The Liebster Award

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For those who don’t know, blog awards are kind of like YouTube or Tumblr tags. Someone nominates you and you follow a set of instructions and then tag a certain number of other people. It’s intended to create more community for bloggers, who are more “separated” than users of other social media platforms. Not that we don’t use those, but this is a way to interact more within the actual blogs.

A little over a month ago (because I am really slow about these sorts of things), I was nominated for the Liebster Award by The Very Special Blog. Without any further ado, my answers to her questions:

  1. What is your guilty pleasure TV show?

    Not having cable, I mainly watch my (mostly Simpsons) DVDs. But, if I happen to be babysitting when it is on, I do like to catch episodes of Branson Famous. It’s so cheesy, but addicting.

  2. What’s the weirdest, most random thing you’ve ever found in your pocket?

    I’ve only ever found old money in my pockets, but I routinely find random, dismembered Lego people in the kids’ laundry.

  3. Are you a coffee person, tea person, or both?

    At least one cup of coffee in the morning and at least one cup of tea in the afternoon.

  4. Who is your favorite member of The Baby-Sitter’s Club?

    You know, I don’t think I ever actually read the Baby-Sitter’s Club books and I don’t remember much from the TV show, but I was obsessed with the “Little Sister” series, so I guess I’ll have to say Kristy. Mostly because she is the only one I remember. Also, can we talk about how the teenagers in these series have the trendy names like Kristy and Stacey while the elementary-aged kids were named like 80-year-olds with names like Karen and Nancy?

  5. What’s the farthest place you’ve ever travelled from home?

    That would have to be the time I went to Paris. Which is the only time I’ve ever left the country.

  6. What is your favorite thing about blogging?

    Getting to write whatever I want to write. I’ve always felt weird writing in a diary, but having an “audience” makes it seem less weird.

  7. If you could go to any concert at any time, anywhere in the world, what would you see and why?

    Foo Fighters, anywhere, anytime. I love passion in music, and it seriously doesn’t get any more passionate than this: (Language warning at the end. Because, hey, it is Dave Grohl after all.)

    Seriously, what other rock stars would let themselves get this giddy about playing in concert with legends and not being trying to act cool? Screw reputations, get on with the rock!

  8. If you absolutely had to change your hair into the style of one of the original Charlie’s Angels would you pick The Farrah, The Jaclyn, or The Kate?

    Probably The Farrah. I mean, let’s face it, she always had the best hair.

  9. What is the worst movie you’ve ever seen?

    I’m just going to refer this question to my post about “A Talking Cat!?!”.

  10. What is your favorite book that you’ve read in the past year?

    I can’t really recall reading more than one actual book last year (all the way through, that is), but the one I did was fantastic: Make Up: Your Life Guide To Beauty Style and Success – Online and Off. You can read my review of it here.

  11. If you could only write with one item for the rest of your life, would you choose a pen or a pencil?

    Being mainly left-handed, I’d have to say pen, as long as it is one of the felt-tip kind that works for either hand and dries fast enough not to smear under my hand.

And now for 11 Random Facts:

  1. I am left-handed, but I chose in kindergarten for one reason or another to learn to write with my right hand. I’ve since gone back to mostly writing with my left hand, but I never learned cursive left-handed. This mean that when I fill out forms I write the printed parts with one hadn and have to switch hands to sign at the bottom.
  2. I can play piano, flute, guitar, ukulele, saxophone, and violin at varying levels of competency.
  3. I was a baton twirler for 9 years (8 years competitive), and I still pull the sticks out every once in a while.
  4. I have an AA degree in fashion design. This is a thing that even I forget most of the time, since I have been working childcare pretty much since I graduated.
  5. I have ridiculously blonde hair. Like, this stuff is transparent at my temples. It makes me look like I’m going bald when the dye grows out of my hair. That is, when the hair actually takes the dye at all.
  6. I did one day of background work on Disney’s movie Prom. This is the closest I ever got to attending a high school dance.
  7. I watched enough Degrassi: The Next Generation in middle/high school to develop a faintly Canadian accent. Well, that and (by my completely un-scientific guessing) approximately 50% of US children’s TV is made in Canada.
  8. I still watch VHS tapes. Not just keep them around, I actually watch them frequently. Turns out baby loves the same limited animation eighties books on film that I grew up watching.
  9. I have reached (as my mom pointed out) “Norm” status at the Starbucks on the corner. Because I am in there every other day for breakfast…or lunch…or a snack…
  10. I have had at least 5 different blogs on at least 3 different platforms since 2004 (not counting MySpace, because those “blogs” were just bulletin board posts).
  11. This is the post that has taken the most thought and work ever. Out of all of those blogs.

This is the part where I have to nominate other people, so I am choosing:

And here are the 11 questions I’m going to ask:

  1. If you could live in any fictional “universe”, which would you choose?
  2. Where is one place you would never go?
  3. If you weren’t born in the decade you were born in, in which decade do you think you would have been born?
  4. Would you rather be famous for no particular reason, or have an incredible talent that makes you happy and is recognized by no one else?
  5. If you had to listen to one song on repeat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  6. When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? And, is it still a goal if it isn’t what you are now?
  7. Which talent do you not currently possess, but wish you did?
  8. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
  9. Warm, cool, or neutral colors? (For what is up to you to decide, or just in general.)
  10. What lead you to your current job?
  11. The Ultimate Question: Digital, CD, or Vinyl?

And here are the Official Rules of the Liebster Award:

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
  3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
  6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
  7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.)
  8. Once you have written and published it, you then have to:

  9. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

Barbies and Bananas

Anyone else remember “Bananas in Pajamas”? Or “Pyjamas” if you were anywhere but the US? It played on US tv in the late 90s, and there were even singing plushie toys (and all kinds of other toys) like every children’s property at the time…and beyond. I got one of those for probably my sixth or seventh birthday (not fifth like I said Sunday. I actually found out they came out in ’96) and carried that thing everywhere.

But, in an effort to have to move less things, it got given to GoodWill because I thought I should give it away. And then I got to missing it. And so, when I opened my birthday gift from my mom, I was ecstatic to find this little guy: 

Original B1 banana, in perfect condition with great sound. Seriously, I think this one is probably in ten times better condition than my original one. And I know his voice sounds way better, because mine sang a lot…

Another thing I had to give up when we had not jobs or money was some of my Barbie ornament collection. Especially my favorite one, the 2000 New Years Barbie in the red dress. Because she is everyone else’s favorite, too. Which is why I was really excited to see her in the box with all the others. 

 

The ones out of the box are ornaments from the past few years,  but I don’t tend to put my Christmas ornaments away and they are pretty to have out all year round. Which is what I eventually want to do with all of them.

So that means this year’s birthday was getting back things I had lost over the years. Some people wouldn’t find that very exciting, but I am the kind of person who likes getting sock at Christmas. Plus I really was bummed about not having these things anymore.

By the way, this is how B1 got home Sunday night: 

 

Hey, I couldn’t squish him under a bag, could I? 

Can Spring Be Over Yet?

What do you mean it hasn’t even started?

Seriously, ever since the first 90° day back at the end of February the allergies have not let up. That day I walked out the back door and immediately it felt like someone had punched me in the nose. And that night the weatherman’s “teaser” for the news was, “Record breaking pollen alert.” Or something like that. All I really remember was thinking, “Really? Thanks, Captain Obvious.”

It’s been about three weeks of teasing spring weather. Meaning everything has bloomed multiple times. Or the winds just keep blowing things around at random times. Whatever it is, I can’t breathe. Back and forth between my lungs not being able to take in the air and not being able to pull air through my nostrils because they are too inflamed.

No real point to today’s post, other than to say I can’t wait for summer. It might be a million degrees hotter, but at least I will be able to breathe again.

I Conquered the Triangle

This Christmas gift was a real doozie. Considering I just finished it, you can probably imagine.

I started a week or two before Christmas, so it was doomed as a gift. But I was overly optimistic as one is so close to Christmas with so many things in the works. So I cast on an amount of stitches that was close to the pattern, seeing as how I was using slightly different yarn, and got to work. Around the end of the first ball of white, I knew there was going to be a problem in how much yarn I had, so I ordered two more colors of gray to get more of a gradient.

I wrapped up the progress on the white, along with the ball of gray yarn I had and the black yarn. I tossed them in a bag with a “loading” tag and gave that on Christmas morning. Then I had to wait another week for the other colors to show up. Once I got those, I kept plugging away. But I wasn’t getting very many rows out of each color.

I ignored the thoughts in my head that told me it wasn’t going to work as it was and kept going. By the time I got to the black, I had ordered three more balls of it to make sure I would have enough. It would be very bottom-heavy color-wise, but I told myself it would work. Until I got a few yards from the end of ball 4.

I did some calculations this time and worked my way from the bottom up to make sure I would have enough yarn. You know, something I should’ve done in the first place. But, you know, hindsight and whatever. I pulled the yarn from the original attempt as I worked. That way I didn’t have to unravel the whole thing at once, or deal with all those balls of yarn again.

I finally finished it last week. Two-and-a-half months past Christmas, but who’s counting. The point is, it is done and wearable. And I may sit down and write that up as kind of pattern/tutorial. Perhaps even with some videos, since I went backward to the way entrelac is usually executed.

Learning New Things

I’m not good at planning. I’ve probably lamented this before, but I’m also lazy so I’m not bothering to try to find it. Even if I have complained about it (a lot), I’ve yet to do much about getting better at planning.

Until this Christmas present from last year that I am finally finishing right now. It has kind of cemented the fact that I NEED to get better at planning. Not only has it taken way too long to make, I’m actually on my second attempt. Mostly because I just started with a tiny bit of an idea and ran out of yarn twice because I didn’t bother measuring anything.

I’ve also never gotten the hang of planning when I write. Shocker, eh? But I am currently working on a big post in stages for next week, and I am starting to see how this planning thing makes the whole process a little easier. That and some of the other projects I want to do this year are the types of things that will require a little planning to do well.

So, instead of just slapping something together and calling it good, I’m going to start trying this “planning” thing. It’s a stretch, but stretching is good for you.

I’ll let you decide whether I planned this or just threw it together.

Sonic Paradise

Hayley Kiyoko has appeared in a number of children’s programming, from guest spots on Nickelodeon’s Unfabulous and Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place to starring in Lemonade Mouth, as well as a number of movies, such as the upcoming Jem and the Holograms. She is also a prolific musician. Previously in the band The Stunners, Hayley released her solo debut, A Belle To Remember in 2013. She’s now featured in the new CBS drama CSI:Cyber, along with her brand new EP, This Side of Paradise, released in February 2015.

I downloaded the title track when it was the free track of the week on iTunes (which it might still be today, not sure when that resets) and was immediately hooked. After getting my iTunes money counted by the Coinstar machine, I downloaded the full This Side of Paradise EP. Like my previous music review, I’m going to break this down track-by-track with my initial observations.

This Side of Paradise

  1. Given It All

    Pure dance track – think the likes of Elie Goulding. Simple, sing-along-able lyrics over a great track. Love this as the opener. Sets the vibe for the rest of the album.

  2. Cliff’s Edge

    Good, driving beat. Flows well as the second track. This one has a bit more of a story element in the lyrics, though still kept simple.

  3. This Side of Paradise

    It’s not often I have a single song I can listen to for half an hour on repeat without going crazy, but due to a mix up with my music on my phone, I did as I drove home Sunday. And then I bought the rest of the album on Monday right after I turned on the computer. That should tell you how awesome this song is. Again, lyrics gain slightly more complexity from the last track.

  4. Girls Like Girls

    This one has a definite increase in the story complexity of the lyrics, I’m also really loving the track on this one. It feels like an updated 80s/90s throwback, but I can’t place it. Maybe it’s all those Beck videos I’ve been watching since Sunday’s “Teens React” episode.

  5. Feeding the Fire

    Along the same lines as the last track, definitely hearing an 80s influence in this one. Definitely a good note to wrap up this EP.

This album definitely has the (sadly) “old school” album flow, where you can tell the songs were intended to be listened to as a whole album. But, since no one seems to do that anymore, I will say that each track is great on its own as well. You just can’t hear the progression that way. It also has a very ethereal quality in terms of sound.

Everything Is Not What It Seems

You would think I would get better at estimating how long things take, considering I’ve been knitting for over ten years. Seriously, I should be better at this. But I have managed to mess up a straightforward triangular entrelac shawl several times, but I got a beaded one finished in a quarter of that time. You would think the beaded one would’ve been more difficult.

I’ve made so many of these, I went for something a little different on the picture. So here is Dinosaur modeling this one. It is a Starry Stole from Knitpicks, worked in Shadow yarn in the Midnight colorway with silver-lined, clear beads. As I have done on all the others, I added a third full repeat to make it more scarf-length.

I’m finally re-doing the christmas scarf, hopefully to be done with it soon. That one may turn into a bit of a tutorial. It sure has taught me quite a few things.