Saturday, February 28, 2009

Take Cover

For nearly 24 hours now we've had warnings and sirens and clouds and wind. It hasn't been as bad as it looks on TV. We're in some sort of weather hole, I think. In the spring and summer when we need rain, it will be raining north, south, east, and west of us, and our area will be the only place on the weather map with no precipitation. The sirens have gone off at least 6 times since yesterday afternoon, and each time, I'll check the computer weather, check the TV weather channel hysterics, and look outside. We had thunder a couple of times, a gust or 2 of wind, and lots and lots of rain. Not that I'm complaining. I like storms until they start getting serious; then I regret wishing for one.

I was talking to Emily yesterday standing in front of the TV, and this girl said, "There's tornado activity at AUM right now. Please take cover if you're in that vicinity." Well, I can see the AUM water tower (I think that's what it is - it has AUM on it) from the entrance to our subdivision, so I went out back and looked south, southeast, and southwest, and it looked good and clear to me. Later she said (probably after lots of phone calls) that she meant there was "rotational activity" in the clouds. I know the people in Prattville were scared to death after going through all that damage last February. This seems early for so many tornados. Didn't it used to be March and April when we would hear about them?

All this excitement plus having no internet connection for over 24 hours has made me grind my teeth. I didn't realize it, but last night I had to make myself unclench my teeth. I don't even realize I'm stressed sometimes until I get a headache and realize all the muscles in my face and neck are tight.

The internet disappearance doesn't seem like it would have the same significance as a tornado in terms of causing stress, but I think it was worse. How did we get along without being connected to the world all those years? I guess it's what we get used to. The fact that I needed to work 8 hours this weekend made it even more aggravating. Everything was working fine until about 9:30 or so Thursday when Mama said she was ready to go to the beauty shop. I went to the library while she was there, and when we got home, I decided to work a couple of hours. Nothing doing. No e-mail, no Google Home Page, no Internet Explorer. Not that I didn't try all my tricks - rebooting and checking the status - many times - like that would fix it. Sometimes these things do magically repair themselves but not this time.

If anyone but me reads this except for me and is not interested in computer failings, feel free to skip it.

I finally called my downtown computer guys and talked to Sam. He had me look at my router and modem and tell me which lights were green and which were amber and said it was probably the cable company. Strange, because Mama's TV was working. So I got a Knology representative who again had me look at all the lights and tell me what color they were and whether they were blinking and then to unplug everything and plug it back in (which I had already done, knowing from experience they would ask me to do it). He said he wasn't seeing a response, so he would send out a representative the next day - 24 hours from then. Horrors. For one thing, that is a LONG time to be without internet service, and another, it meant someone was going to be crawling under my desk. That was pretty depressing to think about, but I had been planning to take the time to organize all those 50 cords down there anyway. I had bought these little cord holders that you attach with adhesive to the back of your desk (I put mine underneath), so I popped 6 of those up there and looped cords through them, and it was amazing what a difference it makes. Lying on my back under the desk and looking up, it still looks a little messy, but I can say with almost certainty that no one is going to be doing that. Now I don't have to maneuver my foot through a nest of cords to reach the foot pedal.

There goes that siren again. I HATE that sound. Anyway, in fixing all the cords and neatening up, I happened to look at the modem and see that the cable green light was on, so I got all excited and tried everything again. Still nothing. The PC light wasn't on, and both computers were attached to the router. The Knology guy did come, right on time, and was a tall laid-back young guy who seems to love what he does. He sat down and immediately said, "Whoa, you have something missing. You need a cable to attach the router to the modem." I went to the sofa and picked up a white cable and asked if this might be it. He got all excited and plugged it in, and like magic, it all came on. I had noticed this white cable under the desk, but it didn't seem to be attached to anything, so I thought - well I'm not sure what I thought - but I didn't have another computer to plug it into, so I just put it away. Sometimes cables and cords just appear from nowhere, you know.

I knew being away from the blog for 3 days, I would have a lot of write. Too bad it's all boring. I'll wait until tomorrow to write about my library experience because I have to go once more and stare at the sky.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

By Popular Demand

Actually only a request - or maybe hint - to update my blog. I do this little (nearly) daily update just for myself so when I'm old(er) I'll remember that I had a life, as mundane as it is. Things simply haven't been happening the past few days. Normally that doesn't stop me from writing, but I have been pretty occupied. I called Mike during lunch to tell him a piece of mail he had been expecting had arrived, and he was kind of busy - busy as in the kind of busy where you hear noise and laughter and clattering silverware in the background. He said, "How are you? You haven't been web logging lately." So this has taken the place of phone calls and emails. It's a one way street though. He knows everything about me, and I know nothing about him. On second thought, nothing's changed there.

I can't even remember anything interesting to mention. Every spare minute has been spent fighting with that little quilt. I found I had cut 16 of the little strips 1/2-inch too short and had to go looking through my remnants to see if I had any leftovers of that particular fabric. I did, thank goodness, but barely. Hope I don't find any more surprises. It's not really getting easier to square things up, but I think it may be because the sunroom where I sew is chilly. Maybe I'll bring the sewing machine to the kitchen table. The light is better in that bay window, and it's warmer. I don't like this cold at all.

Today was the first day of our official "punching in" at work. Getting ready to work at 8 a.m., I pulled up the web site for the clock and saw "Time Started 7:30 a.m. Hours worked on this shift 30,829." Wow, I should get a good paycheck this month. There are some more glitches (obviously) to be worked out, but I think I like it. It keeps me focused to know I have this little time frame to get my work done. I pretty much doubled my line count, although getting lots of dictation from my favorite doctor who says, "Use, the ENT normal. Use the cardiovascular normal. Use the pulmonary normal. Etc." helped tremendously. That means with just a few keystrokes I get a whole page of typing. I get happy when I see her name come up.

Mama is taking it seriously and says she will answer the phone and the doorbell and not come tell me who died in Andalusia until after work. Trouble is, I get most of my calls on the cell phone, and no one has gotten it through to the cats that things are different. Stella still rings the bell several times a morning for no apparent reason except to see me get up and open the door, just to scratch to get back in 10 minutes later. She know with her weapon of carpet-shredding claws, I'm her slave. Threatening to have her de-clawed hasn't seemed to make a difference.

Still waiting to hear from Emily about the actual wedding date. Something about pulling up sod and planting new grass at her friends' house where the wedding will be. They're having an open house or photo shoot or something the end of April and are putting down some kind of grass just for that, but I guess it's not what they want to grow there permanently. It looks like we're at the mercy of their landscaper as to when the wedding will be. Emily graduates the 9th of May and wants a couple of weeks to relax and get things done, so I hope it can stay the 30th.

Looks like I had a lot to say about nothing. Let me look for some interesting picture that has nothing at all to do with what I was saying. How about this one from a couple of years ago - the plumeria that came from Hawaii from Gray and Steph's honeymoon. It started out as a 2-inch-long stick. It's a big stick now with 2 branches, but pretty soon the leaves will come out, and it'll bloom again.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Weekend

I was glad to have my Saturday back, but I can't say I made good use of it. I did work 5 hours and I did put some more quilt strips together, but I guess I mainly read or cleaned a little. Pretty good bit of talking on the phone with Emily and Elise. Things seemed to have fallen into place in Atlanta as far as getting catering arranged and finding a dress that she loves that fits. That was the big excitement. Her friend Karen deserves a medal for making her stick with the dress search and not get discouraged. And Meghan is just full of ideas and plans.

I can see many more phone calls and brainstorming. Just searching for things on the internet can take chunks of time out of a day. I guess it needs to be done though. We both had the same Real Simple (ha) wedding magazine, so we were able to know what the other one was talking about. "Look at page 94 - I like the cake there." "What about zinnias and dahlias?" We have a lot of the same tastes, but with a few points we veer off into opposite directions, and I have to make sure I show the same excitement over things I don't like that she does as over things I like. I don't want to cause her one bit of sadness during these whole 3 months, so I'll need to be up to the challenge when we talk. It's interesting how things will come together in 3months that seem so disjointed now.

It's another chilly, fresh-pot-of-coffee working afternoon.

Oh, speaking of weddings and since it's our daughter-in-law Stephanie's birthday this week, here is a beautiful picture from not too many years ago.

Stephanie and Gray. One of my favorite pictures.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Latte Progress

I have been a little busy. Now that I'm getting more comfortable with what's going on, I should get them done faster. Each square has to be measured in 4 places 17 times, each time a strip is added, and if there is even a tiny discrepancy, the strip has to be redone. There sure is a sense of relief when I do that final measurement and see 5-1/2 inches on all sides. I think I said below that there were 48 blocks - I was wrong. There are 64. I think I may have gotten a little ambitious trying to get this done by the end of May. Oh, well. Gives me an excuse not to do housework.

Barbara and I had a nice shopping day yesterday - lots of looking, not much buying. I guess it says something about our ages to realize we spent more time at the Clinique counter talking about the latest anti-aging creams than we did looking at clothes.

Today - well nothing much to talk about. I worked 4 hours this morning and then worked on the quilt here and there and just kind of enjoyed my day. Very cold though. Darby didn't get her walk, and I don't think she cared. All 3 of them were content to stay in today. Stella thinks my sewing machine chair is hers, and I had to dislodge her several times during the day. She doesn't much like me anyway. Her latest funny/smart thing is to ring her bell to get into the sunroom - when the door is already open. At first, I just looked at her and told her to go on out, the door's open. She would keep ringing it until I got up, and I thought she was just bugging me. Then she would run to the back door, and I realized it was her roundabout way of telling me she wanted to go outside. For such a big sassy cat, she has almost no voice - just a little squeak when she meows. Kind of nice.
She likes my work chair too.
No Atlanta for me tomorrow - reprieve! I know there will be several trips to make before May, but we decided this will just be a chance for Emily to spend some time with her friends and feel things out. Then when there are decisions to be made, I may be asked for some input. She's pretty good at knowing what she wants though. An old friend from Thomaston, Keith Johnson, has agreed to perform the ceremony. We're excited about seeing him again. I think it's going to be such a good time, just like she's wanted all along.

Sadness

I woke up this morning feeling somehow down but couldn't figure out why. I went about my morning chores and came in to work a few hours and checked my email. My cousin Bobby had sent me a web site from one of his classmates, Philip Wise. I had followed his Caring Bridge site since last spring when he was first diagnosed with cancer but had lost it with my computer crash. He and Cynthia were high school friends of ours but, like so many others, we had lost touch with them for 40 years. Mike got in touch with him last spring before his diagnosis, and they met in Lubbock for lunch. They kept this journal of his illness and always seemed to be so brave and hopeful. This is the entry for yesterday:

Dear Friends,
Cynthia and I have been making plans to move to Birmingham. Gary and Vicki Furr and Fisher and Caroline Humphreys have worked to make this possible. They've found us a townhouse and will have everything ready to move in when we arrive in a couple of weeks. The children will come down to move what we need. Needless to say, none of this would be possible without them!
We discussed this move with our medical oncologist. He thought the move was fine, but he does think that now is the time for me to switch from seeing a medical oncologist to hospice care. We have decided that we will do that when we get to Birmingham. I'm slowly getting weaker and still slowly losing weight. Hospice is a wonderful program that I’ve observed at close hand. It will provide better and more frequent care -in our home.
This is not the message we wished to send to you, but it is the reality of our situation. We continue to be so grateful for the help and encouragement of all of you. Your prayers have sustained us during these days.
We do not know what the future holds, but we do know Who holds the future.
Yours in Christ,
Philip and Cynthia


His Caring Bridge site is here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lots of Weather

It seems like the warning siren went off constantly yesterday afternoon. It's such a scary sound even when you look at the weather map and see you're not in any danger. It did make me a little nervous to read the Weather Channel report tracking the weather and see it mention roads within a mile of our house and the word "tornado." I love bad weather - but the way I like it. Wind without rain. Rain without wind. Both in moderation. Turns out we had just a lot of hard rain for a little while and then again later last night some more, less fierce but lasting longer.

Our walk yesterday was perfect. Darby was frisky, the wind was blowing,and there was a threat of rain with the added pleasure of seeing the blooms of the Japanese magnolia and forsythia that I once again went out of my way to see.

Random pictures from the walk.







This was taken sitting outside and enjoying the wind yesterday afternoon.


My absolute favorite kind of weather - until the siren started wailing. I read a little bit but couldn't work on my quilt because the wind would have blown all my little rectangles away. I did finish the square I was working on and one more. It went faster. Maybe I'm relaxing a little bit and can start doing them assembly line fashion.

Busy day today. I have 4 hours to work, and then Barbara and I are going shopping - sort of - mainly just looking. But we do have our 40% Hobby Lobby coupons. I'll probably use mine for blades for my rotary cutter. Those things are expensive, and I use them as long as I can. When I start having to saw back and forth across the fabric, then I know it's time for a new one. Maybe I'll treat myself to a new needle in the machine today to celebrate my newfound confidence in quarter-inch seams.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This is Not Fun

My friend, the seam ripper

When I bought the kit for the Latte Log Cabin, there was no warning on it. There should have been. It was so beautiful hanging there on the quilt shop wall - innocent little latte and cream squares in an intricately shaded pattern. Looked pretty easy. What could possibly be hard about sewing rectangles of fabric together and making 48 squares? Maybe the fact that if you are one fiber off on any of the 4 corners, it throws the whole square off. Seems impossible, but it's true. I was so proud of myself for sewing those first 2 pieces together yesterday and was ready to start on the 3rd strip. I confidently laid the third strip on, even marked a 1/4-inch seam in pencil because I don't feel like I can trust my quarter-inch seam foot on the sewing machine. I know I said I liked to do them by hand, but I also like having more of a life than sitting there sewing rectangles together. So I sewed my first strip and went to measure. First side, perfect 2 inches. Second side perfect. Third side just a teeny bit off. Fourth side. Rip it out. I never got one to turn out perfect the first time - or sometimes the second or third times. I got so weary of sewing 2 inches, trotting to the ironing board, pressing it opening, measuring it, finding the seam ripper, taking out the stitching, frowning, measuring again, going back to the machine. There are 48 squares, 17 rectangles in each square. I need to learn to do this right the first time.

The battle scene. All the little strips perfectly cut and ready to be sewn. Rulers, pencils, scissors, pins, even a glue stick (that didn't work either). But notice in the midst of the chaos,1 perfect square - so far - 7 more strips to go on that one. And it only took me 2 hours.

That's about all I did today other than being irritable about it being so cold again. Washed clothes, worked, and took Darby to Bruno's to get Mama's Birmingham News. Lots of excitement for the little black dog. She kept looking at me as if to say, "Can you BELIEVE THIS? I'm riding in a car. I'm looking out the window. I see people. I see birds. Fun, fun, fun."

I'm up too late.

What I Did Yesterday

That's an ambitious title. The trick now is to think of something. I worked 8 hours, pretty much, in spite of a bunch of emails about the new time clock we now have to "punch" and how we are to start bright and early this morning but oops now we have to go back to the old one for awhile, but no, let's try the new one now. But in between the work times, I managed to do the centers of those log cabin squares.
I worked a couple of hours on them, and I dare anyone to find one of them a hair off 2 in. x 1-1/2 in. While that's kind of satisfying, I don't have time to do it all by hand, so I'm going to work this afternoon on my sewing machine, trying to convince that quarter-inch foot to keep its promise. Working by hand, I can keep the pieces grasped between my fingers, while on the sewing machine, it can slip just a little bit. The bigger pieces will be easier. I'm enjoying it though.

I vacuumed most of the house. Well. That's probably it.

I didn't go to the Creative Serging class last night because that's not something I need to clutter my mind with now. It can just hold so many things right now, and wedding-day weather, graduation banquet, flowers, mosquitoes, rehearsal dinner plans, and much more have taken over the creative places in my brain.

It's time to punch in, I guess.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Log Cabin Problems

Here is the practice square I made for the Latte Log Cabin wallhanging that I'm starting. I got all the thousand little pieces cut out exactly the right size (hopefully), and lined them up in the correct order. It's really hard to get the measurements. Even though I measured after each piece, it still ended up being kind of crazy in the middle. I think I might on those first tiny pieces mark my 1/4-inch seam and sew them by hand. I have SO much free time to do that. But if they don't start off exactly right, it will throw the whole square off.

It's work today and cleaning house and hopefully working on a few more quilt pieces. Here are the things I saw when I brought in the paper this morning.



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Carolina jessamine getting ready to bloom. Too bad it's not the one that smells so good.


Always dependable, always beautiful pansies.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's Official


There's going to be a wedding, and there is almost a date. We're thinking the 30th of May in Atlanta. The fun begins! Emily and Ryan are excited to have plans that will be exactly what they want. Both families are happy that we'll be able to attend. It sounds like a lot of fun, informal and spontaneous. Right now, Em and I are talking as fast as we can, and neither one of us is listening to the other. Me: You're not wearing a VEIL?" Em: "I KNEW you were going to be disappointed in everything." There will probably be more than one of those exchanges in the next 3 months. But so far, it's just hurry and get this done and hurry and do this. Elise has been put in charge of invitation/announcement do's and don't's. I'm going to meet Emily in Atlanta (don't see this, Mike) Saturday. Her friend Karen and her mother have generously offered to do the flowers, and we're going to spend the day with them planning that and getting some more things taken care of. The house where the wedding is going to be belongs to a friend's parents, and we'll go by there and look around. It's amazing how things started falling into place all of a sudden and how generous people are to offer the use of their home and offer to spend hours making flower arrangements. She has some special friends for sure.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentines and cat rashes

I've learned something today. It's that you don't give cats liquid medicine unless you shoot it down their throats or put it in their food. That lapse of common sense is why I was standing in my kitchen wiping cherry-flavored Children's Benadryl off my cheeks this afternoon. One cat is not speaking to me, and the other one is looking at me strangely. It's all because of Maddy's itchy neck. About twice a year, she starts scratching under her neck and gets broken out. The vet says it pretty common in cats and gave her something, maybe a steroid, when I took her last year. She also said I could give her a little Benadryl if she started itching, so for a $3 bottle of Children's Benadryl, I figured I could avoid a $100 vet bill. I just put some in a plastic syringe left over from Darby's illness, put about 2 cc in and sweet-talked her into opening her mouth. What resulted was a combination of shaking her head, spitting, and sneezing, so probably nothing went down her throat. It was all in my face. I didn't expect quite the reaction she had. She ran around wildly spitting and licking her lips. I tasted it myself, and it wasn't that bad, but then cod and sole Fancy Feast is not my favorite food. She reacted for about 5 minutes and then kept running from me. I finally got her to drink some milk, but she wouldn't look at me for a picture.


The afternoon is gone, just fizzled away. I had to take Mama to the orthopedist at 1:30. She was already sitting in the kitchen waiting at 1:00, so we left. It took 5 minutes to get there, and we had to sit in the cold waiting room watching people limp in and out. Most everybody (us included) kept moving around to try to find a place where the air conditioner was not freezing us. She did get released though today. When we left, she remembered a prescription that she needed to get filled, so we went back to my favorite store - Wal-Mart. Picture Wal-Mart on Christmas Eve. That's about what the parking lot looked like. I didn't realize Valentine's Eve would be so frantic. Red and pink balloons everywhere. Huge ones. As we walked in, the display of roses we saw yesterday was empty except for one broken rose lying there. The card aisle was impassible. Everywhere you looked, grown men were walking around carrying pink and white teddy bears. As we passed the sleepware section, I saw one man holding a pink card and fingering a fuzzy chenille robe with big pink hearts all over it. I hope that's not what he ended up with.

I never plan to be in Friday afternoon traffic in Montgomery between 3 and 5, but it's amazing how many times I do just that. Today was our Chick-Fil-A day, so we went and got that before coming home. I just made some coffee and decided I would work awhile. So if anyone reads this, Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow.

Sunshine and Strawberries

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Spring Fever in February?

That must be my problem. I'm in a sunshine stupor this afternoon and can hardly keep my eyes open. There's no law against taking a nap in the middle of the day, according to Stella.

Darby and I walked this morning, but we missed the sunrise, not to mention the garbage pickup. I saw them on the next street and started to ask them to go back by my house. They like me because I give them cookies at Christmas, but they like me as in waving excitedly, not back-tracking 2 blocks. I need to get those guys some Easter cookies, I guess.

It's close to a perfect day today, cool and a little windy with blue, blue skies, one that you would like to freeze and pull out in August or January. Then it was Mama's beauty shop day and a trip to the post office to mail 2 packages that took 30 minutes because of 2 people being out today and the line being 15 people long when I got there. After the beauty shop (which is next door to Wal-Mart), we went in WM for a few things. It could have been worse. The parking lot was filled with cars (thank goodness for that handicapped parking sign we have), but I'm not sure where they were inside. Certainly not in the pharmacy and grocery sections. Maybe in the garden center where I would like to have been. This is the only thing green in my yard. It's been sprayed and is looking a little sick though.


So now I'm home and have the rest of the day for my own, and the big question is: Housework or quilting? I think I know the answer to that, but I'll probably decide after my nap. Maybe something worth writing about will happen between now and tomorrow.

Oh, my cousin Bobby, who is custodian/photographer/ carpenter for the Northwest Florida Ballet in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, sent me the web page for their mascot/mouser. Meet Mr. Pants, the Ballet Cat. I would like to encourage Bobby to update Mr. Pants' web site instead of taunting me with pictures of Florida beaches.

I think it's obvious I'm proud of myself for learning how to link things.

I was aiming for a post at least once a week on Sewing Memories, or Atrocities I have Created in My Life. The 70s is a really good decade for examples of this, and I'm going to look through some old pictures to see what I can find. Think lots of green and orange!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Generally Looking Up

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After complaining about unpleasant duties hanging over my head yesterday, I can say that they all seem to be resolved. But not without a little work on my part. There was nothing magic about it. The two biggies were copying the tax stuff and sending it off. Gathering it was hard enough, but standing there and copying all those pieces of paper was pretty boring. I should have gone to the post office this afternoon, but I can't be perfect. Procrastination is what I'll be remembered for.

I did call Aetna about my having 2 insurance numbers. I managed to talk to a human after punching in every number associated with my life. She was pleasant and knew exactly what I needed and gave me the correct number. And also answered some general questions about my plan since I have no idea about insurance (or taxes).

So those things taken care of, I was able to do a test run on my newest serger, and it actually worked like it was supposed to, the way it should have done Monday night. Now maybe I'm ready to get creative. Maybe. It still scares me a little. So I got out something I know:
I started cutting the pieces for my mystery quilt. I didn't actually count the pieces involved in this, but it must be in the thousands. I've cut nearly 200 little squares and rectangles so far and have just gotten started. I look at those little pieces, and I'm already thinking that 1-inch pieces with a 1/4-inch seam on each side is going to end up 1/2 inch. In quilting, if the directions call for 1/4-inch seams, they're serious. Any fudging on this little quilt will lead to disaster. I think it'll be worth it in the end, because I saw the finished one hanging on the quilt shop wall, and it's outstanding. I guess anything with 1000+ pieces should be outstanding - if I follow the directions.

Mama is feeling like sewing again, and I hear her machine humming along. She's been embroidering butterflies on pillowcases all week. I would take her picture, but she's 6 days past the beauty shop, and she would want to go put on "something nice." She's been pretty polite about the things I wear for work, although sometimes she'll ask me if I got into some Clorox. Those stains are years old. If I didn't have to go out and get her newspaper every morning, I would probably not get dressed at all some days.



So now, all self-satisfied with half a day's work behind me and unpleasantries out of the way, I can enjoy the wonderfully gloomy afternoon with a cup of Land-O-Lakes hot chocolate (caramel today). The wind is blowing pretty hard, but according to the trusty Weather Channel map, all the rain is going to miss us. I think it's all in Andalusia. Nope, I called down there, and it missed them too. I even scrolled over to Mississippi and Arkansas to see if any promising storms were coming our way but saw only 1 small patch. Oh well, the gray sky and wind are enough to cheer me up until something better comes alone.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Daffodils and Martha

I hate having unpleasant things to do. But with my new project calling me, I decided to get the dirty work over with first: Calling the insurance company about a mixup in my number and taking that serger back to Hancock's and getting the tax stuff copied and sent to Mike were on my list.

I packed up the "bad" serger and got it ready to go back to Hancock. I really dreaded it because it's not always the greatest shopping experience there. Besides that, I couldn't find the receipt (it was bought in November, and I wouldn't be able to find a receipt from yesterday), but I did have the credit card bill, which didn't say that I had bought a serger, just the amount I had paid. I had already figured out that there would be questions and clucking and such, so I left the machine in the car and went to find someone named Martha. Once Martha found out the sewing teacher had declared it "bad," she hardly looked at the credit card receipt. She was more than glad to make the exchange and apologized profusely for my problem. She's always been pleasant, but I didn't know her name before. One of the few there with a sense of humor. Made me want to spend more money in there. I didn't. I did look over my shoulder once or twice on the way out.

I was almost looking for an excuse not to come home. I just wanted to drive and drive and enjoy the beautiful day. This is what I saw when I got home. I don't remember it blooming last year. probably one of the plants transplanted from Midland that's just now getting over the trauma of moving (like me).

Unhappy Serger

Well, what a letdown. I had my new serger out of the box and had even learned to thread it in anticipation of the class last night. I wasn't sure what I would learn, but whatever it was would be more than I knew at that point. There were 6 of us. Three of them seemed to know the teacher very well (sometimes a bad sign). One was a lady in a wheelchair; she already knew how to serge but seemed a little disorganized and chatty. The girl by me had a serger just like mine and had been using it 3 months already. Sweet girl but got off to a bad start with the teacher for ALREADY HAVING SOMETHING DONE. Forget it - take it out - don't get ahead.

The first hour - yes, hour - was spent showing us how to thread the machine. The people at our table knew how to thread ours but got more confused as we went along. Mine looked like a spider web at one point. The people at the other table seemed to take up a lot of time, but they were having fun. I don't think I was having fun at that point, but it would get worse.

Then when we got ready to sew, I had a row of stitches, but they were ugly, not like the girl's next to me. No problem, says the teacher, we'll just adjust the tension. She adjusted the tension on one knob, adjusted it again, adjusted it on about 6 more knobs and then just declared, "I can't help you." Wow. Failure in my first serger class. She said it must be a "bad" machine and that I could try to get a replacement. Since I bought it at Hancock's and we were in the back room of Hancock's, I asked her if she would vouch for the fact that it was a "bad" machine. So she did, and I got a promise of a replacement if I would bring in the receipt. So the next hour was spent with her showing us how things were supposed to NOT look. They all looked like my sample. I think my table partner wished she had not bothered to show up.

At the end of the class, the teacher said, "Will all of you be back Monday for the Creative Class, Part 1" ($35). Four of them yelled YES. The teacher at our table said, "Becky?" I said I didn't think I could be creative until I learned to sew a straight stitch. She pooh-poohed that. I told her I would let her know. The girl at my table said she might not could get a babysitter.

I came home and took all the threads out and rethreaded it, and it was a much nicer stitch but still not the way it was supposed to be. I'm worried now about it being "bad" so I'm going to replace it. So much trouble.

SOOO The sunrise was beautiful this morning - or presunrise or something. Darby and I went out for a walk, and the first half of the walk, I could see the full moon - pretty - and then when I turned left and left again, I could enjoy the pink and gray and silver clouds. This is a great time to walk before the traffic starts. It was a little nippy but very pleasant. Last weekend must have been decreed crepe murder weekend from the looks of the piles of limbs in front of the houses. I even caught one young guy redhanded. He was NOT enjoying himself. I imagine his wife or mother sent him out to do it before breakfast, and he was not finding it easy going.

Time to work.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Busy Monday and Mystery Project

I have the serger class late this afternoon, so I'm having to work straight through today instead of having a 5-hour break. Things are quiet, like I like them, but I do have a mystery project to start. In fact, I kind of started on it already.

No one is going to remember that I promised not to start another project until I finished my UFOs. No one is going to remember that I promised to not even go inside a fabric store until I made progress on my other stuff. But I didn't buy a thing; I already had the whole project in a drawer just waiting for the right time. It might be the right time. We'll see. More later.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunny Sunday

In honor of the lovely sunshine, I spread out the squares from the charm pack I bought yesterday (I actually bought 2). These fabrics just make me happy. I'm getting some ideas on what to do with them, but for right now, I'm content to just gaze at them.


This is the very innocent-looking serger I bought last fall and kept into a box until someone could teach me to use it. There are lessons at Hancock Fabrics tomorrow, so I'm going to show up and see if it's possible to learn.
Just learning to thread it is going to take an engineering degree - and then some patience. Four thread spools and 4 convoluted paths that each thread takes. And it has little knives, so even though it's turned off, I'm still afraid to poke around the insides. Maybe that's what I'll learn in the class tomorrow.


Don't forget to pray for Nienie http://nieniedialogues.blogspot.com/ Even though she has beat all the odds and survived, she still has a long way to go, physically and, I'm sure, emotionally. The first 2 reports I typed this afternoon were a Code Blue for a cardiac arrest and an auto accident in which a 21-year-old girl had severe trauma to her legs, so the sun is not shining as brightly for everyone today.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Scenes from February's First Saturday

Today was the day to take the completed block back to Kudzu-Blossom and get the new one.
It was a much nicer drive today than the first Saturday in January. It's going to be really warm and pretty today and tomorrow. Unfortunately, that hint of spring in the air made me buy something - sorry, there's no resisting this when it's sitting on the table right in front of you.


I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet, but I'm sure I'll think of something. There were also jellyrolls and honeybuns for our viewing pleasure. I resisted those, but it was not easy.


I got a better picture of the center of the quilt I'm going to be working on this week, quilted now - all those little pinwheels!

Here are two more pictures of quilts that were hanging on the wall. There are so many beautiful things there to look at. (I think that first one may appeal to Elise, the jewel-tone girl.) The last one is the Cathedral Window pattern that I learned to do last fall. It's really fun to do, all by hand. This sample uses hand-dyed fabrics and is beautiful. I'll have to be really, really retired to take on something that time-consuming.








This is Paula folding some fabric. Wonder how many hundreds of times she's done this!

As I left (finally)I had to take a picture of these sweet little tatting/crocheting spools. I finished one of the little flannel baby blankets with blue crochet, but this makes me want to do one of every color. And I just might!

This last picture has nothing to do with quilting but a lot to do with cuteness. As I was turning onto my street coming home, I saw this dog being walked. I noticed the little sweater and wanted a picture, but even I was not going to stop the car and ask a complete stranger to take a picture of her dog. BUT- as I was standing at the kitchen window about 10 minutes later, here they came around the corner. I went out and apologized for being so silly but asked if I could have a picture. Not only could I have a picture, but we ended up talking for the longest (his owner; the dog didn't speak). His name is Duke, and he's 10 years old. Has congestive heart failure but is on a new medication and seems to be doing fine. I don't believe he minds the sweater at all.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Overwhelmed

I'm trying to work today, but things are constantly going through my mind that I need to be doing or need to have already done. It seems like there is never enough time. These are the things that are bugging me today.


Taxes. I think I have everything ready to go to the tax lady, but I'm so afraid I'm missing something that I put off organizing them and checking them off. The main thing is that I never did taxes - ever. Mike just magically took care of them all, and I only had to produce a W2 form if I worked and sign my name a few times. Now that I'm responsible for this Alabama half of us, I have to get everything together from here. So far, I've thrown things into a folder, and I have copies of everything I sent last year, so it should be simple, right? I just need to sit down and do it.
Putting my things on ebay. I have the template ready, but I have to take pictures and write descriptions. Really, not a hard thing and kind of fun, but it takes TIME, which I don't have any of. It's also hopefully money, so that should motivate me.

Organizing my sewing room. It seems impossible. During Christmas when I wasn't sewing, I just piled "things" on the big cutting table. It's a day's work, and I don't have a spare day.

I'm guilty about not spending time with Darby. She's sitting on the other side of the baby gate with her puppy in her mouth just staring at my back. I can feel it. She doesn't say anything, but when I turn around, I know she'll be sitting there with those sad eyes. The cats are there too, but they're entertaining themselves knocking stuff off my sewing table. (The monster monitor in the background is an old one I pulled out of the closet when my old computer crashed to make sure it was not the monitor's fault, and that's as far as I got getting it back in the closet.)

I have 4 or 5 emails to answer, not just pecking out a quick answer, but to actually talk and answer questions and ask questions. I don't want to be rushed when I write, so I keep putting it off. And I wonder which of these tasks I could have accomplished in the time it took to write this.


One good thing though. While I was making a pot of coffee this afternoon - twice - see #2 here - I managed to throw a roast, a couple of potatoes, and an onion into the crock pot, so we'll have some good food this week.

And also, tomorrow is not Sunday, like I've been thinking all day, so I have an extra day to get something accomplished.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sherry's List of 25

This list belongs to my cousin Sherry. I tagged her, but since her blog is on her employer's web site, I asked her to put this in my comments. I loved reading it and learned a lot! Go to her blog though for some beautiful cats and quilts.

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Good Grief !!! I can't think of 5 things to list about me, much less 25! Certainly none of them are interesting--but I'll try and see how far I get.
1. I am a cat person. We currently have 4
(Bentley, Finnegan, Nicholas and Jonathan)and
have had up to 6 cats at different times.

2. Our cats have all been spoiled indoor cats
and live to about 19. We have them cremated
and keep their ashes in a curio cabinet with
their picture. Wierd huh?

3. I didn"t get my first cat until I was
31.She was a birthday gift from David who is
responsible for my being a cat person.

4. David is my DH (Dear Honey). We have been
together for about 28 very happy years (only
because he puts up with me).

5 David has 4 grown children and I have one, so
together there are 5. Their ages range from 43
to 30. He has 5 grandchildren and we just
found out his oldest son and DIL are having
twins in August. The grandchildren call me
"Ya-Ya"(and we're not even Greek).

6. Although I was born in Montgomery, I grew up
in Miami and lived in Florida until 5 yrs ago
when I moved to TN.

7. I met David while working in Orlando and I
thought he was the biggest jerk I ever met. I
was very quiet and serious and he was trying
to be funny and talk to me. I'm sure I
gave him the "go jump in the lake" look.
Lucky for me, he persisted.

8. I worked as an Oncology Administrator,
retiring 2 yrs ago. I started out as a
radiographer (RT)and as part of my clinicals
had to spend time in oncology (radiation
therpy)and loved it. I became a radiation
therapist(RTT)and then a medical
dosimetrist (CMD). I worked as a CMD for
about 20+ yrs and became the director of a
Comprehensive Cancer Center.I decided to go
back to school for my Masters in
Health Services Admin. about 10+ yrs ago.

9. I used to be very involved in the American
Association of Medical Dosimetrists having
organized the annual national educational
meeting and serving as Co-Chair of the
education committee for 4.5 yrs. We initiated
the implemetation of the certification exam
for medical dosimetrists, which was a very
new profession at the time. All this while I
was a divorced,single parent of a 3 yr old.
As you can image I burned myself out and now
am lucky to lift the AAMD journal, much less
read it. I am still a registered CMD and RTT.

10. As part of my career I was lucky to work
with some great hospitals and great people.
I was involved in planning and building (and
in one case- designing)3 new cancer centers.
One was 30,000 sq ft and was built and
equipped in 4 months. It went up like a
rocket. David was actually treated there
about 7 yrs ago for vocal cord cancer.

11. Three of my cats were named after physicians
I knew based on their personalities.

12. Sewing, knitting and quilting were always my
stress relievers.I'm not that good at any of
them, but I love them and just keep at it.

13. I taught myself to knit after buying a
little booklet that gave instructions on
knitting, crochet, tatting and embroidery.
It cost 25 cents. I never learned to tat or
smock.

14.I have always loved fabric, and yarn. I am a
collector, which is another work for pack rat.

15. I used to make all of the clothes I wore to
work, including my underwear. Now, that I
am retired I am too busy quilting.

16. I never liked to garden when living in Fl.It
was too hot and the same boring plants and I
am not good at it. I love irises and the
flowers in TN. I keep them planting anyway.

17. We bought a 32ft motor home last yr and are
planning a trip to Alaska (with our 4 cats
of course) this summer. Maybe we'll actually
do it.

18. I'm not a good housekeeper. It just doesn't
seem important to me. I used to be better at
it (or care more).

19. I can't sit in front of a TV and just watch.
I have to be doing something else at the
same time (knitting, computing, quilting,
sewing--something).

20. I don't exercise. I need to.

21. I work one day a week at the local quilt
shop. I love the people and interaction
there, but I don't socialize unless I have
to. I like staying home barefoot for days,
sewing, quilting and knitting.

22. I do Sudoko puzzles at night before I go to
sleep. I used to read a lot, but now it just
puts me to sleep.

Boy -this is hard--and boring!!!

23. I'm a morning person. I used to be a
morning person and a late night person(old
age gets you every time).

24. I once saw The Beatles in person and still
have the ticket stub from the concert.

25. I'm not a big breakfast person. David likes
the big country breakfast with eggs, ham,
bacon, potatoes and biscuits. Just give me
coffee and a Nature Valley breakfast bar.
He likes to cook--I couldn't be bothered.
So I let him do most of the cooking. He
even bought himself a shirt that says "I do
the cooking, She does the quilting". That
about sums it up.

The Rest of the Day

Back to the doctor's office for my followup after lab tests. All the tests were good except for my vitamin D. Normal is 30, and my value was 10, so I have to take 50,000 units a week (one $2.50 pill) plus 2 daily pills of 600 of calcium and 400 more of vitamin D for 3 months or until it the value comes back up. Maybe I'll go sit in the sunshine some. But then you have to worry about skin cancer.

Those big old calcium tablets are not going to be fun for someone who can't swallow pills. Thank goodness for pill cutters and bananas. One more year of being healthy otherwise, though. Can't argue with that.

Below are three little things that make me happy. Silly little things but nonetheless...



The first is a tiny little scoop that I found at World Market (got one for sugar too). My family gets tired of hearing me say, "Did I show you the cutest little thing I found?" It's only about 5 inches long, but it's heavy and just feels good. (Doesn't take much to please me!)


This next strange-looking thing is my pill holder/divider thing. I got this at the Container Store a few years ago, and it beats those plastic things with the giant days of the week on them. I guess one day my pill-taking might be a little more complicated, but I can enjoy it while I can. Aren't those vitamin D pills pretty?


The last one is a little embroidered flower on a daygown I made years ago. The front has more flowers on it, but this is on the back placket and kind of unexpected. Once my sewing history reaches heirloom sewing, I'll take a better picture of it.



That's probably all the excitement I can stand today.