Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Code of the Day

I haven't been able to post a lot because I've been working at work (and getting stuff done). To prove this point, here is my code that makes validating ±500 fields a lot easier. Don't get me started on why this is necessary in the first place when I should be able to use built-in checks. Suffice it to say, the guy is an idiot.

sub ah2_valid
my ( $c ) = @_;
my %errors;
my $data = $c->stash->{form}->get_values;
$c->log->info("*** ah2_valid ******");
foreach my $k (keys %{$c->req->body_params})
next unless $k =~ /^ah2/;
int_comma_err($data->{$k},\%errors,'ah2') if $data->{$k};
#print STDERR $c->req->body_params->{$k} . "\n";
return _set_custom_errors( $c , %errors ) ? 0: 's2/ag' ;

Happy New Year, if I don't get back here before Friday.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Work at Dawn

I got to the office at 6:30 this morning. As you know I love time-lapse movies so I set up my camera. This is what I got until the battery died.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

I'm not sure what shocked me more

In a moment of purging and recycling, I decided I would give away my wedding dress. I figured:
  1. I wasn't ever going to wear it again.
  2. I was never going to fit into it again.
  3. It's not that stunning so Fern probably wouldn't want to wear it.
  4. I didn't want to even come close to making Fern feel guilty for not wanting to wear it.
So I thought I'd look into one of those charitable organizations that collect special occasion dresses for women who need them.

Last weekend Dan was away on a golfing trip to Florida, the kids were occupied elsewhere, and there was a Say Yes to the Dress marathon on TLC. I cozied up and watched six or eight episodes back to back.

Say Yes is a reality show set in Kleinfelds in NYC where all types of brides with their mothers/sisters/fiances/fathers come in to find "the dress" with budgets between $1500 and $15,000. I'm not sure why I'm drawn to this show, but I am. Maybe it's the audaciousness of the brides or the conflict of opinions within the entourage, dunno. Somewhere in all of that, Fern appeared and watched with me. We critique the dresses: too much lace, too plain, nice beading, ugly neckline, good train, makes her butt look big, etc.

After a while I confess to her I'm planning on giving away my dress and I explain why. She says, "Can I try it on?" "Sure," I say. We release it from the almost-20 years of dry-cleaning plastic it's been hiding in.

I had my dress made for me from an ivory cotton damask. It has a classic "ballroom" silhouette (stuff you learn by watching such a show) but has full-length lace sleeves attached under the arm, a zillion buttons up the back, and has large bows adorning the bodice and the train.

So Fern tries it on and I get many, but not all, the buttons done, just enough to keep it on. I spread out the train and there she was. Beautiful.

I'm not sure what shocked me most: the fact it nearly fit her, I'm just a couple inches taller than she is, (was I really that skinny!?) or that she doesn't want me to give it away. "Mom, we can just take off the lace sleeves and the bows, and it's beautiful."

I love it when she surprises me like that, it's fun.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

8 to 5 and Quilting

Once upon a time, back in the glory days...

I was in the band in junior high and high school. My favorite part was marching: we marched at football games, in parades, and at show competitions. Every August we'd pack up for a week at band camp to get ready for the upcoming season.

First thing every year was learning (or re-learning) and perfecting the concept of "8 to 5." Football fields are marked off in 5-yard increments and marching music is usually written in 4-4 time, four beats per measure of music. When you put the two together, you can march eight steps in two measures of music and move five yards down the field. "8 to 5." Each step reached 22.5". Exactly. You started with the arch of your foot on the yard line and ended five yards later exactly with your arch on the line. Precision, baby, the best bands had it.

The first morning of band camp was always spent on the field without any instruments just marching back and forth across the field in the hot blazing sun practicing the step in straight lines. Yard after yard we would chant "half-way" on the forth step of each 5-yard increment and "hit it" on the eighth step. By the end of camp we could "hit it," the yard line, every time, without question, blindfolded if we had to. I could probably still mark off about five yards to this day.

So why am I fondly remembering marching band all the sudden? I've been quilting my mom's quilt.

I'm quilting this quilt with a pattern of overlapping circles. The easiest way to do that is to not quilt the circle, but to quilt arcs on each side of the seam line so they look like circles after you make the arcs in all directions. As I'm going along I am aiming for the intersection so I cross it perfectly and then arc on to the other side. I've been finding myself thinking "halfway" at the high point of the arc and "hit it" at each seam intersection. I can get a lot of quilting done when I get into a groove with this chant going on in my head instead of worrying about how much more there is to quilt. I'm not trying to finish it before Christmas, but it's nice to feel good about my progress and to reminisce about fun high school times.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Again, Really?

I getting a more than a little tired of the anonymous spam comment posts.

I've deleted three spams from the last blog post over the past couple days. sheesh.

The latest spam came from: ABTS-KK-Dynamic- Karnataka, Bangalore, India

Go away already.

The weird thing is I only see one "deleted comment" and not three. Oh well.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

User ID and Password

I got a replacement iPhone recently, right before the warranty expired. For some reason when I synced it back to the computer, the passwords didn't get restored. I have three email accounts that I can read on my phone. Evidently, the passwords are all different and I cannot remember one of the three. I should probably keep a list of what I've tried so I won't continue to torture myself with old guesses.

A month or so ago our modem died and I set up the new one. Yeah, now it's password protected, so I can't use the wi-fi on my phone at home until I can remember that password. I have a program on my Palm-Pilot that stores passwords for times like this. Except I hadn't entered this one in the first place.

Yesterday I needed to log into my employee express page to print out W-2's because we're refinancing our house (how can you pass up 4.25%, right?). I couldn't remember my user name or my password. I even got the security questions wrong so they have to mail me the info, instead of being able to retrieve it online. I checked my Palm and in the case of the employee express page, I had it entered twice, each with a different ID.

I had to log into my bank's site so I could print out statements for the past three months for the refi. You guessed it, forgot the password. My Palm to the rescue. But it was no help since the password had been reset. It only works when you keep it up to date.

Why am I having so much trouble with passwords this week? I did have the current password stored in my Palm for AmEx so I could pay a bill online so all was not bad. I hope I never forget the password to the application on the Palm.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Follow-Up

Egads, has it really been more than a week since I posted?

So much has happened, but yet, not too much out of the ordinary.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, we were to host my family. Neither of my brothers could make it so it was going to be my folks and the four of us. I called their house in the morning to find out what time they would be arriving, but there was no answer. No answer on Mom's cell phone, either.

Dad called later, from the hospital, Mom was in severe pain, she couldn't move her leg/hip. A couple hours later they called again, she was sent home with oxycodone and an order of bed-rest.

So the four of us had a quiet day at home, full traditional menu sans pumpkin pie. My parents were supposed to bring that. Kevin helped by peeling the potatoes, Fern made yeast rolls from the Joy of Cooking, Dan made his yummy stuffing. I made gravy. We forgot to cook the cauliflower or any green vegetables. Oh well.

We have oodles of turkey left over so I'm going to make oodles of turkey salad with my curry chicken salad recipe. I don't like turkey much, I need to have it doctored up with gravy, so looking at the large bag of leftovers is daunting. Might as well doctor it up, right? Oh, that reminds me, I need to get some pecans for the salad. Same with pork, I don't like it plain, got to doctor it up. My mom made pork chops by browning them, then baking them on a bed of rice in mushroom soup. (See? doctored up.) I haven't had that dish in a long time. hmmm. Need to add pork chops to the shopping list.

After we ate, I worked on a quilt top I had started at the quilt retreat last weekend. (Oh sheesh, I didn't even write about the quilt retreat, did I?) It's made from "homespun" type fabrics in orange, dark tan, forest green, and purple. It finished at the perfect size for a baby quilt, but it's pretty ugly for a baby quilt, being so dark and "homey" looking. I'll finish it up for a wall hanging. Darn, I really need to take pictures of these things so you can picture it when I write about them. One of these days I'll just post a slew of pictures and you'll have to figure out which posts they belong to. I might even award a prize.

I remembered to tune in to FOX at 4:00 for the Kaleidoscope ice skating show (see below). Did you? The football game ran long so the show had a delayed start. Fern and I found ourselves in the audience a couple of times, the most visible at 4:55 and 5:34. In the latter shot, you can see me holding up my camera following Scott Hamilton skate and do a back flip with Fern right next to me. I videoed that program of his which I'll need to upload so you can see it too. Darn, one more thing to remember, that camera is in my other jacket pocket. This picture was taken with my phone during one of the teleprompter segments where Scott was introducing one of the skaters. They did most of the intros at the other end of the rink with the stage behind them but did two at our end. These bits must have been cut because I didn't see it last night. Fern and I think they actually cut out a lot of pieces, including one skater entirely. Oh well.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On Thin Ice

I talked to the manager at Zaytinya about the missing money (see yesterday's post). She said she'd send me a $50 gift card, she wanted me to come back and try the restaurant again. She said she'd find out what happened in the mean time. I forgot to tell her I'd like to know, too.

After dinner, Fern and I hurried over to the Verizon Center for an ice skating show. I'm on the VC's email list so I got to buy pre-sale tickets. Turns out they were in the front row, rink-side, a little secret I kept from Fern, I wanted to surprise her.

Also, it turns out this was no ordinary ice show, but it was a show for the filming of the Kaleidoscope Thanksgiving special to be shown at 4:00 pm on your local FOX station on Thanksgiving Day. Kaleidoscope is a cancer survivorship celebration thing, which I didn't know about, either. I thought I was just taking Fern to an Ice-Capade kind-of-show.

Scotty Hamilton and Dorothy Hamel were both there, hosting and skating. Dorothy's still got it, let me tell you. Her split jumps were not as high as some of the younger skaters, but she was just gorgeous on the ice, smooth, effortless, just beautiful. I thought she skated better than Nancy Kerrigan. You can watch the show next week yourself and tell me what you think.

Fern had a good time, giving me the play-by-play of the skating: "that's a triple loop..." or "...a double axel...." It was fun to see her enjoy the performances. I'm glad we got to go.

There were several retakes of the skater introductions and long breaks between numbers so the whole thing lasted over three hours, but through the magic of TV, the special is supposed to be 90 minutes. We didn't stay afterwards when they were going to retake the shots of skaters' falls, so I didn't get to see what that was like. I'm wondering if I'll be able to tell where the skaters' programs were fixed.

Anyway, look for us, Fern and I are on the front row near the far corner away from the stage where a couple of the American Idol singers sang.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tip of the Iceberg

Yesterday was my birthday, and before I go into a head-long explanation about what a delightful day it was (except for one thing), I want to get your opinion on something.

Fern and I are eating dinner at Zaytinya in downtown DC. Long story short, the bill comes, it's $41.80. I only have twentys so I put three in the folder and wait for my change. The waitress brings me back a five and six ones for a total of $11. Needless to say I expected $18.20. What the heck? I took my change and left, because I really didn't have time to wait around for a manager or an explanation, we had a show to get to.

What do you think I should do now? What would you do? I know where I'm going to start, but I'm not sure how far I should take my complaint.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Secret Lives

Have you ever had a secret to keep?

I'm not talking about a minor one like I have a stash of Reese Cups in the back of the fridge, but a long-term secret.

But I'm not talking about a deep, dark family secret that you've had to live with for years, or even generations, either, like My great-great grand uncle was the illegitimate son of Walt Chrysler and we still get a check every month to keep quiet or something less traumatic like Grandma loved me best so I got seven and a half times the inheritance my brothers each got.

No, I'm talking about a regular secret but the outcome won't be for a while, like I just scored front-row seats for myself and a special someone to see Bon Jovi when they are on tour next spring.

When you first get a secret like this to keep, you're antsy, jittery, even jumpy, afraid you'll spill it at any second. Then, you're absolutely sure someone, will catch on to the reason you're so jumpy. You're afraid the recipient of the tickets will try to buy their own and you have to start cooking up reasons why going to see Bon Jovi is a bad idea just in case you need to use them.

After you've had the secret for a while and the coast seems clear, you get a false sense of calm. You're not jumpy anymore, you're not bursting with anticipation.

One day, the radio station will have a contest to give away tickets to the concert and you almost say out loud Oh, I don't need to call in, I already have FRONT ROW SEATS! but you catch yourself just in time and the secret is not divulged.

Life goes on for you and your secret. You even forget about it, may book something else for the same night, (or book a vacation that week), or you may even get so lax about it that the topic will come up in casual conversation and you start to say, I know, I can't wait to go but have to change your words mid-sentence.

Ever have a secret like that?

I'm just asking.


Friday, November 06, 2009

Bolder or Dumber?

I imagine this conversation:

"Maurice, go scout out some food for us."

"Sure, be right back. Mmmm, butter."

"Hey, Betty, Maurice never came back, can you go check on him and bring back some food for us?"

"Sure, be right back. Mmmm, butter."

"Hey Steve, wonder what happened to Maurice and Betty. Maybe they got lost in the dark. Maybe you should go and check it out while there are still lights on and they're watching TV."

"Sure, be right back. Mmmm, butter."

So that's how Steve got caught in the trap after dinner last night. Maybe Steve really had a mousy name, like Micky or Squooshie. Or he really was a "Minnie."
I didn't ask.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Fixin' Stuff

Yesterday, if you hadn't heard, the Montgomery County traffic signal computer crashed. On the same day, the Metro (buses & subway system) communication computer crashed. I immediately thought it was sabotage, someone was up to something no good. Maybe I watch too much TV. Oh, speaking of which, have you been watching Flash Forward? It's on Thursdays at 8:00. And this morning Dan told me they have a character on 90210 with my maiden name. How cool is that? And this is a week after they had a character with my daughter's name. Neither computer problem affects me, but I hope they fix the computers soon. Well, maybe I don't, Mo. county folks are snooty enough, wouldn't dare live in PG county, well, HA, look who's laughing now.

Another thing fixed: I got the link in my sidebar working to my brother's new blog. He got the posting-by-email thing working too, so now he can take a picture with his blackberry and email it straight to his blog, which he did.

We had to delete another mouse this morning, I can't wait until we get their entry-way fixed, my handywoman is coming next week. Can't wait! I'm tired of these varmints helping themselves to shelter in my house. Yuck.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Another Place to Visit

I'm trying to get my brother started in the blogging world.

He's a long distance trucker and does runs all over the east coast. I thought it would be cool if he'd post pictures of where he goes every day. I get calls from him, "I was in Maine yesterday, the leaves are still pretty," and I'd think "show me!"

He'll be posting at Beagle Adventures when he figures everything out. Hopefully I'll get my sidebar link to his page working tomorrow.

Please stop by and visit him sometime.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Ceramics Mob

Saturday Kevin and I went to the ceramics studio for firing day, the day when the high-fire and raku kilns get fired. Kevin and I did a couple raku pieces (pictures later) and they turned out great.

Remember back in June when I posted about my car's twin parked at the art center?

Turns out, the car belongs to Eunice, a delightful woman who also takes ceramics classes. I think she likes it as much as I do that our cars have a twin, and we joke about driving the right car home.

On firing days we park behind the studio near the kiln instead of the front public lot. At the end of the day, it's easier to load your car that way. She opened the back of her car to load her supplies and I hollered over jokingly, "Get out of my car, Eunice!" She just turned around and grinned.

I need to pause her and explain about echolalia if you don't know already. Many people with autism will echo what they hear without the same inflection the original speaker used. If I ask Kevin, "How was your day, Kevin?" he'll reply "How was your day, Kevin." with a very flat voice. I'll have to repeat the question before he realizes it was a question for him to answer and not just blindly echo back. He is a full-fledged teenager now and his voice is so low, his echos come out quiet and almost gravely.

So, on Saturday when he hears me holler to Eunice, he repeats it a moment later in a voice that's so quiet, low and flat, it sounded like a mob threat: "Get out of my car, Eunice."


Monday, November 02, 2009

Too Much Top Chef?

I woke from a dream the other morning, but didn't remember much of it until later in the day when I was cooking in the kitchen. That's when I remembered Bryan Voltaggio was there, but not his brother Michael. Mike Isabella may have been there, too.

Bryan, Michael, and Mike are "cheftestants" on the current season of Top Chef and are from the DC area. I can't remember what the dream was about, nor any dream for that matter, I just tend remember people and/or places, and in this case I remember hanging out with Bryan, the better-looking Voltaggio brother, and having a very nice time.

Don't tell my husband.


Life in the Age of Technology

I found myself asking my husband to delete the mouse in the mousetrap over the weekend.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Connected or Not

Our modem died at home so we've had no DSL for the past week or so. It's amazing how we've become accustomed to having the 'Net available all the time, surf this, look up that. Now I've had to read my FaceBook feeds on my phone, as well as other web look-ups. Not so fun on a 3" screen.

I like that some sites/companies have streamlined sites for mobile devices, but sometimes they are too streamlined. Amazon and mobile eBay are fine if you know what you're looking. I don't always. I like to surf around.

Oh, and I can't print out quilting patterns from my phone, either.

We started having trouble with our service around the same time we turned down Verizon's generous offer of Fios service, phone and 'Net for $80/month. Currently we pay $50 for phone and DSL, and that includes taxes. Why do we need to pay more, right? Dan assures me it's purely coincidental our DSL service is going out at the same time they want us to upgrade to Fios. Really?

Anyway, after resetting the modem and router on my own, I called Verizon the other night for help. The guy stepped me through the modem reset procedure and tried to get a connection but it failed, we need a new modem. Good news is, they are going to send us one. The bad news, another weekend without the 'Net.

We've been toying with the idea of a DVD recorder for a while and Dan saw an ad for one at Kmart a couple weeks ago, but we missed the window. If we have one and get it hooked up, we can save stuff to disc from the DVR and therefore not worry about disk space.

Yesterday I was at Costco ordering new glasses for The Girl and noticed they had a Sony DVD recorder. I bought it. I didn't unload it right away, it sat in the trunk for a couple hours until the hubbub of the evening settled down. By the time I brought it in, the store was closed. I mention this because there is no manual in the box. And we have no Internet so I can't print off a new copy. Grrr.

Now I'm back to work, and Internet access, but I can't remember the model number of the DVD recorder I bought. Sheesh.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Can I add any more links to this post?

It was such a lovely evening last night, after the the frigid rainy mess we had last weekend, it was a delight to walk around Capitol Hill with my kids and drink in the balmy air.

I have a guy who cuts my hair, and has been, on and off, for nearly 25 years. I did cheat on him with Nick Arrojo a couple of times, but I'm not going to let that bother me. I love catching up with Evan, hearing about his wife and kids, wow, they are getting so old now, but I guess we all are. I've kept with him from shop to shop, wherever he worked, and now he has had his own shop, Randolph Cree, on Capitol Hill near Eastern Market for many years. I'm please for him it's going so well.

I've needed a haircut for a while and Fern's been bugging me, too, she wants her hair cut also. So I finally remembered to call and made simultaneous appointments for us. Kevin went with us and sat still with a promise of a burger from Good Stuff Eatery afterwards. He'll do pretty much anything for a burger and fries, even sit in still in a hair salon for an hour. (Kevin could have stayed home with Dan, but my ulterior motive was to keep him from crashing in my bed at 7:00. I hate that.)

Good Stuff, or "Spike's" as we call it, is several blocks away down Pennsylvania Avenue. It's run by the Mendelsohn family, but Spike is most famous because of his appearance on Top Chef a couple seasons ago. The burgers are great and the Village fries are to die for. You should stop by if you're ever by there.

But I still couldn't believe how pleasant it was out last night, folks were dining outside and I hardly needed a jacket. Except for the fact there was homework to be done and Flash Forward to watch, I really didn't feel compelled to hurry home. I'm gonna miss this when winter rolls in.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Need for Technology

Think about this for a second: Sewing a patch on a pocket.

You either have to sew the pocket closed or take the pocket off.

I've mentioned before about me sewing badges for Girl Scouts. Now the word is starting to get out to moms of Boy Scouts and I've gotten five Boys' jobs in the last couple weeks. The Boys have a lot of stuff on their sleeves, which are a pain to work with so I charge $2/patch instead of the base price I charge the girls of $1/patch.

BSA has a new uniform shirt, created for for today's guy. They've put a "technology" pocket on the sleeve, complete with an earphone cord eyelet. Well, that's real sweet, very forward thinking, really, but dumb as a box of rocks. This "technology" pocket is gusseted and is on the left sleeve, where a position patch goes, like a patrol leader patch or a scoutmaster patch.

Did I forget to mention these Boys' patches don't iron on? The Girls' patches iron on, granted, they don't stick well if you don't follow the directions, which is the reason I have created this little service in the first place, but they do iron on. I typically iron-on the girl's patch, then sew around it so it stays after washing.

I can't do that with these stupid pockets. Who thought of that, anyway! Oh, yeah, Boys.

My friend told me the Boys do have stuff called 'Badge Magic' for placing patches on pockets. I told a mom I could have her son's shirt ready by Thursday. I wonder if I can find this stuff by then? Where do I even look?

In the mean time, I have a pocket full of checks from moms who pay me to do this service for them, it's a nice way to get a little play money, so I can't complain too much. But still, patches on pockets? Really?


Post script: Badge Magic is a mail-order thing and not very cheap. I'll stop at the craft store on the way home and get some washable permanent fabric glue for less than ½ the price.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mid-week Rambling

I'm so behind in blogging. I'm still doing the single mom thing, Dan doesn't come home until tomorrow night late. I'm kinda caught up on laundry, maybe just one regular load and one utility load to do and the hampers will be empty. I can't get too excited about that though, Dan'll be bringing home a suitcase full of more laundry.

The local power company has been doing work in our town to improve the reliability of the power supply. That means they are ripping down the trees within twenty feet of the lines.

Here's our backyard before:

Here's our backyard after:

Entrance to the neighborhood before:


Depressing, isn't it?

We're getting $100 per tree they took out. They call them vouchers, but really we have to pay for any new trees out-of-pocket and they will pay us back up to the limit with proof we've installed trees from the approved list. Nobody bothered to mention to us the value of ten full-grown trees is about $10,000 and $1000 in vouchers won't even come close to providing shade and a privacy barrier like we had before. Furthermore, the price of the tree does not include installation. I went to one nursery to check out what they had in stock and their labor charges. I calculated each tree installed will be about 175% of the original price.

I've envisioned filling that space with a row of pink crape myrtles. They grow pretty fast and are so pretty in the summer. Two problems: the smallest size starts at $150 ($262 installed) and I'd need/want seven for a total of about $1840 which is way over our allowance, and they are out of pink ones and I don't like the white or purple crape myrtles.

I started considering other options, different varieties of trees and large shrubs. I started poking around on the 'Net and one click lead to another and I found a coupon offered by the state of Maryland for $25 if you plant a tree on their list. Many of trees on the state's list match the trees on the power company's approved list.

There is a nursery, one with a more expensive reputation, that takes the state coupons. I poke around on their site. Well, they have plenty of the pink crape myrtles in stock, which start at $130, are on sale and can be installed for about 128% of the original price. It looks like I can go back to my original plan, or at least start planning based on my original idea.

Maybe I should look into fruit trees while I'm at it....

Saturday, October 10, 2009


The house is quiet, I haven't even turned the radio yet. The refrigerator kicks on, it seems so loud when there's nothing else. I hear the mailman's truck stopping and going outside. I've just dropped the kids off at their Saturday morning activities, Fern to skating and Kevin to Swim-n-Gym, so I'm "free" until I have to retrieve them. Dan left this morning for a conference in San Francisco for the week. I'm torn between taking it easy this morning with some quilting and trying to get some stuff done while no one is in my way.

Maybe I'll do both.


Monday, October 05, 2009

Attitude Change

I played a lot of golf this weekend, 18 holes with Dan at Bowie CC and 18 with Mark and AM at Glen Dale. I normally don't to play so much in a month, much less a weekend. Both times I was lousy on the front nine and much better on the back: 64/51 & 63/50. or something like that.

When I started playing golf I got the pretty colored balls specifically marketed to women. They had a clear cover over a pastel color which made them "sparkle." I loved playing with them, and for some reason I found them easier to find than the white balls. Maybe it was the "sparkle." I never hit the ball so far I couldn't find it, but occasionally I did. I hated losing these balls, it broke my heart, it felt like a piece of my soul was forever drowned in a water hazard or lost in the woods never to be found again. OK, OK, I'm being overly dramatic, but still, you get the idea, I hate losing golf balls.

(When AM and I were in Florida I lost my last two yellow balls, both to ball-eating trees, large palm trees with enough nooks and crannies to swallow more than just a few balls. Didn't matter how long I begged, the tree wasn't giving up it's new possession.)

On the other hand, or maybe I should say in the other hand, I often find other people's balls (OPBs) when I'm looking for my own. They were easy to identify, they were white, often with initials, dots, lines and other scribbles. This weekend I played predominately with OPBs. I didn't stress when then one got lost in the lake on No.4 at Glen Dale on Sunday. And it felt good not to stress over them. I almost don't want to put the last box of pink balls in the garage into my bag so I won't start stressing again. Who needs more stress?

I'm still doing the 'happy dance' over that 50 yesterday on the back nine. hee-haw!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A note about the picture below.

Many years ago, maybe ten, I bought an applique pattern for an amaryllis. After I opened it I quickly realized it was going to be a bit harder than I thought for a beginner appliquer. At that point in my quilting career I should have stuck with patterns with five or fewer pieces.

I chose the pattern in the first place because the amaryllis flower is so regal and beautiful. They are quite easy to grow, but tricky to get to bloom again after the first year. My mom grows a lot of them, so the quilt was to be for her. The quilt pattern is regal, too. It is large, finishing at about 30" tall. But, over the years I pretty much resigned to the fact I wasn't really going to do this pattern. I really prefer straight lines of pieced patterns instead.

Then, sometime in the past year we had a speaker at our quilt guild who designs applique patterns. I thought applique is not for me, I should just go home. She talked about her design process and how she uses fusible web and sewing machine in her pieces instead of turning under the raw edge of fabric by hand for each piece of the pattern to sew it down.

I was sold. Debra Gable's method saved me, I didn't need to feel guilty about the amaryllis anymore, because I knew I could finish it. Debra has a whole line of patterns depicting cities in the form of postage stamps. Very cool. I bought the one of Baltimore. Maybe I'll finish that one, too. But in the mean time, I'm about more than halfway done with the flower, and am very excited with my progress.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Of Work and Golf

Wow, I can't believe how quickly I get behind in the blogging world. I worked from home yesterday and got a lot of real work done. Sometimes I think I get more done from home than at the office. Something about the combination of not having the office distractions and not wanting my working-from-home privileges revoked if I don't get a decent quantity of work done. Anyway, the point is, I didn't take the time to waste time blogging.

AM and I flew to Florida on Friday for a weekend golf trip. We flew into West Palm Beach and stayed at the PGA resort. They have four courses on-site and one more ten minutes away. We played the Palmer on Saturday and the Squire on Sunday, the two "easiest" courses. Ha. Lots of water in play is never easy.

It was hot, humid and rainy on Saturday. Thunderstorm-kind of rainy. We finished our round after 7:00. Actually, we really didn't finish since we stopped after 16 holes with more thunder in the area. And this was with an 10:28 tee time and a major storm delay. Newsflash: Florida is humid. I'll never wear a nylon golf outfit to golf in again, even if it was a gift from AM, and as cute as it may be. I was so sweaty-stinky at the end of the day, eesh. I needed tongs to remove it from the laundry bag. Cotton is better for me.

Sunday we had an 8:12 tee time and finished at 12:15. No rain! We were paired with a couple who lived on the course and evidently plays there a lot. After several holes the wife started pushing us to play faster, "We're behind pace...we're 15 minutes behind...we have to do everything we can to pick up the pace...." She had lipstick on her teeth. She bugged me. I started out playing well on the first several holes but then I went downhill, coincidentally with her nagging. This other couple decided two twosomes can play faster than one foursome so they played on ahead of us at 11. We never saw them again, good riddance, and we still finished in good time, no course marshall ever scolded us. The nice thing about them leaving was my mojo came back. I hit great drives after that, even got a par on a par 4 hole and a one-over on a par 5 hole. I finished the back nine with a 51.

We had plenty of time to drive around West Palm before going back to the airport. We got to see the famous Worth Drive where all the fancy-schmancy shops are. But it was a ghost town, the shops weren't open on Sundays so there was hardly anyone around. We found a nice upscale Italian place open for lunch with valet parking, but the valet was getting off work so we parked ourselves for free.

The flight home was uneventful, unless you count a thunderstorm over Tampa which delayed our incoming jet, which delayed our departure by almost two hours, and then the baggage carousel got stuck at BWI making us wait 45 minutes for our suitcases. The golf clubs came our almost immediately at the large item door. No wonder folks like to carry bags on.

Now it's Wednesday already. What's up with that?


Rainbow at the end of Saturday

Ball-eating Tree

Friday, September 18, 2009

Real Women Don't Use Body Wash

I had the privilege of taking a shower in my own bathroom this morning. I wasn't so lucky yesterday. Kevin insisted on taking a shower in my bathroom when he woke up and since the timing was such, I really couldn't wait until he was finished so I used The Girl's bathroom instead. It's not really hers, it's the one in the hall for everyone to use, but she thinks it's hers and she has her crap is all over it.

Even with all that stuff, I didn't know I had to take my own toiletry bag with me, nothing was familiar. I didn't think using her bathroom would be such a problem. Or Adventure. The shampoo was OK, I figured out which bottle that was, I even found conditioner, but she uses body wash instead of bar soap. Does that stuff really get you clean? I don't think so, I could still feel the day-old deodorant from Wednesday after using the body wash. Yuck.

On the other hand, it's good to know my deodorant will last that long if I ever find myself in a situation needing it to go the distance, like in one of those action movies where the innocent, oblivious housewife accidentally gets sucked into a hijacking/kidnapping incident on the way to get the paper in her quiet suburban neighborhood and then finds herself holding a highly coveted secret Swiss account number and a French passport with her picture inside while hanging upside down from a helicopter buzzing the Pentagon then gets delivered back home, complete with an invitation to a Whitehouse dinner in her honor, by the FBI in a big black SUV moments before the kids' afternoon school bus rounds the corner. Thank goodness my deodorant is still working. I gotta go run a brush through my hair, I'll be right back.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

If your last name begins with 'W'

I got this email yesterday for a class offered here at work. I don't need it but I'm thinking Mr. Joe Wilson, Mr. Kanye West, and Ms. Serena Williams should enroll:

Communicating with Diplomacy and Tact
October 14 - 15, 2009
9:00am – 4:00pm

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I usually don't go for sappy, sorry

Patrick Swayze died last night from pancreatic cancer. I know he made other movies but I remember him mostly from Ghost and Dirty Dancing.

A couple weeks before school started this fall we were in southwest Virginia for Dan's family reunion. As part of that trip we drove past Mountain Lake, the resort what was used for some of the exterior shots of Dirty Dancing.

At the time Dan suggested I write a post appealing to my women readers who all have that movie in their wheelhouse. He suggested I post pictures of the resort from the movie along with the ones I took that day. I hadn't gotten around to finding the "before" pictures but in light of Mr. Swayze's death, I'll post the two I have now.

This is the front exterior of Mountain Lake resort, complete with Kevin romping on the grounds.

This is the gazebo that used to be at the lake shore where Johnny and Baby were shown practicing the famous dance lift. Jennifer Gray was quoted this morning on the news about what a great guy he was and how cold the water was. The lake has been losing water for the past several years, though, the current level is as high as it is because of the winter melts and spring rains this year.

As it happened, Dirty Dancing was on TV a week or two later and Fern got to experience what every girl my age did back then, except this time I knew all the words to all the songs. She thought it was lame. I guess teenagers nowadays don't go for nice stories with hunky guys?

Rest in peace, Patrick Swayze.