Sunday, August 29, 2010


I can't write without pictures. Pictures mask the fact that I usually have nothing to say. And today I'm without the ability to put pictures into the computer.

Debbie sent me some from the trip last week, and I have some in the camera. I just have a defective USB cable. It's been acting strange for weeks, maybe months. I noticed that the wires were showing at the camera end of the cable, but it was working fine, and then it was working sometimes if I jiggled it just right, but yesterday I got the message "USB device not recognized." I jiggled and jiggled some more, but I kept getting that message. I hate it when things don't work like they're supposed to.

I figured I would be without access to the camera for days, maybe longer while I went searching for a new cable. And then I remembered. It's not the olden days any more. I just Google'd Panasonic Lumix replacement cable, and with 10 minutes I had one on the way. I was pleasantly surprised to notice that it was only $3.99. Postage is more than the cost of the cable. I clicked PayPal, and it was just that easy.

It's getting toward the end of the month/pay period, so I have to produce as much as I can before Tuesday. After that, I plan to work on my neglected sewing and neglected housework.

We had an uneventful anniversary on the 27th. We did mention it on the phone. I decided the year #43 gift is fabric - or maybe yarn. I'll have to check, but I believe #45 gift is sewing machine - NICE sewing machine.

Since I have no pictures, I'll leave with this one Debby took from the balcony last week.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back from the Beach

And not happy about it.

I forget that just because I get away for a few days, everything won't be waiting for me when I get back. Well, I didn't really forget; I just put it out of my mind.

It was a nice, nice time. I forgot my camera and my phone, which made it that much more relaxing. Our view of the ocean from the 5th floor showed very clear beautiful water the first day and not so much the 2nd and 3rd days but no evidence of tar or any sort of debris.

Debby and I felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. The condo where we stayed had only about 5 or 6 people on the beach at a time, traffic was light, and it felt more like the end of September than the end of August. Probably had something to do with school starting, but whatever, it was nice.

No alarm clocks, nowhere to be, nothing to do other than read, watch TV, sew, or sleep. And eat of course. We ate lunch at Buster's in Destin on Tuesday: Grouper fingers and veggies - fried okra and macaroni and cheese for me. But we didn't do the big seafood dinner at night either night. One night it was Mexican across the street and another whatever we could gather up in Publix and take back to the room. That decision may or may not have stemmed from an unfavorable lunch earlier that day.

We fussed about the heat, turned the air conditioning to Icy Cold, laughed at old Golden Girls reruns, nearly crashed an election party at the Mexican restaurant, ate popcorn and cookies and flan for supper, read some but talked more. I embroidered a little and we spent a looong time in Barnes and Noble. Went to the outlet mall and poked around there. Bought some good smelling stuff. Talked some more. Laughed some more.

And now I'm home and grateful for the chance to have had some time away. I think Mama enjoyed being on her own too. She sat outside a good bit with Darby and the cats, which they always love, and just did what she wanted to do too.

I'll try to be better on updating this blog - with pictures - soon once I get through being overwhelmed with all I have to do.

Elise has a new job - happy news!

Natalie is vising Emily and Ryan. Just saw this picture on FB. I don't even want to know.

As soon as I dig my camera out of a bag that I packed for the beach but decided not to take, I'll have pictures of my daygown progress and my TX vine.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Birthday People

These 3 are having a birthday today (Mike and Karen) and yesterday (Ryan). I'm not sure when Griff's birthday is. This is one of the strangest pictures, but it's the only one I have of them all 3 together.

I'll run on over to Facebook and steal a few more in a little bit.

I know that Ryan, Karen, and Emily did some celebrating last weekend but I'm not sure of the details.

Looks like it involved Seattle, a car, dressing up, some friends visiting from South Dakota, and more than likely lots of food.
Another birthday meal?

Mike is celebrating with a cup of Mexican coffee and a (hopefully breakfast) burrito that one of his co-workers brought him.
I guess his main birthday party took place this summer with the trip to WA and fun times with Ryan, Emily, and Karen.

Happy birthday to my people far away.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Another New Week (added pictures)

Well, no sewing pictures, although I did get caught up with my day gown lesson 2. The pale blue didn't show up too well, but I'll try again when I have time. This session was fun, the pleated sleeves and French seams, and it turned out so well - finally. When Jeannie says to put a marker to tell you the back and front of the fabric, she's serious. I love this Mary Englebright picture she has on her blog today.

This is more like it.

My Texas vine is finally about to glorify the fence and wheelbarrow and trash can, and everything else around it. I'm not sure why it took so long to bloom unless I didn't understand its blooming patterns and pruned it too early. It seems to be a late August bloomer.

Darby looking to see what's going on on the other side of the fence.

Mama spent last week in Birmingham, and when my niece Robin and her husband Joe brought her home, they stopped at Durbin Farms up in peach country and brought these.


But so many. Looks like I'll be freezing some since we'll never eat this many.

Robin and Joe stayed for a visit, and it was so nice to have the time to just sit back and talk - and talk and talk. They're just up the road in Prattville, so I hope we can do it again soon. They love cats, and Mama was pretty upset that her cat Molly (aka Stella) ignored her to swoon over the newcomers. We had a photo session last night. She poses well but refuses to smile or even look pleasant, but she's a good subject.

And then there's Mississippi Cat. Well.

Not much in looks but purrs loudly and often.

Today is the first day of the work pay period, and it's always good to get a new start. I keep telling myself. I have 13 months and 2 weeks until retirement hopefully.

But more importantly, 7 days until Debby and I take our little trip to the beach. I can use another couple of days of this....

I bought a $29 printer at Target for my work computer.

I don't care about quality of the print as long as it works, so we'll see. Now I'm having to send everything that needs to be printed to my personal computer - if possible - and printing it there. Fingers crossed I can understand it and that it works.

It does! Easy as pie.

Except it didn't come with a USB cable, but I went digging in my box of discarded you-never-know-when-you-might-need-it electronics box and found a bright blue one. I also need a table for it, but it's fine, if a little shaky, on these shelves.

Who knows. My monster Dell that eats $65 cartridges may have lost its place of honor.

My father-in-law and I were just talking about how not too many years ago we never even dreamed of owning our own copier, and printers were not that cheap. Now the 3-in-1's even are almost disposable.

I'm not recommending this printer. Time will tell whether it's actually any good. I know if it works at all, it will solve my problem, but there's a chance it will make nice photos and color copies too.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Abandoned Blog

Poor thing. I've come to resent it - trying to think of something interesting to write.

I don't do late summer well. But I'm coming out of it.

There is a thunderstorm brewing, and September is just days away now - well weeks.

Debby and I are going to the beach for a couple of nights very soon. Can't wait for that.

I've been working on my daygown today, the sleeves. My seam ripper has been my friend. I'll do pictures tonight.

No more wallpaper work this week. Mama has been in Birmingham, and I've done nothing at all I didn't want to do. And that includes picking up the newspaper from the driveway and bringing in the mail - all day. I've been in pajamas all day today because I realized that if someone rings the doorbell without knocking, I don't have to answer it.

Barbara had a birthday last week. It was comforting to know she's as far behind on her 9-patches as I am. It's day 14, and I still have just the one. I may fail this challenge.

The guest room bed looks like a fabric explosion. I'm getting ready to start the girls' quilts and have everything laid out. Optimism! Every time I have an idea about some project, I go drag out the pattern and/or fabric and put it on the bed. I have a lot more ideas than I have time.

Pictures tomorrow hopefully.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Buttonholes Woes

I was right to dread the buttonhole part of the daygown I'm making. I don't make enough buttonholes to be familiar with my sewing machine's method and have to relearn every time. I don't think it makes pretty ones, and that's one qualification my new one has to have if I'm able to get my dream machine one day. So I was kind of happy about learning to do them by hand, especially when I wanted this gown to be sewn completely by hand.

But after 3 attempts and realizing that my fabric looked like a mouse had gnawed three holes in it, I decided maybe that was not for me. I had starched it until it was like a piece of blue paper, marked it, reinforced it, and overcast the edges. But when it came time to make those little stitches to bind the buttonhole, I just couldn't see what I was doing, and they were all shapes and sizes. I was going to humble myself and post a picture of it, but I can't even find the sad little thing now.

So on to the dreaded machine made ones. They didn't come easily, those little half-inch-at-the-most buttonholes. I practiced until I got the length right and then worked on the thickness of the stitch. Then I had to try to see my markings well enough to know when to stop. I hate to even put in the next picture, but it shows my frustration well.

My thread gave out halfway through one of them, and I had to replace it, I broke one needle, and I came within a hair of snipping a hole in the placket.

BUT. They're in there. They're not perfect, not even very good, and even with tissue paper underneath, the fabric puckered. I think once the button is on top of them, it won't be terrible. That is, if I get the courage to cut the silly little things. They're still sewed together until a calmer day.

The embroidery tracing went very well though, and I can't wait to get started on that.

I even broke down and started my 9-patch-a-day sewalong - only 6 days (squares) behind.

I asked a few people to share with me what they're working on, and I'm still waiting to hear on a few, but Sherry sent these pictures.

Like I've said, all the talent in the family went to Sherry. She's getting ready to teach an Applique Academy in the fall. And I don't even want to know all the other things she's doing.


I know Barbara is working on the 9-patch (or supposed to be) but she's out of town, and Debby and Elise are still teaching themselves to thread a needle. I'll get back with them later - much later.

Emily is too busy hiking and being mistaken for a celebrity at the Twin Peaks pilot screening. At least we feel like that's why they were being videotaped and photographed so much.

Emily, Karen, and Victoria and some real celebrities in the background - somewhere.

I haven't had time to check it closer, but Lydia seems to have a giant new embroidery machine. If you're on Facebook, go "like" her.

I'll have some pretty pictures of some Texas quilts in the next few days.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Late Bloomer

I've complained several times about this vine, that it refuses to bloom. Mike got it for me in Lubbock about 3 years ago after I couldn't stop exclaiming over the fences and telephone poles there being covered in beautiful red flowers. It seemed to be everywhere - kind of like kudzu here. I believe it's called a trumpet vine.

I brought it home and planted it - that was in August of 2008, I guess. It died back over the winter but came back very lush and green in the spring. Every spring. It softens up that corner of the fence where the trash can lives, but it so far has refused to bloom. Just last week I mentioned that it must not like the soil here and kind of stopped having any expectations for it.

So when I was passing by one day, I thought I was seeing things. I was in a hurry so didn't stop to check it out, but when I went back yesterday, this is what I saw. It's on the back side of the fence down low, but now there's hope. I was about to get out the clippers and trim it back, but now I think I'll wait until next month and see if it will perform any more.

Completely unrelated, but...

I found this picture yesterday - somehow. Don't ask me the pathway that gets me to some web sites. This is not a joke but a real pattern. The name of the web site is Museum of Kitschy Stitches from a blog called Stitchy McYarnpants. Once again, I didn't take the time to explore the whole web site, but she has compiled a bunch of old knitting patterns from the 1960s through 1980s, and most of them are painful to look at.

Some of them are almost familiar. One of my regrets in life is getting rid of all my old McCall's Needlework and Crafts magazines. From the time I learned to knit the first year we were married, I would buy this magazine every chance I got. I imagine it wasn't in the budget a lot of times, but I did have a stack of them. I guess I just gradually threw them out through the years when they became out of date.

On the right side of the web site is a menu that I want to explore. The ones I've looked at so far are hideous, but the writer's comments are so funny. It's a "what WERE they thinking" list. I'm almost afraid to mention this because I'm afraid Emily is going to read this. She'll probably fall in love with some of them and get out her knitting needles. Maybe for their Christmas card this year. These are especially scary.

On the nonscary side, here are some more pictures from Mike's visit to Washington for the ones who weren't invited to the private viewing: The Olympic National Park and the Seattle Locks and Botanical Gardens. Well, some of them might be considered a little scary.

Today I plan to catch up on my projects for the week - my way-behind 9-patch block. I'm only 6 days behind. And today is Lesson 2 of Jeannie's daygown sewalong. I'm looking forward to it. I've completed lesson 1 and waiting for buttonholes - which is where I might bog down.

I use a lot of links, I've just noticed. By sending people to interesting web sites, it might distract from the fact that my life is not that fascinating!


Thursday, August 5, 2010

August IS Better

I'm just saying that. The only thing different is my optimism.

The heat is there - and worse, if possible. Heat, humidity, and very little rain. And to top it off, I've had to go out - out of the comfort of air conditioning and pajama-like clothes - every morning this week. Every single morning.

Monday was the dentist. While it was cool in the office and the company pleasant, there are many places I would choose over that. While I still have insurance, we decided to put crowns on a few back molars to try to carry me another 25 years. Now that's optimism! There's no pain or discomfort, just that SOUND and mess and looking at the clock and seeing the time pass that I had rather use otherwise.

Then it was to Belk for Mama to take back the shirts she got last week that didn't work. Also a cool place, but by the time I load the walker into the car twice and take it out twice,I'm starting to feel sweaty and disheveled. It's a pleasure to get home, get a glass of tea, and start to work.

Tuesday was Mama's medication refill day. Wal-Mart. Mike and I have mentioned trying to steer her to a smaller pharmacy, but that's her comfort zone, and she does like that 30 minutes of "looking around." If we go at the right time, it's not bad at all, and the pharmacy people at the Chantilly Wal-Mart are very sweet and helpful. Taking a cue from Kathy and Alan, I rewarded myself with a Subway veggie pizza on the way out. Completely worth wandering around 30 minutes in Wal-Mart. Mama got a ham and cheese sub and acted offended at everything the girl asked her. No lettuce, no tomatoes, no onions, no pickles, no olives. Just ham and cheese and a little mayonnaise. That's it.

Wednesday was grocery day at Publix. That's the only place I concentrate on coupons lately because the drug stores are a little stressful to shop in. I remembered to take my shopping bags with the clips on them for coupons and matched up the coupon and the item as I put them in.

Early on Senior Day is ideal. No one runs over me, and I can stand in the aisle and sift through 50 coupons for that $1 off on Clorox wipes. The penny item that day was a full-sized Publix pizza. This is my lucky week. I'm not sure how it will taste, but it looks good.

I spent $56 and saved $32.

Some of that was food and school supplies for the collection boxes at church.

Today is Mama's doctor's appointment - all the way across town at Baptist South. At least we get free valet parking with the handicapped sign. She kind of enjoys going to the doctor, and I'll get to do a little needlework while I wait if get my act together and organize something to take with me.

Tomorrow is Mama's beauty shop day, and I'll probably get a haircut myself and then try to go to some combination of CVS/Walgreen/Rite-aid. There are a few free things that are hard to turn down.

I can't believe Saturday is totally free!

Other people have done things that I will try to mention tomorrow, but this was my selfish complaining post, and I don't want to mess that up.

Oh, while I'm fussing, what's the deal with my freezer? This is where the ice comes out of the ice maker and goes into the door dispenser.

It did this last week to a lesser extent, and I took everything out and transferred to the other freezer while I let this one completely thaw, thinking there was a stopped-up drain somewhere. Once it was all melted and no drains were stopped up, I turned it back on, and it took maybe 2 days to do this. If I type refrigerator, freezer, ice maker, iced over, maybe someone somewhere will do a Google search and find this and tell me what to to. Otherwise, I guess I'll have to get a repairman. This ice maker has always been over-ambitious, making ice until it starts to run over. I have to remember to turn it off or empty it once a week, or it will start spilling out.