Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nothing-special Thursday

Still no camera battery charger, but I did receive a package. It's still July, and I've bought a Christmas gift. I'm so proud of myself. I'm almost sure I will forget where I hid it though.

Today was the semi-annual dentist checkup and cleaning. They've really improved teeth-cleaning procedures in the last 30 years. If it weren't for having to cooperate with the hygienist, I could have almost fallen asleep. There was a time when the kids were young that we all dreaded getting our teeth cleaned. The hygienist was one of the nicest girls you'd ever want to meet with beautiful eyes and a good personality, but she was rough! I made the mistake of not asking for one of the others by name, so we were always given the same one. She chattered on incessantly while jabbing and poking and drawing blood and splattering water everywhere. I was always so tense when I left there. Today the sweet soft-spoken (silent) hygienist put a towel over my eyes and one over my chin and neck and just did her job. No pain. No tension. And I got my new toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss!

I'd rather be quilting or sewing or reading, but this is one of my make-up days for taking Monday off to help Emily and Ryan pack. They made it to Sioux Falls last night, and I'm sure they're having a good time visiting with Ryan's family and their old friends. I know they wish they could stay longer but at the same time are eager to get to Issaquah and move in.

I'll add more if something happens, but it looks like the dentist visit was the highlight of my day - unless it was buying some 40% off Kona cotton in Hancock's afterwards. I'm going to line up all my projects when I have time and prioritize and see if I can get something done.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Still Alive

I have serious blogger's block.

It's not like things aren't happening. It's just that I'm too exhausted or lethargic or something to write them. I also left my camera battery charger in the condo last weekend - NOT in the outlet - I had a reminder not to do that - but it's tiny, and it's either hiding in one of my bags or in the never-never land of the Island Princess lost and found. So I just ordered a new one, and it should be here in a day or so.

I'm not sure whether a camera would have been a good thing to have Monday in Mobile on moving day. Once again, working with four 20- and 30-somethings reinforced the fact that I was twice their age, and the things that looked impossible to me (loading a whole apartment into a U-Haul and 2 cars) was just a fun challenge to them. I like to think cleaning the tubs and appliances and sitting on the couch with my feet up and making suggestions was a help; that is, until the couch got packed. They stayed amazingly cheerful all day and made me laugh.

They did a great job and drove from Andalusia to past St. Louis yesterday. I kept hinting around they needed to stop, but they kept reassuring me they weren't tired. I'm looking forward to hearing the progress today. Sioux Falls will be so welcome when they get there this afternoon. It will be a good chance to spend some time with Ryan's folks, take showers, let the dogs run around, and rest. I do need a picture of the wagon train: Ryan and Griff in the U-Haul towing one car - which is filled as tight as possible with things - bikes on the back. They kind of wanted to tie a rocking chair on top of the car for the visual appeal but decided against it. Then Emily in her packed-to-the-ceiling car with lots of plants and Jack, the plant-eating cat. Karen met them in Birmingham with Rico and Bella, and I can just imagine how packed her car is.

I'm trying not to worry, but that's what I do best. I'll try to catch up later this week.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Last Beach Day

Saturday morning we were up fairly early and out on the balcony to watch the happenings below. Over cups of excellent coffee, we talked until we realized it was almost time for checkout. It's never as much fun to pack up and leave as it is to unpack, but we did it and said our good-byes, Debby and I to head back home and Emily to stay on the beach and study as long as she wanted to.

We stopped at a very nice fresh seafood place, and Debby got some things to take home. Pretty.

Rainy and windy. Good going-home weather.

But first we stopped by the Northwest Florida Ballet in Ft. Walton Beach where our cousin Bobby works. Bobby was on his way, so we decided to peek inside and see if Mr. Pants, the caretaker, was around. We saw him in action, ridding the school of another beastie.
When we tapped on the window, he leisurely strolled over to looked at us and then, just to let us know how unimportant we were, he did a little grooming.

Bobby and Mr. Pants.

We had a nice tour of the downstairs, the classrooms, workrooms, costume and sewing rooms. It was fun seeing all the costumes hanging there.

Cinderella's coach has seen more glamourous days - and will again - but right now it has a better use.

Pretty courtyard out back.

We finally were accepted and were allowed to pet.

After we left there, we went across the street to a very interesting restaurant that I can't remember the name of. It was a buffet with loads of different and interesting foods, and we did enjoy it, sometimes wondering what we were eating. Full of unknown foods, we hopped in the car and headed home in a rainstorm, stopping only to buy gas and get Mama some boiled peanuts.

I'm glad we made the weekend happen. We needed to get away and relax and laugh. It may be months before we see Emily again after they move, so we treasured every minute of it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Need a Vacation (Updated)

It doesn't matter than I just got back from a long weekend away. I need another one.

I especially need a week to catch up on all this twittering and facebooking and stuff. Help. I'm overwhelmed. I've learned just enough to keep this blog fairly up to date with no bells and whistles, just sentences and pictures. But now, I have Facebook looming, and I'm scared of it. I registered because I wanted to have access to it if I needed it, but now I'm getting invitations and being put on friend lists and invited to twitter, and I know I can never keep up. I don't know how to do comments and responses and all the things I see on people's home pages. Like I said, I need at least a week just to learn how to do this. And then where am I going to get the time to keep it up?

Anyway ...

More beach pictures - mainly involving food.
We joined this nice man for lunch at the Magnolia Grill. It was very nice, not many people, and lots to look at. I didn't learn the whole story of the house, but I think it belonged to a doctor who had it moved there. I'm not sure all the old artifacts are original, but I tend to think a lot are. Very interesting. Debby picked up a brochure, so I'll add some of the history later if I think about it.

There were a lot of old radios scattered through the rooms, and the music playing was swing music and songs from the around the 40s. I see an old Glomerata on the bookcase.

The food was good, if a little rich. I ordered vegetable lasagna, and this was not exactly what I was expecting. Good, of course, as anything covered with cheese will be, but I've never had green beans in vegetable lasagna. I ate half, and Emily, Bobby, and I finished it off the next day - along with some of Debby's leftovers. She had crab cakes and shrimp on noodles.

Here's where we ate Friday night. Excellent. It was about as informal a place as you'll find, comfortable, happy, lots of children, and great food. I had blackened mahi-mahi, slaw, and something else. I don't remember what Debby had but it was just as good, according to her. We enjoyed a huge open window right by our table to look out over the water, but as the night went on, the wind was blowing so hard we didn't get to fight over that last cheese biscuit but had to use it to keep the basket from blowing away. Debby agreed to drive, and it was so nice to let her. She's familiar with Ft. Walton Beach/Destin, and I had no idea where we were, so I was content just to ride and look at the scenery. We stopped at Barnes and Noble to get our books. We came home with 6 books and a magazine between us. We never want to be bored. Fat chance when we're together.

Emily came the next day, and our cousin Bobby who lives in Ft. Walton Beach dropped by. We've been emailing but haven't seen each other in years. That was fun. Emily went pretty quickly to the beach, and Debby and I napped/read/embroidered/marveled at how Emily could stand all that sun and sand.

We went to Destin late in the afternoon to the Le Creuset store so Debby could spoil Emily and Ryan by buying them red cookware. She may have found herself a few things too.

I think they like it. Ryan even gave the Dutch oven a practice stir or two.

Our Saturday night meal was at Captain Dave's in Destin. It was a little less noisy, less crowded, but still good food. I think I got a variety of things - gave Emily my steamed oysters. The food was good and the company better. I can't relate all the tales from our childhood that Debby shared with Emily, but there were a lot of laughs. The more Debby and I talk, the more we remember and also the more we realize we'll never remember.

We got home and got to the door on the 7th floor and realized the condo key was in the car - the one that actually worked - so Emily ran - really - ran down 7 flights of stairs and back up again with the key. I think the elevator was still on its way up. Then we got worried that she had not locked the car, so she did it again. We were able to stay up a little while longer and be silly. It was sad going to bed knowing it was our last night.

Tomorrow - the last day and seeing Mr. Pants, the ballet cat.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Back to Reality

Debby, Emily, and I planned our trip to the beach months ago, and I don't think any one of us thought we could pull it off with all our schedules and obligations - but we did, and we sure didn't want to come home.

Just as I was leaving Montgomery. My favorite weather, but we didn't see a drop of rain until we started home and just one patch of it then.
Debby and I enjoyed ourselves immensely without ever touching sand or water. Emily did spend a good bit of time on the beach - studying and soaking up the sun. Except for an elusive elevator and room keys that sometimes worked and sometimes didn't, everything went smoothly, and we did exactly what we wanted, when we wanted to, and how we wanted to do it.

Now where IS that key?

I didn't take any pictures of the inside of the condo, but it was really nice. The first thing Emily said when she walked in was, "I love it. No peach and aqua." The walls were red and the furniture red and green and the kitchen huge and white and just right for unpacking our bags of Publix snacks.

One of my favorite things.

Rain Forest Nut and Vermont Country Blend for the mornings and Island Coconut and Columbian Fair Trade Select for the afternoons. Adventurous taste buds.

Can't be a beach vacation without Werther's Nips.My little area of contentment. What more could I ask for? The sounds of waves, nice breeze, peals of laughter coming up to me from the families on the beach, and the realization that if I wanted to stay there and just do nothing all day, I could, and no one would care. I later added a book to the arrangement after a visit to Barnes and Noble.


Emily studying for her certification exam. The teeny spot in the center. Sure looked like she was concentrating.

When these chairs were filled, there was no limit to the direction the conversation would take: God's awesome creation, Granny Watkins, Le Creuset skillets, the end of the world, how we don't want Emily to leave us and wishing Tom wasn't in Iraq, the penguin-looking toddler walking on the sand, feet, families, makeup and hair, and where and what we were eating next were just a few of the subjects.

My time is up for the day. Maybe later today or tomorrow the visit from Cousin Bobby and all our eating experiences. Lots of seafood consumed and lots of laughter.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day Before the Beach Trip

This week can't have been as dull as it seems, but I guess it must have been since nothing comes to mind to wrap up the week.

I've come down from my high of winning a bag pattern - or winning anything at all.

I did fail to win Emily a planner/scheduler for her busy life. I certainly don't have any use for it. If I ever got around to writing anything in it, I would lose it.

I've done nothing crafty all week except pack enough projects to last me for 2 weeks at the beach when we're really just spending 2 nights. I never want to be unprepared. After working four 10-hour days, I may just sleep for the first 10 hours we're there, and I probably won't get any argument from Debby. Emily will come over on Saturday, and we'll have to liven up a little - maybe. She's been packing like crazy so she will probably enjoy some relaxation too. Whatever we do, it will just be good to get away for a few days.

When I get back, I should have some more pictures of Emily, Ryan, and Karen's gray house. Isn't it cute?
Also I need to get some pictures of Debby's new Lake House, preferably taken by me - from the boat - in the middle of the lake.

Elise has a new job in Lubbock at a counseling center. More details later - when she tells them to me.

Mike might not be going back to Dixie's, Too eating establishment in Littlefield. I must have missed that when I was there. I thought there was only a Pizza Hut and Cowpa's Barbecue, but I believe it has grown to include a McDonald's also.

I know I will come back Sunday with a whole lot more imagination and maybe some pictures, but until then I guess I might need to pack something besides yarn and Milo's tea. Or do I?

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Won Something

I read a lot of blogs by other people who, unlike me, actually have interesting lives, wonderful creativity and talent, and sometimes both. I'm not sure how I first found this blog but probably followed some reference to quilting, sewing, crocheting, maybe knitting. Penny not only dabbles in all these things like I do, but she finishes things and even creates her own patterns. Not to mention hiking and taking beautiful photographs . She has an Etsy shop too for selling the things she makes.

Don't forget Lydia's shop either. She amazes me with the things she does. They both make me tired.

I don't enter a lot of giveaways just for the purpose of winning something I have no interest in. If I really like the give-away, I'll enter if it doesn't take me 30 minutes to fill out the information. In this case, one of the things you had to do was enter your name - I could handle that! For another chance you could tell how you learned to crochet and for another mention this giveaway on your blog. Since I forgot to do that earlier, I'm doing it now, especially since I won the pattern for this:

Half the people who read this (all 5 of you) will be scratching their heads and saying, "Okaaay." But the other half will appreciate this for being totally cute and useful. Maybe I'll get the yarn and work on it at the beach this weekend.

Good storm is coming. I'm excited but need to work in case of lightening later.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summer Doldrums and Nothing Much to Say

Just for the sake of not letting a week go by without recording that I was alive, I'll try to squeeze out a few paragraphs.

I worked slowly on Elise's quilt, and because with quilts it takes so long to see something happening (at the pace I work anyway), I needed to complete a project. My friend Barbara had given me a stack of wonderful quilting and sewing magazines several months ago (which I have thoroughly enjoyed), and she also included a little pattern for Abby's Treasure Box. I had all these charm squares that I bought last February and have enjoyed just looking at them and thinking about what to do with them, so I thought I would give this little thing a try. Zippers have always been a nightmare for me. Hate, hate, hate them. Although I know the techniques and everything about how to put them in, they never seem to look good. I've done a good many through the years and even put a few in the girls' dresses by hand. So usually anything with a zipper in it goes to the back of my project list to save for one day when zipper knowledge will come my way. But I forged on with this anyway, and surprisingly the zipper was the easiest part of this. Really there was nothing hard and I think it turned out pretty cute. What I'll do with it is not clear yet, but I'd like to make a few more.

It's funny to see how the different squares ended up. I tried not to get any two just alike next to each other, but I forgot to notice that the two ends would meet at the zipper, so there are two patterns just alike opposite each other. I guess I could pretend I planned it that way. The next one will have more planning and less hit and miss.

If all goes well today, Emily and Ryan's new town (and Karen's too): Issaquah, Washington. Can you imagine seeing this beautiful scenery on your way to work every day.

They have to work out all the details, but Emily spent a week in the area looking for a place to live, and it looks like they have found a house to rent. Not just a little cookie-cutter apartment but a real 3-bedroom house with a fireplace, nice big kitchen and a YARD. She laughs about it being 70's, but she really likes it. I think she chose it because of the pink bathroom fixtures in Karen's bathroom. We'll have to make her a Hello Kitty shower curtain. I'll post more pictures when it's actually theirs, but it's such a nice thing to have that (maybe) settled.

Now that I've broken the ice and gotten started, I find I need to work, so I'll just come back during the day with various things and maybe a few more pictures.

It's a lot of work, but lately I've enjoyed selling some of my heirloom sewing magazines and miniature collector books from the 1970s on E-Bay. Mike has asked me how much he could to pay me NOT to do this, but that still wouldn't get them out of the house. This way, they're out of my hair and I get a little extra money plus someone else gets to enjoy them. It costs me nothing but time, and I have to admit it's kind of fun watching your items as the hours pass - to see how many times they're viewed, who's "watching" them and then towards the end you start getting bidding. Most people now wait until the last minute to bid to keep the price down, but every once in awhile there's a flurry of bidding at the last minute, and you get more than you expected. Someone paid me $5.00 for the above magazines, paid the postage, and deposited the money directly into my checking account, so except for 5-10 minutes listing the item and taking it to the post office, it's a neat little transaction, especially since I've collected way too many and have about 20 more to sell.

I still haven't heard from Emily about how the house renting is going. Hopefully it will be easy. And then they have the move to look forward to. Their time here is short, and it's a little sad, but I expect lots of pictures and emails to keep me in touch with them.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Island Princess (edited for Uncle Fuddy-Duddy Picture)

When I was caught up in the chaos of getting things ready for the wedding, Debby said she would make a beach weekend happen. After juggling a few dates and prior commitments, we have a lovely place to spend a couple of days - the Island Princess. It's not their usual vacation place, but it looks wonderful. Can't wait to get away and read some and talk some and listen to the waves and walk on the beach in the early morning. Not to mention eating some good food.

Speaking of food, we had some not-so-good food yesterday. Debby and I went to Andalusia to meet up with our cousin Teresa and her husband Dale from Wyoming and ate at Greene's Barbecue. The one person who got the barbecue said it was good, but the rest of us got the buffet - Debby for the strange reason of wanting the rutabagas - and me because the beans and cornbread looked good. I don't think I've ever had a bad piece of cornbread, but that was awful. Everything was bland and tasted alike. The company was good though, and we had a great time catching up, or as much catching up as you can do after an absence of 40 years. I think we're going to need a few more visits to do that. Too bad they're heading back today.

Before we went back, we went by and visited Mike's dad for a short time. Debby got to see the Uncle and Mrs Fuddy-Duddy rabbits that went to the wedding, and he gave her Uncle FD books. Teresa thought they were real people, so here is a picture of them by the cake.
We then drove around Andalusia to places we used to live and play and found almost nothing familiar. The vacant lot where we played (?)ball now has a house on it. The lot where our grandmother's house was now has a business on it. That didn't stop us from walking around back and trying to find something familiar. No fig tree. No beautiful flowers out front or garden in the back. No mossy wall in the side yard. In fact, nothing is left but memories.

Debby likes storms as much as I do, and we got a lot of them yesterday. I think my favorite part is right before it storms and the sky is dark and low and thunder is rumbling. Once the rain comes, it's not as exciting, but I'll take that too. We got a good soaking rain while I was gone here too.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4th

The only fireworks today were in my head.

Since the computer I bought in January after mine died has been excellent, I figured I wouldn't be paying my friends at Computers and Beyond another visit so soon. But alas, we had a problem with Mama's computer. She only uses hers for reading emails, listening to music from Wanda's Country Home, and reading the obituaries in the Andalusia Star News on line, but she does all those faithfully several times a day (the obituaries only once though), and was a little perturbed when she couldn't get internet connection yesterday. I did all my usual things that I know - repairing, resetting, pushing and pulling cables and things but still nothing. I tried twice to make Knology take the blame but they refused to fall for it and said it looked like a router problem. So off I went to my favorite computer store with the unfortunate potholes in the parking lot - still there except in different places now.

They are always so patient with me and listen to what I say, but this time I could tell Sam didn't believe me when I told him there was a router in Mama's room connected to her computer but in no way connected to the cable modem. I told him it had worked for nearly 3 years. He even drew me very good pictures, and I understood what he was saying, but I stuck to my story. I said it must be receiving a signal (magically) from the modem in my room. He didn't even roll his eyes or laugh or anything.

It turns out I spent an enjoyable morning in the work room of their shop while Sam tried numerous things. I got to see beautiful pictures of his little nieces and showed him the pictures on the blog from my visit in January along with a lot of other things. It would have been just lots of fun if that computer hadn't been sitting over there refusing to cooperate.

One thing I did show them up on was the Ishihara Test for Color Blindness. I wish I had gotten the names of the other 2 guys - maybe cousins of Sam or maybe just friends (maybe they'll leave me a comment!) - but they would show me the test, and I would immediately see the number, and they they would show it to Sam, and he would study it and could never see a number, much to the delight of the others. Secretly, I'm not sure they were seeing the numbers themselves because they always asked me first. Being the mother of a colorblind son, I have to live with the guilt that I carry the gene that caused this, although Gray said it's never bothered him. He did, however, admit lately that he's milked it all these years for as much sympathy as he can get.

Sam installed something - I'm too lazy to get up and find the box - that allows her computer to communicate with mine now, so we're back in business. It didn't work at first even after I put my 26-character key in and kept giving me back a wrong IP address. So after more Google searching about IP addresses and one more call to Knology to try to get them to take the blame for the whole thing (they declined again), I figured it out. I had even tried to call the computer store back for more help, but they had already gone to get ready for the fireworks excitement tonight. It drives me CRAZY not to be able to fix things, and I pretty much kicked her computer and told her it would have to wait until next week, but then I came in here and thought about it some more, did a repair and renewed MY IP number, and guess what? - it worked. I had a few moments when her computer worked and my two didn't, but that fixed itself. So fingers crossed, we'll stay on line.

Not the usual 4th of July today, but it'll do. I'll try to have a more interesting week next week.

Just because I like to always a picture to break up the monotony of these posts (too late, I know), I've looked and looked to try to find something 4th of July-ish and this is as close as I could get.
These are actually 2 quilts, same pattern, same fabric. This is when I took a class in Columbus a few years ago on "blended quilts," and I was the only person in the class. Guess which is mine and which is my teacher's. I never got the concept of blending and didn't do so well, but I like mine better. I did learn a lot, having the teacher's undivided attention (and undivided eagle eyes too). Mine is the bottom one - unblended.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Safe and Sound

So why am I so nervous? I guess it's because I've heard those alarms (several times lately right outside my bedroom window), and I'm afraid of doing the wrong thing. Especially as the directions took the little guy about 5 minutes to give. At least I have an instruction booklet. It will take some courage to set it tonight. But first I have to make signs for all 3 outside doors saying, DO NOT OPEN. I may have to duct tape them shut the first day or so until we get used to it.

These are some neat things that Wilford of Wilford and Joanie and the Birmingham Quilt Show made, one set each for Sherry and me. He does wood turning for a hobby right now and hopefully as a business soon and turns out these amazing things.

I can't imagine how you can get something as delicate as those earrings out of a piece of wood!
The piece with the ribbon on it is a binding holder/winder - not sure of the official name. When you bind a quilt, you have yards and yards of a narrow strip of fabric that sometimes gets tangled and/or ends up on the floor, so what you do with this is slip the ribbon over your neck, wind the binding on the holder, and feed it into the machine in front of you. I can't wait to try this, but first I'll have to finish something.

The other piece is a little work of art in itself, but it actually has a use. It's a wooden iron. Sometimes, especially when you're hand piecing, you don't want to get up and go to the ironing board for every little seam you sew; with this little iron, you just press down each seam as you go along and it works beautifully. Or an alternative use would be to bonk cats on the head when they get too close to your needle.

This is a tentative layout of the first block of Elise's scrappy quilt. I think I do better with only 2 colors. You're supposed to just use fabrics at random, a light sewn to a dark, but I start getting too fussy and wondering if something will "go." Only the top row is sewn together. I want Elise to take a look at it first and tell me what she thinks. If you kind of lean back and squint, the bright pattern stands out a little, but is it enough contrast? I wonder if I should just use an off-white fabric for the lights and take out those busy prints. This is the look I'm aiming for, and they hardly use neutrals at all. I may have too much neutral. Opinions and criticism are welcome.

Debby and I went out for a nice lunch and (very little) shopping yesterday afternoon. We ate at Mimi's Cafe, a new restaurant at EastChase that hasn't been open long. I just now read the reviews on line, and they were pretty bad. I think only grumpy people write reviews anyway. I had citrus broiled shrimp and asparagus with red beans and andouille soup. Not bad at all. Debby had their famous chicken pot pie and a salad. She didn't mention if it was good, but she didn't complain about it either. We did notice how friendly the staff was, maybe a little disorganized once, but I can identify with that and don't mind it! We solved a lot of important problems during lunch and made the world a better place and also finalized our beach trip on the 17th. No planning really. We're just going to go with no plans and see what we get into. Both of us had had hard mornings with work stuff, so we're more than ready to get away.

I'm headed to work a little bit now, but first I have to make a phone call and complain about commas. I had an audit with 3 "comma errors" where the commas were removed. I'm not especially fast and not always accurate with every spelling, but you don't fight with me about commas. I emailed back and questioned the person, and she said the commas weren't necessary. I told her all 3 of them separated 2 complete sentences, and after a long silence, she wrote back and said, "I left them. It can go either way. We were both right." WHAT? I feel sorry for QA people because the hospitals expect perfection from us, but we have to listen to the most awful sounds coming from the doctors' mouths. The one who dictates with the piece of candy in his mouth that rattles against his teeth every time he takes a breath is going to put me over the edge one day. One female doctor just butchers drug names and other words too - instead of varicosities, she says variscosities in every physical exam, which makes me cringe every time. But we have to overlook all that and have every comma in the right place and every word spelled correctly.

End of vent. Keep repeating, "It's good to have a job. It's good to be able to work in my pajamas and no makeup."

Time to go argue those commas now. I don't look forward to it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Day Smirks

Mike sent this to me this morning. I think that kind of sums up what I thought when I first saw my fence lying on the ground. I wasn't quite as calm and accepting as Colin though. Otherwise, add some frowsy hair and bare feet, and that could be me.