avanta7: (BlackRibbon)
Whitney Houston was part of the soundtrack of my 20s. I remember the first time I heard that gorgeous incredible voice. She knocked me flat out with those soaring, swooping, happy, bubbly-sweet pop confections that livened up the radio and filled the dance floor and my heart with sheer joy. And that incredible version of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" -- someone I used to work with called that song "a one-note wonder", but dear God, that voice. That overwhelming, awe-inspiring voice.

And she was so beautiful. Graceful. Elegant. Tall! She had everything, and I admired her so much.

And then, naturally, she fell. Whether her marriage led her into chemical dependency, or simply exacerbated a problem that was already there, we may never know. Addiction is a difficult struggle, and she struggled. Mightily.

Breaking the cycle of addiction is hard enough on us ordinary folk. How much more difficult is it for someone whose every move is photographed, whose every foible is printed in the gossip rags, whose every misstep is broadcast in a hundred countries? She stepped out of the spotlight for years while she tried to put her life back together. And it looked like she had. An album, a tour, a scheduled appearance at the Grammys...

What happened in those last hours? I don't know. All I know is this. I'm sad. So incredibly sad. Good night, Whitney. Sleep well. I'll miss you.
avanta7: (Peachtree)
Sunday spouse and I spent a good portion of the day clearing storm debris, courtesy of the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, from the back yard. Neither we nor our immediate neighbors lost any trees -- although a couple of other houses on our block weren't so lucky -- but the oak tree next door that overhangs our yard with a goodly portion of its canopy shed a couple of metric tons* of dead branches and leaves during the high winds and heavy rain of Labor Day weekend.

So we raked and we raked and raked some more. Then, somehow, spouse managed to break the large rake. This is the second rake we've purchased since moving to this house. He broke the pushbroom some time ago -- we haven't managed to remember to replace it yet. I may remedy that in the next few days. Anyway, a couple of 1x1 scraps and several yards of duct tape later, Frankenrake came into being and functioned relatively well for the remainder of the day. And around 3:00 PM, we had a cleared yard and clean patio.

Maybe next time I'll remember to take pictures.

*exaggeration alert
avanta7: (Default)
We've been having car trouble. More specifically, truck trouble. My husband's pickup had developed a nasty tic...in that he could start the thing, drive for about a mile, and stall. Not good.

The offending machinery

What's even less good? The nearest Dodge dealer is 30 miles away. Our car insurance covers towing (yay!), but we have to submit the bill for reimbursement (boo!), which means we fork out the bucks up front and wait...wait...wait...for a check. *sigh* Still, it had to be fixed. And spouse manages a retail store and has flaky employees. It's up to me to get things done. Thus, last Saturday morning, bright and early, a tow truck driver came to the house, yanked my husband's truck up by its rear axle, and $117 and 45 minutes later, the truck and I are at the Dodge dealer.

Lamar, the tow truck driver, and I had a nice chat on the way down: tornadoes and the vagaries of fate, the politics of towing, and how much he loves his job. Good man. I'm glad I met him. He dropped the pickup off behind the dealership service department, we waved goodbye, and I went inside to speak to the service writer.

Five minutes later I was back outside, getting in Mom's car (she had followed us) to go home. "They're backed up," I said. "They won't even be able to look at it until Tuesday, and it probably won't be ready until Friday."

My father and uncle were out of town, leaving an extra vehicle available until at least Wednesday. Sunday evening, spouse and I retrieved the extra vehicle and he drove it to work this week. Yesterday morning, the dealership told us the truck would be ready that afternoon; and Mom called to say Daddy and Uncle Earl would be back that night, and they needed the other car back. Timing is everything, and this time, for once, all the timing worked out.

I corralled my friend Susie, we both left work early yesterday and she drove me to the dealership and dropped me off.

The repair bill was slightly less than expected -- always a good thing. Less than 15 minutes later, truck and I were back on the road headed home.

I don't drive spouse's truck very often, and all its knobs and gizmos, like lights and cruise control, are in unaccustomed places. While I was driving through town, I was fiddling with this, and adjusting that, and trying to find NPR on the radio dial, and somehow I managed to miss the turnoff for the highway home. Just cruising along, listening to All Things Considered...slowly, ever so slowly, the surrounding not-quite-familiar countryside seeped into my consciousness and...and...oh wait! That's the Army base! How did I get here?

I was headed east, not north. Right about then, I recognized a familiar round-about intersection and realized I was in downtown Jacksonville and oh look! The yarn store. The cosmos had decided I needed to buy more yarn and steered me to The Taming of the Ewe. Oh, thank you, cosmos. I yield to your divine authority.

I tamed my wallet to the tune of some $40. Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2011 (which they weren't actually supposed to sell until September 6, I think, so don't tell anyone), and two skeins of Cascade Ultra Pima.
Cascade Ultra Pima

It was fate. Really. If I hadn't had to tow my husband's pickup, I never would have bought that yarn. Honest. Pinky swear and everything. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

BTW, I knew spouse wouldn't go for such a tale. So I didn't tell him. Eventually, he'll notice the yarn. By then, I'll be able to say, "Oh, honey, I've had that yarn for ages!"

(Crossposted from Avantaknits. Comment here or there, as you please.)
avanta7: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]Anyone who has read my journal knows who my worst boss was. I never thought anyone would top the previous worst boss, but somehow she managed.

Anyway, I'm not going to go into the "worst boss" story in a public post, especially since it's a small world and I still work for the same agency (albeit on the other side of the country), so I will tell you instead about the second-worst boss.

Early 1990s. She was the director of one of the departments in a small Arkansas city. I was her secretary. She threw coffee cups and temper tantrums with regularity. Sometimes the coffee cups were aimed in my general direction. She procrastinated and missed deadlines and somehow it was my fault. She retyped and rewrote the minutes of meetings I had transcribed from the taped records because I wasn't thorough enough. (The concept of bullet point minutes escaped her. She thought we needed a transcript.) She disappeared for hours in the middle of the day. She often came in hours late because she overslept; however, she expressed concern at my devotion to my job because I had begun dating someone and thus made a point of leaving right at 5:00 every afternoon, and every now and then came in ten minutes late on a Monday morning. She criticized the way I kept the payroll records, the way I kept our files, the way I handled her mail...

After nearly two years of this, I put feelers out and one Friday was offered another job. I accepted with the caveat I would give two weeks notice the following week and then report.

That weekend I worried myself sick over giving notice and called in on Monday.

When I came in bright and early Tuesday morning, I found yet another one of her infamous nasty little notes on my desk, this one accusing me of cheating her out of her vacation time because I had coded her pay report with four hours of vacation on the previous Friday. I checked my calendar...yes, that was what she had told me she wanted. I called my new boss and asked her if I could start right away. She said, "Of course!"

I marched myself and the nasty little note upstairs to personnel. I sat down in front of the HR Director, handed her the note, and said: "I quit." She read the note, marched me and the note and herself down the hall to the City Manager's office. I sat down in front of his desk, she handed him the note, and I said: "I quit." I went back downstairs, wrote my resignation letter, put it on her desk, and walked out.

And that was that.

Some six months or so later, the City Manager fired her for insubordination, among other things.

Revenge is pointless, but karma is a bitch.
avanta7: (DramaMask)
Have you seen this? You should. It's beautiful. I could watch the opening title sequence over and over and over...

The Fall starring Lee Pace (of the late lamented Pushing Daisies) with an amazing debut performance by Catinca Utaru, age nine.

Wow. Just wow.
avanta7: (TempestTeacup)
First, we're all safe. If you've been on Facebook, you already know that, but it bears repeating for those who haven't. The tornadoes completely missed Gadsden, although several nearby communities weren't so lucky. And elsewhere in the state? Well, you've seen the news reports, I'm sure. Tuscaloosa is more or less wiped off the map, as is Cullman. So many fatalities, so much destruction....we were incredibly lucky. We never even lost power.

Second, after spending several uncomfortable hours in the basement Wednesday night, all by myself except for the animals (because spouse was in lockdown at the mall), I became aware of how inadequately we have prepared in the event we were struck by a tornado or some other disaster, natural or otherwise. As in, we have made NO preparation. None whatsoever.

Okay, we have a cellar. And a few candles. And a flashlight. It's a Maglite, so it's a good flashlight. But there's only one.

Spouse tends to discount and minimize threats, while I tend to overreact. Sometimes he's right: the duct tape and plastic sheeting for the windows recommendation several years ago was a bit silly. On tornadoes, though, and considering where we live? I think he's a bit too cocksure about our chances if we suffered a direct hit. And so yesterday I started putting together our disaster kit.

Having been through a first aid and CPR course as well as a disaster-preparedness class courtesy of the US Government, I have some general idea of what we need. The detailed list I got in that class has disappeared, but FEMA also provides a list on its Ready.gov website. Yesterday I bought the first aid kit and three more flashlights: another Maglite, an Energizer crank flashlight, and another Energizer combo crank/solar powered flashlight. The crank flashlights have cords or belt clips so we can attach them to our clothing. I also bought two cases of bottled water. I ordered a combo weather/AM/FM radio and an emergency backpack kit with food, blankets, and other goodies in a convenient grab-and-go package.

Over the next few weeks, I'll get the basement organized...there's already a big plastic shelf down there. And a work table. We also have four camp chairs. I need to move the animal crates from the garage to the basement and get two more plastic bins to store extra pet food. Extra harnesses and leashes too. And more batteries. A wrench and other tools. Maps. An extra stepladder.

So many little things one doesn't realize are necessities until one needs them, which all by itself is the reason to plan ahead.
avanta7: (Joy)
In case you're interested, you can see closeup photos of the new button acquisitions here.

In case you're not interested, I give you a photo of my favorite from the new purchases:
Vintage Glass


Apr. 9th, 2011 08:14 pm
avanta7: (Bubble Wrap)
I've been sort of taking a break from blogging/internet and trying to get more reading and yarn stuff done. But I've missed so much. And I've missed you all.

Balance is difficult.
avanta7: (Contemplate)
Yesterday, my mother, sister, and I went shopping. At estate sales.

We wandered through the houses of dead people, picking and choosing and coveting and wondering why on earth anyone would choose orange velour upholstery for a chair. It's kind of sad, really: a person's entire life as revealed by the possessions left behind after death. I know that's what will happen to me and spouse after we pass on -- I sincerely doubt our nieces or nephews will want our stuff.

Sis bought a large antique mirror to use in her bathroom (they're remodeling); and Mom bought an enormous Lane cedar chest and an antique vanity. Although I had brought the pickup just in case we found something that wouldn't fit in a car, we had to call my brother-in-law. He brought his truck and my nephew, and they did the heavy lifting: the cedar chest in the back of my pickup and the vanity in the back of his. While we were waiting for them to arrive, we had to fend off many many many other folks who tried to buy the cedar chest and vanity. In fact, one couple went out to the garage and actually PAID for the cedar chest after my mother had told the woman inside the house she would take it. They came into the house and started to carry the chest out when the inside sales lady stopped them. Finally, the woman running the sale brought little "SOLD" tags to put on the pieces so we could stop being so vigilant.

I bought stuff too, by the way.

Santas, teapots, and a bowl )

And the best thing... )

(Flickr is apparently being non-cooperative today. If the pics don't show up, please click through to their Flickr page.)
avanta7: (Purl Jam)
C'mon. You know you want to.

[livejournal.com profile] avantaknits
avanta7: (Purl Jam)
I can't figure out how to make my Wordpress knit blog feed into my journal here. *pout* So, I'll just crosspost. Clicky the linky if you want to see the latest yarn adventure.

avanta7: (Marriage)
The scene: Avanta7 ventures into the kitchen to make coffee. She returns to the bedroom where her spouse is still abed.

"Why is there canned fruit sitting on the stove?"
"Because I want to make a fruit cocktail and have it with cottage cheese for breakfast this morning. [pause] And I wanted to see what your reaction would be."
"Oh. Are you satisfied?"
avanta7: (MegaNerd)
I once more played my role as the family know-it-all this evening.

Phone rings. It's my sister. "I have a music trivia question for you. Who sang 'Knocking on Heaven's Door' before Guns-n-Roses?"
"Bob Dylan."
"I knew you would know."

She then explained that her spouse is going through the thousands of songs he has saved on his hard drive. (Apparently some of them are saved without artist info.) I could hear him in the background asking her how Madonna should be categorized. "Pop!" she shouted at him. "Pop, right?" she said to me in a hushed voice.
"Right," I said.
"What about Celine Dion?" he said.
"Drivel," I said.
She laughed. "There is no drivel category."
"You should make one."
avanta7: (Books By The Yard)
I bought boatloads of books in 2010. I read...nine. And three of those I read in December while on a plane and/or waiting in an airport. head*desk

Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue
Lovedeath by Dan Simmons
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
Elysiana by Chris Knopf
Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
A Carnivore's Inquiry by Sabina Murray (audio book)
The Meaning of Everything by Simon Winchester (audio book)

avanta7: (Snowy House)
Christmas being on Saturday means our office is closed today for our paid holiday. Gosh, I love having a government job!

Today's to-do list:

  • Take the dogglies to get frou-froued by the groomer
  • Take the empty tubs which held the Christmas decorations out to the garage
  • Finish cleaning up the living room

  • Make two pans of enchiladas -- one beef, one chicken
  • Make dip and a tray of crudite
  • Finish the laundry
  • Iron and starch the table linens
  • Brave the crowds at the evil place (aka WalMart) and buy new seasonal napkins and maybe a new tablecloth -- also dish towels
  • Finish cleaning the front bathroom
  • Practice the song
  • Serenade the LJ gang

All the presents are bought and wrapped. Mom's invited us over this evening for hors d'oeuvres and drinks -- not nearly as fancy as it sounds. I probably ought to make a little snack tray to take with us.

Now I must get dressed and take the critters to the groomer. It's Chloe's first grooming -- yes, they've been warned. She's such a wiggleworm. This should be interesting.
avanta7: (Audrey)
Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, endless endless rain for three straight days now. This was not how I envisioned my time off from work.

Running errands and taking care of business in the rain is miserable. Because it's not a pleasant rain, a light misty rain, refreshing to feel on one's face, oh no, that would be too easy. It's a steady sturdy rain, the kind that drips off the back of one's hat and slides, cold and gooseflesh-making, down the back of one's neck. It's the kind of rain that makes entering and leaving the house an ordeal because the leaf-clogged gutters right above the door overflow in torrents, thus creating that sliding gooseflesh-creating drip off the hat referenced above. It's the kind of rain that makes me grateful I was never chosen for any of those Seattle-area positions I kept applying for.

Ha! A good thing. Now I can finish getting dressed and ready to face the drizzle.
avanta7: (Peachtree)
Right now, it's cold, wet, and rainy outside. Although it's only 4:00 PM, the light is nearly gone due to cloud cover. I am snugly safe in a warm cozy house with two fluffy well-loved pooches asleep at my feet, two old persnickety cats prowling the premises, and a cup of tea at my elbow.

Life is indeed good these days. Thanks, God.
avanta7: (Default)
Chloe 1
Meet Chloe.

My sister brought her to me early yesterday morning, as a very early birthday present. Spouse was still in bed, so I carried her into the bedroom and put her on his chest. "See what [Sis] brought me? It's an early birthday present." He opened his eyes. "Not another damn dog." I stood there and let the puppy lick his nose. "Not another damn dog," he repeated. She licked his chin. Big sigh. "Okay."

Chloe 2
We went through multiple names before settling on Chloe. First she was Portia, then she was Rhea, then Clio, finally Chloe...of Greek myth origin, rather than Shakespearean like the rest of the critters*, but acceptable nonetheless. (Chloe is another name for Demeter, aka Ceres.)

Chloe is four months old, she weighs about 2.5 lbs, and Sis said she didn't expect her to get any bigger than 4 lbs. As little as Phoebe is, she'll be the big dog on the block at 6 lbs.

Speaking of Phoebe, she is soooo jealous. She has been very clingy since Chloe arrived. We've petted her and loved on her and paid her as much attention as we can, given the constant vigilance a non-housebroken chew-happy puppy demands. The cats watch Chloe with wary attentiveness and unhappy kitty noises, trying to figure out if she's a pet or an overgrown rodent. She returns their attention with a fierce puppy growl and an occasional charge at the nearest feline. She's been swatted at least once for encroaching on Jacquenetta's personal space.

Chloe has a bad patella on her left rear leg, a common genetic defect among Poms due to many years of inbreeding. That leg won't support her weight, so she limps when she walks and doesn't use it when she runs. When she gets big enough, she may be able to jump onto the sofa, but we've been cautioned not to let her jump off and risk breaking that leg.

She's about to blow her puppy coat and become really ugly for several months, but this time next year she should be well on her way to her full adult coat. Eventually she'll be as fluffy and full-coated as Phoebe.

Queen of the Sofaback
*Phoebe is of Greek myth AND Shakespearean origin. In Greek myth, Phoebe is the daughter of Uranus and mother of Asteria. In Shakespeare, her name is alternately spelled "Phebe"; she's a character in "As You Like It."
avanta7: (Wrath)
So not only do I have to figure out where to move my knitblog due to Vox shutting its figurative doors, I may have to bail on my permanent LJ account because its owners have made it possible to spread my sometimes highly personal journal entries all over the damn 'net.

If it weren't for the fact the vast majority of my social interaction takes place on the internet, I'd bail on the whole web presence thing in protest.

Not that it would make any difference, but it's the principle of the thing.

Regardless whether I stay here or move to Dreamwidth (thanks for the invite, Heather) or some other blogging site, I'm also making the statement already made by many LJ friends:

If anyone on my friends list crossposts a comment on a protected entry to Facebook or Twitter through this Connect thing, I will almost certainly remove them from my friends list. (Public entries, of which I make few, I will take on a case-by-case basis.)

BTW, if comments are crossposted from protected entries in other people's journals, I will take that as an indication that you are likely to do the same with mine, and act accordingly.

I'm pretty sure that most of you reading this wouldn't dream of doing any such thing, but I ought to say it just in case.
avanta7: (Usual Suspects)
The sore throat thing must be going around. One of my castmates has it. [livejournal.com profile] o_jenny has it. I'm pretty sure it's just sinus drainage which, if past history is any indication, means I'll have lost my voice by Monday. If it's not sinus drainage, I'll smack my castmate over the head with a script for making me sick. Unless sore-throatedness can be transmitted via internet, in which case I'll make a special trip to Texas and smack Jenny instead.

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