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


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thar She Goes!

The deconstruction of the old office building continues, but now I have a front-row view:

Several of us gathered round to watch, unfortunately, you can't hear the whole conversation of my office mates so what you can hear doesn't make sense:

A Peek of the Wedding Quilt in progress

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's about time!

Look everybody, my daddy's got new photos up on his blog!

I've been trying to get my dad to regularly post his photos on his blog so I can see them; I don't get to see them in person very often. He doesn't cooperate with my wishes so I have to call him every couple months and walk him through the posting steps. I keep telling him if he posts everyday he wouldn't need me to help every time. Parents, sheesh!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend Stuff, Oh, and a Rant

Brrrrr. It was cold this morning, 34°! I had to pull out my gloves and hat for my walk.

Fern got me to take her and two friends to the movie on Friday night; we saw The Secret Life of Bees. She wanted to see it because it had Dakota Fanning in it, the other characters were played by Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, and Alicia Keys. Given the demographic of the actors, the demographic of the audience was about the same. I didn't want to believe the stereotype that black audiences talk back to the movie, but they do. Oh well, the movie was still good, I enjoyed it. Nobody told me I was going to need to take tissues with me.

I went through my stash to find a fabric for the back of the wedding quilt I'm working on for my cousin. I have fabric stashed away in lots of different bins with no real method of organization. I always have to pull it all out to find what I want, and make a real mess in the process. That would be on top of the mess that already exists. Sheesh. So I decided it was time to sort the stash with some meaningful system: by color.

I need large vessels to put the fabric in as I pull it out. I need something large, cheap, but sturdy. I looked in the dollar store and the largest things I could find were baskets the size of mixing bowls and gift bags. Not gonna work. Then I took a field trip to the mega dollar store and scored a dozen small laundry baskets. I got most of my fabric sorted and found my biggest pile was of greens, followed by blues, and a pile a pieces that clearly have more than one dominate color and I don't know what basket to put them in.

Now I've got to figure out how to store the fabric so I can find what I'm looking for when I'm looking for it. But first I have to fold all these pieces into same-sized bundles. That's going to take forever. I actually have a smaller stash than lots of my quilting friends, but still, it'll take forever to fold up neatly.

I got the greens and purples folded and put back into their baskets, then changed gears. I got the wedding quilt basted and started quilting it. The pattern I picked will take a while to execute, but it should look good when it's finished.

Last night Dan and I went to the Rams Head to see Rodney Crowell. It was a good show, I didn't know his music ahead of time but enjoyed myself, nonetheless. He played for a long time so we got home later than expected and both kids were still up. Oh well. Kevin had given himself a nap after church so he was very much awake at 11:30 and I have no idea when he actually went to bed. He did make the bus this morning, though. That's the important thing, right?

I just spent far too long on the phone with the high school. Our high school is the largest in the state and until when and where they decide to build another school, our 9th graders have classes at The Annex, 10th 11th, and 12th grades are at the main building, along with all the special-ed kids. It's the only school in the district with a split campus.

Well, it seems the lunch accounts systems are separate for the two buildings. Kevin is classified as a 9th grader so his lunch account is at the annex even though he eats at the main building. Which means he has not been able to use the automated account system yet; we have to keep sending in money instead of a check, and I don't want to send in anything bigger than a $20. Dan got fed up with it and started asking who we (I) call to get this fixed.

It took calls on three different days to get a real person to answer the phone. Still, the person I spoke with passed me on to someone else and that person said she wasn't the correct person. Somebody in the registrar's office will have to set the mobility flag so the lunch system will work. Kevin isn't the only one in this boat, why do I have to call? Why can't they just do it for all the special-ed 9th graders? Why does system have to be split? Why doesn't the school district care and fix the system? Oh that one's easy. It only involves one school.

And, for what it's worth, this post might hold the record for the number of labels I tacked on to any given post.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I just realized, in the photo below with the geese, you can see my orange car parked in the garage.

OK, in the world of blogging, this a pretty sad post topic, but I guess it's better than waiting a week between posts, right?


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Please say it ain't so

Here in our new office building there are several kitchens on every floor. They're not real kitchens, per se, more of a "pantry." They have a sink, a microwave, a refrigerator, cabinets, and three trash bins, but no real stove or oven.

This morning I was bent over, nose to glass, watching my water heat up for tea. I wanted to open the door early if the water came to a boil before time was up.

The fridge opens away from the rest of the kitchen so I couldn't see who said "Hello Anne," while they put their lunch in, and I didn't recognized their shoes.

How did they recognize me? By my big butt sticking out?


Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Over a month ago I posted about Geese Police, dogs that are brought in to disturb the habits of the resident geese population so they'll move out. There is a pond on the far side of our building, about a quarter mile from here, where the geese usually like to hang out.

I occasionally post pictures taken from my office window to show the progress of landscaping efforts and now we're starting to see progress of the demolition of the old building.

So, here you go, displaced geese and torn-out windows:

Compare that with the shot from July:

You can see the rest of the sequence here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Kevin Being Kevin

Friday night Fern went off on a sleepover so Dan, Kevin and I headed out to play par-three golf. It was the first time I'd played in a while and since Dan and I were playing Monday, I thought it was good to get some practice in. Monday was Columbus Day, the only true "federal holiday," of the school year, a federal holiday for us, a school day for the kids. But I digress, back to golf.

For Kevin we brought a putter and a 6-iron. He'd tee off with his six and sometimes he'd hit it well, forty or fifty yards, other times only five. He would run ahead and hit his ball again and again until it was on the green, always running from shot to shot. Since it was late in the day, I didn't bother the other players when I had to holler at Kevin to stop and wait for us when he got his ball on the green. He enjoys things like that so much, it's nice to watch him have fun.

Kevin's been having more autistic/OCD bouts lately. They manifest mostly at bedtime when he should be taking a shower but "checking" on us, mostly Dan, instead. We have to be in bed just right, on our backs, arms and legs fully under the covers. Then he'll head off to the bathroom and we'll get comfortable again and instead of showering, he'll check on us again. And again, fixing us each time. Normally Kevin is the most happy-go-lucky kid I know and his autism is a non-issue. But when he gets into these cycles where he can't let go and move on, it just drives me nuts. And Dan too. Especially at bedtime when we're all tired. Fern will go to bed eventually when you remind her enough times. Kevin, not so much. Sometimes I just want to snap my fingers and say "Stop being autistic and GO. TO. BED!"

Kevin doesn't care what he's wearing, colors and patterns don't have to match, pants don't have to be long enough. I usually suggest shirts and pants so he won't stand out as the "weird kid" but other times it's not worth the fight of changing clothes when what he's wearing is almost acceptable. Like when he came down the other day wearing pants that were long enough but a but big around the middle. I asked him if he wanted a belt but when I got close enough to him, I realized those pants were mine.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Recent Photos

I've unloaded my cameras and have images to share.

A new quilt

My cousin is getting married in a couple weeks so I started putting together this quilt for her on Monday. It's based on Ricky Tims's Convergence quilts.
After step one:

After step two:

Seattle: From the "Big" Camera

Early Morning Skyline:

Lorraine's Child harvesting hidden grapes:

Basket of Apples:

From the Reservation

The construction, or deconstruction, of the former office building is an interesting subject for photos.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I learned something yesterday

You can't covertly peer under the partition in the bathroom to see if you recognize the shoes of the person throwing up a couple stalls down because the automatic flusher will give your presence away.

Friday, October 03, 2008

I Want to be an Air Traffic Controller

United Airlines broadcasts communications from the tower and cockpit on channel 9 on the armrest console. I like to listen because it's different from the usual canned music on other channels and it's more interesting than the flight attendants trying to get stupid passengers to load their suitcases wheels first in the overhead bins.

At first I'm not sure what I'm listening to, but slowly get acclimated to the rhythm of the controllers' and pilots' patter. The rhythm is fast, the speech is brief, professional and friendly.

All our passengers are loaded, the doors are closed, and our cellphones are off. In my ears I hear United 356 requests permission to push back. Permission is granted, and I feel the plane move away from the jetway. We are given cryptic instructions for taxiing to runway 16 left. Eventually I hear "United 356, you're cleared for take-off, have a nice flight." As we lift off I can see a line of school buses leaving a school and four empty, lush golf courses. Maybe I'll get to golf over the weekend.

The longer I listen the more I get accustomed to the language and I start to comprehend what I hear. Every communication from the control center starts by the flight number and the instruction, followed by the pilot repeating her/his flight number and confirming the instruction. Often this is followed by friendly bit, like "United 356, you're cleared for take-off, have a nice flight." Sometimes the reply would be very informal with a simple "OK." Othertimes the reply would be like old friends saying good-bye: "Alaska fourteen-fifty-one, roger, I'll be back in a couple days, see ya then."

The airport tower controls the planes on the ground, on approach, and taking off; they control the planes they can see. After leaving the airport airspace the pilots are given another frequency and handed off to another control center.

The tower at SEA-TAC gets us in the air to flight level 15-7, turns us left to a heading of zero-five-zero and sends us to Seattle center. Seattle Center takes us up to flight level three-seven-zero and eventually hands us off to Salt Lake Center. Salt Lake passes us off to Denver, and finally Denver Approach.

Whenever a plane would get handed off to another controller for another sector or at another control center the communication always had the same staccato form.
"United 356 contact Denver center one-two-six-point-five."
"United 356 twenty-six-five, good night."
"Denver control this is United 356 at three-seven-zero."
"United 356, light chop above three-three-zero."
"United 356, thank you."

About a half-hour before we are scheduled to land I hear the controller directing the pilot to start the decent and later the hand-off to Denver approach. The woman at Denver approach quickly rattles off a string of instructions I'd not yet heard and couldn't decipher, but our pilot repeats the instructions verbatim, and we end up at our appointed gate.

For every part of the flight the pilot would always confirm the instruction given, getting a repeat or correction if needed, and the task would be done. I wish children did that.

"Child oh-one, turn left at stairs, maintain heading to level two, bedroom three right."
"Child oh-one, left at stairs to level two, bedroom three-right, good night."
"Child oh-two, turn left at stairs, maintain heading to level two, bedroom two-left."
"Child oh-two, left at stairs to level two, bedroom two-left, good night."

Putting kids to bed would not be easier.

BWI Gate D13 at 1:20 am

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Yummy Praline Chicken a la Lorraine

Preparing Dinner at Chez Lorraine

Hey, There's a Cobweb You Missed

Lunch at Taco del Mar

Carry-out Breakfast from WholeFoods Market

Seen Better Days

View from the morning walk. You can caption it yourself