Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ultimate 5: Favourite Things, Right Now

1. Eee PC

Love, love, love. It's small and mighty, it's white and pearly, it runs Linux, weighs less than 3 lbs., connects to wireless networks, starts and shuts down in seconds, allows me to word process in small places, AND is supercute. It's especially useful for blogging before bed, trying out new online recipes by taking up minimal space in the kitchen, and using Skype to talk to my parents. Its webcam and mic are much less fuss than my desktop.

I could not have gotten through my last semester without it, and now I often take it with me - it fits in a lot of my purses - to the coffee shop, on weekend trips, to the bead store when I need to match something I only have a picture of. I literally balanced my Eee in one hand and my bead tray in the other one day last week. I dropped it off my desk once in class, while it was open and running, and it's perfectly fine because it has a flash drive. So I don't worry too much about packing it around with me, whereas I might be more careful with a MacBook - which I hope to get when my desktop packs it in.

Because my Eee PC is so light and shiny-white, I have named her Bubbles. I thought this suited it as much as GIR suits my slower, bulkier, WinXP desktop - see Nickelodeon's Invader Zim if you don't get the reference. Bubbles, however, has nothing to do with Powerpuff Girls - I just thought it was cute. It's certainly no sillier than saying Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!PC.

A picture of GIR!

2. Pencil Skirts

I have two right now - a chocolate brown wool blend with a modest slit at the back and seaming in the front; and a black satiny high-waisted one with embroidery near the waistline and a beautifully pleated kickpleat. I wore the brown one out dancing last Monday, and since there wasn't enough space to Lindy, I didn't have any trouble moving in it for blues and West Coast. I felt sophisticated and fabulous. I wore it again this morning for my interview.

The black one was a gift from my mom from Italy. I've worn it to my grad luncheon, and now to Angie's recent show at Habit. I found this great wedgewood-blue top to wear with it, and paired them with another gift from "The Mom," black slouchy ankle boots. Being able to tuck the top into the skirt showed off the embroidery, and I am trying to get over the fear of connecting high waists to the 80s and my penchant for tucking and re-tucking my shirts in while in elementary school and junior high.
I want more pencil skirts, but since my skirts far outweigh the pants in my closet, I think I will have to hold back. Including the pencil skirt, I have six black skirts, nevermind the other ones!

3. Veronica Mars

Jody and I have been watching this for the past two months, thanks to Alf & Laura, who hooked us up with burned DVDs. We only have eight episodes left! It was so difficult not to watch any without Jody when he was away for two weeks last month. Some weekends we've watched half a dozen shows. I don't know what we'll do when it's over and we have to go back to cable. I watch TLC, and Ellen, but in the evenings and on weekends there isn't much to see. We caught an old Bond flick last Sunday (Her Majesty's Secret Service) which was very sad, and then Jody found a remake of Knight Rider, which was pretty awful. "The Hoff" only makes a brief cameo at the end, so we couldn't even laugh at him for an hour and a half.

Back to Mars. It is odd to see Charisma Carpenter and Alyson Hannigan on the same show again, having watched them together on Buffy. There was a single episode that featured Rider Strong, too, and I thought he'd dropped off the face of the earth after my teen years. (Then again, he didn't show much improvement, so no wonder he was only in the one episode!) Leighton Meester, who now plays Blair on Gossip Girl, showed up in some early episodes. And now Kristen Bell narrates Gossip Girl... It's a shame it got cancelled, but at least it wasn't the end for Bell. She does have great timing, and her character's reliance on favours, gadgets, quick thinking and friends-as-resources makes for an interesting show. I hope it gets somewhat tied up at the end of season three so I'm not left wondering what happens - though Jody and I have formed some theories, we aren't positive where it's going. What we do know is that it's engaging enough to make me think about it as I fall asleep some nights, which is more than I can say for a lot of shows that have come out in the last few years.

And yes, I'm still undecided about Logan.

4. CoverGirl Lash Blast Mascara

Awesome. Really. I have been wearing either Rimmel or Clinique mascara since I left high school, and I have to say, Lash Blast is both cheap and effective. Its tube is bright orange and happy in the morning, I barely ever manage to clump my lashes, and it doesn't make them go all spidery either. The brush looks really weird, but it works (though if you're looking for one to curl your lashes, look elsewhere). If you're looking for a basic daytime mascara, give it a try. I'm pretty sure it comes in waterproof now too.

5. Soy Hazelnut Lattes

I ordered a hazelnut americano a few weeks ago and got this by mistake. It was a very happy mistake, because I was in a rut. Now, I cycle between these, americanos, and chai - unless I'm at Habit, where they make wicked boonahs and vanilla lattes. And now that my S-bux card is registered, I get free soy and hazelnut when I pay with it - which saves me 80 cents! Very exciting. I don't mind paying for the extras at Habit because their coffee - whatever I order - is always wonderful, but S-bux has been hit or miss lately. The hazelnut latte does a lot to perk me up, and it's great writing fuel!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The busyness

Where to start?
Here are some things that have been keeping me busy, of late:

1. Planning

Jody and I are thinking seriously of moving. Out of the country. So I dropped off my Canadian passport application a week ago - which was not terribly painful, but it was annoying and expensive. The law has been changed so that I can't just amend my passport; I had to completely reapply-- and pay again-- for a new one with my new last name, despite the fact that the one I got for my South Africa sojourn is good for another 3 years.
Today I am going to Vancouver last-minute to get a family friend of Jody's to sign his application and passport photos for the UK. We had this done a week ago, except that my first round of photos got rejected (too fuzzy; flash wasn't working where we got them taken) so we figured Jody's would be rejected also. He got them retaken on Saturday and we brought the photos to church on Sunday - but our pastor is now on vacation until August. So, now we have to find a new guarantor to sign his photos and application. Which means going to Vancouver, since Jody has no one here that has known him two years in a professional capacity.

(Fortunately this little trip means I can spend the ferry ride with friends of mine who have been visiting from out-of-province, but haven't been able to catch up with me. Yay!)

There's also financial planning, and job planning - which of course are related. Ah, spreadsheets. We are spreadsheet-happy right now; I think we have at least half a dozen going. I need to figure things out like RRSPs and my student loan repayment plan. I think the time has come for professional help, now that we have some sort of outline of where we are and where we want to be come winter.

2. Job Search

This has been sliding to the back of my mind. Yesterday I found an ad for a secretary that sounded interesting, so tomorrow I'll drop a resume by. No luck with bookstores or the library. Jody keeps joking that I could apply to drive a horse-drawn carriage and spend the rest of the summer in the hospital from asthma attacks, but I don't think that would be lucrative either.

3. Beadwork

Despite not having a job, I have managed to earn some money. I have sold some of my beadwork - to family, so far, but others have expressed interest. BeadedWishes is now on Etsy. At the moment I have only listed one item, but it looks like it works because it's had more than the 2 views from myself. So now I will put up more items and see what happens!
Jody and I spent a few hours this weekend just making the banner and profile picture for Etsy, and I'm very happy with how professional and fun they look.

4. Veronica Mars

We are addicted. I think we've watched 8 episodes this weekend. We're almost midway through the 3rd season now, and I'm sad that it's almost over.

5. Books

Recent reads:
The Host - Stephenie Meyer
Persuasion - Jane Austen
Sweetness in the Belly - Camilla Gibb
Spook Country - William Gibson

and writing:
Turned - a work in progress! I hope I get to write more on my trip today.

It's 9:15 now so I'd better get going - a few things to do before I head out!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Creative wineglass usage

I was playing with afternoon light and a wineglass today in order to photograph the collection of earrings I'm sending off to my aunt tomorrow.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Mad Midnight Beader

I have been doing beadwork the past two late nights in a row. Last night it was due to having no earrings to wear with my black and white print sundress. I had a wedding to go to, and quite frankly it was easier to make, rather than find, black and white jewelry. Tonight, I was inspired to work on the cluster earrings I had planned for my grandmother. She asked me to create a second set of earrings to match another necklace she had, and pretty much gave me free rein again since she loved the jade and olive stone drops I made her last time. (See previous post: Beads of 2008, top photo.)

Unfortunately my EeePC doesn't like our old Fuji camera's USB, so the pictures will have to come later. But oh my goodness, the new earrings are fantastic. The black and white came together really quickly, and were just the thing. Tonight's pair, though--my fourth pair today--are even more fantastic. They took me almost an hour because I was measuring chain (12 lengths of it) and working with very very tiny pearls and crystals.

I am calling them Swarovski Waterfall earrings, because 4/6 beads are Swarovskis- 2 crystals of slightly different shades, and 2 pearl-coated crystals that look like luminous pearls. The other two beads are Rhodonite, a rich dusty rose coloured stone. I hung each one from a length of fine antique gold chain, using a gold headpin. When they were all on chains of varied lengths, I strung them in ascending order on a straight pin, bent it into a circle and attached it to the earring hook. Now, they look like a dainty waterfall of rose and pink, which hopefully will work with the bead-and-shell necklace my Gramma has. Oh, they are so pretty. A lot of work, but so pretty!

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The other earrings I worked on today are for a set of 6 I am sending to my aunt for her gift cupboard. I did two yesterday, so that leaves just one more for her. I haven't quite decided if I'll work with stone chips again, or do a chandelier pair for a change. Still, I'm pleased with the work I've done this weekend. :)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Blogging by Glo-Stick

I have just gotten in from watching the Canada Day fireworks - on the other side of the bridge this year. It was fantastic! Last year I watched from Angie's bathroom window (great view without all the crowd-fighting) but this year, it was definitely worth being out there at 8:30 and waiting 2 hours for the show to start.

A group of mostly dancer-friends were huddled together, hot chocolate and licorice at hand, with extra blankets and sweaters providing coziness. I got to be in the middle, being small and without Jody. Tina and I, summer skirt junkies that we are, were a tiny bit cold, but the wind died down just as the fireworks were scheduled to start, and I was quite comfortable. Scott had given us glo-sticks, mostly green ones, so we could find each other. This would have worked so much better if Scott was not among the last to arrive, but still - glo-sticks are fun. And soon, we were surrounded by light that far outshone even Lisa's trio of glo-sticks.

Oh, how I love fireworks. There were twinkly ones. Small spiraling ones. Fizzing ones. Zigzagging ones that exploded in a shower of sparks. Big ones that lingered. Shooting ones that streaked orange through the sky. Red inside white, white inside red, purple and green and gold. The reverb off the buildings behind us was quite impressive. I have never been so close to where they've set the fireworks off before - I now understood why part of the Point had been closed off. Sparks landed in the water only a few hundred feet from us, and I had to crane my neck to see the giant fireworks that sped far out over the water. Wow.

Today marks my 8th anniversary of returning to Victoria. It's been quite an adventure! It's hard to forget the opportunities I gained in moving here when I'm reminded every year that I could still be in Ontario. I have loved living here, but since Jody and I are likely to pack up and move...somewhere, it wouldn't surprise me if this was my last round of fireworks. I'm glad it was a good one.

I can now hear people near my apartment building screaming out O Canada. I do hope to get to sleep before 2 am. Good night all, and thanks for the good times tonight, and for the safe ride home.

Beads of 2008

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Picture 1: Commercially made necklace with earrings I created to match.
Antique gold findings with olive stone (top), Nephrite jade, South China jade, and bead caps (lower).
Picture 2: Chain, glass bead and crystal earrings
Picture 3: Happy Birthday Jane set - multicoloured seed beads and glass
Picture 4: Happy Spring set - dual-layer floating necklace of glass and seed beads, with squeeze clasp
Picture 5: Happy Spring set - closeup, with silver filigree post drop earrings

Beads Galore!

These are my newest earrings - they are articulated, with two separate posts joined by loops.
The tiny silver-and-seed-bead drops in the last picture are my other recent creation, for size comparison.
Picture 1: Blue Goldstone, black round beads and clear/grey colour-lined seed beads
Picture 2: Crystal, glass beads, and gold filigree balls
Picture 3: Crystal, glass beads and textured gold balls
Picture 4: Side-by-side comparison for size
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Beads of 2007

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Pictures 1 & 2: Pink Birthday set: floating dual-layer necklace with cowgirl-inspired chandelier earrings
Picture 3: Chain and glass bead earrings
Picture 4: Silver chandelier earrings with blue, teal and purple seed beads

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