Monday, December 28, 2009

I can make bobbles!

Christmas break is turning into a fiber feast!  I've been knitting up a storm on my new addi-clicks turbo needles and learning to spin on my new spinning - wait for it - wheel!  Holy smokes it's so much fun. Technically it belongs to both me and Amanda.  Santa thinks we are mature enough to share a Christmas present.  :-)  I'm taking video clips of our vacation.  In January I'll knit those together into a little film of Christmas with the Waterhouses.  Hope everyone is having a relaxing week!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

BA dum dum dum!

I'm trying very hard to stay jolly today.  Peppermint hot chocolate in my thermos, Big Soft Ginger cookies packed to take to coworkers, a green t shirt under my scrubs (gasp!  against the rules!).  But it still sucks to have to work on Christmas Eve.  Darn people getting sick.  Here's some Muppets to lift any other sinking spirits.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jem's Boots

Jem is a major wimp when it's cold.  We wouldn't care except she won't pee when it's icy and we have to make multiple trips out to get her to go.  We've never had much luck with boots in the past.  It seems the designers rarely test them on actual dogs.  Ben came across these at Petsmart and they work great!  Not only that, they would totally fit in Jerrica/Jem's wardrobe.  What do you think? 

Jem's Boots from Rachel Mason on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What's RADDER than a disco tree?

My new BSG shirt!!!!!!!!!!

Team Edward, originally uploaded by Ben Mason.

Seriously though. Does it get any cooler than this? If you know me well, you know what a perfect combo this "Team" Edward James Olmos shirt is for me. It's from this web comic.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

O Tannenbaum

Just got back from a quick trip home for the holidays.  I'll be back for Christmas, but took advantage of a long work break by visiting Grand Junction.  I finished some craft projects, started some new ones, and made many many marshmallows.  Somehow I have become the homemade marshmallow guru.  I travel the mountains imparting the wisdom of whipped sugar.

While holiday shopping with my mom I got a fabulous new Christmas tree.  I already had this rad black tree from last year.  Check out my new disco-tastic green tree!

I couldn't be bothered with a full sized tree this year.  But these little guys I can handle.  Here are some more Christmas-related photos I've been meaning to post:

Isn't my advent calendar chocolate TOTALLY a companion cube??

Earlier this month I went to the Holiday Handmade craft fair with Miranda.  She blogged about it here.  I'm finally posting my pictures of all the beautiful crafts (note: I received permission to take every photo).  Boy was it crowded!  Next year we'll go on the second day and plan to do more shopping.  I had most of gifts done already.  Even so, it was good I only brought a limited amount of cash.  I needed something to keep my spending in check!  Luckily most of these sellers have shops.  I collected many business cards and plan to return to their online stores later.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


For those wondering where we'll be for the holidays, here tis:  I'll be in GJ this Monday/Tuesday (14-15th) for a short, quiet visit with my folks.  Then back to Denver where I work 3 back-to-back shifts Th-Sat and on call Sunday.  Monday is my day off of work.  Then I go back for 3 more in a row Tue-Thur, ending with an evening shift on Christmas Eve.  Ben and I will book it down to GJ on Christmas morning and spend a couple days there with family.  We're going to visit the gang in Utah, leaving either Monday or Tuesday after Christmas, and return to GJ Wednesday or Thursday.  Either way we need to be back in Denver by Ben's birthday on Friday the 1st, then I'm back to work on Saturday. 

If any of my friends out there happen to cross paths, give me a call!

Saturday in Boulder

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Oh, Anthro

You need to stop with the darling sweaters.  I can't take it!  At least, not at full price . . . hurry up winter sales . . .

Friday, December 04, 2009

Molly's verdict on my new sweater

Is that it makes excellent biscuit dough.  She wouldn't stop kneading my belly!  Yes, this is a lot of cat pictures, but I got a few comments enjoying my last picture of us.  Thought you might like some more.  Oops, she's back.  This time on my knees.  That's cool.  As long as I can see my screen and type :-)

Owl sweater refinished

Here are photos of my finished owl sweater!  I bought buttons a while ago, but had to reorder more from Hobby Lobby.  Weeks later I found out they were discontinued and out of stock everywhere!  I finally snipped them all off and replaced them with sea-green beads.  I like these new eyes better anyway.  I also re-knit the collar so it comes up closer to my neck and doesn't slide off my shoulders.  It's so satisfying to say that this project is DONE.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Cat Attack!

Beans beans

Today I fulfilled a three year dream of ordering vanilla beans from ebay.  I found out about these sellers years ago, but either didn't have the cash or didn't have an active paypal account to deal with it.  I was whining about wanting vanilla beans to make more marshmallows and Ben basically told me to shut up and order them already.  After 25 minutes with paypal customer service to unlock my account, I bought my beans.  What a steal!  I got a 20 bean sampler of two varieties, costing $0.50 per bean.  Incredible! 

We got them tonight and Ben spent most of dinner trying to figure out why they cost so little compared to stores ($6 and up per bean).  Something about inelastic demand.  Or scarcity.  I don't remember.  It's cute how he thinks I understand economics.  All I know is I'm going to make some FABULOUS marshmallows tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Sweet Action

My wacky husband craves ice cream more the colder it gets. Here he
and Brian sample the many flavors at our favorite shop.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I might love the meals after even more.

Thank you to all my family who came to Colorado and celebrated a
time-shifted thanksgiving with me!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Finally, DVR! Guest Post

After 5 years of pining over the idea of building a DVR, Rachel and I finallly decided to go for it as a (early) christmas present to each other. We are both pretty thrilled with it. There were some bumps along the road, but fortunately - the right software existed for me to make it happen to our specifications.

The Case

I got a micro ATX form factor case for the project. The guts are as follows:

  • Sempron 140 processor
  • Gigabyte AM3 motherboard with HDMI output
  • Two 640 GB WD green hard drives
  • Samsung DVD-RW
  • Radeon 4200 onboard video card
  • Hauppauge 2250 dual ATSC/QAM tuner card
  • 4 gb of unganged 800 mhz ram
The hard drives use the onboard RAID controller to function as a RAID 1 configuration. I did this because I wanted a fairly robust storage solution for the house.

The RAM was supposed to be 1033 mhz, but it was unstable at that clock, so I had to bump it down. I didn't want to deal with returning it, and it seems plenty fast.

The processor actually has two cores, that my motherboard was able to unlock, so while it is a Sempron 140 - it registers at post as an Athlon X2 4200+.

The idea for this build was to use MythTV on ubuntu linux. I bought all my hardware with an eye for linux compatibility. That didn't work out. I'm sure that if I really hacked on it, I could have gotten it all to work with linux, but I decided that it wouldn't be up to rachel's standards in the end. I had a copy of Windows 7 beta, so I thought I'd give it a try for the media center.

It worked great! I had spent several hours trying to get linux working, but windows media center was up and running within 30 minutes.

There were still a few software quirks to work out, however.

The main thing I had to work out was the power settings. The system didn't wake from sleep properly, so I had to configure everything to work as hibernate. I got lucky, as my motherboard supports waking from hibernate for windows scheduled events (like show recordings). I had a hard time getting the thing to go back to hibernation after it woke up for a recording. I eventually found this software ( for configuring standby behavior with windows media center, and it works great.

I also snagged a plugin to make hulu desktop a clickable item from within windows media center. There are several out there, and none seem to work quite right - so I'm still working on that.

I had some trouble getting the sound to come across the HDMI because the settings in windows were strange. In the end, I didn't really need to do anything - it just worked. The problem was that it doesn't say that it's a 5.1 signal unless one is actually being sent. This was mainly a problem in the windows media center speaker configuration thing, as it couldn't tell I had 5 speakers for some reason.

Windows media center is a very slick DVR solution. It has netflix watch it now included in it, and you can record things with all the power that you might find in a Tivo. I actually like the interface better in some spots.

We have the capacity to record about 40 hours of HD stuff and have some room left over for music and photos.

We can record two shows at once, which I am amazed that we actually do (I'm looking at you bones).

Here are some (bad) pictures of the interface.

Watching a recording

Picking the show

Looking at details



The Remote

The guide with live TV in the background

Friday, November 20, 2009

Serious updates needed.

I'm sure in my lack of writing lately, the top question on your mind is What does Rachel think about season 6 of SYTYCD?  Am I right?  Too bad.  That's what you get :-P

  • Love the new stage.  The backdrop gives the show designers something to do instead of screwing up the view with complicated lighting, like they used to.   It also prevents the camera men from doing wacky side and circling moves from the old thrust stage.  Instead we get more nice, front-on views so you can actually see the dances.
  • I don't miss Mia.  Bring on Stacey Tookey and Mandy Moore instead!
  • I love Adam's judging comments.  With our fab new DVR I skip Nigel and Mary and go straight to his review. 
  • I'm not impressed with Wade Robson this season. 

Favorite Routines

  (sorry, can't find just the dance online)

skip to 1:45 for the dance

skip to 2:05 for the dance

Favorite Solo

(sorry for the dumb pop-ups)

Favorite Couple
I wasn't a fan of Ashleigh at first, but she's really improving.  And Jakab is another superhuman dancer like Brandon of season 5.  Not as powerful or versatile as Brandon, but Jakob's lines are better.

skip to 1:40 for the dance

It's no "Bleeding Love," but another great one by Nappy Tabs. (Yes, I watch Bleeding Love about once a month still.  So. Good.)


Hi there.  Been quiet lately, no?  Today I'm home sick.  I haven't missed a day of work yet, but I felt so darn crummy today, I didn't think I could make it through the afternoon patient turnover, work 12 hours, then be on call.  So I called my manager and asked them to bring in the evening person early and I went home.  I feel kind of bad about it.  I have a lot of guilt about missing work.  At least today was a good day to leave early.  I helped get the day started at 6 like usual, so they're not behind schedule (like so often happens when someone calls in sick and the day starts short-handed).  We have a moderate patient load with no portable one-on-one runs.  So staff can stay in the room with a manageable number of patients.  Still.  Do you remember going to the school nurse and as soon as your mom says she will come pick you up, you felt better?  That's how I was today.  Once my manager confirmed I could go early I thought "Oh, Rachel, you're not that sick.  Stick it out!"  But I'm trying to be nice to myself instead of running haggard.  I've got indigestion, nausea, some woman troubles, and I kept nearly fainting while working this morning.  Seriously, I grabbed the wall on my way back from the kitchen with coffee for a patient.  Also, I have an old dance injury in my back that flared up this week.  It's not as bad as it was during last year's flare-up, but it makes moving around and lifting fairly painful.  Thus I just got up from a nap and ate my lunch.  I'm going to lay low and still do call tonight.  I hope I can power through my next set of shifts - MTW all in a row! so I can have an enjoyable Thanksgiving break.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Finally fallish

My hands are coated in sugar and butter and cinnamon.  It feels and smells and tastes sooooo good. 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Welcome Home

Welcome Home, originally uploaded by Ben Mason.

This is what I came home tonight. Brrr! I wish I had tomorrow off of work! It was no fair having to go in today when everyone else in Denver got to stay home.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The fluffiness makes it impressive

Snowy Morning

What a grand day to have off from work!  I woke up at 6 am and promptly turned off my pager, no longer on duty.  Then I went back to sleep :-)  Later I made pancakes for breakfast, and shared them with my dear husband who was working from home.  You see, when we got up there was already 3 inches of snow, with much more forecast.  We took Jem to daycare so she would get plenty of exercise despite the cold.  Also, we could have an undisturbed day of coming and going from the house with her out of it.  I haven't taken her to daycare in a long time and gee whiz, I thought she was going to stroke out on excitement.   She starts running around the backseat, whimpering and clawing at the window, getting more and more exacerbated the closer you get.  She DEFINITELY knows the route there.

To give him time to work undisturbed, I slowly shopped around Target, one of my favorite suburban pastimes.  I needed some Halloween candy, stat!  I also called my sister who is shacked up in the mountains, hopefully having a relaxing time.   Then I got a peppermint hot chocolate at Starbucks and chatted with my mom, watching the snow fall in heavy clumps.

At home I met up with Ben and we walked down the block to the local Chinese restaurant.  I love eating lunch out with Ben, and I love hot egg drop soup and rice with soy sauce on cold days.  It was quite a trek to get there actually.  The snow was knee deep in places on the way back.  We passed a group of snowboarders on the sidewalk. They had built a ramp of snow at the top of a set of stairs down the hill.  The stairs have a long, shallow rail running down it.  They also hooked a bungee cord to the railing.  They would bungee up the snow ramp, then jump on the railing with their snow boards, ride it down the hill, falling off onto the snow banks when they lost balance.  Very clever. 

Ben got back to work and I finished Shakespeare in Love on Netflix.  Good movie.  For a snack, I indulged in my all time favorite - diet cola with ruffled cheddar baked lays.  Browsing for another instant play Netflix show, I found a real gem - 

Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre!  Holy crap this is a treasure.  Did anyone else watch this when they were kids?  It was on Showtime in the 80s, then picked up for syndication by the Disney Channel and PBS.  I selected Snow White to watch.  What. a. cast. First, we have Vincent Price as the mirror.  With his face is painted like wood and stuck in the wall, he provides droll narration.  Then Vanessa Redgrave plays the queen.  I kid you not, she has red crimped hair frizzed out and wanders around waving her arms, draped in teal and purple velor.  Fabulous.  When she dies of vanity at the end she actually sticks her tongue out to make goofy gaggy noises while rolling on the floor.  Fantastic.  Finally, the singing prince is none other than my beloved Rex Smith!  One year after his world debut in the Pirates of Penzance film, he's back!  Singing!  In thigh high leather boots!  Oh, be still my heart.  The episode needed a lot less stupid dwarfs and a lot more Rex.

So yeah, really good day so far.  I'm not feeling the cooking vibe, so at Target I bought ready made frozen lasagna, ready made garlic bread, and salad in a bag.  If you know me, you know how weird that is.  Ben said "This doesn't look right" as he was putting the groceries away.  I need to find something quick to take to movie club though.  Brian has picked a super-Halloweeny treat.  It's the Black Cat, by Edgar Allen Poe, starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.  How great is that?  I hope I can watch it all and still get enough sleep for tomorrow when it's back to work for me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Owls on my sweater!

I finally finally finished this sweater.  I stopped near the end because summer came, and I didn't want to not be able to wear it when I finished it.  Then I stopped to make a dress for Zaley.  The recent snow reminded me that I need to GET ON IT and finish this thing.  Ta Da!

See the owls along the neckline?  I need to find buttons to put on their eyes.  Then it will be more obvious that they are owls.  It's not a perfect fit.  The back sags a little, the collar could come up higher.  But it's my first sweater!  The homemade look is ok. 

Friday, October 23, 2009

Getting closer and closer

Ah, Stargate is the next movie of the night. To answer Serin's
question, I started work at noon. So I'm entering overtime for 12+
hours. . . now! I'm trying really super hard not to think of my warm,
soft bed with snuggly down comforter, snoozing husband, sleeping
puppy, and dozing kitty. All probably wondering when I'll join them.
I'm glad Jem was at daycare today. Ben tells me that she wore herself
out hard. Hopefully she will agree to my "sleep in super late" plan.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A late night

I'm writing from a patient's room at 9:15. I'm about halfway through
an 8 hour treatment. Because of a shortage of slow, continuous
dialysis machines, we are simulating that sort of treatment with our
regular hemodialysis machines. My schedule worked best among staff
for staying here until 2 am, so here I sit. I found out I'd be
staying at 5 pm.

She's tolerating the treatment well and the MICU nurses are very nice
and helpful. I really can't complain. But it's an unexpected late
night and those are hard.

Not much to it. Vitals every 15 minutes, top off dialysate fluids,
run machine checks periodically. She's been watching The Perfect
Storm and Wild Hogs on TV. I prefer my Artemis Fowl book, alternating
that with Stephen Fry's Incomplete & Utter History of Classical
Music. (Thanks Amanda!)

I plan to sleep in very very late and take a nap too.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I love that on Sundays you get to put on a smart, pretty outfit in the morning, then change into your most comfortable grubbies in the afternoon.  Best of both worlds.

I has a website!

Holy crap guys, my Emma's Baubles site has actual traffic.  In fact, linked to my site!  In a Jayma Mays quote!  My dream is that Jayma Mays will discover my site and comment on it. 

Friday, October 02, 2009

Happy October!

There's a deli meat advertisement on  I think this kid is Brian circa 1992.  Except Brian would have NEVER forfeited his Halloween candy.  Well, maybe for an R-rated movie.  But even then . . .

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cabin Video Diary

[This is a re-post of the video, now on Vimeo and in higher resolution]

This started as a 5x?? video, one of those 5 second clip things.  But there was so much to put in that didn't fit exactly 5 seconds!  I trimmed it a lot though.  I believe less is more.  But the 5 seconds became more of a guideline than a rule.

I'm disappointed that I whipped out my camera mostly when Zaley was being cute.  I wish had caught more scenic panoramas.  Oh well.  It gives a good picture of what the trip was like.  Watch for the bat!

Video Diary of our Bear Lake Cabin Getaway from Rachel Mason on Vimeo.

Friday, September 25, 2009

So much for having a smooth Friday

Wow, today was a pretty bad day.  I was supposed to be a 10a-10p shift.  They called at 7 to say that a tech was sick and could I come in sooner and still work late?  I got there at 8:30 and expected a long day.  Although we didn't have a third shift, so I got to leave at 7:30p, our patients were a wreck.  Seriously, what is this?  Acute care or something?
 I had written/published this long thing about all our patients, but decided I didn't want a big rant about the day out there in that much detail.  Clotted systems, severe hypotension and hypoglycemia, barfing, and mucho mucho alarms.  Enough said.
I'm still decompressing before going to bed.  I have the weekend off.  Amanda and I hope to see a corny teenager performing arts movie (FAME! I'm gonna live forever . . .)  I need to update my blog on Emma's Baubles.  She was only in two scenes this week so it should be a quickie.  Boy, and someday I might put together that vacation video I promised you.

Happy Weekend, everyone!

PS: My car is super awesome and driving it is the best part of my day.  Rock.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mystery in need of an answer!

Who can tell me what that animal skin is hanging above the arm chair in the living room?  I've always wondered.  We couldn't come up with a good guess.  Badger? ManBearPig?

movie fail, textual details

I spent the last hour editing down all the footage I took with out flip camera.  Then the program failed and I realized that I hadn't saved it since I started trimming clips down to 5 seconds each.  And I was almost half done.  Grrr.  So in the words of Miranda, iMovie is going to go sit in the corner and think about what it has done for the rest of the night. 

Amanda wants details and I'm not sure what to say.  We did pretty much exactly what I wanted to do on this trip.  Bullets commence bulleting! (bulletting?)
  • The cabin is still deliciously seventies in design.  Brown and yellow shag carpet with matching harvest curtains and harvest fireplace.
  • I made Nate and Ben walk up the drive way first before attempting to mount it.  They poo-poohed my warnings about the steep angles, but later agreed that it was deceptively difficult to maneuver.  
  • Fry sauce is awesome, equally delicious on french fries and tator tots. 
  • We all memorized Zaley's signing video.  "It's signing time with Alex and Leah..."  will that ever get out of my head?  
  • There is nothing wrong with having a LaBeau's milkshake every day.
  • The autumn colors were beautiful.  We have a lot of pretty aspens in Colorado, but we miss out on the oaks.  
  • I thought this might be my first trip to Bear Lake without a sunburn, but somehow it fried my nose!
  • The water at the lake was amazingly clear, like a swimming pool.
  • We are all majorly nerdy bloggers.  This trip will be documented with photos and videos TO THE LIMIT!
  • In all our smart meal planning and grocery shopping, we forgot to take into account the attractive small town eateries that stole our appetites. 
  • Disney's Robin Hood is really really good.  
  • Jem is depressed that we hadn't moved into the cabin permanently.  Talk about dog heaven.  She started every morning bouncing bed to bed, doing consecutive laps up and down the stairs. 
  • The weather was perfect - cool and sunny with scattered clouds.  This morning, before we left, there was a terrific thunderstorm.  I woke at 5 am to close the windows and watch the lightening beams shoot into the lake.  The rain cleared by the time we were packing up.
  • I found some joyous remnants of my youth, such as fancy Kermit and Miss Piggy sheets that Amanda and I used to fight over, and our old Rainbow Brite "Rainbow Inside of Your Heart" cassette. 
I'll work on the video another night.  I planned to do another 5x5, but it will be more like 5x40.  Molly is happy we are home.  The couch is coated in cat hair.  Miraculously my beta fish is still swimming.  He has to be 304 years old in beta fish years.  I have one more load of laundry to do before climbing into my glorious bed.   Tomorrow is a short day of work, just some computer training.  Later Ben and I will catch up on Glee.  Look for more updates to Emma's Baubles this week!

Back home with cabin memories

Enjoy some of my favorite photos from our getaway.  Many many more are on my flickr site, and we'll be forming a group with more cabin pictures than you can shake a stick at.