Thursday, February 26, 2009


can't my kid turn in her homework?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ta Daa!

If you like photo sequences, here's two more in the old work building deconstruction project I can see from my office window. I haven't posted any in a while because it just looks like the same big pile of rocks to me every day, but they are making progress, I think. Yesterday:


Here is a earlier post that showed many shots of the deconstruction.

I picked up some of the ceramic pieces Fern and I made in our class. The rest of my pieces got fired in the high fire kiln and they're not ready yet. They only fire it up at the higher temperature once a month or so. It was scheduled to go on Saturday with a cool-down Sunday and Monday, but I heard they had trouble with the gas Saturday and may not have gotten the kiln fired. I'm anxious to see my pieces.

This is a close-up of one of the corner blocks I designed with all the partial seams on the quilt I'm making for my mom.

Here's the whole thing. I spent about an hour last night trimming up some of the seams that I'd missed. And, in the process, un-sewed and re-sewed several seams that didn't meet my momentary high standards.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I didn't realize I hadn't posted since Wednesday!


Over the weekend I finally finished that monster Girl Scout vest I'd had for months, the one with about 70 patches to sew on. It is such a relief to be done with that. I've officially raised my rates to $35 per year, up from $25. It is just too much stress with some of these girls and all the patches they earn. Some girls just bring their vests by once a year, but others have many sets of patches several times a year. I've been told by several parents it's still a deal and they don't mind paying me more.

The quilt top for Mom's quilt is all in one piece now. I need to trim up some edges and seams, but the important thing is that it's done, or whole, or in one piece, you get the picture. I need to unregister it for our guild's quilt show next month, however. There is no way I can get it quilted to my satisfaction by the 20th. I have two finished off my other two entries as well, which are a lot closer to done, so the third quilt, just ain't happenin'.

Kevin participated in the Special Olympics basketball qualifier on Saturday. He does the Skills event; the other events are 5v5 and 3v3. One of the coaches told me they want Kevin to move toward the 3v3 team events, but he just doesn't have the wherewithal to comprehend defense and competition for the team events. This year Special Olympics has a new event, a transition 3v3 team, with two special athletes and one player-coach, who is in the same age group as the athletes. These player-coaches play in the games but cannot shoot. What basketball-loving teenager, who is willing to help, will be able to hold back on shooting when they have the ball? Our coaches haven't found anyone yet, so they are unable to field a team, but they want Kevin to participate when they do.

Kevin brought home a gold medal for his basketball skills in his age group! The state games are in March, I believe the same weekend as our guild's quilt show. Go figure.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I'm going to have to remember to think about the trees when I tell someone they can park their 65' rig in front of the house.

Yesterday, as I already posted, I stayed home from work while we got our new windows installed, leaving only to take Fern to the orthodontist to get her braces on. When I got back they were all in place and the house was getting warmer. The actual ripping out of the old ones and the setting in the new ones goes quite fast, it's all the caulking and finishing that takes a long time.

While the installer guys worked on that, I worked on the living room. I had bought that book case a couple weeks ago and only got half the stuff back in place. Add to that an unbuilt K'nex kit or two spread all over the floor along with migrating sewing room paraphernalia and you need a snow shovel to navigate the room.

I cleaned and vacuumed and was able to lay out one of the quilts I've been working on. This is the One-Block-Wonder (OBW) quilt I'm making for my mom.

I started the center of this quilt almost a year ago, like in April or May. Then in July I had trouble with the borders, got disgusted, and put it away. I took it to the retreat with me this past weekend determined to get past the disgust and make some progress. I'd seen a cool border on another OBW in Houston but I forgot to print out the picture of it for reference before the retreat so I designed the one you see here on my own, with lots of input from a fellow quilter (Thanks Cap!).

I need to take a close-up picture of the corner block. When I drew it up I didn't realize the number of partial seams there were: all but one. Sheesh. I could have altered the pattern to make it easier and not as pretty, but I pretended partial seams weren't hard and knocked out the four rather nicely. For you non-quilty folks, a partial seam is where you have to sew together two pieces of fabric part-way, then add another piece, then finish the first seam. Here's a picture of a quilt block with them.

After Fern got home from school, she and I went to fetch Kevin from his after-school program. All the while, her new braces were irritating her gums so she called the ortho office to see if she could pick up some wax. She could. While we were in that neighborhood, I suggested we go to Bob Evans for supper. Motion approved.

We were mostly through our carbo-laden dinner when my purse started vibrating. I didn't hear my phone ring but Fern felt it. It was my baby brother. He had just seen a sign for Bowie on I-97, he didn't realize how close he was to me. I told him we were eating at Bob Evans and invited him to join us. He has a new job driving trucks for Swift. He's not on dedicated runs so he never knows where he'll be next. Just like he didn't know he'd pass close to Bowie on his way from Columbus to Easton until he saw the Bowie sign. At that point we were only about 8 miles out of his way and he hadn't eaten all day, so he made the detour.

After supper he called the company his load was for and couldn't get a hold of them. He hoped to unload ahead of schedule but it wasn't to be, so I invited him to stay with us. That's when I told him there was plenty of room to park a truck in our neighborhood. I hadn't counted on the trees.

Here's my brother taking a picture of his rig. Don't those new windows look great?!

I'm so glad my brother got to stop at our house for the night; I don't get to see him often enough. This morning I made him a couple sandwiches and fixed a bag of snacks and sent him on his way. I hope he can make his way by here again soon.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Weekend Plans

I am very thankful for my husband. I love him tremendously. One of his shining qualities: he gives awesome gifts, unexpected, but spot-on. I don't need any non-birthday gifts, though I wouldn't turn them down. I don't need them to validate me. In other words, I don't need chocolate for Valentine's Day. I love getting flowers, but I'm not crushed when I don't get the over-sized bouquet delivered to the office for all to see, either. Sure, what girl doesn't dream of getting a diamond tennis bracelet, but I'm never mad if I don't receive one. After being married for almost 19 years, making a big deal about Valentine's Day is just silly. There are other places, times, and ways to be romantic. I don't need to cram them all into one day. I'd be too exhausted. A Hallmark card stating the obvious is just about right. [Note to self: go buy a card.]

So, I am taking off tomorrow and going away for the weekend. It's time for our guild's annual quilt retreat weekend, a weekend of sewing and relaxing, of working on projects you only work on at retreats, of staying up past your bedtime, and of going to breakfast in slippers. I have a many projects packed, knowing I'll probably get bored and want to rotate among them often. [Note to self: pack ADD meds!] I might even finish some of them. One of the projects I'll be working on is this quilt, a baby quilt for a co-worker.

Stay tuned, I might post pictures on the fly from the phone. [Note to self: take phone charger.]

I'll then stretch a 4-day weekend into a 5-day weekend. I'm staying home Tuesday because we are scheduled for our window installation. I was surprised when they called today to let me know they were ready. They initially said 4-6 weeks for production, it'll've been less than three. I'll definitely post pictures of that.

Have a good weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Please Tag Yourself

I got this meme from Lorraine's blog. I don't normally do these kinds of things but I went for it today. If you play along, please comment here so I can come visit your answers. If you don't have a blog, you can list the questions and answers in the comments.

1. Put Your mp3 player on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!
4. Put any comments in brackets after the song name.
5. Tag at least 10 friends

What do your friends think of you?
Shilo - Neil Diamond

If someone says, “Is this okay?” You say?
I'm A Believer - Neil Diamond [OK, two Neil songs in a row? I'll be really suspicious if another comes up]

How would you describe yourself?
Black Horse and the Cherry Tree - KT Tunstall

You like in a guy/girl?
Dear Walter - The Iguanas

What is your life’s purpose?
I'm In Love With My Car - Queen

What is your motto?
Lonestar - Lori McKenna

What do you think about very often?
Just Friends - Ernie Halter

What is 2 + 2?
Flame On - [another song from] The Iguanas

What do you think of your best friend?
Boogie Wonderland - Earth, Wind and Fire

What is your life story?
Restless Soul - The Proclaimers

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A Beautiful Morning - The Rascals

What do you think of when you see the person you like?
Now I'm Here - Queen

What will you dance to at your wedding?
Build Me Up, Buttercup - Foundations

What will they play at your funeral?
The Tiki Bar is Open - John Hiatt

What is your hobby/interest?
Big Time - Peter Gabriel

What is your biggest fear?
Any Which Way You Can - Glenn Campbell [probably the worse one so far?]

What is your biggest secret?
Raise Your Hands - Bon Jovi

What do you think of your friends?
Bewitched, Bothered, And Bewildered - Ella Fitgerald

What will you post this as?
Seat Backs Traytables - Fountains of Wayne


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I'm sitting here at my computer at work surrounded by sounds of clanging and thumping. My neighbors are packing for the move, I'm not. I get to stay put, read blogs and "play" on my lunch hour.

I took some pictures of Fern at her ice skating competition on Sunday. My Dad came out to see her skate too and took lots of shots with his Nikon D3 and 200mm lens. I always knew the light in our ice arena is horrid and despite my camera my pictures are never that good, but I didn't see the evidence until I saw Dad's photos. He fired off about 100 shots before Fern even took the ice to get all his settings set. The pictures taken in some areas of the rink had a pink cast, other areas had a blue cast. He put a couple of the best ones up on his blog. I used an 85mm lens on my Nikon D50, did not correct for the conditions and got these:

Those ribbons are for first place in freestyle 4 program, freestyle 4 compulsories, second place in team jump and spin, and production team, and a third place in freestyle 4 interpretive.

Dad brought his 300mm lens for me to use. I found it too long for the rink, but I get to keep and play with it to experiment with different DOFs (depth of fields). Or is it "depths of field"?


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Looking Up

I'm pretty sure I won't have to change cubicles.

No sorting, no packing, no fussing with my lights.

Happy Dance time!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Rx for Apathy?

I have a major case of the "apathy"s.

The gym here at work had its annual "maintain-don't gain" campaign from before Thanksgiving to after New Years. You got points for exercise and not gaining weight. I came in third of all the participants, thanks mostly to my daily 3-mile walks and the bi-weekly water aerobics classes. The week after the program close, I gained almost five pounds which puts me way over my Mendoza line. sheesh.

I want to care, but I am having a real hard time about it. I am finding it very hard to get up and do my three miles when no one is waiting for me. I am finding going to my water aerobic class is becoming a chore. I'm finding it very easy to have a coke with a meal instead of something lower-cal, like water. I don't get anywhere near my "eight glasses a day." sheesh. AM said to me the other day something like, at our age, you have to be constantly trying to lose weight just to maintain, other wise, it's too easy to gain. I agree with her.

My major project at work went into production last week. I'm having a hard time getting into anything else, like our new project. Our division went through a reorganization several months ago. I will be doing the same work but got a new assistant division chief, a new branch chief, and now don't have a section chief. Most folks will get relocated somewhere on our floor. The union had to approve the moving plan, and now next week we "get" to move to our new locations. Turns out, I'm moving over just one pod, to the next cluster of cubes. I'll still have a window, yay, but I still have to pack and move. I hate that. sheesh.

I was all ready to blame my apathy on SAD but the days are getting longer and it's still light out when I drive home so I think SAD doesn't apply.

Rarely does something on TV apply to me, or do I pay attention to the "message," but one of the themes this week on House was being in a rut vs. being happy.

Am I happy? I think so.
Am I in a rut. I think so.
Well then, am I really happy? Maybe not.

What ruts am I in?
How do I climb out?
What do I have to look forward to?

I'll have ponder these questions.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Weekend Round-Up

This weekend I finished 12 scout vests. I often use a glue stick to hold the patches down while I sew them. I learned this weekend there is a window during which I need to sew after I glue, too soon and they're not stuck enough and too long and the glue is completely dry and the patches peel right up. I went through 3 glue sticks on 9 of the vests. Good thing I buy in bulk.

It feels good to get the big backlog out, now I just have three to go, one of which is a monster. This girl has been in scouting for many years and brought me about 75 things to sew on. The front got done right away, everything has a specific place, it's neat and orderly. The back of the vests is for participation patches and they just go where ever they fit. So this monster vest, I've be stalling on finishing it for a long time. It just overwhelms me, trying to get 50 patches of all different shapes and sizes on the back so they all fit and there is room for more. I finally came up with a plan I'm happy with so I should be able to knock it out this week.

Last Wednesday I bought two bookcases from Ikea, one was to be for my sewing room and one was for the living room. I'm getting rid of my ironing board in the sewing room and replacing it with a bookcase (on its side) on casters with an ironing surface on top. My logic was (actually I got this from someone else) there is just dead space below an ironing board, so why not? Now I'll have more storage available.

The first shelf went together just fine. The larger one for the living room, not so easy. I love putting stuff together, have been assembling Ikea pieces for 20 years, I have never had this much trouble before. It just didn't fit together like it should, there were gaps everywhere where the shelves didn't seat properly. I tried to take it apart and start from the beginning and that's when the dowels broke off in the shelf and I couldn't drill the pieces out.

Saturday & Ikea. Yes, I am nuts, there is a bed waiting for me at St. E's, btw. Anyway, I had a plan. I went to customer service and pulled my number: 90, now serving: 61. I had a 29-person window. I went over to the warehouse to find another set of casters for the shelf unit in the sewing room (I originally bought two and they recommend three) and to pick out a box that fits in the shelf for fabric scraps. No casters, but found a clear box, and went to pay. I actually found a "short" line, paid, and made it back to customer service. Now serving: 85. Whew.

When it was my turn I explained the problem. Evidently, since the shelf was shipped in two separate boxes, it possibly came from two different suppliers, and even if the specs are the same, the actual pieces might not be exactly the same. I got a new shelf and shorter dowels. The clerk told me if I still had trouble, bring it all back and they'd give me a whole new unit, no problem. I got it to work.

Fern and I went to week two of our ceramics class Sunday. This week we used the wheel. I love the wheel but since it's been so long since I've thrown, my skills didn't appear until about half-way through the class. I got to make four pieces. The first got totally warped when I cut it away from the wheel to move it to the drying board. Blah! The rest I'm pleased with, especially since it's been so long since I've thrown any pieces.

Next Sunday will be our last class, we will decorate/glaze our pieces. Next Sunday is also the Valentine Invitational. The Bowie Ice Arena hosts the first ice skating competition of the season in our area and Fern has been getting ready for it. She's skating in five events. Luckily, they are all scheduled for after our ceramics class so neither of us has to miss anything.

Fern is scheduled to skate her freestyle program at 3:37, then events in solo compulsories, jump & spin team, interpretive, and production team at about 45 minute intervals after that. I don't remember which event is when, but I'll be there for the duration anyway. If you live in Bowie, you're welcome to stop by to watch her skate.

Her production team had a practice last night at 6:00. That's when they could get the ice time. Go figure. Anyway, the second The Boss tells us to step away from the guacamole I get a text: come get me. I put Bruce on pause and fetched The Girl.

Somewhere between the ceramics class and picking Kevin up from skiing I went to a nearby quilt shop. It's typical for quilt shops to have big sales Super Bowl weekend. I was in a fabric mood, so I went. I took with me a filled-up punch card which entitled me to $20 off my purchases.

After all my fabric was selected, cut and written up, I had a large stack, probably over $100 of pre-sale fabrics. (Thank goodness for sale prices!!!) I handed the clerk a spool of thread, my fabric and my punch card. It was so old she'd never seen one like it, they use a different style now. And, get this, she wasn't going to honor it because it was so old. Hey--
1) I paid for the card, probably a buck or two, not much but it wasn't free.
2) There was no expiration date on it.
3) They should honor it.
I told her forget it, I'll just take the thread, not the fabric. But the fabric has already been cut. I immediately got passed off to the owner of the shop. I told her the same thing. She let me use the punch card. Really, why was this ever an issue? sheesh.