) cost us $250 out of pocket. And no, he hadn't met his deductible yet. And that included the doctor co-pays. EDITI was mistaken. It was only $30 TOTAL.

So. After the horrible orthopedic visit, I did the math. I can't afford to have anything done to my leg, assuming these.....doctors....can find anything. So......I quit. I told the husband to remove me from the policy - if I can't use it, I refuse to pay for it - and I'll just continue on the way I was. With the exception of my leg, I am healthy and don't go to the doctor much, anyway, so why pay?

Anyway.

Sewing: Just finished a new barn coat. Pattern is Green Pepper's Barn Jacket......I like it. Easy pattern, directions could use a little tweaking (how you cover the raw edges on the neck after attaching the collar...suck, to put it nicely), and the resulting jacket is nice. I used the heavy-weight denim I had (it's all gone, now!) and lined it with a nice Black Watch plaid flannel......I'll be testing it this AM. (Oh, shoot - I need photos. I'll try later today.) There's at least 3 more in line - Herself wants one in purple, Himself wants one in.....some dark color, and the husband decided he needed one, too. :lol: I'm thinking I need one in a lighter-weight outer fabric, for knocking about.

Herself bought us a 36" wide plotter for printing out .pdf sewing patterns. We are having issues loading the drivers - probably because the only laptop we have that can use them is...well, borked. I have a friend configuring a "new" laptop for me - he said he'd try to load the drivers for me, too. :fingers crossed: (Full disclosure - the printer was only $120. If you consider we were paying $10/page for pattern printing (because I am OVER taping letter-sized pages together), this is a HUGE bargain. Print 6 patterns, and we are even.)

Household: Had to have both the washer and dryer worked on this month. The dryer is about 14 years old, we think, and the rollers went out. My beloved Speed Queen is just 4 - the timer went out. The repairman said we should be good for another 15 years or so...hope so! I still love my washer - this is the first time we've had any issues at all.

Duncan: His official name is "Dammit Duncan!" because he's 7 months old now, and has discovered he can reach the table top. He's eaten 3 balls of yarn, a memory foam pillow, 3 shoes, 1 portable DVD drive, 1 hat, numerous pieces of firewood, 1 feather pillow, 3 pairs of reading glasses.....and I'm sure I'm forgetting a LOT. He's a destructive force of nature.....:lol: Good thing he's cute!

I need to get ready to face the weather and do morning stables. I'll try to pop in later!

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» Sigh...
Well, we lost Tigger Friday morning. The seizures came back Wednesday, and got progressively worse. The Vet changed her meds; I started the new one Thursday morning, but it did nothing. By Thursday evening she was averaging 1 every 4 minutes.......

No fun. We’re coping - most of us expected how it would end.

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» Updatey-thing
So. How've you been? I've been busy - as usual. :lol: Himself asked me to replace his shirts with me-made ones, :gulp!: so I've been in the Studio working on a muslin for him to abuse. Funny thing - about the same time he asked me, Fabric Mart sent me an email with all shirtings on SALE. DEEP sale. (Gotta love Divine intervention, no? :rofl:) He now has 5 pieces of designer (seriously - Ralph Lauren, a "famous Hawaiian designer", and someone else I can't remember) cotton waiting to be turned into lovely button-down shirts. The muslin just needs buttonholes and buttons, then he gets to abuse it for a couple of weeks before I start on the "real" fabric.

In the meantime, I'm going to be sewing him a body double - Bootstrap Fashion has done it again. They offer custom drafted dress form patterns now....$24 for most sizes ($35-ish for the standard, multi-size patterns). I have his pattern, and we went out Friday and picked up the fabric for it (plain, gray, mid-weight cotton. He didn't want a pattern - even though it's in MY Studio. I don't mind - as long as it's in the color scheme I have going, it's good.) Soon as I get the buttonholes in, I'll start on it. :excited:

I'm not doing goals/resolutions/aspirations this year. Too much stress. :lol: Instead, I'm going to look back at 2018, then forward to 2019 to see what I plan on doing.

Knitting: Last year was pretty much a bust once FIL died. My knitting mojo left, and still hasn't really returned. I think it's because I had just finished a pair of stained glass socks (he LOVED them), and started another pair when he died. I finally finished the 2nd pair in....August, I think (he died in MAY). I started a scarf for Himself in December, and I'm finally 2/3's done.

This year, I'd like to knit more. I need to finish his scarf, knock out a hat for Herself, and start on this year's scarf for Himself. And finish a few pairs of socks for me. We'll see.....

Sewing: Last year wasn't too bad. I spent at least half focused on bags/purses, but I did get a few clothing items done. This year, I want to do Himself's shirts, then focus on undergarments for Herself and me. And a few purses, here and there, for the shop. Oh, and a few laptop cases - Cyn needs one DESPERATELY, and I want to see if maybe there's a market for geeky ones. (Hers will be the tester. :lol:)

Spinning/Weaving: I honestly haven't done much of either. I NEED to get back to the loom - I need the quiet contemplation weaving brings me. Spinning......well, can't do that in the house right now, as Duncan would eat the wheel. Teething wolfhounds are...well....a MESS. But cute!

Exercise: By December, I had a decent routine worked out. Sun/Tues/Thurs I do the weight machine. Mon/Wed/Fri I do a Pilates tape - 20 minutes right now. I want to keep that up - I've lost an inch in my waist so far! :huzzah!: Soon as my ankle gets better (don't ask) I'd like to hit the treadmill.......:sigh:

The contract job has sorta started back up. We'll see how it goes - I don't mind it. The money is nice, and the work is easy. I'm supposed to help Cyn with tax returns, so that'll also help.

Himself has gotten me to play some video games with him - it's fun. It's also a good way to bond...so this Mama is going to try to become a gamer. :gulp: So far, he's got me into Subnautica (creative only - I don't DO scary sea monster jump scares! I like building underwater bases and exploring.), Medieval Engineers, and he wants me to start playing Space Engineers, too. Oh, and Kerbal Space Program. :lol: He's offered to buy me the older Star Wars games, too.....but that's going to involve getting a MS :hiss: machine to properly run them - Macs aren't great for gaming. (I think I'll be getting one, anyway, for the contract stuff. All the programs client uses are MS based.....:sigh: I HATE MS machines! I'm an Apple fan......) Ah, well - it's fun. The kids are currently playing Borderlands 2........it's too violent for *me*. I'm a wuss.....

Let's see....oh. Monday last Tigger had a seizure. NSDH immediately ran her to the ER Vet - she's now on anti-seizure meds. (Don't mind me. We can't afford for me to go get my ankle checked out, but we can go into debt for a dog. Sure. Why not?) She's doing fine now - we have no idea what caused it. Our vet said they don't diagnose epilepsy after the dog is 5.....she's going on 11 now. So....who knows? She'll be on pills the rest of her life (at $75/month. Really, don't mind me - I'll get over it eventually.)

Anyway, I think that gets me up to date. Tomorrow is back to Cyn's, then Tuesday is finish the bloody shirt and start the body double day. Should be fun!

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» Happy Birthday to me....
last week. Didn't mention it, because it was a big one (I am now half-a-century old!) and....well, I wasn't feeling it.

Herself, however, hit it out of the park. Let me back up a bit: We did Broadway Musicals as a class in Homeschool. 2 years; the first year was an in-depth study (using the Great Courses as a base, adding in some PBS documentaries), the 2nd was watching all the Musicals I could get my hands on, adding in reviews and any extras (for example: Kiss Me Kate, then watching Taming of the Shrew and doing a comparison. Same with Romeo & Juliet and West Side Story, etc.)

My *favorite* Musical is Phantom of the Opera. (Yes, ALW is a HACK, but the story is fun, the songs are singable, and the theatrics are outstanding. It's a fun experience!). We spent a few weeks on PotO; watching the film version, then watching the behind-the-scenes documentary, reading a synopsis of the story it was based on......and Herself was hooked. She told me then that if PotO came thru Dallas and we could afford it, we HAD to go. (I've seen it on stage 3 times before now - each time it was a slightly modified original production. Swinging chandelier and all. :lol:)

Well, this was the year. Our performance was yesterday.....I have to review it. It was AWESOME. And VASTLY different from the productions I've seen.

This version.......is......well, sorta steampunkish. Most of the productions have been....theatrical, for lack of a better word. This one was........the ONLY way I can describe it is to say that this is what you'd expect to see if you went back in time and watched a "contemporary" version (i.e.: Victorian) on stage. (I KNOW it's not actually Victorian, but it's set in quasi-Victorian Paris.)

The whole production was focused on the center of the stage - everything was designed to draw your eye *there*, and to make you "miss" the "off-stage" stuff going on. The stage hands were dressed like Victorian stagehands would have been (and the wardrobe department knocked it out of the park - they looked like poor, dirty, unwashed men.) The main part of the stage was a...box...in the middle of the stage that opened up to become the various sets, or spun around to become the Phantom's realm. IF you were familiar with the story, you'd find yourself glancing to the dark corners of the actual stage...and you'd see stuff going on "off stage" (which is really part of the action), slightly obscured in shadow - just like I imagine Victorian/Elizabethan plays were)....it really sold the mood of the Musical.

The special effects carried this point home - instead of using trap doors and modern technology (well, *obviously* modern), this used pyrotechnics and sleight-of-hand. The chandelier didn't *swing*; the Phantom "shot" the cable it was hanging from, and it dropped, stopping barely 3 feet above the audience (5 rows in front of us. *5* rows!!! Did I mention we had *fantastic* seats????) You could smell the "gunpowder", and see and feel the sparks. (At one point, the Phantom lights the lights at the front of the stage, and they flare up to 6'. We could FEEL the heat, y'all. I had to close my eyes because it was so bright.)

They cut some of my favorite scenes (the candelabras rising up from the river, and the wedding-dress jump scare), but honestly? They didn't need them. I enjoyed every minute.

Now, some critical analysis: the Phantom had a good voice, but it was straining in the top registers. He was *good*, but I've heard better (I'm NOT complaining too much, here. He was GOOD, just not Fantastic.) We had Christine's understudy - I can't imagine how good the actual star is, because this lady was phenomenal! Carlotta was the perfect diva - she overacted magnificently. :lol: Raoul was good......he maybe needed a little more "bottom", but honestly - the only singer I can really complain about was Phantom, and only because you could hear the strain as he tried to hit some of the higher notes.

It was fun. We enjoyed ourselves - and Herself was totally happy. We were among the best dressed - what happened to people? Used to, you dressed up to go to the theatre.......now? I saw a LOT of ripped jeans and t-shirts. :sigh:

Still. If you like Musicals, and IF you like Phantom, I highly recommend you go see this new production. It's different enough from the norm to make it new, and it was totally enjoyable.

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