Sunday, March 29, 2009


Fern's ice skating production team is going to Orlando for the national ISI competition. To pay for the trip, the team has been doing various fund-raisers. Today was Basket Bingo!

Fern and I went and had a nice afternoon together. The first half was a dud, losing game after losing game. Then I won a door prize, a Vera Bradley tumbler. Then I almost had a bingo. I was about to win with the next number to be called. A girl called Bingo! but didn't have it on the number just called, but a number before that. Technically she shouldn't have won, but since the games weren't for cash and the players all voted in her favor, she won. I voted against her. I was about to win, right? So, they gave me a consolation prize, a cute candle holder.

Then, I got a Bingo! on game 16 and won the cute "berry" basket. Then after the games were played they had the final raffle for a Easter Basket set. Fern and I bought a strip of tickets. We won. We parsed the loot, she's getting the tumbler and votive holder and I'm getting the baskets. She's happy, I'm happy, but the liners have got to go.

Did I mention I love winning things?

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Night for Day

The League for People with Disabilities celebrated their new Day Habilitation Program for Adults with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities last night. They're the folks who run Greentop, the special needs summer camp Kevin goes to. They do tremendous things for folks of all ages with disabilities. Dan and I support the League so we're on their mailing list. That's how I got the invite to the celebration.

The invitation was for me and a guest, but I ended up going alone. The League's offices are in north Baltimore, which turned out to be a longer drive from my office than expected, about 95 minutes. In the rain. And tolls on the Harbor Tunnel. Both ways. Thank-you EZpass.

Anyway, the event was for women to "refresh, re-energize, and renew" and featured vendors to do just that. When I arrived, I made my way around the room counter-clockwise. The woman at the first table displayed facial care products. I can't remember the name of the company, I didn't recognize the brand, but I put my name in the hat for a door prize drawing. A woman from Merrill Lynch was next. She gave out packets of information. It wasn't the typical financial planning stuff, but more a planning sheet where you could record pertinent information about you, like bank accounts, credit cards, and accounts you might not even think of like EZpass, so it's all in one place.

Smashbox had a large set-up along the back wall with three make-up artists working. They looked busy and crowded so I kept going. The lady at the next table had a pile of pens and desk paraphernalia spread out. She said she wasn't selling the mess, she is Ann from SOS and helps you get organized. I told her she had my attention and she got me a chair. I spent a long time chatting with her.

My whole life needs reorganizing but we talked mostly about my sewing room. I got some superfantastic help I hope to put into action soon. The coolest tip is for decluttering and purging. Say I'm going through a bin of sewing supplies. First I'll sort by functionality and put like things together. Then I'll "shop" in one pile. If I have a pretend limited amount of money, what would I buy right now. I would not buy the 30 yards of laces and trims now, I don't sew with that stuff. Then, she says to put away what you didn't buy, either get rid of it now or store it out of sight for a year. If you don't miss it, get rid of it. I know the 30 yards of trims will be out the door soon.

Her "shopping" technique works for everything, especially clothes. She says it's also good to have a impartial friend hang with you while you sort, to keep you anchored and focused.

After I took up enough of Ann's time, I toured the rest of the room where nothing really grabbed my attention and got a snack at the wine and cheese table. I ate and listened to the welcoming speeches and missed having one of the winning the door-prize ticket numbers by one digit. I didn't need a $200 gift certificate to Neiman's anyway. Pout.

Then there was an empty seat at Smashbox. I don't normally wear make-up much but it's always fun to be pampered. I ended up staying there the rest of the evening. The make-up artist, Timber (interesting name, huh?), spent a lot of time asking what I like and what I'm comfortable with. So many make-up folks doing demos in department stores do way too much and I always feel I need a mini skirt and stilettos when I see the results. Not Timber. He was great. He talked about each product, the ones he used and the ones he didn't, and why they were right or wrong for my skin or style.

I looked really good and was so pleased with the result I ended up ordering several items in the Smashbox line. I love getting goodies in the mail and I'll have them tomorrow if I'm lucky. Most of the vendors were packing up with I was finished with Timber. I told you I was there for a long time. I stopped back by the first table. I won the door prize: $100 of products. She was out of catalogs so I'll have wait until she sends me a catalog in the mail to choose my booty. I love winning things.

I got home a bit after 9:00 feeling pretty good, it was a fun night.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Kevin's been learning about the states. After he learns something correctly, he'll then switch the answers for fun:

Kevin, what is the Maryland state bird?
Bwack-eyed Susan

What is the Maryland state flower?

What is the state motto?
Mairwyn, My Mairwyn

What is the state song?
Manwee deeds, womandy words

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Yeah. I went there.

If you know my real name, you can find me.

There's stuff I don't get yet, like how some folks have stuff all over their page and I just don't see how's it's done. It's cool, though, people are friending me, is that a verb now "friending," I don't remember requesting. I even found my flute teacher from when I was in junior high.

Weekend Round-Up

We had a busy weekend

Kevin participated in the Maryland State Special Olympics Basketball event on Saturday morning.

Fern had her usual Saturday morning skating lessons and production team practice. The last one before the competition Saturday night. She had slept over at a friend's house so I had to taxi her from there to the rink.

We got a notice of suspension of the registration of the corolla because we didn't report back to the MVA we'd gotten the windshield fixed. The suspension was effective on Monday. I had to get the car inspected, the forms signed and delivered. I was hoping the state police barracks in Forestville was one of the places where I could turn in the form. It wasn't. The barracks, however, were a couple blocks from the Special Olympics site so I was able to hang out with Dan and Kevin for a while.

Fern arranged to hang out with her friend after skating so I didn't have to pick her up.

I got a call from Mom. She and Dad would be coming to the quilt show but their GPS didn't understand the destination and they'd call me for the final directions. Two hours later I still hadn't heard from them and I was getting worried.

I hung out at the quilt show in a building with bad cell reception hoping my parents were alright. I'd already called them six or eight times with no answer. Finally my pocket buzzed, their call got through and they were in town. I went to get them so they could follow me to the show.

Mom loved the quilts, she loved the two of mine, liked the pebble quilting on the piece I made for my cousin and her new husband. Dad liked the quilt I made for him, but told him he couldn't have then. We left the show and my parents came home with me even though it wasn't prepared for company. There weren't too many dishes on the counter.

I showed Mom the finished top I've made for her. She loved it. I'm so glad. She even asked for a scrap of fabric so she could redecorate the room around the quilt. Now I just have to finish it, huh?

When they left, we left too for the Skate Annapolis competition. Fern had a 7:00 pm call time for 8:00 perform time. They were running late so we didn't get out of there until after 9:00.

We stopped at 49 West for desserts on the way home.

Sunday I didn't get up early to walk. I woke up at 9:10. Fern had a 9:00 call time for a 9:55 solo compulsory event. Kevin was asleep next to me. Where was Dan? Where was Fern? Dan had taken her to Annapolis on time, I missed early church but Kevin and I went to late church. Dan and Fern were back when we got back.

At 1:15 Kevin and I left for his Special Olympic swim team practice and Dan and Fern left for Annapolis again. She had to be back for her freestyle program event. Kevin much rather swim than be cooped up in a cold ice arena, so I missed Fern skate again.

While Kevin was swimming I got a storm at sea quilt basted. I'm trying out wool batting for the first time. It's a lot fluffier than the cotton I usually use. It'll be certainly different for me to work with.

He took an enormously long time to get dressed afterward and come up to the lobby. I was starting to get worried. Evidently, he took a shower and probably played for a while. A long while.

We then went to Costco for the ever important bar soap and toilet paper. You know they didn't have any deodorant soap? Just beauty stuff. Sheesh. I got milk and light bulbs, too. I don't tend to get anything "fun" when I shop alone. Dan is always disappointed when I stick to the list.

The quilt show closed at 4:00. They usually take down the quilts, clean up the standards and are waiting anxiously for the last person to pick up their pieces by 6:00. Some years they even start calling if you're not there by 5:45. Kevin and I arrived at 5:53. They weren't done cleaning up yet. Kevin used to attend the school where we have the show, so he made himself right at home. So much so, that when I finally got my quilts, I couldn't find him right away.

When we got home, Dan and Fern were already there. We ordered pizza for dinner. PapaJohn's is having a .25 special, buy a large three-topping pizza and get a medium for 25 cents. Except for two weeks in a row now, they've been out of the medium doughs. Sheesh.


Kevin got a gold medal in basketball.
Fern got two silver medals for compulsories and program and her team got a gold for the group event. (See picture below.)
I got the inspection forms mailed to the MVA.
And no speeding tickets were actually issued.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009


In the academic world ABD is All But Dissertation, referring to having done all the work required for a PhD but not finishing the the written work.

ABL in the quilting world is All But Label. I've finished my quilts for the show this weekend, quilting, binding, hanging sleeve, ABL. I just have to get them sewn on before I turn them in so they know the quilts are mine. I'm pretty sure I can sneak in a stitch here and there during the day here at work.

I'm particularly proud of this one, I've never quilted like this before. The background pattern and the feathers are both new for me. If you look very closely you'll see lots of mistakes but if you stand back a couple feet it looks great. I'm pleased, also, because I know now what I can do and with a bit of practice, I can do it well.

This is the wedding quilt for my cousin. I'll be sending it down after the show. It's a bit rippley because of the amount of dense quilting. I'll have to block it well and try to get it more flat. I'll have to add that to my goals, practice more even quilting density.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Our quilt guild's show is this weekend and I have two quilts to be shown. I still need to get them finished first!

If you're in the area, please stop by the show, details can be found here: Southern Comforters

Here's the quilt I'm still quilting. I'm almost done, maybe 5 or 6 more hours of work. I've to two more of these 'trilliams' to do and two feathers to fill in (notice the difference between the two feathers at the top of the picture).

Here's a larger picture of it.

It still needs to be trimmed and bound, then washed to get all the markings out. I did an experiment the other day with kids' washable markers. Some aren't. But the black one from the dollar store did wash out of the test fabric so I'm hopeful it'll wash out of the quilt.

After I get the quilts done, it'll be time to get the sewing room in order. I bought a new table for my machine which I'm excited to put it in place and use but I didn't want the room to be unusable until the quilts are finished. Whew.

I'll post pictures of the table soon. Maybe a whole before and after thing of the room make-over.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I was going to do a weekend round-up today but I went to the eye doctor this morning and my pupils are still dilated. I can't see a thing. Those drops (only one in each eye!) last a long time for me, often 12 or more hours. Sheesh.

Friday, March 13, 2009


All of you unix/linux folks should have noticed I made a mistake in the cron job code. The 5 indicates Friday, not Thursday. So I changed it to a 4 and it worked fine. At least I think it worked. I got my copy but I haven't heard from the teachers yet.

0 12 * * 4 (echo "This is an automated weekly email to check how Fern is doing in your class this week.";echo;echo "Thanks,"; echo "Anne";)|/bin/mail ... list of teachers and myself ...


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The thing I learned today

Whenever my grandfather saw me he'd ask, "What did you learn today?" And I had to tell him. It was a good exercise. He died 17 years ago this month. My nickname for him was Doc-doc Buddy, or just Doc-Doc. (He was a doctor, did you guess that?) I still miss him. But I digress.

Fern is not being the model student these days. She has taken "missing assignments" to new lows, dropping a 95 average on tests to something a lot lower when you factor in zeros for homework grades. Her teachers are more than happy to email progress notes to me, but usually they only remember when I email them first, easier for them to reply that way. They are busy and I understand that. That means I'm the one who needs to remember to write them first.

So, being a programmer, I learned how to program a cron job to email them once each week so I don't have to remember myself. This is the code:

00 12 * * 5 (echo "This is an automated weekly email to check how Fern is doing in your class this week.";echo;echo "Thanks,"; echo "Anne";)|/bin/mail -s "Fern"

So, what this does is send an email every Thursday at noon to her teachers that says:
This is an automated weekly email to check how Fern is doing in your class this week.


Pretty cool, huh?

What did you learn today?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Free Money

Last Thursday I got the notice of my bonus at work.

Then, over the next couple of days I received and cashed some checks for my badge sewing work, got a $10 gift card for placing third in the "Maintain - Don't Gain" contest at the gym at work, JD Powers sent me a survey to fill out about the not-so-new-anymore Honda Fit I bought last summer along with a very crisp $5, and I got a $25 gift card from the pharmacy for a new prescription.

The nice thing about being on a controlled substance for my ADD is I get a new script every month. While is it a pain having to get a new script and not having refills to count on, I can use the coupons for all the different pharmacies for gift cards for new or transfered prescriptions. Target usually gives $10 gift cards and CVS gives $25. Eckard has coupons for $25 gift cards, but they never have my drug in stock. I hate that, it's like they don't want to give me money. Go figure.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I was very frustrated at work yesterday. This new system.... it's still being developed while we are learning how to use it. I can't get any formal training in the technologies it uses. As smart as the lead programmers are for the new system, they are not teachers. I need to convert my "monster" project to the new system and have it ready for production by the fall. Which means it'll need to be ready for usability testing by the summer. Which means I need completely understand the new system, like, yesterday. I'm amazed I have any hair left.

Today I was called up to see the chief in charge of the "monster" project. [insert dramatic music here] He slid an unmarked manila folder across his desk to me. It contained a special recognition form extolling the work I did in the last year on the "monster" and I'll be getting a tidy little cash award in a couple weeks. I'm sure after taxes I'll be able to maybe buy lunch, but I'm thrilled, I can't stop smiling.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Snow Day

I'm back to work today, which means I can blog. For some reason I just don't blog from home much. Which is where I was yesterday, home. The schools were closed because of the snow storm that went through Sunday night and I chose to stay with the kids. It was a pretty day to take pictures, but the battery on the Nikon was dead and the Kodak decided it wasn't going to acknowledge the memory card again. Grrr.

I had grand plans to get some quilting done. The quilt show is coming up and I still have work to do. I also had grand plans to do some archeology. I wanted to excavate my closet, find the floor.

A couple years ago, the last time I could see the floor, Kevin felt it was a great time to dump some Legos out, the clean space made a great play area. I was never allowed to clean them up. Then add to that shopping bags, shoe boxes, piles of clothes that were folded but never put away, shoes, hangers, more legos, drill bits and a step stool left over from the new shelf installation, and dresses that were hung up but removed for the window installation.

So I spent a good part of the day doing laundry and cleaning out my closet. I got several loads done, including three loads of towels, and the mattress pad. I set up a mirror so I could sit on the closet floor and pick up enough Legos to fill two, count'm, two, large barrels and watch Lost DVDs at the same time. It's cool the TV remote works in the mirror. I stayed in my jammies until after 3:00 when I started trying on the pants in my pants drawer. I purged most of them, they were either too short or too small. A couple pairs almost fit so they got to stay.

By bedtime I could walk into my closet easily. I hid one barrel of Legos and will have to hide the other one tonight. Most of the piles of stuff in the bedroom were better. When I clean, I tend to push everything together and sort it from there, then put the sorted piles away. I can tell I made progress, but to the untrained eye, it might look worse, I still have piles on the floor to deal with.

I need to find some time to try on the clothes hanging in the closet and stashed in the dresser drawers. I'm sure there's stuff in there I could wear several sizes ago but has no hope now. Once the hanging clothes and sweaters get purged there should be room for the clean clothes that're on top of the dresser. I guess I'll need another snow day. Oh, and I still have a lot of quilting to do, too, so make that two snow days.