11–20 of 24 entries from the month of: January 2007

Document Duvet? Check.

January 22nd

in stitches, January

Dear Finny,
After a whirlwind weekend of rock climbing, biking and sewing (ha ha, I’m not kidding), guess what? I got the January In Stitches assignment completed. Viola — I present my document duvet and photo file in valentine colors no less. What do you think?
I agree with you — the grommet is not my favorite tool. But, I did figure it out and I am happy to have learned a new technique. I’ve added my photo to the flickr set. {If you are sewing along, feel free to drop yours in the set too.} Let’s pick a winner by January 31st. I’ll send out the prize this month. Deal? This is going to be such a good way to clean out my studio. I’ve got piles of fabric, yarn and ribbon that I’d love to send to a new home.
Now Miss Finny, since I picked this month’s project, it is your turn to pick February’s. I’ll select the theme. Sound good?


P.S. Tell that hubby of yours I say hello. Miss you both!

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Domestic Art, In Stitches Sew Along
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Ed Almost Made Cholera Sexy. Almost.

January 21st

I saw The Painted Veil yesterday and got to the theater a wee bit late. Actually, I got to the only theater in all of Phoenix that shows small films like this 10 minutes before the film started, certain I wouldn’t have any problem getting a seat. I’ve done this a time or two and it is typically me and 20 senior citizens from Paradise Valley kicking back to watch a movie that will more than likely receive an Oscar nod and therefore doesn’t have a special effects budget. I fit in all too well with this crowd, especially when I bring my knitting to keep me company until they dim the lights.
Boy, was I wrong yesterday. Every gray hair in Maricopa County was at the theater, with their friends from Iowa in tow. When I got the tickets the clerk said I’d more than likely be sitting in the front row. Eh, how bad could it be?
I sat down in a nice seat in the very back of the theater and thought, “Ha! This isn’t so bad. That silly clerk didn’t know what she was talking about.” Ten minutes later I realized Helen Mirren is not, in fact, in 1930s China (but England, yes, and I hear that movie is quite good), I made it into the right theater after my movie had already started. And guess where we found the only open seats?
Front row. Neck-crunching, mind-boggling, perspective-altering front row.
The movie was good. Not great, but good. The Chinese countryside was pretty spectacular, off-setting the mediocre storyline. While I enjoyed the public health edge — Ed Norton is a bacteriologist fighting a cholera epidemic — I did not like the ending. It was far too tidy. Naomi Watts is gorgeous and quite believable. Ed? He is a wounded pup with some great lines, but unfortunately they are given in a horrible British accent. Ed as a Brit is a bit hard to swallow. He’s so talented, but so American. Then again, how can you top Fight Club?

Three out of five bananas, absoloodle.


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Journal, Media
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Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens

January 19th

Both Rachael and Ari asked me to share six strange things about myself in their meme. I enjoyed Ash’s post earlier this week where she she shared a handful of odd truths and one lie, having readers guess which was which. Alas, I guessed wrong. (Who’d have thought she’d considered being a phone sex operator! The girl’s got guts. She is African after all.)

In lieu of the strange, I’m sharing six of my favorite things. Some of you very well may find these strange.

morning routine

Time in the morning for reading, journaling and gathering my thoughts at the bagel shop. Multigrain, double toasted with pb on the side, and a tall cup of English Breakfast tea: the day can’t start much better.

brain candy

New magazines. I’m a magazine junkie. I read 5 a month, I’d guess. The Cottage Living came as a gift from Raesha. Thank you again!

joy of baking

Baking anything. These chocolate chip cookies came out flat, but were thoroughly enjoyed this morning by the bagel boys.

my garden

The three plants I haven’t managed to kill. The Ikea bamboo is easy enough. The begonia from my grandmother is hanging in and the rubber tree plant I’ve had for years. They seem to like the light from their perch on this table.

cooking for a sick friend

Cooking for people who enjoy eating. I have a friend recovering from major surgery. He’s hooked up to machines at home and can’t get around very well. He’s lost a ton of weight in the last few weeks, but these trays of lasagna and enchiladas should help.

new studies

Learning. I miss school! I took my first Portuguese lesson yesterday and it went well. I can’t wait to understand the basics. My tutor is a wonderful friend to boot.

What are your favorite things?


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Domestic Art, Journal
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Having it My Way

January 18th

I just finished reading Fast Food Nation, a book Eva calls “Train Wreck Literature.” You can’t put it down, but you are so disturbed, you really don’t want to know what you are reading.
In September 2006, I was a carnivore with a taste for all things filet. I loved beef cooked medium rare, hot dogs at ball parks, chicken grilled, baked and broiled. Meat and I were great friends.
Then I read Omnivore‚Äôs Dilemma and learned a bit about meat manufacturing in the United States and the way workers are treated. And there was that little tidbit about how we’ve completely screwed with nature and begun feeding ruminants (cows) not the grasses they are meant to eat, but corn. And roadkill. Oh, and other dead cows — which only stopped when Mad Cow Disease popped up in response to our desire to have big fat cows.

I don’t really need another soap box, nor do I want to come off as preachy. But I will say this — if you have the chance to read Fast Food Nation (or see the movie, which I found morbidly entertaining), you won’t regret it. We have few things we can feel in control of these days. The environment? Eh. I recycle and pray. Sudan? I’m still writing letters and there are still 3 million people living in refugee camps. The food I eat? Absolutely. Not only am I swearing off meat, I’m giving up my McDonald’s ice cream cone habit too. I cannot support this company. Did I mention there is “shit in the meat?” Yep. And the response when workers get caught in the machinery or when an animal is incorrectly gutted? They irradiate the meat and we end up eating it all.

My review: Five out of Five stars, absoloodle.

Two of my favorite quotes:
“Over the past twenty years, the United States has swung too far in one direction, weakening the regulations that safeguard workers, consumers, and the environment. An economic system promising freedom has too often become a means of denying it, as the narrow dictates of the market gain precedence over more important democratic values.”

Oh — have faith. We do have power to change this.

“Nobody in the United States is forced to buy fast food. the first step toward meaningful change is by far the easiest: stop buying it. The executives who run the fast food industry are not bad men. They are businessmen. They will sell free-range, organic, grass-fed hamburgers if you demand it. They will sell whatever sells at a profit. The usefulness of the market, its effectiveness as a tool, cuts both ways. The real power of the American consumer has not yet been unleashed. The heads of Burger King, KFC, and McDonald’s should feel daunted: they’re outnumbered. There are three of them and almost three hundred million of you. A good boycott, a refusal to buy, can speak much louder than words. Sometimes the most irresistible force is the most mundane.”

The vote is in: veggies win.

Posted in
Journal, Media, Public Health
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January 17th


I am in a funk today, one my mama would accurately label “crabby.” Rather than wax melodramatic about why I’m a touch pissy, I’m going to focus on what is working.

~For the first time in forever, our president is talking about mistakes he’s made. And for the first time in 7 years, Republicans on the Hill are talking about making changes, rather than nodding their heads like subservient little sheep. Braaaavo. Now, if we could just stop talking about a presidential election that is years away and focus on today’s issues, I’d be tickled.

~Tomorrow I’m taking a leap into those resolutions of mine and taking a lesson in Portuguese. Sim!

~ I’m currently reading and loving Fast Food Nation.

~ Tomorrow I’m swimming with a new club. The team I’ve been swimming with for 6 years has fallen apart and I’ve grown sick of working out alone. I’m taking quite a leap by joining a very competitive team, but I’m not new to this game. I spent nearly as much time in the water as I did in on land as a kid. February also includes another 1/2 marathon and a potential duathalon. I’d like to join a triathlon team to get more bike training in, but I haven’t figured that one out yet.

~Got a new cookie recipe this morning. Bagel boys, Ya Yas, friends — be prepared for the chocolate chip onslaught. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the kitchen. I can’t wait.

~This weekend I’ve got a date with my Singer and hopefully Ed Norton.

Ah, independent films, sewing, swimming. Life isn’t so bad. Crabby mood, you’ve officially been evicted.


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January in Phoenix

January 16th

We’re experiencing a cold snap, but it is all relative. I’m guessing these leaves will fall just in time to be replaced with spring blooms.

Fall leaves
Raining gold
January in Phoenix

Pretty colors, but I’m still fond of my native saguaros — no watering or raking required.


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Knot Tied

January 15th

The Asantes

Em and John got married this weekend at the Four Seasons in Puerto Vallarta. I feel lucky just to have been there. With a small handful of family and friends, they said their I do’s under a setting sun on a sandy white beach. The wind blew long white satin ribbons strung from the palm trees. The aisle was strewn with rose pedals; white candles flickered and floating in small glass bowls scattered around the ceremony. A family friend stood in as their officiate, peppering their vows with funny and sweet stories of their childhood. Other family friends read their advice for long, loving marriages. Em and John couldn’t take their eyes off of each other — as if no one else was in attendance. I will never be able to describe the look on his face when he first saw her. It was all incredibly perfect.

~An adult pool where they bring you little samples of their alcoholic drink of the day, and come by to spritz you every so often with Evian. No kidding.
~ Free snorkeling gear and a hotel sea lion that swims with guests. Seriously.
~ Mariachi music. I’m such a sucker for an awesome mariachi band. Pair this with an open bar and my newfound favorite drink — the mango mojito — and you’ve got one silly maid of honor channeling Elaine on the dance floor.
~ A ceviche station at the reception. So glad I still eat fish. Yummy, yummy fish.
~ A sushi station at the wedding dinner. See above.
~ Fascinating people watching. From the couples mismatched by several generations leading everyone to wonder if the man preferred “sugar daddy” vs. “pervert,” to the Brazilian model sorts who looked enviously at our table at every meal. We truly savored every meal. We in turn looked a touch green afterward when we lay bloated by the aforementioned adult pool and Miss Brazil frolicked about in dental floss. Sushi vs. string bikini? No contest — I’m going with the fish. I’m an eater and frankly, I’m okay with that. How you like them mojitos?
~Hotel rooms stocked with truffles, fruit baskets and luxury bath products — all of which could be enjoyed in a tub the size of my entire bathroom at home. I could have done laps.
~ The fact Em and John embraced the Hollywoodization of their names and gave everyone wedding favors with their new moniker attached — Jemily.

the girls2

In the midst of all this craziness, I thought more than once the hotel staff was going to knock on my door and say, “There has been a mistake. You are here to work at the wedding, not partake. Here, fold these towels.” I felt a touch out of place among this crowd, but by day four I was right at home and wishing I could own one of those cabanas with complimentary pool boys. We all agreed if Em and John had decided to wed among the trees in Flagstaff with a potluck picnic and a boom box, they would have looked at each other the same way. But, there was something about the extravagance of this weekend that none of us will ever forget.

Punta Mita in a few photos:

view from the beach
one of many downed
morning walk
Em and Kelli
a beachy view
jelly fish detail2

Congrats you two. May we all find such love!


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Journal, Travel
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In Triplicate

January 10th

Broken fixture

My shower faucet broke three weeks ago. The plastic handle cracked in two and eventually fell apart, leaving a steady trickle of water pooling in the tub. I didn’t want to think about calling my handyman, but I knew something had to be done. There would be the $65 an hour he charges, plus the parts and the time off of work to be home so he could come over to fix it. I tried ignoring it as long as I could, but each night I could hear the water drip, drip, dripping in the bathroom and it was slowly but surely driving me nuts. Plus, as a Phoenician who tries to tread lightly, the dripping sounded like drought, drought, drought, with the ocassional splash of waste, waste waste.
Coincidentally, I was cleaning out my wallet one morning last week when I found a Home Depot gift card I’d forgotten. “What the hell!” I thought. Off I went to the giant orange box with the broken part in hand and a nice pair of jeans firmly in place. I’m no fool. If there is ever a time to use your feminine charm and a good lip gloss — Home Depot’s the spot. Forget your pride temporarily, play dumb and ask lots of questions. Soon enough, you’ll have the part you need and some advice on how to install it. You can pick your independent spirit up at the door on your way out.

New $5 repair

For $5 (on the gift card no less) I got just that. And in a rare turn of home repair events around my house, I didn’t get in to a project way over my head. Viola — new faucet. Success!

crop of lemons

In other “use what you have” news, my neighbor’s lemon tree is dripping in golden fruit at the moment. They keep asking me to take as many as I’d like. I’ve been in their backyard a couple times with my basket and this weekend was no exception. I’m not sure where I read about this trick, but it’s worth repeating.

ready to be frozen

When you find yourself with a crop of citrus and don’t have an immediate need for the fruit, the juice freezes nicely in ice cube trays. When a recipe calls for fresh lemon juice — voila. Each cube is about two tablespoons.


I never thought I’d get plumbing and juicing in the same post, but this year continues to surprise.

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Journal, Reduce, Reuse
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Random Act of Awesomeness

January 9th

my very own

Yep, awesomeness. (I’m stealing this from Barney.) Look what was waiting for me yesterday when I came home from work? Wrapped sweetly in a giant Zappos box with no return address or gift card — this anonymous gift is nothing short of thoughtful and awesome. Thank you kind friend!

On a different note, yesterday I visited a rock gym for the first time. It was a touch unsettling to see how high the walls were, and how unflattering the harnesses are, but when in Rome.

climbing swirly
Rock gym wall

I think I’m going to get the hang of this sport and make it a regular thing. I really enjoyed the mental and physical challenge. Plus, there are few activities like this where you can so objectively notice progress. The routes are all marked by difficulty. Watching the experienced climbers perilously pull themselves up and cheer when they mastered a new route was motivating. And really? Don’t I need a new hobby?


P.S. You know I wore the birdie bag to the rock gym! I may have been sausaged into a harness, but I had the cutest accessories.

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The Real Timbuktu is in Mali, by the way

January 7th

Hello, my name is Kelli and I’m a shopaholic. My mother, in Texas, is reading this and throwing her hands in the air screaming, “Hallelujah! She’s progressed from denial to acceptance!”
Okay, I admit it. I enjoy a purchase or two. This is only a problem when I’ve organized an art fest with a use-what-you’ve-got-theme and thumb my nose at my own rules. Mea culpa.
So, if you saw me shopping at JoAnn’s this afternoon, I:
A. Used a gift card
B. Used a coupon
C. I suck.

In my weak defense, if you are playing along to this In Stitches Sew Along, you see that the project requires a grommet. I did not know what a grommet was until this afternoon. Now, I am the proud owner of a grommet tool, to which I applied my 40% off coupon.

In happier and less-guilty shopping news, lookie what I “won” today! I love eBay. While she may not be as cute as the brown birdie bag, she is a fraction of the cost and three of my favorite colors.

timbuk2 bag

LOVE! Now, the only think that might make me a bigger dork was if I was sewing a coordinating document duvet. You know it! But seriously, how cute is this bag going to be when I’m trekking through Mozambique this summer? Or hiking about Central America this Fall? Work it!


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Domestic Art, In Stitches Sew Along, Reuse
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