November 30, 2010

At the Spa

Okay, we didn't actually take any pics while at the spa. So here are pics of us at Beau Jo's Pizza:

As Kortney said, "Keene's nose zit was not welcome in this picture":


November 25, 2010

That kid is snarky

Aye aye aye. Kayden. It's really hard to get after him about being snarky when I'm too busy laughing behind my hand.

So, we were all in the car last night, on our way to take Kayden to his dad's house. Maia was eating (fast food, since we were en route).

Several times, I heard Kayden telling her to close her mouth while she eats (she is quite a loud eater). She continued to eat with her mouth open.

Finally, Keene said something like, "Well, Kayden, you have to give her a break if she occasionally opens her mouth to breathe or something..."

Without missing a beat, he said, "Isn't that what a nose is for?"

November 24, 2010

Hello? Is it me you're looking for?

Last night, I was watching a movie on my computer while crocheting. In the living room, Keene was typing away on his computer.

Suddenly, I get a call. I look at the ID and it's Keene. I look up and he's still typing. I hold up my phone and say, "Are you calling me?"

He pulls his phone from his pocket, looks at it, and says, "Oh, I guess I was."

I reply, "Apparently, something in your pocket really wants to talk to me."

In my mind, I imagine this to be the conversation:

Kelli: Hello?
Keene's pocket: ::heavy breathing::

November 23, 2010

Have you ever tipped someone in a non-tipping environment?

I went to Little Caesars once (they have pre-made cooked pizzas ready to be purchased, for those that don't know). The teen girl behind the counter was so cheery and nice that I tipped her a dollar. She was really surprised and grateful. It made me feel good...much better than when I have to tip a surly delivery driver.

On the bright side...

I've been kicking ass financially. I paid off a medical bill in full this week, and cut another one in half, ON TOP of all my monthly bills. I'm hoping to pay off two more debts in the next few weeks.

And I have some money to go to the spa on Saturday with Kortney, Keene, and Sean. FUN!

November 19, 2010

Speaking of kids knowing too much

Last week, on the drive to school, I busted Maia showing a note she had written to Kayden.

It said, "Kayden is fucking shit."

She later claimed to have learned them from being around a douchey guy at a BBQ a few months ago. The one who wouldn't stop swearing.

However, I'm betting all kids are born knowing bad words.

November 12, 2010

Felted Flowers and Pee-Dotted Toilets

PSA: If you haven't been by the Bitter o'Clock Facebook page yet, I recommend you run over there. Today. Hint, hint.

Moving on, lately I have been dabbling in felt. I know that sounds kind of dirty, but it's not. It started with a custom order for a little pink hat. I was stuck on whether to do a stripe or a crocheted flower. Then I noticed a pile of felt on my desk which I had bought over a year ago with the intention of making a flower bouquet.

I quickly cut out flowers, layering and layering until I was satisfied. See, that's the part where felt has the one-up on crochet: if you layer and layer on crocheted flowers, you wind up with something that looks like it belongs in the Amazon. And something that just might eat you if you stand too close.

Felt, on the other hand, is meant to be layered. That is its reason for being. Every time you don't layer felt, a fairy dies. No, I'm sorry, that's not true. But just trust me, you have to layer.

Anyhow, this was the end result of that custom order:

(Note the fleece lining. Kudos to Keene for that one.)

I loved it. I loved it so much I wanted to marry it. And have little felt flower babies with it. And ultimately divorce it when a newer hat happens by. But alas, I had to say goodbye and send it off to the customer.

...and start on a new line of felty hats.

Soon, I discovered with annoyance that crocheting a hat takes much longer than making felt flowers. So I stopped making hats and just made flowers.

And more flowers.


November 9, 2010

Kayden Turns Ten and Other Chaos Ensues

Last Saturday, we held Kayden's 10th Annual Birthday Celebration (also known as a sleepover). We started off by making the birthday boy clean.

(No, really, he wanted to...)

Then he had to frost his own cake:

Then he had to buy his own birthday present:

Okay, not really. I got it for him because I am, as proven in a recent study, the best mom ever.

I tried my hand at cake-decorating for the second year in a row. While I worked for several hours on the cake last year, knowing that it would only be viewed by kids this year, I spent maybe 20 minutes on it:

Then Keene spent another five, working on the gun and words:

Even so, the cake was quickly overshadowed by the ice cream sundae buffet we had set up. Since the majority of guests were around 10 years old and, therefore, thought party games were stupid, we decided to just pump them full of sugar and see what happened.

If you don't know what an ice cream sundae buffet looks like, allow me to show you the light: several varieties of ice cream and syrups, with toppings including whipped cream, crushed cookies, cherries, candies, sprinkles, and whatever else might be delicious on ice cream.

I know, right? The kids still talk about it every night.

So, what does one do with a group of hyper pre-teen boys? Why, you lock them in a room, of course.

While the boys screamed and wrestled and monkeyed around in the apartment complex's theater, Keene and I sat outside the door, wishing we weren't so cool and had just forced the boys to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

To pass the time, though, I murdered Keene in Scrabble.

Murdered, I tell you.

After five-hundred hours had passed, we finally trooped back home for (the adults') bedtime.

The next morning, I walked into the living room to see bodies strewn everywhere:

It was a brutal scene.

Clearly, these boys showed no mercy to their fallen brothers.

On Monday morning, while dropping the kids off at school, a fellow parent (who I didn't even know) said, "I heard you had a wild night on Saturday!"

My friend, this is how bad reputations start out.

November 8, 2010

So, a drummer and a bassist walk into a hip-hop club...

It's been about a month since Keene and Mike made their foray into the world of hip-hop, playing backup to the talented rapper, Time. And it's also been about a month since I said videos were forthcoming. It's also been about a month since I cleaned my room, but that's not pertinent to this story.

During that month, the Keene/Mike duo have played several shows around town. More importantly, though, they have begun recording these shows.

To start, this is one of my favorites, with the keys (played by AwareNess) reminding me of Matisyahu's catchy "Thunder".

What I find the most interesting about the next video is in the first twenty seconds when Time and Keene chat while the latter is playing the opening riff.

See, this doesn't happen at home. Keene, compulsively unable to multi-task, will give me the blankest of stares if I try to talk to him while he is practicing.

"Keene! The kitchen is on fire!" I might shout on any given weeknight.

To which he will reply:

Then maybe five minutes later, he'll shake out of his stupor, look to where we have all stopped-dropped-and-rolled, then say, "So, the house is on fire, huh?"

Head over to Keene's YouTube page if you want to watch more videos of their performances.

As a special treat (what am I? A salesguy now?), there are some clips of Extra Kool playing at one of their shows. This is my personal favorite.

November 5, 2010

Dating in the Same Industry: is it a Relationship Dealbreaker?

Though it sounds similar, dating someone at your work (as discussed on True Love Direct) can be very different from dating someone who works in the same industry. For example, politicians Bill and Hilary Clinton, writers Stephen and Tabitha King, artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, or actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner may have never worked in the same office, co-wrote a book, shared a canvas, or acted in the same movie (respectively). However, they have traveled in the same circles, experienced the similar troubles, and strived to accomplish somewhat identical goals as the other.

Finding love within your field of work is very common since you are more likely to bump into one another and because you have built-in shared interests (not only the career itself, but the traits that go along with it, like creativity, debate, expression, etc.). Also, knowing the complications and processes which accompany a particular position, that person is bound to be more sympathetic and able to better understand your project or plight.

However, there are downsides to dating a fellow writer, lawyer, actor, or anyone else who shares your title. To start, could there be a conflict of interest? If you find yourselves representing opposing clients or contesting for the same project, that competition can extend to your personal relationship. You may even be tempted use your intimate knowledge or position as a way to sabotage their chances from within (such as casually extracting private details about the project and, in turn, sharing them with your boss).

Another downside is that you are bound to know the same people, maybe even share the same friends. “Wait, this doesn’t sound like a bad thing,” you may be saying. Let me tell you, though, when it turns out your coworker is actually your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend or your best guy-friend was once punched by him in a drunken brawl, well, you can see where interacting with the same people can be a bad thing. Industry gossip can fly faster than a Boeing, and you may find yourselves caught up in it. Yet even if there were never any drama between the various parties, it can still be frustrating to “share” friends.

Finally, how would your relationship endure the success of one or the failure of another partner? One person is bound to earn more, gain more recognition, or achieve a higher position than the other. Would you be able to set aside your own feelings of hurt or rejection in order to praise your partner for his good work? Moreover, would you be willing to take a professional hit, if it meant that your partner would come out on top? Unfortunately, this kind of decision does occasionally surface and, when it does, it will be up to you to decide how your relationship will fare.

November 1, 2010

The Significance of Markings on Lenox China

(Reposted from

It is believed that the first china markings were done by Meissen Royal Manufactory in the eighteenth century. The king of Saxony, Augustus Rex (also known as Augustus the Strong), commissioned the first production of hard-paste porcelain in Europe. Meissen painted an “AR” on the pieces, in honor of the king. Shortly thereafter, the company began using the famous crossed swords mark, which is still in use today.

Markings are often located on the bottom of a piece, and usually include (depending on the age of the item) a pattern name, a product number, the year of its creation, company name, retailer, and/or brand name. To make life even more confusing for the identifier, sometimes a piece will have both the name of the factory which produced the piece, as well as another mark signifying the decorator.

There are clues to identifying the age of a piece right away, based on the emerging laws and standards of certain time periods. For example, if an English piece has the name of the pattern printed, it was created after 1810. If the word “Royal” appears, the piece was made after 1850. If you see the word (or associated abbreviations) “Limited,” the piece was created after 1861, while the words “Trade Mark” tell you the piece was created after the Act of 1862. Similarly, the letters “R N” signify a date of creation after 1883. If the words, “bone china” are included, the piece was made in the twentieth century (or later).

Lenox has made it fairly easy to identify the age of its china. The first pieces were stamped with “Ceramic Art Company” or “Lenox Belleek,” depending on the style. In 1906, the stamp was changed to a green wreath surrounding the letter “L,” with the name Lenox below it. (Nevertheless, even if the company name is missing, it is still authentic if it has the wreath logo.) In 1930, the phrase “Made in U.S.A.” was included. This stamp remained the standard backstamp until 1953, when the wreath’s color was changed to gold.

Another way of identifying Lenox china is by the date code. If there is not a pattern name, look for a series of letters and numbers either on the bottom or on the rim of a piece. The first set of numbers before the slash describes the piece’s shape. Next, you will find a letter and a number (and sometimes, a second letter), which makes up the date code. If you find a date code but no pattern name, the piece was likely created before 1950—the year when Lenox quit using the date code system. After the date code, you should see a string of letters which correspond to a piece’s pattern colors.

With this gathered information, you can look up the maker, pattern, year, and/or value of your piece on the Lenox website, in an encyclopedia of china marks, through a replacement company, or by taking the piece to an appraiser or antique shop.