Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Raise your hands

How many of you had to check the dictionary to make sure I spelled "bated" correctly in yesterday's post?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bated Breath

I know you are waiting for the post, complete with pictures and vivid descriptions of tropical places from the cruise. You'll have to wait a bit longer. We took the laptop with us (even though we didn't spring for internet service ($.75/minute!)) on the ship, so I worked on a travel log and it's not ready to post yet. I still have yet to download pictures. The Girl tends to hog the laptop when she can so I'll need to commandeer it tonight to finish my post.

But, first, back to paying work and the stuff I have to finish like yesterday!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm not sure I'll have time to do a full post before sailing, but I wanted to remember to wish you all a Merry Christmas before we left.

Merry Christmas.

Now, if you'll please sign in in the comments, you'll be one less person I'll have to remember to greet face to face. ;)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Contribution

I made this for our office potluck. The pan was empty by the end of the day. Which was good because I hate that anxiety, the one when you wonder if the others will like your dish.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Evidently, I'm Creepy...

...according to my daughter and her friends because I took a picture of them while they waited to play for their winter concert.

I just can't seem to get through to her all parents take pictures of their kids, and to prove this point, I asked her if she noticed the hundreds of cameras present at the concert the other night.

But, Noooo, I am the creepy one.


Monday, December 15, 2008

More about Earlier

Here's the aerial view of the new office building under construction and the old building. This picture is from Google Maps and is about three years old, but it's all I have. My cube is about where the red arrow is so you can imagine my view.


Weekend Round-Up

One of the springs that holds up the garage door broke a month or so ago. I was so good about buying replacements. But then the weather was so bad I didn't get to install them. It was cold on the weekends or warm on the weekdays but dark by the time I'd get home to attend to the job. Then, when I had the time, I found out I needed another part from the hardware store. Grr.

Yesterday the weather was fine, in the 50's, and I got a part from Lowes, and finally got the new springs up. The door had been operating on one spring for so long one of the guide wheels had gotten out of the track, but a good whack with the hammer fixed that.

We're going on a cruise Christmas week (can anyone give us a ride to the airport?) and while we're gone, my neighbor/walking buddy, L's out of town guests will stay at our house. That means we have to clean it. Dan and I took off work on Friday and started to tackle some of the neglected areas. He did a fabulous job on the spare bedroom, I got a lot of laundry knocked out. For some reason, in our house we don't use dressers. We pile clean clothes on top of them. I hate that habit but that's how I am. So I spent some time clearing off my dresser, got some stuff hung up, socks put away. The rest is now in a pile on the floor. Sheesh. Maybe I'll re-learn the art of putting clean clothes away. Yeah, right.

I started to work on the shower in the master bathroom. Criminee. It hasn't been thoroughly cleaned since we canned our cleaning service. I tried the automatic shower spray, which helps except when Kevin finds it fun to play with. I got the Comet cleanser and made some progress but it's not done yet. I want to coat the tile with Rainex when I'm done so it won't get so scummy so quickly.

And while I took Friday off, look what they did!

From 12/8/08

From 12/9/08

From this morning.

For comparison's sake, this was taken on 9/19/07 before the landscaping was put in, and before the start of the demolition of the old building.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Question of the day

What's the best candle scent to mask the smell of Comet cleanser?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Things that make you go Mmmmm

Do you have a cute list?

I'm not talking about a list of people you're "allowed" to cheat with, a lá Ross and Racheal. Just a list of people, in my case, guys, I find cute.

I'm not adding George Clooney or Brad Pitt. That's like saying I breathe air. Duh. I'm not adding Pierce Brosnan, either, he leans more to the handsome side than cute.

Here's my list, in no particular order:

Scott Foley

Tony Realli

Kyle Chandler

Josh Holloway

My Honey

I'm sure there's more, I know I'm forgetting some. My mind's gone mushy, I need some air, is it warm in here?

Who's on your list?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Again with the boring post

I skipped my quilt bee meeting last night in favor of my water aerobics class. I didn't have a project to take and I'm still trying to get in shape, so I opted for the workout. The classes might be working their magic because I successfully piggy-backed Kevin down a flight of steps the other day without my knees hurting. Funny sight: 5'7" mom carrying a 6' son.

Kevin went to his gymnastics class again and seemed to love it. I'm so glad. I like it when he gets to enjoy things with other kids.

Here's a picture of Kevin in class last night. He's the blur in the red shirt ready to jump in the pit. Moments later he swung across on the rope.

I got a slew of Girl Scout vests to work on recently and got a lot of that done already so I don't have that hanging over my head. I wish I was in a quilting mood. I've so many projects to finish but I just can't get going on them.

Monday, December 08, 2008

More of the Same

I don't have much to say about the weekend. It was cold. I paid two boys, AM's son and his friend, to rake leaves. I was going to go over the yard with the lawn tractor to suck up the leaves but I couldn't get it started. It cranked, but wouldn't turn over.

I've got more pictures of the old office building deconstruction. After they knocked down the front corner they did a lot of the work on the back side so we couldn't see from our window. At the end of last week they moved around to the front again. We now can see what's going on, hence the pictures.






Thursday, December 04, 2008

Kevin finally got tired and fell asleep early last night, he was out when I came back from my class.

At my water aerobics class last night we did laps around the deep end instead of just going back and forth. We did one lap each of:
cross-country skiing (keeping legs straight)
wide-leg frog (works the inner and outer thighs)
ankle taps, forward and backward (like a jog but you touch the opposite ankle with each stroke, works your abs)
alternating hurdles (like a jog but you stretch out your legs like you're jumping hurdles)
breast-stroke arms, no leg movement, they stayed straight down, toes pointed.
Then we put our "bells" under our knees and jogged around the pool and did other weight work.
We finished by standing on one bell and po-going. That was fun.

11:00 am Edit: I forgot to add that last night the instructor played dance-track versions of ABBA songs. Hard to dance and jog at the same time, but was fun trying.

If you click on the link you'll see six different sizes varying in resistance. I have a set of the dark blue ones which are 80% resistance. The lower the resistance the easier they are to use. I'm not sure how they relate to real world weights, but I am challenged with these and am not ready to try the 99% bells. The problem with the 80's is there is lots of foam which makes them very wide and jogging with them under my knees feels like riding a trike that's too small: awkward.

I got a guest pass for one of my local readers. If you'd like to join me next week, comment here, email or call me. (Mom? AM? Linna?)

I like this class and I am starting to feel and see its benefits. (My weight's not down but my legs are trimmer.) I just don't like how much time it takes to go to every week. I invested in the bells and float belt so I should sign up again, but I haven't decided yet. I've got a couple weeks to think about it.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Got Tired?

I was hoping Kevin would have been a bit more tuckered out last night, but he wasn't. He was still heading off to bed at 1:30. Sheesh.

I was hoping for an earlier bed time because Monday and Tuesday nights he had attended new activities. Monday night he started a new gymnastics class. It's a main-stream class at the sports center held once a week for 11 weeks. Since Kevin's not ready to do a regular class by himself I called for an inclusion aide to be with him. I had to drop him off early, his class started at 7:15 and my water aerobics class started at 7:00. I checked him in at the desk and told the gal he has autism and someone from inclusion was supposed to show up. We told Kevin where to wait since he was so early and I went to my class saying a quick prayer for everything to work out.

After my class I got to observe the last bit of his. They were on the trampoline. The boys were to do a series of jumps: tuck, straddle, pike, and turn. I saw the aide sitting with Kevin (yay!) while he awaited his turn. The instructor was great working with each boy at his level, and patiently showed Kevin what to do. He got the tuck jump down pat, but couldn't combine that with a straddle jump. Maybe next week.

After the class the inclusion aide introduced herself to me and said Kevin did well and tried everything and followed instructions well. I explained if Kevin doesn't follow a rule, write it down for him to read and usually he'll get it.

Last night Kevin went to his strength training class for teens and adults with disabilities. He'd missed the first class last week because he was sick, but fell right into the routine of the group when he got there. The instructor said he did well, did everything twice. Upon quizzing him on the way home, Kevin told me he did the treadmill, the bike, the stair stepper and used the weights. I asked what the number was on the weights and he said 10. Maybe he'll go to bed earlier if they give him 15's to use?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Rounding up November

Wow, I've got two weekends to round up. I'll try not to forget any of the good parts and summarize the boring bits.

In this Issue:

Gadget Corner

A while back on John's blog he got a comment from a fellow trucker who runs. I checked out her blog and she had written about a GPS pedometer. Since I walk every morning I wanted one. I want to know how far I really walk and how fast. I was thinking the $150 model would suit me fine. When I didn't get one for my birthday I used the Costco coupon for $40 off the model they have and got the $300 model for $160. I'm loving it, it's a fun gadget. It draws a trail where I walk and beeps at me when I drop below a 15:20 mile, which happens a lot when the three of us talk too much in the mornings. I've logged over 27 miles so far and end up finishing the 3.06-mile loop in about 44 minutes. Not too bad.

IEP Season

For some reason they wanted to change Kevin's IEP schedule from spring to fall. So last Monday I went in and met with Kevin's team. It was actually the first time I'd met his current teacher because the one who started the school year quit. The meeting was lead by the head of the Special-Ed department and not the new teacher.

Most of the plan was the same as last year, but I didn't think they had enough math concepts covered so I had comparisons added (less than, greater than, before, after) as well as a component of measuring. I also inquired about shop class. Kevin loves to put things together and I think with some supervised instruction, he'd do well. I'd like him to transition from pictorial instructions to reading and comprehending written assembly instructions. My inquiry was a general question, Is it possible in the future Kevin could take shop class, maybe next year? He's now signed up for Tech-ed for next semester. Ohmigoodness, that scares me and thrills me at the same time. He'll be in the regular-ed boys every-other day. I'm sure I'll report how that goes.

He did what?

Kevin caught a cold last weekend and by Monday night his voice was gone. We kept him home from school on Tuesday. Kevin hardly ever gets sick, Tuesday was his first missed day of school in several years. But that's beside the point. We don't stock a lot of liquid cold medicine for him since he doesn't usually need it, and had nothing to give him for all his symptoms except gel-caps. Which he swallowed without ceremony. I was stunned, Dan was shocked. We were both happy with this new skill.

Teen Drama

Applications for First Choice High (FCH) were due on the 21st by 2:30 pm. The application packet consisted of the form, copies of the 7th grade final report card and the first quarter 8th grade card, and an optional essay. I'm not sure how the whole thing went down but I found part of the packet for Fern's neighborhood friend on our kitchen counter on Saturday the 22nd.

I asked Fern why Amanda's application was in our house. She starts flipping out. "Dad was supposed to turn that in, Amanda's gonna hate me, her mom's gonna be mad at her and she's gonna hate me.....," talking fast and anxious like only teen girls can do. We can't ask Dan, who turned in Fern's packet on Friday morning, didn't turn in Amanda's. He was on a road trip to La Grange, KY for a college roommate's surprise 50th birthday party in another college friend's car and his phone was in his car parked at that friend's house.

No one specifically said to Dan, "here is Amanda's application, will you turn it in too, please?" But Fern swears we said we'd take it and knew about it. I left for work early that day and knew nothing about special requests. I turned it in to the high school on the way to the IEP meeting.

As it turns out, the head of the special-ed is good friends with one of the chairs of FCH and emailed her my story when I was there for the IEP meeting the following Monday. (FCH, is a special application-only honors program within the local high school.) In the mean time, I called Amanda's mom to explain what happened on our end and where the application was. She wasn't mad at us or at Amanda. It was her responsibilty after all. Amanda's not mad at Fern, and Fern is not mad at us. The FCH chair called me and accepted the app late anyway. Now, if Amanda gets in and Fern doesn't, heads will roll, baby, heads will roll.

Thanksgiving vs. Mendoza.

I'm still above my Mendoza line and am not happy about it. I get so close, then go and do something stupid like have cake at a birthday party Saturday night. Grrr. I'll be doing the "on the ball" class at the gym at lunch and I'll be back to my water aerobics class tonight. There were no classes last week, which didn't help the cause any.

High Def Rain

Three weeks ago I negotiated a fabulous deal with DirecTV for high def service and picked an install date of yesterday, it was the first Sunday appointment they had. I hate taking off work to wait for someone to maybe show up in a 12-4 window. The guy showed up at 2:00. Except it was raining. And the tech wouldn't climb up on the roof in the rain for an hour and install a new 40lb dish. Grrr. I complained and got free Show Time for several months. They are supposed to be coming back today and Dan, the great guy that he is, is going home to meet them when they call so say they are on the way. I bet they forget to call. Scattered showers in the forecast for the afternoon, too.

Friday, November 28, 2008


I haven't posted in a week.

And so much has gone on, too: teen drama, new skills attained, food eaten, and shop class.

I'll post details when I have time, right now I hope you all are well, but I have work to do (for which I'm paid).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Photos for Friday

Last week Lorraine honored me in her weekly Jukebox Friday post because of my birthday. She posted a picture of me taking a picture of the grapes her daughter had just harvested. I promised to post it here. This was taken with the Nikon and the built-in flash. I wasn't really as happy with the grape pictures as I had been with those of the apples I had taken at her house, as well. But I promised, and a promise is a promise, so here you go:

This one's better. It was from a passel of pictures I took back in August while in Chincoteague, VA. I like the narrow DOF.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What the ... ?

Winter weight.

I just heard the cringing and moaning of all the women who read me. Sorry, but I gotta unload about this.

I haven't been under my Mendoza line in ages, maybe two or three months. I'm so tired of seeing that middle number on the scale every time I get on. It haunts me, it taunts me; I hate it. Every time I get close to the line, with just one more pound or even a half-pound to go, something will interfere with my progress: a birthday, a wedding, a house warming party, Halloween, and I'll have to start over again. One day recently I saw a number on my scale I hadn't seen since I was pregnant. Seven months pregnant. So utterly depressing.

I'm trying to be more aggressive about getting in shape, getting the weight off. I enrolled again for the deep water aerobics classes and try to do the weight class at the gym at work. I'm trying to be more proactive about weight-loss than just doing the 40-minute walk in the mornings, "eating better," complaining, and crossing my fingers hoping I'll lose the weight.

This morning I was pleased to see I'm back within striking distance of my "never-ever-want-to-go-over-that-weight" line. I could be under by the weekend!

Put all that aside for a moment.

Nordstroms is having their half-yearly sale and a couple weeks ago I found myself in the lingerie department after perusing the other departments' sale racks. I was tempted by a pair of $100 dress pants that were long enough for my 34" legs on sale but passed on them because I really don't want to buy clothes until I get well under the Mendoza line. Anyway, lingerie department. There was a huge rack of bras unmentionables, designer ones, pretty $50 ones, marked down to something I could consider. I tried on several and they all seemed to fit except they were a bit tight in the band. Once again I think, all I have to do is lose a couple pounds, do a couple more lat-pulls, get rid of some back fat and these will be golden. So I bought three. They still sit in the shopping bag in my closet.

Another day, another store, and as one thing lead to another as things tend to do, I got a bra fitting. Because of the weight gain I was mentally prepared for the fitting specialist to tell me I need to go up a band size to a 36. But she didn't tell me that, she told me I needed to go up a cup size. Or two. What?! She had me try on a 34D and it fit. I was stunned and stood staring at the tag. I had to see it with my own eyes. I was wearing a 34D. Me? A D? No way. I don't look any bigger than what I've looked like forever. I'm still stunned.

So, after all these twenty-something years of being a B-cup girl, I can forgo augmentation surgery, and go from a B-cup to a D-cup by getting a $79 dollar bra!




I gotta get under the Mendoza line soon, I can't afford a new wardrobe of $79 bras and the new clothes I'd have to get with them.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Weekend Stuff

First, thank you all very much for the good birthday wishes. It seemed I had a real blog party. I even won Carmi's weekly "Caption This" on Sunday. I've gotten honorable mentions before, but it was a first to get the win.

As described in Saturday's post, Dan planned for me to take Fern and her friend to a afternoon concert at the Ramshead in Annapolis. There were three acts, Curtis Peoples, Ernie Halter and Tony Lucca. The girls loved loved loved it. Tony Lucca didn't end up playing Devil Town but laughed along with us when I told him that's why we came and that he had ruined my birthday. All three acts hung out long after the show to sign autographs and talk with folks. The girls got lots of pictures; it was hard pulling them away. This is Curtis, see why the girls loved him...

Eventually we got to the mall and didn't get a lot of shopping done. I guess I wasn't hip enough to know "shopping" really involves spending an hour in Sephora trying on all the make-up and walking out empty handed.

Sunday was a quiet day, I'm not sure where the time went. The kids and I went to early church and stayed to be greeters at the late service. I had to bribe Kevin with Five Guys to get him to church so we headed there after our greeting duty. We had the place to ourselves since it was still very early in the business day. Their CD player was stuck on California Girls. About the third or fourth play through Fern decides it's time to learn the lyrics and starts to try to sing along. We got half-way through the first verse when they fixed the player. Oh well.

I made two blocks for the block-of-the-month project for my quilt guild. The pattern this month is a tiny 2" paper pieced heart. A heart at Thanksgiving? Huh? The BOM coordinator thought that if you made the blocks in advance, maybe the quilt would be finished by the holiday it actually represents. So the winner of the hearts should have a finished piece done by Valentine's day. Theoretically. My first block came out perfectly. The second block was done from a different copy of the pattern printed from a different printer and came out almost a quarter inch too small. Oh well. I'll have to post pictures of them if I can wrangle my camera back from Fern. That girl needs her own. Sheesh.

Sunday night Dan and I had dinner at Marcel's on Pennsylvania Avenue near Foggy Bottom. The menu lists selections in seven courses, you can pick anything from any course for a starter or entree, or you can pick items to construct your own tasting menu. Dan and I each chose a five-course tasting menu. I had a duck ravioli, Dover sole, diver scallop, lamb in phyllo, and finished with a cheese course, St Andre served with ultra thin slices of raisin toast, almonds and dates. Dan had the diver scallop, turbot, bourdin blanc (chicken & pheasant sausage), bison, and hazelnut souffle. Our waiter found out it was my birthday and also brought me a glass of champaign and an array of mini desserts. Dan and I give Marcel's four thumbs up.

Tonight Dan planned for Kevin and me to go to Cirque du Soleil, so I'll have to post about the rest of my birthday weekend tomorrow. I'll be tired though, the show doesn't start until late. I'm tired now, what am I saying?


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Queen for a Weekend

My birthday started early when Lorraine posted about me yesterday.

This morning I got a bunch of goodies: tickets to a concert with Fern this afternoon to see the guy that sings the new promo song, Devil Town, for Friday Night Lights, one of the best shows on TV. Followed by shopping with my $50 gift card for Macy's. Maybe I can buy something to wear to dinner with Dan tomorrow on my actual birthday. We are going to a French restaurant downtown named Marcel's.

Then Tuesday, its Kevin's turn to take me out. We have tickets to see Cirque du Soleil Kooza at the new National Harbor development along the Potomac River.

And this isn't even a milestone birthday!

Thank you everyone. (curtsy)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shopping With Kevin

I took Kevin shopping for jeans the other day. He's in another growth spurt and is showing a lot of ankle again so I set out to cover them up.

The boy is rapidly approaching six feet tall, he's probably just a half inch shy now, and he weighs 110 pounds. Picture a light pole looming over everybody nearby, a light pole with a lot of sock glaring between the jeans and the high-top sneakers, that is. I headed to Sears so see what they had. In the Boys' department he's about a size 12 in the waist and a 20 in length. In the Men's department he's about a 25x32. However, the smallest waist available is 28". Sheesh.

I gave him a pair of regular fit 28x32 Lee's and took him to the men's fitting room. Three times I explained about going in the room, putting on the new pants, and coming back out to show me. I was apprehensive but hopeful. I waited outside the door for what seemed like forever, and eventually he came out wearing jeans that were finally long enough, but sereral inches too big at the waist and very baggy in the butt. They didn't droop too much as to violate the dress code at school so I decided to buy them. I found four pairs of 28x32 pants, each a different color and asked him to pick out two. I asked him if he wanted a belt. "NO!"

The next day I did some searching on the 'net for skinnier jeans. I found a place that'll make them for you for $135 but the smallest waist on their pull-down list was 28". Sheesh. Not that I would actually spring for $135 jeans for my baby, but why brag about custom-fit jeans if you're not going to make them small enough for your average bean pole?

And before you even ask, No, I'm not going to make jeans for him myself!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Weekend Round-up


We got back from "The Lodge" yesterday afternoon. Great Wolf Lodge is Kevin's most favorite place in the world. It's how we bribe him most days of the year. Even after we got home yesterday it was, "Do you want to go back to Great Wolf Lodge? Then go take your shower."

Since we've been so many times we get really nice rooms for very little. We got an upgrade to the Grizzly Suite (two separate bedrooms, two baths, one with whirlpool tub, living room with fireplace) this time (which normally goes for $450 per night, $699 on holidays) for $220. That included extra for an ultra-late checkout. Our keys quit working at 11:00 anyway. Grrr.

Last night I spent a long time on the phone with DirecTV. We'd gotten a flyer from Verizon about Fios, phone, internet, TV for $99/month so I called them to get the break-down about HD service and what is available and how much. $70/month for HD TV service with DVR.

Then I called DirecTV and asked about upgrading our standard service to HD and told them what Fios would be. They were going to give me $20 off my bill/month for 6 months and a couple other perks to keep me as a customer. But then it wouldn't go through because the regular sales department isn't authorized to give more than $150 total in incentives.

Then I got passed on to the Disconnect department. Those folks are authorized to give a lot of incentives to keep folks from disconnecting service. Eighty-three minutes later, I'd been scheduled for HD installation with a free (Sales wanted $99) 200/50 hour HD-DVR (200 hours in standard def, or 50 hours in HD) and my monthly bill will be about the same or even less than it was before. There's also something about almost free on-demand programming, too, like $0.01 per show, if we have internet.

Tonight is voting night for our challenge quilt at our guild meeting. I didn't finish mine so I won't be submitting it. The theme was "The Sea" and the fabrics did not talk to me at all. I finally came up with an idea but the execution was beyond my capabilities in the remaining time. Maybe I'll finish it anyway.

Meanwhile, my fabric reorganization challenge continues. There are still baskets of fabric everywhere. I'm starting to get lazy with where I "file" the newly folded fabric. Instead of putting it in the drawers with similar colors, I'm just putting the whole stack of folded pieces in one drawer. Argh, that's going to drive me crazy.

Did I mention I played hooky from work on Monday to golf with Dan? I played OK, not great. The wind was chilly and I kept thinking about quitting. The highlight of the day was hitting it over the water on the third hole. It's very wide water and as a beginner I had never made it over. Monday I did.

The line just illustrates tee to green, I got there in four shots. Yay me! Photo courtesy of Google, thank you very much.

Oh, and one last thing, I've gotten several comments in person about the size of the varmint I photographed last week. Many folks thought it looked too large to be a mouse. It was a mouse, believe me. Chalk it up to the perspective of a wide-angle lens on a phone camera.

By the way, the mouse count is four to date.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's that time of year again!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Mouse Patrol

I was tired of opening my blog to yesterday's picture so I'm posting this. It is from a 6/17/08 trip to the National Zoo.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I Hate Waking Up to This

Monday, November 03, 2008

Home again, Home again, Jigity Jog

First, this just in: I just spoke with the senior administrator at the high school this morning. When I called the school I asked to speak with "someone in charge," the secretary wanted to pass me along to the cafeteria manager. I told her I wanted a principal; I was tired of getting passed around about Kevin's lunch situation. The administrator did not know about the situation, would check into it and call me back. And he did. He said Kevin and his classmates will be receiving free lunch from now on until the system gets fixed. He said the fact that the food service will not be getting money should wake them up to the situation. Hallelujah! I'm not so much excited about the free lunch, but that someone is addressing the situation and the principal knows about it too.

And now back to the regularly scheduled weekend round-up.

I already posted about the Quilt Show that I went to on Thursday. Friday I headed off to play golf at River Pointe. It's a lovely course with lightning fast greens. We've got slower northern grass up here, different from what they've got down there. I had 24 putts on the front nine and got the hang of the greens so only had 16 on the back. My score: 60 + 52 = 112. I'm very pleased with my play on the back, I hit the ball pretty well.

Saturday I took a drive around the country south of town. Something I've never confessed here on my blog, I "collect" counties. There are 3200+ county-equivalents in the U.S. I'd been in 1145 before this trip, and added eight in Texas and one in Arkansas for a grand total of 1154 counties. I'd never been in Arkansas before so my state count is now 47.

Pictures from this drive (subtitled: Abandonment Issues)

The abandoned sugar plant in Sugar Land, TX

Abandoned rodeo arena near Kendleton, TX

Abandoned railroad bridge near Simonton, TX

The poisonous coral snake I saw while walking back up the path after taking pictures of the bridge (in flip-flops!) Sorry it's not a better picture, he and I were both in a hurry.

Saturday afternoon was my cousin Jen's wedding. It was small and nice. After the ceremony I hung out in the sanctuary while the bridal party had the pictures done. At one point I plopped down next John, Jen's brother. (Yes, that would make him my cousin, too.) I said to him, "Do you know who I am?"
After a long glance, No
"I'm your cousin."
No way.
"Yes way."

That was fun, messing with his mind a bit.

My grandmother, my mom's mom, had five children but only two lived long enough to have children of their own. Two died in infancy, and Uncle Ray died when he was 36 from pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs). My aunt married her second husband and moved to Texas in the 70's so I have two cousins whom I don't see much at all. The last time my brothers and I were together with John and Jennifer was in 1986.

Anyway, I reconnected with John and met his wife and their two little boys, exchanged email addresses and web pages. They invited me over to their house after the reception, which turned out to be about a half-mile from my hotel. We swapped storied and tried to remember things from our childhoods. I got some scoop about their mom, my aunt, and her third husband and why they weren't at the wedding. I'm not sure whether to sad or glad I don't live closer to that part of the family. I want to know more but am glad I don't live close enough to worry.

Jennifer and Stephen

Jen's youngest tastes the (alcohol-free) champaign

My cousins once removed

My husband's friend has a trick for car rental return and checking golf clubs. You drive up to departures and do a curb-side check-in, then return the car. That way you don't have to lug your bags and clubs from your rental to the rental van, then to the ticket counter.

So I'm all set to try this out when I arrive at the airport to fly home. Except the line at curb-side was way long and security was tight so I couldn't leave a car at the curb long enough to get rid of the bags. So I took the car back to rental returns and asked where to wait for the shuttle. The nice guy directs me to the shelter but I see other folks walking in the other direction. I've got a $5 ready for a tip to the driver for help with the golf bag. The driver finally shows up stopping in the opposite direction of normal traffic so I have to walk around the van to get in. And she offers no help. And no apology for pulling up in the wrong direction.

When she gets us to the terminal she drops us off at arrivals, not at departures, again no help with my clubs or suitcase. Grrr. I've got to make my way past baggage claim and up to next level for check-in. Thank goodness the golf bag had wheels so it was bearable, just awkward.

On the flip side, the parking shuttle guy at home not only helps me with my bags, he puts them into my trunk when we get to my car. I'm not sure $5 was enough.

And finally, I opened my suitcase (on both ends of the trip!) to find a love letter from TSA. My suitcase has a cool laptop compartment. I didn't feel like carrying my laptop with me at the airport so I locked it in the special compartment in the suitcase and checked it through. The notice of inspection was in with the computer in the locked compartment. I wonder if the TSA guys had seen a compartment like that before? I'd guess most people carry on laptops and not check a bag like that. Just my guess.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008


My cousin and her husband-to-be picked my up at the Houston Hobby airport last night, took me to dinner and then dropped me off at my hotel. I think "basic" is an adequate description of the my room, firm bed, clean towels and a 20" TV. Oh, and carpet.

This morning they picked me up and we headed off to the International Quilt Festival. I've been told it's the largest quilt show in the country. When we got in we met up with L, my cross-the-street neighbor with whom I walk most mornings. She had just flown in to Houston from a conference in Phoenix. We'll both be flying home on Sunday but on different airlines from different airports.

For many hours the four of us took in the rows and rows of quilts and aisles and aisles of vendors. My cousin and fiancé are not quilters but enjoyed themselves and found the displays fascinating. L would occasionally point out things about the quilts explaining patterns or techniques. For that I was grateful because I didn't want to seem too pushy about my craft and she's so good at explaining things without making people feel like idiots. Some of the quilts were absolutely stunning and awe-inspiring, others were whimsical and fun. Even the quilts on display in the vendors' booths were amazing.

I had great restraint in the vendor area, only bought seventeen and a quarter yards of fabric. I could have easily bought two or three times that. There was so much to see and look at and buy!

Jen and Stephen left around 2:30 for various last minute pre-wedding errands and fittings, and L and I stuck around for several more hours to see as much as wee could before we closed the show at 7:00. She took me back to the airport so I could pick up a rental car. I know what you're thinking: Why didn't I pick up one the night before? My Thursday-to-Sunday rental was $65 total. If I picked it up on Wednesday, it would have been about $100 more. I really lucked into a good special.

I made my way from the car rental lot back to the neighborhood where my hotel is on highways with hurricane-blown signage and found Kim Son, a Vietnamese restaurant and had dinner (see the post below for the review). When I got back to my room, I found I was locked out. The gal in the office couldn't find any reason I should have been locked out and let me in my room. She said they usually lock out folks for not paying but that didn't apply to me. Go figure.

When I eventually got into my room I dumped my booty out and visited with each of my purchases again. All in all, a good day with good people.

Ee-gads, it's almost 01:00 now. No wonder I'm tired. I'll add pictures to this in the morning. Goodnight.

Morning edit:

L is standing in front of A Slice of Life which won in the group category, each panel was made by a different person.

These little guys won first and second in the miniature category. First was Dancing Ribbons by Cindy Rounds Richards, I don't remember the name of the second place piece, and therefore can't match up who done it.

Aphrodite's Despair by Sue McCarty. I liked the machine quilting in this one.

Spirit of Mother Earth by Sharon Schamber won Best of Show, $10,000 prize.

Coconut Chicken Curry for Dinner @ Kim Son

After-dinner edit:
The sauce was fabulous, absolutely wonderful. The chicken, on the other hand was grisly and tough. I finished off most of the rice with the sauce, well past the point of being full.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Here I Go Again! From BWI A3

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Where are Stacy and Clinton When You Need Them?

What the heck do you wear to a 3:00 wedding in November in Houston?

Monday, October 27, 2008


When you give Anne an adjustable ball latch she'll want to install it.

Well, no one actually gave Anne an adjustable ball latch, she went out and bought two for the french doors in the bathroom so the doors will stay closed, but that little fact doesn't have the same literary ring, does it?

If she wants to install it, she'll have to take out the old one first.

When she takes out the old one she'll realize the new one is a bigger size and won't fit in the old hole.

When she needs to drill a larger hole she'll need a 13/16" drill bit.

13/16"? Are you kidding? 7/8" maybe, but who's got a 13/16" bit?

When she can't find her large diameter drill bits she'll ask her neighbor if he has that size. (Who does because he has a huge workshop in his garage.)

When she starts to drill the new hole she'll forget the drill was set to remove the old screws and wonder why the hole isn't getting any deeper.

When she changes the direction of the drill she'll drill too deep in the hollow door and drill through the top.

When she drills through the top of the door she'll make a mental note not to drop anything in the hole because it'll be lost forever.

When she tries the new catch in the new hole she'll realize she'll need to recess the strike plate so the door will close.

When she realizes she needs to recess the strike plate so the door will close she'll know she needs a chisel to increase the cutout from the old catch.

When she searches for a chisel, even though she doesn't think she has one, she finds her large diameter drill bits (1/2" and 1" so they wouldn't have helped at all).

When she goes to the hardware store to buy a chisel she will also buy two 4-drawer basket sets to hold her newly sorted and folded quilting fabric.

When she gets the two large boxes into the back of the compact car she'll make her son sit in the front seat and hold the cake which she'll need to drop off at church for the Halloween party.

When her son holds the cake he'll pokes holes in it and will get sticky.

When her son pokes holes in the cake Anne will stop at the grocery store on the way to the church to buy a can of frosting to cover the holes and will dig past the chisel in her purse to find money to pay for the frosting.

When she covers the holes in the cake she will get sticky.

When the holes are covered she will take her sticky self and her sticky son home in her sticky car.

When she gets home she will wash her hands and her son will unload the drawer kit boxes.

When the boxes are unloaded she will help her son put together the first unit together.

When the first unit is together she will set it in place and will fill it with fabric, blues and purples on the bottom, greens and yellows in the middle and pinks, oranges and reds above that.

When the drawers are full, she will sit down to work on the wedding quilt.

After she quilts for a while she will remember she should check her phone for messages.

When she reaches in her purse for her phone, she will see the chisel and will take it up to the bathroom to work on the door.

When she tries to see where to chisel she won't be able to so she'll go in search of reading glasses.

When she finds reading glasses next to her sudoku puzzle she'll try to place a couple numbers and gets stuck.

not really, but the diversion sounded good here

Now that she could see what she was doing, she'll remember she doesn't actually know how to chisel out a recessed area on a door.

But that won't stop her, she'll get it to work well enough to get the latch in and the door closed.

And after that, she will get the second drawer kit put together and the center part of her quilt done and she will sleep very well.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Kevin Shows off His Special 16th Birthday Dinner

As Time Goes By

I always loved the time lapse photography from school science films, flowers opening, things growing, well any time lapse is cool. I've often thought how cool it'd be to set up a camera and take pictures of everyday things throughout the day or even a year. One of my ideas is doing a photo series of set-up and take-down when our quilt guild does its annual show. The big thing holding me back from projects like that is a camera with an automatic timer to capture images every 10 minutes, so I just think about it instead.

That's why I'm trying to take a picture out my office window every morning, trying to capture the building destruction in progress.





Dad got pictures on his blog without my help! Check them out