Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bursting the Blue Bubble

I thought I would get a head start on my UFO to finish for February, but I'm thinking this little object will remain unfinished, or at least until I get a little Velcro or even duct tape. There's a reason things get put back for years and never finished. It's not that you lose interest so much or run out of time, but it's because you run into that little snag that can't be figured out easily. For some reason, you think if you put it away for 5 years, when you bring it out again, you may have gained the knowledge or skills to finish it. When I was taking heirloom sewing classes in Meridian many years ago, I was learning a lot of new things, and I did put some things aside to finish later so I could go on to new things, but this little outfit was hidden away because I got frustrated about how to get it to close at the bottom. So I got it out again today and realized I'm still frustrated; nothing is going to work. Except maybe those little Velcro circles.

I also need to be really honest; this particular outfit will fit a normal-sized baby maybe 20 minutes, the way they grow. And if it's worn one time, that will be it. No mother of a newborn baby is going to spend 15 minutes placing and ironing those pleats or fighting those teeny buttons that are just a lttle larger than a pinhead. If it weren't for the fact that I did an amazingly good job of putting the piping on the collar and sleeves (it's hard; I can brag), I would just toss it. I'm not even sure I actually did that - it doesn't look like my usual mess. But if someone else had done it, I would have had them finish the legs.
This will make a perfect outfit to hang in a nursery BEFORE a baby is born and think about how cute it is and how exciting it will to dress him in all those little clothes. But one spit-up episode is going to send it to the bottom of the laundry basket never to see the light again.

You have to admit, the back is kinda cute though.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Emily

January 31, 1978, at 3:19 a.m. Big girl, 9 lb 4-1/2 ounces.

A few years have passed, but she's just as sweet as ever.

Project Completed

Glad to have this little quilt done. It was fun. If I could only learn to take better pictures. Mama had a little help with her border stitching.

January Wrap-ups

It's been a good month, but I can't pretend to enjoy January very much. The only thing good to come out of an otherwise gloomy, cold, bitter, unpredictable month was a baby born at the tail end of it back in 1978, and she was even supposed to be born in February.

I worked hard on my UFO yesterday. Besides the usual meaning, UFO means something unfinished to the crafty world. I've always thought Unfinished Object, but I'm sure it must have a cuter name. Anyway I finished the quilting on the Simplicity table topper and didn't much enjoy it because I was kind of in a hurry, but I nailed that border. Putting the border on a quilt is probably my favorite part of quilting, mainly because I learned from a wonderful quilter in Greensboro in my first quiling class and secondly because it means I'm finishing something! The mitered corners are fun to do (usually) but I was never happy with the way it looked when I joined the beginning and end of the binding. I found these instructions not too long ago here on Heather Bailey's blog and found the answer to a neat finish. With me, nothing is ever really neat, but it's sure an improvement. As I was basking in my beautiful neat (to me) borders, I decided to trim the seams a little. For some reason, all common sense left me, and I trimmed the corners, thinking they would be less bulky. Well, when I went to press and pin, I discovered those beautiful mitered corners were, well, just not there. Just gone. I stomped around a little and muttered about it but just went over and stitched them together, and they'll do but are just not as pretty. I've now taken it to my finisher (Mama) for the final stitching. This still counts as a finished UFO for me because the hard part is done. Mama just needed something to do today and asked if she could hand sew the border. No argument from me.

Back to the real world, I need to work 4 hours today, sometime. Tomorrow is Emily's birthday, and I want to find some pictures of her for my Jan. 31 post. I lost more pictures than I thought when my computer died, so I have to go looking through all those CDs I saved pictures on or scan some. I may not have one of her in the past year unless I can get her or Ryan to send me one. Probably not though. He is going to Warm Springs, her friend Meghan from Atlanta is going to meet them there, and then they're going back to Atlanta Saturday to spend some time with Meghan's parents and see a few more friends. What a nice birthday. I'll try not to worry too much about her being in Atlanta, but that's what mothers are for - and grandaddies!

Today was a another sort of milestone. I managed to get rid of my last Christmas stamp. Whoever opens the Wells Fargo and Dixie Electric envelopes should be cheered by those nutcrackers grinning at them, but I also used return address labels with bright yellow sunflowers, so that shows I'm looking ahead.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sewing Beginnings - Part 1

My Grandmother Eula Dunn Watkins surrounded by her grandchildren. L-R: My cousin Sherry, cousin Debby in front, me peeking out from behind, my brother Mike, and another cousin Bobby.

When I decided to start this blog/journal, I mainly wanted to remember the days of my life in 2009, but I also wanted it to be a place where I could record the few needlework projects I do. There won't be many, but I have pictures of things I've done in the past few years to make it seem like I do a lot.

I can't remember when I first thought about sewing myself. My first memories are the sounds of the sewing machine and scissors snipping and people coming and going and trying on clothes. My grandmother Eula was a talented seamstress who sewed not only for our family but for the public. She sewed effortlessly and well on that shiny black Singer machine. Pieces of fabric just seemed to magically turn into clothes and quilts and curtains. I don't even think she used a pattern most of the time. Many times I would come home from school to find a new dress to wear the next day (more than likely plaid). I just took it for granted and never asked her to show me how or expressed the least interest in it. She kept my brother and me and most of my cousins, and she probably preferred that we leave her alone.

She did teach me to crochet on long winter evenings sitting by the fire. Again, she didn't use a pattern but just taught me by telling me how many times to wrap the thread around my needle and how many stitches to skip until I had turned out yards and yards of lace. It wasn't until much later that I learned that those stitch combinations had names, and that you could make different designs by reading patterns. I never used the lace that I recall but was content to just mindlessly turn out long trails of it. She also tatted, although I never actually saw her do it. She supposedly tatted lace for my baby socks, and I have some pretty intricate collars she did. By the time I became interested, her hands were shaky, and she couldn't really remember. I do have her shuttles and finally learned a few years ago. I can see why she couldn't teach me. It's not easy!

Another thing she taught me was embroidery, just simple stitches, like the running stitch, lazy daisy, French knots, and I turned out many dish towels with flowers and animals on them - the types of things people love so much now - vintage! We didn't spend much time inside in those days, and I would always have a little bit of grubby needlework with me. I also don't ever recall those being used to dry dishes. Wonder why. She once made a quilt with the state flower for each state embroidered on squares, and she let me do French knots to my heart's content. That turned out to be the quilt she gave me.

Once I dropped out of college and was living and working at home, I had some time on my hands and thought I would learn to sew. I was also going to get married in a year or so and was feeling a little domestic. I bought a Singer teach-yourself-to-sew book and kind of taught myself with a little guidance from Grandma. She had talent, and I didn't (that gift went to Sherry), so she didn't have that much patience with teaching me how to put in zippers: "Just use your imagination," she once said. I guess I don't have much, because zippers still give me fits.

I did make a few things but I think got a little bored with it. Mama was just deciding she wanted to learn to sew (and did, quite well), so she was always making things. In fact, she made just about everything I wore for my wedding showers and parties and I think a couple of the bridesmaid's dresses. So that was my first brief venture into the sewing world and I pronounced it a little boring. I would then get married and move away and have no access to a sewing machine for several years.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

When You Care Enough

Today was one of my errand days. One of the errands was buying birthday cards. I always like to go into the card shop when I have plenty of time and not buy a card until it speaks to me. I hate ho-hum cards, those generic ones: To a very special son. To one who means a lot to me. Our family doesn't talk that way, and it feels all fake to buy a card like that.

We have 3 family members with birthdays in January and February, and for some reason, those February ones are hard to remember, so I was glad to have some time today to concentrate and be prepared this year. The January birthday is Emily, the baby daughter. If you read this, Em, you're not getting the one with the photograph of the mother gazing into her baby's eyes, saying, "The first time I held you in my arms..." You almost did. My criteria for a daughter card is whether or not it makes me misty-eyed or gives me a lump in my throat. We've done the pastel rectangular ones that go on and on and won't stop until you cry. When I read one now, my first thought is, "This sounds familiar. Did I give that one last year?" Or maybe they all kind of sound alike. I did put the baby one back and get a more grown-up one for her to open in front of her friends and keep her dignity. Although the little pink real bow on the front made me give it a second glance.

The next one is my brother-in-law who is the one to get forgotten so many times. No one should have a birthday the first week in February, so he's gotten his share of cards with turtles on them apologizing for being late. I'm already ahead of the game. I found not 1 but 3 cards that made me laugh. In-laws are hard. I didn't grow up with him, so the "when we were kids together" comments or jokes about the dad don't work. Therefore, I go for what amuses me. This particular brother-in-law (actually my only one) is very smug about being several years younger than I, so it's always nice to find something focusing on aging. Or mentally or physically falling apart. I'll have to decide among them. He'll just be thrilled that I remembered.

At the end of February is my daughter-in-law Stephanie's birthday. She doesn't get forgotten usually, but her best friend has a birthday either the day before her or the day after her, and once I heard that, it sent my brain into a permanent freeze. I have never been entirely sure which one is her birthday and which one is her friend's. Even if it written in my address book, I still doubt myself, so I send her card to get there on the earlier of the 2 days. Although after her catty comment about my dead and dying plants at Christmas, she'll be lucky to even get a card. I'm kidding, of course; that gave everyone a very big laugh, and I'm not the least bit miffed it was at my expense. At all.

I may be pleased with myself with getting these cards bought, but let's see if I still know where the last 2 are when it comes time to mail them. Maybe I should just mail them all tomorrow.

Snow in Littlefield

I've been encouraging Mike and Elise to share some of their adventures in Littlefield, and they've pretty much ignored me, but Elise did call this morning and say they had had a little snow and that Kitty didn't like it at all. After all, she's a Georgia kitty who was taken against her will to Texas. Elise took a few pictures of the back yard with her cell phone camera, but you can get the idea.

Perfect little home for a cat: Nice climbing tree, good privacy fence, and all the bird entertainment a cat could want.

Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Pretty much through enjoying this snow.

Prayer for MaryLouise

This is the daughter of Auburn's new baseball coach, Coach Pawlowski. She has cancer and is having an especially hard time right now. This is a web page for updates. I haven't gone there myself (because I unfortunately am expected to work this morning), but it sounds like she needs lots of prayers.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Joyful Noise

I'm trying to figure out how I feel about the music that we currently sing in our church. I think most people my age have similar feelings. We don't want to appear old and stodgy and want to join in with new ideas, but I just don't enjoy singing at church. I don't think it's just my church, but I think it is a trend everywhere to go more toward contemporary music. And the majority of it is beautiful when sung by someone who knows the tune and has a good voice. I can carry a tune, but that's about it. If I have a hymn book and familiar song, I can blend in okay, but here's the way it goes: We stand up for "choruses." The words are displayed on a large screen, and admittedly most have beautiful messages. I try to concentrate on the words and not the fact that I have no idea what the tune is. Even after a year of singing the same songs, I still have no idea. Our music director pretty much sings a solo with the choir to back him up. The rest of us just come in at various times when we recognize portions. I don't love all the old hymns, but there's something comforting about them, the same tunes, the same words that we remember from childhood. They're tunes you can remember and sing with enthusiasm rather than standing there just mouthing words, hoping you mouth them at the right time.

I love our church, but the guys working the sound system and the audio seem to sometimes go to sleep, and we're left mouthing different words than the director. Yesterday, we had the precorded music for the first song, and when it started it was so loud it sounded like a plane was landing on the building. The lady behind me actually screamed. It's funny now, but since the majority of our congregation is over 60 (it seems) that could be dangerous. That's another reason for wondering about the choice of music. We have probably 10 children in the church, possibly that many teenagers, a few young couples, a good many middle-aged, but lots of older people. I have a feeling they would enjoy more hymns and less contemporary, but anyway...

We did have a wonderful singer and speaker yesterday, Ginger Millerman. She has the beautiful voice needed to make you love this type of music. And such a sweet speaker also. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her message.

Maybe with time, I'll get used to some of these songs and feel comfortable. Meanwhile, I look forward to Easter and Christmas and Independence Day and Thanksgiving so I can hear something familiar.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Weekend Leftovers

Mama wheels into church but is very unhappy with Josh the weatherman who promised her a "pretty day" today.

Darby has to share her new bed with Stella - or else.

"Well, she was snoring."

Maddy stops work long enough for a pedicure.

This is what I found when I went back into the kitchen after forgetting to put up the Fancy Feast. I wonder at what point it was clear one more lick was going to send it over the edge. I don't usually get this lucky.


Typical January morning

And then there was this.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Miss Madeline

Maddy Cat regrets her haste in trading the warmth of her humans' house for the freedom of the outdoors.

I have to admit, we have had prettier cats and smarter cats and funnier cats through the years, but Maddy is just the steadiest good girl. She's not a lap-sitter or cuddler but prefers to sit on my desk and watch my face while I work (between naps [hers not mine]). She purrs quite a bit but has has this irritated-seeming voice when she chooses to use it. Well, most cat noises are irritating, but her voice sounds like she's just HAD it with you and can't you please pay attention.

Mike doesn't like names for cats and can't bring himself to say things like Madeline or Celia or Stella, so she is usually called Mississippi Cat since we got her in Meridian or Baby Cat because she never seems to get very big. Emily and I in some sort of weak moment went to the animal shelter in Meridian 8 years ago and were determined to come home with kittens. I'm still not sure why because she had just talked me into getting 2 lab puppies, and I wouldn't have thought kittens were a priority (or very safe) at that time. Emily was just staying with us while she applied for jobs after graduating from UNC, so I can't remember the circumstances of wanting to fill our house and yard with animals except it was kind of fun at the moment. Anyway, we got Maddy and her sister Celia, although I don't think they were in any way related. Celia was a calico, long and graceful, with a very cheerful disposition. Maddy was homely, chunky, and a little aloof. Celia disappeared once we moved to Greensboro, but Maddy has been there with us through 2 more moves, the passing of the 2 elder cats, and the addition of her worst nightmare, Stella, and worse, a DOG.

I can count on Maddy Cat to be sitting on my bedside table every morning, just watching me and purring. She expects the alarm to ring at 7:00, and on the mornings it doesn't, she walks over and politely asks me if it's not time to get up. She's pretty patient, but after a period of time known only to her, she starts walking on me or tipping the edge of the lamp, the latter of which every cat of mine has learned will get me moving.

Maddy doesn't eat people food; has never shown the least interest in it. In fact, if you offer her chicken or cheese or anything else, she will make an elaborate show of pretending to bury it while giving you a disgusted look. Until we moved here, she would only eat dry food, but somehow she developed a taste for Fancy Feast that our older cat Lili liked, so now she wails for a spoon of that a couple of times a day. It's the least I can do for my work buddy.

She's trying to figure out how to take walks with Darby and me. Sometimes, I'll turn around a few blocks from home, and I'll see her trotting along the sidewalk with her little bow-legged walk yelling her head off. I've tried carrying her, but she won't put up with that long. She usually just runs along the edges of houses until she gets scared by something or tired and then goes back home. She'll be there when Darby and I get home reprimanding us and welcoming us back home.

I thought she deserved an entry all her own because she's kind of an in-the-background kind of cat. If you take 20 pictures of her, they all look the same. She never seems to do anything mischievous or funny, but she does have her own personality. She's a cat to be counted on, always the same, never climbing the walls or clawing things, but just there for me.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Trip to Andalusia

My father-in-law. Never met a banana pudding he didn't like.

I try to get down to Andalusia for a visit with him a couple of times a month, but this is the first time I've managed it since Christmas. Sometimes I'll cook and freeze some things for him to microwave later, and he says he eats them. I don't really have proof that he does - except for the banana pudding! Today we went by the bank for a minor transaction that ended up taking forever and then went by Pizza Hut and got a pizza. Nothing really exciting, but I enjoy the good company and a change of scenery. He has an article that's been published in a publication called the Beachbell Echo (and I know I'll get this wrong) dedicated to his WWII army air corps group. As soon as it gets online, I'll post it here. He is a wonderful writer and story-teller and has written 2 children's books. I'll get some of those pictures up later.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Little Simplicity Quilt

This sweet little quilt is the target for my "one project completed every month" for January. I saw this line of fabrics last spring and bought enough to do a little table square. I loved working with these fabrics, and the pattern went together so nicely. It was fun to lay all those squares out on the table and play around with them and get pleasing combinations. So I finished piecing it and then had to figure out how to quilt it. I tried stitching in the ditch, but that didn't work well. I then decided to quilt it by hand. That was fun, but the pattern I chose was a little busy and wasn't what I was looking for. Sadly, I started about 20 others projects last summer, and it got abandoned. It's been folded on the shelf just waiting to be finished, so this morning, I carried it with me to the dentist's office and starting picking out those stitches. I think I will just do a simple diagonal stitch. I also stopped by Kudzu-Blossom, and Paula helped me pick out a border fabric, the green floral. (The leaves on the floor behind the table are from my jade plant that is rebelling because of something I did. I'll go into all that later. Notice Stella on her way to check them out too.)

I have 9 days. I think I can do it. It's not the actual work but deciding to set aside the time for it. The stitching I can do in an hour or so (if all goes well with the old walking foot). The hardest part about the border will be looking up directions for how wide to cut the fabric. Once it's cut, that should take just another hour, again if things go like they should. I also have those 2 First Saturday blocks to have finished by the first Saturday in February, which luckily falls on the 7th (which I figured out quickly because of the handy little self-adhesive calender strip that came in the company Christmas gift this year and that I looked at and said - WHAT? I don't need that - but that I stuck to my keyboard and refer to constantly). So a little reprieve there.

I wish I could start on it now, but I have to take Mama to the beauty shop when Days of our Lives is over. It sounds a little emotional in there, from what I can hear, but better than the yelling and shooting I heard earlier. Then I have to work 3 hours at some point and do a little cooking for my trip for Andalusia. There MIGHT be banana pudding involved - and possibly cornbread and ham casserole.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Onion in the Freezer - Edited for Results

It's a slow day when the most interesting article I read this morning was on my Google Page: How to Chop Onions Without Crying. I plan to read it more carefully later since I have some onions to chop this afternoon, and my eyes are already stinging just thinking about it. There's even a video. I'm not sure I could wear safety goggles, although there are times when I would have gladly put on a pair. And cutting them underwater just seems somehow dangerous. I thought I would try the idea of putting one in the freezer though - just to see.

I did buy pre-chopped vegetables once. I looked around to see if anyone was watching me. I had always passed those by with a superior attitude: That's what's wrong with the world. People can't even chop their own vegetables or make their own salads. I can't even remember what combination I bought or why I was in such a hurry for them, but I don't think it was a bad experience at all. By the time I used them, I had forgotten how much they cost and was making plans to buy them any time I wanted them. I probably waste as much money letting onions go bad.

So if my eyes aren't too bleary and swollen this afternoon, I'll record the results of the experiment.

2:13 - So, it's official, putting an onion in the freezer for a few hours works. No tears, no odor, nothing. I think I'm a little late to this party, but I'm glad to find it out. Not that I usually plan ahead enough to think about putting an onion in the freezer, but it's still good to know. And that little case of frostbite? I imagine that will be as believable a work excuse as my friend Rita's - umm - goat procedure she had to help with this morning.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

First Project of the New Year

Just kidding. That would be cheating. I made these months ago and am just now getting them ready to be mailed. I'm so unsure of myself with the machine embroidery that it scares me to give things away for fear they'll come apart or shrink or fade or something. Maybe I've kept them around thinking they would disintegrate if something were wrong, but they're still here, and the time has come for mailing them. This gift is for some close friends of my mother's, their second grandchild, a little boy named Jackson whose nursery theme is - guess what? - fish. I made sure of the spelling because I did a gift for a friend of Elise with the same name, but it was spelled Jaxxon. I found out after I sent the gift, so I corrected it. The mother says Jaxxon can't tell the difference yet, so he's enjoying both spellings. All that embroidery is usually covered with food or spitup anyway. One day maybe I'll progress to real clothes.


For some time now, I have been talking to my daughters about a blog I started reading last year. I went there in a search for something - vegetarian pizza or something like that - and I was intrigued by her photography first and recipes and then read a few of her entries. It wasn't long before I had gone back to her first entry and read it straight through like a novel. I'm not sure what kept my interest. We certainly have nothing in common except love for our families. In fact, she exhausted me with her energy and love of life and made me wistful that I had not been able to call up that energy and excitement when our children were little. I loved her sense of humor if not her clothing style and her propensity to take pictures of herself - that's SO me. Anyway I think that original blog is up somewhere. I'll look for it later, but in August of last year, she and her husband were in a plane crash that killed the instructor. Christian was badly injured and burned but recovered enough to go home in a matter of months. Stephanie, however, had burns over 80% of her body, and it was doubtful for awhile that she would even live. I checked on her progress through her sister Courtney's blog, who kept the children, and amazingly she not only lived but progessed through many, many skin grafts and who knows what else and now is home. Since all my old web sites were wiped out when my computer crashed, I did a search yesterday, and this is what I found:

This is where the perspective comes in. I got up this morning when the alarm beeped and groggily put my feet on the floor. I felt stiff and blah and not at all anxious to get up and do my animal feedings before starting to work. Then I remembered having read Stephanie's 15 steps to get up (not pretty) and could not believe my attitude. So I took a couple of her steps - I believe #6 and #13 - and used them: Cry/pray. Then I was able to go with a lighter step to my mundane duties. She has a long road ahead of her, but she has a large strong family. However, the extraordinary thing is how many web followers she has. Her family was on Good Morning America, and it was mentioned how the internet has formed whole communities, and people had never met Stephanie but read her blogs - thousands and thousands, it seems - who prayed, had fund-raisers, sent encouragement to the families, and gave money to a complete stranger - but yet not a stranger.

I do spend more time than I need to on the computer, but it's not a complete waste of time when you can gain something that will make your life better. Now a lot of it WON'T make your life better, and there are quite a few "favorites" that I chose not to put on my new computer.

The weather looks not quite as bleak as it did yesterday. I took the garbage and recycling out yesterday, forgetting it was a holiday. Nothing like a bright orange bag on a holiday (or the wrong day) to advertise your scatter-brained-ness).

Monday, January 19, 2009

One Project Finished

It's taken awhile, but I have one thing to show for the new year. It only took 2 years to get around to it, but now I'm not scared to open the black hole. I have to confess that behind the labeling machine are all the Southern Living magazines I tried to throw away. They're not hurting a thing, and I might need them one day. One scary thing is that each needlework magazine in the black holders has at least one marker in it, indicating something I would like to make one day. Considering it takes me many weeks to months to make 1 thing, I think I'm a little optimistic about my life expectancy.

Now when the door is closed, no one can tell how much chaos is in there, how many unfinished (unstarted) projects I have, and how weak I am when it come to throwing anything away.

My sewing area/sunroom is next for plowing through and straightening. I have a friend whose husband offered to look at and maybe replace the sunroom threshold, so I have to clear a path for them.

I'm looking so forward to working tonight. I've been having a hard time with some new software that the company is using and have been fussing for 3 months now. Today my coordinator called and gave me great news about letting me change back to the old one. I love my work, but I have dreaded going to work lately. I kept thinking if I gave it time, surely it would get better. Apparently I'm not the only one, and after lots of complaining from everybody and receiving a resignation letter from another person today, people got their heads together and made some changes. I couldn't be happier because I love the company and the people, but I had started to think about possibly considering the idea of making a change - maybe. This is much easier!

Monday Morning Discoveries

The Good

This sweet little bloom came out of nowhere. Its sister had grown tall and bloomed weeks ago, and it was nice to have this greet me this morning. I think I had rather them bloom one by one and not fill the room with that overpoweringly sweet scent.

The Bad

This is what greeted me when I stumbled into the garage to feed the cats. Evidently they had already dined but were insisting on having fresh food in their bowls. I suggested they finish up what was there first. We'll see how that goes. If they won't, I know a little black dog who will make short work of it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Forgettable Saturday

Some days are more interesting than others, but yesterday was not one of them. I worked some in the morning and some in the afternoon, and the only time I went out was to get our weekly fast-food - Tenda-Chick this week - and the Birmingham paper.

I was kidding my doctor about my ear falling off, but for a while I wasn't sure that wasn't happening. It started with a vague sore throat which I sometimes will have but ignore. Then my ear also started hurting when I swallowed, and I've never had an earache before. I felt fine otherwise, so I started putting 2 and 2 together and remembered that blast of arctic air that probably not only froze the bump on my outer ear but went rushing down my ear canal, freezing the eardrum and, oh, how about the eustachian tube? The electric shock feelings are probably frozen nerve endings - that's my story; top it if you can!

I worked anyway but felt kind of irritated that I would have to dread swallowing and about 9:00 begged Mama for one of her pain pills and got in bed to read. The pain eased a little, and I slept very well until 8:00 this morning. There are still random lightning bolts that shoot from my jaw to my ear, but it doesn't hurt to swallow, so I'm pretty optimistic about my diagnosis. That and the dreary weather made us decide not to go to church this morning. I read the Montgomery paper - 87 seconds on Sunday - clipped the Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon, and scanned (as in looked at, not copied) and threw away 3 magazines.

The bookcase is coming along. I've been working on it all week. You can't just throw out magazines without looking all the way through them for articles that might save your life one day or at least make you happier, so it's a little slow. Here's what it looked like a couple of weeks ago:

Hopefully in a day or so, I'll have something much better looking than that. When I moved here 2 years ago, I just stuffed random books and magazines in there, planning to straighten them out later. Well, it's later. I see an outlet in this picture that I didn't notice before. I'll have to go check. It looks like a phone jack? It seems terribly useful. I think I'll hide a phone down there.

I sent Mike an email yesterday that had been forwarded to me about a 1977 Penney catalog and the "fashions" then. We tried to reassure each other that we had never worn anything similar to those. He confirmed that he had never had a leisure suit - whew! I didn't think so, but then our children never thought we would dress them like we did in the 70s and 80s. I did have some pretty busy prints that tend to make me dizzy when I see the pictures. We reminisced about about the first items of clothing we bought with his long-awaited first paycheck in 1968. We had gone without anything for a whole year except groceries, rent, and gas and an occasional movie - maybe 2. There wasn't enough money for first-year anniversary flowers, so I got them on the 13th month anniversary. Funny the things you can remember. I hear elderly people should start writing down their memoirs for future generations. In case there is a future generation, here it is. Welcome. My life may be boring now, but it hasn't always been, and I might be able to find some interesting things. Maybe. I'm sure it was better than straightening bookcases. Although that seems pretty exciting to me now.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ice in the Dishwasher

I think I mentioned once or twice about it being cold, but we've managed to avoid it pretty much. Except for washing clothes. It was a pretty good idea on the part of the former owners of this house to turn the laundry room inside into a large pantry (because most people spend more time standing there in front of the shelves and looking for things they thought they had bought but forgot where they put - or eating cookies - than they do washing clothes). The laundry room got relegated to a storage room in the garage, which is heated and pretty nice but still unpleasant to get to in the cold or heat. But that was the worst of my suffering today, that and holding the door open for a reluctant dog to go in and out. I think she really regretted not being litter box trained today.

I said a prayer or two during the day for homeless folks and others who aren't lucky enough to be as warm as we are, and I just completly forgot about my own daugher who spent the coldest night of the year with no heat. The girls haven't been too high on the student/intern housing there in Warm Springs from the start. It's supposed to be a "cottage" and sounds quite charming, but it's really just an old house with a leaky roof and mildew that they've divided into rooms - but it's free, so they can't complain, or maybe they can! Last night the heating system (whatever it is) broke, and the pipes burst, causing them to have ice in their dishwasher. I would not have wanted to be in that kitchen this morning with a bunch of shivering, fussing girls trying to get breakfast after a frigid night. She was still griping about when she called on the way to Mobile. She plans to take back a tent and air mattress plus plenty of blankets Sunday. If she stops here, she might can fight Grandmama for her fancy heated wrap. I think I know who would win. She would also have to contend with Stella who thinks her person has the best place in the house for napping.

Christmas Holdout

Every year for as long as I can remember, there will be some Christmas item that fails to get put away in December. Usually it shows up within a few days or sometimes not until the summer when some jingle bell or ornament gets pulled out from under a bed where it was chased by a cat. One year it was a Santa magnet on the refrigerator that I must have looked at 3 or 4 times a day for months and just accepted. Last fall, Mike asked why I had already put a Christmas arrangement on top of the refrigerator. I usually keep a basket of artificial ivy there and hadn't even noticed the red berries. OK, I'm short. Or not very observant. I was feeling pretty good about not having a holdout this year until I saw this last week:

Now this is where I sit and drink my coffee and read the paper every morning. Granted, it takes about 23 seconds to read the Montgomery paper, but I am usually in that chair every morning for that amount of time. Then at night, that's where I sit to read a little or do needlework. So I'm not sure how I could have looked in that direction for 2 weeks and not have seen anything out of place. I think he may have made a case for being a permanent fixture. I could take the Christmas green bow off and change it seasonally.

I hope to get a few things accomplished today, like getting the tax stuff ready to mail to Mike and finishing up that one cabinet I've been working on. My sewing room needs work, and I have not only the 1 monthly quilt square to do before February but 2, since I messed up the last one.

I have a bad procrastination habit, and I'm going to try to make myself finish one sewing project a month - just one; that means hemming, binding, clipping thread - whatever it takes to say I've finished something. In the meantime, I vow NOT to start a new project or buy anything else. I won't even go inside a fabric shop. I have 16 days.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


This is an old picture of Griff, but it fits the atmosphere. Everywhere I've been today, people are talking about how cold it's going to be tonight.

Otherwise, it's been a nothing-special day. I went for my yearly checkup and enjoyed meeting Dr. Middleton as her patient. I got to know her last fall when Mama was going to her and liked her then. I made the mistake of mentioning a bump I had felt in my ear, and she volunteered to freeze it. Interesting. She brought in what looked like a small fire extinguisher and sprayed it into my ear. It didn't hurt, but it was cold and loud - not something I'd like to do very much. It did hurt for an hour or so afterwards, especially with the cold wind, but it doesn't hurt now. I was supposed to get labs tomorrow, but I bought into the hunker-down mentality and decided it would be nice not to get out of the house at all.

I might or might not have a fire tomorrow. It'll be a good day to get my e-mail addresses and files up to date. And maybe finish organizing that magazine cabinet. Or work. It's nice to have choices.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Random Catch-up Pictures

Since my computer has been sick or dying for a couple of weeks, I haven't been able to post any pictures. That didn't keep me from taking them though, so here are a few that I had in my camera.

The amaryllis finally bloomed, and it was worth the wait.

Somebody doesn't feel good! But getting better day by day. Lying in the sunshine was a treat.

Having a friend to sympathize with always helps. One without claws. See below.

No one passes here without a password.

Miss Stella will ring the bell to get out, but she feels it demeans her and does it sullenly. It beats getting yelled out and having things thrown at her though when she scratches the carpet. Maybe. She's still thinking about that.

And finally, here is Sandy escorting Mama out of the beauty shop after getting her weekly hairdo.

Computers and Beyond

Sam and Luay confirm the demise of my faithful former computer, although Sam doesn't look quite as upset as he might have. When I asked what might have caused it to die (burn), they suggested that it could be lots of things, like age (I agree, as it was 5 years old), dust (I'm sure they weren't talking to me), and maybe leaving it on all the time for 5 years (again that might have been someone else). Anyway, it had been sick for several months, so I wasn't surprised and had my must-haves for a new one ready that Ryan had outlined for me. They scanned the list and didn't hesitate a bit but showed me a shiny new computer, including the monitor, with everything on the list (pretty much) for a good bit less than my Monday's estimate.

This is just a portion of the store. It's quite nice, and they have a large inventory of whatever it is people need for computers. It's on Fairview in Montgomery, and the only complaint I have is that the parking lot, which serves several stores, has holes big enough to swallow a small car and cause quite a bit of trauma to a big one (which I experienced twice before I learned to come in from the side road). Other than that, these are the nicest guys you'd ever find to do business with. They've put up with me over the months since I've been here with humor and patience. I told them if things didn't work out, I would be back complaining, and Luay said, "I know." But in a nice way! They are originally from Jerusalem and have no preference in football teams, but I made a small bit of progress in turning Sam into an Auburn fan.

Luay makes everything okay once again and sends me off cheerfully with my new toy, which is running fine with pictures and email and everything. I just wish it came with a little expertise.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Computer in the House

AND running. Thanks to Sam and Luay ("like the song"). I couldn't ask for better help. More tomorrow with pictures hopefully. It's getting to that part of January where I'm content to just hunker down and wait it out, so having a new toy will keep me occupied. Here's hoping I don't run into any problems setting up software and cable stuff tomorrow. I didn't realize how much difference a few inches could make on a monitor, but I'm almost blinded by the big blue screen. Makes my work monitor look pretty sad. I may have to think about where my priorities are and change them out. I might even work better if I could see what I was doing. Speaking of which....

Monday, January 12, 2009

Puppy and Computer Progress

Darby seems to be perking up some now that I started her steroids (?) back. I think that helped with the pain but also seemed to be what was causing her stomach problems, so I was supposed to leave them off for 3 days. After 2 days of seeming to be in a stupor (her, not me, although that's debatable), I decided to give half a dose of the steroid this morning, and within an hour she was up wagging her tail and wanting to go outside to lie in the sunshine. That's magic stuff. I'll just have to try to not give it on an empty stomach and a smaller dose. I'm wondering what a drop in my coffee might do to perk me up. Just kidding!!

I got 2 computer estimates today and want to run them past Ryan and check out the Dell website. Really nice man at Computer Renaissance near here told me what I needed to hear and didn't talk down to me. I'd like to keep from having to go back downtown, although the guys there are really nice. I might go there tomorrow just to cover all my bases. Hopefully, I'll have something up and running by the end of the week - mainly my pictures.

Doing all that plus mailing a package, going to the bank, getting the oil changed, and buying groceries took all my middle-of-the day time, so now it's time to get back to work. It's funny how some days people seem nicer than others. Today everyone from the computer salesman to the oil change boy to the post office girl were extra nice. The Publix people are always friendly, and I appreciate that. I'm sure they didn't realize that their taking the time to make a joke or small talk would do so much to lift my spirits after all these days of keeping up with a sick dog and having computer problems - not to mention just having to get out in this January cold and wind.

Time now to settle in with robe, socks, and a cup of coffee for a bit of work before bedtime.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

How many ways can you mess up a pot of coffee?

1. Forget to add water.
2. Forget to add coffee.
3. Remember to add water and coffee but forget to put in a filter.
4. Remember to add water, coffee, and filter, but forget to put in the basket.
5. Let the filter fold down on itself.
6. Not seat the carafe the proper way. On my particular coffeemaker, if the handle is not turned the right way, the water will go into the basket but not drip down. Real mess.
7. Yesterday when I was on the phone, I turned on the coffeemaker and then noticed the basket sitting on the counter. I quickly turned it off hoping to save a mess, and I had forgotten to add the coffee as well. Less messy, but definitely a minus in my scatter-brained column.

But when it is done right, there's nothing better than that first cup of coffee in the morning. Or maybe one late in the afternoon when I'm about to start working on a cold rainy day. What's even better is if some sweet person makes it for you and brings it to you with just the right combination of sugar and creamer.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Plans versus Reality

Today was supposed to go like this:
Leave early for Columbus, meet Barbara, and visit as many fabric and quilt stores as we had money and energy for and then eat lunch.
Let Emily sleep late and meet her in the early afternoon to exchange cars and do a little shopping,
Be home by 5:00 to work.

7 a.m. - Found that Darby had thrown up - a lot - with some blood in it.

8 a.m. - Visited the vet again who did x-rays and examined her and couldn't find anything serious. Maybe something to do with the trauma and/or one of the medications causing an ulcer. Much poorer, I called Barbara and cancelled out on the morning plans and took Darby home and gave her the first of her 4 NEW medications - in addition to the 4 from earlier in the week. Luckily if you stick a pill in a spoon of food, she'll gulp it right down.

10:00 - Nice young vet suggested I might want to put her on a bland diet - cook her some rice and chicken. I refrained from telling him I didn't feed Mama and myself that well. So I opened a can of chicken and rice soup, and she ate it all, including the carrots and the 2 pills floating around in it.

11:00 Left for Columbus and met Emily at the mall. Cell phone conversation on the way:

E: I'm in Columbus.
B: Okay. Let me think of the best way for you to get to the mall. Why don't you get on 80/22 - that's a left turn onto this nice 4-lane that I'm on now. Then turn right on 27 and go about 4 exits, and you'll see the mall.
E: Umm. Mom, I'm pulling into the mall now.
B. Well, then. I'm glad I could help.

12:30 to 2:30 - Followed the master shopper who has a nose for the 70% off racks. Lots of looking and trying on - very little buying but much fun. Sitting in chairs outside dressing rooms with the bored husbands. Getting disgusted in Abercrombie with the wall of perfume - not to mention the prices and the MUSIC. I'm officially old. Sitting on the little bench in Hibbett's listening to Emily and the sales guy talk marathons and neutral shoes and arches and hoping someone would come along and try on some of those men's shoes hanging on the wall. I just wanted to see if humans actually wear things like that. And the women's running shoes! Way fancier than they need to be, I think. I was told they were covered with mesh, not crocheting, but it looked very similar. I believe Emily may have whispered to the sales guy that she was adopted.

2:30 - On to Target for Em to get shirts for work - $2.50 ones in the boy's section - and clothes hangers.

My poor feet.

4:30 Driving home in the dark and rain eating Target popcorn.

6:00 to 9:00 Work

Not such a bad day after all. I enjoyed seeing Emily and talking to most of the other family members on the ride over. Darby seems better. Barbara and I can meet another time - and I saved us a little money (maybe a lot). And it's raining just the way I like it at bedtime.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Southern Living - Staying or Going?

Since I don't have access to my pictures, I can't include the picture I took yesterday of my magazine cabinet, but I'll try to do before and after pictures one day if I ever finish organizing it. Southern Living has always been my favorite magazine since I discovered it on Mike's Aunt Myrtle's sun porch one day in the 1960s. My mother- and father-in-law have given us a subscription every Christmas for as long as I can remember, and I haven't always kept them, but it seems like for the last 10 years I can't throw one away. Mike can't believe I've moved a box of magazines 6 times in those 10 years, but when you live in 6 different houses, that's 6 yards and 6 houses that might can use the ideas from Southern Living. Since I can't think of one decorating idea or one gardening idea that has been life-changing and because you can access most things on-line now, I may be having to let them go. If I've been here a year-and-a-half, and they're still in the same cabinet and if I have not had time to read the new ones coming in, I think that answers my question. Still.....

I had no trouble with other various magazines. I just looked through rhem quickly and tore out some pages I might want later, and out they went. I'm even sorting through my heirloom sewing magazines and picking out the things I might somehow live long enough and learn enough skills to make and selling the rest on E-Bay. I can let these go for $3 apiece but just to put all the SL in the trash makes me sad. I've become less of a hoarder these past few years, so we'll see what happens. Also my friend Barbara gives me all her quilting magazines (which is like Christmas morning when I get a bag of those!), and it's also hard not to hold onto those. I don't have anyone to pass them down to, but I may have to start picking my favorites and letting some go. It hurts!

It was a beautiful day today, and I took a break from standing on my head in the den cabinets to take Mama shopping. It's the first time she's been anywhere but to church and the beauty shop since October, and I think she enjoyed it. She drove her walker into Belk's and was able to sit on the seat while she looked at things. Finding shirts and jackets for 40% and 50% off plus another 30% markdown was pretty exciting, and she got a suit coat, 3 fleece tops, and 2 sweaters, so I think she's set for awhile. The weather must have been exceptional because she asked to stop and get an oreo McFlurry on the way home. Those are usually reserved for July and August.

I'm looking forward to meeting Emily in Columbus tomorrow to exchange cars. I've been back just once since we moved, and that was in a hurry (cat pick-up), so I'm looking forward to seeing what's changed and driving by our old house.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I KNEW all that

I begged help from my future son-in-law to tell me what I should be looking for in a new computer, and he took a great deal of time and sent me a very detailed e-mail - one paragraph of which reads:

at least Core 2 Duo Processor 2+ GHz, greater than 1000 front-side bus, greater than 2MB L2 cache-at least 2MB DDR2 SDRAM, Dual Channel, Paired-at least 320GB SATA HDD 7,200rpm (ask if they can make an 80GB primary partition.. that way, we can keep your media separate from you operating system.)- DVD+-RW, at least 16X- DVD rom, at least 16x (for easily making back up copies of DVDs and CDs [this should be very cheap])- plenty of USB ports

This will be so much fun.

I imagine my downtown computer guys are expecting me to tell them that I want a new computer, a pretty one that won't catch on fire or give me mean blue screens. I'm absolutely going to memorize these things, and when we start figuring out what I want, I'm going to be able to spout off words like Dual Channel, Paired, and Primary Partition and Cache. No longer will I not be able to tell them whether my router connects a rectangular plug or a round one, but I'll be abe to ask for PLENTY of USB ports (although what I'll do with them, I don't yet know).

Of course, Ryan was a little ambitious in his suggestions, not realizing that I was in my 40s before I ever touched a computer. He suggested a wireless keyboard and mouse and a docking station if I want to have a laptop to carry all those places I go. I waste enough time on the computer without having it tempting me all over the house. I will upgrade my monitor though, as big as I can afford.

So it may not happen this week, but I'm well on my way to being officially on line again - not playing on my work computer.

Update on Darby

My personal computer is still down, so I can't post a sad picture of the patient, but she is doing okay. She's very quiet and scared-seeming, obviously in a lot of pain. She will walk enough to go to the bathroom and go in and out of the sunroom but is pretty content to just sleep. One of her legs is scraped pretty badly, and her abdomen is bruised, and of course she walks very gingerly. Part of her depression might be due to the bath she had before I picked her up. Up until the accident, she thought that was the worst thing that could happen to her.

Out of guilt for allowing us to have an exterminator who would leave the gate unlatched, I went to Pet Smart on the way to the vet to get her a bed. I've been meaning to get her a nice one because she just sleeps on a bath mat in the sunroom or on towels in her doghouse. The old quilted Christmas tree skirt is her favorite, but it was time to put up the candy canes and holly. I got to PS and went to the dog section and passed up the heated beds and headed to the regular dog bed section. Not many choices. I guess lots of dogs got what they asked Santa for. Some of them were the size of a baby mattress and probably a lot more expensive. One looked promising but was $55. I realized at that point that I should have gone to Wal-Mart, but you know style is everything to Darby, and she would be offended by beds sold in proximity to Ole Roy dog food. So I kept looking. I liked one made of a tan velour with a little back, but it was no more than a thin piece of velour with a little raised portion. The bath mat would be more comfortable. I also had the idea that I could go to Hancock Fabrics (good excuse for a visit) and get some velour pretty cheap and sew it into a bed. I didn't have time for that, though, and I really didn't want snowflakes or primary colors. I resigned myself to going somewhere else, but on the way I passed the crate pads. Now those looked good. Tasteful yet soft and just the right size. So I got one of those. I gave the toys a brief look, but nothing seemed too exciting, and besides her Christmas sheep still has one ear and all 4 legs, and she has a basket of mended body parts that she likes, especially the one-legged, one-eyed froggie. Turns out she had no interest in her puppy friends at all. She looked at them like she blamed them totally for getting run over. I did buy her some chew sticks because of thinking how little there is for dogs to do during 7 days of bed rest. They can't watch TV or ring bells for attention. It's just lying there watching me work and glancing at the occasional cat that will venture near enough to sniff the vet smell. She refused the chew stick until I stuck it in a can of forbidden Fancy Feast cod and sole dinner, and then she got a little excited and chewed for awhile until she realized it was not really made of cat food but rawhide. Oh, well, thank goodness dogs like to sleep.

I'm still waiting on recommendations from my computer expert Ryan as to what to do about my play computer.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Terrible horrible very bad day

I was just thinking yesterday of how it's about time for the newness of the New Year to turn into real life when it happened overnight. The exterminator came around 2:00 yesterday, and I let Darby in to keep her from barking at him. I let her out again when I started to work at 5:00, and Mama heard her a little bit later barking at people walking down our sidewalk. I went out, and we tried to coax her in (as usual), and she would have none of it (as usual). She just took off enjoying her freedom and being her usual obnoxious self. I worked until 9, checking every once in a while to see if she had come back, but I didn't see her at the back door. Finally at 10:00 or so, I found her on the front porch all huddled up and shivering. She seemed ok but then this morning she couldn't stand up and snapped at me when I touched her back legs. So I called the vet, managed to gather her up in towels, and take her in. She had some pretty rough looking places on her stomach. I couldn't stand to look very hard. Dr. Golden called this afternoon and said she did have a broken pelvis but that that was the best kind of break to have. She most likely was hit by a car and maybe dragged or run over. They kept her overnight to watch for internal bleeding and kidney failure, but we should know how she is in the morning. She didn't seem to be sick, just hurting a lot, so we're hoping she's okay. Before I left her at the vet's office, she put her head on my shoulder and snuggled and licked my ear. Such sweet eyes.

THEN my computer died again. It's been trying to tell me for a few days. I guess when the picture goes black and there's a beeping noise, it couldn't be much clearer. I kept ignoring it though and thinking it would somehow heal itself if I ignored it. I changed monitors, hoping it was something that simple, but still no picture. I did all the tricks that I read about on line, unplugging it, holding down the CTL button while I tapped the desk 20 times (just made that up), but it stayed silent. After working for about 2 hours, just as I was sending a report, my work computer screen filled with black and green stripes. Panic. I turned it off and back on, and it was fine. I guess it was just having sympathetic blackouts. About the same time, I started smelling this burning smell, you know the one where it smells like an electric cord is burning. I looked at all the connections and sniffed around my work computer but couldn't identify anything. Then I bent down to my poor dying computer, and the smell was coming from it. So I unplugged it and said my final good-byes and got on the Dell web site. I'm asking advice from Ryan and wondering if I should just go to Wal-Mart and get the cheapest thing I can find. Surely, it'll last me a year or so.

Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Amaryllis Promise

Find the Kitty

Every morning when the back door is opened, Stella makes her way across the yard to climb up on this fence where our neighber has a beautiful Carolina jasmine that we get to enjoy. The vine happens to be a favorite place for birds, and Stella probably intends to find her breakfast there. So far, she has had to settle for Fancy Feast in the garage, but you can't blame her for trying.

I've never actually looked over into this yard (there's a double fence), but I'm convinced it's like a Secret Garden. I can see the top of a gazebo and magnolia trees, a banana plant, I believe, and other interesting foliage. The unfortunate thing is that the house is 2 stories, and the poor people who live there have to look down onto my yard. Which they probably try to avoid! There were 2 maple trees here when I moved in, and now there's only 1/2. I planted a dogwood, but the yard men mowed it down. Mike did work hard on the flower beds near the house, so they're coming along a little, and planted the 3 Leyland cypress trees, but what they mainly see is whatever toy Darby has managed to pull the stuffing out of that particular day. Once she gets the ear off her little animal, the opening is there, and she delights in pulling the stuffing out and romping all over the yard with it until it looks like an Alabama snowfall. If I catch it in time, I can sew up the ear hole and prevent this, but she seems to hide it from me until I've neglected her for a few hours in the yard. One day when I'm walking by this house, I'll stop and introduce myself (confess) and maybe get a chance to see that garden for myself.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Off to Warm Springs

Emily stopped off on her way from Mobile to Warm Springs just long enough to eat a little lunch and print the directions to the campus. I believe it's around a 2-hour drive from here. She was dreading it a little, finding out what her living conditions were going to be, but she called later and said things were looking good. She had found someone to run with, and some of them were on the way to the grocery store. It'll be a good experience.

Mama and I went to church for the first time in about 3 weeks, and it was good to see everyone. I feel lucky to have discovered Lakeview and feel so much at home now. Another lady who had fallen was back with her brace on after a collision with a dog had kept her down about the same length of time as Mama. The young youth minister who was hit in the eye with a football last fall and didn't know if he would ever see again was there with enough sight to get around nicely. I don't know all the details, but he seems great. We even sang Happy Birthday to the oldest member who is turning 97 tomorrow. She doesn't look like it with her nicely painted fingernails and red suit.

It's nice to look at the choir now and know people - to know Mike and Glen are such good caring guys with a good sense of humor; to know that Libby loves heirloom sewing as much as I do - and has her own business; others I don't know the names of except one is a gardener and that 3 of them belong to the same family. It's taken a year, but I feel like I know so many names now and who most people belong to. The first few months, I dreaded the time after the first prayer for the milling around and greeting, but now I look forward to it. The choir comes down and mingles and sometimes have to be herded back. The sermon today was taken from Philippians 3:13: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. Not worrying about the mistakes we make in 2008 but making 2009 better.

I worked all afternoon so nothing special there. I hoped for a nice thunderstorm but didn't get it. Now it's time to read a little before bed. The days pass so fast. I hope to get a lot more done tomorrow. Getting Mike and Lise to help me clean out the garage over Christmas was a major accomplishment, and it looks so much better. And Emily and Ryan got all my Christmas stuff back into the attic except for one rogue box that was hiding in Mama's computer room. Thanks, everybody!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

First Saturday Morning

That's what it's called when you take your quilt block back to the quit shop and trade it in for a new kit, but it's also the First Saturday of the new year. Working at home, I'm hardly ever out in the early mornings, and having to do this forced me to get out and go somewhere. It was overcast but warm, and on the drive over, I pretty much had the roads to myself - the back roads, that is. My so-called square was folded neatly in its little plastic bag and would have done a good job of fooling anyone into thinking I made a pretty square last night. On the contrary, I miscut one of the colors, and it threw the whole piece into confusion. The person giving out the kits never asks to look at your piece, but I confessed to Paula this morning to see if she had any more of that fabric, and she got me another kit. So maybe there will be a good football game again this afternoon and I can start over - or maybe I should concentrate more. I love going into Kudzu Blossom and seeing all the quilts hanging on the wall and hearing "quilt talk." I took a picture of what my 12 squares should look like when they're joined to a center piece, but someone needs to teach me how to take pictures. They all seem to be out of focus lately. The first picture is the center section, and the next picture shows the center section with all 12 squares arranged around it. We have 2 more squares to go. The next 12-month quilt was brought out and held up, and it was beautiful, but I still haven't put together last year's one and still have this one and the Double Wedding Ring quilt from the Cullman Quilt Symposium that Sherry and I went to last year. If I make 3 queen-size quilts in my lifetime, I'll call that a great success. Unlike Sherry, who makes queen-size quilts for all her family members - in ONE year. I think she's waiting patiently to quilt one for me one day. It will truly be a BIG day. Baby steps, though, baby steps. Let's see if I can get out this little kit today and do a better job.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Afternoon Task

By 8:00 in the morning, this mess has to be a quilt square. On the first Saturday of every month, we have to take the finished square from the kit we got the month before to Kudzu Blossom Quilt Shop (I'll learn how to make this a link one day) to show and pick up our next kit. By the end of 12 months, we should have enough squares for a quilt (plus the finishing kit). So I had kind of hidden this little bag during the holidays and had to dig it out of a box this morning. I had already started on it but now have to finish cutting out the pieces and sewing them back together and praying it will be something similar to the picture. It'll be a good project for me during the Texas Tech-Ole Miss game.

Tall Plants

This narcissus has been so exciting to watch this Christmas. I'm not sure what caused it to grow so tall and only have one bloom, but it helps to cheer up the dreariness from the kitchen window.

I love the amaryllis flower but usually forget to start forcing one in time to bloom at Christmas. Same thing this year. I put a bulb in this big yellow pot and put it on the piano in the living room and forgot it. One day as I passed by it going to the kitchen, I noticed it had started to sprout. By the time I got a cup of coffee and came back through the living room, it had grown 2 inches. Well, not quite that fast, but it did seem to grow a few inches a day. Now it's ready to burst into bloom at any time, maybe even this afternoon. I can't wait to see it. For some reason, the amaryllis bulbs I've planted in the flower beds here have never done well.