Friday, July 31, 2009


I have not been around here much lately. Partly it's because the cooling fan on my poor litttle Lappy is not what it used to be, so I can't use it for long before it starts to overheat. I solve this problem most of the time by perching the laptop on one of those square Blue Ice freezy-pack things, which cools it down but is not so great for typing. I usually have just enough time to check my email, pay some bills, and glance at my Google Reader before my computer slows to a crawl and I know it's time to either shut down or go get the ice pack.

But most of the reason my Internet time is cut short these days is because my husband is home for the summer. He usually works part-time in the summers, but they haven't had the hours for him lately, so instead of being gone 35 hours a week he's gone 6. You would think that having another adult around here pretty much full-time would result in a spic-and-span house, plenty of Internet time for all, delicious home-cooked meals flowing from the kitchen like a river, and my entire clean/organize wishlist getting fufilled.

However, it's been quite the opposite. I run the dishwasher every day instead of every third day; there are mountains of laundry sitting around, both clean and not; the floor is strewn with toys and clothes; and we seem to be eating out an alarming number of times per week. The Xbox and the Wii are in near-constant use (and I don't play video games). Aaaaaand it has been 90 degrees pretty much every day, except for the two minutes per day when it rains, just enough to crank up the humidity. Then the temperature shoots back up to 90 humid, sweltering degrees. This, of course, means that I have been crankier than usual. And that is saying a lot.

I did, however, get started working on the Pay-It-Forward/swap packages. So far, Cris, Jen, and Emily are getting one. Emily: I need your email address! Shoot me a note at tragicallyordinary at gmail dot com when you get a chance.

The photo above is downtown Charlotte, shot in Spring 2008.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Giving Back, For A Change

I have been very much inside my own (very miserable) headspace lately. When I saw this meme, I decided it was time for me to step up to the plate. I could use an outlet for my crafty impulses, and the world could use a little love.

I am entering into the following agreement with the first 5 people who comment on this post and then commit to doing the same on their blog. Just read below and if you feel up to the task copy the following into your blog and leave me a comment.

I am willing to post overseas (I am in the U.S.), but remember you must commit on your blog to do the same for others.

  1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I send you. But you may be pleasantly surprised. It will definitely be craft-related, I'm just not sure which kind of craft yet.
  2. What I send will be made just for you, with love, by my own hands. You'd be surprised how much of our personalities does come through online.
  3. I will complete all 5 gifts this year - 2009.
  4. I will not give you any clue what it’s going to be. It will be something made in the real world, that you can touch and feel, and not something cyber.
  5. I reserve the right to do something strange. It may be weird or beautiful. Or it may be monstrous and annoying. If you find it truly horrendous, just let me know. Perhaps you'll send it forward to someone who will absolutely love it.
  6. In return, all you need to do is post this text on your blog and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to your blog post.
  7. Send your mailing address - after I contact you to confirm.

Everyone is welcome. I guarantee that you will receive something from me providing you do the same for 5 other people in your blog post. Are you game? Let's do this and I can't wait to send you what I hope you'll consider a nice surprise.

Particulars: 1) Make sure I can contact you, some way you can provide or I can get your email address. 2) Please be patient with me. I am a slow crafter. I knit, bead, sew very badly, and occasionally dip my toe into papercrafting. If you're allergic to wool or something, let me know so I don't send you a sheepsdown scarf, or tell me you hate orange so I don't send you a 15-strand orange necklace. 3) I hope I don't disappoint anyone.

Show me your link in the comment below, and I'll contact you.

Picnic Tables

Unused picnic tables stacked up in the service yard at Belle Isle Park, Detroit MI.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Musette Bracelet Guest Giveaway on Grosgrain

Musette Bracelet GUEST GIVEAWAY!

This bracelet is so very pretty. Shannon has many other very pretty things in her shop as well, which is great for me, because I have a lot of August birthdays to buy for.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Wrong Rachel

A couple of months ago, I decided to get my hair cut. I'd been growing it out for a while with no particular plan other than making sure the remnants of my former, horrible-mushroom-head cut were gone. All I did was pull it up in ponytails that made my head look too big and my hair look overly greasy. I decided that something much fresher and cuter was in order, something closer to my short-ish hair incarnations of several years ago. I loved (most of) my short haircuts, because they were cute and easy, and I remembered one cut that had been the easiest and cutest of all. It was short but not too short, layered but not too poofy, and all I had to do was shower and run my fingers through it and it always looked great. Ding ding ding! We have a winner.

I have learned my lesson and NEVER EVER EVER EVER go to the hairdresser without a picture anymore, but I had long since thrown out the magazine cover that inspired the much-loved short n' cute haircut. I Googled around and found the same image I used several years ago to get the original cut:

In its original incarnation on my head, it was like this but a little shorter and a tiny bit curly because my hair naturally does that. So I went in armed with my inkjet-printed Vanity Fair cover and explained what I wanted. Unfortunately, the hairdresser apparently thought it was 1996, because I walked out with this:

So now I either pull it back in a (very small and stubby) ponytail, or walk around looking like I did in my high-school graduation pictures. I know I sometimes wish I could look like I did back in high school, but this is NOT what I meant. However, if I were to go to a class reunion this year, nobody would have any trouble recognizing me.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

I Don't Like the Vampire

July 4th, 2009: My child apparently does not like fireworks.

Last year, she spent firework-time in the back seat of the car, strapped into her seat and playing with toys as we idled in a line of about 300 other cars full of people who had the same idea about which fireworks display to go to. We tried to get out of line and followed a silver Infiniti turning around in what we thought was a campground but which turned out to be someone's yard. A barefoot, mullet-headed, shirtless, hillbilly, grizzly beer-stinky-beard and all, came tumbling out of one of the 5 campers parked in a line and started screaming at us for driving on his lawn. I noticed he did not pester the much-older-than-us people in the far more expensive car, who used the distraction to hightail it out of there.

Anyway, this dude ran right up to our car and was thumping on the windshield and driver's-side window, all the while yelling "What the *bleep* do you think you're *bleeping* doing? You can't just drive on anybody's lawn! How would you like it if I came to your house and *bleeping* drove on yoru *bleeping* lawn?!", and so on and so on. Ryan was frantically trying to turn the car around and get the hell out of there. I noticed the guy had a lit cigarette in his hand, except I'm pretty sure it was hand-rolled and not tobacco. He was holding something behind his back, something he was going to an awful lot of trouble not to show us or any of the other cars still in line, and from the awkward bend of his wrist I felt sure it was a gun. Ryan rolled down the window and tried to apologize, all the while trying to burn rubber and get us the hell out of there, and I almost wet my pants because I thought for a few very long seconds this guy was going to stick his gun into the car and blow holes in us. Yeah, he seemed that pissed. I also thought it likely he would use the butt of his gun to break our windshield. Ryan managed to get us clear of the crazy-eyed grizzler, and we shakily drove home.

Later, when we could laugh about it, we thought perhaps someone should tell that guy that if you don't want your yard along a major traffic path to be mistaken for a campground, you should not put 6 campers and two tents in it.

This year, we stayed home all day and watched movies and ate snacks. When it got dark and the first booms sounded out, I pointed out a few of the bright blossoms of color to Piper. She was not impressed. When I asked her if it was pretty, she said no and buried her face in my neck. Ryan took her into the back yard, where one of the big displays from nearby was visible, and she started repeating "No, no, no no!" over and over and saying "If you don't like it? If you don't like it? I don't like it! No wannit! Ready go inside okay? Go inside okay please?" He brought her back inside, and she was clinging to him in a death-grip and huddling into his chest.

Once inside, we could still hear them going off, and after every BOOM! Piper would say:

"I don't like the bampire (vampire)."
"I don't like the vampire."
"I don't like the vampire."

She did this for over an hour, occasionally slipping in "I don't like the vampireworks."


Friday, July 03, 2009

Rae Gun Ramblings: Giveaway and Tutorial: Fabric Headbands

Rae Gun Ramblings: Giveaway and Tutorial: Fabric Headbands

These are WAY cute. I love the yellow & gray one best, but they would all solve the problem I am having with my hair. I cut it short a couple months ago, and now that it's hot I can't seem to keep it out of my face. It's also not the cut I wanted...but alas, that is a story for a different post.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Another Crafty Mama Giving Things Away

Oh, man, these little shorts are so cute.

Rae Gun Ramblings: Giveaway: Playground Shorts

And I think "Playground Shorts" is a great name for them; they look perfect for scampering up a jungle gym.

Next Time I'll Just Beat Myself In The Head And Leave the TV Off.

July 1st, 2009: I have to say, although I never watched it on purpose if I could help it and I hadn't watched it at all in years, Entertainment Tonight seems to have gotten even lamer than I remember it to be. I tried to watch it tonight and get the latest info on all the to-do over Michael Jackson's death, but it was the television equivalent of...I don't know, I'm trying to come up with a food analogy here but I can't think of anything. I'd say doughnut, because they are devoid of all nutritional value, but at least doughnuts are pleasurable to eat. Entertainment Tonight was irritating to watch with no payoff. Maybe a moldy doughnut, then. A moldy jelly doughnut with a filling of industrial toxic waste.

They spent the first 7 minutes of a 30-minute timeslot telling me about all the in! depth! reporting! they were going to do and all the amazing! insider! info! they had. Then five more minutes were devoted to commentary about the amazing! insider! info!, commentary from some nameless woman who claimed to have "a source in California" who said there "were rumors about" that X or Y "may be happening" and I would only be able to get the full info by continuing to watch this episode of Entertainment Tonight. Well, thank you. I'll keep resisting the urge to puke and then slam my head into a brick wall, so I can get all that great insider info you have.

Then there were several more minutes of speculation: about rumors on who is getting the King of Pop's three kids, and about whether or not a white horse-drawn funeral coach spotted being trucked down a CA highway will be the vehicle to carry MJ to his final resting place. Speculation, but not one fact, source, quote or reference. There was more chitchat from Nameless Speculative Woman about some trucks and digging equipment seen entering Neverland Ranch's gates were coming in to build a mausoleum, even though "it is illegal to bury a body on private land in the state of California, unless it has been cremated, and Michael Jackson has not been cremated." Once again, thank you for telling me absolutely nothing.

They kept patting themselves on the back for all their awesome reporting, but the term seemed to apply to the broadcast the way "millionaire" applies to my finances. That is to say, bears no resemblance whatsoever. The only "reporting" (and I use the term pretty loosely here) they did was on the dancers that were supposed to be in MJ's upcoming tour. Even that was choppy supposed-rehearsal footage interspersed with grainy 5-second "audition tapes" of would-be backup dancers professing their love for Mr. Jackson.

Then they started an "investigation" piece that consisted of showing choppy, three-second-cuts of footage from MJ's video for "They Don't Care About Us" which was recorded in Rio in...wait for it...1996. Way to be on top of the breaking news, ET. I could feel my brain cells dying one by one the longer I watched. I couldn't take it any more, so I changed the channel to something more pleasant to watch - a documentary about methods of torture in the Dark Ages.