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BPAL Madness!
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Hearth Warming Tales

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The Tube of Boobs

Snarky has absolutely nothing profound upon which to pontificate. She has completely rotted out her brains on television lately (TV "watching" - which is more like TV listening the way Snarky does it - is the perfect companion to repetitive lace knitting) and can only bullet point the programs that have permanently wiped out such things as high school calculus, family members' birthdays, and her favorite cornbread recipe:   * 24: mmmmm Baueriffic. Not that the show is meant to be plausible in anyway, but the Snarks do like getting a good workout early in the week.   * ANTM: Snarky started watching this in earnest again last week and confessed, tail between legs, to her co-workers that she had... only to find out that they had been sneaking episodes too! It was the freakin' laser beams that pulled them all back in!   * Babylon 5: they are up to season four and are really enjoying seeing all the arcy goodness come to fruition. Snarky especially enjoys the cast commentary included on the tenth anniversary DVDs (Kosh's "eye" is referred to as "the sphincter" )   * Battlestar Galactica: the Snarks are still unable to watch their favorite show on its new night because they are only getting older and crankier and really do require a reasonable bedtime on Sunday nights. So no, they haven't seen this last episode yet. They have gotten the shock wave of angst from across the country from their BSG loving friends, though.   * Grey's Anatomy: this show is thisclose to going On Notice. Snarky would really, really like to know where all these Izzie/George 'shippers are. Because she wants to understand why the sudden luurve where there wasn't any at all, and why all this support for this magical luurve and JUST WHY?! It makes no freaking sense.   * March Madness: Snarky isn't really paying attention to this, but it is what's on at ChezSnark. So it gets a placeholder.   * Planet Earth: The Mister stumbled across this series on the Discovery channel last night. Amazing, beautiful, breathtaking footage. Even (possibly especially) the brutal moments - like the shark pursuing and ultimately devouring a seal in midair - are just absolutely captivating.   * Princess Tutu: Snarky did not get the whole shojo thing until this weekend. This is the perfect confluence of Snarky's dance background, her love of fairy tales and story telling, and all those stolen moments of pretty-boy anime oogling back when she visited her cousins in Hong Kong. Really very clever.   * Ugly Betty: awesome as always. This show has the palette of an Almodovar movie crossed with the subversive joy of Peewee's Playhouse plus the deftness and timing of a Gene Kelly dance number (and sometimes also the tight sailor pants to boot!). Or something. Just total eye candy and wonderfully snarky/bitchy/delicious throw-away lines.   Snarky is either planning on getting a life soon before her ass completely melds to the couch... or... well, there is Eunny's print o' the wave pattern she could be working on... (as soon as she finds cobweb weight yarn. )

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Boxcar Bertha

I choo choo choose you!   Snarky has been up to her eyeballs in work. Lots of time-sucking, mind-melting office monkey duties that leave her with little time to do things like post coherent blog entries and string more than three related concepts into a happily trundling train of thought.   So here are the boxcars that are rattling around at the moment:   * The Mister has decided on a Major Career Change.   He made an attempt to return to his old soul-sucking, life-draining, anxiety-attack-making job for two days last week and has not been back since. Snarky is absolutely OK with this (beyond OK, more like -leading and just about to start a stadium-wide wave) and has already seen how much better he has been for having turned this corner on his own.   The Snarks are getting The Mister signed up for massage therapy school this afternoon. To be honest, Snarky does not consider The Mister the most adept masseuse. But he is an excellent customer service guy and a very quick study. His research into successful careers for his Myers-Briggs personality type (INFP) all point to some sort of one-on-one therapy (be it psychological or body work-related) and so... this is the direction they will be taking.   They attended an orientation at one of the local LMT institutions and got to take a class (with actual partial nudity and the touching of bodies!) and even with the clinical setting, circulating teacher, and random other nekkid and touchy people in the room... it was a really positive, instructive, and decision-making experience.   She hasn't seen such a shine in The Mister's eye since they first started casting their gazes Westward, wondering if they could make a life in the Pacific Northwest.   * Snarky has started to work out, again. This time she's focusing more on her (languishing) yoga practice. Today she feels five miles long, as if her arms could encompass whole attitudes of thought rather than just her gradually de-cluttering desk.   * Oh, and Snarky started knitting again. She is sort of doing a tangential KAL with the BPAL knitters (with whom she has regrettably lost track) and has been cranking on the Rona Lace Shawl from Knitpicks (using the suggested KP Alpaca Cloud in a Midnight, which is maybe not the best color choice given her current extremely poor lighting conditions at home). There have been numerous errata already in just the first 50 rows. This is apparently the week for Snarky to be OK with normally crazy-making things, though, because she is absolutely OK with this. She isn't even putting in any lifelines as she galumphs along on this shawl.   * Textured Vegetable Protein is amazing stuff. The Snarks will never be vegetarians, but the consumption of meat has gone way, way down on their dietary habits -- enough so that they will probably make it a luxury item (which will allow them to focus more on local, organic, "humane" (or at least as humane as possible while still being, you know, meat) options).   There were probably more boxcars to add to this train, but lunch is calling (The Mister's Magical Sweet Potato Quesadillas). Snarky hopes all of your trains are also enjoying the downhill side of this week.

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Change of Fools

Snarky mishears and misremembers lyrics with enough frequency to almost make this flaw an endearing character trait.   "By why would anyone want to play Twister in the sun? And what has that got to do with auto-erotica?" (Not that blisters in the sun make any more sense, really...)   So this morning her brain radio was going "chay-chay-chaaaaaange.... change of fools".   Snarky has been having some slightly disturbing dreams, no doubt because of the mild turmoil swirling around her lately.   A few nights ago it was another one of those school dreams - the ones where you either have missed half of the semester, or campus has reconfigured itself overnight, or the paper is due this afternoon and you don't have anything but the abstract completed. That dream wasn't so awful, but Snarky woke up in a state of near-panic for not having her graphs in order.   Last night Snarky dreamed she was on a school field trip (her old nerd school used to ferry students around in stretch vans that were like rolling perpetual-motion experiments fueled by that heady melange of teenaged angst, lust, irrational exuberance, and anxiety) that was held up in traffic because a large commercial airplane had exploded on the freeway.   There wasn't really any sense of panic - except for the fact that Snarky was going to be late to class again. Weird and kind of... misanthropic?   Snarky hit a bad funk-patch yesterday. The Mister has returned to work today, and she had trouble mustering up supportive enthusiasm for him. She has settled with hopeful, yet cautious stand-by-your-manism.   She has also been working long hours the last two weeks, which can't be helping with her internal rhythms.   Tonight she'll probably self-medicate with a hot, frothy bath and some deep dark chocolate. Sometimes the old stand-bys are the best.

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Stabbity Craft

Snarky got back on the needle felting wagon this weekend. She made a little desktop meditating turtle for her best friend, who is currently going through some tough times trying to find work in an over-saturated market. On to the cuteness!   Behold the Om Turtle!   (Fuzzy) Close-up   The shell is detachable. Note the cute little turtle butt! The lighter colored... thingie is a pocket. And what's in the pocket?   A wee little heart! Or a T-bone steak! Whichever will make her happier!   There is something very therapuetic about stabbing a blob of fluff repeatedly until it forms into something. Snarky couldn't completely zone out (that would result in punctured paws) but she could take her mind off of more serious matters this weekend and concentrate on just making something.

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Serving up Sexy with a Slice o' Surreal

Snarky would like to submit for the record that she is wearing a skirt to work today.   This is a rare occasion and had to be noted:   -knee high black Ecco boots (semi-sexy, mostly sensible) -pink and white striped knee high socks -gray flannel pin-striped long skirt (purchased from a punk store in downtown Asheville) that causes Snarky to walk like Morticia Addams -black stretch button down Banana Republic shirt -light pink railroad/ribbon yarn (inkdarkmoon: think Knitting Fever's Dazzle or somesuch) neck... thingy. It's a really skinny scarf that looks more like a deconstructed cravat -fuschia shrinky dink skulls earrings from Sweet Action Lab -red lip stain under sparkly lip gloss -Bearded Lady   There.   Tonight she and The Mister are going on a double date with their real estate agent and his wife. He's a pretty interesting guy, though the wife is a bit of a cipher still. They are going to see Inland Empire again because Mr. RealEstateAgent is a huge, huge David Lynch fan... which is very disconcerting for the Snarks. Lynch is a hard artist to pin down, but whatever anyone might think of when picturing a Lynch afficionado, Mr. REA is the exact opposite (or possibly dead on. It's really hard to tell.).

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Soccer Mom Fetish?

Over time, Snarky has learned to appreciate the value of Name Brand Things - not always (she still just can't get the whole Louis Vuitton thing) but more often than not. When she does purchase things these days, they feel more like investments. (Even if said investments are happening at the Goodwill.)   She would rather have the one good pair of Danskos rather than a closet full of Payless ripoffs.   It came as a bit of a shock to her a few years ago to discover that the straight legged jeans from Eddie Bauer were the best fit for her body (which she lovingly refers to as "the curvy rectangle": slight dip at the waist in a long torso over short, muscular thighs and calves).   Snarky always thought of Eddie Bauer as The Gap for soccer moms. In other words: better than Wal-Mart, but not North Face/Patagonia/whatever the heck posh soccer moms wear.   What came as an even bigger shock is that a sweater she purchased from the EB factory outlet last year (deep red boxy cabled cardigan) provoked a rather interesting response from The Mister. He made a point several times to comment that he really liked the sweater, and liked Snarky wearing it. Sometimes the commentary came in tactile form.   Snarky could not pinpoint exactly what it was about this shapeless sweater that was pushing all the right buttons for The Mister, but she is now determined to figure it out.

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Of Mermaids and Girlie-Girls

Last week's surprise winter weather has given way to premature spring-like conditions.   And like a tender crocus bud, Snarky finds her own femininity peeking out from all the protective layers of winter accumulation. Last night she trimmed back the talons and attended to her toes. Tonight she hopes to complete the rest of her home mani/pedi progression (Snarky is slow and less flexible than she once was. It takes at least two days to finish these simple tasks.) and this weekend might be the Wacky Waxing Weekend if she can get her gumption up.   This seems to be the prevailing mood on Blog Island. A mood of rejuvenation and re-introduction to one's inner girlie-girl. Snarky has lost track of what this particular movement happens to be... is it post-post-modern feminism, or meta-feminism, or retro-something-or-other?   Ah well. Whatever it is, it makes typing on the keyboard much easier.   Edited to add: while ChezSnark is still slightly under the pall of the Monster Cold of Ought Six Slash Seven, Snarky has finally started to wear her BPAL again. Banner day!

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Claws are out! - Grumbling about Grooming

Snarky in Winter   If she would just stop burning and cutting them and tried to moisturize every once in a while, Snarky would have a fairly pretty set of hands. Given care, they can be delicately expressive with long fingers and long, tapering nail beds. She inherited them from her father's side of the family. Her mother has always grumbled about her own "farmer's hands", but as the rest of her is delicate and expressive (she was a traditional Chinese dancer in college), her hands come across as such too.   Snarky does not treat her hands well at all, though. They want to be long-nailed and idle... the hands of some pampered concubine. But she treats them like meat. On the rare occasion that she gets them "done", they become undone within a week's time. Nail polish barely lasts two days (even the good stuff). Her cuticles would break any aesthetician from sheer mental trauma.   Currently Snarky is struggling with her suddenly long nails. They get caught in her keyboard (upon which her typing sounds like a puppy scrabbling across a hardwood floor). They mess up her ability to dial her cell phone. She has poked herself in the eye countless times. The Mister has been inadvertently scratched in very unsexy ways.   So far, only the cats seem to enjoy these new accessories.   Along with her enlongenating nails, Snarky is trying to re-learn how to handle longer hair. She is also doing what she playfully calls "Winterizing" - a sort of seasonal shortening of her personal grooming habits which allows her to sleep in a bit more, but which also makes winter The Mister's least favorite time of year. Apparently it's OK for him to have hairy legs year 'round, but she must remain pre-pubescent (at least in that one aspect.) She will make an exception for Valentine's Day, though, which brings much rejoicing to ChezSnark.   Snarky really has a problem with the whole body hair issue, actually. She finds it yucky and gross in all practicality (tank tops, swim suits, shorts) but in principle wishes she could just let it all go. So this "Winterizing" thing is sort of her annual foray into protesting the unrealistic expectations set by the beauty industry and society in general. (She's also normally a waxer, not a shaver, so this is a bit of a reprieve from all the ouchiness.)   Strange how laziness promotes old stereotypes (longer head hair and finger nails) whilst stomping like a giant hairy Sasquatch on others.

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Fried Daze

Snarky's office smelled of gas earlier today, and since then she and her co-workers have been experiencing moments of giddiness and short attention spans.   Of course, the spicy hot cocoa mix Snarky has been downing (with hot, strong coffee as the re-hydrating agent) probably is adding to the giddiness.   She is finding herself in a very weird and easily distracted head space this week. The Mister continues to fight the last bits of this horrendous monster cold they've both been fighting (Snarky still gets occasionally froggy, but is otherwise Back to Normal) and has been coming down from Host Mode (the Darkity'Rents are safely back in their home five states away). He's been feeling very worthless and lost this week since he isn't currently working, but is too sick to really explore the possible employment avenues about which he was most curious.   Snarky is Queen of Sloth and hopes to be able to encourage a few good days of solid down time for The Mister through example. Monkey see, monkey (don't) do, as it were.   There is also a weird undercurrent of Impending Doom circulating around the office today (along with any brain cell killing gases that might be wafting). Next week is going to be insane with an annual sale that will require the man power and time of everyone on staff. This is a huge event every year that traditionally gives the company a start of the year boost upon which all sorts of annual projections and planning hinge. And some of the veterans of this melee are feeling that Something Will Go Horribly Wrong.   All in all, the year has started off strangely. There is a feeling of restlessness and unease but also a kind of exhilaration - very reminiscent of the pit-of-stomach feeling one gets while being inexorably dragged up up up toward the payoff of a large, menacing, candy-colored roller coaster ride.

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Anosmia, AKA sympathy for Hutchense

The Snarks have been unbelievably sick these past few days. Snarky began showing signs of not-quite-rightedness during the Asheville leg of their North Carolina circuit of Ought Six and has since gone through losing her voice, running a mild fever, eye-watering sinus pressure, and persistent, hacking, non-productive coughs (the worst kind!).   The Mister's symptoms appear to be on almost exactly a 48 hour delay from Snarky's.   The biggest problem, besides having slept for almost three days straight (what New Year's celebrations?), has been the phelgm induced anosmia. Even if the Snarks were to get hungry (which is a rarity given their complete lack of activity as well as their sneaking suspicion that snot has been draining directly into their stomachs this whole time, which, yeah, ) they can't smell anything well enough to taste it.   This is a great and terrible curse for foodies, which is just a less sexually suggestive name for what the Snarks really are, which are hardcore, dyed in the wool sensualists. (Snarky doesn't really know what "dyed in the wool" sensualists are like, but she is enjoying the mental image of drifts of alpaca fleece being soaked in a vat of deeply crimson dye)   What did the Snarks eat this weekend? Two frozen pizzas. With nothing added to them. It just seemed like a waste to add the usual tangy/zesty/cheesy additional toppings they usually do with their "cheat, heat, and eat" meals. Why bother? It was all just so much texture in their mouths, and nothing more.   So sad!   Which reminded Snarky about the last years of Michael Hutchense's life. He was never a role model for Snarky, but she felt a certain affinity with his public image. He was probably the prettiest man at the time to give her funny feelings in her tummy. When she found out about his head-trauma induced anosmia, she couldn't imagine the anguish he must have felt.   Side note: the step-sister-in-law's new boyfriend earned points with Snarky by going into a rather detailed discussion of how he possesses a very particular kind of synasthesia - he smells in colors. She left him an imp of Tombstone to see if it came up as a rusty cream with evergreen edging.   Anyways. The DarkityFam is still scheduled to begin showing up starting tomorrow night. Snarky thinks she'll be almost human enough to host, though the house is an utter and complete shambles (which will give DarkityMa something to keep herself occupied, if nothing else). The Mister will probably be pretty wrecked, but they will manage. Interesting start to the new year, indeed.

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

The Last of the Really Great Wang-Doodles

(Either Snarky just lifted the entire title of a book she once read in elementary school... or a surreal p0rno.)   The promised finished heart t-shirt pics, plus bonus t-shirts because this did turn out to be a very addictive hobby:   Unfortunately, Snarky cannot walk and chew gum (AKA craft and make clear documentation), but here's the finished heart!   Detail of the heart. Snarky went back in after taking this picture to clean up the semi-painted spots.   Niece #1 requested a drawing of a "pink unicorn with a white horn standing on green grass". So Snarky bent the rules a bit.   Mane detail.   The grass ended up overpowering the unicorn a bit, but Snarky figures a five-and-a-half year old won't mind. (Hopefully!)   The Mister's one request for Christmas: a shirt that he could wear with (stinky) pride.   Snarky also enjoyed "open studio" last night at work and will have more crafty pictures to post after she gets back from her trip Back East.   The Mister seems to be in a much better place mentally, even though his job situation is even more complicated, though possibly in a good way: he's been tentatively offered some continued part-time work that he might be able to do from home for his current employer, and he just got the results from an online personality test that prompted a company to immediately contact him for an interview. This might end up becoming the major fork in the road for this part of his life that defines how the next several years roll out.   Snarky hopes all of you are enjoying good food and great company. The passing of the Winter Solstice feels like the turning of a very important page for her. She's hoping for the same sense of forward momentum for everyone else who is currently Doing the Unstuck.

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Just Sing

We can do it! After I finish this yummy sammich....   There is this thing that's like touching except you don't touch Back in the day it just went without saying at all All the world's history gradually dying of shock There is thing that's like talking except you don't talk You sing You sing   Sing for the bartender sing for the janitor sing Sing for the cameras sing for the animals sing Sing for the children shooting the children sing Sing for the teachers who told you that you couldn't sing Just sing   There is thing keeping everyone's lungs and lips locked It is called fear and it's seeing a great renaissance After the show you can not sing wherever you want But for now let's just pretend we're all gonna get bombed So sing   Sing cause its obvious sing for the astronauts sing Sing for the president sing for the terrorists sing Sing for the soccer team sing for the janjaweed sing Sing for the kid with the phone who refuses to sing Just sing   Life is no cabaret We don't care what you say We're inviting you anyway You mother[frakkers] you'll sing someday... You mother[frakkers] you'll sing someday... You mother[frakkers] you'll sing someday... --"Sing" by the Dresden Dolls   Snarky had a bad day yesterday. The Mister did manage to go in to work for half the day, but the first half was spent in moments of panic and anxiety. He says a switch has gone off inside his head that has turned his soon-to-be-former work place into a place of near-terror for him. He apologizes to Snarky for being broken, and it's breaking her heart to see him like this.   But she's beginning to feel her fists harden into tiny little knots of grim determination. Her brow is furrowed and she's rolling up her sleeves figuratively (because it is friggin' COLD over here, making rolling up her literal sleeves a non-option) in preparation for the Work Ahead.   The Mister is broken, but he is healing. Snarky will do her best to support and ass-kick as needed. She's also keeping an eye on her own stress-levels to make sure they complement - rather than exacerbate - his.   Last night she worked on his special shirt. He requested a "got garlic?" shirt which has proven to be a bit more problematic than the other ones. If things turn out well (which they will... eventually) Snarky will post pics. She still owes finished bleeding heart and unicorn t-shirt pics too!   Tonight, Snarky is staying late because her work is having another employees-only open studio session (with potluck panini! ). She's very excited about this, though she has absolutely no idea what she's going to make. Wish her luck!

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Bummed

First the semi-tragic ordeal of the Kim family, and now the climbers on Mt. Hood.   This has not been a good season for hope.   Snarky finally hit her bummed out wall yesterday early afternoon. She and The Mister had been fairly functioning up until then, completing last minute holiday preparations for their trip Back East, s-l-o-w-l-y cleaning up ChezSnark for the impending white glove inspection from DarkityMa, generally acting as if life was going on without a hitch.   Then yesterday afternoon Snarky fell hard into a funk and didn't really recover until late in the evening. She just could no longer pretend that Everything Was OK.   She's fine now, but this morning The Mister, as he prepared for work, came into the bedroom (in which Snarky was determinedly NOT preparing to work out before work, but rather trying to discover just how much of her could be covered up before suffocation would become an issue) and started to hyperventilate and repeat over and over "I can't go in, I just can't go in, I can't go in there, I just can't go in....".   She took some time off of work to make him some pancakes and get him in bed and talk to him. Assure him that it would be OK eventually, that they were on their way to finding a better path.   And Snarky does believe this, firmly and with a steely resolve she doesn't normally feel for anything in her life (except for the Big Stuff). But she just wishes she could make The Mister believe it as thoroughly as she does right now too.   In the meantime, she continues to do little things for him. Tell him how proud she is of him, all the things she hopes will help him to regain some of what he was before all this stress wore him down.

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

R.E.M.'s optimistic nihilism

Packaging reads: Disco, optional   So, after a brief brush with the concept of single-income-dom a few months ago (that was circumvented with a lateral career move), it looks like The Mister has finally reached the end of his rope with his current employer. He's meeting with his supervisor sometime today to announce his intention of resigning from his position effective the end of this month.   Snarky will surely panic later, but currently she is feeling oddly fine about things. It's not the end of the world... just the end of the world as she knows it. And when she looks around, she sees all sorts of things that can be trimmed away to make their impending financial strain less panic-inducing.   Snarky grew up not quite poor, but very, very frugally. She can re-create some of the methods her parents employed to ensure that the important things remain covered.   Normally, and this was proven in very recent history with The Mister's last "I've had it!" moment, Snarky does not handle the threat to her creature comforts well. But this morning when The Mister reached over to take her hand, it was shaking violently enough that she thought he was rapidly squeezing her hand for some unknown reason. She gave him one of his emergency panic attack pills, cooked him a quick breakfast, and went out into the rain. Now she's wondering if she should have stayed behind to provide moral support while he prepared for this life-changing day.   In slightly better-perhaps news, she pointed The Mister to the "Be an Actuary" site that antimony suggested a while back, and he was very intrigued. Turns out the actuarial field was one of his top picks based on some sort of career choice evaluation he did a while ago.   In the meantime, Snarky knows The Mister well enough that he will land on his feet. It will be rough going, but they will get there.

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

She's Crafty, S'more.

(Great, now Snarky is craving graham crackers and marshmellows and melty dark chocolate.)   Very quickly, as Snarky's back is starting to protest after a weekend of bent-over-the-coffee-table-exact-o-knifing, she's about 80% finished with the DeathRockFamily freezer paper stenciled t-shirts!   Step One: select toddler-appropriate imagery and use as template for freezer paper stencil.   Step Two: iron stencil onto targeted surface (in this case, American Apparel's toddler-sized raglan t-shirt) using another piece of freezer paper as back on other side of surface to add stability and prevent bleed-through.   Step Three: develop big head from success of first project, proceed to go insane and decide to stencil text onto next t-shirt. Because you are also slightly masochistic.   Step Four: covet your own work. (Note: the bear trap is just one application of black ink, but the toaster shirt has three coats because Snarky didn't have light colored paint intended for dark surfaces.)   Step Five: go even more bat-crap-crazy and decide to shoot for the moon on your next design. Halfway through, shake fist (while carefully aiming exact-o knife away from face) and ask WHYYYYYY?!?!?!   Step Six: Just walk away from the stencil. Take a breather. Come back tomorrow.   Snarky will post finished DeathRockMama shirt picks tomorrow (hopefully).  

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Snot 'n Snarky Shiksas

Well, Snarky isn't sick. YET. But The Mister is. Woefully so: fever, sinus pressure, just the general nastiness + malaise that tends to strike 'round this time of year.   Snarky fixed him up with a round of Nyquil (he was up all night, which means that Snarky was up all night too ) and set some frozen chicken thighs to thaw in the fridge for some Jewish penicillin tonight.   Actually, there is a type of chicken soup DarkityMa used to make when members of the DarkityFam were under the weather. She had a special clay pot with a sort of funnel in the middle - it looked like a bundt cake pan crossed with a clay donut - that she used to steam up the chicken. The pot sat on top of another pot of boiling water, and the funnel directed the steam into the donut and cooked the chicken she had placed in the bottom of the clay pot. The soup formed from the steam and random cooking juices released by the chicken and aromatics.   Snarky suspects that Chinese mothers and Jewish mothers have a lot in common. Her proof is still pretty flimsy, but this still might be something worth investigating futher: - both provide food, usually in the form of soup, as the panacea of choice (there's the aforementioned chicken soup, plus all manner of sweet soups for sore throats and mucus issues... Snarky disctinctly remembers a sweet soup her mother made with white wood fungus that was supposed to help her blood somehow, and she also recalls a berry/astragalus root tincture/soup she took roughly once a month for her wimmin issues) - both are violently addicted to mah jong - both consider Chinese Food a perfectly good holiday meal alternative/standby - both are highly skilled in guilt-ninjitsu, case in point:   "How many Jewish/Chinese mothers does it take to change a light bulb?" (heavily sighing) "Oh, don't mind me. I don't want to be a bother. I'll just sit in the dark."

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

She's Crafty

The first year Snarky learned to knit (the third time, when it stuck) she committed a common knewbie act of ginormous hubris: she decided to knit all of the Darkity's gifts to their family.   It wasn't as bad as it could have been - Snarky only knit for the "-in-law" side of the family, but she had an ambitious - and schizophrenic - to do list: * a pair of convertible fingerless gloves (that turned into mittens) * a Peruvian style fair isle hat (with the ear flaps and braided cords) * a cardigan (Sitcom Chic from Bonne Marie, if you were curious) * a therapy roll filled with flax seeds, chamomile, lavendar, etc. * a felted bucket hat * scarves * beaded eyeglass chain (OK, that one wasn't knitted, but it was crafty!) * cute little tags to amp up the DIY feel of all the gifts   By the time the Day of Giving and Oohing and Aahing finally arrived, Snarky was too delirious from sleep deprivation due to too many nights spent way past her bedtime squinting over poorly lit last minute knitting to really enjoy the season. There are pictures, at least.   But before Snarky could say "never again!" she decided the next year to make felted stockings for every single one of her Aunts and Uncles (and Grandma M) on her mother's side of the family. Because Snarky is some kind of craft martyr. That must be the reason.   Last year the crafting was focused with laser-like intensity on DarkityMa. She received one shawl, a cabled chemo cap, and a fuzzy rasta hat (chemo cap that got too big). She also still has a shawl marinating in the back of the hall closet, but she doesn't know about that one because Snarky is not able to look at it without having knitting-in-the-rain running-after-the-runaway-skein flashbacks.   This year, Snarky thinks she's dialing it back, but maybe she's too far into it to have perspective. She's working on a commissioned Where's Waldo hat, she has two pairs of Fuzzy Feet felted clogs to make for the Darkity'rents, she needs to continue her enviro/animal friendly/yet-still-soft yarn research for a hat for DarkityBro, and there's the matter of a long-delayed sculptural snake scarf that The Mister really, really wants (so far she's using Panache from KnitPicks - cashmere and alpaca and merino, oh my! - and Meunch's Touch Me, which is about the most sinful shiny chenillesque yarn EVAH) (Sometimes Snarky wonders if The Mister is very secretly some sort of drag queen.).   She is designing little logos to silk screen (using the freezer paper method) onto t-shirts for the troubled DeathRockFamily. If this experiment works, she will be making more t-shirts for just about everyone because how cool is that?   And finally tonight she and The Mister are going to some sort of Nerd Mecca to find geekish gifts for her geekish compatriots. There's nothing crafty about this last bit, Snarky's just excited about being able to get her geek on tonight.   Speaking of which: new Doctor Who and BSG tonight!   And now Snarky is officially sidetracked.   The point was: seasonal craftiness is absolutely fine. But much like holiday eatings, holiday craft-making must be done in moderation and with a sense of pacing... or else tragedy will ensue.   Snarky hopes everyone had a fabulous Turkey Day (she had pot roast instead after meeting up with the just-as-lovely-kind-and-generous-in-person Cordia and her Mister and Award Winning Cake). She is still trying to come to grips with the fact that Christmas is three weeks away!

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Saw my Reflection in the Burrito

Snarky has Stevie Nicks by way of Lucy Lawless stuck in her head now... though sometimes the voice switches over to that Smashing Pumpkins guy.   Which is really, really annoying. She really missed the Smashing Pumpkins boat mostly because of Corgan. Sure his voice (grating, nasal, tremulous) was the angry yawp of her "generation", but Snarky hasn't been all that keen about her generation either.   The Snarks are going into this short work week completely unprepared for Turkey Day. They have a vague idea of a menu, but since the only attendants to The Feast will be themselves, they haven't really put a great deal of pressure on the timeliness of said meal.   They are still hosting family, though. The difference is that that particular meal is happening tonight (!!) and Snarky came up with the menu for tonight's meal while trying to get to sleep last night. DarkityMa (she of the "start cooking three days in advance" method) would be ashamed.   So tonight Snarky's father's older sister's middle son and his wife (ie her cousins) will be fed gingered catfish and mysteriously cooked spring pea tips & tendrils. "Mysteriously" because Snarky has only cooked these kinds of greens twice (boiled the first time, stir fried the second) with varying results. Tonight she'll probably par-boil then finish off in the wok after she's done with the catfish. The Snarks love to experiment on their guests. (insert hand rubbing and low, evil laugh here)   Shoot. Now Snarky's hungry.   PS More proof positive that The Mister is a perfect match for Snarky: she called to touch base over her lunch break about tonight, and he's gone and added about three more dishes to include with the meal (appetizer, additional side, and dessert).

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

beschäftigtwerk

(Translation: busy work. Snarky has no idea why she suddenly went German.)   (Huzzah! for making it back onto page one, by the way.)   Snarky had the realization at the end of last week that she had turned into an internet taker, rather than a giver. She was reading blogs and posts and doing the general surfing about she could squeeze into her new schedule, but she wasn't making any contributions. Selfish Snarky!   Needless to say, the thing that is worse than de-Garboing oneself is regaining any sense of flow and light-footedness in one's prose.   Referring to oneself in the third person definitely sandbags that whole "light-footed" effort. Still! Snarky shoulders on.   Work is fantastic. Well. Today it isn't. But that's not too horribly bad considering Snarky has been here for sixty days (she should know, her 60 day review is this Friday). Today has been diminished in fantasticness simply because Snarky is a problem solver and her problem was not. Getting. Solved already! Her addiction is more to the sense of accomplishment rather than the journey, and this particular journey was starting to feel like an endless turn on a traffic circle rather than the euphoric A to B that usually measures her day.   "Big Ben!"   "Parliament!"   "Big Ben!"   ... you get the picture.   On top of the slightly stuck feeling Snarky is having today, she's also slightly sick. The atmospheric controls for her office don't, so she and her co-workers have been running between the extremes. Some days they keep their jackets on and wrap scarves around their faces. On these days Snarky looks like a technicolor urchin with her turqoise and rainbow arm warmers and slightly haunted expression. Other days the office becomes a sort of greenhouse/sauna. Heavy, humid air hot enough to warrant short-sleeved t-shirts (yesterday one of the supervisors was wearing what amounted to a nice tank top. In November!). All this wishy-washy weather (interior and exterior) has caused the quick dissemination of Seasonal Crud that runs the gamut from tickling cough to full on phlegm attacks.   Snarky has yet to succumb, but today she feels the closest to "unwell" that she has felt since starting work here.   Ah, but the fantastic stuff! It truly is fantastic. Snarky is surrounded by passionate, funny, educated people. The industry is very different from The Cracker Factory. Snarky gets to work with manufacturing types and artistic types and IT types and sales/marketing types. She gets to type really, really fast, and is apparently the heir apparent to the new CRM system they are trying to implement. What does CRM stand for? Hold on... Snarky needs to look it up.   Customer Relationship Management   Of course! Anyways.. what Snarky knows of the CRM is that she is trying to merge four different databases into the one thing... and also train herself up on the new system in order to train everyone else up on the new system... and also customizing and reporting and data crunching and... um... yeah. Just a little bit of everything. If Snarky was the Office Monkey before, she's more like the Office Gorilla now.   Along with all the newness of being in a different work environment working in a completely different industry, Snarky has the added bonus of tests! Product Recognition Tests, that is. She finally managed to pass Test One (correctly identifying 82 samples) after two tries. Next up: Test Two, which requires the mere memorization of about sixty-some-odd pieces. No big whoop. Test Three (and this is the final test) Snarky hopes is under re-configuration... as most of the test is over soon-to-be-discontinued product. Snarky realized, after failing her first go at Test One, that the last written test she had taken prior was for her driver's license. This definitely felt like a return to the days when one's value hinged on the passing of a test (though to be fair, Snarky would not have been fired had she failed the test again... she would have just been stuck in test limbo, having to re-take the test every two weeks until she got it right).   Beside the failing her first test ever part of this experience, Snarky is really enjoying this whole "learn the product" process. She is starting to feel a bit nervous about her performance review on Friday because it has been so long since she geniunely cared about her job that she just might cock it up. (Snarky has been dying to use that term all week. Sorry if it abruptly offended/shocked anyone. Snarky seems to be good about cocking up the flow of things today. Hee!) (From where did that term come anyway? Is it gun related? Or just more blatantly phallic?)   Snarky hopes things go well and that she can remain the resident office monkey gorilla. Bananas are good.

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Season's Eatings

Ah, Fall! What an evocative name for the season. Snarky thinks of dying trees and the inevitability of gravity, time, entropy, age. Such a beautiful time of the year. The French probably have a perfect word to describe this rather gothic appreciation of the last gasp of life.   Also the Cantonese. Snarky has been learning some rather ribald Chinese sayings from her parents used to describe the universal truths of life. Darned if she can remember any of them right now, though.   The Snarks are Big Fans of this time of year. This month they will be celebrating their sixth (!) anniversary, in fact. They got married in an autumnal blaze of glory. Fall of ought-ought turned out to be one of the best years for color in recent history for the Western North Carolina mountains.   And what else besides the crisp charge in the air heralds the arrival of this most beloved time of year? Why, produce, of course! Honeycrisp apples at the Beaverton Farmer's Market   Brussel Tree! Sometimes the Snarks forget that these don't actually grow in little mesh plastic bags.   The Snarks are surrounded by artichoke farms (well, OK, just the one outside of Tillamook) but this was the first time since moving Out West that they partook. Cha cha cha!   Out with the pesto pizza, in with the roasted portabella pizza!   Perfect fall days start with a trip to Kruger's Farm Market on Sauvie Island.   The Snarks are preparing for an anniversary weekend in a treehouse, in which they will be working dilligently to build up their winter coats. The Mister is already researching recipes for their time in the woods. (A sure sign that the Snarks were meant for eachother if there ever was one.) There will be roasted root vegetables and cobblers and at some point a Butterfinger pie (sixth anniversary = gifts of candy or iron, and Snarky hasn't been near a welding torch in almost a decade). The nose might be directly linked up to the deepest parts of memory in the brain, but Snarky's heart is hard-wired to her stomach.

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Boat Binge

Unfortunately, the Snarks did not keep a food journal during their five days on the boat. Perhaps it is better that way, as Snarky will not be tempted to calculate the calories consumed (and therefore realize that she will need to climb the equivalent of three Mount Hoods in order to bring her Calories In/Calories Out equation back to equilibrium).   She can recall a few memorable standouts: foie gras souffle (served with fig preserves and a slice of candied citrus rind); deliciously spicy gazpacho that had more than a passing resemblance to a very good, chilled Bloody Mary; so many dishes that should have been served en flambe but weren't, but were still good nevertheless; schooling DarkityBro on the concept of a Baked Alaska (he was deeply shocked that he had not heard of such a thing in all his twenty seven years - this is surely the sign of a die-hard foodie); ordering the Chateaubriand and then annoying The Mister for the rest of the evening by slathering on a heavy, horribly fake French accent; and vienerschnitzel (Which, yes, was made out of veal. Snarky had a long conversation with DarkityBro about foie gras (a recently very hot topic in Chicago, where he lives) and veal. DB has come from a much more radical animal rights POV than the emotional topics of baby animals and force-fed ducks and geese, but organizations like PETA's overzealousness has caused him over the years to consider all sides of the many issues in this debate.)   Oh.. kay. Snarky didn't mean to veer off like that. She'll just wrap up this tangent by saying spending some time with her brother and recently reading Heat by Bill Buford has really caused Snarky to think about just where her food comes from... and how she goes about consuming it.   Having said all that, on to the food pics!   The Orchestrated Big Food Event was the Midnight Buffet. It is such a big deal that they open it up half an hour early just so people can shuffle past and take pictures. Snarky did not stay up to partake (she had, afterall, just stuffed herself on a four course dinner only a few hours before) but DarkityMa reportedly threw down, later swearing that she would never eat that much ever again.   Snarky apologizes for the poor quality of the Midnight Buffet pictures. She could have used a flash, but didn't want to blind the people on the other side of the table...   ... such courtesy was not extended to the ship's staff, however, during the Galley Tour. Oh no, Snarky didn't mind at all shoving a camera practically up this poor guy's nose as he tried to carve up a similar melon for the next Midnight Buffet.   DarkityBro, Snarky, and The Mister went to a little wine tasting seminar during the first Day at Sea. This was definitely more for fun (no spit buckets!) but was also educational. DarkityBro gave the Snarks all of his little pieces of cheese that were to accompany the selections. Bonus! (The Snarks still resolutely drink wine out of a box, but can now at least understand what the labels mean on those pretty pretty bottles... sort of.)   The Mister's last dessert. Some sort of (non-animal cruelty) souffle. The woman hiding in the background was the eldest of the group of three women that were seated at the DarkityFam's table for all of our dinners. It was a daughter treating her mother and grandmother to a cruise (the first night was the grandmother's birthday -- we all got cake!) Grandmother is from Peru and speaks little to no English (and reminds Snarky of her own maternal grandmother), mother speaks Peruvian, Spanish, and English (with a heavy accent), and the daughter speaks unaccented English and translated for her mother and grandmother when needed. They were excellent company.   Snarky's last dessert. Why do chefs insist on stacking food? This looked like a crime scene when Snarky was done with it.   After the cruise, the DarkityFam stopped off at a Buddhist/vegetarian restaurant and had plates and plates (and plates) of analogous foods (Peking "Duck", "seafood" stew, roasted "pork", etc.). And since all those eleventeen dishes didn't fill up their newly stretched stomachs (Snarky wonders if her own liver will be ripe for harvesting soon) they also went to the best boba tea place in Houston. At least, according to that one chick they asked. It was pretty good!   Snarky has more to post, but when the Snarks got back to Portland, they discovered another monster zucchini in the garden, so she need to go make about three loaves of chocolate zucchini bread right now.

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Phase Inn

Snarky has been back for a week now, but she can't seem to get the floaty boat feeling out of her head. Add to that the continued "hit-the-ground-runningness" of her new job (which she is really starting to enjoy despite its ability to snatch the hours and days right from underneath her like a neat card room trick) and she just can't seem to find the time to re-establish her online persona.   She's also been feeling a bit Garbo lately too.   Still, she's going to make an effort to get back in to the swing of things.   And where words might be slow in trickling back into the well for her, Snarky always has more pictures!   First day out to sea.   The Hitler Bangs are Dead. Long live the Bangs of Indeterminate Length and/or Direction!   DarkityBro soaking up the sun (and being spied upon by his older sister).   The DarkityRents are also cute whilst evading the pesky paparazzi.   Many moons ago Snarky spent a semester studying ancient Mayan architecture. The Chichen Itza ruins include the main temple (El Castillo) which does a neat trick every Equinox. The Snarks where there a day early. Damn you Murphy, and your stupid Law! It was still an impressive site (and sight), even if the government no longer allows tourists to scramble at their own peril up the steep temple stairs.   Mostly besides the sights and sounds, there was The Food. Oh sweet honey in the rock, was there Food. Snarky will need to make a whole separate post just to discuss the heirarchy and humongousness of The Food.   But for now... she's slinking back into her cave to play with some sticks and string. It up and got all Autumnal before she even realized it. Perfect knitting weather!

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Sailed Away

Exciting, yes, but also New!   The Snarks are heading out to sea for the next week. Snarky hopes to catch y'all on the filp side. Her first week of new work was all sorts of exciting/boring/exciting again. She is really happy about her career change.   Glub glub!

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

 

Garden of Eatin'

In the past, the Snarks' luck with garden has been rather spotty. One year all they grew was a ginormous basil patch (about 36 Genovese basil plants purchased from a guy who called himself the Basil King (though he isn't this Basil King - see August 14th entry which kinda distracted me from this post for about half an hour. Why do we no longer have the Black Mountain College?!)) and made pesto all summer long and had enough left over to freeze and enjoy all through winter.   So they are quite pleasantly stunned to find that the mere seven basil plants, five tomato plants (gold nugget, an heirloom plant called "Dancing Bonnie", Early Girl, roma, and cherry tomatoes), and one each of eggplant (Japanese "Black Beauty"), cucumber (some sort of slicin' cuke) and zucchini are not only not dying, but bearing some fruit!   Wee ickle first harvest!   A recent photo of the garden, taken in the early evening.   Due to the dry (whoda thunk it?) weather, we've had to water the garden. Here's the tomato/basil/eggplant patch.   So far we've gotten two zucchini plants out of this monter. One was regular sized, and the other one we didn't get to until after returning from NC. Behold zuke-zilla!... We've used about 2% of this thing so far.   The Snarks did end up having a good time with the Darkity'rents. Snarky starts her new job tomorrow (!!!) and the immediately after her first five days on the new job, they are flying out to TX to join up with the DarkityFam (including DarkityBro) to go on a five day cruise. (more !!!'s) At some point the Snarks will need a vacation to just sit at home and do absolutely nothing with nobody.   Today the Snarks hit four different Goodwill stores in the area for state plates and other curiosities. She has so much to show y'all (including the cow head they got for the living room!) (Don't worry, no real living bovines were harmed in the making of this particular piece of kitsch.) (Oh, and the Donut Barn! But... that's for another post.)   Until then, she will leave you this. Proof that Snarky comes from a cute short peoples. Darkity'Rents at Multnomah Falls. Check out DarkityMa's new curly hair!

darkitysnark

darkitysnark

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