Right Before Your Eyes

Okay, my friend. You stay right here at the top of this page until the bazillion photos have a chance to load below.

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.

This post is different from what I normally do (but “normal” is a very fluid concept for me right now). Here is a photo series I’ve been working on since September of last year. I had the rare opportunity (and hassle) of watching construction across the street, and I took over 100 photos of the progress. I’ve picked the best photos to tell the story.

A couple of things to keep in mind while you look – this is ten months of construction. Also, land in Central Houston is at a premium, so the trend is to build two (or more) homes on a plot that was originally designed to hold one. All of the new homes around here are big, but with small footprints.

b.JPG Day 1: September 12, 2006.
c.JPG Goodbye, tree!
e.JPG Dirt.
f.JPG Prepping for the foundation…
g.JPG …and foundation.
h.JPG Wood!
i.JPG Second story…
j.JPG Starting the third story…
k.JPG Goodbye, view of downtown!
m.JPG Second house is underway…
n.JPG Framed out.
o.JPG Solid structures.

Solid, yes – but they appear to be leaning backwards in this photo, don’t they?

p.JPG Tyvek paper on one…
q.JPG This is the houses looking their worst – covered in Tyvek with the driveway frame out front. The porta-potty isn’t helping them look any better.
r.JPG Scaffolding and black paper…

This part was really noisy. There were several guys with pneumatic staplers…bam! bam! bam! bam!

s.JPG The outside is covered in cement (or whatever it is)…
t.JPG …and the dudes put in the decorative stone.
u.JPG Just about there!
v.JPG Aaaaaaand done. July 15, 2007.

Landscaping, glass garage doors, etc.

I can’t say that I love the final look of the houses, but it was fun to watch the progress.

ike1.JPG Since this post is already photo-heavy, hows about two more?

I count my dogs, oh, 50 times a day. Just to be sure that everyone is inside whenever I close a door. On this day I couldn’t find Ike.

Was he upstairs? Downstairs? Outside? Shooting pool in a smoky bar somewhere?

ike2.JPG No. Just sleepin’.


You can actually see an ear in the first photo if you look really closely.

Zigazig Ha

Someone please tell me that you “get” the title to this post. I think I’m hilarious.

Can I do a fast-topic-changing Friday, in the middle of the most chaos I’ve ever experienced in my life?


Just watch…

hair1.JPG So, I did it. I mentioned on Wednesday that I wanted to get a “Pob” (not my term), and I rushed right out and broke the news to my hairdresser.

He was cool with it. It was his second “Pob” this week, in fact.

In these photos, I’m sportin’ my best Victoria-Beckham-miserable-look, complete with huge sunglasses.

hair2.JPG Don’t you smile, Staci! It was really hard to stay miserable looking. Every time I snapped a photo and saw it on the screen, my lack of a smile actually made me laugh.

My hairdresser did a fantastic job. He even gave me some new “hoochie blonde streaks” (his term).


nails.JPG One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

Ah, I was ready to cut my nails, anyway. Most of my time typing was spent backspacing over mistakes.


sweater2.JPG Remember this baby sweater? (My own design, free pattern available here.)

I sent it off to my pal Craig for a little jazzing up…

sweater21.JPG And he did such a great job!

This sweater is already in Alaska, waiting for Molly Renee to grow into it. She just needs to be born first.


lou.JPG The boys are very upset with me today, since I made it rain and all. They are determined to “hold it” until the rain stops, which isn’t supposed to be until tomorrow. Could make for an interesting day.

Have a great weekend!

But That’s Not All!

Look at me! Posting again! I’m so happy to be doing it.

This post is full of presents. Presents that I made myself, presents that have come in the mail, and four hairy presents that have been around for a long time. (If you didn’t catch that last one, I mean the four-legged things that growl and whine.)

Lemme show you…

indiancorn.JPG Here’s a little unexpected goodness. My friend Melissa (who doesn’t even knit) sent me this Mountain Colors Twizzle in the hopes that I’ll make something nice for myself. She also mentioned that she hopes this yarn is nice to work with.

Umm, yeah. I believe I can force myself to work with this lovely merino/silk blend.

earringssmall.JPG But that’s not all! She also sent me these pink skull-and-crossbones earrings. LOVE them.

Thanks, Melissa!

If you look closely, you’ll see my Dutch birthday calendar, complete with Drew’s birthday listed on the 6th, and my sister’s on the 10th. Just click on the photo for big.

bear.JPG But that’s not all!

Speaking of Drew…He went to the Crochet Guild of America’s annual meeting in New Hampshire, and brought me back a Blue Sky Alpaca Baby Bobbi Bear kit. He KNOWS I love kits. And I love polar bears, too.

He also gave me strict instructions to make this for myself. (I see a trend here. I suppose I do have a habit of giving my knits away.)

Thanks, Drew!

spun.JPG But that’s not all! I made myself a present, in the form of this yarn that I spun. I bought some pencil roving ages ago and decided to give it a try yesterday.

It doesn’t look that great, but it was really fun to spin, and the pencil roving made drafting really easy. This is the first time I’ve actually spun enough yarn to take it off the drop spindle and wind it into a hank. Thanks, Me!

sweater1.JPG But that’s not all! I also made a present for someone else, namely my soon-to-be niece, Molly Renee. This is the Matinee Coat from Debbie Bliss’ Baby Cashmerino book.

My sister insists that she’s going to have this baby any minute now. The doctors are still telling her she’s weeks away. We’ll just wait and see…

dogs.JPG And the gift that keeps on giving…

They normally like to spread out a bit more than this, but the sun wasn’t shining in a very wide spot on the deck.

Please take special care to notice Abe…it’s hard to see him on the black grill pad.

68826036-viki22.jpg One last thing…if I don’t get my hair cut like Victoria Beckham’s immediately, I’m going to pitch a serious fit.


Let’s Pretend

Yes – let’s pretend.

This has worked for me in the past. I put a smile on my face and pretend that things are good, and amazingly – they become that way. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not going to pretend that my life is the same as it was a few weeks ago. No, no, no. But I can imagine that I’m on a good track, that I’m happy, and that my future is bright.

Part of this pretending is to write an (almost) normal verypink post.

I don’t have to pretend that two pillars of my life – my dogs and my knitting – are still there, strong as ever. So let’s go with that.

Happiness is a ball after which we run wherever it rolls, and we push it with our feet when it stops.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I see that this quote can be taken a couple of different ways. To me, it means that sometimes our happiness needs a nudge. It usually rolls along effortlessly, but every now and then we have to consciously give it a kick start to get it going again.

Can I say thank you a thousand times to everyone for all of your support and kind thoughts? They mean so much to me. I’m not one to let nice things go unnoticed. It has been my intention to write a thank you note to each person who wrote to me. I don’t think I missed anyone, but if I did – please blame it on technology. I had some email problems on Thursday and Saturday. Thank you so very much for your kindness.

Let’s get on with the good stuff…

blue.JPG First, a little yarn souvenir from my trip to Alaska. I don’t normally buy yarn just willy-nilly with no project in mind for it, but Kodiak has an adorable new yarn shop – and I couldn’t bear to leave the place without showing my support with cash.

This is Patagonia Araucania, 100% cotton, hand dyed. All the way from South America to Alaska, then Texas. World-traveling yarn.

orchid1.JPG I won’t show all of it today, but have some catching up to do on verypink with lots of stuff.

Here is the finished Orchid Lace Scarf.

It is so pretty and delicate.

orchid2.JPG I made this with the Malabrigo Laceweight I won from Twisted Knitter’s blog contest.

In fact, Janet was the one who suggested that I make this, and it’s the perfect pattern for this yarn. Thank you, Janet!

orchid3.JPG This pattern was SO FUN to knit, and I would recommend it for someone who would like to try lace knitting for the first time. Since it’s just a scarf, it goes pretty quickly. And the pattern is made up of only the most basic stitches, which is good for a beginner.

I wish I could wear it today, but that would make me appear insane and sweaty.

studio.JPG Today’s knitting photos were taken with the help of my new toy – a Sunpak eBox Mini Studio. I have a lot to learn about getting the most from it, but it’s so cool.

I also need to figure out the best way to make myself a white background, which I prefer to the background colors included in the studio.

stack1.JPG A triple-scoop of red dog, coming right up!


First, I’d like to thank everyone again for the kind thoughts and notes. Even without knowing what was wrong, you’ve all been so good to me. Now it’s time I let you know how things stand.

Chris and I met in 1999, in Seattle, Washington. He was walking his Basenji (Gus), and I was walking mine (Ike). We just happened to be at the same park at the same day, with the same breed of dog. After talking for a few minutes, we realized that if we hadn’t met that day, we would have met the next – as we both had plans to attend a Basenji Playday in a nearby town. Chris has always said that this is more than a coincidence, and that we were destined to meet.

gusnike1.jpg After that, we became instant friends and talked to each other nearly every day. We saw each other frequently, with the excuse of getting the dogs together to play.

It wasn’t long before we quit with the excuses, and just started dating.

This photo of Gus and Ike was taken on the day after we met. They were instant best friends, too.

paris1.jpg Over the last eight years, we’ve lived in four different houses and traveled the world.
canal.jpg We have had long-term plans of building our dream home in Illinois, with plenty of room for the dogs to run.
barkless3.JPG Our family has grown and changed. We adopted Hank in 2000, and sadly lost him to cancer 4 years later. Since then, we adopted Lou, and sort of accidentally adopted Abe once we realized that he was more than just a foster dog to us.
venice.jpg We’ve had good times and bad, and highs and lows. Even during the low times, I can confidently say we’ve remained best friends.

Everyday I’ve looked forward to waking up next to him, spending time with him, and taking care of him.

family.JPG Upon returning home from my trip to Alaska two weeks ago, Chris had an announcement.

He is done with me.


Now what? Well, I don’t know. Everything that I’ve known as my life, my loves, my family, my home, my future…it has all changed. I’m baffled and angry and sad. I live in a state that is still new to me, over 4000 miles away from my family. The most painful part is that Chris isn’t interested in getting professional help in the hopes of reconciliation.

I’m working on a plan. A plan for me as a single person. A plan I never thought I would have to make.

Surprisingly, I’m holding it together pretty well. After the first two days of nearly constant meltdowns, I’ve realized that I hate feeling like that. I pulled my head out of my ass and decided that was no way to live. I’m doing my best to take care of myself. I’m also being sure to give my dogs all of the love and attention they deserve, which brings me joy in return.

I promise that verypink will once again be a happy place to visit. Soon. I need it to be.

That’s how it stands.


Thank You

Thanks to everyone – whether you have left me a comment, sent me an email, or just sent good thoughts this way. I felt and smiled at every kind communication you sent. They mean a lot to me.

I am a happy person. I’m a strong person. I’m not worried about my situation, because I’m always okay. Better than okay!

I have two quotes I’d like to share, both by the same brilliant man:

Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.
Henry Ford

If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.
Henry Ford


This is what I see when the doggie treat jar comes out.

We can all learn a lesson from these guys about expecting good things to come to us.

Life is Happening.

One of the reasons I enjoy doing verypink is the fact that my life generally moves along swimmingly, predictably and without chaos. This gives me the time and energy to have fun with my posts. I adore taking the photos and writing the text. L-O-V-E it.

Unfortunately, I’m unable to muster up the photos OR the funny right now. Things are not moving along swimmingly. I sort of hate the fact that I’m writing a post about not writing a post…but I think this is better than just disappearing. I hope to be back up and running very soon.

Rest assured – everyone is healthy. The dogs are fine. I will be fine again, too.


In the meantime, Lou and Ike.

Where the Weather Suits My Clothes

This is the last post from my Alaska vacation, and it’s Friday. Prepare yourself for fast topic-changes…


Sixty degrees!

I am so not kidding when I tell you that everyone here is in shorts and flip-flops. I’m wearing them, too!



Since there were a couple of requests for it, here is my new cut and color. Compliments of my pregnant, hairdresser sister.

Self-portrait and a little windy, but you get the idea.



Timmy: Look, Mom! I got 100% on my spelling test!

Molly Renee: Look, Mom! I grew lungs!

My sister is very proud of both of her kids.



To all of the Deadliest Catch fans out there…ever wonder where the crab pots go during the off-season?

Well, they become lawn ornaments.


Again – so not kidding. This is a very common sight in Kodiak.



A prettier scene…this is Kodiak Harbor. The center of commerce in this little city.



Phyllis and Izabelle. This is the only pregnancy photo my sister would allow on verypink. She looks good, but she’s feeling kinda huge.

I leave here Sunday night, arriving back in Houston early Monday morning. Forgive me if there isn’t a post on Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Crackberry Training

This post is (mostly) a photo series featuring my 7-year-old nephew, Timmy. His mother would like me to include this disclaimer:

Timmy is an active, normal kid who rides his bike, plays in the dirt, annoys the dog, and eats his vegetables.

But he’s also being prepared for an adulthood that involves responding to emails while crossing a busy downtown street. You’ve seen ’em…The Crackberry People. They use their Blackberry phones as if emails and texting are a life and death matter.

Here’s Timmy with his Game Boy…I don’t see much difference.

I suppose I should mention that I’m still visiting my family in Alaska.


Here he is at a hamburger joint…

In the car…

Lunch in the diner…

At his mom’s hair salon during my cut and color…

And during last night’s sushi dinner.

In twenty years he will have replaced the Game Boy with something that has a QWERTY keyboard…I only hope it’s as much fun as killing bad guys.

I’m making fun of the whole thing here, but I have to say: Wow. It’s EASY to take this kid out to dinner.


On a different note…

If you haven’t had the pleasure of eating sushi made from fish that was caught that day and delivered from docks one block from the restaurant, might I suggest it? Mindblowingly delish.


Mandatory doggie photo: 10-month-old Izabelle. She is my first terrier experience. I’ve never met such a tenacious animal.

Sweet, but stubborn.

Comin’ Atcha from Alaska

Whew. I’m here. It took 16 hours…including one successful flight, one missed flight, one denied standby flight, one very chilly flight (I was in shorts)…but I’m here. (On the chilly flight, the outside of the plane actually iced up. Brrrr.)

I can show you what I have seen so far…


Anchorage wasn’t my final destination, but a nice welcome, nonetheless.

I spent a lot of time in this airport. About five hours, to be exact.


I spent a good amount of time staring at this counter…

And did a little of this…

Alaskan Amber, if you were wondering.


And a little of this.

I had a lot of time to kill.


When I arrived in Kodiak, it was abundantly clear that I wasn’t in Texas anymore.

This photo was taken at 10:30 at night.


I’m all messed up with the time change, so everyone is asleep except for me and this beast.

This is Izabelle. She will have to take over the Basenji content on verypink this week.

My next goal: take photos of something other than the airport.