Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Gingerbread Boyz...Check! Chocolate Topped Acorns...Check!

The cookie plates are ready! Michael baked, and baked, and I am really grateful for his expertise and willingness to do it! The youngest daughter, Laurie, is hired for the day as my personal courier :) She will deliver them all for me as she's not yet started her new job, so its perfect for both of us....she drives and I keep typing, to pay her for it.... ;)

These go to all my medical transcription clients (surgicenter, ortho clinics, private offices, etc). Thank you Karen for helping me bag them up!

And now that the plates and loaves of bread are bagged, labeled and maps printed and charted for Laurie....I have my dining room table back (except for a few more plates of cookies for neighbors!)....

So I am able to use the beautiful table runner my dear friend Karene made for me...

I love it!! Thank you Karene!! :)

And now.....I am again....Le Tired!! ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Yay! Another FO

Finished Object Alert! Dancing is taking place in the kitchen because I have finished the "quilt that whipped my arse".......teehee!! This one was hard for me, but in a good way. It was challenging and I am really happy with the outcome!

I spent the afternoon handstitching the last six feet of binding and then burying all my little threads and basically tidying it up...

Here is the full view pic that will go in my quilt book....

My teacher Janet really showed me a neat trick with this one. I used 1-3/8 inch masking tape to mark my outer border quilting lines - this really appealled to me - its kind of "Home Depot meets Quilting Grannie" and it works!! The borders are well quilted, and the stitching lines overlap and create a woven look to each corner. I was really liking that!!

I also loved what happened on the back of the quilt with my quilting of the individual blocks. By starting in the center, and following sort of a cross pattern, I could quilt the whole square without stopping, and it gave the back a nice finish at the same time. So the back is plain muslin, but has the border quilting design and the individual block quilting design.

I could not have done this without the input of my extraordinary teacher, Janet Salcido. I just love her and it is a treat and privilege to be in her class! She is a walking wealth of quilting knowlege, and she shares it with a warmth and sense of humor that is just plain inspiring. I'm all ready full of ideas and possibilities for next year!

Next up..... Finishing Laurie's butterfly quilt!! And Karen's quilt, which she has not seen yet....but I blurted out that I was making, by mistake! Oops!

Presenting The Freighter!

It was a forgone conclusion, as I stated here.

And after protesting that I would never drive it.....Karen and I took our first run in it Friday night last week, after she pointed out that if I took the old VW van which we haven't sold yet, that she'd feel compelled to follow me in her car; the VW van is THAT unreliable!! The most memorial breakdown we have had with it was on her graduation day.....but the van was thoughtful enough to overheat after the ceremony - not on the way to the ceremony.

Karen navigated for me and all I did was concentrate on puttering along in the right lane slowly, as it is still in the break-in period....has about 140 miles on it. We went to visit our favorite furniture store, IKEA (which I translate as I. K.an E.ven A.fford it!) For Christmas this year, the girls are trading bedrooms and getting new paint and new items for their rooms, etc.

We hauled all this home ourselves and I didn't wreck the new Freighter. Successful night!!

And one final picture.....Michael's taste in stickers has improved.....He dragged me outside to see what he had put on his new "freighter" and I came hesitantly, expecting a political statement of some sort....Like the Bush/Cheney sticker he kept on the Acura for four years......

Way Better!!! I love "smilies"!

Houston, we have lift off!

All those classes, books, studying and working have paid off! Karen applied for a position with Mercury Insurance (for this position, a bachelor's degree was a must!) and she got the job! Training session starts today!

A few last minute checks of appearance (business casual with dress down Fridays!), papers, keys and purse....

"Mom, I sure hope this works - I just QUIT TWO OTHER JOBS!!"

And she's off!

She's so excited about this job - good people, great pay and lots of opportunity for advancement, and tremendous benefits.... :)


Sunday, December 17, 2006

It smells pretty yummy around here....

cookies, cookies, and more cookies.......

Michael has been banging out the spritz, and the little chocolate topped acorns, and I made snowballs (Mexican wedding cookies) and fudge and peanut/chocolate candies.... And he made my FAVORITES.....gingerbread boyz!! They are made from Grandma's recipe, perfectly executed, perfectly seasoned, not too sweet, bursting with ginger and spices....

So Good!!

Here's a plate, ready for me to take to my quilting class to share.....

And there are (sing with me now....) "24 loaves of bread on the shelves, 24 loaves of bread, take one down and pass it along, 23 loaves of bread on the shelves!!"

Actually three are already "passed along" and the rest are distributed tomorrow by my personal courier, Laurie! She's taking cookies and breads to all my accounts to say "thank you" for their business in 2006.....and the rest go to friends/neighbors/teachers, etc....

I am SO close, on my current quilt. Must finish the binding, take pix, and get it on the FedEx truck.....

Off to thread another needle and get busy!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sigh. A new van on the horizon?

Mission accomplished.

I went to the dealership. I saw the Chevy Cargo Express Van. Michael wants one of these so bad he salivates just thinking about it. He drove one when he was a bachelor "back in the day" working for Procter and Gamble, going from town to town, all across the U. S. of A., hiring temporary crews and managing them while they hung samples of P&G products on peoples' door handles. Little tiny jugs of Era detergent, for example! He met a lot of facinating people, a few famous people (he sampled Hollywood at one point!) and made some great friends along the way. He started out running one crew, and ended up managing all the crews, nationwide. He still talks about some of the guys who worked with him during those years. He has a LOT of fond memories of those years.....so maybe this is part of it.

Its sure isn't because this vehicle is sexy. Or even moderately hot. Not even mildly cute. Its a cargo van. (Translation: steel box on wheels.)

Its not the mediocre mileage (12-15 in town, 18-23 highway).

I don't know what it is. I just don't share the anticipation for this particular vehicle.

I duly went with him so he could show it to me. I opened the door, hauled my ample derriere up into the seat and sat in it long enough for the air conditioning to be tested. When I looked like an afghan hound with its ears blowing in the wind while hanging its head out a car window, Michael pronounced it "sufficient". I will admit to being impressed with the air conditioning, and keeping California temperatures, and heck, even my raging hot flashes in mind....this is a good thing.

But every time I turned around to look behind me, where there should be seats, a hatchback, ANYTHING.....there was a huge cave. It even echoed. And the doors in the very back looked soooooooo far away......you could sleep 6 in it easily - if sleeping in metal boxes is your thing....

He just has to go ahead and get this. That's all there is to it. Its one of those things that cannot be explained.

One of his more "out there" reasons for getting is: to be able to leave town in a hurry with all four dogs should the need arise. Well, and the kids and wife too, come to think of it....

You know.....terrorists, wild fires, and all. Four dogs, a few dog crates to separate the ones that don't get along.....and all the things we might want to take with us......

Of course, the last time we had such a need was during the Wildfires of 2005......I calmly (well, the fire was still 500 houses away) went through the house and packed the laptop of the child working across town who might not get to come back and get it, the dog food, the crates, the family pictures and a bit of utilitarian casual clothing......

And my sewing machine and one quilting project. (No, there is no rationale explanation for that. Shut up.)

My father contemplated this whole Flee Van (Michael's name for it) idea on my recent visit home, and pulled on his beard a bit, and stated sagely, "has he thought about the fact that about the time he got to the freeway (2 miles from our house at most) he'll meet up with Seven Million Los Angelinos with the same idea?"

I was hopeful that Dad's question might squash the whole Van Plan, but Michael only sang the praises of the Really Big Gas Tank, which would get us through any bottlenecks and waits on the way Out of Dodge.....I mean, on the way out of Southern California.

Fine. He wants it really badly. We need to replace a car which is contankerous, old and unreliable at best - so - I think he should get it.

Karen and Laurie, in case you'd like the pleasure of feasting your eyes on it BEFORE it is parked in the driveway.... taking up way more than one space.....(its too long to go in the garage)....
I offer this:


I would have liked to offer a picture of the car, but Blogger is, as usual, not cooperating. So be it.

I had a sudden mental image while driving home from the dealership, of Michael trying to put the dogs in the new van, and finding my long arm quilting frame and machine already in it......

well, YEAH! If we can afford the van, surely we can afford the long arm frame and machine, its only a tenth of the price.....You like my logic? teehee! (in his defense, he has been saying for a long time that he wants me to get the long arm quilter/frame - we just haven't figured out which adult offspring to kick out of the house to make room for it!)

Seriously - I'm fine about getting it, and I hope he enjoys rolling on down the road in it, to work, and on errands......and maybe bringing home the occasional large item.....and filling the Really Big Gas Tank....that will be fun too......giggle.

I need a name for it. He's been calling it a "Flee Van" so we and the fur balls can flee disaster, no matter what form it may take..... I'd like to call it something a little less indicative of active paranoid ideation....

The Great White Cave? The Overgrown Two Seater? Suggestions please.....anything but "Flee Van". Please comment with your best name suggestion, peoples......

Monday, October 30, 2006

KP duty

I love once-a-month cooking.....after its done. (Duh!)

No, make that, after the dishes are done!!

I made a bunch of stuff this weekend. Manicotti stuffed with beef and a little marinara sauce, and topped with a cheese sauce (3 casseroles- sounded odd, but worth trying). Salisbury steaks and gravy (2 casseroles). Sloppy Joes (2 containers). Beef was browned with seasonings and put away for tacos and other meals. And then I ran out of steam....

So today when I finished typing, I made lasagne using some of the beef made in advance.....

Domestic goddess status remains intact for another day :)

And then I made some butternut squash/pumpkin soup to celebrate autumn, cooler temperatures, and all things ORANGE! It has curry and many other spices in it - Yummy with a bit of sour cream on top to stir in....

Tomorrow, I attack the chicken side of the menu - Mexican chicken roll-ups (pounded chicken breasts, rolled around cheese and cilantro and salsa, rolled in bread crumbs and baked), homemade chicken nuggets, Tarragon Chicken with a honey mustard sauce....

On the quilting front, here is a progress report on the Quilt That Whipped My Arse from here to Pigeon Forge.....(big time!)...... I eventually assembled a quilt top that looks like this:

It has a bit of burnt orange and teal and a green-tinged tan in it, and the sash between the blocks is teal, and I have tan and burnt orangey-brown border material yet to attach. The fun part about machine quilting this one, is that I can follow the "pieces of the pie" in each kaleidoscope square, stitching in the ditch, and when its done, it makes a really cool design on the back of the quilt - kind of unexpected, but nice.

After that, I have borders and machine quilting to go on a certain butterfly quilt (that one is for Laurie Lu Lovebucket).....and then there are two more projects (UFOs) on my horizon.....and already two are in the planning stages beyond that. :)

And then there's my knitting...... my book of projects to make is now filling a one inch binder......So many ideas, so little time!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

In other good news!

Laurie had a birthday on October 7th....After the NA meeting, she gave me this:

(the small print on the chip says "Clean and Serene for 18 months")

I got to see her take this chip, and all the hugs and congratulations! She has such a dynamite support group right now - and she's doing such a good job! Its a daily hard strugle for her and I'm not naive about it. Its a struggle she will face the rest of her life. I only can hope that maybe time and each consecutive birthday can make it just a little bit easier!! It was heartwarming to hear some of the other women say how much they love her and what she means to them....

I love her too!! ;)

As for crafts lately, Karen's poncho progresses.....I'm making the Very Harlot Poncho by Stephanie (the Yarn Harlot http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/images/harlot_poncho.pdf ) and I'm really enjoying it. It is done on circular needles and it has been a great project to get back into knitting with. I'm already eyeing other projects..... One more ball of yarn and I can take it off the needles and add fringe.....just in time for cooler weather! Pictures will follow later, because right now it is a ball of knitted fabric, indistinguishable as a poncho (it is created from the neck, which is small, and GROWS with each row, down to the fingertips....so there are LOTS of stitches on the needles now....and it is a big lump of (quite nice, thank you!) knitted fabric! :)

I've been doing a bit of quilting (and I've named the quilt "the quilt that kicked my 'arse' from here to Pigeon Forge").....Here's one square before it was put together:

Perserverance, creative cursing seaming, ripping out and redoing has resulted in a better result than I had on my last kaleidoscope quilt.....

Also, I am making progress on Laurie's butterfly quilt.....the squares are in rows now, just need to join the rows and then borders, batting and backing and its ready to machine quilt....She might get it in time for her newly painted bedroom, to put on her new bed! We were originally going to do that for her birthday, but she chose clothing for work for a birthday gift instead....so I have a bit more time!

I have started a project for Karen for Chistmas too.....and one for Patrick......

Didja know there's only 69 days til Christmas?????

Monday, October 16, 2006

New Yarn Swift!

While in Cody, I showed Dad a few pictures of an item called a yarn swift. I've been ordering yarn from a few interesting sites on the internet, and most of the time, they arrive in a hank, which needs to be wound into a ball......

A swift can be a fairly simple item, which holds the yarn for you while you wind it, eliminating the need for a cooperative husband or child to stand there holding the huge loops of yarn for you while you wind.....

Simple, except it was way beyond my capabilities to make one, with smooth spinning mechanism, adjustable pegs, etc.....and the price of the ones I found on line was a bit prohibitive.

When I showed Dad the pictures, I could almost see the wheels turning inside his mind. He loves to work out a puzzle like this, and for the next day, he would frequently scribble numbers and small pictures on paper as he turned the whole thing over in his mind. Several trips were made to his friendly Ace store (where everyone knows him and greets him by name - generally with a hug if its a female employee!) and he got a few small items which would ensure the spinning would be smooth and even.....

He had some beautiful black walnut pieces in his wood shop and every now and then, he would disappear into the wood shop and "make sawdust" as he called it......

He emerged one day with not one, but TWO, beautiful yarn swifts! (I had mentioned I had a wonderful friend, Deborah, who also knits and is going through a rough time with a mastectomy and chemo, etc, and he thought she might enjoy one also!! Shhh! I hope she's not reading this because it will take me a bit of time to get the clear coat on, and send it to her.....I'm notorious for taking WAY too long to finish things.....example: Karene's love blanky! http://joy-denise.blogspot.com/2006/08/it-isnt-ufo-it-is-fo.html )

Never the less, how cool is this!!!

All I have to do is put the clear coat of some sort on the walnut to protect it and show the beautiful finish of the wood and its good to go!! We wound yarn til we ran out of yarn to wind! Teehee! I love it!

Sunday, October 15, 2006


One of the most fun things that happened while I was in Cody was the Yellowstone Quilt Fest. It is a truly quality show - some amazing talent is displayed each year and I deliberately time some of my visits home if possible in September, both for the cooler temperatures (its when we are unbearably warm in SoCal!) and the great quilt show to look forward to, on top of the chance to see Mom and Dad.....

This year, I entered the show on Friday night and began walking around, totally unsuspecting, just drinking in the beautiful work of so many quilters. Suddenly, Mom grabbed me and turned me in the direction of a wall of small quilts......I don't even recall what she said to me, I just know my eyes honed in on a familiar little hand quilted piece I had done myself......oh my.....my piece was in the show!

I was a while getting my jaw off the floor. While I was stupified, Mom pinned a green "participant" ribbon on my shirt and took a picture.

That wasn't all.....we rounded a corner and I met a sweatshirt/jacket conversion with quilted collar, and pockets, that I had made years ago....also entered by Mom in the Quilt Fest.....as a "Wearable". I was getting dizzy.

(Again, Blogger refuses to cooperate and load my pictures......I'm sure this is pilot error, but its annoying).

And one row further - I collided with the flying geese vest I had made for her a few years earlier......Also entered as a "Wearable".

I don't think Mom'nDad's smiles could have gotten any bigger. How they pulled it off and didn't tell me for the whole week before the show, I don't know. I didn't win any ribbons or anything, but I got something WAY better.

Mom later sent me the "report card/critique" from the judges, and they had some nice comments, compliments, and a few suggestions for improvement....that was really cool. But best of all, I got the note she sent with the pieces when they were entered into the quilt fest.....and her last comment about "if the pieces met with the requirements for entry, she wanted to enter them in the quilt show, because she was very proud of my handiwork"...... That's a blue first prize ribbon to me!!

Also while in Wyoming

One of the fun things I enjoyed was getting Dad addicted to Knifty Knitters.....Now, my Dad is one of those rare persons who can sew, knit, crochet, clean the sewing machine and adjust it, bale hay and run the tractors (after repairing them if necessary), deliver calves, make beautiful wooden items, and outline and prepare to deliver a really interesting sermon/lesson at church.....all in one day! (With time to spare enjoying his massive model train lay out, painstakingly building landscaping and traincars and villages....) And this is above and beyond his career of being a professor of computer sciences.....with a Master's degree.....and working for the Big ones, IBM and Honeywell, as well as teaching at a college for many many years......

Anyway, he had some wrist surgery a few years back, involving fusion of the joint at the base of his thumb, and this surgery was performed on the opposite wrist this year. Both fusions have taken well, and he's happy that he can still hunt, fish, and do all the other activities above....pretty much as well as before he began having problems in the first place.

I recently got hooked on the Knifty Knitters because they looked like a big brother to the little knit cord producing toy I had as a child.....my childhood version had four pegs on it and made a cord you could use to tie your hair, etc.....Using the same principle, these Knifty Knitters produce hats, scarves, afghans, etc, in record time....using a hook to pull the stitches over the pegs. I read a lot about them, on blogs and websites and a recurring theme was "they are easier on my arthritic hands than regular knitting". Lightbulb! I was enjoying them, but it occurred to me that Dad might enjoy them also......

Enjoy? Yes. Become addicted? That too! He has made 17 hats since I gave him his looms! He is planning to try to sell them at the Craft Fair in Cody in November......along with the BEAUTIFUL leather tooling items he has crafted. (I forgot to mention the leather work above!) Here's his leather working station and all his tools......

(imagine a picture here - blogger is not cooperating)

He and I were giggling that if we made any profit selling hats - we could buy more hobby supplies....yarn, quilting material, leather supplies, wood!

Mom is glad that he has another fun craft to pursue.....but worries about the closets bursting from yarn stash at some point in the future!

Mom took advantage of us concentrating on the looming, to cook in peace, and whipped up some absolutely delicious meals......she joked that I was staying at the 4-J Ranch SPA......and its true. Fantastic meals just appeared! And there were no dishes for me to do!

My mom has many gifts, but hospitality and cheerleading are two that come to mind for me most often.....She organizes and volunteers for so many things at her church.....she provides arrangements weekly for the front of the church to make it pretty; she is instrumental in making sure that the monthly women's prayer meeting takes place with lessons, coordinating decorations and visual aids that help get the lesson points across. She helps collect items for the women's crisis center in Cody; twice while I was there she saw something on sale, or something with a coupon (example: pillows at K-Mart) that would benefit the women's home, and gleefully purchased the items at a fraction of original cost and put them in a big box she will drop off at the women's home later.....She keeps in touch with the church members, checks up on who's sick, who's had medical issues, who needs encouraging...... And she is a help-meet for Dad in every sense of the word.....she keeps keeps him well fed without him realizing that its "healthy" food, she makes their home warm and welcoming.....She bakes bread from scratch, and helps Dad on the train layout too.....Sigh....

Can you tell that I miss them?

(I had pictures of Dad and Knifty Knitter, and Mom in the kitchen cooking, but Blogger is making my brain hurt today. Will not accept any pictures for this post. Sigh.)

A month after my vacation.....

Doesn't seem like a month.....actually seems like longer! I so enjoyed being there with Mom and Dad, soaking up beautiful scenery and time with them....

It was a nice break....I kept in touch with my business by operating out of my Wyoming office, pictured below:

We drove into town twice a day to pick up the WiFi signal and let me route work files to my transcriptionists, pick up my own work from my web site, and then we did touristy and fun things after the "work pick up"......

Like lunch at a really cute little cafe....

Or shopping at newly discovered quilting stores.....

I better break this up into two entries (at least) so that Blogger will accept my posts.....

Monday, August 28, 2006

(Laurie on the way out the door to Psychology class at 6:40 a.m.)

"aww Mom, why do you have to take a picture....I'm cranky!"

"because you're going back to school again this semester, and because I'm proud of you and that's what mothers do......click!!....have a great day honey!!" :)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Karene's love blanky

She liked it, she really liked it! (in my best Sally Field imitation....teehee!!)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The highpoint of my week.... :)

For just a little while tonight - everything was alright in my world. We had dinner with the girls tonight, at Northwoods Inn.

Not my favorite place to eat, although the salad is a hit with me.....(two helpings!!). However, its is Michael's absolute favorite place, and he's loved it ever since his Mom and Dad brought him here as a child each time they visited this area to go to Disneyland, etc....

It was fun to listen to the girls' dreams and hopes and plans.

Laurie starts another semester Monday, taking Psychology in the morning on campus and taking another class online at night after she drags herself home from a full day of work and her evening meeting. She's looking forward to a trip to Paris with Kim (her sponsor/friend) and several sponsee sisters, in February.

Karen is contemplating some changes at work, and earnestly studying Japanese language and culture, in the hope of becoming a participant in the JET program in 2008. (Here's a link that explains a little of the program: http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/jet/outline.html )

(Nope, I'm not thrilled about that one.....its one thing to feel that it is time the girls aim for getting out on their own and progress toward assuming full responsibility for themselves as adults, etc.......its another to have one of them on the other side of the ocean.......Sigh.)

But tonight, all was well with my world. Both of them were with us; we shared a meal and a really nice time together. It was kind of bittersweet. Our days of impromptu dinners out when everyone's schedule allows it, are numbered. Things will change. Some change is good. Some change is really really difficult.

I love my daughters. I'm proud of them both and I love them so much...... :)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

It isn't a UFO, it is an FO!!

Finally, Karene's love blanky has been completed. This was just an experiment. I ordered some four inch squares from an ebay seller, because while looking at various sellers' fabrics, these reminded me of the colors she wears, and just somehow said "Karene" when I looked at them......

I took them to my parents' home last September and made the top......it has taken me an embarrassingly long time to quilt it and bind it....but it is done!

It isn't supposed to be an example of technical excellence. It is supposed to sort of showcase the pretty flowered fabric, and become a well used and worn out symbol of my friendship with my bestest friend. If she ever needs a hug and I'm not there, she can wrap up in it and hopefully "feel the love!" I hope she watches movies and drops buttered popcorn on it, drags it outside and has an impromptu picnic on it, tosses it over her when it gets chilly in the rainy winter.....or over Craig or Matt when they dose off on the couch.....

I'll make Karene another "real" quilt some day. I have several in mind....but I wanted her to have a love blanky first.....

Next, I'm working on love blankies for my daughter Laurie and my daughter Karen, and my niece Elizabeth, whom I have known by the adorable nickname Wiffie all her life.....And of course there is the Irish chain to finish.....and the kaleidoscope quilt in shades of deep forest green, aqua and burnt orange.....sounds unique but its quite pretty.....

And my knitting.

I think my job just needs to be sacrificed so I can devote more time to these projects!! ;)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Irish Chain Quilt

UFO report.....The Double Irish Chain

A bit of progress has been made. Two types of squares were created. 18 of the one on the right and 17 of the one on the left (above)! First they were put together in horizontal strips as below.....(yes, the only place I had to sew today was my office)

The horizontal strips were sewed together.....This created the center of my twin sized double Irish chain quilt....

Now, I could have stopped there with a simple binding and called it a day....
But nooooooo.....
I had to fall in love with the seminole border.....pictured below in Eleanor Burn's book Quilt In A Day Irish Chain..... which I just discovered is made up of a mere 70 additional blocks, each made up of groups of three squares.....I think I need to lie down. After a couple of drinks and some serious chocolate.

I guess it will be a UFO a bit longer....that's going to take until February, 2008 some time, encouragement and assistance from my Teacher Extraordinaire, Janet.....I have no idea how to make those little seminole trims come out exactly the correct size, butting up against those 9-patch squares. But if anyone can get me through it, Janet can! Stay tuned! (Pass the chocolate!)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Patio 2

Then again, maybe not. Trying again!

So there you have it. Even the flower pot doesn't help! It tries, but up close, the leggy, "so over it" appearance of the impatiens just adds to the overall not-quite-doing-it-for-me. Back to the porch.

I tried moving the fiscus out to where it would get more light, and I arranged a few of the afore-mentioned leggy and so-over-it impatiens - the turtle is a nice touch. It was a gift from Karen on my birthday or Mother's day - and its a shoe cleaner in disguise....I love it!!

I lightened up the previous fiscus corner with Mr. Spikey and the remaining impatiens and a succulent group that needs a repotting for the top plant - I love those plants. They look like quilting designs on a branch....so cool. I am trying to determine how to successfully repot them without breaking them. I like the corner better now.

Mr. Frog likes it too.

As I said, overall, it is neater. I need to get the round top for the table experiment. And a number of cans of Fusion paint by Krylon. Makes cheap resin chairs that are past their prime look brand new, according to the customer reviews on some other blogs and sites. If it works, I will have a fairly decent table/chair set for the cost of the paint and one plywood circle from HomeDepot (my favorite toy store....well, one of them anyway!)

I'm tired. I am also just a bit sad. I live in Southern California, and as I said to my best buddy Karene - I want a yard that says SoCal. One that takes advantage of our year round growing season. Green, beautiful, flowering, with decent grass, and NEAT. But life (work, laundry, sleep, dinner) just keeps getting in the way of what I want to accomplish. (on the quilting and knitting fields also!!) Oh well. This is an improvement. So there!! :)

Patio 1

I'm going to post in bits. I had a nice entry ready and Blogger wouldn't take my pictures. Not one. Trying with a smaller narrative and only a few pictures.

Its better, because its neater and a number of pots got tossed and I'm just simplifying a bit. Here's the "before" of the patio:

Pretty pathetic. First we must lose the grill, which involved some research, trying to determine how to fasten the propane to the frame of the grill. During this time, I was kneeling under the grill with the book beside me, following directions and bending a wire that simply was not doing what the picture indicated. I sat up at one point to look at the book again and my head hit the shelf on the side of the grill. The side holding my iced tea. I realized this, because I was deluged with iced tea, over my head, neck and back. Felt great for a moment, but all in all, I wasn't too impressed with myself.

All this was happening with the accompaniment of the little rugrat in the yard behind me, practicing after what had to be his first trumpet lesson. I was so impressed with him that I called Karene so she could listen. We agreed that a cow in labor would have sounded better. Don't get me wrong. I love kids. I really do. I am currently knitting hats with my daughters to keep kids warm in Mongolia because I love kids. I can't blame the kid - he's not really a rugrat. He just has parents who think I'd love to hear his trumpeting, so they're sharing the experience with the entire neighborhood. I'm not stupid - I can imagine how that would sound inside the house. Yep, "Its a beautiful day Junior, go practice outside."

Back to the patio. The old umbrella stand must also leave. Heaved it (dripping iced tea all the way) to the garage into the garbage bin. Began creating a place for the grill to hide when not in use.

I had dutifully measured the wheels/legs of the grill. I had purchased enough one foot square blocks to create a hard surface for the grill to sit on while not being used. I figured I would pull the grill forward, or even lift it with the assistance of Mr. B., onto the grass, and cook, and then put it back. The two times a month that we grill, it seemed like a swell idea.

Well, the execution looks a little "white trash" to me. And actually, again, I am not too impressed with myself. I neglected to take into account the width of the shelves of the grill. Hence, the grill appears to be holding up the palm trees......just between you and me, its called careful wedging. Well, maybe shoving and creative cursing. Sigh.

Blogger is not cooperating. I will post this and start a new one.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Not Enough Time

My newest addiction. I got the Knifty Knitter round loom set. I'm doomed. I want to make things by the gazillion. But I will restrain myself. This little gizmo is great for taking along when you want to not have to worry about sticking someone with four double pointed needles, or dropping stitches.....I will definitely work on a hat while flying to and from Wyoming in a few weeks. I'm interested in making a few items from time to time, saving them up to send in a box for the yearly Dulaan project....Here's a link to the project....

I'm rediscovering how much fun it is to knit, and my friend Deborah keeps sending me links for new yarn, each more beautiful than the last.....sheesh. I want them all. I commented to her today, even if I could retire right now, there is Not. Enough. Time. (She agreed.....and she's semi-retired already.....there's just not enough hours to do all that we want to do that is creative and crafty and fills that need in us to make something useful and beautiful, all in one....)

But here's my first hat - whipped up in one and a half hours total time.....the last hat I knitted for Karen on double pointed needles took me hours and hours and hours and even a tad of creative cursing.....this is SO much more fun.....now I'm contemplating ordering the rectangular looms too......so I can make scarves for the Dulaan project that match a few of the hats......

I'm working on the adult size now (for Karen) since I have a ton of that yarn and she likes the colors.......Then will switch back to child size and finish up my six skeins - making good use of them!

My quilting class with Karene continues, and my quilt continues.....though not as quickly as I would like....(I know, don't comment about the rabbit trail I went down named Knifty Knitter.....) I have made 18 of the blocks for the double Irish chain.....This week I'm starting a set of different blocks that work with the first 18, to continue the pattern. Its so much fun to see how the Eleanor Burns pattern/style of constructing this quilt makes it happen so easily!

I've tried several times to load a picture of one of the 18 squares.....but Blogger is not cooperating.....Another time perhaps....Back to work for me!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

It's Hot

I used to live in Texas. I loved many things about it. But the heat wasn't one of them....Yesterday felt like Texas.

Michael put a thermometer on the front porch because he did not believe the official "the Weather Channel" report that it was 101 degrees in Anaheim, California, in our zip code. (Nor was he buying the announcement that with humidity, it felt like 106.)

The first reading was about 104. I took another picture later trying to get rid of the glare of the flash....and it was hotter by then. (Not counting the humidity!)

(The thermometer was only on the floor by that ray of sunlight 14 seconds before I took the picture....) Yep, it was 106 on my shaded front porch, all afternoon. It was muggy and heavy and hot. We took the thermometer inside after that, because sun on the front porch was going to give a false reading and cause the inmates, er... I mean my housemates, to make a run on the ice cream in the freezer.

But we are fortunate. There are thousands in Queens, New York right now, with no electricity for over a week, and temperatures just like these. I have NO room to gripe and whine. On the bright side, its supposed to be in the low 80's next weekend!! :)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Uh oh....Mom's trying to FIX something!!

Today's post will be of limited interest to anyone except my Dad, from whom I get my natural inclination to try to "fix things"......

Sometimes, that's the extent of the similarity between our efforts to fix things: its natural for both of us to try. He regularly succeeds. I regularly have sore stomach muscles from wheezing with laughter as I attempt to act like I know what I'm doing.

Two days ago, the vacuum was being used by the 26-year-old, who was industriously cleaning her room. There was the normal irritating screaming of the vacuum which was suddenly punctuated by a sound resembling a jackhammer on concrete, and then deafening silence broken only by an undeleted expletive. Doors opened everywhere and family members converged on the scene. "What happened?" was the idiotic chorus that rose as we surveyed Karen through the swirling clouds of settling dust.

"I dunno," was the enlightening reply. Possible culprits were located on the floor as vision became more of a possibility.....a random screw, the knob to adjust the heighth of the vacuum, clods of dirt......nothing very telling.

"Yay" Laurie said, as she disappeared....."now I don't have to vacuum my room!" (She's got that "get over it and move on!" thing nailed.....I could take lessons from her. Instead, I vow to fix it.)

I took poor Mr. Blue Vacuum downstairs and he sat in the holding area (the den) awaiting diagnosis. The holding area is where all the "happening" events in this house take place. Why, Sadie gave birth to her second hair bunny in the holding area yesterday. After I finished typing today, I decided to operate. I gathered my tools (screwdriver, scalpel razor blade, scissors, light, fan - I may as well be comfortable...) and I entered the holding area to prep the patient.
I removed the drape, and proceeded with a bimanual examination........yep, any first year resident could see we had a possible strangulation of a vital organ.....the beater bar was encased in a huge amount of foreign objects and debris.........

I removed the cover and dissected away the foreign bodies and other crud....I was feeling pretty smug when I got all this out.....I have no idea what some of this is.....I wasn't even sure when I got it off the beater bar and could take a better look....

But as I say, I was feeling pretty smug. I put the bottom plate back on, sat Mr. Blue Vacuum upright and turned on the power. Jackhammer noise! The Pure Bred Big Yellow Dog nearly wet himself, Le Tigre (the Pitbull) buried her nose in my left elbow, and I turned it off, waited for the air to clear, and contemplated my next brilliant move......

I decided to take off the top cover of the vacuum and see what there was to see.

Okay, that would be a wad of dog hair and crud, right over a seemingly important perforated little vent like area.....Perhaps removing that major obstruction will shed some light on things.....

Why look....speaking of light....hidden with in the disgusting stuff is the light for the front of the vacuum which has mysteriously not worked for months.....I'm sure I have a diagnosis: the light is shaking inside and making the death rattle noise. Voila! Yep, I started feeling smug again! I placed the light bulb in the appropriate location.

Hesitantly, after warning the Pure Bred Big Yellow Dog, I turned Mr. Vacuum back on. Without the benefit of the cover, the death rattle was deafening. All four dogs joined the fray in protest. I turned it off, and then I did the smartest thing I've done all day.

I solomnly intoned "Time of Death 17:55."

Mr. Blue Vacuum is now in the morgue garage awaiting trash day. Sorry, I called it the morgue by accident you see, because Little Bunny FooFoo, the Cat Who Used Up Her Nine Lives, and Spike the Bearded Dragon lie in state in the freezer in the garage, awaiting a proper burial. Don't ask. Really. Don't.

Now I'll turn my attention to trying to improve the performance of the dishwasher. (Max just ran upstairs to hide!) And Mr. B is picking up a new vacuum on the way home. (Note to Laurie: Honey, you can vacuum your room now!)