The Queen’s Meme: The Lunch Mee

With my crazy work schedule, breakfast is at 3 in the afternoon, lunch at 11 at night and supper around 4 am. Things get a little wonky planning these meals. Keep that in mind as you read my answers.

1. What do you typically have for lunch? Some sort of protein and veggies. Chicken breasts, salmon patties, hamburger or turkey burgers or sometimes “taco stuff” which is ground beef and black beans with taco seasoning but without the taco shell or tortilla.

2. If you work outside your home, do you pack your lunch? Almost every single day. Between saving money on getting delivery since our building isn’t close enough to anything to go pick up fast food and the health benefits of not eating out all the time, it’s a given we’ll pack lunch except for rare occasions. On those rare occasions when we are short on time or have somewhere to go before work, Subway tends to be our go-to lunch.

3. Do you ever cheat on the scheduled “hour” for lunch at work or have you been known to stretch it just a little? If I don’t get back to my desk on time to clock in, I don’t get paid for my time. In addition, being late back too often it could impact wither or not I have a job at all. So, no, I don’t cheat on my half-hour lunch.

4. What is your favorite restaurant for the midday meal? Saffron Indian for the lunch buffet. They were my first experience with Indian cuisine. At first, my taste buds didn’t know what to make of all those spices, but I loved it from the beginning. These days, we go to the local Indian market for spice blends and lentils.

5. Are you more interested in the company or the food? It is the marriage of food and company which makes a lunch delightful. Human company is, of course, lovely, but I will accept the company of a good book as happily. A great short story or witty essay writing is better company than mediocre people, in my opinion.

6. Tell us about your last lunch date and what made it special. August 16th, the day before my birthday, Chris and I met his mom and dad for lunch – our breakfast – to celebrate.

7. What is on your lunch box? I use a large insulated bag suitable for two since Chris and I work together three days of the week. It’s blue plaid.


Sunday Stealing: The 88 Meme


1. What type questions do you hate on a meme? Questions which only apply to high school or college aged people. I don’t see many of those types answering the weekly memes I play, for one thing, and they make me feel old.

2. If you married the last person you texted, what would your last name be? Bennett. I would naturally ask Kate took take back her maiden name before we moved somewhere it would be legal of us to marry. Of course, it’s far more likely we’ll go ahead and remain same-sex platonic life partners.

3. Were you happy when you woke up today? Yes. I was happy to drag my butt out of bed on the second day of a three day stretch of 11 hour workdays, sore as heck from the notch up in intensity I’ve taken on in my Wii Fit workouts. Tired, slow moving, but happy.

4. When were you on the phone last? And with who? A client sometime with in the last hour. Got to love the night shift in a call center.

5. Who are you excited for? My friend Alex who is going to Dragon*Con this coming weekend.

7. Honestly, who was the last person to tell you they love you? Chris, earlier today via chat.

8. What’s the last thing you put in your mouth? Tea. Earl gray. Hot.

9. Have a best friend? Yes. I have several friends who qualify for the “best friend” title. Kate, Renee, and – most recent addition – Alex.

10. Were you ever or are you scared to fall in love? No. I love easily but I have learned over the years that love is not always the best indication of wither someone belongs in your life. This goes for relationships of all types – not just romantic. Loving someone, in an of itself, isn’t scary to me.

11. Do you think teenagers can be in love? Certainly. Even children can be in love. I think those younger forms of love and “puppy love” are normal and healthy ways for people to learn about romance. They should not be written off as less than real, but neither should they be treated as though they ought to last forever.

12. Last person you wanted to punch in the face? I plead the fifth.

13. What time is it right this second? 1:53 AM Eastern Standard Time.

14. What do you want right now? To go home.

15. Who was the last person you took a picture with? Likely Chris, but I don’t remember.

16. Are you single/taken/heartbroken/or confused? Taken. Engaged, if you want to get technical.

17. When was the last time you cried? A few weeks ago in the shower. I was stressed and thinking about things I can’t change. The release of tears did a world of good.

18. Do you have a good relationship with your parents? I do. It’s not a Norman Rockwell painting, but they love me and do the best they can to help me in life. Can’t ask for more than that.

19. Do you find it hard to trust others? Trust, but verify, I have no problem with. If anything, I have trouble depending on others.

20. How fast does your mind change? Not fast at all. I came to think what I think for a reason and it takes a worthy reason and deliberation to change it.

21. I bet you miss somebody right now. Who is it? Most of all, Sabrina, Kate’s daughter and my dear niece. I miss other people, but which a child, you miss out on so much being there which can’t be made up in phone calls and texts like with grown ups.

22. Can you honestly say you’re okay right now? More than okay.

I’m told there will be more questions of the promised eighty-eight next week. Maybe I’ll answer them. I hope the anticipation isn’t hard on anybody ;-)


Sunday Stealing: The Authentic Meme

1. How long have you been blogging? I started in late 2006 on MySpace, moved to my first domain in 2007 and registered NerdBliss in December 2010.

2. Did you go to college? I look several classes through University of Phoenix Online many years ago, but otherwise, no.

3. Where have you traveled? Throughout much of the contentious United States, three of the Hawaiian Islands and several parts of Canada.

4. Which celebrity do you get mistaken for? I do not strongly resemble any celebrity.

5. What are your three biggest pet peeves? Lack of professionalism, people who project the assumption the world revolves around them and no one else matters, and being treated like I don’t know what I’m doing by someone who has asked for my help. You can’t tell I work with the public from those answers, can you?

6. What is your favorite movie? If I had to pick one (today): Office Space.

7. What is your drink of choice; wine, beer, or liquor. Or Water, Soda, Tea? Of the first set: liquor. Of the second: tea. The only one of the six I’ll always pass on is beer. I’ve yet to find one that’s not icky.

8. What is something you enjoy to do when you have me time? Reading or sewing.

9. What is your biggest phobia? I don’t believe I have any fears which qualify for the strict definition of phobia, however, I do have anxieties and neurosis. The biggest ones all really come down to a fear of loosing what I hold dear or being trapped, physically or in circumstance.

10. Share with us an embarrassing moment of your past?

11. What day would you love to relive again? Why? Any given day during the summer between my seventh and eighth grade years. Those days spent with my best friend Kate in Hawaii were pure gold.

12. If your life was turned into a movie… what actor would your best friend think should play you? Someone pretty, but shorter than the actress playing her. Years ago, I would have said Drew Barrymore, but I don’t know if that’s still a relevant pick.

13. What are the jobs you had in high school/college/the early years? I worked for Payless Shoe from the beginning of my senior year of high school until the week I turned 25.

14. Show us a picture from high school or college. If you insist. I don’t have many, but my friend Amy sent me this one a few years back. I know it was taken the week I graduated high school because Kate had flown out to attend.

15. If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go? With all the Doctor Who I’ve been watching lately, I’d love a grand tour of the British Isles.

16. Where do you see your life 6 and 1/2 years from now? Where will I be – assuming my math is correct – the 13th of January 2019? Let’s see. I’ll be 38 years old. Chris and I will feel like we’ve been married forever. We’d have either moved to a house in the Greenville area or moved to Atlanta, but either way, settled in for the long haul. We’ll either have one child and be deciding if a second is in the cards or already had two children. I’ll be busy with family and juggling employment of some sort with creative endeavors, some of which will hopefully be adding to the household income. I might be taking my sweet time earning some sort of college degree, one or two classes at a time, or I might have finally decided what I learn on my own is more than enough education.

17. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be and why? Now isn’t bad. I’m old enough to be generally respected but still young enough to be considered youthful.

18. What 5 songs are included on the soundtrack to your life? (You can pick “Middle School”, “High School”, “College”, “Post College” or any format you like.)
1. “Puttin’ on the Ritz” – A gift from my Uncle Danny on 45 and the first piece of music I ever owned.

2. “You’re My Best Friend” – Queen always deserves recognition, for Kate and because Queen and Kate are intertwined in my life.

3. “When I’m Sixty-Four” – My favorite Beatles song which isn’t nothing and a good representation of my ideal romance.

4. “Who Needs Sleep?” – To represent my late teens, insomnia and sleep apnea along with Barenaked Ladies’ Stunt which I’ve listened to a billion times.

5. Art of the Dress (Trance remix) – For MLP:FiM and learning to push past the frustrations in sewing.

19. Romney picked Paul Ryan to run as his veep. Any thoughts? Nope. I’ve stayed out of political discussions as much as possible for a very long time.

20. Your chance: Pick a meme you’ve done for us to steal. Bud and Judd will visit EVERY post today. Feel free to say, “Bugger off”, or anything like that. How about the Employment Enjoyment Meme?


The Queen’s Meme: All Over the Place

1. Pretend you are making a passion quilt. What would be on the center square? If not the Enterprise, the whole quilt would be book spines featuring my favorite novels.

2. One of those traffic cameras catches you running a red light and you get a ticket in the mail. What else did the camera catch inside your vehicle that you might not want everyone to see? Empty Starbucks cups on the floor.

3. When is the last time you had to cancel plans? I’m in the process of canceling plans for Dragon*Con 2012, but still squarely in the denial phase of mourning. It’s Labor Day weekend and I haven’t been able to set even a single day off approved.

4. What is your favorite magazine? National Geographic. I haven’t had a subscription since my early teens, but it’s the only magazine besides Highlights for Children for which I have nostalgic longings.

5. What is the riskiest thing you have ever done? Moving to South Carolina without ever having set foot in the state with a year lease on an apartment. Nearly two years later, I can safely say my risk paid off in all sorts of ways I never could have predicted.

6. Have you ever worked in an office with someone who drove you crazy? What did they do and how did you handle it? Yes. The type of stuff that drives me crazy is usually one end of the spectrum or the other. Blatant lack of professionalism drives me crazy. Swearing, dressing nice for the club or stealing co-worker’s lunches out of the break room fridge. Not cool people. Act like a grown-up. Just as annoying, however, as I find unprofessional people, I can’t standing being micromanaged or people who get all uptight about pointless details. The bottom line of what I have to do to satisfy the client(s) and keep my boss from being annoyed with me is pretty much all I want to hear about, then leave me be to do my job. The example I can give of this is an old team lead of mine. I worked in a third party call center for a telecommunications company. Sometimes accounts would require credits for various reasons and we agents would fill out paper tickets with all the information for a team lead to review. This guy would come back hours or days later to let me know about my tickets, explaining in great detail, why he elected to approve or decline the credit. It was not in the form of coaching, but a follow up on my request. Now, to those who have never worked in a call center, it sounds rather nice to hear back on an issue you’re working. But, in a call center for a national company, you’re never going to see the account again and if you do, you can read the notes. I would have taken dozens or hundreds of other calls since I wrote out the ticket. Bless his heart (as they say here in the South), I never found a diplomatic way to say, “Once the call disconnects, I don’t care. Note the account with what you did to cover both our butts and forget about it.” I don’t know how people who sweat every transaction and maintain their sanity, but I know it doesn’t help anything.

7. What is the weirdest or most unusual thing you’ve ever done in an elevator? I once took a picture of a Wookie with a disassembled robot on his back in an packed to the brim elevator.


Sunday Stealing: The Too Tired to Think Meme, Part 2

26. What type of errands do you like running? I love shopping at Costco. Once you have a routine, it’s fast and pleasant. It’s easy, too, to keep in our primary good eating items for much less than a regular grocery store: Frozen meats and fish, fresh and frozen veggies, and various fruits.

27. Have you ever eaten snow? Not that I remember, but most of my childhood was spent in places where it seldom snows enough to eat snow without also eating grass and dirt.

28. What color are your bedsheets? The current set is Ivory, but their is a pale blue set, too.

29. What’s your favorite flower? Lilacs or Queen Anne’s Lace. Both low maintenance and abundant blooms.

30. Do you do ballet? Like all little girls, I went through a period where I wanted to take ballet. I was around seven years old and in first grade. I would have been awful, but I am in favor of kids and grownups alike trying things at with they naturally stink for the many benefits struggling to learn a new skill brings. Plus, maybe I’d be slightly less awkward if I’d taken a dance or martial arts class.

31. Do you listen to classical music? Does the Animaniacs soundtrack count? Classical music was MADE for cartoons.

32. What is the first TV Theme song that pops in your head? Tossed salads and scrambled eggs:

33. Do you watch Sponge Bob? I have seen a handful of episodes in the company of various children, but I do not like it. I always say, I prefer my “chemically enhanced” style of cartoon to be made for adults like Auqa Teen Hunger Force.

34. What temperature is it outside right now? Hot, but not unbearable is my unscientific assessment. Weather.com says 85 degrees.

35. Do people consider you smart? Generally, yes. I am well spoken with a large vocabulary and a head for trivia. I’m not sure if that makes me smart, but it does make me seem smart.

36. How many piercing do you have? One in each earlobe, same as I’ve had since I was nine. I rarely wear earrings.

37. Are you signed on [to] AIM? Not since ’99.

38. Have you ever tried gluing your fingers together? Lucky for me, I learned how to separate my fingers for the Vulcan Live Long and Prosper greeting without resorting to adhesives.

39. How do you feel about your family? I love my family. I don’t know most of my relatives very well.

40. Do you have an iPod? Nope. I’ve never owned an Apple product. I started using iTunes a couple years ago to subscribe to podcasts which I sometimes transfer to my Android phone. Not impressed enough to join the Mac culture.

41. What time do you go to bed? These days, bedtime is 5 or 5:30 am.

42. What CD is currently in your CD player? I don’t use a CD player. We have an FM transmitter in the car and I have a few dozen tracks on my phone.

43. What movie do you know every line to? The Princess Bride.

44. What is your favorite salad dressing? French.

45. What do you want for Christmas this year? I never know what I want for Christmas.

46. What family member/friend lives the farthest from you? Where? Gloria lives in Australia. We met through blogging, but have spent enough time chatting and shared serious enough conversations to count as “real” friends.

47. Do you like hugs? When appropriate. I am not typically an “I just met you, let’s hug” person, but I love hugs from friends and family.

48. Last time you had butterflies in your stomach? At the dress rehearsal for our Klingon wedding.

49. What’s the way people most often mispronounce any part of your name? Not exactly a mispronouncing, but I find people often get my first name wrong or shorten it any which way without regard for what I actually am called. My full first name is Christina and my nickname Tina. Most people call me Tina and many are confused when they don’t see a Tina on the roster even though it’s a common shorting. I have even thought about legally changing to Tina to avoid having to explain I’m Christina to people who know me as Tina. Besides not being sure how my mother would feel about it, the fact I’d still have a paper trail of documents under Christina and would have to explain I changed it legally to avoid confusion would be trading one confusion for another. The other thing that happens I get called Chrisy, Cristy, Christine or, the worst, Chris. While those are perfectly fine names, none of them are mine.

50. Last person you hugged? Chris.


It’s Friday as I start my response and will likely be Saturday when I publish it in addition to being the Monday of my workweek, yet I have an answer to share for Booking Through Thursday, so here is the question:

Series or Stand-alone?

My ideal preference is for related books based in – to borrow a science fiction term – the same universe yet with each book a self contained story. I like meeting old friends again or peaking behind corners I wasn’t privy to in another book, but I prefer not to need additional reading to complete the story.

I can name several sets of books I love which fit the standard of “companion” books.

Madeleine L’Engle, my favorite author since I first read A Wrinkle in Time, had interconnections in nearly all of her novels. In most editions of her young adult works, you’ll find a family tree linking her characters. When I first saw it in the copies of the Time Quartet, I poured over it. I spent the next several years acquiring each related title and read them all into dog-eared familiarity.

At the other end of my taste in books, Rachel Gibson often writes romances for supporting cast in previous books or slips in a situation where an old friend can make a cameo without making it a series.
She wrote a bunch of stories featuring the fictional Seattle Chinooks Hockey Team in one way or another and books set in a rural Idaho town and a Texas town. The closest she comes to a true series is her quartet of friends each of whom are writers in a different genera and have completely different approaches to romance. Even those are stand-alone stories even though it’s obvious each woman will eventually get a book of her own. Being romance, they can be read out of order because the formula of girl meets boy, conflict keeps them apart, conflict is resolved, happily ever after ensues is a given. All that is revealed in reading out of order is the name attached to the inevitable spouse.

If truly choosing between a series or a stand-alone book without the option of companion books, I would have to go for stand-alone books. I often feel, especially with modern writers, a story is split into “trilogies” or more simply for financial reasons. If it’s not a literary device, I would rather a writer tell me the story in one volume. Even Tolkien wanted Lord of the Rings to be one book, so I do suspect the vast majority of decisions to serialize comes from the publisher rather than the writer.

It is not just my inner cynic, however, preferring one book over many. The list of books which I count not just as favorites, but as life impacting includes so many titles without sequels or companions. Many of them leave little room for addition except in the reader’s imagination. I can’t fathom a book to go with A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Girl With Pearl Earring, or The Red Tent. Or A Handmaid’s Tale. Or Nightfall. Or To Live Again. I could go on for days listing titles.

I go back to the original when I want visit with my friends who live in that world. I know them intimately, yet each time I see the book a new way. I believe there is a C.S. Lewis quote regarding the necessity of reading a book more than once to really understand it, but I haven’t been able to find it. Even if he didn’t say it, I do. Certainly, a book well loved is different each time it is read if for no other reason than the personal growth in the reader which occurs between readings.

It seems in my own reading, the more books about a character, the less depth the subsequent readings provides. One book is like a single painting or photograph. A series is like a movie. When you look at a single stationary object of art over a period of time, the meaning comes not from seeing things you haven’t seen before, but from seeing the same things in a different way. Of course, the experience exists in any artistic form, but is seems to me the more brevity in the work, the more room for seeing this way. Short stories or poems work better than novels, I think, and single books better than series.

With all that being said, sometimes a series is necessary to the story or format of the stories. Detective tales lend themselves to series as do closely related police procedural novels – and yes there is a real difference between those two types of books – because each crime faced is a new story no matter who is solving it. I can’t imagine The Chronicles of Narnia being one book instead of seven. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy could have been one book, but it could not have been a single book telling all the stories of the five books in the trilogy.

The bottom line becomes simple: The story itself ought dictate whiter the format is a single book, companion books, or a series.


Saturday 9: I Saw the Light

1. Has something ever made you “see the light”? I hope everyone answers yes. I am, sad to say, often a hard study when it comes to anything important enough to qualify for a “see the light” experience. When a course correction is required, it is most often my subconscious and my body’s stress indicators that clue me in. I get anxious, suffer insomnia, digestive issues, headaches or menstruation troubles often before I am aware of problems. If I pay attention to the signals, I can take stock of my personal life, work situation, and other areas to figure out where I need to make changes before my health and sanity are impacted.

2. Do you believe you have any control over your luck? Yes and no. I hold both that hard work is the primary factor in success and that factors beyond a person’s control can make success more or less difficult. The main outside factor everyone contends with is upbringing. For better or for worse, our family situation is the foundation upon which we build our lives. The positive end of those outside factors is what we call “luck.” I feel like much of what looks like luck past childhood is closer to serendipity or at least it seems true in my life that much of my luck is happy accidents.

3. What is something you have had difficulty rising above? See answer number two. In all seriousness, I was diagnosed with CP in my left side around the time I started crawling. I went through all kinds of physical therapy and wearing leg braces or being in a cast to stretch my Achilles tendon. I had surgery when I was in kindergarten to lengthen that tendon and spent what seemed like forever in a cast from my toes to my butt. All this was going on while I was a military brat being regularly uprooted and I was small by genetics along with socially awkward.

4. Would you want to be rich? Heck yes! For me, being rich would mean no longer needing to trade my time for money. Since time is the one commodity it’s impossible to replace, the hours I spend doing things I wouldn’t do for free never feel like a fair trade.

5. Tell us about a current or old song that helps you “face the world.” Lately, I’ve found happiness and comfort in a couple tracks: Splendid by Professor Elemental and Art of the Dress (Trance remix) are two off the top of my head.

6. Has any dream of yours come true? More than one, but a fond one was my dream of attending science fiction or Star Trek conventions. It doesn’t seem so long ago that each year when the internet was abuzz with news from San Diego ComicCon, I would long to be there. At the time, I didn’t see attending as a realistic possibility for a handful of reasons. Now conventions are a regular part of my year and I love every second of the experience. Some of my favorite bits I didn’t even imagine before Chris took me to my first con, Trek Trax 2011. I adore my fandom friends, working on costumes, and even sharing hotel room with our little band of roommates. It’s all beautiful and exciting and exhausting.

7. What would you change if you became “the king or queen” of your country? I would enforce my number one fashion rule: Leggings are NOT pants. Same goes for “Jeggings” and any other “ggings” they invent. Either a long tunic top, dress or skirt must be worn over over them. I don’t care how thin or fit a women is, it’s unattractive to show off the intimate details of the anatomy through skin tight fabric. Frankly, I’d rather see a naked person walking around.

8. How do you feel about LGBT rights? I’m for marriage equality and any other equal protection under the law regardless of sexual orientation or any other criteria.

9. Have you ever been disappointed in yourself? Anyone who is remotely self-aware would have to answer yes to this question. I am most disappointed when I don’t follow through on things I want to do. Sometimes my expectations are too high. I find myself, for example, making a to-do list for my day off which is plum unrealistic and then I’m disappointed at the end of the night when I haven’t completed my tasks.


The Employment Enjoyment Meme

1. What kind of work do you do? I work in a call center doing technical support for various clients of the clients who pay the company that pays me. When people call the IT Help Desk for their organization, they get me and often don’t realize I’m not only not an employee of said organization, but I’m at least a few states away.

2. During the course of your lifetime, which job or career has been your favorite or most fulfilling? The short time I was a receptionist for an OB/GYN was the most fulfilling. Unlike selling someone something or helping with wireless bills or logging into websites, I was a small part of caring for the patients health and pregnancies. It was easy to express genuine concern and compassion in a way other customer service positions don’t inspire. And babies! Can’t go wrong with a steady stream of newborns to cuddle and coo over.

3. Do you think it’s necessary in your life to have a day-to-day “career” that is meaningful and service-oriented or do you function better in “just a job” with a steady paycheck? So far I’ve been on the “just a job” end of the employment spectrum. As long as I am respected by management for the job I’m doing, I’m pretty content being a cog in the machine. I find meaning in my personal life and hobbies. Work needs to be pleasant, but ideally, it is left at work when I clock out.

4. Was there ever a time in your life when you wanted to stay home with your children instead of working, even if it meant less money in the household? First of all, I don’t have children. If I’m lucky enough to have a child or children in the next few years, I would like to be in the position to not have to work full time. If we can afford it, I would consider a part time position to get myself out of the house a few days a week. I’d spent the last nearly two years working part time up until a month ago and while I kept busy at home, I got stir-crazy for lack of regular human interaction. Two days in a row wasn’t bad. Three or more was horrible. I can’t imagine, say, four years of not having a regular place to go. On the other hand, I would prefer not putting my child in daycare for forty hours a week. Scheduling opposite shifts from Chris so one of us is always home isn’t a pleasant thought either. I covet the time we have together even now. It is certainly difficult to say for sure what our needs and options will be when the time comes. I know it will be a challenge, but a wonderfully rewarding one.

5. Tell us your worst boss story. My second manager at Payless Shoe was awful. I still don’t know what the heck he actually did around the store. We would have two weeks worth of shipment still boxed up in the backroom no matter how hard I worked. He didn’t like me because I didn’t think his flirting was cute like the girls he liked to hire did. After I moved away, one of my part-time girls put in her notice and reported him for sexual harassment.

6. Have your ever been the boss? Do you like this this role? I held the title of assistant manager most of the seven years I worked for Payless Shoe which simply meant I had most of the responsibility and none of the privileges of being as store manager. If the manager didn’t want to do something and the part-timers couldn’t, I was stuck with it. It was like being in the valley of the saying “shit rolls down hill” getting crap from both sides. At one point, I was “acting manager” of my store while my manager was out on maternity leave. It was hard because I still didn’t have access to everything a manager did and would have to get managers from other stores to help me. The worst part for both of those positions is the fact it’s so difficult to motivate people who don’t have work ethic in the first place. You don’t have to do much at all for those who come to the table with a work ethic. I had a girl who complained every night about what we called “straightening” shoes. All you do is ensure each pair is in their proper place. It’s tedious, but it’s what you get paid for and we would always work back to back in the store so we could keep each other company. Whining about it simply made it that much more unpleasant.

7.  What is your dream occupation? I always assumed I would write for a living. I never doubted I would be a novelist, because journalism didn’t appeal to me. Today, I don’t know if I have fiction in me. I have personal writing and commentary along with an occasional poem, but I’m not sure about anything else. I don’t have a drive to make money writing, but I am open to the idea. I am happier when I simply keep up with blogging. I guess, when it comes right down to it, my answers to questions 3 and 4 have more to do with the reality of my dream “occupation” or work/life balance and what I choose to invest myself in.


This week’s musing asks… What is the last book that you learned something from? What book was it, and what did it teach you?


It is entirely likely friends and readers are sick to death of hearing about my sewing adventures. I sympathize. I can’t wait to be less focused on sewing for a bit, but I trudge on.

The success I’ve had in modifying a pattern and completing a muslin mockup of my dress for our Klingon wedding performance in April is in large part thanks to How to Use, Adapt, and Design Sewing Patterns: From store-bought patterns to drafting your own: a complete guide to fashion sewing with confidence by Lee Hollanhan. The copy Chris got me for Christmas is destined to be dog-eared.

I’ve mentioned it in a couple posts, but I cannot say enough good things about it.

One thing I’ve found in learning crafts in general and sewing specifically is most instructions assume a certain level of familiarity with the basic skills and terminology. This book starts at the beginning of it’s subject matter assuming no knowledge and even includes a section in the back with basic sewing techniques.

Now, I didn’t go into this a total novice, but I being primarily self taught, I would not have known to iron my pattern pieces (who would think you could iron paper?) or how serrated scissors are the best option for silky fabrics. Clear illustrations and color photography show things I’d always thought I’d need an experienced sewer to teach me in person. Like laying out patterns on stripped or patterned fabric. Now, I haven’t tried it yet, but I feel like I could do it referencing the pictures in the book.

Hands down, the most useful part of the book for my needs is the chart with all the body parts to be measured for comparison to the pattern measurements complete with explanation and diagrams. I wouldn’t have known where to start without those seventeen points of reference. Add the section showing how to modify store bought patterns made my project possible. Now, I will say, the part on modifying pattern pieces was only the start of what I ended up having to do. Both the shape of the dress and my body shape differ substantially from the examples, but apply the principles I learned in the book, some common sense and geometry got me where I needed to go.


Nostalgic toy favorite: Barbie or Easy Bake Oven? Barbie. Duh. Only I don’t think of her as nostalgic, but as modern and as widely appealing as can be. Mattel is genius for making playsets for toddlers all the way up through retirees who can’t resit Lucy or Tippi Hendren. I’ve always been a Barbie girl. Always will be.

Never going anywhere or Never settling down? Tough question. I haven’t lived a very settled live thus far, but I am perfectly willing to settle down. On the other hand, I’ve moved more times in my lifetime than I’ve taken actual vacations. In the last year, I’ve made headway in correcting the imbalance and it’s awesome. I’d hate to give up travel just to live in one area forever. So, I guess if I’m picking, never settling down would suit me better than never going anywhere.

Peanuts or Cashews? Cashews. Unsalted, please. Oddly, I live on peanut butter, but am not crazy about peanuts.

Musical movie: Pete’s Dragon or The Sound of Music? Pete’s Dragon. It has a dragon, for goodness sake. And it takes place in Mom’s home state of Maine, so hearing that is a real place made it extra cool.

Tattoo location: Wrist or Lower back? Wrist. If I were to ever get ink, I’d go with a place with a low risk of distortion with the aging process. I’ve considered getting an IDIC at the very top of my back, but enough below my neck to be easily covered with a shirt.