...the absent-minded ramblings of a sometime diva, hyperactive yarn ya-ya.

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Name: Cyndilou :)
Location: Texas, United States

Just a little piece of sunshine and rainbow set free to wreak happiness on the universe.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Aw, pooh

Huge sigh. I was trying to reorganize my MP3 collection, and somehow managed to delete all of them. You'd think that someone as technogeeky as myself could manage to keep from doing such a boneheaded thing. Well, at least I only managed to kill the songs I have CDs for - the ones I purchased through iTunes and related programs were backed up to a separate directory. In my defense, I was using a new cataloguing program as well...which I apparently used incorrectly. Now I just have to go through my CD collection and re-pull them to my hard drive.

On the plus side, it looks like some of the ones I originally had to submit through MusicMatch are now in the database correctly, so perhaps I won't have to redo a large number of them. 250 or so albums, just waiting their turn. Sigh.

Meet the new addition to the family...

New addition to the family No, I haven't had a baby - not anywhere close, thankyouverymuch. This little marvel is simply an early birthday present to myself, to replace my aging Fujifilm FinePix A210. The observant will notice that it matches the trim of my notebook - that wasn't intentional, but the blue model was on sale. I really wanted something that took video with sound, so what I'd originally intended was to get a digital camcorder, but the models in my price range were all miniDV or pitiful on the featureset. So, I settled on the Olympus Stylus 710 - I can still use my xD cards and it meets most of my needs. Anyone out there have a review on this model?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bananaberry splits

bananascarf Just to prove that I have, indeed, been knitting. This scarf was knit up this weekend (about 4 or 5 hours total knitting time) for the express purpose of being my banana-themed item for rally day at church. I used size 15 needles and Yarn Bee Luscious yarn. The finished scarf is only about 4 1/2 feet long, because I simply couldn't stand knitting garter stitch any longer than that.

This evening, it is another themed movie night at Chez Cyndilou - the theme being (once again) Stanley Tucci movies. The last time I did a ST night, it was The Terminal and A Midsummer Night's Dream. This time, I've seen America's Sweethearts and Undercover Blues, and I only wish I had The Devil Wears Prada on DVD. Next up: Big Trouble.

Love ya, Morty!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Anatomically accurate alien

Hanging Out

...and that's all I have to say.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

My so-called life

Alternate title: Things I get up to before 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning...

salaman_btn A week or two ago I was invited to participate in a living/performance art project to benefit the Sunken Gardens and the Barton Creek Salamander conservation project. That project took place today -- well, at least the choral part of it did. About six different groups from the Austin area stood around the Old Mill Springs and sang their version of Wade in the Water. Seven (long and sweaty) takes later, we were done. Granted, those takes took a combined 3 1/2 hours standing in the Texas sun - it was already 80 degrees Fahrenheit by 6 a.m. today - but the project directors were kind enough to provide us with water, ice, and granola bars to keep us going. The film will debut at the Art House on September 8th - I'm in the "Birth of the Salamanders" group.

...and did you know that without fail, when the fifth chorus in a row starts to sing in an outdoor venue, a plane or helicopter will pass overhead? Between that and the noise from people down at the springs themselves (in one case someone deliberately trying to interfere with the project - not that I think they had anything against the salamanders) it was crazy trying to get a full take without problems. Ah, the wonders of film editing. :)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Relearning Grammar School Astronomy

BREAKING NEWS: Pluto Demoted, No Longer a Planet - Yahoo! News

Alas, dear Pluto, we knew you well. Or at least we thought we did.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Finally, a shoe report

As I've been asked several times in life as well as via here, I suppose it is time for me to give my much overdue shoe report. :)

To the left you see the fabulous Camilles from Sofft that I purchased for the concerts. Okay, this isn't my photo - but I thought a fresh pair would be prettier. At any rate, they have a very comfortable, extra-padded insole. Better yet, they come in wide widths! I still have a D width foot, so I ended up moving up to a size 9, but they fit well (other than the slight extra length at the back of the heel, which is not noticeable when I am wearing pants).

The shoes are not as dressy as I'd hoped, but quite suitable when singing from the chorus, and they wear well for work, too. In fact, I got quite a few compliments on them! Walking all day in these shoes felt just fine - no added fatigue from the heels, and no sore ball of the foot. I do tend to walk on my toes, so I wear heels more comfortably than flats. If you have a hard to fit foot, clog style shoes sometimes are better, as there is no back of the shoe to constantly rub your heel raw.

All in all, I'd give these an 8 or 9 of 10 stars. They did not suit as well for the concert as I'd hoped - three hours of focussing energy through your feet is tough for even the best shoes to support, and I did have sore and tired tootsies each evening. On the plus side (very plus!) it was nothing that an evening's rest couldn't cure, unlike other concerts where it might take days for my feet to stop hurting.

Now I just have to wait for the rest of my body to catch up. Ibuprofen and Icy Hot, anyone?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

In the Grumps

Grump, grump, grump. I went to my yoga studio today because I desperately need to work out some of the stiffness in my back, hip and knee (exacerbated by lots of rehearsals and a couple concerts) only to find that the class I normally attend was cancelled in favor of a special event. On the plus side, the desk staff gave me a complementary class card for my trouble.

So...to get out of the grumps I thought I'd wander through some older digipics on my hard drive and share them. The following are shots of the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, taken the same evening -- one with the specific F-stops and exposure for sunset photos. EXIF data can be found by following the links for those interested.

Sunset on the Gulf of Mexico Sunset on the Gulf

Saturday, August 19, 2006

One down, one to go

Cardiff Millennium Center Well, the first of two concerts for this series is over with, and I slept 9 hours to make up for it. I think our first concert went well, and with luck we'll do fabulously again tonight.

Concert details: 8 pm, Hope Presbyterian, Mozart's Solemn Vespers and Haydn's Theresienmesse.

Oh, and the pic? That was this June at the Cardiff Millennium Centre - they have a venue for casual concerts in the lobby, aside from the massive concert hall (in which no pics are allowed, thanks). Cheers - and perhaps some crafting progress next week. :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Bad for them, good for me

So, I've been madly on the hunt for shoes the past couple of weeks. Not just any shoes -- ones that will enable me to stand for three hours on a stage while singing, without hurting my feet or back. It may be a tall order.

In the midst of this hunt, after having visited at least thirteen shoe stores, I finally hit the mall in disgust. (Okay, it was the third mall I've been to in the last three days). In the midst of my funk, I noticed that the bookstore was going out of business. Normally this would increase the funk, but I never shop at that particular store, and they had everything 40% off. (For those in town - Barton Creek, Ink Newsstand. Seriously, everything.)

After a bit of retail therapy, then, I resumed my search for the perfect shoes. Unfortunately it was not immediately successful. To be fair to all the shoe stores, I have an incredibly difficult to fit foot. Size 7 1/2 to 8D, with a very high arch (and a large-boned ankle) - I usually have to size up and even then it's a crap shoot, and the house has all the odds. Finally, I stopped into the store of last resort - Nordstrom's (although they are friendlier and not as insane as Needless Markups). ...and finally, thanks to a sales clerk who WOULD not give up, I found success! I have shoes!!

My wish for you: may you have feet that are absolutely average in every way, and may you find shoes that fit. A full shoe review will follow this weekend, after the concerts.

Obligatory plug: come and see the Texas Choral Consort in performance! August 18th and 19th, 8 pm, Hope Presbyterian.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Why, after packing three large bags of things for the garage sale, does it look like I haven't changed anything? Sigh. Okay, well really it isn't that bad, but I still have a ways to go before I would consider this place tidy. I have too much stuff.

(...and no comments from the peanut gallery, either!)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Oh, my mother so wins.

Okay, E - you win this one, too. After years of not using a full skincare regimen, between E and my mother, they finally sold me on the Mary Kay line. The new MK line, not the old one I remember from a couple years ago. I may still not wear makeup all the time, but I am becoming more aware of the sun damage to my face and hands, and the Timewise collection is just fabulous. Add to that the Satin Hands (and just this week my hands were getting flaky -- and my hands NEVER get flaky) and I've got a regimen. Wow.

For the first time I actually stopped (well, was forced to stop, actually) and looked at the science behind the current MK line. For a change, it meets all my expectations - and for the first time in a very long time I used lotion on my hands and face and don't feel greasy. Even the old MK moisturizer couldn't say that for me.

So, E and Mom, you win.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Reclamations and progress

We're having a garage sale to raise money for the chorus this weekend, and I'm doing a little housecleaning to gather items to take. In the midst of the mess that is my living room/computer area, I found a couple abandoned projects. One I had taken off the needles as I apparently needed the needle for something else, so I reclaimed the yarn from what appeared to be a diagonal baby blanket - that yarn is probably still destined for a baby blanket of some sort, but for now it will go back into the stash.

I also came across my scribble lace stole that I've had in progress for about two years now -- from the bulky wool I brought back from Germany and a fine laceweight on a cone from Habu. I think I'll pop in a movie and get working on that again - it will make good DVD knitting.

Oh, and I promised pics of the magic scarf steps, didn't I? Well, without further ado:

Steps to Knitting a Magic Scarf

  1. Cast on sufficient stitches for about half to three-quarters of the width you want.
  2. Knit straight in stockingette stitch for as long as you want, but until it is at least half the length you want. No, I have no magic formula for how long the scarf will be at the end.
    Scarf in progress:
  3. Cast off with a crochet hook slightly larger than the needles used to knit the scarf, using the method *K1 (with hook), Chain 1, drop 1 from the left needle, K1 (with hook), Pass first stitch over second to bind off* and repeat from * to * until the end of the row. As so:
  4. Once bound off, you should have something that looks like this:
  5. Then, just pull:

If you google "magic scarf knitting pattern" you may come up with a few more sites where people have attempted this in various incarnations. I used Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino and size 4 needles, knitted flat. I haven't measured the finished product yet because I haven't pulled out all the length -- several others are wanting to see this final step. Once it's done, I'll post the comparison and final photos.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Friday (and Saturday) FOs

Well, some of you might remember these socks from previous mentions. This is the pair I started for my trip to Wales - just begun in the airport on June 24th, actually, and finished on August 4th. Oddly enough, they sat in my bag for over a week with only the cast off on the second sock left to go. For details - they are made from about half a skein of Lorna's Laces Superwash Worsted in Watercolor, on size 4s, using a mixture of toe-up techniques.

The little hat I started to have something to work on at rehearsal on July 30th and I finished it on August 5th. It was also on a size 4 needle, using Red Heart Baby Fingering. I cast on 80 stitches and just kept knitting, no pattern.

Something else I was working on is the magic scarf I started, oh, ages and ages ago. I know this has been a UFO for at least a year. At any rate, I finally finished knitting up the skein last week and this weekend I cast it off and started to pull it out. I've been photographing the progress, so as soon as I get my act together I'll post a series on it.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Things you don't want to hear

When you're sitting at your computer in your undies because it is still so hot in your apartment, you really don't want to hear loud banging on the door of your next door neighbor, with the words "Fire Department!". Nope, you just don't.

Am I with it, or what?

Look at me: it's still early in the evening and I've already done the dishes and the laundry, gotten some errands run, done a little extra housework, and made dinner. Okay, so I fib a little. It's 97 degrees out today - not as hot as it has been lately, and it's only 99 with the heat index, but my A/C has decided it is overworked and is trying to rest. During the hottest part of the day.

I know, I know, at least I have A/C -- and heck, I live in a region where it is almost imperative to have it so I could go just about anywhere to cool off. As it is, I am sitting in front of my computer in my undies drinking a Pimms and lemonade. Fabulous stuff.

Oh, the accomplishments? I did get half the laundry done, the dirty dishes to the sink and rinsed off and made sandwiches for dinner. Errands were run on the way home from work, and I straightened up a little when I got home.

I can't help it, I gotta tell ya - I lurves me some teensy bagel sammiches with chive cream cheese and turkey. I does, I does. ...and goodness sakes' -- the A/C decided to finally kick in. Whoo!