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Sara Crawford’s 30 Day Writing Challenge: 1

Published May 5, 2014 by Carmen Lamiarum

A good friend of mine has recently published a 30 day writing challenge in the form of an e-book on amazon (which you can find here). I’m going to attempt the challenges. While I may not be in a position to do one per day, I have read the entirety of the book and believe I can at least do them numerically. While in the past I’ve privately attempted poetry and photography challenges, I’ve never done anything like this, and I hope it will assist me in getting back into writing on a regular basis. I plan to number each challenge and begin it with the prompt.

“Write in stream of consciousness for 10 minutes without stopping.”

Does “without stopping” mean I can’t vape? I’m gonna need to vape. I can’t think without inhaling something other than oxygen. Can I stop to fix typos? Well, I’m going to. I hate typos. I wonder if I should have left Opal’s light on when I came downstairs. He’s not accustomed to having a light on or off. It’s just always dark in my room. But three blackout curtains plus blinds on each window will do that. I wonder if it’s strange that Opal likes to organize his rocks and sleeps in the corner closest to the TV. Maybe fish like TV. I wonder if he can hear it playing while we sleep. It’d be nice to be a goldfish. Just kinda hang out, eat ground up fishy flakes, enjoy the bubbles, watch some TV, and poop neon pink. Comparatively speaking, do you think it’d be better to be a cat or a fish? Well, at least my fish has it pretty good, and were I to also have a cat, which I unfortunately do not, Opal would be safe from all harm. His new tank is so tall that I had to stand on my toes to wipe down the bottom of it once it was all put together. I hope I cleaned it well enough. I hope I did everything right. Of course, now I’m worried because I got a filter for a 40 gallon tank, and his new tank is 45 gallons. But if he can survive in water that’s mysteriously turned pink (having nothing to do with his poop, I assure you), I think he can handle a 45 gallon tank with a 40 gallon filtration system. I mean, the damn fish could survive an apocalypse. Eww, another typo. a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. Shows how much concern I have over the idea of one if I can’t even spell it right. Correctly? Right? Eh, whatever. apocalypse is a pretty word though. One of those words that sounds weird if you think about it too much. But it makes me think of Calypso. Now was she the one in The Odyssey? I know, I know, Pirates of the Caribbean (holy shit, I spelled Caribbean right? No way.) but I’m always more of a fan of the true classics. I think she was the one at the top of the mountain who turned all of Odysseus’s men into pigs and goats and stuff, right? Am I allowed to stop and verify that with my spouse? (I almost wrote my partner’s name. Don’t do that.) I only have two minutes left, so I guess I can ask him after, and if I’m wrong then I’ll just correct myself at the end of the post. Instagram. Can I instagram my fish? Is that a thing? I loathe taking selfies after hearing that disgusting club song M****** played for me after work a couple weeks ago. Today he was threatening to play it in the car. I’d rather hear Godzilla or In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida…is that how you spell that? If it’s a typo, I’m coming back to fix it. Oh. Out of time. Now let’s go back and see what kind of weird crap I think about over the course of ten minutes. I wonder what it’d say about who I am as a person. Holy shit, I actually shrugged in real life…

Notes:

~ Circe was the name of the witch at the top of the mountain (or clearing in the woods or whatever) that turned Odysseus’s men into pigs and monkeys and goats and stuff. Apologies for not taking a refresher course in Greek mythology over the last ten years.

~ Calypso is the one who keeps Odysseus prisoner on her island of women, claiming him as her husband and keeping his occupied with her sweet singing voice and warm bedside manner.

~ I didn’t vape for ten minutes. Not really an accomplishment as I sometimes go hours without vaping, but I just thought I’d add it in because I completely forgot all about it.

~ Before and after pictures of Opal’s tank:

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Opal’s used 10 gallon tank with no lid, stand, or light.

 

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Opal’s new 45 gallon aquarium with bubbly pillars. I also custom made a background that’ll be here in a week-ish.

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Perfected Silk Web Crochet Pattern (Free to Use)

Published October 31, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

I swear, it’s totally a coincidence that it’s Halloween and my first pattern is a spider web. lol.

So I was in Joann’s, picking up more materials for my store, and I saw a “No Sew Jack Skellington Fleece Throw Kit” for half off. Of freakin’ course I snatched it up…then used my 40% off coupon… I’ve purchased the no sew kits before, although they’re a different brand, and then cut them to size and crocheted borders on them to make baby blankets. But I wanted to keep this one for myself, so I was going to leave it 50x60in. Anyway, I get it home and take it out of the wrapping, and I notice that the purple border has white lines on it…damn “cut here” marks. The other brands don’t have those. Well, if you’ve ever tried a no sew kit, you know that you have to cut the corners off. So now I have this awesome throw that I DON’T want to cut, and it has big blank spots in the corners. See?

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I figured what I’d do is cut off the squares in the corners, and attach some sort of granny square. Just for a little added flare, and because I had nothing else better to do. So I scoured the interwebz looking for a gothy granny square, and came across this spider web pattern. http://chucknorriscrochet.blogspot.com/2013/10/spider-web-motif-granny-square-for.html And here’s a picture of my results:

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The pattern was cool, but I didn’t like it. The center seems too dense, and I was having a hard time stretching the square enough so the web part didn’t bucket. After trying three times and getting pretty irritated with my results, I decided I’d make one of my own. So here’s MY pattern, inspired by this one. I’ve never written out a crochet pattern before, so bear with me.

(If you would like to use this pattern for items to sell, you are more than welcome. Please link to this blog post in your listings. You may not repost this pattern, claim it as your own, or sell it. Thank you.)

Perfected Silk Web Crochet Pattern by Carmen Lamiarum:

Materials:

~ 1 roll of Patons silk bamboo yarn (I used the color “stone”)

~ Size K crochet hook

~ Scissors

Abbreviations:

~ ch – chain

~ dc – double crochet

~ sl st – slip stitch

Round 1 (FIGHT!): Ch6, join with a sl st in the first link to form a ring.

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Round 2: Ch5 (counts as first dc and ch2), *dc in the ring, ch2* repeat from * to * 7 times. Join with sl st in the 3rd link of initial ch5. (8 dc in the ring)

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Round 3: Ch7 (counts as first dc and ch4). *Dc in the dc from the previous round, ch4* repeat from * to * 7 times. Join with a sl st to the 3rd link of initial ch7 (still 8 dc).

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Round 4: Ch9 (counts as first dc and ch6). *Dc in the dc from the previous round, ch6* repeat from * to * 7 times. Join with a sl st to the 3rd link of initial ch9 (STILL 8 dc).

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Round 5 (pay attention): Ch11 (counts as first dc and ch8). Dc in the dc of previous round, ch10 (this will begin to form the corners). Dc in the next dc of previous round, ch8. Alternate dc, ch10 and dc, ch8 around. You should end with a ch10. Sl St into the 3rd link of initial ch11. (This is where I take a moment to stretch the ch10 spaces to further establish where my corners are going to be.)

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Round 6: Sl st into ch8 space and ch3 (counts as first dc). 2dc, ch1, 3dc, ch1, 3dc, ch1, all in the ch8 space from the previous round. This makes your first “side”. Each side hereafter in this round will be a grouping of 3dc, ch1 3 times.

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For the “corners”, 3dc, ch1, 3dc, ch2, 3dc, ch1, 3dc, ch1, all in the ch10 space.

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repeat the “sides” instructions in every ch8 space, and the “corners” instructions in the ch10 spaces around. Join with a sl st in the 3rd link of initial ch3. Almost there.

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Round 7: Ch3 (counts as first dc). 2dc in ch1 space from previous round, then ch1. 3dc, ch1 in the next ch1 space. Continue with 3dc, ch1 in each ch1 space around. When you reach the ch2 spaces that make up the corners, 3dc, ch2, 3dc, ch1 in the ch2 space of the previous round. (If you’ve made a granny square anything before, we’re just doing a standard granny square cluster all the way around.) After the last 3dc, ch1, join with a sl st to the initial ch3. Fasten off and FINISH HIM!!!

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Notes: With my size and gauge materials, this square comes out to be about six inches. It takes about 5-10 minutes to make one. If you use a thicker yarn, you might have to adjust the number of ch3 clusters on the sides. I’m not sure. 3 clusters per ch8 space just seemed to fit right with this yarn. If there are any mistakes, please let me know in the comments and I will fix them. And if you make one of these, I’d love to see pictures of it! 🙂

I’m thinking tonight I might try to come up with a new pattern for an itsy bitsy spider to put in my webs. Not sure yet though. I haven’t attached the squares to the blanket yet, so I’ll decide that after I see how they look.

What’s in a Name?

Published October 30, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

I haven’t written lately half-on-purpose. I have big (to me) news, and part of me was afraid of jinxing it by telling anyone before it was ready to go. But now I have no choice. I’m taking too much time. I’ve pretty much stopped talking to my friends in an effort to keep this a secret, when really, I should be doing the exact opposite. I can be a bad friend at times, I know. If you feel like I’ve been neglecting you lately (J, D, S, T, N…) this is why.

So the secret is this: I’m in the process of opening up a store. I took all the money I made from BZXL and put it into craft supplies. Right now I have a somewhat large-ish line of silk and fleece crocheted baby blankets. I’m also starting out on a venture to re-purpose old window frames. I want to eventually make a ton of different kinds of crafts to sell. I’m going to learn how to use my Singer (I can’t even thread the thing without knotting up the line) and I might take up knitting too. I’m also going to get back into painting, although I’m doubtful anyone will be interested in those. Heh. Anyway, I’m going to open an Etsy store asap in attempts to sell my crafts. I just need to think of a store name. That’s the ONE thing holding me back from going live and telling everyone. I need to think of something that represents what I do, why I do it, etc. Sounds catchy, and can be made into a marketable logo for business cards etc. I really liked “Crafty Rascal” but that could have a negative connotation. Then I though of “Stitchcraft Designs” with a witch hat and crochet hook jolly roger logo, but there’s already a business by that name in Athens. So I’m at a loss.

The end goal isn’t an Etsy store though. It’s really just the first step. When I make enough money I would like to rent out a booth at the antique mall over by my house, and sell there. When I make enough from THAT, I want to eventually buy a piece of property to use as an event center for local charities. You see, all of this is for charity. 10% of my monthly profits will go to one on a list of charities. I’ll also be having product give-aways where I’ll be donating some of my blankets and other useful crafts to shelters etc.

But I can’t go live without a name and a logo. And I was supposed to be live a month ago. I need some help. Does anyone have any name suggestions? Feel free to leave them in the comments. Once I have something good and original then I can make the logo, upload my product line, and be doing business within a day. Which would be lovely as I REALLY need to start making something from this. *sigh* I don’t want to fail at this idea.

Shelves Abound

Published October 2, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

I’ve been ill since Friday, but by today (Tuesday) I’m feeling much better. So since my spouse took the day off for our staycation (in celebration of our weddingversary), we decided we were going to do one of the things that we love to do together: reconfigure the house. Or at least parts of it.

Today seemed to be all about shelves. There weren’t enough shelves in the house for all our movies, TV shows, video games, and books. So the goal was to make more room while spending as little as possible.

Our relatively large book collection was being housed in the dining room, on two bookcases that were hand made by our old neighbor. Here’s what they looked like.

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Quite well made and very sturdy. I liked them because of their potential. But leaving them like they were…meh. Kinda boring. Didn’t match the dining room table. And even two of these was nowhere near enough room for all our books. We had them both full to the brim, and there were still towers of books stacked on the top. So we decided to custom build some bookshelves for the dining room/library. We ordered all the parts we need, and with shipping, it was only around $150. So those things are on their way, and I’m sure I’ll make another project post just to cover that process.

The DVDs were being housed on the video game shelves my partner custom built for his man cave. Which meant the video games and consoles were being stored wherever we happened to find extra room. Usually in the “media closet” on a shitty little DVD rack from Walmart. So I figured if we’re going to build custom bookshelves, why not give the old shelves a little makeover and use them for DVD’s? Then this happened…

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Note to self: Stop buying movies. Just stop.

Since the movies were moved to the new-old bookshelves, that meant there was officially room for the games on the game shelves. See?

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But then there was an issue of the consoles. Because the games filled all the empty space where the movies had been. Oh, well no problem…just build more shelves in the media closet out of scrap wood in the garage!

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In the meantime, all the books are in massive stacks on the dining room table.

Going in Different Directions

Published September 23, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

Well, if you’re on my friends list on Facebook, you may have noticed the rather disheartening review I posted about VapeRite yesterday. If you’re NOT…here’s what I had to say:

“My husband and I have been loyal customers, promoting your business by word of mouth, pretty much since you opened. However, we have decided that we are going to start going elsewhere for our supplies, after the way we have been treated the last few times we’ve been into your Woodstock location. I don’t understand why we have to wait for the employees to stop chatting before we can place a juice order. Nor why we have to wait ten more minutes after our order has been placed in the pick-up bin before someone thinks to give it to us. Nor why we’re always being charged for the “free” flavors of the week. We understand that things work a little more slowly when businesses are busy. But this isn’t an issue of a back up. This is just abhorrent customer service. I hope you will note that you are no longer the only supplier of vape products in the area, and that if you continue treating people like they don’t matter, they will go elsewhere.”

So while I will certainly not be going back to smoking cigarettes, we have decided we will no longer do business with VapeRite. No worries, though…we have tons of other places (both locally and online) to choose from.

Today was actually an exciting day as far as vaping was concerned. First, my package was delivered from http://www.myvaporstore.com. We’ve ordered juices, tanks, and other things from them twice now. Both times, our orders have arrived within three days. Today I got three new tanks (we’re partial to the Pyrex ViVi Novas), two in purple and one in pink. I also got a new battery called the Smok SID. I really liked it online because a) it’s purple, b) it goes up to six volts (the E-Vic I was using before only went up to five, and I like a really hot hit.) and c) it was less that half the price of the ProVari, which I (of course) wanted because it’s purple. I had never seen or used one before, but the reviews were good, and the price was better. I’ve been using it all afternoon, and so far, I love it. Variable voltage from 3 volts all the way up to 6. White LED interface, and a simplistic menu. Nicey nice.

Then, on the way to visit my in-laws, we stopped over at Vulcan Vape’s new Atlanta location. They’ve only been open a week now, and while their storefront looks a little on the sparse side, they have a vast array of different juices from different manufactures. And of course you can sample any of their juices before you buy. We found three awesome new flavors that we love: Honeysuckle, Midnight Apple, and Gambit. All made by different companies (Deej Stuff, Halo, and Five Pawns, respectively). I was dying to try out the Honeysuckle in one of my new tanks, but unfortunately, I had left all but one at home, and I had JUST filled it with more Blackberry Bourbon (sold at Dixie’s Vapor Shop and manufactured by USA Puff N Stuff) right before we left. So as soon as I got home, I filled up my new pink tank, and that’s what I’m puffing on right now. 🙂

Of course, my partner and I were sitting here in the office, vaping away, talking vape stuff, and just being excited in general about all our new goodies. This sparked a quick internet search, and we came across an awesome website called http://www.allthejuices.com. It’s essentially a rating and review site for all kinds of different juices from different companies. (I already watched a video review on a juice called Squid Ink, and will be ordering a bottle or three of it asap. Not only that, but the manufacture’s Kraken logo would make the most kick ass back piece in all of ever.)

Anyway, when I first started vaping, I was impressed with my little pink eGo-C Twist battery and lanyard. Over the months though, I’ve found that it’s just not enough. I have become a serious vape enthusiast and my collection of juices and products are growing all the time. I even have a little treasure chest, separate from my purple eGo travel case, to store everything. Here’s an updated picture of what I’m using as of today. It includes my purple battery, pink tank, custom drip tip, bottle of Honeysuckle vape juice, and travel case.

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Well, We’re Outta Cake!

Published April 24, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

So dinner was actually a success. I decided last minute to cook the veal more like it was bacon (in a skillet) cause it was so thin. Put a little seasoning on there, and it turned out just fine. And of course, I baked the broccoli in some coconut oil and balsamic vinegar, which I’ve done loads of times before, so that turned out well also. And sauteed some spinach in minced garlic. All in all a fine paleo meal. The cuppy cake “frosting” turned out more like chocolate lava, so I injected some into the cupcakes, and then poured some more over the top, making them chocolate lava cakes. My partner at least seemed to love them. So…yeah. I didn’t ruin anything. I improvised and it still turned out fine.

Couple other things I wanted to go over real quick. I had my first therapy session with my new therapist today. She’s so awesome. While I was pretty nervous/anxious about the whole thing, it turned out to be unlike every other therapist session I’ve had. For one thing, she actually told me a little about herself, which was pretty cool. All the therapists I’ve had in the past have been very strict about not saying hello if they see me in public (she said she would) and not sharing personal information. Maintaining that strictly business relationship. She doesn’t seem to be like that, which makes it easier to talk about me because I feel like I at least sort of know the person I’m talking to. We also went for a walk. I guess she gauged that my discomfort was partially caused by the new location, so we went outside, I had a cigarette, and we just walked around through the trees for a little bit. It was great. I think what she’s trying to do is create a physical comfort zone for me out of her office and the surrounding area so that my anxiety will go down enough for us to tackle some of my past traumas. It’s nice to feel like the person I’m working with is actually proactive in helping me. Not just sitting there nodding their head and trying not to doze off, ya know? Anyway, I really like her and I think we’ll be able to work well together in the future.

The other thing I wanted to talk about was bowling. Yes…bowling. I’ve picked it up. A couple weekends ago, my partner said he wanted to do something more active than just sitting around watching movies and smoking hookah, and by some happy chance, we found ourselves walking into the local bowling alley. Two weeks later and I have my own (purple) bowling shoes, a (purple) bowling bag, a (purple) wrist brace (cause I spin to the left and need to learn to keep my wrist straight), and I’m waiting for my super awesome bowling ball to arrive. Check it out.

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I figure…cosmic bowling…cosmic bowling ball. Isn’t it prettyful? I’m still pretty bad at the game in general, but I’m slowly learning how to control my spin (which I need to practice more. With the brace on I bowl pretty straight, resulting in a lot of splits) and aim and everything. I’m seeing a bit of improvement. I’ve almost doubled my initial game average in just two weeks. Hopefully my scores continue to get higher and I can actually get good at this. I really enjoy it, and more than once I’ve bowled until my wrist was sore. It also seems to be one of those things that most of my friends enjoy as well, so it’s prompting me to be a little more social and do something other than just sit around at my house. So…yay!

Now I have to go clean another floor of the house. My goal is to do one floor a day, minus the weekends. And with all sorts of company arriving Saturday (if you know me IRL and wanna come, you’re invited of course. We’re going to float a keg for my partner’s birthday celebration.) the house needs to be spotless. Oh! I also need to come up with a bunch of paleo “horse doovers” for snacks and stuff. Fun times.

Pirate-Kansas and Other Things

Published March 22, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

Well, I’m back from “Arr”-kansas. (Lame joke, I know. Especially as I didn’t see a single pirate while I was there.) I had such a good time. I went up there to visit the same friend who was visiting me about a month ago. We went all over the place. Wine bars and seedy bars and outdoor malls and vintage video game stores. I had a blast hanging out with my friend and getting to know his wife. Although…I’m still unsure whether or not she likes me. I’m thinking not, but I still did my best to be polite and friendly. I’m just not good at being friends with girls. Anyway, it was a really good time. I even got to try smoking hookah for the first time, which was so awesome. Now I want one of my own. I think it’d be so fun to sit around on the porch with my friends and smoke hookah during the spring and summer.

When I came back, my spouse surprised me with all of the skylanders games, which were the only things missing from my Spyro collection. I know it’s not technically a Spyro game, but it has Spyro in it, so I still counted it. I’ve played it a little bit and I’m already hooked. I had been holding back on buying it because I had an objection to buying other toys (which is essentially what they are) in order to play a game I had already paid for. But he managed to find almost all of them for me from someone on craigslist, so at least there’s that. I’ve been playing around with Hex, trying to level her up all the way…I think I’m level 8 or 9 already.

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He also did a lot of thinking and decided that I’m allowed to use my vaperite in the house, which is nice of him. Running outside every ten or twenty minutes was getting to be a big pain in the ass.

We also picked up a new project to do together this weekend. It’s a wishing well. Or rather, it will be a wishing well. My neighbors said it’s been in their front yard since they moved in. The roof is blown completely off of it, the paint is peeled and gross, and in general, it just looks like a pile of wood and nails right now. So they said we could have it, and we’re going to rebuild/repair and paint it up nice so I can plant flowers in it and set it up next to the mailbox. I’m pretty excited to have another project so soon after getting home, but we won’t be able to start until Sunday, with it being March Madness (ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-madness!) and all. If you didn’t already know, my partner is a bartender at a higher scale bar in Atlanta. So something like March Madness means he’s working doubles for three days and the place is slammed. Poor Pookie.

In other news, I’ll be starting the Paleo Diet sometime next week. And I’m thinking about joining Nerdfitness.com as well. Everyone I’ve mentioned it to has said I shouldn’t do it, but the two people I know who are on it have had remarkable results so far. So I think I’m going to give it a shot. I like the idea that I can eat pretty much anytime I want. I was on the Body For Life diet, and I just couldn’t handle the constant cooking and eating. Six meals a day, are they joking? Uh…no. They really wanted you eating that often. That’s just too much for me. Plus, on Paleo diet I can scarf steak and broccoli pretty much whenever. And who wouldn’t say fuck yeah to that? We’re going to start going to either Harry’s or Whole Foods to get all organic/healthy food from now on, and the idea of eating like a non-vegan hippie actually sounds kind of appealing to me. So I’m excited to start it off. I’m trying to think of it as murder. Rubbing out my inner fat kid. The violence of it just sounds better. Haha.

And I haven’t forgotten about my desire to run in a marathon this year. So I need to get back into the gym and start prepping for that. I’m thinking sometime in the fall would be good weather for it. Fortunately, my gym has a huge bulletin board with lists and invites to different events. So I’ll be keeping an eye on that and letting you guys know what’s up when I finally decide which one I want to do.

I guess that’s it for now. Sorry I didn’t write while I was in pirate-kansas. Things should be getting back to normal now.