Kung Hei Fat Choi

Happy Chinese New Year, Everyone!

Some updates:

  • I finally beat Melissa in Words With Friends. Now I need to work on beating Aunt Pam.
  • I made it through my second Derby Lite, and I didn’t fall even once. Still mulling over Derby names…
  • The boys are in love with the snazzy toilet at the Kohler store and are saving their money for the one with the heated seat, deoderizer, led lighting and no-slam seat. Honestly, so am I.
  • Baseball sign ups are upon us and the Rookie has decided to officially retire. Spring soccer for that one this year. 😦
  • Pinterest.com is sucking up all of my free time. Check it out and you will see why.
  • I am watching Project Runway All Stars. I can’t decide if I like knowing all the people already, or if I wish there was some mystery. Mostly I just wish for Tim Gunn.

I might try to make fish balls for Chinese Hot Pot today…I’ll post about it if I do.

A New Adventure

I spent most of last weekend on my ass. Literally.

In my quest for Kick Ass Gear, I decided at the urging of a friend to sign up for Derby Lite. Yes, it is roller derby. No, there is no pushing and shoving. As Lite implies, you are just learning how to skate and the basic rules of speeding around a circle with a passel of other women.

The gear is truly kick ass. I have the excuse to buy any obnoxious helmet I want. I need to decide on my Derby name (suggestions welcome) so I can figure out if I am going girly with my attire or if biker fishnet would be better. There are these giant pads that I think would keep my knees safe if I fell from the Sears Tower. The only problem is that I don’t fall forward onto those amazing pads…I fall on my ass.

I was the first beginner to fall. I like to think that I did it to take the heat off the other women, my new Derby sisters. But honestly, I haven’t been on quad skates since 8th grade, so I think that was really why. I went straight back onto my ass. I hope it was impressive, since I know for sure it was painful. Luckily my sisters got right on the bandwagon with me, and it looked like the prat fall Olympics in there.

I “learned” how to stop. I also learned that my legs are about as strong as Jello and I need to embrace squats at the gym again. I learned that I am not nearly as coordinated as I like to think I am. I learned that no one laughs at you when you look stupid (which is often), but you laugh a lot at yourself.

I almost made it to the end without falling again. Almost. With just minutes to go, I took a fall so impressive the coordinator actually emailed to check up on me the next day. You all know how I hate to be out done. I did manage to fight through the stars and tears to get back up and skate once more around the “rink”. Maybe that will be my only Derby victory, but sometimes the small ones are the most important.

So, even though I can barely sit here and write this post, I know that I will suit up next Saturday and try to feel comfortable on my skates. I will once again try a “t stop”, praying I won’t end up face first into the mats. After my tentative attempts last Saturday, I don’t know if I will ever end up with the Windy City Rollers, but if it was easy, everyone would be doing it…

Once Again into the Fray

A New Year. Time for reflection as well as looking forward.

I have a list of resolutions, but first, I have to mention something that stuck in my craw from last year:

Jennifer Aniston was voted “Most Beautiful Woman of All Time”. Wait, what? Who? Not to take away anything from Ms Aniston, but WTF?!?!? First of all, Jen had a nose job. Would she be the most beautiful woman with her original nose? She shouldn’t be eligible. Second of all, have these people never seen Lauren Bacall? Elizabeth Taylor? Audrey Hepburn? Seriously? The Most Beautiful Woman of All Time is

Grace Kelly. You don’t agree, you are wrong. Nuf said.

On to the useless list of resolutions that we all make just so we can all feel bad about ourselves later in the year for accomplishing nothing on it:

  1. Eat better. Doubtful I could eat any worse, so there’s hope on this one.
  2. Finish the revisions on the damn Novel. I’m under no illusions that I will ever think it’s “finished”, so hoping to get the friends and family edit in the bag.
  3. Blog more regularly. Last year I was so slackey. My apologies.
  4. Beat Melissa at Words With Friends

It’s not a lot, but I figure if I keep it manageable, I might have a shot.

Oh What a Beautiful Wedding

Last weekend I had the extreme pleasure of going to what felt like my first wedding. I know you must be thinking “Good Lord, Sarah, you’ve been to dozens of weddings.” Yes, technically I have been. But there was something about this one, it was like nothing I have seen before.

My Beautiful Cousin married her Gentleman Farmer on their land, in front of their crops, just steps from their barns. She wore a simple lavender dress, not even a gown. He wore a suit, but no tie.

Her father and my father made the arbor. Her step mom and my mom worked on the flowers. His mother got all the dishes and glasses.

The wedding was at ten in the morning under a canopy tent. Two of their friends performed the ceremony. It was touching and personal. I wish I could remember their vows, I’m pretty sure I teared up.

A luncheon followed: vegetables from their garden, fruits, chili, lasagna. There was plenty of ice water and lemonade. The cake had two farmers and a tractor on the top. My Uncle made paper models of the barns and had those next to the cake. It was perfect.

Family and friends pitched in to do what needed to get done. I helped plate the cake (no, I did not make it) I took some pictures. The Gentleman Farmer’s family helped with the dishes. My Aunts and Uncles set out the buffet. Friends chopped veggies for the salads. When someone saw that something needed to get done, they did it.

There was no D.J., no light show, no goodie bags, no personalized M&Ms, no up-do, no toasts, no servers, no wedding planner, and no seating chart.

What it did have was a bathroom with walls (thank you Gentleman Farmer). It had love and family and heart and a charm I haven’t experienced in ages. This was about two people getting married, not about someone throwing a wedding.

I mean no disrespect to the people who have been gracious enough to share their weddings with me. I celebrated their special days with love and thankfulness. All the brides were gorgeous. All the dinners were delicious. All the personal touches were lovingly thought out.

I think we were all trying to get to what Beautiful Cousin and Gentleman Farmer found. It didn’t matter that the plates didn’t match. It didn’t matter that there was no champaign. It didn’t matter that there were no attendants. What mattered to them was that they were finally getting married. The other details would sort themselves out.

Don’t get me wrong…the families did a lot behind the scenes to make it this simple. I personally witnessed a fair amount of construction, cutting, ironing, gluing and fretting. I know that Beautiful Cousin and Gentleman Farmer appreciated all of the hard work. But there is a small part of me that thinks they would have been just as happy to do the whole shebang in their grubbies during a break on the farm.

This particular wedding was something special. I know I will always remember it. It was exactly what a wedding should be: two families coming together to form a new family.

Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Gentleman Farmer. May your marriage be as beautiful and heart-felt as your wedding.

I’m Trying

I haven’t blogged about PR in a while. It isn’t that I don’t care…alright, maybe it is that I don’t care. I wish I had the time to throw a bunch of pictures up and get my snark on, but I don’t. I have a cake to finish and a house to go see (don’t ask), so if you want something before this week’s episode airs, this is all I’ve got.

There is nothing worse than the “real women” challenge. They do nothing but bitch and moan about how hard it is to design for women with boobs (cough…cough…OLIVER). Of course this time we had the pleasure of listening to the creepy husband gush about his wife’s cleavage. That was certainly more disturbing than the men answering questions about what their wives like to wear.

“Would she wear blue or pink?”

crickets

Normally I complain that these designers should get a grip on curves, since 99% of the people they are gonna design for will have them. But this year I decided that this is the reason I can never find pants that fit and move on.

Here’s the long and the short of it…

After being robbed in the last challenge, Victor got robbed again. While I wouldn’t necessarily wear the separates he made they were perfect for his client and showed him as a designer. Smooth Josh got the win, and no matter how much I love that dress and would wear it especially since he didn’t bedazzle it, I still think he didn’t “enough” for me. A sinful little black dress, but a little black dress nonetheless.

Bryce went home after putting a Pepto dress with pockets I could carry the children in down the runway. The lady may have loved it, but she shouldn’t have. Rockin’ One was in the bottom even though I thought his color block dress was sweet and remarkably wearable. Bert was swirling the toilet again after yet another little dress. This one was poorly made and something I’m sure some of the girls will be wearing this week at the local high school’s Homecoming Dance. He did make his client happy, though, by putting the twins out on display.

There was another discussion about bra v. braless. I don’t care what anyone tells you, after a certain age you just don’t want the girls allowed to wander around without supervision: think Googley Eyes. Thank God for miracles of modern chemistry, a.k.a. wardrobe tape and press-on boobs.

In their quest to create any sort of tension that would make us bother to tune in, they are doing yet another flipping group challenge this week. I hope Oliver ends up with Bert. I hope something happens to make me care about any of these people. I know, I know…I’m an eternal optimist.

Wonders…

The DH and I are watching this amazing program on Animal Planet called “Human Planet”. They are showing the most amazing things: Tibetan kids hiking 6 days through snow and ice on precarious cliffs to go to school, a spear fisherman who can hold his breath for 5 minutes, fishermen exploiting the pools at the very edge of Victoria falls. I must highly recommend this show. Of all the things they showed us , this one took my breath away:

This is a living bridge. This, this is real amazing.

Just when you think you have seen it all. Just when you have about given up on wonder and discovery, something like this turns up and you are a kid again, looking up at your first rainbow.

I could spend hours researching the hows and whys for you, but luckily for me another blogger already did that on my behalf. This is something that you have to see to believe.

So please go to this lovely website, you won’t be sorry.

Shorties

You know you need a hobby when:  You are “watching” an episode of the innocuous Disney Show Good Luck Charlie and all you can think of is that its genetically impossible for the oldest daughter character to have those two people as parents because she has has brown eyes and the parents both have blue eyes. Never mind the fact that they are all fictional…

The Rookie made the girl next to him in class laugh so hard she threw up and had to go home (a big “sorry” from me to her Mom)

O-man picked the sax for his instrument because he was worried his arm would get tired playing the violin.

 

No…No…No…

My brother’s greatest pet peeve is when they have judges in the workroom. I have to agree with him. Especially since, in the end, it is whichever outfit the one judge likes best that wins, not one decided best by differing points of view. The best schmoozer in the workroom has a huge advantage. They tried to deal with that by bringing on a total of 5 judges, one being the nastiest guest judge in the history of the show (“if Nina showed up in that I’d think she was sick”), but in the end it was Nina who crowned the winner. It seemed senseless to have the others show up.

No team challenge, so there was much less drama. Well, unless you count Rockin’ One and the Hacker choosing the same fabric. Talk about a PR first! It was a delicious pattern, which meant it was all wrong for the queen of solids.

Nina apparently doesn’t like much in the way of anything when it comes to clothes. She rattled of a list of things she didn’t like which included things like voluminous fabric, loud prints, vibrant colors, sunsets, children and Santa Claus.

After that list it was hard to imagine much of anything worth looking at heading down the runway. The contestants must have felt the same way, because this was one of the weakest runway shows I’ve seen since Gretchen’s final collection.

Did anyone else notice that Oliver wasn’t even given a moment’s screen time in the workroom? I’d forgotten he existed until he was sitting at the runway show. The editing on this show gives away everything without even having to try. You have 90 minutes people!

Even with Nina shooting down almost every designer in the workroom, they mostly put garments on the runway the Nina wouldn’t wear in a thousand years. It was supposed to go from day to night, mostly they went south.

The middle were pretty bad. I wish I felt up to going through all of them. Runway Barbie threw down a green mess that was way tooooo short and crazy. Josh’s was too young (sorry Nina), Oliver’s was too drab (yes, even for Nina), Bryce’s was a construction train wreck, Bert the Jerk made yet another cocktail dress, and Rockin’ One’s was a boring suit. Snooze.

Hard to believe their were a top and bottom three this week, but their were.

Bottom:

Mousy Girl

I believe that the guest judge from Marie Claire said that this is what a “Mum would wear this in a kitchen making pureed acorn squash for her children”. No, bitch, this is what “mums” wear while dishing out slop to their kids:

Maybe if she had bothered to be home sometime when the nanny was feeding her own kids, she would have realized that.

Back to the garment. It was certainly Dynasty-esque. It was so boring and wrong and something you would find in the back on a sale rack at Carson’s.

Mean Girl

If she really wants to go home, as she revealed to her fellow contestants but oddly enough not to the judges, this was a really good effort. At Mood she thought she was picking out a purple, but in the workroom it presented as a gun metal grey. There isn’t enough bad lighting in the world to make that mistake. I doubt it would have mattered anyway. She gave up. Nina vetoed the sketch of the nasty jacket and Mean Girl never recovered.

It made the model look schlumpy: never a good sign. The choice of fabric did nothing. It was too light to give structure and too heavy to flow or skim properly. I didn’t like the neckline or the way it cut across the front. It was unflattering and weak.

Granola Girl

I sort of liked this one. The judges blasted her color choices, but I thought they went well together. Of course, they wouldn’t have been very flattering on Nina, but Nina liked the orange in the workroom and then turned on it on the runway. Granted, this was supposed to be something for Nina, and I don’t think anyone would ever dress her in something like this, but I could see regular women in this dress/coat thing, especially in climates like ours where your coat is your fashion statement for 9 months out of the year. Hangar appeal obviously only matters when you are looking for an excuse to like something. They thought the look was confusing (I’m sorry, directions on my horrific GPS are confusing, not clothing).

Granola Girl got the boot. You can’t live in the bottom from day one and not eventually have to pay the piper.

Top:

Anya

Boy, someday she is gonna get it. Her sewing skills are atrocious, and it won’t be long before no one will be willing to help her. Props to Victor for not turning her in for getting help with the sewing. He’s right, she’ll get hers.

To this wreck of a jumpsuit. Number one, it wasn’t a jumpsuit. It was separates. If anyone had bothered to look past the ill-conceived belt they would have seen that. There is a huge difference, and I’m surprised no one called her on it. I didn’t like the original mustard print she chose, and while the dyed brownish/black was better, it’s damning by faint praise. The pants were good, but there is no “day” in that shirt. No chance of those straps staying up without stapling them to your shoulders, no chance that Nina really goes that bra-less, no matter what she says. I don’t think I ever remember Nina wearing anything seriously low cut, please correct me if I’m wrong. She said she would wear this and I don’t believe it for a second.

The Hacker should have been in the top.

I love this dress, and it would be so flattering on Nina and anyone else who would like to wear it. I thought this had Nina written all over it when I saw it come down the runway. You wouldn’t think Nina could be wrong about her own garment, but really, are we that surprised?

Victor

This SCREAMED Nina. It had all the hard edges and self importance that make Nina, well, Nina. She told him to puff out the hips of the skirt and he managed to do it without wonkifying the proportions. She could accessorize the crap out of this baby. I really felt instantly that this one would hold its own at the office and at some stupid industry event later in the evening. They complained that it was too “right now”. Really? How dare he be on trend! But wait, isn’t that how they have complimented other designers. Pick a side, judges! I liked this, but there were some minor construction issues, and I still would have picked the Hacker’s over this one. But very well done, Victor. I guess Bert the Jerk really was hobbling you, and not the other way around.

Kimbery

Wanted to make a skirt, but was told to make pants. When she pulled out the gold we all winced, didn’t we. But then when you think of Nina’s coloring, it didn’t seem so bad. It could have gone futuristic sailor, but she managed to put a lovely garment down the runway. Nina was instantly smitten, and I don’t think anyone doubted this would be the winner. I didn’t love the top, it pulled funny across the middle, making it look too small. All that business at the neckline and then the straight seam over the twins made them look a little low. It could easily be reworked to sell on hangars at the mall, however, so it was the winner. The colors did look beautiful on the old harpy, I’ll give her that.

Next week they make the contestants run a foot race to determine team leaders. Other than putting them all in ridiculous outfits, the only other thing it seems to accomplish is killing Oliver. When do they just get to make something for crying out loud? I am getting no sense for who these people are as designers.

Undefeated

In the interest of equal time, it is time to talk about the baseball season for the Big Boys.

I can’t lie, this will not be as good a post as my wrap up of our time with the Mariners. I have no great personal attachment to the Greenline Wheels. The parents were nice and we all got along, but we didn’t hang, and the adult refreshments didn’t go down quite as smooth. It was no one’s fault. As my fellow Mariner parents are learning this travel season, pitch ball just isn’t the same.

J and O put up good seasons. J managed two home runs this year. He got to touch ’em all during the AL Championship Game, earning him the game ball. There were times on the pitcher’s mound (his favorite position), but also turns at first and second, and some time in the outfield.

O, with the smallest strike zone in history, learned not to swing over his head and put up some nice numbers. He walked, but he also got some really solid hits. He rode the outfield a fair amount (he was the youngest boy on the team), but he also got a few turns at catcher, his FAVORITE position.

My favorite were the few times J would pitch and O would catch. You could have lit the field with my smile.

The team was a bit stacked, and we went 22-0. They liked getting the big trophy and being on a winning team. They learned a lot about baseball. And I hope they had enough fun to want to play again next year.

It is with great pride that I present to you…

The Undefeated Season