Sunday, October 31, 2010

Oh no, Papa, it's just a Halloween hat!

Years ago, I bought this little hat for Ginger to wear at Halloween. She didn't stand for it — maybe because my parents and I laughed uncontrollably when we put it on her.

So I took a different approach with Papa. I just put the hat on, without fanfare or laughter.

Even though she cringed, she also posed for this yearbook-style photo. Her reward: lots of Frisbee in the yard.

I didn't even mind that she shook the hat so it looked more like a piece of jaunty neckwear. Tres chic, Pa-pa!

I'm writing this at my parents' house. Papa barks when the doorbell rings and barks when I open the door to trick-or-treaters, trying to force her way out. Still, one of them said, "Bye, Papaya!"

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blue's clues

I had tried a Funky Cold Medina — the drink, not the song — at Boulder Junction a few weeks ago. Actually, John (of Thursday night tennis) struggled through a pint of it. He thought it would have been more tolerable as a shot.

So Carol and I went to The Klavier last weekend on a mission: to see if Mary, who bartends there, could improve the drink. The original has equal parts of Absolut vodka, Southern Comfort peach liqueur, and Blue Curacao. Topped with cranberry juice, it's purple and reminiscent of cough syrup.

Mary mixed a bunch of different options — shaking, tasting, throwing away. After a few tries, success: the final Mary Cold Medina was light and fun.

Perhaps this seems merely charming but not story-worthy?

There was a second Blue sighting: A Blue Hawaii played a cameo in this week’s episode of Hawaii Five-O. Quelle surprise! Its neon presence could not be ignored.

But wait, there's more.

I was considering palettes for a crystal bracelet I’m working on, and one of Pantone’s colors for spring is Blue Curacao. It’s part of the “Exotic Journey” palette (on page 2 of the color forecast).

Blue Curacao for spring?

What does it all mean?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Getting in shape, one decision at a time

Today I did a body sculpt class at Highlander.

Back in the 90's I used to love step aerobics, but now I'm more of an elliptical-machine user. I hadn’t taken an exercise class in years.

Until tonight.

I was on the elliptical — on my usual machine, where I like to wave to friends and chat so I don’t get too bored — when I saw Mary. She was heading to the class, and said it worked everything and didn’t require tons of coordination. Sounds perfect, right?

So I set myself up in the back of the gym.

Lunges, squats, more lunges and squats. Some with weights, some not — Gretchen kept us busy. When she smiled and said, “Nice job. Looking good!” I pretended she was talking to me.

I tried to balance with my two-pound weights while Mary — who used to play college basketball and throw bales of hay on her family’s farm — had no such problems.

I could not double-time the footwork on the step (though, yes, it would probably help me with my tennis footwork). And I opted for the girly pushups at the end of class.

The good news is, the class was really fun: just enough reps to feel the burn but not so many that it got boring. At least I did not spend the hour marching in place.

I also made a resolution: Until my birthday, I'm avoiding Boulder Junction. Though I once went there and had two potato skins and a La Croix, that is not my typical post-tennis fare. I am a pushover for the buckaroo platter (fried jalapeno poppers, fried mozzarella, fried zucchini, fried calamari). And why not have a second Newcastle?

Two small steps.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dog naps

My preschool art teacher just blogged about naps.

Her post reminded me of the first time I dogsat Papa (or Maiah, as she was back then): July 26, 2008.

That day, I took long walks and played Frisbee with her. But when I tried to take a mid-afternoon nap, she sat by my bed. Panting. As if she was waiting for me to let her know what was next.

It was not restful. But I know how hard it is to fall asleep in a strange place, so I tried to relax. She did, too. (Kristin had warned me that Maiah was neurotic.)

Now, Maiah Papaya is an excellent sleeper. She sleeps on the couch and on the bed, curled up or in her side-of-beef pose. When I have friends over and we sit on the couch, she rests her feet on me and her head against the other person.

Hijinks and forty winks, she has mastered them both. And really, sleeping and causing chaos are both about living in the moment, not worrying about what's next.

Papa, you've come a long way.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to make a birthday bracelet

If you want to learn how to make a birthday bracelet (like the one I made for Jean's 60th), visit the BeadStyle Bead Room.

While racking my brain over what combination of beads to use, I figured something out: It's all about the chain.

So decide on the chain before choosing the beads, because the math matters!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Oh no, Linus, not my purse.

I was at Michelle’s house a few weeks ago when Linus decided to explore my purse.

Looks like he got bored.

Yoshi also liked bags. (Do all cats?)

Speaking of bags: I'm glad to hear that SunChips is discontinuing their compostable bags. Those bags were just plain loud. And no one likes an indiscreet snack bag.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Two milestones: Ron and Jean's 60th

We celebrated Ron and Jean’s 60th birthdays at O’Donoghue’s on Saturday.

O’Donoghue’s is becoming one of my favorite places to hang out, even when I’m not eating fish fry. (Though, I was there for fish fry last Friday.)

During the party, I ran into Kelsey, Erin, Caitlin (Erin’s sister), and Colleen during one of their regular Odie’s outings. We talked 80s movies; their memories of Can’t Buy Me Love are surprisingly vivid. (Kelsey’s take: “And then, surprise! He gets arrogant.”)

Now back to the 60s: Ron showed off his “I have no idea what’s going on” t-shirt and Jean's message was “Damn, I make 60 look good.”

The karaoke festivities started with Ron’s version of “Bye Bye Love.” Then a group of tennis ladies (sans moi) sang “Dancing Queen,” “Bad Romance,” and another Lady Gaga tune that I can’t remember.

Beer flowed freely.

And there was jazz, caricatures, and magic, too — including the retrieval of a $20 bill from a lemon. And Shappy made an appearance, relinquishing the gnome after only one week. But such is the nature of the gnome — sometimes he takes long weekends, sometimes he gets comfortable in one place. (He stayed with Carol for a couple of years.)

After a night of buffalo tenders and cheese sticks washed down with Harp, it was time for cake in the shape of a tennis court. Chocolate with raspberry filling. Fried food and dessert — a winning combination from our friends.

Cheers to Ron and Jean — 120 is treating you well!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Marilee's bridal shower

Under the guise of “book club,” we surprised Marilee with a bridal shower. (And there was also a short discussion of books.)

Dianne asked us to bring something fun as part of a “recipe for a happy marriage.” Our group — women who are single, newlyweds, in long-term relationships, or married for 20-plus years — had fun with this.

When it came time to open gifts, Sandy’s was first: a fire extinguisher (“for when things get hot”).

Um, could anything else compare?

Fortunately Marilee loved the cozy socks, fuzzy slippers, books and rules of romance, honey, spices, and other stuff we brought. Carol gave her seven bananas with the wish for “a bunch” of love and good times for every day of the week. Nice!

Colleen also picked out a special gift from all of us. Reading the card, Marilee paused and said, “I’m a little scared.”

But it was a totally perfect gift. Totally.

Of course we also ate — plenty of food and cake. And whoever made the bar cookies with M&Ms, I loved those. I took one out of my purse later that night.

Congrats to Marilee and Brad, and thanks to Dianne for being a great organizer and hostess!

Friday, October 1, 2010

A jewelry adventure: More metal flowers

After I finished my ornament project for the November issue of BeadStyle, I had a few metal flowers left — perfect for whipping up a more casual silver version of the September cover necklace.

The experience was more challenging than I expected.

The biggest flower, a 4-inch magnolia, had only only one hole (in the center), so I punched holes in two petals. Then I noticed that, in the gold version, I had connected the biggest flower in three places.

It wouldn't be a big deal to punch another hole in the silver flower — except that once you do it, it's there. No going back. I'm hesitant to connect the coreopsis in two fixed places. At least with the gold version, the rims of the center flower have some give with the jump rings.

After much rearranging (opening and closing of jump rings), I finally settled on this design.

At least the earrings were easy.

To highlight the sleek, organic shape of the plated lily pads, I just attached them to earring wires. Super simple, and I'll probably wear them all the time!

Same with the cut paisley drops. I'm a fan of long, lean shapes. The drops, which are almost 3 inches long, look great without any beads or chain attached. I won't be wearing these with the necklace (too much bling), but I'm always happy to forgo large necklaces in favor of statement-y earrings.

One lesson learned: It's best to order as soon as I spot something I like. The Beadin' Path offers lots of vintage stuff, but I've occasionally made the mistake of overthinking a purchase while the coveted item got snapped up by someone more decisive.

PS: Jim Forbes shot these photos. I love the crisp background! Check out his portfolio — my favorite series is "Three Windows."