Friday, October 30, 2009

Bits and Pieces

This made me laugh.

I feel like this has been a great week even though it's pretty much the same as always. Maybe it's because I got the carpets cleaned yesterday after putting it off for - years. When we moved here the carpets were stained and awful-looking. Since I always clean my carpets before I show a house and sometimes after selling it, I figured the former owners had done the same and that this was the best it could look. I sort of ignored them and planned to replace them if I stayed here long enough. But with the plans to sell the house, I decided to do what I could to spiff them up.

I called a company with a name that makes Mike flinch: Peaches 'N Clean. I have to admit I picked them because of the name (I had seen the truck a lot in the neighborhood) and from a recommendation from someone. Mike worries about the poor guys having to tell people where they work.

I decided not to bother with those circulars that clutter the mailbox offering so many rooms for $99 and just go all out - not even ask the price. Nice professional receptionist who even called again the day before to remind me of the appointment and to put up breakables and again an hour before the appointment to say they would be running about 15 minutes late. I just now got a followup call, making sure I was satisfied.

The guys walked through the house and didn't shake their heads discouragingly or develop facial twitches when they saw the stains. They said they would "do their best

While they worked, I cleaned the oven, mopped the kitchen floor, and painted a kitchen door.

Mama didn't get her pecans, but she sat in the sunroom and read every word in the newspaper about the Birmingham Mayor's comeuppance (which I don't know about but will trust her that he got what he deserved). And napped. *Spellcheck does not like the word sunroom, but it didn't say a word about comeuppance.

One of the guys even changed a light bulb for me - and it wasn't easy for him, even with a ladder and him being tall. I could just reach the bottom of the fixture but was afraid of it falling when I unscrewed it. So I asked him if he would help. When you get to a certain age, you get to play the elderly - or short - card. He had no trouble reaching it but did have trouble juggling the 3 pieces. I felt guilty. A little. But mainly grateful that I didn't have to paint in the semi-dark.

When I walked through the house after they left, I nearly cried. It was spotless! I should have done this when we moved here. I keep walking around admiring every room. There was a place in front of my dresser that I had tried every combination of cleaners made and figured it was permanent. Guess what? Gone. I would run to a remembered spot and marvel that it was gone. I especially like the little plastic furniture shoes.

This was the worst room - the guest room - and it looks great.

I had three conference calls in a row last night starting at 6:00 and lasting until 8:00. The same person led them all, and since I do all 3 accounts, I pretty much stayed on the line the whole time. Beffie and I became very close. I even got some free advice about another account and about changes in general while we waited for others to join. We learned about weather in Minnesota, Michigan, Virginia, and Colorado, heard about another's vacation in Cancun, learned which husband won't get on a plane, voiced our frustration with bad dictators (who expect perfection), and stopped short of exchanging recipes. It's good to touch base with co-workers who are usually just names in email and IM. Recently one of the coordinators posted a picture of all five of them and asked people to write in and guess which was which. None of them looked like I thought they would - and I had even seen a picture of one of them. I picked right, but it's funny how you imagine someone looks just from their voice. Now I have to go use some of that knowledge I picked up from the calls - work knowledge.

My friend Lydia has a new blog in addition to her Etsy shop. She does the most beautiful work. I've told her how amazing I think she is, having a little one and working part time and still finding time to make all kinds of things. I'm going to pretend that the way we met wasn't because she emailed me to say she had gotten a sewing machine and wanted to ask some sewing questions. I guess I can take credit for giving her good advice, huh? I'm going to order a baby gift (when I find out his name), and I'll post a picture of it. She has grownup things too - take a look.

Hope everyone has a good weekend. I believe Mike might want to give his opinion on hotel coffee-makers soon.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Monday it was the flu shot. Tomorrow it's pecans.

We struck out on finding a place for Mama to get her flu shot until I heard that Target was giving them. I really didn't even know they had a pharmacy. I called the Montgomery one, and they were out but directed me to the Prattville Target. It was a nice little drive up I-65, and she got it with no trouble.

I spent my time poking around in the pharmacy section, mainly looking for a fever blister medication because, although I've never had a full-fledged fever blister, I recognize the lip tingling that means one is about to start. I think Abreva is the medication that's supposed to magically clear it up, so I thought I would get a tube just in case. I found it and seeing the $16 price tag certainly healed it on the spot. This is for maybe a one-inch tube. The package was big though, about the size of my hand. I figured I would take a chance on it doing what it usually does and getting better by itself.

The pecans we can get closer to home. The problem is when there will be some. We went last Thursday downtown to Tucker's Pecans, and they said to come back next week. I'm going to call today and see if they're in because Mama has her day planned tomorrow. The carpet cleaners are coming, and we're going to be banished from most of the house after 12:00, so she wants to sit in the sun room and watch her soap opera while she picks out pecans.

My trip(s) downtown yesterday are funny now, but I was seriously worried about myself for awhile yesterday.

I love having several hours of my own during the middle of the day. Normally there's some piddly little errand that eats into my 5-hour break. But yesterday was library day, and I was really looking forward to it. I tried to go Monday on the way from Prattville, but time ran out, and I didn't like to be rushed with Mama sitting in the car.

So I started down Atlanta Highway - it's a long way to downtown - and stopped by the bank first and then was driving along thinking my own thoughts, happy to be alive and looking forward to getting some new books and CDs.

Then I happened to glance at the seat beside me and saw my library bag. It looked a little flat laying there, but it took me a few seconds to realize there was nothing in it. I even looked, but I knew there was nothing in it. I knew I hadn't made a stop by the little counter in the breakfast room where I keep library books.

There was nothing to do but make a U-turn because those CDs were due that day, and there's a 50-cents-a-day fine for them. I was seriously beating myself up, but then I figured I would just get gas (which I would definitely need at the end of this day) and the newspaper before I sneaked back into the house to get the items. I amused myself by seeing how many lights I could make before having to stop and thinking happy thoughts again - trying to ignore my forgetfulness. I tried to call Debby to confess what I had done because I knew she would sympathize, but she didn't answer.

I drove into the garage, went into the door to the kitchen, and headed for the counter. To my surprise, there was nothing there. What?!! That's where they STAY. Who's moved them? A moment of panic until it came to me. Oh...... That trip to Prattville yesterday. I had put my library stuff in the back seat in case there was time to stop.

So. I rode those library books from one end of Montgomery to the other with them sitting right behind me. I guess I'm going to have to start pinning notes to myself. I do talk to myself a good bit - pretty bad talking yesterday - but I need something else.

A good thing. The glass guy just came and replaced the French door glass, quickly and without breaking it this time. I wish the carpenters would finish up so I could paint. On my break today, I'm going to get every last weed up, blow off the front porch and driveway (or why bother?) and wash all the bookshelves in the den. I love having all this storage. I'm afraid I won't ever have as much anywhere else as I do here. I even have kitchen cabinets with empty top shelves.

On second thought, this may be a two-day job.

I love zinnias. Even after cleaning out the flower bed, the ones I allowed to stay are just blooming like crazy. Well, it's kind of more fun to talk about what I'm going to do than actually do it, but I'm off to tackle some of it anyway. If I can remember what it was I was going to do. I did just now get up to go find the camera to take a picture of the bookshelves and got distracted and took a chair to the storage house, found some paint, opened it, washed the pet dishes, took a picture of the zinnias and started pulling up weeds when I remembered I was in the middle of writing this. And even then, I answered 2 e-mails before I got back on track.

Life is good though!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Good Day to Stay Inside

It's days like this when I'm glad to work at home. It was such a nice feeling to wake up to the sound of rain this morning, realizing the only time I would have to go out in it would be to get the newspaper. I even pushed the snooze button a couple of times.

My striped maple that we thought had died last fall, but after Emily did surgery, it did quite well.

Darby is glad to have a morning in the sunroom.

A pefect day so far. Funny co-workers, cats sleeping beside me, and Darby snoring in the next room. Oh, and a great cup of coffee.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Issaquah Pictures

I'll try downloading this whole album here instead of individual pictures. That way Ryan's captions will appear instead of my describing things I don't know about. Washington seems just as beautiful as we've heard. They love it - the hiking paths with all the lush greenery, ferns. Those beautiful red and yellow trees. And the mountains! I can't wait to go for a visit.

Picasa Web Albums - roo - Issaquah Sights

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Birthday for Lise along with more pets in clothes

Happy Birthday to Elise today - wonderful daughter, good friend, and a fun person to be around. Always the one to pick me up when I'm having a bad day and make me laugh.

We love you a lot!

After hinting around for some Washington pictures for a month now, Karen and Ryan sent me some. Ryan's I will put up tomorrow.

Rico and Jack did not want to be outdone by the Littlefield Chihuahuas or the Birmingham sweatered cat, so here they are in their nice things. According to Karen, this is Rico's "good" sweater because he is on his best behavior when he wears it. Like standing on the back of the couch!

Jack will do anything for a treat, even wear outgrown clothes.

Jack says, "War Princess."

Those helium refrigerators in Issaquah are a pain to hold down.

It sometimes makes the workers irritable with each other when they fight over whose turn it is to get down and look out the window for cougars.

Since we don't have a dress-up picture of Griff, I found this old one. Wonder if he can still do this.

I did find this one of him sporting a hoodie and thrilled about it too.
Had to include this one. Little bear!

Monday, October 19, 2009

I agree with E.B. White

We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry." E.B. White

Thinking of the things that give me joy, there are plenty of little things. Working and housework and buying groceries don't give me joy. I do them and don't mind them, but it takes time away from the things I like to do. And life is short. And getting shorter. I can't say how many times in my life I've been forced to do things I hate and be around people who bore me or make me angry. The older I get, the more selfish I become with my time. Things that give me joy are my family, traveling (the little I've done), any sort of needlework (even though I'm easily frustrated with it), and stormy days (just not TOO stormy). Other things please me too, but these are things I pick out as special pleasures.

I was looking for a picture of some special quilt or something to go with this quote when I found this group of pictures. It makes my heart ache to think about never seeing these ladies again. Well I might could make it happen. We'll see.

When we first moved to Columbus, I didn't know anyone else in town. Not that that mattered. I don't normally get lonely or bored and seek out strangers. But I started talking with this lady in Wal-Mart, Mary. I found out that a group of them met at a Methodist church on Tuesday nights and quilted. She invited me to join them and told me where and when. I bet she never thought I would show up and "quilt" with them for over a year.

This is Mary with Edith in the background. She didn't confine herself to quilting but did knitting and crochet too. These are some Christmas scarves she was making at the time. Her family was very important to her, and she was always taking off to wherever they would take her. I think she was a little unhappy that they didn't want her driving to Kentucky or wherever by herself anymore.

I never quite sorted out all the relationships. Two were sisters. All of them had known each other most of their lives, growing up together or going to the same church. Most were widows. The only married one's husband was disabled maybe, maybe with Alzheimer's. She usually showed up on Tuesday nights, sometimes late, sometimes muttering, but always there. I think it was as much a part of their lives as church was. A couple of them had lost children also.

At first, I don't think they knew what to think of me, some stranger coming to join their circle and one who knew next to nothing about quilting. But I have to believe they enjoyed sharing their knowledge and helping me. I believe they were fascinated that anyone could be as klutzy and slow as I was, but pretty soon they accepted me and chattered away about anything and everything. I learned more about Columbus just from sitting there listening to them. And they weren't gossips for sure. Never a mean-spirited sentence (unless it was just absolutely necessary), but they reminisced and told funny stories and teased each other and me. If I wanted to know anything about anything to do with Columbus, I had only to ask. They had opinions on doctors, dentists, home repairs, books, thrift shops, carpet cleaning, cats, dogs, grandchildren, and certainly cooking! I can't think of all the subjects they covered.

No one bragged about their quilting or their other accomplishments, but it would come out that one person volunteered for Meals on Wheels, another at nursing home. Another one took meals every day to someone homebound. They made charity quilts and helped the needy and took food when someone died. They worked themselves silly for the Christmas Bazaar in November to raise money for the church. One even took in a wayward grandson and alternately horrified and amused us with tales of his adventures. I believe that was Agnes who is not in the pictures. She had the best stories!

Someone brought a dessert every Tuesday, and we had coffee and dessert at 7:30 on the dot after a devotional reading from a quilting devotional book. They shared recipes and talked about food a lot! They shared their day lilies and quilting patterns and loved to talk about their families.

I hate that I've forgotten all their names. I remember most, but there is one that I cannot remember. The sisters were Margaret and either Evelyn or Inez maybe.

Margaret had the honor of sitting to my left, and we were always dropping things and borrowing from each other. Such a gentle lady. Clearly one of the best dressed of the group. She shared lots of things with me quietly as we stitched, and I miss her the most, I think.

Margaret with Opal in the background. Notice her red socks. I think the pattern for the quilt she was working on had something to do with goose or duck tracks. I'll have to look it up, but I loved to hear her say it. There was a long discussion one night about that pattern. Goose steps, hen tracks, turkey feet? No one could remember the name of it, but everyone had a suggestion.

Opal was working on a maple leaf pattern. It turns out that her grandson went to school with my nephew in Birmingham and played football at Alabama. The sister made these blue quilts. I wish I could think of her name! So sweet. She's on the right in green. Her hand quilting just took my breath away. I believe the other person in the picture is Pat. She came only once in awhile, and I didn't get to know her.

These are the hands of Edith (also in first picture).
She was the most productive of the group. I think she made a quilt a month - or more. She was best at the LeMoyne Star. I think that's the name of this star. She could really turn them out. She showed me how to do it, and I would make one to every 10 she did. Oh, all these quilts were pieced and quilted totally by hand. I loved Edith's sense of humor, and sometimes our eyes would meet across the table when something strange had been said, and she would be grinning. She had a dry sense of humor and a rapid-fire way of delivering her funnies.

Here is Edith in the background with Frances. Frances was the busiest bee I've ever met. She just kept going with something every day. I don't know how she had time to quilt, and I don't think she produced as many as some of the others. This was a snowball quilt that she pulled out every time, but I think she was there for the fellowship more than the actual quilting. She also was pretty much the spokesperson for the group too and the most outgoing. Funny lady.

The church was in a rapidly deteriorating section of Columbus, but it was their church, and most of them lived nearby. It was heartbreaking to see them selling their houses to go to a safer place or talking of break-ins in their neighborhoods. When I was early, I would hate sitting there in the parking lot by myself until someone got there with a key and we could lock ourselves in. No one left early unless someone walked them to their car. Like that would have helped! But it felt safer. What a vulnerable group of little ladies. I hope they're still quilting on Tuesday nights. I sure would love to go surprise them one night. They've probably forgotten me already though. Once when I wasn't there, they signed my name on a card as "Brenda." Oh well. What's a name? They allowed me to come in and play with them.

Sunny Afternoon

After being huddled and curled up in the sunroom all night and the next morning, the animals figured the cold was here to stay, so they were pleasantly surprised to find such a nice afternoon for basking and licking and scratching various itchy places.

Since Sheepy got sent to the washing machine, Squirrel is the new favorite. I'm teaching her to put her toys in the toy bin when she comes in (something I failed to do with children). She's not sure about that, but she has mastered pulling them out very well.
We had a visit from Gray and Stephanie Saturday afternoon and got to meet Rascal in person.

Grandmama and her grand-beagle.

Rascal is not so sure he likes Mom loving on Darby. Darby is equally sure she's not crazy about beagles.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Latest Reading/Listening Material

I used to read a lot. A lot. Especially when I worked at the library all those years, I always had several books going and even joined a book club or 2 through the years. The only kind of shopping Mike has ever enjoyed doing with me is going into bookstores (except for the actual buying part). He now puts me to shame with reading. I think the Internet must have curtailed my reading books because I sure do read a lot of random things on line.

There's something about a real book though that I miss. I have a book of short stories that I read sometimes when I'm eating lunch, but I think that I just haven't found one of those can't-put-it-down books lately.

On my trip in September, I went to the library and checked out 3 audio books and 1 regular book, and so far 3 out of 4 are very good. The 4th, I've started listening to twice and never got into really well, but I'm going to give it another try if I have time before the 27th when they are due - already rechecked once.

The book is:
It looks like a beach-y book, but it's not at all. It is set on the coast of Oregon and at first had altogether too many horses in it for me, but I stuck with it, and it turned out to be a fascinating story. It does have a happy ending in a way, but it doesn't paint all the characters with such a flattering brush, more like real life! Once I got halfway through, I left the computer early enough to have a lot of reading time before going to sleep.

The audio book that I enjoyed the most was:
This is a book that I didn't want to end. It made my trip to and from Texas seem like just a couple of hours. Darby didn't mind the voice constantly reading to us and I think learned to recognize it. It's set in New York in the 30s and tells about 3 generations of a Jewish Russian immigrant's family, all living in the same house. The reader's accent was fun, and I learned a lot. I think I want my grandchildren to call me Bubby Manya.

I finished Orchard Street about Shreveport and started this one:
It's not as good as Orchard Street but has kept my interest so far. The usual, college roommates and where their paths take them after graduation. Sad in some ways, kind of a broody kind of book, but I'm on CD 10 of 14, so I'll see where it goes from here.

I don't know about this one. I've listened to the first CD twice now and still can't quite decide if I like it or not. There was some violence in the first chapter, which I think was just a prologue, and I'll probably try the second chapter before I have to turn it in.

White Coolies
This is not a book I have read (listened to) lately, but I always mention it when anyone asks about a good book. I couldn't find a picture of it, but this is a pretty good review above. Rather than being sad or horrifying (which parts of it certainly are), I was amazed at the cheerfulness and resourcefulness of these strong women. Makes you wonder how you would respond in similar circumstances. In my case, I think I know.

Overall, it's been a productive fall for reading. I'm considering asking for an Ipod or whatever those little things are that allow you to download stuff on something smaller for my next gift. The CD player is kind of a pain to haul around. I think I've gotten all the gifts I'm going to get for at least a year though.

Friday, October 16, 2009

October Friday

I'm loving the nice chilly weather. Because of the clouds and grayness, it seemed colder than it was - 60 degrees. Mama was afraid that if it started to rain it would turn to sleet. Flannel pajamas and sweatshirts and electric mattress pad all have been made ready by her, anticipating the winter. We went to Hancock Fabrics where I bought only half-price thread and 6 buttons, but she bought a whole bag of stuff. Then we went to Wal-Mart for our weekly outing. We didn't need many groceries, but all the animals were out of food, and I needed cleaning stuff and Round-Up. We ended up with our Chic-Fil-A weekly lunch.

During the afternoon I worked a couple of hours and weeded flower beds and washed one more set of blinds. Since I've had to put up all my sewing stuff because of the (maybe) selling of the house, this has become my favorite spot lately.

This little love seat is in my bedroom, and while I'm working, I glance longingly at my little stack of needlework and can't wait to finish up work and chores to get to spend a couple of hours listening to one of my audio books and cross-stitching. There's usually a nice cup of coffee nearby.

When I was cleaning up the sunroom/sewing room, I found a plastic box full of unfinished projects. One is a fall bread cloth that I'm not sure how long has been unfinished. I'm going to finish this first and give it away.
These other things were finished but forgotten over the past 10 years or so.

I loved doing these cups. They were such fun to do, but I have no idea what to do with them. Or if I even have a place for these colors.

I liked doing the shells but can't remember when or where. Probably one of those beach projects from years ago. Maybe with another set, they would look good in a bathroom.

I started the Peter Rabbit characters (I love Peter's mischievous look) to maybe one day do a quilt when I get all 12 of them done.

The cottage is one I did from a kit brought over by my friend Diane from England. I have another one finished somewhere, and I do want to get these framed. They all need cleaning and pressing.
Two monograms done for some abandoned Christmas gift, I guess.

There are two very ambitious projects that I have barely started (one of which includes just opening the package). I think that will be enough to keep me busy through the winter. Small projects that I can slip under the couch if I have to hide things.