Thursday, April 30, 2009

Les Miserables

Afrer seeing the YouTube video about the British singer singing "I had a Dream," that song has been on my mind day and night. Strangely, even though I haven't heard it in 15 years or so, I know every word. That soundtrack played in the background of our lives for months and months (years?), and it became a part of almost everything we did.

It began when Mike brought home a cassette just out of the blue, not something he usually did. He had been hearing one of the songs on the car radio and liked it, I think. We played it here and there and didn't really like it one way or another, but various tunes started growing on us. At that time, we had given Emily the little dining room as her bedroom because of having more children than bedrooms, and her little stereo could be heard in the kitchen and den, and she played it constantly. We all started to hum along and sing along, and pretty soon we knew a lot of the songs. But Emily completely immersed herself in that musical. She soon had her friends knowing the words and videotaping themselves singing it. I believe she finally knew the words to every song on the soundtrack, and because of being the driver on most of her outings, it was always playing in the car, so I memorized it too.

Once Mike had a business trip to Kentucky, and Emily and I went along for the ride. I turned on the video camera as we drove through Tennessee and Chattanooga and south on I-75 because of my missing my mountains, and wanting to remember them. Les Miserables was playing in the background - rather loudly - and Emily was bouncing around the back seat singing along. Her favorite at that point was "Little People," and she had the Cockney accent down pat. It never failed to make us laugh. Good memory!

Anywhere they were, riding down the road, at the beach, at school, the girl - and some of the guys - would just burst out with Do you Hear the People Sing or this sweet little ditty with a few words bleeped out even the sad ones like Fantine's death.


I'm not sure exactly when it was (I need to get dates and times for all this), but we found out the play was going to be in Atlanta, and we were beside ourselves with excitement. Well, maybe Mike was just a little glad. After all, he was the one who had to get us to Atlanta to the Fox and then get us home. But we headed out one Sunday, the 3 of us plus Emily's friend Laura, all dressed up with high expectations. And we were not disappointed (except I think Emily and Laura were disappointed the champagne they served at intermission was not for them; they just wanted to hold the glasses). It was a wonderful cast, and pretty close to what we were used to, although we've always preferred the London version. The Fox is always exciting, just to be there. Half the time we had to sit with our hands over their mouths to keep them from singing along, but we did have a good time.

I think that was the pinnacle of our Les Miserables fascination though. I don't remember it much after that. Emily was beginning to go out more with her friends, and somehow we just didn't listen to it as much. We did buy the CD, though, and it kicked around the house, but when I was looking for it last week, it was nowhere to be found. So I treated myself to a CD of the Original London Cast, and I can't wait for it to get here. I've found some pretty good videos on line, and it sure does bring back memories.

I'll try to catch up on my past week pretty soon. Sadly, my sweet Aunt Merle died Sunday night. It wasn't totally unexpected, but she was thought to have been getting better. She was Daddy's sister and was 83. She was widowed while all 5 of her children were still very young, and lost the oldest one and only son in a car accident when he was a young man. I'm sure it was never easy, but she was not a complainer and to me always seemed to be laughing. She did a wonderful job of raising the daughters, and it was good to see them yesterday at the funeral - 2 of them with many grandchildren! She was so proud of them.

Now there's just my mother and one more of Daddy's sisters left of that generation in our family. We haven't done a good job, our generation, of keeping in touch, and we always lament that we never see each other except at funerals. We don't know each other's children, and that's sad. Maybe we'll do something about it.

It's been a busy week and is not over yet. I'll try to keep up better.

Monday, April 27, 2009

No Questions

I found this

and I don't want to talk about it.

Usually the way it works is that I finally give in (after calling every place I went last Saturday and bugging anyone and everyone who will listen to me) and tell Mike I'm sorry that I just cannot find it and to get me another one - and THEN find it. But just minutes before I was going to write that pitiful email and confess to never being able to keep up with anything and I'll do better next time, I found it. I will not answer questions about where. But let's just say I had finally had enough with receipts and coupons and various items floating around in my purse and decided to do something about it. But I DID NOT find it in my purse. That would be too easy. That would be the first place I would have looked every 500 times I've searched for it.

I have lots of pictures of the wedding site - well the reception site - but I have to go get a haircut and go to the dentist before I can enjoy life again. These are the 2 pictures I took to celebrate the return of my little camera.


I'm a little irritated that I passed by these purple blooms several times a day and marveled at how pretty they were without being able to record it, and now they're past their prime and a little faded. The gardenias next to them are loaded with blooms. I'm not sure when they start.



These are the cute little dahlias I found Saturday at Wal-Mart. I got out for my errands so early (7:30) that this was the only place open. The garden center man was whistling, "Amazing Grace" while I was out there. Pretty. I wasn't tempted by anything but these sweet things and some Miracle Grow good black dirt.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Silence

I have to stop talking and get things done, so no more posting unless someone wants to email me their thoughts and/or pictures.

I have 46 squares of the quilt done - 18 to go. My goal is to have them done by April 30 and sew them together before we go to Mobile for graduation. If the quilter can't get it quilted by May 25th, I'll just have to give it unquilted.

My bad work computer had to be reformatted today, and while it's nice to have a clean computer without 824 old emails, I now have lots of work to do, putting all my contacts and email addresses back in, not to mention the 15 years' worth of short cuts that they failed to put back on. I'm still begging them to keep looking for my file.

It took half a day, but after lots of emailing and telephone calling, I got us some excellent hotel rates for the wedding group.

It was nice to talk with Millie, Ryan's mother, today. It took us about 2 minutes to decide we were in agreement about what to wear. I can't wait until they get here. I spent some time with his parents last fall when they were in Mobile, but it's been several years since I saw the brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews.

I forgot to mention Debby's birthday on April 18th. She is .... much younger than I - still. I taught her how to walk, and she taught me a bunch of other stuff later. We've laughed a lot in our lives, and we haven't finished yet!


Not too silent, I guess. Maybe I'll have some "guest writers" for the rest of the month while I quilt.

I wish I had a yard full of these ready for the wedding, but this was a Columbus zinnia, and it's too early for them now

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

April Tidbits

No time for anything! When things do happen in my life, I don't have time to write them down.

Last week, my uncle passed away, Olmond M. Hall. He was Sherry's dad and my mother's only brother and last remaining sibling. Be thinking about Mary Ann, his wife, and Sherry, David, and Ryan as well as the other family members this week as they get used to life without him.


So far, I haven't located my camera. I've called both bakeries we visited. The first one didn't have it, and the second one is going to be going back to the place we met and will check. If he didn't notice it when he cleared off the table after we left, it's probably not there. Ida Beth has been on searches around her house. So it's just a big mystery. I didn't leave it at the first house because I took a picture of the azaleas as we were getting into the car. I have visions of it laying on the ground beside the car as we drove off. Guess I need to put my phone number or address on things. In the meantime, I'll use Mama's - if I have time for picture making.

I had one of my typical conference calls this morning from work. My primary account is Tallahassee Memorial, and I love it. No problems. But lately, there have been more mistakes being made by the MTs, and we're in danger of losing the account. I can understand the frustration of the coordinators. If someone spells a doctor's name or a location wrong multiple times, I can see how they would be getting frustrated. I haven't gotten anything returned yet, but now I'm worried. Everyone who gets a report returned by the facility will be put on probation and get only 10 charts a day sent to the QA Department to be audited. Watch me make a mistake now after all this time! 10 charts a day won't pay the bills! I better be extra careful.

The reason I say it's a typical call is that I can work in complete solitude for 3 hours - just hearing some outside noises and Mama moving around the house, but as soon as I dial that number and get on the call, the cats wake up and come yowling into the room; the exterminator comes and gets Darby barking; and the yard man next door starts the edger almost under my window. I'm trying to listen while running back and forth through the house to find a quiet place. And usually my other phone will ring during all this.

I got an email from my friend Lydia who is a very talented girl. She has taken off on her sewing and is artistic to start with. I hope she won't mind if I share her etsy shop. She's making some neat things, and if I ever settle down, I'm going to go shopping. What I love about these etsy shops is that you never know what you're going to find. She's sewing more than writing lately (and chasing around a 2-year-old), but everyone needs to see the sweet pictures she has posted on her web site: http://beingparticular.blogspot.com/. I wish I had half her energy and creativity.

Gaby sent me some pictures last week, and even though she was mean and sent one of that awful serpiente (sorry, sweet little baby serpiente), I'll share some of them (but not THAT one). The first one is Alejandro sending out a big kiss. Got it!


The rest are some of the pictures of the beautiful things they're growing right now in Guatemala: Orchids, bougainvillea, irises and roses, not to mention carrots, tomatoes, and guavas. Wish I were there to see them in person.





Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tasty Cakes

Several people have asked about our day in Atlanta and how the cake tasting went. About 12:30 or so yesterday, I didn't think I could see any humor in the whole experience, and we were just about ready to bake a bunch of cupcakes and let it go. This narrative may go on for hours, but I have to let it all out!

Emily was in school all last week, so I had the job of calling all the bakeries on her list and ruling some out and setting up appointments for "tastings" when necessary. (The one charging $5.75 a slice kind of ruled itself out) A few either didn't answer or were going to be out of town May 30th, but I set up the first appointment at 11 a.m. and another at 2:45 p.m. That would give us time to catch the one where appointments weren't necessary at our leisure - kind of funny to say leisure when talking about doing things in Atl.

We had stayed up late addressing invitations and getting the first batch mailed. (Thanks for the heads up, Kathy, about the square envelopes needing 2 stamps. Otherwise, we would have plopped them in the mail slot and had a few aggravated people who had to pay extra postage.) We were a little bit late starting because of waiting to buy more stamps and getting those mailed, but we were still doing okay. We took 2 cars because they thought they might want to spend the night with friends. Emily and I were deciding we'd better call the first place and say we'd be a little bit late when the phone rang. It was Ryan asking if we had taken into consideration that we were traveling from central time to eastern time, and that we were already an hour late. First glitch.

Emily got the lady on the phone finally and confessed what we had done and asked if we could come later, but she said she was booked the rest of the day. No problem. We still had 2 more. Everyone knows I'm not a good passenger, so all the construction on I-85 plus rushing a little (and feeling completely stupid about the time zones) was making me very nervous. Emily told Ryan I was "acting up." We wanted to go by the house and the little park where the wedding was going to be to leave Ryan's car and look at the work they were doing in the yard, but there was an accident near I85/I20 that kind of forced us to get off early. Ryan's GPS lady was calling the shots, and Emily and I were trying our best to keep up. I'll stick to the cake tasting because it's late, and leave the other stuff for later, but we did make it to the house and were so excited about how great the lanscaping was going. If I hadn't lost my camera, I would have some pictures for tomorrow. Hopefully, I left it there.

When we left there, I called the non-appointment bakery and told the lady who I was and that I had talked to her earlier about coming by to see about a wedding cake. She immediately said, "We don't have no more pound cake." I said, "Wedding cake," thinking she didn't understand me, and she said, "I'm AWARE of that. We just don't have no pound cake. We used the last of it on our cakes today." Still not knowing what she was talking about, I just didn't say anything for a minute, and she put someone else on the phone who said, "Just come on in anyway. We have some cupcakes," and gave me the directions. Why was I getting a sense of forboding?

Em's friend and her mother and sister who live in town also met us there, and I guess it was a little intimidating for the bakery girl. She said, "Oh, you brought the whole family." I guess she was thinking about how many little slivers of pound cake she was going to have to cut. We told her we weren't all tasting - that it was up to Em and Ryan. Finally, she kind of grudgingly showed them some pictures of cakes and one sample cake. The rest of us were just chatting across the room, but I could tell it wasn't working. The sample was a 4-tiered cake but small tiers, maybe 5 inches high. To feed 75 people, we would only need 2 of the tiers, which would make a squatty little 12 inch high (at the most) cake. A wedding cake, for goodness sake. We asked if there could be a smaller 3rd tier for a cake topper and to make it look normal. We've never done this before. The girl said, no, adding a 3rd tier would bring the cost from $175 to $300 and we'd "have a lot of cake left over." She told us we could set it on a box and cover the box with cloth to give it some height. Poor Emily tried to cooperate with her, asking questions and trying to figure out something. At one point, I said, "We don't have to make a decision right now. Why don't you come back next weekend?" Knowing that we weren't going to be there next weekend but wanting to get out of there as fast as I could.

The girl then brought the samples. About 6 slivers of pound cake and yellow cake, and she proceeded to squeeze some icing out of the decorating bag. They tasted one, and I didn't see much enthusiasm, so Emily asked about some alternatives - maybe cream cheese frosting or something, and the guy behind the counter who was enjoying himself immensely said, "Not on May 31st at an outside wedding. No way. It would be sliding around all over the place." So cross that off. Then the girl suggested fillings. Oh, this was all done standing at a counter with her handing things across to them and the whole world watching and making comments. She then put raspberry and lemon filling on cake pieces and let them taste. I was getting terrified they were going to want to settle - and also worried that maybe we had overestimated this whole cake business, and we were going to have to either have a silly little toy cake or pay a fortune for a big cake. Emily later said she didn't want to hurt her feelings, so she went along with it but that the icing was awful, just really sweet. With a great sense of relief on my part, Em told her we had another appointment and would come back later - maybe.

We had not enough time to eat lunch but too much time before the next appointment, so we went on and found the place. We walked in and noticed that there was a tasting/design session going on so we decided to go outside and wait and enjoy the beautiful day. We also decided it was too small a little room for us all, so Karen and Ida Beth went home to wait and meet us later. As we waited, we looked at the brochure I had and noticed that there was a statement that there was a $300 minimum for cakes feeding less than 125 people. That was a very tense moment. Emily was just on the verge of not having a good time anymore (and I felt the same). She was trying so hard to be conservative and stick to the budget. I said, "You're going to have a nice cake. Don't worry about it. We're going to do this," although we went in when it was our turn with not much hope. But after about 5 minutes with David (I probably shouldn't mention names but I don't think he would mind), the sun came out and birds were singing and we were once again having a wedding.

I just can't explain the difference. He shook hands with us, sat us down around a table, kind of sized us up (probably felt sorry for us), asked some questions, and told Emily to tell him what she wanted. I think she was scared to at first. In the meantime, I was looking at the gorgeous cake model behind him - 3 tiers - a REAL wedding cake - and tall. He said, "For 75 people, this is what it would look like, and unbelievably he turned around and pointed to that very cake. Emily and I just looked at each other. She said, "REALLY." She just wants no frou-frou, pretty plain, and he said it would be around $225. He explained how the tiers don't just sit on each other but each one is on it's own stand, and he's never had one fall. He said it would be very cold when it was delivered and that if it was in a shade, there would probably be no problem, even on May 30th. He helped her decide on a design and what would be extra and what would work and what wouldn't, and THEN he brought out the samples. I'm sorry if I sound a little weird, but this was a first for me, and that first experience had just devastated me. He brought a tray with 8 plates of beautiful real slices of cake, napkins, and 3 forks. Each one was a different cake with a different filling between and a different frosting. So many choices -

Types of cakes: Yellow. Chocolate. Marble. Banana. Almond. Pecan. Black Walnut. Rum. Carrot. White. Red Velvet. Lemon. Strawberry

Mousse Fillings: Amaretto. Black Forest. Chocolate. Coconut Cream. Grand Marnier. Hazelnut. Jamaican Chocolate Rum. Irish Cream. KalhuaLemon. Strawberry. Strawberry Banana. Pina Colada. Raspberry. Rum. Vanilla Cream. White Chocolate. White Chocolate Raspberry

Icing Flavors: White Chocolate Butter Cream. Cream Cheese Butter Cream. Chocolate Butter Cream. Vanilla Butter Cream. White Ganache. White Chocolate Ganache. Milk Chocolate Ganache. Hazel Nut Ganache


And we thought we were going to have to have pound cake! Ryan was getting a sugar high just looking at it. I just tasted one icing, but every bite they took, I could see the excitement growing.

Each layer will be a different cake and a different filling - to be decided later. We told him some of our experiences beforehand, and he just shook his head. For maybe $75 difference we can have a cake that people will be excited about eating and that will be beautifully and professionally done. What a pleasure. I guess it doesn't hurt to mention a good experience by name - it's called Dreamcakes International.

I got a HUGE hug from Emily when we got outside for not letting her run away and serve cupcakes! The rest of the day went much better. Especially for me. I'll write about that tomorrow, but I ended up whiling the afternoon away on a lovely shaded deck with a creek running along below us and puppies and babies and getting to know Emily's friend's parents. She said she knew Ida Beth and I would be BFF, and I think we might be. If we don't drive her crazy with this wedding.

The rest of the story tomorrow.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Yard Boys Behaving

I've dragged my feet on firing the lawn company simply because of the trouble of finding someone else. I failed to catch the man who does the house next door, and he doesn't have a name on his truck. I looked in the Yellow Pages, but that was too scary just to call someone at random, so I just let time go by. Wednesday, my brother was in town for a funeral and stopped by with his sister-in-law who lives in Montgomery. I happened to mention my problem - she's the realtor who sold me this house - and she said she would give me her guy's name who was good and reasonable and would do other jobs that you asked him to. She emailed me his name and number yesterday, but before I could call him, I saw the big white trailer parked out front. They also do the house on the other side - that's where I found out about them.

I decided to give them one more chance and get proof. I took pictures of the lawn furniture and where I had put barriers around the trees and was all prepared. I stood at the kitchen window and watched them unload their equipment and put gas in the trimmer (I guess - I don't know what he was doing). Then I walked from window to window as they mowed and trimmed, and surprisingly, they seemed to take great care and do a good job on the front and side. I got distracted while they were out back, but when I checked after they left, I couldn't believe it. Table was moved back with all the chairs underneath. No bushes or little trees were touched. All the surfaces were blown clean. Good grief. Do they like me now? What's going on? Maybe they read this blog!

So until next time anyway, I'm not making a change. Again, I like the owner of the company who used to do the work, but now he just sends the guys and doesn't seem to be supervising. We will just see! Sorry to all of you who wanted firings and/or spankings. That may come next time.

The clematis is just full of blooms. This is the biggest one. I need to get a bigger trellis for it; it's already trying to wind its way around the plant next to it.

This is a well traveled iris, one of many I dug up from the Charles Street house in Thomaston and moved first to Meridian, then to Greensboro (where it never bloomed). Then I took it to Columbus where it did bloom and multiply. I was afraid it didn't like Montgomery since it didn't bloom last year, but I guess it does after all. I wish I had had the time and energy to carry more plants from state to state and some that I did failed to make it in one place or another.

I'm off to Atlanta tomorrow for cake tasting and caterer talking to. I'm already tired thinking about it. Emily and Ryan will be here tonight, so I'd better get my errands over with this morning so I can work my 4 hours this afternoon.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cat Relatives

Not only have I gotten back in touch with some of my cousins lately, but I've also met their pets - through pictures so far except for Sherry's cats who slept with and on me when I visited them last year. And one of them even felt comfortable enough in my presence to take her departure to Kitty Heaven.
This is Nicholas who is alive and well - very alive and well. He and his brothers Finnegan and Bentley keep Sherry and David entertained - when they're not in Time-Out. This sweet face could never do anything bad!



I stole these pictures from Sherry's blog. They had bribed a squirrel with hamster food to entertain the boys while they were vacationing in the motor home. These cats should have plenty of Frequent RV Miles and may be headed to Alaska soon.

I got this picture last night from Debby. Her baby. So sweet. Gus from Luverne
A face only a Mother could love.

Then yesterday Bobby sent me some updated pictures of Mr Pants. Being the mascot for the Northwest Florida Ballet is not without its pitfalls


That's enough for one day, I think. Jack, the grandcat, will get his pictures here before long.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

After the Rain

Just some pretty things I saw yesterday morning.

Let's see who gets to eat this strawberry first, me or the birds.

This clematis always makes me happy. It's so enthusiastic. I'm not sure where I bought it or how long I've had it, but it's one of my favorites.

The iris is not pretty yet, but it didn't bloom last year, so I'm happy to see it.


I never knew a pyracantha could be so pretty in the spring. I wanted one for the berries in the winter, but I think I like this pretty well.


A nice surprise yesterday afternoon was a visit from my friend Karen from NY. She and her friend Bob were in town and came by for awhile and brought me this.

I've had her homemade strawberry jam before, and I can't wait to have some of this. She obviously grows more than 2 strawberries at a time like I do. Here are some pictures I took when I visited her there, including the guest house that she's promised to let us stay in if we ever get back up there.

A church in Connecticut, I believe, not far from Karen's home. I wish I could remember the names of the towns we went through.

This is the view of part of Karen's "yard" looking from the house.


More beautiful scenery. It takes my breath away. I've always loved mountains. She'll have to remind me which ones these are.

The famous guest house. I love it. I'll need to have another rooster though if I stay for awhile.

Karen's house. I could just sit on the patio and enjoy the scenery and the company forever - at least up until October. I've seen that driveway that has to be plowed after it snows. It's loooong.

I have more pictures of that trip I'll find later when I have more time. She did remind me of the exploding apple cider story that I'll go into when I have more time. I didn't have to be reminded; I see the evidence of it daily in my car and maybe sometimes even the pleasant odor of fermented apples. There were more adventures we had during that week too, not all of which can be shared. Like that exciting drive down (up) the Taconic Parkway in the rain with my having no idea where I was going. Ah - rain and strange toll booths - one of my pleasanter memories - of which Karen was blissfully unaware.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cuteness

Elise was worried that anyone who saw the clown pictures from a few days ago would think she really looked like that all the time, so I promised her cuteness, and here it is. I hope she agrees with what my favorites are.
Sweet baby. With her hand-me-down mobile and hand-me-down crib but her own lacy socks and pink dress, humoring yet another dress-up session, and behind her "Lisey's Lamb," also her very own. I notice no crib bumpers or coordinated bedding like is necessary now. I guess they just had to bump their heads. You can tell who took what pictures. This was about the time Mike got interested into photography and did some beautiful work. The off-center snapshots are the ones I took. This was the year she was a mascot for Gray's little football team - the Wams (before speech therapy with Mrs. Newman). By the way, I made that outfit. It was not easy. In fact, it was one of the hardest things I had ever tried to do. The skirt had little pleats all around, and I agonized over it for days. A good thing is that those are press-on letters and didn't have to be cut out and appliqued. She also had her name in press-on letters on the seat of her pants. No picture of that though. One of many cat-holding, cat-squeezing, cat-loving, cat-torturing pictures that we have of Elise. Probably the only one of her sitting on a pumpkin though. Sam the Cat, brought in a box from N. Georgia by the same friend I made the fisherman knit sweater for. Long-suffering Sam. I don't know who this pinched-face little beauty was - one of many in the parade of cats and dogs through the Monroe Street years. I'm thinking Daisy, but that's probably not right. No animals were more loved than they were in her arms - loved half to death, it looks like. I remember thinking as she left to sell Girl Scout cookies that day that it would be hard to resist buying cookies when that face looked up at you with the front teeth missing. And anyone who sees that wallpaper and lived in that house is bound to get a lump in his throat. Those were the days. I have no taste now and didn't then, but we thought it was so pretty.
This is one of Mike's masterpieces. He was/is quite a photographer, and one day he's going to have time to get back into it. He would take the girls and their friends and the neighbor's children to various parks, put them in trees and roll them down hills, and take the most beautiful pictures. I have many more like this, but my time has run out. I don't think anyone could think this was not a beautiful child. And still is.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Beautiful Easter Morning

Although a little bit chilly. My cell phone rang at 6:45 this morning from the kitchen. I barely heard it, and by the time I got there, there was only 1 Missed Call showing with "no number." I figured anyone who knew me would call the home phone. But it got me up earlier than usual to enjoy a little of the morning.

The wind at the end of the week was wonderful. I tried to sit outside one day, but I was afraid of being hit by a flying object. I noticed that the grill cover had blown off and was on the other side of the yard against the fence. I would have liked to have seen the animals' reactions to that! Darby probably thought she had a real interloper instead of the pretend ones she's always barking at. These were taken on Friday I think when everyone was enjoying the breeze. The grass clipping line on the fence is how high the water was at one time. Such a swamp in that area.
Sheepy is never far from her side. I put it in a tree yesterday to tease her, and she went crazy. I think if I had gone into the house, she would have climbed the tree to rescue it. At night when I let her in, she won't come in until she's gone and searched for it and brought it in. It amazes me the attachment animals get for things. And surprisingly she has not tried to chew the ears off this one or eviscerate it like some of the others - kind of like this one-eyed, three-legged frog that Stella is lying beside. She wouldn't look at me, so I stood over her and made her give me one of her withering looks.Even Miss No-Nonsense Maddy got into the spirit of things and chased a tennis ball, although she would never admit it. Yesterday's breeze was perfect for clipping threads off the back of the quilt. They would blow away as soon as I clipped, but the only problem was that the quilt squares tended to want to blow away too.

I worked hard this weekend and have made some progress on the little quilt. I wanted to wait until I completed all 64 squares before I started sewing them together, but I just couldn't wait to see how it looked (AND, more importantly, if it would work). I'm glad I did. One was a teeny bit off - maybe an eighth of an inch - but I don't think it will matter, or I may go back and correct it. The picture below shows how placing them in a particular order will make a pattern.I think I'm going to be glad I tackled this. One thing that has helped is moving my iron to right beside the machine, so that every time I sew one of those 17 strips on each square, I don't have to get up and go across the room and press it out. That was discouraging and kind of made me dread working on it.

It's about time to get ready for church. One day I'd like to go to a sunrise service, but I haven't gone to one here yet. There will be Easter music this morning, and if it's like last year, it will be wonderful. We have a small church and small choir, but there are some good voices there, and a few have shown they can play instruments also, and that's not even including our pianist. I look forward to hearing her little mini-concert after the offering every Sunday.

Oh, speaking of windy days, Mike says we haven't experienced winds until we've experienced West Texas 55 mph SUSTAINED winds and tumbleweeds as big as Volkswagens. I'm still waiting for a picture or for Elise to back it up. And she's waiting for me to post some cute baby pictures of her to make up for the clown ones that she didn't know were going to be there when she told her boyfriend to "check out Mom's blog." Be patient, Elise. I have bunches of pictures to prove you were cute.

Happy Easter to everyone.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Homemade Shoes

Sorry, but I can't claim these. I had an email today about Etsy, probably because I ordered something from a seller, and I clicked the link and found these amazing shoes. Amazing because they're cute but more amazing because they are completely hand made - to order. So you don't have to be wealthy to have your shoes made for you.

The web site is called Hydraheart's Shop. I guess it's okay for me to do this.

I have been hearing that term Etsy for quite a while and just never paid much attention, but it's really the neatest thing. You can sell things to the public - a vast public - as you make them. It's really nice for people who don't want to keep an inventory. I believe it's pretty much handmade things and craft supplies and such. But buying is the fun part. I could go there and just spend half a day looking at and being amazed at the talent represented here. (Ask me how I know) In fact if you search for shoes, there are 103 different pairs. I'm especially taken with these little beauties. If I ever have grandchildren, their parents are going to hide them from me!

I really, really do need another thing to spend my time on. I have had a whole day without work, and I got absolutely nothing done. I did wash sheets and other laundry and took Mama to the beauty shop and J.C. Penney. It's so hard for me to psych myself up to work on those quilt squares, but I have made a little progress. I had to bribe myself today to get some done. I told myself that if I would sew while the clothes were washing, I could have a cup of coffee and waste time on things like Etsy afterward. It worked pretty well until I happened to look out and see the little cosmos and zinnias that are ready to plant. That was more fun at the time than quilting, so I planted maybe 20 of the hardiest ones. Here's a little progress on the Latte Log Cabin in various stages, some squares completed and others about halfway. I believe there are 72 total ones I have to finish, and then sewing them together the proper way to make a pattern is going to be a little tricky too, but if I get that far, I won't mind that at all. But then that's what I said about this whole project.
I'm trying to think of something to motivate me to go do a few more squares. Maybe another cup of coffee. On second thought, after last night's awakening and hearing breathing under my bed, I'll pass on that other cup. I'm still not sure what it was - no dog snoring in the sunroom because she chose to sleep outside last night, and I know a cat's breathing very well - purring - but it sounded exactly like someone sleeping and breathing deeply - in the same room with me. Mama's bedroom is 2 rooms away, so I can't blame her. I didn't exactly look under the bed to see, but if it could get under that bed, it would be too small to harm me, and it either stopped or I went to sleep. Maybe it was the quilting ghost telling me to rethink my priorities and get to sewing. I guess it worked.
Emily told me last night that she and Ryan have a joint email address for talking about the wedding, but after the things I've sent today, he may have already blocked me. I think he just THOUGHT he wanted to hear about wisteria garlands and tulips and cake stands. I'm hoping to get to go to Atlanta with them next weekend and see the yard and park to get an idea of how far and on what I'm going to have to walk before I pick out what shoes to wear. Things are coming together a bit better now, and it's going to be a really fun evening.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Miss Spring

Just as we were beginning to get used to the warm breezes and sunshine, this cold wave comes. In January, we would love to have a day like this, but now it just seems cruel. Actually, I think it's probably warmer outside than I think. I just haven't gone out to check. It's been an uneventful 3 days, and if I don't write things down as they happen, it's like they never did happen, and it's all forgotten. How can this be when Mike and I can remember going into a store in Auburn over 40 years ago and buying me not one but 2 pair of shoes for graduation (his - I was just a spectator) and for whatever might happen with our exciting move to an uncharted territory - Georgia. On one hand, it was exciting to me to actually buy something after a full year of "starving student and wife," although I don't think we were ever hungry. And probably the reason he remembers it is that he had to buy 2 pair of shoes. When I was doing a search last week to see if I could find the type of Villager shoes I liked so much then, I noticed that regular women's shoes could be bought for $7.99. I think these would have been more than that and probably seemed like a whole bunch to us at that time. One pair would have surely been enough, but I probably had a hard time deciding. That was more than likely the first of the "Go ahead and get what you want," phrases that he has uttered hundreds if not thousands of times over the years and as late as Monday to the daughter trying to stay in her wedding budget.

Speaking of which, I got an overnight visit from Emily, finally finishing up her clinicals in Warm Springs with much relief and excitement at being so close to her goal. Her car was crammed full of whatever it took to live there for that time (Grandaddy knows exactly how many days it was) - birthday party hats in the back, many, many books piled everywhere, snack bags and water bottles and CDs, and I don't even want to imagine how many loads of dirty clothes that are being washed this afternoon. We talked ourselves into exhaustion about deadlines and park rentals and flowers and knives and more flowers and why lily-of-the-valley is one of the most expensive flowers to have for a wedding bouquet and why that's what she has had her heart set on. I believe we saw on line that a bouquet of lily-of-the-valley that some celebrity carried in her wedding was $600. We were wanting a teeny bit less than that! The whole bouquet thing started out that she would just carry an informal handful of flowers, then she saw lily-of-the valley, and that looked simple, and that got ruled out, and then we ended up looking at hundreds of bouquets until my head was spinning. The consensus again this morning was that it doesn't really matter. It's not a formal wedding, and they'll be dead the next day, and we're back to the simple handful. Oh, and cakes! People spend a LOT on a wedding cake. I know if had to do the decorating, you would need to pay me a lot too, but again it's something that will be gone the next day - if it's good - and that's what the "tastings" are for next weekend - to pick out an affordable, pretty, but mainly good-tasting cake. I do remember that our wedding cake, although beautiful, was not really good.

To get my mind off weddings, I'm going to go back and post various unrelated pictures that I took last week. The one I'm not going to include here is a picture of my neck that I took so I could enlarge and look at a puzzling red spot. Kathy, if you read this, stop right here. It started off like a mosquito bite but kept getting bigger and redder, and I was afraid it was a spider bite. Enlarging it didn't give me any more insight except that I'm more in need of plastic surgery than I thought. I think it's better now, just a dry patch, but I still don't know what caused it.

These are pictures I took on a library visit last week in the rain. I just think this spiral staircase is interesting. I had to be careful not to get the bag lady loitering at the foot of the stairs - or was that a mirror? The big wide steps make it not so painful to get to the second floor.
This is a kind of generic media room, but I love the fact that it's just filled to overflowing with audio tapes, and I still have a tape player! In several towns, I had a hard time finding anything to listen to, so this is a good thing.
They're beginning to get more CDs, enough to give me a little choice, but I think I mentioned before how low they are, and I'm standing on my head or kneeling down to look at them. The last CDs I took back, I had failed to put the last one of the series in the case, and the nice humming lady called and told me. It wasn't in the CD player, and I looked for it for days. Then I happened to open the CD slot or whatever that thing in the computer is called to back up some files, and there it was. Happy day! I think I mentioned something about my memory. The next two are some I took on the way home. The first is just a beautiful building across the street from the library. I'd like to know more about it. There's no sign out front to indicate it's a public building, so I don't know what it is. The last one is an area that I love when I come over the crest of a hill and start down. The Regions Bank building is the tall one and the capital and all those building are toward my left (somewhere). Again, I'd like to take a tour one day.
It seems like there's more and naturally more that I have to say, but the afternoon is gone, and I have to start back to work.