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Category Archives: The Best of Times

One Man’s Vice is Another Man’s Hobby

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Not sure if I’ve mentioned it before but I like wine.  A lot. Like this diagram makes my mouth water.

Different-Types-of-Wine-Infographic-Chart3I want to try them all!

I’m not wealthy enough to actually procure some of the really expensive varietals but if someone handed me a glass of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, I’d drink that… at work, in front of my boss on review day.

I rather enjoy the feeling of a nice wine buzz too.  Me and a bottle of wine is a pleasant evening.  Or a fun afternoon.  Hell, mimosas for breakfast.  What time isn’t wine time?

Yes.  Yes it is.

Yes. Yes it is.

When someone tries to make you feel bad about something you love, throw out this Baudelaire goodie.

Get Drunk

Always be drunk.
That’s it!
The great imperative!
In order not to feel
Time’s horrid fardel
bruise your shoulders,
grinding you into the earth,
Get drunk and stay that way.
On what?
On  wine, poetry, virtue, whatever.
But get drunk.
And if you sometimes happen to wake up
on the porches of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the dismal loneliness of your own room,
your drunkenness gone or disappearing,
ask the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock,
ask everything that flees,
everything that groans
or rolls
or sings,
everything that speaks,
ask what time it is;
and the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock
will answer you:
“Time to get drunk!
Don’t be martyred slaves of Time,
Get drunk!
Stay drunk!
On wine, virtue, poetry, whatever!”
Pouring red wine

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

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As I embark on learning a new skill set, I’m struck by how easily frustrated and thwarted I can get when it doesn’t come easily.  This year, it is my goal to become a proficient crocheter (is that even a word?).

I began learning to sew in middle school and have been able to hone that skill over time.  I know I’ve made plenty of mistakes and ruined lots of projects (zippers are still the bane of my existence), but it just seemed par for the course.  Now it sort of feels like I should be able to get this quicker.

One source of difficulty centers around the starter book I was given.  I don’t think its instructions are very clear.  I’ve had much better luck understanding things via YouTube videos.  I’m a very visual person and being able to picture something in my mind goes a long way towards being able to recreate it.

My biggest frustration at the moment is getting comfortable with holding the yarn and needle, keeping the whole processing moving along.  It still feels a little unnatural so I’m just trying to keep practicing the stitches over and over again before I move on to actually trying to create something specific.

I did get a bit overwhelmed when I looked through the book at all the different stitch types and other symbols for various techniques.  How the hell am I going to learn all of these?  It’s like another language.

I know practice makes perfect.  Something I have to keep reminding myself of as I slip up and start over again.  I’m not on a deadline and this is for my own benefit.  There’s no one demanding I learn to crochet except me.  It just feels like I should be getting it faster.

This is all I can do so far

This is all I can do so far

When I shared my frustration, someone quipped, “Oh maybe you’re afraid to fail.”  I thought about it for a second and came back with, “No, I’m afraid of never succeeding.”  Ay, there’s the rub.

Crafty Calendar

I’m thoroughly enjoying one of my Christmas gifts, the Craft-A-Day desk calendar.

Craft A Day Calendar

It’s full of fun ideas to make various things based on a weekly theme.

The first week was Snowflake week.

Calendar snowflake

Then came Fox week.  Over the course of the year, I’ll probably have two hands worth of cute finger puppets.

Calender fox

Week three was Gnome week and so on.  So many fun things to create.

Calendar gnome

Calendar groundhog

Calendar diamond

Give me a stack of construction paper and glue or some felt squares and a needle and I’m one happy camper.  I usually have to make myself do the more necessary things during the day but I never have to force the crafter in me to come out and play.

Sewing and baking and painting come naturally.  And soon, so will crocheting.  That’s the skill I’m bound and determined to master this year.


And I try to make a point to visit the Animation Academy at Disney’s California Adventure as often as I can because I love to draw too.

Draw Mickey

Spread the Love Around

There are certain holidays that I still celebrate like an eight-year-old.  Valentine’s Day is one of them.  I never got into the whole romance aspect of it.  I like to give Valentine’s cards and treats to everyone, just like we used to in elementary school.

Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to show a little love to the people in your life, not just your special someone.  It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or mushy, just something that says, “I think you’re alright and I like having you around.”

Every year I choose the most fun box of Valentine’s cards.  One year it was Spider-Man and another year it was Hello Kitty.  Then I make cupcakes or cookies and when the day comes, I hand them out to just about everyone I come in contact with.

You don’t need a special day to let your significant other know you love them.  You should be doing that on a regular basis.  But sometimes it’s good to be reminded to let the rest of the people in your life know that they are special to you.  That’s what Valentine’s Day means to me.

choo choo

Happy New Year

Well, I finally got around to posting my first blog of 2015.  I’ve been falling down on the job where blogging is concerned lately.  I just haven’t had much to say.  I’m a little overwhelmed by what’s been going on in the world these days.

May you live in interesting times, indeed.

My life’s motto came from a silly t-shirt I saw years ago — I used to be disgusted but now I’m just amused.  Yep, that’s me in a nutshell.

Humanity is a joke.  We really aren’t playing the long game here.  Occasionally, you’ll find someone who can see beyond all the bullshit and envision a brighter tomorrow.  I’m finding I’m just not that person any more.

Bill Hicks Virus With ShoesI don’t need to have my faith in humanity restored.  I get it.  This is all there is and that’s what’s so.  Pour me another round, please.

It doesn’t have to remain this way.  Nothing has to stay the way it is.  That’s the great thing about life.  It’s always changing, always moving, always evolving.  It probably took hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, of years for humans to evolve into upright walking, opposable thumbs-having creatures.  Expecting civilization to get its shit together in less than 10,000 is just extremely wishful thinking.  I keep forgetting how new all of this is, cosmically speaking.

All there is to do is nurture and encourage the parts of life that we’d like to see grow and develop while neglecting to foster any of the stuff we’d really like to see eradicated.  There were animals who moved into deep, dark caves and over time lost their eyesight since it was no longer needed.  No light, no eyes.

Perhaps we’ll start to lose parts of ourselves when they cease to be necessary or useful.  Like our tendency towards the violent expression of our emotions.  Or our need to control everything and everyone around us.  Better still, we could drop that knee jerk reaction of fear to anything new and unfamiliar, or anything not like us.  Those things are really getting in our way.  Stop feeding the trolls, so to speak.

While I don’t actually believe in one, I do like to entertain the notion of an afterlife.  Sitting up in Heaven looking down on this silly little ball of mud long after I’m gone watching the goings-on.  I have much more faith in evolution than I do in anything humans can come up with.  We’ll be what we need to be when we need to be it, or we’ll just not be any longer.

“Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance you must keep moving.” –Albert Einstein



Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

This is the best thing I’ve seen on the internet all week.  More please!


Owl kids

Painting for the Non-Painter

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Tried something new last night called Paint Nite.  It was easier and more fun than I expected.  I can wholeheartedly recommend it.

paint nite

The event took place in a reasonably priced Italian restaurant.  We had the patio to ourselves and it was a mild evening.  I had some wine and ravioli while I followed along with our painting instructor.

paint nite food

I was an art major in college with a modicum of drawing/painting talent but nothing spectacular.  That along with my ability to sew and cook seem to be things that not a lot of other people do very well.  It always floors me when I get so much praise for doing things that don’t seem particularly difficult.  I guess that’s just how I was raised.

My dad had the artistic talent.  My mother was the one who helped me learn to sew and cook.  I can’t say she taught me as much as she gave me the means to learn both and then, with the cooking in particular, it became a necessity that I do a good deal of that after my parents separated.

Well back to paint night.  If you have any desire to try and paint, this is a great introduction.  You are given the exact colors you need and are led step-by-step through creating your own version of the night’s painting.  The cool thing is that even though all of the paintings were a little different, they all looked pretty good.

paint nite me2

In the immortal words of Bob Ross, there are no mistakes… only happy accidents.  And don’t forget to wash your brush.