Allow myself to introduce... myself


Monday, December 28, 2009

The Post Christmas Hoobity Doos

Christmas mostly went off without a hitch this year, and aside from a bruise on my eye (think 'black eye', only purple and not quite as Rocky-esque) from a Wii related accident, everyone survived the festivities.  I will have some footage to post shortly of the family embarrassing themselves in our living room.  I bet you can't wait!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cute Little Puppy

As it has been awhile since last we spoke, I thought I might briefly update you on the growth progress of my delicate little garden flower of a puppy, Argus.

This is two months ago, at 8 months old. I promise I will tell you more stories about Argus in the future, as Tales of Argus have kept my co-workers in stitches for months now.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


My name is Tasha, and this is my new blog. Sure, I know what you're thinking... this looks eerily like an old blog. But you see, what I wanted for Christmas was a nice shiny NEW blog - but since I am now a wife, a mother, a step-mother, and a woman with too many pets, I must take the hand-me-downs I've been offered. And so here I am, trying to make use of this old blog, which by coincidence belonged to the Old Tasha. You may have remembered her, she was single and miserable and made bad choices. Those were the OLD days, and these are the NEW days... even if it is a recycled blog.

This Tasha may not be so polite or politically correct - because the truth is that's who she is... I mean, I am. I am a goofy, dippy, snort-when-I-laugh type of girl who is now married to the love of my life. So this new blog might get sappy sometimes, and it won't be just about one thing or another... it will just be whatever it turns out to be.

Isn't that great?!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I now present to you...

The new joint venture between Scott (or 'Scootchie') and I. We thought the dogs of the world should be able to have some art to wear too, so the Art Dog collar was born.

Our experience with the potty-in-the-yard-and-not-in-the-house training led us to create these little doggie doorbells

which Argus will happily ring whenever he feels he needs a bit of fresh air.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Turning Treinte y Cinco!

It's that time again, dear reader(s); the time when I am to click the ol' age belt up another notch and answer that I am now 35, if the question is ever (impudently) asked. It has not gone past my notice that this age means now checking a different box in any surveys I am given... for no longer am I "28-34", beginning Saturday I will be "35-42". Of course I will tell anyone who will listen that I am always honored to grow a year older and will never ever lie about my age (who wants to look like a very haggard 29 anyway?), but I do admit that I like the thought when I check that 28-34 box, that my income level is at least halfway as good as the other people checking the same box. Now I fear that I will always have the slightest niggling thought in the back of my head that perhaps my income is a bit low for the demographic I've been placed in, as I imagine by now everyone has become the established doctors and lawyers that they all dreamed they would be. Of course, it may also be said that I waste far too much time worrying about the "little things".

Scootchie and I have been working feverishly on our newest joint venture (the upcoming business that I mentioned in the last post), and I am proud to say that I am ALMOST ready to unveil it to you, dear reader(s). I just need to put a little more shine on some things, a bit of spit here and polish there, and then you will see what we've been working on. For now I will give you the smallest taste....

Our new business...

is called....

--- wait for it.....

Blue Chews Shoes. And I know that for most of you that will make no sense at all. :o)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Remember Me (?)

I was signing in to post to my blog; knowing both that it had been too long and that I couldn't begin YET ANOTHER post with apologies for not posting sooner, when right underneath the space where I put in my name and password I saw it. The little radial box that says next to it - Remember Me (?). And for a moment I was confused. For a brief moment, my feeble, overworked, over-emotional mind thought... my blog has forgotten me already?! My heart skipped a few beats and my stomach felt a little icky sick momentarily (these things all happen much faster than you'd think), and I realized that no, my blog has not forgotten me. PEOPLE may forget, but the internet NEVER forgets. Like remember the time when your husband was bored at work and came home and said "I was so bored today that I read all of your blog from the very beginning" and you blanched a bit, because you KNEW some things are better left unread. That's when you wondered if having a blog was such a good thing, because the interwebs holds on to stuff FOREVER.

But then YOU got bored and decided to try and play catch up, so that at least if the internets doesn't forget, it can at least remember the good stuff.

Ho hum... so whats been-a-goin' on since JUNE?

  • This week it was so hot I almost died. I've mentioned before that I'm not built for the heat, and for some reason I feel the slightest bit betrayed that my beloved Pacific Northwest saw temperatures this week that hit 106 in this very town I'm sitting in. Ego-centric? Oh YES, I definitely am.
  • My little tiny adorable four and a half month old puppy was weighed by the pros, and they proclaimed him to be 55 pounds. When we got this puppy he wasn't eating and was underweight, so news like that makes us all do the happy dance. Until he knocks us over, that is...
  • My kids are very tan, and I don't know which of it is dirt and which is from the sun.
  • Scootchie and I have started a business, one which justifies my purchase of a real-life industrial sewing machine, and big important-looking cones of thread. The purchases of the thread, and the sewing machine, and future needles I'm sure, all had to be made in a giant warehouse filled with bolts of material for making sails and boat upholstery, and no air conditioning to speak of. My new friend the sewing machine man and I bonded over talk of expensive sewing machines and fools not oiling the rotating hook thingie on the bobbin, all the while pretending not to notice the sweat dripping from each other's noses.
  • We're still waiting to see if our offer has been accepted on a house. The term "short-sale" has nothing whatsoever to do with how long the process will take. The bank doesn't care how much you wanted to move into a house in time to put in a garden, and couldn't be bothered to learn that you wanted to marry your husband again in your very own front yard, this time with guests present.
  • I learned this week that even the funniest blog writer in the known universe sometimes doubts herself and writes the droll stuff the rest of us write. But if you can give her a kick in the knickers, she snaps right back into shape and becomes herself again. Thank goodness.
  • I learned that ten year old girls can sometimes be underestimated for how they will react to things, and 7 year old boys can sometimes be overestimated for how they will react to things. The death of a cat that was very, very sick can be felt very differently by different people, and no matter how much of a grown manly man you are, holding a cat when she is being put to sleep can make you cry.
  • Sometimes a new pet comes into your life when you weren't really planning on it, and that can turn out to be a pretty good thing. So now we've welcomed into our life Thuma, the beautiful brown kitty cat.
  • Sometimes you beg and beg, but Scootchie doesn't want you to get the OTHER pet you want because he says you have enough animals already, and no matter HOW MUCH you beg, you're NOT getting a 14 week old St Bernard puppy, EVEN IF the price is reduced.
  • No matter what, Scootchie is still the best ever.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sarcoptic and Other Manges of Canis Familiaris

I must have mocked Mange too much in my last post, for now the controllers of karma in the world have decided to infest my poor puppy with a case of it. I've learned more about puppy diseases in the past month than in my prior 34 years of living, as adorable Argus was already diagnosed with a case of the Parvo within days of our bringing him home. Parvo is bad stuff, and his bout with it required 36 hours of IV fluids at the vet, antibiotics, 6 different medicines, and Scootchie and I sleeping on couches so I could make sure puppy kept breathing all night. So $1400 dollars in vet bills later, now my mangy puppy is starting to get a few bald spots, and the vet (our new best friend) has confirmed he has a case of the Demodectic Mange. Now don't fret, dear reader(s), as the demodex mites are not nearly as horrible and sinister as the sarcoptic version. Whereas the sarcoptic mites are indiscriminate in their choice of host, the demodex buggers happen to be much more picky. They only like puppy meat, so even the other dogs in the house have so far been unaffected. Our dearest vet believes that poor Argus has a compromised immune system due to his bout with the Parvo monster, and this is why the armies of demo demons have chosen his poor little body. Rest assured that he is getting the proper medication to evict the horrible parasites, and we feel quite confident that he'll soon be as good as new, and happily eating us out of house and home. I hope to get updated pictures up soon, as soon as he stops trying to eat the camera.

And now...

We are busily beavering away at putting some spit and polish on the house, due to the imminent arrival of Scootchie's parents. They will be staying with us this weekend, as Scootchie's firstborn will be GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL. No one can believe Scootchie is old enough for this sort of travesty to befall him, but I assure you it is so. A great celebration will be had after the deed is done, for which I will be catering the food. And I just have to share the best thing that was ever said to me, by email yesterday from Patty, Scott's ex-wife and mother of said graduating senior: "YOU are the permanent wife.. I was just the trial run". I am overjoyed to share with everyone how truly awesome Patty is, as she is one of those rare, wonderful, truly benevolent human beings, who honestly is one of the biggest fans of Scoshie (the combination of Scott and Tashie) there is. Who could ask for anything more?

(How about a dog with no baldspots?)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

House Hunting, Sarcoptic Mange, and Value Village

Well, Dear Reader(s), the time has come for me to give you a bit of bad news. It seems that you won't be reading blog posts composed from the sunny Echo Lake house after all, and your favorite blogger's couch will not be located across from a woodstove on the rock floor of a sunken living room grotto. You see, for the umpteenth time, the borrowed money of the Hale family has been deemed less worthy than the borrowed money of other families, simply because our money has been labeled as secured by the Veterans Administration. For the third time in a row, we've been told that no one wants to mess with the VA. In my worst pouting fit to date about this house business, I asked Scootchie (demandingly) what ever happened to that wave of patriotism everyone had? Of course the reality is this - we have no money for a downpayment and so MUST go VA, and the buyer who "won" our beautiful house was coming in with 20% down. Our offers to the seller were EXACTLY the same in terms of the money they would end up with, but those darn sellers understand how picky the VA can be. Damn! Damn! Damn!

So this morning we have yet another appointment with Real Estage Agent George, who has 7 or 8 houses in line for us to traipse through. We already have one in line for first place, but at this stage of the game I'm beginning to worry that the dreams of home ownership may end unfulfilled for the Hales. Woe is me.

To cheer myself last night I started admiring the loot I acquired the last time my Mom visited, when we stopped at a barn sale out in the boonies. For you city folk who might happen upon this blog of mine, a barn sale is not the sale of a barn, but rather it is a load of old dusty bits that have been placed into a barn for strangers to paw through. I don't know why, but for me, a barn sale can be the Holy Grail of the weekend sale-ing experience. There's a hierarchy in the sale spectrum, and barn sale is at the top for me. Some will argue that an estate sale is actually the Holy Grail, but I contend that estate sales are often over-priced, and not containing the bargains one is usually on the search for. This barn sale had us work for it's goodies, as we had to follow about fifty neon green signs to find the location. At first upon our arrival we found nothing of note. The barn was of the metal variety (not usually a good sign), and it was filled with tables of perfectly labeled ordinary items laid out nicely. Feeling let down by our exhausting journey, we were slowly making our way to the oversized exit, when we overheard a promising declaration from the principle money-taker; "don't leave before you see the other barn in the back."

And there it was, the motherlode.

The barn in the back was the ENORMOUS old RED wooden type, with lots of tables crammed FULL of miscellaneous OLD dusty, rusty, miscellaneous STUFF! And as a person who recently decided to collect vintage bottles of various bathroom-type remedies and cures for embarrassing problems, I hit the jackpot. So that's what I gazed at lovingly last night, while pining over yet another house that has passed through our lives, and the barn and shop turned gallery and art room that will never be. My wares are still dusty, as I'm scared to clean them. But in the end, I think they really help tie the room together.

And as for the Value Village part of my post, I'll have to leave that one for tomorrow. But let me whet your appetite by saying that it's a PROJECT, and it starts with this:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Meet Argus

Argus is the newest member of the Hale/Moreno househ0ld, a Neapolitan Mastiff puppy who is now about 12 weeks old. As you can see, he's not the most active of breeds, and prefers to spend most of his time sleeping. Any time not spent sleeping however, is spent either peeing or pooping, which is not my favorite part of the new-puppy experience.

It has been almost 20 years since I've had my own dog, and the only puppy I've ever had was outdoor-only. We had to give up a lot of dogs for different reasons when I was a kid, and I swore I wouldn't have a dog of my own until I could give it a good forever home.

We bought Argus from a rescue in Oregon, taking a long road trip to pick up this 9 week old puppy we didn't know much about. He sat in our laps the entire ride home, which turned out to be a bittersweet experience as he gets SEVERELY car sick. Three days after we brought him home, we discovered at the Vet's office that he tested positive for Parvo. Since I'd committed to be this new puppy's forever home, we had to at least TRY to cure him. So three days of intensive vet care and $1500 later, we got our lovable loaf back on track, eating and gaining weight like he should. In the three weeks we've had him he's gone from 12 pounds to 24-27, and never stops wagging his tail.

Life is great.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Just POST Already

I'm starting to think the problem might be attention span related. Its not that I haven't been at a computer, its not that I don't have PLENTY to talk about, its not even that I don't have a whole score of pictures taken solely for blog posts. It MUST be that I'm just plain lazy. I can't make excuses anymore - I haven't posted, Because. I'm. Lazy.

So let me bring you up to date on the most recent happenings:

1. Got married. Right, you knew that already.

2. Started looking for a house. Realize that Scootchie and I both fall in LOVE with houses that are quirky and need lots of work. We like projects, for better or for worse. So far we've made offers on three houses:

The Dome House
I loved this house so much, I even thought of putting a skunk inside to scare other people away... Is that wrong?

Amazing house on 5 acres with 2 barns and an awesome front room for the art room. Lost the bid to someone going conventional (no one likes VA loans).

The Woods Creek House

This one was on 7 acres of mostly blackberry bushes, but I was going to have a herd of goats take care of that!
We didn't fall in love with this one until we went inside. Hardwood floors, a sunroom, a GREAT east facing room for the art room, lots of light and funky corners. The real estate agent on this one let our agent know right away she hated us and our stinky VA loan, so when we saw the next house, we rescinded our offer on this one.

The Echo Lake House
Keep your fingers crossed for us on this one... there's still hope.

We have an offer in on this one now, and Scott has kindly told our real estate agent that we want to do everything possible to get it. This is another one that doesn't look like much from the outside, but Scootchie and I both can squint enough to see magic happening. This one is only on 1.9 acres, but since it has an ENORMOUS barn (an upstairs office in the barn has already been staked out as the art room), I've been wondering what Scootchie would think about having peacocks?

I have more updates to share (including an introduction to our newest family member), but think I may have to post more tomorrow. You see right now, we're on our way to see a man about a cash register. Not that we NEED a cash register, but today I've been at home in 80 degree weather with a sick kid, perusing the Craigslist FREE ads. Who wouldn't think this is awesome?

Update on the register - it weighed a zillion pounds and I threw my back out carrying it.  Woo Hoo!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ahem.... May I have Your Attention Please!

Nothing goes better than chocolate and peanut butter.  Nothing.On April 25th of the year 2009, your two favorite bloggers were married. We are your favorite bloggers, aren't we?

And because I consider anyone who reads this blog a close and personal friend, here are the vows we exchanged (which I wrote and didn't tell Scootchie about ahead of time):

I, William Scott Hale, take you, Tasha Marie Jones
to be my lawfully wedded wife and my number one fan, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health.
I promise we'll make great art together,
I'll make you laugh until you snort,
and I'll always hold your hand when we go upstairs to bed.
I promise to love, honor, and cherish you until we grow old and senile,
and never again to say "I don't know what to say."

This I vow to you.

I, Tasha Marie Jones, take you, William Scott "Scootchie" Hale,
to be my lawfully wedded husband and Chief in Charge of Securing the Perimeter and changing light bulbs,
for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health.
I promise to listen to any music you choose unless it's Otep,
to make funny faces and speak in silly voices,
and to sometimes let you beat me at Trivial Pursuit.
I promise to love, honor, and cherish you even when you can't wipe your own behind anymore,
and to always tell you if your hair looks messed up.

This I vow to you.

PS: It was a terrible oversight on my part that I neglected to mention that it was my sister who was the officiant for our wedding. It all happened by accident, as I was calling to see if she could be one of our witnesses. "You know.... I can do weddings," she said. How the heck would I know THAT?! So she did it, and it's still just as official as if it'd been done by a judge, instead of on my Mom's front porch with her handyman as one of our witnesses.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Woo Hoo!

I stole this picture from the internets.
Happy 2 Year Anniversary to this blog! I had intended to post a lovely picture of a scrumptious cake I made to commemorate this occasion, but the cake never actually got made. It's not due to laziness, dear reader(s), I assure you. I, for one, have been hard at work getting a package ready to ship off to the Half Moon Creek Gallery up in Anchorage. I'm beavering away at a collage jacket, and have seven scarves to ship along with. I promise to post pictures shortly, as a trip through my camera's little memory shows me I've taken PLENTY of pictures to share here, then haven't gotten around to sharing them. I also blame Scootchie's Stolen Cheese blog, which I happen to be the blog master of. I don't even know if that's a real title, but it's definitely one I should be getting paid for... And if you happen to be one of those people that jaunt over to Scoochie's blog from here, DO check out my special touches on each of his posts that appear when you hover the cursor over his artwork. Tashie's learned some new tricks with HTML, and had enough fun to kill two ponies one day, updating all his posts with random little comments. We also started a Stolen Cheese Etsy store, and have actually listed two of Scott's ORIGINALS for sale. Woo Hoo!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Day Job

I don't think I've talked much before about my day job, and some of you may not even know that I have a day job, which might leave you thinking I'm a lazy good-for-nothing because I can't seem to get my sewing mojo back.

I like to think I'm not lazy, but Scoochie might say otherwise.

The truth of it all is that I started my blog two years ago this month (at the insistence of my great friend Tif, who I like to think of as my textile art sister-in-arms), and then a mere four months later was promoted at work. I don't build rockets or perform brain surgery, I'm the Branch Manager at a credit union. I have responsibilities, I coach, manage, and lead people, I have many keys and programs which require constant changing of passwords that I can never remember, I hold meetings in which I am completely resonsible for the agenda, I monitor the usage of paper towels, I make sure the plants aren't blocking the thermostats, and I approve time sheets, which feels like way too much power for one person to have. I love my job, but of course this is not the job I dreamed I'd have when I was a wee grade school imp. I was sure I was going to be a ballerina until I was sure I was going to be a rock star until I was sure I was going to be an English teacher. The trouble is, I never could decide on any one thing. My college transcripts (which I had to dig out this week) wander a bit. In my brief college career I wanted to focus on Psychology. No wait - make that a double major in English and Sports Medicine. No wait... how about Nursing? I've changed my mind completely! I want to be a Zoo Keeper, and I'm pursuing a Bachelor of Science!

Almost the entire time I waffled on the planning of my career trajectory, I was actually working at credit unions. It was the best job you could get on Whidbey Island at 18 with only some college, and here I still am some 16 years later. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and this is a good job for always wanting to be the best; but it's also a career that pays quite a bit of attention to how we treat our people, which appeals to that psychologist in me.

Which is why I was so completely devastated this week when I found out I'd failed my last audit.


So last night when I was laying in bed tossing and turning, I decided to come clean about my day job in the hopes that admitting how upset I was at failing my audit might give me a tad bit of closure.

At the very least I'd like to be able to sleep again.

Not that tossing and turning is completely unproductive. I made some decisions about some shelved sewing projects that have been awaiting new inspiration, I thought of four topics for future blog posts, I watched the dog breathe for about three minutes, I thought about the injustice of food calorie counts and the mess the Bush administration left behind, I thought about wanting to buy a house, wanting to finish my degree, and wanting the best life possible. In the end I recognized that life is about a series of steps forward and hiccups back, and as long as you make sure to keep your feet moving, you'll find yourself somewhere new in the end. Failing the audit is a hiccup, and I've had many hiccups in my life. But at the end of it all I want to be defined by how far I've come, not by how many missteps I've taken.

Let the sewing begin again!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Happy Birthday?

Who put the litter box on the kitchen table?!

My oldest child, Boo, had the (un)fortunate luck of being born on April Fool's Day to a mother who likes to play jokes. I did recognize a few years ago that Boo prefers to be in on the joke, so this year she was in on the surprise we played on the boys: Luna's Cat Poo Birthday Cake.

The cake was just perfectly delicious enough (no, really!) for me to post the recipe here, for your adventurous dining pleasure. Adapted from this recipe.

Before you even start, I have to warn you that you'll need to buy a brand new litter box and scoop. This is not the time to be cheap and think you can just wash out that extra cat box you have in the basement, you will definitely want to buy a new box for this. Of course when the love of your life asks you point blank with the fork at the edge of his lips, tentatively poised to take his first bite of delicious Cat Poo Cake whether you bought a new litter box, say with the most wide-eyed innocent look, "No, but I washed that one in the dishwasher!" It's really cool to see how far cake can travel when it's spit out forcefully.

And now for the ingredients:

  • 2 boxes of delicious cake mix, whatever kind you like. We chose Devil's Food, because we live life on the edge. And don't ask what size box, because cake mix comes in one basic size unless you're shopping at Costco. This ain't rocket science.
  • Eggs - However many the directions on one of the boxes says for you to use, multiplied by two. Maybe this IS rocket science! I used six eggs.
  • Oil - Same as with the eggs, do the math. I used a cup of oil because it was Boo's birthday and I didn't feel like worrying about how much fat I was going to be ingesting. Besides, it's not my fault that the fat is the most delicious part of most food. If you didn't want to use so much oil, you could substitute something wet that splats really well, like applesauce or canned pumpkin or a Splat Pig.
  • Water - Once again, double whatever it says on one box. I think I needed 2 2/3 cups or something like that. Unless you're some kind of savant with measuring things with your mind, don't just turn the faucet on and 'eyeball' it. Making a cake is BAKING, and BAKING is like rocket science (it turns out).
  • TWO boxes of delicious instant pudding(the small size that supposedly makes 4 servings), in your favorite flavor (we used chocolate).
  • Powdered Sugar, which is very messy and smells funny and is really only useful for french toast.
  • Milk - 2 cups (plus additional).
  • A WHOLE PACKAGE of Nutter Butters, which are know for their magical properties.
  • Some green food coloring (probably left over from St. Patrick's Day).
  • A Metric Ton of Tootsie Rolls.

Make up the cakes like the box says. Make sure to beat for the amount of time suggested on the box, because the box has directions, and directions are important. Pour half the mix into one 13x9 pan, and the other half into another 13x9 pan. If you don't have two 13x9 pans, perhaps you could use a 13x9 and two 8x8s, or four 8x8s, or a 15x11 pan and an 8x8 pan, or even four 9" circular cake pans. I'm not picky, and you shouldn't be either.

Let the cakes cool somewhere that small children and grown men won't have a chance to pick at them.

Cut the cakes any which way you can to fit into the big, shiny, new, clean, litter box. I used two 13x9 pans and put one cake in whole, then cut the other one to fit along the top and side. This cake is only going to be one layer, and it doesn't have to stand up straight at all, so whatever happens here happens. As long as there are no witnesses to what happens during this stage, you will still be considered a genius when the cake is being eaten.

Make the frosting for the top of the cake. This is what I did, and everything I do is wonderful, so maybe you should do this:

Put both boxes of the magical pudding powder into a bowl, and add 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Sift it together with a fork so all your powdery bits are mixed together nicely. Add two cups of milk and whip together with a wire whisk for two minutes. If you do it right, this can be considered your workout for the day. The key is to use your hips. After it's all pudding'd up, fold in (that's a cooking term, you're not really folding anything) a large tub of Cool Whip. If you want to be a killjoy, you can use "real" whipped cream, but you should know now that all the really cool people love Cool Whip.

So that's the frosting, and you should put it on top of the cake and spread it around so you don't see cake, just frosting. That's the main operating philosophy behind most cake baking.

Open the bag of Nutter Butters that have been waiting patiently. Take two out for yourself, because you've been working REALLY hard so far and you deserve it! In fact, pour yourself a nice refreshingly cold glass of milk to enjoy with your Nutter Butters, because this is probably the last quiet time you'll have to yourself before you show the cake to your friends and family, who will instantly recognize how brilliant you are and will devote the rest of their lives to being in charge of a fan club for you, and from then on you'll be spending all of your free time answering fan mail.

Mash up the rest of the Nutter Butters, using anything handy for that sort of thing. I put mine in a bowl and used a potato masher, but you could use a Cuisinart if you don't mind getting the stool to get it off that high shelf, and then having to wash all those darn pieces. You could even use a hammer if you want to, but if you want to use a hammer to cook you might have problems that would best be left to the professionals. Perhaps your employer provides access to some sort of employee assistance program?

Take out a handful of the Nutter Butters and try dying them green. They won't dye very evenly, but you'll probably be the only one who notices anyway. Spread the plain Nutter Butter crumbs evenly over the frosting, then sprinkle around the green bits to look like deodorant crystals in kitty litter. Squint if you have to. When you squint it looks much better, doesn't it?

Now for the poo:

Unwrap the number of Tootsie Rolls that corresponds to the number of poos you want to have in your litter box. You can be all cute and have the same number of poos as years of your child's life, or your waist measurement (before eating the cake), or develop some kind of complicated mathematical equation that totals the amount of love you have for each member in your family and divides that by the amount of hours you've spent following overly complex recipes. In any event, you'll want to unwrap the rolls, and then microwave them a bit to get them suitably soft for shaping. I microwaved too many at once and so had some super soft ones and some barely more than room temperature ones, but I made it all work anyway. Basically you're just squeezing them a bit to look like poo, and really, no one is going to question how authentic your poo is. Put your brand new never-been-used litter scooper artfully into your litter box, then strategically arrange poo throughout your litter. I hung one off the scooper for some realism, but that might be a little bit too much for your audience. The best presentation method for this cake (if you have kids), is to wait until everyone is in another room and then yell authentically, "Who the hell put the @#$%)(@* litterbox on the @#$%^&*()@# kitchen table?! Everyone will come running (unless they're already too afraid of you), and once the joke is discovered, they will applaud you as a hero.

Last one in has to eat the first poo.

Scoochie has a bad habit of eating cat poo

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Project!

It's fun to sew with ninjas!

I've been wanting to post a project for quite some time, but as these things seem to go with me, stuff just kept getting in the way. But I do believe that a leopard can change its spots eventually, so here I am, finally posting a project.

What project do I choose? Towels.

The downstairs bathroom in our house has been decorated in a way that definitely suits our personalities.

The coolest bathroom EVER, if I do say so myself

When it was time to find towels for guests to dry their hands on, we had trouble finding something that would fit in. So of course the next questions is always, what can I make that would work?

I know that not everyone's tastes lean toward decorating with ninjas, but trust me when I say you could use this technique to create spiffy new towels with anything you want.


Steam-A-Seam 2
Sewing Machine
Computer and printer
Scissors or X-Acto knife and cutting mat

1. I started by finding an image to use. Since I was making this project only for personal use, I wasn't too concerned about infringing on any copyrights and just did a Google image search. If you ever decide to make a buck by making snazzy towels with these directions, make sure you don't use a picture that could get you in trouble.

Ninjas Rock.

2. Print your picture out on to the paper backing of a sheet of double sided fusible web. I made sure my picture would fit onto a 9" x 12" sheet of Steam-A-Seam 2, but you can cut a longer piece out of a roll of Steam-A-Seam 2 if you have a bigger picture. If your picture is directional, you will want to print a reversed image.

3. Remove the paper backing from the Steam-A-Seam side that was NOT printed on and place it on the wrong side of the material you plan to use. Place the piece of paper you removed on top of the printed side of the Steam-A-Seam, and lightly iron on a low setting. Be careful not to smear the printed image.

4. Use the printed image on the paper as your guide for cutting the picture out of the material. If your image is relatively simple, you can use scissors. Because my ninja had a lot if small ins-and-outs, I used an X-Acto knife and cutting mat.

5. If my directions weren't too complicated, after the cutting is completed you should have a lovely little applique with material on one side and paper on the other. When you peel away the paper, the backside of your applique will show the shininess of the fusible web that is going to adhere the applique to your towel.

6. Following the directions on your fusible web packaging, place your applique where you'd like on your towel and iron it on. Make sure the applique is thoroughly adhered, with no edges unattached to the towel.

Appliques can be unruly if not tamed properly - like sewing down the edges.

7. Sew around all of the edges using what is called an applique stitch. On my machine I choose a zig zag stitch and then shorten the length quite a bit so the stitches are basically running parallel to each other. Make sure to test it out before starting on your towel, as stitches do not rip out of the towel easily. if possible, use a clear foot for your machine so you can see the edges of your applique, and sew with the needle in the down position so pivoting is easier. Your stitching needs to fully cover the edges of your design, and overlapping stitches whenever changing direction will insure that you don't have any nasty unravels.

Flowers and lace just wouldn't have gone right in our bathroom

Monday, March 16, 2009

I Might Be Too Short to Rock

This weekend found Scoochie and I taking a five hour road trip to Spokane to see Black Label Society in concert (for which tickets were purchased back on Scoochie's birthday).

Back at the very beginning of our getting-to-know-you conversations, Scoochie mentioned liking Black Label Society. I decided that the time would be right to impress him with my knowledge of useless trivia, which almost never comes in handy. "Black Label Society... isn't that Zakk Wylde's band?", I asked pseudo-knowledgeably. "Yeah! Do you know who else Zakk has played with?", Scoochie quizzed me to see if I knew my stuff. "Ummmm.... Ozzy Osbourne, I think", said I. And I was RIGHT, thereby earning METRIC TONS of RESPECT from my new not-yet-boyfriend at the time, Scottie Doo. So when Scoochie's birfday rolled around and I spent HOURS searching for something monumental to do, the best I could come up with were tickets to see BLS, three months away.

Should I mention now that I didn't know ANY of their music? The fact that I knew anything at all can be attributed to the fact that I will read anything put in front of me, and often retain the knowledge for no useful purpose. This time it paid off though, and for that I feel eternally grateful to Zakk Wylde.

I have to say, despite trying to cram at least some song knowledge in during the road trip (we forgot to bring along any of Scoochie's BLS CDs, and so needed to make an "emergency" stop along the way), I still arrived knowing no songs at all, and didn't even know who the opening bands were going to be until they actually came onstage. In spite of that, I have to say this was one of the best concerts musically that I have ever been to. I have been to quite a few concerts in my day, though preparations for this particular concert caused me to realize that somehow I haven't been to a music concert in ten years. Me! The girl who has seen over the years Kiss, The Beastie Boys, George Strait, Sarah McLachland (2x), Marilyn Manson, The Violent Femmes, Ani Difranco, Dar Williams, Dan Bern, Jewel (2x), Indigo Girls (3x), U2, Depeche Mode, Reba McEntire.... well, I think you get the picture. So I thought I knew what I was doing when we finally got into the concert and I said I wanted to stand up front.

Apparently, I've never been to a HEAVY metal concert. A Beastie Boys mosh pit pales in comparison. Violent Femmes? Nope. Marilyn Manson?? A rough one, but not even close. For some reason, heavy metal fans are much taller than other fans. So when I stood up at the very front with only two strangers between me and a metal fence, I was towered over from all sides. And once the music started, that became a dangerous scenario to be in, since everyone started slamming into each other and jumping up and down. Luckily for me, I'm a slammer and jumper too, but my lack of height definitely put me at a disadvantage. Poor Scoochie had to spend the entire show with his arms wrapped around me to form a protective cage so I wouldn't get knocked over.

Did I mention we had a blast?

We have no pictures to speak of for the concert, due to the fact that I was trying mostly to stay alive, and didn't need the added worry of protecting any electronics. I have decided that I will definitely need to rethink my strategy for our next planned concert outing; Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction at the Sasquatch Festival in May. Maybe steel-toed platform boots?

Hop on over to my sister's blog to see the photos she took while watching the kids and pets during our absence. They didn't miss us at all!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Art of Sharing

In a renewed frenzy of dedication to my blog, I've been busy snapping photos today that I plan to use in future posts. I haven't had this kind of proactive plan-aheadedness since the very beginning of my blog almost two years ago. So instead of randomly blathering on about nothing, I hope to (at least for a few posts anyway), have something specific to talk about. And so I offer today's post about SHARING.

Since the very first days of Hear Me Roar! (lest anyone forget, these blog musings had their start in the fact that I have a very fledgeling business that I'm supposed to be writing about), I declared selfishly that I would not be a spread-out-on-the-kitchen-table sewer as my mother was, but I would have My Very Own SPACE. It has been different things over the years - an odd corner in an awkward living room in Alaska, the dining room in a small apartment in Redmond, a full sized room in a house in Everett; a landing here, a cast off computer room there. With so many incarnations, one thing has remained constant; the space was entirely mine. I didn't share with anyone, not a single soul. I controlled every aspect of what was included in the space, right down to the actual smell (PartyLite brand Winter Solstice scented candles, bought on Ebay due to the discontinuation of the scent).

And now, I share.

In some ways I'm better at it than I thought I would be, although there are times when I feel cramped in my corner of the room, hyper aware that Scoochie most likely feels that my disorder is EVERYWHERE. It took me longer to unpack this room than it has ever taken me to claim my sewing space, and there have been some tense moments when I try to make more pouty declarations, which are met mostly with Scoochie's hysterical laughter. "I can't bear to look at this wallpaper when I'm trying to create!" I once said at my most diva best. "Are you kidding me?" asked Scott, who's excited and appreciative about sharing this space with me. In the end I realized that if he can handle the floral grandma wallpaper, I probably should too. Happily.

Sharing has turned out to be more productive than I dreamed. Because we share the space and aim to use it quite a bit, I don't feel as guilty splurging on a new tv or containers for organizing. Scoochie has a tireless work ethic that keeps him drawing into the wee hours most nights, so in order to be with him I need to be in there sewing. He doesn't talk much, but most of the time I don't either unless I'm starting to peter out. I trust his eye for detail, and can ask him questions about how something looks and trust his honest answer. He's encouraged me to make more jackets, something I was giving up because of how time consuming they are even though I love making them.

So that's where we're at. Sharing a space and trying to get the most out of it all, with our trademark kookie senses of humor still showing up every once in awhile. How do you think we're doing?


Here's the preview of Scoochie's new comic, starring ME as a superhero! Click on the comic to see the rest of this installment on his Stolen Cheese blog.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Another blog you HAVE to check out!

Everyone you know is doin' it
Doin' it
Writin' a blog
and chewin' it
Chewin' it.

My sister has finally visited blogland and decided to stay awhile. She's set up her own blog all about her new business, her thoughts, musings, and whatnot. Check it out, and leave her a comment saying you got to her blog from my SUPER COOL blog!

And just in case you forgot to look, Scoochie's blog... which will soon have a new comic starring us as the superheroes we are. The amazing adventures of Super Scooch and The Tash, coming soon! Don't forget to LEAVE COMMENTS! That's all we ask, us bloggers. No payment, just a little adulation once in awhile. So PLEASE, leave Scoochie some comments. He works super hard on this stuff!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Oh the Whomanity!

It's been the busiest of weeks in a very busy month, which is my excuse for the lapse in communication this time. So much to report to bring everyone up to date, but the easiest way will just be to spit it all out, and details will be provided for those needing them. The overall feeling is that even the things that have seemed bad have had some good come out of them, so everything is still looking up. And who can complain about that?

  • Scoochie's brother-in-law ended up needing emergency surgery in the Big City, which left his sister marooned at the hospital for about a week. The good news? Spending a day with Sonja and learning what kind of kid Scoochie was. Overall report? Good kid, well meaning, but prone to accidents with fire and Starburst fruit chews.
  • Scoochie's amazing and wonderful daughter Brittany finally got an answer to why she was always feeling run down. The answer is that she has the Type 1 Diabetes (or "The Sugars" for those from the south), which means lots of fun with shots and math and counting of the carbs, but not-so-fun waking up at 3am to check the blood sugar. Brittany stayed with us this week for her mid-winter break, but never kept her promise to be combative at some point so Scoochie and I could try and force sugar into her mouth against her will. Maybe next time.
  • After the family enjoyed a wonderful shopping expedition the week before last for laughing monkey heads and wind-up nuns, a man on a motorcycle chose our car to run into after we backed out of our parking space. Fortunately none of us were hurt, but the man suffered a broken leg, which made us feel very very bad. Scoochie's new car has been in the shop for 10 days now awaiting parts to fix it, which is when we got to make the first payment. The positive side of all of this is that the car would have been getting a TON of miles on it this week as we drove around on several important missions, like searching for chili pepper lights and low carb cheesecake. Now Scoochie's car will remain in near-pristine condition, with low miles, and a new, shinier bumper.
  • During Brittany's stay with us this week on the ONE NIGHT I had to be out of town for work, Scoochie ended up sitting in the emergency room with all three kids until 4 am, while I lay in a hotel room in Beaverton, oblivious. The lesson is that "sharp, stabbing pain in the stomach" in a 15 year old is an emergency room golden ticket, and that for some unknown reason, throwing up in the emergency room can be very funny indeed, to both nurse AND patient.
  • Getting your first new grown up brand new bed when you are 34 years old is made a hundred times better when you adore the person you bought it with.
  • Having your 7 year old throw up in his bed in the middle of the night is made better when you have a king size bed to bring him into, instead of a full size futon with two adults and two dogs. And you can realize (as if you didn't already) that you have the absolute best, most amazing, wonderful, fantastic person ever to share your life with, when as you cuddle your sick little boy in bed, your boyfriend goes into the puke-filled bedroom and takes the Iron Man comforter off the bunk that's 6 feet in the air, and shakes the big puke chunks off into the backyard, and then puts it in the washer. And then, just to make your eyes tear up with gratitude that your life couldn't be more perfect, he lays back in bed and reaches around you to ruffle the sweaty hair of the sick little boy to tell him that he loves him and that he's sorry he's feeling sick.

  • Archie McPhee's is the coolest store ever, because every bathroom wall needs a pair of squirrel underpants, and every diabetic girl should get to keep her poking supplies in a tin that held band-aids with pictures of cupcakes on them.

And lastly, I FINALLY finished organizing the art room, and actually spent yesterday sewing. The best part of all, is that Scoochie's drawing table is also in the art room, and so for the first time in my life I have someone in there with me, working while I work. We are mostly quiet as we are both concentrators, but just having him there left me with that feeling of happiness and contentment that makes one think of cute and fuzzy bunnies and teddy bears dancing in verdant meadows. And that's an awfully good thing, indeed.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Blahbity Blah

With Scoochie's blog up and running, I was feeling a bit at a loss for something to talk about. But then I remembered! I never showed the pictures of us at my good friend Sara's Bond-themed birthday party for her husband, Martin. The trick was that you had to dress up as your favorite Bond character, only Scoochie and I are both pretty sure we've never seen an entire James Bond movie. So, going a little off the beaten path after what seemed like WEEKS of research, we ended up looking like this:
Which is not too shabby, if I do say so myself. I am Tracy Bond, who was married all too briefly to James Bond before being killed in a drive by shooting that oddly enough resulted in one bullet wound in the center of her forehead. Scoochie dressed as Emile Largo, a Bond villain who appears in a few different Bond movies. I think we make a pretty hot couple, don't you?