Saturday, December 5, 2009

#6.2 Music: Top Albums of 2009

Music is kind of the center of my life. some songs are just...perfect. they make me dance, sing, change my mood... discovering a new band or singer that I fall in love with is one of the greatest things. the only thing better than a song I love is an album I love. asking me to pick a favorite song off some albums would be like making me pick my favorite child...if i had children. Music is sometimes the only thing keeping me from going off the deep end at work. but then i slap on my headphones, crank up the tunes, and bliss out. everyone's voices are gone, it's just me and my work. Every year I think, "this year had the greatest music!" and then the next year comes along and tops it! So, here are my favorite albums of 2009. If you haven't heard them, I recommend you get on iTunes RIGHT NOW and have a listen, and click "buy album." you won't regret it!

(note: I resist ranking my favorites. I love them all equally. And I don't restrict myself to 10...usually I go all the way to 20.)

Gossip: Music for Men
Dancey awesomeness. Kind of like new Gloria Gaynor ballads. Think "it's raining men" (which was by the Weather Girls, i know, but you know what i mean.) Stand-out songs: Dimestore Diamond; Heavy Cross; Love Long Distance

Metric: Fantasies
Past Metric songs and albums were good...this one, their fourth, is just a culmination of everything good they've done before...times 10. this show was awesome (the parts I remember!); Emily Haines is a tiny powerhouse. Stand-out Songs: Help I'm Alive (the original version is great; the piano version is EVEN BETTER); Collect Call (this summer it seemed like this song was on the Current every single time I was in the car. in fact, driving to work one day I said to myself "they're going to play Collect Call next. and they did. no prewarning. but you know what, i didn't mind!); Stadium Love; Gimme Sympathy ("who'd you rather be, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?"); and Satellite Mind (i just listed half the album).

Dirty Projectors: Bitte Orca
What the hell kind of album title is that? who cares! I love bands that mix male and female lead singers. this one has TWO lady singers! and great guitars! this band was created for my benefit! Standout songs: Cannibal Resource; The Stillness is the Move; Useful Chamber (to hear them sing "Bitte Orca, Orca Bitte!" in the middle)

Mason Jennings: Blood of Man

Previous Mason Jennings albums have not been my cup of tea. I always thought he sounded too much like Bob Dylan, and I can't stand the whiny voice singing. This album just went someplace different. someplace very dark and sad, and that always makes for great tunes. Standout songs: The Field; Pittsburgh

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It's Blitz!

This album doesn't try too hard to do anything fancy, or get very deep. Previous YYY albums did, and we don't need more of that. This album does its job of getting me pumped for exercising, though. Standout songs: Zero; Heads will Roll; Hysteric

White Lies: To Lose My Life...

Just your standard indie rock band, with very catch songs. saw them open for KoL. Standouts: Death; To Lose my Life; Fairwell to the Fairgrounds

XX: Xx
What an original title. I've only listened to this album a couple of times, but i remember being very impressed. It's hard to describe...kind of moody electronica, with a male and female singer. Good tunes to listen to when you are trying to fall asleep. Standout songs: Crystalized (I always think this is an Interpol song when it starts); Islands; Heart Skipped a Beat

The Big Pink: A Brief History of Love
This thing is epic. i just wish they had picked a different name for their band. Standouts: Crystal Visions; Dominos, of course (got ton of radio play)

Discovery: LP
Vampire Weekend + Ra Ra Riot + Dirty Projectors. and it sounds like none of those bands! my biggest complaint about solo or side projects is they usually sound a lot like the main act. not so with Discovery! Standouts: Orange Shirt (this gets the head bopping and would be great to play in my car if i had good woofers); Osaka Loop Line

Florence + the Machine: Lungs
I almost forgot this one! I was obsessed with this for a while, i put it in my Pick Six! Standouts: Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up); Kiss with a Fist; Hurricane

Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
I blame that car commercial for getting "1901" stuck in my head so often. but it's still a great song. also Lisztomania...and the whole album. this show, back in June at the Varsity Theater, was definitely the hottest show i attended all year (even hotter than Metric), and definitely the most fun. my only complaint is the album is only 9 songs. i want more!

Silversun Pickups: Swoon
Their sophomore effort was definitely not as good as their debut album, but when an album is that perfect, you can't expect the followup to be as good. but i still have to give them some love. this album has slowly grown on me, especially after the show at the State theater this year. Standouts: No Secrets This Year; Substitution

The Rural Alberta Advantage: Hometowns
I assume they are Canadian?

I'll probably add more as i remember them...

On the other hand, there are a few songs that i love more than the whole album...or i'm too lazy to listen to the whole album and decide if it's worth of a place on the list above. Here are my favorite individual songs.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros: Home
I'm not unique in loving this's just so cute and folksy and I love the talking story at the end ("Remember that time you fell outta my window and almost broke your ass?").

Neko Case: People Got Lotta Nerve
"everyone knows i'm a maneater...still you're surprised when i eat ya..." She could sing the phone book and i'd love it!

White Rabbits: Percussion Guns
So energetic!

Eels: Fresh Blood
Kinda evil.

Grizzly Bear: Two Weeks

Peaches: Talk to Me

Saturday, November 21, 2009

#8. Knitting

I took a break from knitting to crochet, but now I'm back at it! I got some ideas for things to make for quick Christmas presents, and things for me! So here's what I've been working on recently.

Coffee Cozy and coaster!

Caribou was selling something like this, and I said, "i can make that!" the cable braid is actually really easy.
Here's the pattern so i can upload it to ravelry:
Caribou reusable coffee clutch

Yarn: Cotton or worsted weight

Needles: 7

Finished size: width: 2.5 inches, Circumference: 9 inches

Cast on 17.

R1 (RS): K2, P2, K9, P2, K2.

R2 (WS): P2, K2, P9, K2, P2.

R3 (Cable row 1): K2, P2, (cable back), K3, P2, K2.

R4: P2, K2, P9, K2, P2.

R5: K2, P2, K9, P2, K2.

R6: P2, K2, P9, K2, P2

R7 (Cable row 2): K2, P2, K3, (cable front), P2, K2.

R8: P2, K2, P9, K2, P2

Repeat rows 1-8 until piece measures 9 inches (end on row 4 or 8). Cast off; leave long end for sewing seam.

Sew ends together with tapestry needle so it forms a loop.

Cable back: slip 3 sts onto cable needle and hold in back; K next three; 3K from cable needle.

Cable front: slip 3 sts onto cable needle and hold in front; K next three; 3K from cable needle.

I knitted a circular coaster based on a washcloth pattern. I'm planning on doing a few more sets like this; the one i did today is varigated pink/white/brown (looks like neopolitan ice cream) in a checkerboard pattern.
(BTW, the creme brule latte from Starbucks is really good.)

Doggie sweater!
I got this pattern on somebody's website/blog, but it doesn't fit Maddie very well. The seam is down the chest, and it's supposed to be sewn together, but it's really hard to get her into sweaters like that. i put some buttons down the front but it's too small. so i need to refine that pattern and try again. probably design one with the buttons down the back.

Hat and scarf!
This is the skinny scarf i was working on during the Fringe festival. i ironed it, and it's supposed to lay flat, but it doesn't want to. oh well. The hat pattern i got off of it's a knit 4/purl 4 rubbing. I had the yarn from the amigurumi panda project (that i never finished because i thought it looked like a freaky alien when i sewed the eyes on the head) and it kind of matches the pinky color in my new ski coat. here's a closeup.

Also, this is the white scarf i finished a long time ago and was planning on giving it to Project WarmHearts, but now i might give it as a christmas gift.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Last week I told myself I wasn't going to spend any money on myself until after Christmas (with the exception of the day after Thanksgiving sales, of course). but then i happened to go to a few stores...and i needed a few things...and they were on SALE!... So here's me modeling what I brought home.

On Friday, after bowling in Blaine, we stopped at the Kohl's. I was looking for a new black purse for the winter. I got a Nine & Co. purse, a wallet to go with it, a colorful clutch wallet (for concerts and such) and a cute sweater! all on sale. (i love my manikin pose.)

on Saturday, we (we being my mom, sister, and I) went to the "original" sewing and quilting expo at the convention center. I managed to not buy anything (although I did find the ONE booth with yarn and drooled over their baby alpaca yarn); mom resisted buying a $160 iron. so victory on that front. then we went down to the Local for lunch (i said "Screw the Points!" and ate a Reuben and fries) and wandered down Nicollet Mall just to see what there was to see. we went into the Saks 5th Ave Outlet and were tempted by some gorgeous cashmere sweaters, cute dresses, and tasty leather jackets. but instead we went across the street to Marshall's! they have Calvin Klein and Michael Kors too, so it's practically the same the same store. I scavenged the dresses and bought...
a grey and black cotton dress ($25!) and two pairs of tights! Yay for work clothes.
Then, back to the convention center for the Ski and Snowboard Expo. I decided a while ago I wanted to buy a new coat for skiing this year (as my current coat is a little big now). in the Hoigart's "store," I tried on a couple and the first one was my favorite!
(ski pose)
What sold this coat was the cuffs with the thumb holes. that's going to keep my wrists warm and dry on the slopes! we thought the design was pretty unique (it sucks to see someone with your same coat when you're skiing, it's like prom dresses). now i need some cranberry-colored accessories! i'll have to look at yarn tomorrow...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Recipe: Pumpkin Banana Bread

3 ripe medium bananas (or 2 large), mashed (The bread won’t taste like banana in the end.)
1 1/3 c. canned pumpkin puree
½ c. egg substitute (or 2 eggs)
1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce (Or 1/3 c. vegetable oil, but why would you want all that fat?)
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ c. honey
¼ c. molasses (Measure honey and molassas together in a ½ c. measuring cup)
½ c. Splenda or white sugar (I could barely taste the Splenda)

1 c. wheat flour
1 c. all-purpose flour
½ c. wheat bran (If you don’t have wheat bran, use 1 ½ c. wheat flour total)

1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. all spice
(The original recipe called for 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice and 1 tsp cinnamon, but I don’t have pie spice and I like a lot more spice in my bread!)
¼ c. chopped dried cranberries (or raisins or chocolate chips or nuts)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a bundt pan or 2 bread pans.
2. In a large bowl, blend the bananas and pumpkin puree with a mixer (I pureed them in a
blender, but an electric mixer would do the same job). Blend in the eggs (or substitute),
applesauce, honey, molasses, vanilla, and Splenda/sugar.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, wheat bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt,
spices, and chopped dried fruit (mixing with flour makes them less likely to clump
together in the wet mixture).
4. Stir the dry mix into the wet mixture until just combined. Fold in the chips or nuts if
desired. Spoon batter into the prepared pan(s).
5. Bake at 325 F for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10
minutes, then on wire rack.

Servings: if you cut the bread into thinner slices, about 16; thick slices, 12.

Monday, October 19, 2009

#7. Volunteering/Apple Orcharding

I love hybrid hobbies!
Why volunteering? it's the cheapest way to give back! i'm not a particularly...let's say caring person, but I figure, I have the time and means to help out less people, so I should! and so should you! It helps a lot that my employer actively encourages us to volunteer (you can volunteer during the work day and not take vaca, assuming your manager is okay with it). I think it would be cool to work for the Medtronic Foundation. Through Medtronic, I've assembled furniture donated by Target to be given to Bridging (i have pictures of that, but i'm not in them!), been a Bridging "Shopper," been a Reading Buddy to a elementary school student...other stuff too. you get the idea. last MLK day, I signed up to help out at Second Harvest Heartland (we ended up addressing envelopes to donors, not what I expected), and now i get emails from them. on Friday, I got an email saying they urgently needed people to harvest apples at an orchard on Saturday, and the apples would be donated to Second Harvest, who'd get them to hungry Minnesotans. So figured, sure, why not! Amanda from work and my friend Jen wanted to come along too! so at 8 am on a Saturday (earlier than i normally leave the house on a weekday), we set out to Delano! which is about an hour away from St. Paul.
Here's my advice for apple gleaning at 9 am in the middle of October: warm gloves (waterproof would be great); shoes you don't mind getting wet and muddy; layers; sunglasses; a strong back.

We signed the waivers and got our bags.
jen and i don't look so enthused. let's improve this photo...
much better! Then it was a caravan off to the orchard (I was in the lead!).
There were many, many trees. the rows just kept going! i think we mostly picked Regents. when we got hungry, we each sampled one. quite tasty, fresh off the tree! the owner said if the 40 or so of us (and probably 50 in the afternoon) didn't come out to pick the apples, they would have just been wasted. which i find strange, that an orchard would let that profit go to waste...but whatever!
we only were allowed to pick the apples that we could reach (or get to by pulling branches down), but there were still plenty out there. i don't know how many times i emptied my bag.
I must have it!!!
Some random people emptying their bags in a tote. we counted at least 10 full totes when we left!
After all that walking and hauling and thawing out my fingers (but TOTALLY worth it to help people without actually having interact with them), we wuz hungry! back to Apple Jack Orchard for some lunch. it was considerably busier at noon than at 9. can you say CHILDREN?!? EVERYWHERE?!?
my last bite of a "Sloppy Jack," ie, BBQ pulled pork sandwich. i also had an apple pullapart, which i thought i would share with the other girls, but then it was SOOOO good i ate most of it myself!

Next Saturday is Make a Difference Day, so if you are participating in a volunteering activity, register it on the site!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

#3.2 Cooking

This weekend I decided to make something with the shrimp in my freezer. thus, Spicy Lime Shrimp Tacos were invented. I got some ideas from recipes on
Obligatory "assemble all the ingredients" post.

WAAAAAAAY too much shrimp (amanda had two bags in her freezer and since she's a veg now, she wanted to get rid of it), zucchini, squash, onion, peppers, limes, cayenne pepper (used chili powder too), lite soy sauce, can o' corn. sooo....let's see where this goes.

Juicin' the lime.
IT'S A LIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i'm a hand model!
Jen made spanish rice (sadly, not vegetarian, which i kind of thought was implied in rice, but whatev) and I actually put the shrimp in a serving dish! I made a non-shrimp version for amanda.
Assembled with cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce, on a whole wheat tortilla!

Amanda says "yum!"
Jen gives it a thumbs up! or maybe 3/4 of a thumbs up.

Then we watched THE TWINS WIN THE CENTRAL DIVISION and Amanda wrote a post too :D. but i totally posted mine FIRST!
I will be submitting my "original" "recipe" to jen at priorfatgirl's e-cookbook! you can submit one too! or sign up to get the cookbook when it comes out!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

#5.2 Lazy Baking

I usually bake from scratch these days, but there's nothing wrong with using a bag or box of mix occasionally! or most of the time. or all the time. plenty of things are definitely better from a mix (cake, for sure) and always easier. Last Tuesday, I made two mixes that had been sitting in my cupboard in a while, taking up space, and i decided now was finally the time to whip them up. and i took pictures. these are those pictures. (DUNG DUNG) (law and order)

For Jen E's poker night, i made up the Tiramisu kit that my boss had given me as a housewarming gift (let's pretend i haven't lived in my house for two years, k?). The reason i hadn't made it up until this point were some of the ingredients: coffee and amaretto. i have since acquired some instant coffee, for the occasional visitor who wants some, and decided to buy some amaretto. (Jen P's hot chocolate at the orchestra last weekend may have had something to do with that! also, it's good in coke. or just about anything, we decided.) The other ingredient was milk, so i got some of that and here we go!
Lady fingers, coffee+amaretto, and the Disaronna! and the pretty purple box.

Whipping the milk with the powder. it is hard to do this while taking a picture. make sure you whip at the highest speed to get the right consistency!

Cream filling applied and cocoa powder sifted on top!
It turned out well. i'm eating the leftovers right now. mmm...

I also made up the blueberry VitaMuffin mix!
They look totally boring (it suggests garnishing with fresh blueberries, but i didn't buy any), but they are totally good and fibery. a good alternative to Vitatops if you don't have any room in your freezer for the originals!

Of course, after all this "baking," i'm still left with this:
If it can't go in the dishwasher, it usually sits in my sink until i get the motivation to wash by hand. fortunately, most things can go in the DW!

The next hobby will be...knitting or simming.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

#6. Concerts

This was a big concert weekend! I'm just going to get right to the pictures.

Saturday: Minnesota Orchestra: Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty (and some other Russian stuff)

I don't have any pics of the orchestra, of course, because the old people would have gotten grumpy and thrown us out. So here's me and Jen drinking at intermission.
Amaretto Hot chocolate, delicious!

Red wine, not as delicious compared to that hot chocolate. we were all tarted up to try to find old rich husbands, but i don't think it's meant to be.

To regain my indie street cred, i had to do something drastic. fortunately, Rhi decided i was most worthy of her extra ticket to Sufjan Stevens (indie God, in our opinion).

Sunday: Sufjan at the 400 Bar

(she took these pics.)

Did I mention we were in the SECOND ROW?!? i could see his individual eyelashes. they are lushious.

Keyboardin'. I loved how they shared Suf would play his electric and keyboards in a song; in the same song, the trumpeter would also play keyboard. in another song, the bassist would hand the bass to another guy, and the bassist would play electric, and Suf would play acoustic or banjo. not really any room on that stage for extra instruments!

"We are the handclaps!" if Suf tells you to clap, you clap. you also sing when he says sing, but shut up when HE's singing.

This is my favorite...
Nothing foreign about that body...

(more photos from someone standing next to us)

After the show, Rhi bought a vinyl copy of "Come on, Feel the Illinoise!" and managed to nail him down for his autograph and a picture. you can find that on her Facebook album, "I love Famous People."
So yeah, this show was definitely in my top 5 of all time (rhi's top 10, but she's been to more shows) due to the fact that we were so close; it was so quiet in there; and it's SUFJAN. COME ON. he played a lot of new songs, and usually i hate when bands play songs i don't know, but it was really, really cool because we just watched and listened and were amazed. he was singing a lot of them from lyrics on a music stand, that's how new they were. (or maybe it's more a matter of his songs are REALLY long and it's impossible to remember all those words!) It's hard to pick a favorite Sufjan song, but he did play some of the more popular ones: Casimir Pulaski Day (definitely one of my favorites, although a very sad song); Jacksonville (the most upbeat song of the night); and Chicago to end (a softer version than the original, although the Avalanche album has 4 versions).

And Then...

Monday: Kings of Leon and White Lies

At pretty much the polar opposite in terms of venues: the Target Center! at least Rhi got us some awesome seats (left side, row A).
I took these pics. First, here's White Lies, a band from London that i enjoy.

how color-coordinated. They played for about 45 minutes, including their hits, "Death" and "To Lose My Life," which always gets stuck in my head ("let's go home together....and die at the same time").

Then, the biggest thing to come out of Tennessee since Dolly Parton, KoL!

The set was really cool. Check out YouTube for my vids!!! ...all of "Sex on Fire," people! now i can relive it FOREVER. (Strib review and setlist)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Baking extra

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

another reason not to have a cat... doggie is quite interested when I bussle around the kitchen, though. things i'm making noms for her!

Friday, September 4, 2009

#2.2 Crocheting

i TOTALLY told myself i wasn't going to start another project until i finished the 2 scarves i'm working on (knitting one for myself, crocheting one for the Orphan Foundation's Red Scarf project, which I technically haven't started because i'm going to rip out what i've done and make it wider), but i COULD NOT RESIST. this thing is like a borg.

I made those two amigurumi dogs, and this looks like fewer pieces, so it shouldn't take as long. now i REALLY need to go to Joann's this weekend and pick up some yarn. i love that place a little TOO much. now i can't wait for it to snow so i have an excuse to stay inside all the time and crochet!

Monday, August 31, 2009

#5. Baking

It's not just a hobby; it's a way of life. a way of sustaining life, anyway.

How long have I been baking? long as i can remember? my mom isn't a huge baker in the '50s homemaker kind of way, but i remember helping her make things as a kid. Once i went to college and had my own kitchen, i usually only let there be cookies in the house if i made them myself. i figured if i put effort into it, i deserved to eat it! recently I have started making recipes that are more healthy--less butter and oil mostly, and wheat flour or bran when appropriate. I started trying to experiment and create my own original baked goods this weekend! results vary.

well, it's fun! as mentioned previously, i like to create things. and there's no better outcome of a creation than eating it! i like to share with friends too. especially experimental things...

Let see some pictures!
Okay, if you insist.

Pear pie i made in January 2009: my first pastry crust from scratch!
never stays together of course.

i'm sure it was very tasty.

more recently, I had a giant zucchini from a co-worker's garden. i made TWO things out of it: Zucchini brownies and zucchini pineapple muffins! the brownies were amazing because there were no eggs, and i think very little oil. i left the zuke in the food processor too long, and instead of being shredded, it was pureed. but that made the brownie batter easier to pour into the pan. (if you look at the recipe, i left off the frosting.) The zucchini muffins were very moist too; i made them with mostly wheat flour, and half applesauce, half oil. i still have some of them left. I recommend keeping baked goods with fresh ingredients in the fridge, otherwise if left on the counter, they will get moldy (or just stinky) really fast. (in my blogger profile pic, i believe i'm holding up the raspberry chocolate cupcakes i made for a friend's bachelorette party. i brought the extras to work on Monday. By Tuesday or Wednesday, the smell of them made me want to puke. Amanda almost ate one that day. scary but true!)
the zuke muffins are on the left. they look really pale and slightly green in certain light, but definitely not moldy. i hope. a jumbo muffin makes a good breakfast (and is about 4 WW points).
also featured in that picture are some banana bran muffins i made this weekend! some have walnuts, some have blueberries (and some have nothing at all!). i made a half-batch to see how they would taste with my modifications: pineapple juice instead of orange; 1/4 c. applesauce and 1 tbsp oil... i don't remember what else i changed. I put way too many blueberries in. there's more berry than muffin in some. but otherwise, a successful muffin. they bleed their own blue blood.

Hungry Girl Recipe! it's amazingly easy: chocolate cake mix (18 oz box) and pure pumpkin (15 oz). mix. spread in greased pan. cook for a while. tada! brownies. (and a doggie who wants one.)
I first made this for our Fourth of July weekend at the lake. This time i used up some left over cake mix to make them into cupcake brownies. and i shall eat them all.

the REAL experiment was Banana Brownies. i merged the zucchini brownies recipe with another recipe i found online. and tried to make them healthy.
they look pretty standard...
and people have eaten them and not thrown up/died. i used wheat flour, and i probably shouldn't have. they don't taste sweet enough to me.

i think i'll give muffins a rest for a while, then try some other variations... ideas?

Now playing: Rilo Kiley - Give a Little Love
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, August 8, 2009

#4. Theater, specifically Fringe

oh my, where has the time gone? it's been nearly 2 weeks since i last posted, so what's been keeping me so busy?? Well duh! It's my favorite and craziest 11 days of the year, the Fringe Festival! It is definitely a hobby that I would classify under the larger heading of Theater-going as a hobby.
What is it? Fringe festivals have been around for a while and come from the UK mostly, but they have a big following in North America. this year the MN Fringe had 162 shows, each about an hour long, each performed about 5 times over the 11 days. every performer/theater group who wants to be in the festival gets entered in the Fringe Lottery in the spring and they are randomly selected. there is no jury process to decide who is the best (although sometimes i wish there was, just to get rid of some horrible shows).
How long have I been Fringing? (that's totally a verb, btw. it's also kind of a state of mind...) I believe i first went to some shows in 2005; at least i still have the buttons going back till then. each year i try to go to more shows than the previous year. last year set a very high goal: 19 shows. however, I've seen 18 already, and i'm going to at least 2 tomorrow, so i DID IT!
Why? well why not? it's fun! it's the cheapest way to see a huge range of theater in the shortest amount of time. it's crazy, and it creates a sense of community. This year i decided to volunteer so i'd legitimately earn my
free admittance to shows (last year my friend Spencer volunteered a ton so i mooched of of his punch card). I had to buy a punch card too though. And now i feel like i have a right to mingle with the actors and other really involved people at Fringe Central (known the rest of the year as Bedlam Theater in the West Bank). i hung out with Spencer and his girlfriend there last saturday, and we got to talk to 2 of our favorite performers. last night, i hung out with Amanda K and some new people, and we had a great time at the retro dance party, even though it was pouring rain outside. these are ARTSY people, people. they don't care what you wear or how you dance (or how you smell). these are the kinds of people i want to hang out with, if i am forced to do so.
What do I need to know if I, too, wish to fringe? I'm glad you asked! Here's my "survival guide."
1. YOU MUST BUY AND WEAR YOUR BUTTON. it's cute. you can get discounts to shows throughout the year. it's how they make any money!

2. The box office opens 30 mins before the show starts. Buy a 5- or 10-punch card and share it with a friend to save on multiple shows. Go to the BO to redeem your punch for a ticket (or buy a single ticket). People in the rush line (volunteers and performers) get tickets starting 10 minutes before the show.
(used punch cards, trading cards i've collected from Rockstar Storytellers, and show programs so i can remember what i've seen!)
3. some shows are popular and sell out! you can reserve a seat for $1 by going online or calling the number. i'm not going to tell you how to do that.
4. you need some form of speedy transportation if you are going to see back-to-back shows which happen to be in different parts of the city. I recommend seeing a bunch of shows in one area on one day, then shows else where on another. th
e West Bank is were most of the action is; i've been parking my car at Bedlam the riding my bike (which i brought from home on Day 1 and left in the parking lot all week) to Rarig at the U of M where there are 4 stages, or Mixed Blood, Augsburg (2 stages), Southern, and Playwrights' Center. I saw two shows in Uptown (at Bryant Lake Bowl and Intermedia arts) and made it back just in time for my next shows.
5. Bring something to do! below shows the typical contents of my bookbag: simple knitting project; Book; fringe program; show postcards; bookbag with past buttons (one fell off in the car); ticket stubs; and my constantly revised schedule.

the only drawback to fringing is you never get enough sleep! but who needs it. next year i'm going to try to be a house manager and take the whole time off from work so i can stay up late every night and sleep late every morning!(me, volunteering on Friday, with super-fake-smile Spencer, Kristin, volunteer coordinator/performer Allegra, and Peter. i'm holding a hold puncher! most important tool of the trade.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#3. Cooking

This is an impromptu post, so that i can enter a contest. :D Weight-loss inspiration and occasional lunch-buddy Jen is giving away a cookbook and apron at her website, Prior Fat Girl. my co-worker Amanda has started her own blog within Jen's empire. so i get to hear a lot about them.

How long have i been cooking? Well, my mom always made us help her cook dinner. she always made it look so easy and everything was ready to put on the table at the same time. I think she had many years of practice. when i try to make more than one thing at once, though, it seems the potatoes are done 15 mins before the meat or veggies, so I leave them in the oven to keep warm, but they dry out, and so on and so forth. (it doesn't help when the person i've invited over for dinner is 30 minutes LATE!) I like baking better, but that's a future post.

Why? I, like most people, have to eat. and sometimes, I like to make something more than soup or a sandwich. Generally things I cook for dinner are semi-disasters, which is why i stick to spaghetti or chicken fajitas.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

#2. Crocheting

Actually, I’ve been knitting longer than I’ve been crocheting, but a recent event prompted me to describe this hobby first.
How long have I been crocheting? I can recall as a kid making a really long crochet chain, but not being able to handle the second row. A couple years ago I bought one of the “I can’t believe I’m _____ing!” books, this one on crocheting of course, and taught myself how to do more than just the single chain (single crochet, double, half double, etc). More recently, members of our knit and crochet group at work inspired me to pick up a crochet hook and give a real project a try. The first thing I made was a washcloth. I gave it away ($1 for the Medtronic Foundation!). Then I was ready for something more ambitious. I had to try the pattern for “Barkus the Dog” from Lion Brand Yarns. I used a different yarn than they recommended because I’ve used Homespun for knitted things and I really hate it after a while. I used Jiffy instead, it was the same weight (5). I worked hard at it while I was at my parent’s house for Memorial Day weekend. It came together pretty good. The hardest part was sewing the head onto the body. Maybe I overstuffed him. Here he is next to my real life doggie.

Next up: another dog for my boss (she said she’d pay me, how much should I charge?) and a then a red and green sparkly Christmas stocking!
Why? I can’t just sit and do one thing! I have to keep my hands busy while I’m watching tv or a baseball game. Also I like to create things (that may be the theme to my hobbies), whether I use them myself or give them away, it doesn’t matter. I usually give my creations to a volunteer group at my work called Project Warm Hearts. They collect clothing, scarves, mittens, hats, afghans, and so on that people have crocheted or knitted and give them to local charities like Bridging (, which I’ve also volunteered for) and Alexandria House (

Related links: There is currently an exhibit at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis called “The Quick and the Dead.” I have no idea what it’s about, but included are crocheted representations of hyperbolic space. They look like jellyfish or sea coral to me, but you can take a workshop at the Walker on July 30 and make one yourself! Woo!

Caption challenge: Fill in the blank: “I can’t believe I’m _____ing!” bonus points if you include a photo of yourself doing it! keep it clean though.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

#1: Blogging

A blog about blogging? it seems to be. I had this idea not too long ago, to have a blog with a theme, rather than just about my life (because having a xanga and livejournal wasn't enough). I aspire to put more thought and effort into these posts so it's not just me rambling, although i can't help it sometimes. I'm going to try to have a similar structure to each post (see below).

How long have I done this hobby? I've been blogging since 2001, when i got my first computer as a HS graduation gift and first started at

Why? I need to get my thoughts on paper (albeit electronic) sometimes, and why not let the entire world see them?

future topics include gardening, baking, knitting/crocheting/other crafts, skiing, reading, playing volleyball, simming, and whatever else i realize i do that's a hobby.