Tuesday, June 27, 2006

But in other good news!

My "Laurie Lu Lovebucket" had 444 days yesterday! One-day-at-a-time is adding up! She has worked SO hard and come so far. She has a fantastic support system, good friends, a good program, a great job, and fantastic results to show for it. Two of the people that I am thankful and grateful beyond words for, are Milton (her counselor, mentor and friend) and Kim (her sponsor, friend, partner in fun - she works with Milton)..... They have watched Laurie go from the little girl in the corner with the black clothes, the black hoodie pulled up over her head, angry and snarling....and they have encouraged, directed, dared and cheered her on....and today, she is the "Laurie Lu (not her real middle name!) Lovebucket" that we knew was in there somewhere, and are so very, very proud of. Here's a pick of Kim and some of Laurie's girlfriends on a recent trip to ski/snowboard at Big Bear......(see what I mean about partner in fun??) (Laurie far left, Kim beside her)
And here's Mr. Milton himself....with Kim at a bonfire down at the beach that the group held one weekend....

And here's another picture of Milton, I believe from one of the conventions they attended...

And one last picture of my Laurie on the right, at a wedding she attended with a friend recently! What a lovely young lady she is! Congratulations Laurie Lu! I love you!

Today I vacuumed the grass.....???

Mother Nature can be such a ...."pain in the arse" sometimes. For five years, I've had an umbrella that stuck up out of a glass patio table......weighted down with a sand/water filled base which I dutifully filled with more water every year.....it never took more than a tablespoon or two to refill it - because it was not leaking. Whenever the Santa Ana winds kicked up, I made sure to stack the chairs, and tie the umbrella shut and we never had a problem, even in really, really severe Santa Ana winds.....

Until today. Dead quiet this morning, muggy, "June Gloom" weather in SoCal. Sudden gust of wind. Crashing sound. I knew, right then. I said to my husband, "that was the sound of the glass table being destroyed." And I was correct......unfortunately.

I have already pulled the table frame off the umbrella, and then pulled the tablecloth that was twisted around it, full of glass, over to the patio.....

There's that much glass UNDER the umbrella too......and an enormous amount was neatly encased in the tablecloth....

Sixteen paws wanted to go out and pee.....so I had to deal with it sooner rather than later......so there I was, with my shop vac, pointy end nosing around in the grass, sucking up shards of glass. Oh well.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I'm finishing another UFO (unfinished object!)......

This is a quilt that has taught me, among other things, how very much I need the class I am taking on Sunday at Leah's Quilts. Janet, teacher extraordinaire, just might make a real quilter out of me yet! I invented this quilt, in a sense. I just sort of made it up. I purchased 4" squares of a variety of flowered materials on Ebay, because they reminded me of Karene. Her preferred clothing colors, her spirit, just seemed to go with the squares of flowers. I wanted to make her a quilt to wrap up in and watch TV, drag outside and use for a picnic, and wrap up in when she needed to "feel the love" during difficult times - the quilt was to represent a hug from me....It wasn't supposed to be a masterpiece of technical ability.....just a soft, comforting "blankie" for a bestest friend!

I put the top together during a trip to Cody to see Mom and Dad....we had so much fun laying it out and calculating strips and purchasing borders.....

That was last September a long time ago.....an embarrassingly long time ago......Its getting finished now! The quilt top turned out fine, but I'm not so hot at finishing them. I'm not entirely pleased with this one, but it will still serve the purpose for which it is made - representing a hug from me!

Note to self: Pay attention when Janet teaches you how to finish the class quilt!

Anyway, I machine quilted it today using simple diagonal stitching with varigated thread that picks up the flower colors....

My hands didn't feel like they were gripping too well, and I don't own any of those fancy quilting gloves with the gripping finger surfaces......Lightbulb moment!! Karen gave me gardening gloves with gripping surfaces for Mother's Day......as yet unused, so no mud and crud to get on the quilt! Perfect!

They helped a lot! Might not ever take them out to the yard for yard work!!

Got the quilting done, the binding attached.....all that's left is hand stitching the binding and hiding my loose threads. Hmmmm, strategic folding might hide the one crooked corner that has really irritated the heck out of me for the last hour! Oh well, won't get noticed......much......maybe...... :(

Optimistic as always, I'm already planning what I will tackle next, as if I actually knew what I was doing!

Baby Kaleidoscope Quilt Completed

This is the view when I laid it on the table with batting and backing and got ready to baste it together.....

And this is the picture of the completed quilt that I staged for my quilt book.....

And this is little Michelle, after she unwrapped it......

A very happy mommy-to-be! ('scuze the poor focusing job....) We will miss seeing her in the Chipotle Restaurant where Patrick and Karen work.....but she has promised lots of pictures when Baby Jay arrives.....maybe even one on the quilt!!

This is a picture of me, clearly suffering from "completed-quilt-euphoria" as I contemplate my next project......of the dozens I have waiting to be started or completed.....

And this post would not be complete without a "thank you" for the artistic input from bestest buddy Karene......who helped me pick the colors/materials to complete it, that made that quilt just sooo come together! Thank you Karene!!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Little Jasmine/Little Egypt

Sometimes Usually, I have more good (?) ideas than I have knowledge for their execution. But I get an A for effort. About two months ago Deborah, a friend of mine, moved from SoCal to eastern Pennsylvania......and before she left, she offered me some of the beautiful plants in her backyard. This is one of the plants that I knew would need to be replanted once got it here, a jasmine. I thought it would be perfect planted beside my front porch with another jasmine already near there, because it would look pretty and smell great when we sat on the porch.
While buying the items I thought would make a swell border and ensure Little Jasmine's survival......Karen and I met Little Egypt (Karen named her that because she is an Egyptian Papyrus). We liked her "hair" at the top of her stalks. She had a wild ride home in Karen's car, hanging out of the back window in 45 mph wind conditions (thank heavens we didn't need to go on the freeway - she would really have had a "bad hair day!"). We put her in the approximate location where she would be planted, to get used to her new digs....
Today I decided to sneak outside and plant Little Jasmine and Little Egypt. Which of course entailed a lot of digging, and placing the blocks for the border, etc. My dad always teased me when I was younger about "flunking sandbox". That's because I can't shovel worth a darn. Could have planted about four times the number of plants if I could have successfully just removed the dirt with each shovelful instead of watching half of it relocate back in the hole with each attempt.

Also, my efforts were made gingerly at best, because I was in the Sprinkler-Grand-Central area......so instead of the JoyDenise pile-driving method (insert shovel, jump on it and bounce like a pogo stick), I had to very gently push down, and each resistence had to be hand dug out, to determine if it was a rock or, horrors! a sprinkler pipe. When working in the back of the border area, I began to mire up in sluggish clay........yep....I think we have another sprinkler leak. Would never have known it unless I had gotten out there today.....But at least its not in the area I was digging, so I don't have to feel bad! Just have to cough up the money for Mr. Hernandez to fix it. Here's the view, halfway through:

Progress! Next I dug holes, plopped in Little Jasmine and Little Egypt.....while trying not to sink in the soggy areas on the right by the sprinkler thingies. Oh, and I attached the lattice to the fence for Little Jasmine. Then came the hard part. Little Jasmine is probably traumatized for life. I had to thread the branches through the lattice again, and get her all situated......I tried to be gentle. Didn't rip off a single leaf. But I wonder if transplanting isn't pretty hard on a plant. Especially when the person doing it has no clue exactly how to do it.

I added a purple running thing (name escapes me) to the mix and that was that. Here's the view from the front porch as you head for the door.....

Now I'll get Mr. Hernandez to fix the underground leak on the right, so we don't drown the new plants.....although they are actually higher than the sprinkler center. If the plants live a month, I think it will be safe to assume the trauma is over and they can be treated with some Miracle Grow. I'm crossing my fingers.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Max.....and the Max Potty Project

I just figured I would go ahead and solidify my reputation as a transcription service owner/quilter who is just a tad eccentric.....or as my "son" Patrick would say, "one can short of a six pack", or something like that.....I forget.

This would be a story about the Big Max himself......he is a Lab/Shepherd mix who was severely abused as a puppy (its really obvious in his behavior, around men in particular), rescued in traffic by my husband and Laurie (the youngest) and through a comedy of events.....came home with them briefly (after biting Michael during a panic attack in the traffic), ran away by scaling a fence while we attempted to find his owner, was dragged home from traffic again by my other daughter Karen who said "its a sign" when I recognized him and let him in.....eventually we found the owner who didn't really want him and called us up and said "we could have him or he was going to the pound." I bit my tongue, did not hurt them, picked Max up and brought him home to attempt to find a suitable place for him. My husband, unfortunately, had fallen in love with him......and instead of us finding him a home, we ended up making him a home. This was a predictable outcome.....Michael falls in love with anything of the canine species.

I am not a dog person. Explain to me how someone who Does Not Like Dogs ends up with four of them. Shut up, I know I'm a doormat, er, I mean codependent, or something along that line.
Any way, this would be the Big Max, outside my office door. He stays there guarding me.....I should be touched by this, and I am, until I trip over him.....then its kind of annoying....

Max is big, Max is loud. Max is a wuss. The beeping of a dying smoke alarm battery will put him into a panic attack, during which he tears down curtains and tries to climb out of the window OVER the kitchen sink....

Yes, you read that correctly.

Max of course, has to pee. Only he's turning my entire lawn into a toxic waste site. Well, all four of them are, but he is especially toxic. So today, he got his very own toilet.

I started with this area on the side yard of my house, which in 13 years of living here has never been landscaped properly.....hence the bare slope except for ONE successful ivy geranium which I have ignored and against all odds, continues to live:

(and thanks to Karen and Patrick who helped me above and beyond the call of duty...)

And thanks to much dancing and cavorting on the chosen spot and careful placement of anti-weed tarp (like anything would survive his usage) and gravel,

We ended up with this:

Max came out, sniffed it, and promptly peed somewhere else. That figures!

Plan B may be executed in the dead of night. Patrick said he might volunteer to do what all little boys love to do.......go pee outside. He figured if he used Max's potty maybe Max would get the idea after that! (Now you know entirely too much about my weird dysfunctional family!)

Fast forward a few days....All of this actually took place earlier this week (well, except Patrick's Plan B - we had not stooped to that level just yet...) And today, I am happy to report, after pulling the hydrant over to the area RIGHT BESIDE THE GRASS.....Max used the hydrant!!!

Plan C. I will move the hydrant back toward the center of the gravel, one inch at a time, daily.

Plan D. If His Royal Highness, Sir Maxwell, doesn't go along with that, I may consider removing the gravel (Grrrrrrr!) and installing Astroturf or something silly like that for his dainty paws. Such a WUSS!

But he did use it.....and another patch of lawn will live to be green another day!