Writing about the day to day mysteries of life.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Fabric and Ned

Bear's Paw was having a sale today, so I went and bought some fabric for different projects coming up.  I bought two patterns and a book also.  I took pictures of my last two fabric purchases, including Houston.  They had the buttons like the one I lost in Houston, I did not buy another one.  They have a lot of projects involving wool felt.  I think wool felt projects are homey.  Speaking of wool, where is Chummi Bear???

Tuesday I made a quilt titled "Doggy Heaven", lots of balls, chowchows, sun, grass and water.   It is very hard to get the photos to line up, on top of them not being great, really frustrates me. 

We are dog sitting Sarah, Hoover's sister.  No matter how much I watch out, she always manages to roll in deer poo.  Today was mainly mud, fortunately, but she stinks! 

Ned is the only one home right now and he has been watching a tv show about finding/tracking different creatures around the world.  Coming down the stairs I have discovered a trail of M&M's evenly spaced about every 4 feet.  Now the only thing he is going to catch is a grumpy mom or a stinky labrador.  Of course, he has no idea how they got there.  Ned in general is a strewer.   This room he  has strewn nerf darts.  In the kitchen he has strewn a science project involving corks, matches and water.  The living room has had a bomb detonated in it, that is the only way to explain the mess.  He is now upstairs making "things" out of duct tape, little pieces are strewn everywhere.  He leaves a trail that is easy to track.  I am really glad he entertains himself, but he is bottled chaos (pronounced chowse).

Happy New Year!  May the year be filled with family, friends, good books, beautiful fabrics, yummy food and good health.

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Fine Furry Friend

April 1996-December 2010
This morning I took Riley to the vet to be be put to sleep.  It was incredibly heartbreaking.  To make matters worse,  he was having a good day - up without help and eating.  He received the "the needle of oblivion" and even though it was the right thing to do, I feel terrible.  I miss him.  I hope he is chasing tennis balls in a big warm field with his best dog friend Bo.

I know Riley loved me, but this poem is good. I hope I post it correctly. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hvqipvqn8zE&feature=player_detailpage

The kids and I went to a movie that was disappointing.  Gulliver's Travels was not good and I had hoped it would be.  The same old Jack Black role and formulaic plot.  The kids liked it at least. 

I am reading "the Historian", which is good.  It has been on my list and Maddy gave me a copy for Christmas.  After I finish that I will read "Copper Sun" by Sharon M. Draper.   The seventh grade will be starting a unit on slavery and that is the reading.  It won the Coretta Scott  King Award and is supposed to be quite intense.  I want to be able to discuss it with Ellen, she is squeamish.   

I am going up to my sewing room to putter and think about cute Riley.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


There are many events that signal the start of the Christmas season, but here is the list of my favorite happenings.

1. Advent calendars and books.  The tree going up.
2. The Redeemer Pageant.  I love watching the kids sing the carols and do the nativity play.  I have been to probably 10-12 of them.
3. The McDonogh lower school's Peace & Light choral concert.  This was my 10th performance to attend.  It drags on a bit sometimes, but the songs are beautiful.  The kids are all in their dress clothes and look so happy.   This year's stage was especially pretty.  I should have taken a picture.
4. The kids and I have a Christmas Eve party every year.  It is always fun!  I always have a big ham, it is a big hit.  We then use the ham for Christmas morning to have Eggs Goldenrod.  I hide the pickle ornament and the finder gets a present.  We generally have approx. 20 kids running around.  An elf brings each of them a present.  It ends with the "Night Before Christmas" being read and reindeer food being tossed out in the driveway. 

This year I am making ice lanterns again.  Last year I wasn't organized.  The year before was a bust, because we had a heat wave and wind.  This year will be my year.  It sounds fancy, but I just make ice in containers and put a votive inside.  Teri said bundt pans, because the votives sit lower in the center.

My December quilt has been up, I just haven't posted a picture. It is felt this time, I used the leftovers from a preschool project.  I think I am going to finally buy a good camera, every picture I add stinks.  This was the last quilt of 2010!

The kids and I went to the school holiday bazaar.  I gave each of the wild ones $10 to spend as they wanted, Mom did no censoring.  It is interesting to see what they do with it.  Ian did the games.  Ellen bought a bracelet.  Ned bought candy, bake sale goodies and pop.  He had a spectacular melt-down at the end of the day and put himself to bed at 4:30. 

The Art of Racing in the Rain: A NovelLast night I finished a good book.  I had seen it in the bookstore for the last couple years, but never picked it up.  I thought it was going to be another "Marley and Me", a cute but trite, smarmy book. My friend told me I should read "The Art of Racing in the Rain"  and it was excellent.  It is the story of a family told from the dog's perspective.  The main character is from Spangle, WA.  My dad's family is from Spangle.  When we go to Washington we stay in Spangle.  The story really takes in Seattle, but Spangle is mentioned several times.  The book has some dark turns, but is written well.  I enjoyed it very much. I am now reading "A Mennonite in a Little Black Dress".  It is a memoir and actually "laugh-out-loud" funny.  I actually despise saying LOL, next time I will use a better adjective.  Lately, books say they are funny, but I don't really find myself laughing.  This book is making me laugh. I never know if memoirs really are true, they keep having their veracity questioned.  The last memoir I read was excellent, but made me sad that it was true.    The Glass Castle: A Memoir

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Trails and Trials

One evening this week I did not do any inquiry of what homework Ellen might have.  It is a long drawn out process and sometimes I am just too tired.  The conversations go something like this.
Me, do you  have homework?
Ellen, yes.
Me, what is it?
Ellen, I don't know.
Me, how can you not know?
Ellen, I wrote it down, but didn't look at it.
Me, was it something you discussed in class.
Ellen, yes.
Me, so what did you talk about in class.
Ellen, I don't know.

Tuesday I did not ask, but Wednesday morning I asked if it was completed.
Ellen, yes.
Me, what was it.
Ellen, english.
Me, what did you have to do?
Ellen, research.
Me (with ever mounting irritation), research on WHAT?
Ellen, it was snopes, no slopes, no, the scopes monkey trail!
Me, the scopes monkey trail?  How did that go for you?
Ellen, there was nothing on the internet about it.
Me, so what was it about?
Ellen (with a long pause), land?
Me, you didn't really do your homework did you?  The reason you couldn't find anything is because it is the Scopes Monkey TRIAL not TRAIL.

Ellen was saved by the arrival of the school bus.  I having been laughing over it for days, even if it exasperating.

She also told me she swam three heaps in her swim meet. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Dirigible, an Old Dog and Many Small Messes

On Thursday mornings I have early morning carpool duty, up until today I was fine.  Today I could not get warm, so I decided to buy a new coat.  Now don't get me wrong, it isn't like I don't buy new things, I just usually spontaneously buy things.  I went to the mall with a purpose, I wanted a big, fat, puffy floor length, wrapped in a black cocoon coat - Neo on steroids.   I tried them on and on and on and on, but I couldn't purchase one.  I felt like a dirigible.  I did buy a short puffy coat, so I am 1/2 a dirigible - a dirg. Teri will appreciate the fact I have been wearing a coat from 1989 that was bought at the Bon Marche.

It is so cold and poor old Riley is failing.  I have to open and close the door as he confusedly goes in and out.  I have to help him stand up, so I wish he would lounge around.  He has been having accidents and is so thin and bony.  I told the kids to find a big spot in their hearts to hold him in case I have to take him to the vet while they are at school.  I am not ready for him to be gone, so I will keep limping him along.  He and I have been through many things together.

Every room in the house houses a mess.  The dining room table is filled with presents to be organized, mailed or delivered.  The kids each have a charity family to contribute to, so we are working on that.  The living room is partially decorated and needs to have the decoration boxes put away.  The computer room is filled with unfolded laundry - typical actually.  My sewing room and kitchen counters are filled with Christmas craft stuff from the preschool.  I have been cutting out trees with my little die cut machine, nothing major I have just strewn stuff everywhere.  I got excited and used my beadazzler - whoohoo. 

Against All Things Ending (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book 3)I have been reading the most boring book ever.  Remember when I told myself that I didn't have to finish books?  I can't seem to listen.  This book will go onto the Read and Vomit list.  It is so bad I can't even remember the name.  It is something with the word "ending", which made me think the series was ending.  One more book comes out next year, I know I am weak and will slog through that one as well.  Stephen Donaldson, the author, uses the word puissant at least once a page in every one of his books. 

Ian and I are coming down with colds and feel like crud.  It will be an early evening hopefully. 

I have the idea for my December quilt, the final episode of 2010.  I have made 39 Christmas trees - actually 40, with home and school craft projects.  That was the hint, pretty subtle huh!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fun and Times

Fun times had by all for the last five days.  

Wednesday was ice skating - only one injury.
Thursday was Thanksgiving down at Maddy and Campbell's house.  I don't know what the final count was, but somewhere around 24-28 people.  Excellent food and my contribution was the usual sweet potatoes extraordinaire and chocolate pecan pie fantastic.  Ta-da on my November quilt.

Friday the kids and I went with family to the Air and Space Museum.  We went to the big museum out at Dulles airport.  It is wonderful place to spend the day.  I know nothing about airpplanes, but love the colors, shapes and histories. We saw a great experiment showing the pressure of air.  I did not know that astronauts grow three inches in space and then shrink back.  They often have back problems the rest or their lives, it is also why astronauts can't do too many missions. 

I took a picture of different satellites that have orbited, they were so colorful.  Too bad the picture doesn't show the vivid colors, especially the copper.

"A Christmas Carol" was awesome. The ghost of Christmas future was quite scary- great set and costumes.  At intermission Ellen announced (loudly of course), "this isn't like the Muppets."  We got to meet Scrooge after the show.

Saturday we hung out with family, until they all started home.  We headed back to Baltimore and went to Kenilworth for trains and pizza with Uncle Tim.  Each year those trains get more elaborate, more and more buttons to push.

Sunday we met a friend for coffee and then went to the Walters Museum to see the Walter Wick exhibit.  Walter Wick makes the "I Spy" books.  The exhibit showed how he makes them.  I can't even begin to understand how he creates the allusions, my brain does not work that way.   This is the actual model for one of the books, Puss in Boots is really only a few feet from the castle.  It is a wonderful study of scale.  The exhibit also showed some science photos he took, we are going to try this experiment. If you go slowly, a pin will float on the surface of water.

We also went and looked at the knights, the hall of wonders and the mummies.  Down in the basement the kids made board games.  This was a huge hit, I was really surprised how many age groups loved this activity.  Ned made all these little airplanes to go with his game.
Neddy has had a friend over, it has been a lovely Thanksgiving holiday.  I am off to build a fire in the fireplace and watch movies.  Ellen just informed me the Muppet's Christmas Carol is on - whoohoo!

I have one last picture to add.  I finished the white baby quilt, it is not easy to see.  It turned out great and was a nice challenge for me.  I prefer working with color.  Ian's comment was, "maybe next time they could afford to buy fabric with a color."  It is a dandelion blowing in the wind.

A secret to building a good fire.....open the flue.  Good grief!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


PHEW to the following:

One mouse caught by the kitten.
Leaves blown into the woods.
White quilt almost finished, rounding final corner on the binding.
November quilt completed and I think it might be my favorite.  I am too lazy to look for the phone and cord - picture to follow.
Dr. Fetting's quilt just needs the binding stitched down.
Bathrooms clean. Laundry clean.  Kid's rooms clean.  Catbox clean.
A perfect fire in the fireplace and all is quiet.  Ellen is watching tv and the boys are playing bandits.  It is good to have dress-ups.
New dog beds, disgusting old ones thrown away.
It is almost bedtime, I am worn out.  I did a lot this weekend.
It is almost peppermint joejoe time,  I have been waiting all year.  Santa I have been good.
No chemo for the holidays.
The Harry Potter movie was not a let down.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Big Eggplants and Richard Simmons

I am back on this big fruit/vegetable kick.  I ordered two eggplants from Peapod thinking they would be normal sized.  I have this great recipe for cream of eggplant soup.  This is what arrived.....

I ran a quick errand the other night to Joanne's and because I had the boys along it took forever.  They were complaining, fussing and whacking each other with rolls of wrapping paper.  It was 8:00 on a Tuesday evening and twenty people were at the cutting counter, it was painful.  We get up to the check out counter and the clerk was Richard Simmons, total doppelganger.  He was even wearing a headband.  Of course he thinks I want to chat, moms shopping with small boys always want to chat.  He says, "that blond-haired boy could be famous with that hair.  He could be in "Children of the Corn"." Ewww, I hate scary movies.  I think I was doing my blank stare, because then he elaborates, "the original movie, not the remake from a couple of years ago."   That made all the difference.  I really think I need to start doing internet shopping!

I have the top pieced for the raven quilt and I do have the little triangles that I wanted.  I was so surprised when they appeared, I didn't goof it up!  Today I am working on a baby quilt for a co-workers grandbaby.  It is all white and so far going smoothly.  I had to lock the kitten out of the room to lay it out.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Famous People and My Disintegration Project

Houston was a gigantic success, except I really needed to have been there one more day.  I just wasn't ready to leave, I didn't get to see everything.  I did not buy many things, but what I bought was very cool.  I bought fusible, metallic bias tape; a beadazzler type thing; a hand-marbled scarf and a tiny bit of fabric.  I arrived late Thursday evening to a very nice hotel, but with only a smoking room - truly gross.  They moved us the next morning fortunately. Friday morning Teri and I took a silk collage class.  It was a three hour class, but really needed to be longer.  I enjoyed it.  I worked on the quilt today in the oncology office.
We met up with my friend Amanda at lunch time and then wandered around the quilt exhibition hall.  The special exhibit was Baltimore Album quilts.  If you are not familiar with these quilts look them up on the internet.  The quilts take years to make and are all done by hand - piecing and quilting.  The other exhibits were diverse, technical and flawless.  It is a real coup to get a quilt in this show.   After viewing the quilts, Teri and I went to the Houston Opera house to see "Madame Butterfly".  I don't really like opera, possibly it would help if I knew anything about it.  I find the constant singing wearying.  The set and costumes were beautiful, it had a revolving stage.  I just couldn't get past a story of a Japanese woman and American man being sung all in Italian.  It was a nice experience though.

Saturday we met Cheryl and Amanda for breakfast and then went over to see all the vendors.  We made pillowcases in the charity section and viewed more quilts.  Teri and I happened to be be on hand for Kafe Facett's talk on his quilts.  He is a famous designer and can also be looked up on the internet.  For quilters it is like meeting Elvis.  The other famous person we saw was my friend Cheryl, she got to demo her light up quilts.  She is a clever, talented artist.  Each of the quilts has LED lights.  I then went to dinner at my friend Mari and Shawn's house.  They have a beautiful home in the suburbs of Houston.  Their house was warm, inviting and lovely.  I found out that Houston has NO zoning laws, so you can build a gas station next to a mansion.  They have moved into a planned community, that way they can't have that happen.  It is always nice to see college friends.

I left early Sunday morning.  It was too short of a time to spend with Teri and see all that needed to be seen.

I have added a pictures of my disintegration artwork.   The leaves here are almost finished, but the Crepe Myrtle is always the last to turn.  The project on the right, that is hard to see, fell on the ground and I had to rehang it.  It got so heavy from the rains.

We have been making pumpkin pies quite a bit, yummy for breakfast.  My grandma would always take the extra crust and make little cinnamon rolls.  I like making them for the kids, it reminds me of grandma.  She also gave me a love of sugar cookies, fudge and fried egg sandwiches.  We lived with my grandma most of my life until I was 21. I miss her.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Candy and Cat Sweaters

Halloween time around here was busy.  We trickortreated with friends not far from here and came home with the following:

Ned- 8.5lbs of candy, the grim reaper
Ian - 8 lbs of candy, the grim reaper
Ellen - 8lbs of candy, glam witch

We have a whole lot of candy, coincidentally the kids had dentist appointments last night.  I am still trying to recover from a root canowwww!  I may have to go back in, it is feeling only incrementally better. 

The rest of the post is somewhat miscellaneous that starts with a cat sweater.  Teri's enormous cat has a nervous disorder and is licking off her fur.  Since they live in AK and the pet sweater selection is slim, I told her I would look around here.  Last week at PetSmart I was browsing the dog sweaters, now this is not my kind of aisle.  I think dog sweaters, dog's in sweaters, owners who buy sweaters and dog sweater designers are ridiculous, what a waste of money.  I am in the aisle with surprising to me, a lot of other shoppers.  I kept saying excuse me to this woman standing in the middle of the aisle and she wouldn't move.  I tried to go around her and bumped her foot.  She turns around and starts glaring at me, she then starts doing mad sign language.  Why am I the only person to have a mad, silent altercation with a deaf woman in the dog sweater aisle?  Big dogs rule!  p.s. no dog sweater for a cat was purchased.

We had a stray dog escapade Sunday into Monday.  It all ended well, but the cats haven't entirely recovered.  We found a beagle mix in the yard with a shock collar, she had obviously run through it.  She went trickortreating with us.  She was very sweet, but I was glad when we found her owner.  She (no lie, I have 3 witnesses) could jump straight up onto the counter.  It was amazing and also impossible to corral her anywhere.  She had quite a howl as well.  We discovered on her inside leg a MDSPCA #, so we returned her. 

Ellen and I have spent quite a bit of time together completing her stream study.  I did not do it for her, but kept her on task.  We had a number of setbacks, but it has been emailed to her teacher.    She had a sentence that read, "I saw lots of squirrels and squirrels are stupid."  Observation and research does not come naturally to her.  I don't even want to think about what the next project will be.

The first of November is turkey time.  I had the turkey on the table for two minutes before the kitten started chewing on it.   Christmas decorations might be tricky this year.  This is a tradition my 90 year old neighbor started for us 9 years ago.  The kids were so happy to see it. 

I voted today and once again witnessed the "old lady phenomena", let me know if this is unique to my area.  The polling center has a huge line and these old ladies walk to the front of the line and announce "I can't sit down." They would just walk up and cut in front of the first person, even if that person was talking to the poll official.  They failed to notice that no one was sitting down, we were all "standing" in line.   People around me were cracking jokes about it.  I was bummed, because the Girl Scouts had run out of Thin Mints. 

Teri and I made a quilt for my new nephew.  Now new means he was born in July, we are only 6 months behind.  I say we but really mean me.  Teri and I sent it back and forth, I've had it since Sept.  After I completed it, it sat on the dining room table for 2 weeks and then sat in my car for another 2 weeks.  It is really cute and finally on the way!

I want to close with a thank you to October, I am ahead on the oil budget.  The mild weather was greatly appreciated, today it has been quite cold in the house.

I also want to thank whatever stars aligned this evening and no one has homework!!  One great phrase, "Mom, I have no homework!"  Too bad we are racing out the door to lacrosse.

Thursday I head to Houston for the quilt show - whoohoo!  Pictures and post to follow!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Finished the one and only squirrel quilt.
Finished Round 3 of the vaccine trial.
Finished fighting a cold and just gave in.
Finished thinking I need to read a book to the end, just because I started it.  I am tired of reading Ayelet Waldman's whining.
Finished my October quilt.
Finished the laundry.
Finished uploading some new music, new to me anyway. 
Finished being licked to absolute distraction by the kitten, damn she just started again.
Last weekend Ned and I hung out together, the big kids had other activities.  Ned wanted to go down to Ft. McHenry.  He ran everywhere, helped unfurl the big flag, climbed trees, ate a picnic lunch, watched the park police ticket a bicyclist, and just reveled in having undivided attention.  A nice aspect of the east coast is having all the historical sites to visit.

This flag is 30x42 and was the size flown the day after the British gave up on taking the city of Baltimore.  It was the battle of 1812 and the motivation for our national anthem.  The winds have to be greater than 5 knots and less than 12 to fly it.  It takes 3-5 park rangers to hoist it up.  They need a new flag every couple of years.  The original flag was wool and weighed 50 lbs.  It is at the American History Museum of the Smithsonian.  The original flag was made by Mary Pickersgill.  I have been to the fort one time when the big flag was flying.   The other days they fly a flag half the size. 

If weather cooperates and no one is sick we will go down to the mall next Saturday or Sunday.  Lockheed is sponsoring a weekend of science, there will be a thousand science exhibits set up.  I think that is what Maddy told me, she will be working in a portable planetarium. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bag Lady Mom

There may have been something to our parents having us at a young age.  When we reached the teen-aged years our parents weren't older than dirt.  Parents were in their young 30's and had the potential to be cool.  I guess quite truthfully, as much as it hurts, I do not have that potential.  I am old, frumpy, grumpy (I sound like a dwarf) and extremely embarassing.  This week, I was asked not to go to a game, because I cheer too loudly.  I could change this behavior, but why go to a game if you aren't going to cheer?  I try to cheer generically - GO ORANGE! I am not even that loud, half my life is spent repeating myself since no one hears me the first time.  My cheering makes my children cringe in shame.

Tonight Ian had an indoor lacrosse game, yes I was cheering.   May I point out there is always a parent yelling AT their child.  I am criticized and I am yelling FOR my child.  After we got home,  I realized that I probably really was an embarassment.   I have a cold, so look stuffy.  I also got a massage, so the masseuse had run her hands through my hair and massaged my face.  After the massage I put my hair in a ponytail and forgot about it.  I looked in the mirror for the first time since 7:30a.m and I pretty much look like a bag lady.  Then, Ian told me he doesn't want me to sniff around him, I make a scary face.  With the bag lady hair and the scary cold sniffing I feel like a million pesos.  I have been sniffing this way for 45 years and presumably look frightening.

Add to this my own adult embarassing moments and my self-esteem is not so high.  I helped out at the school doing an art project.  We were stacking tiles in piles of 10.  One of the other moms asks me how many tiles we had made.  I count the number of piles.  I know each pile has ten.   I can't do the math.  I stand and smile.  She asks me again how many are on the table, I still can't do the math.  I stand at the table and smile like an idiot.  I didn't want to say to a room full of strangers that I had a brain tumor and can't do math, way to be a buzz-kill.  Instead I just look like a moron.   I guess not only do I look like a dork, but I look like a dork. 

I really do find the humor in things and can make a joke, but it does make me feel bad when I am letting my kids down. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Y-seams and Chaos

Over five years ago I bought a quilt pattern and fabric in Alaska. The quilt is to look like a blanket that the local Raven Clan wears. Teri even sent me a bag of bone buttons - very cool!   It has been sitting and sitting, partly because I know it has Y-seams.  The quilt has four of them.  The pattern makes me mad, the artist didn't need to do it that way.  I have completed two Y's, with a lot of teeth gnashing, swearing, seam ripping and acceptance that seams won't match.  I do not like the quilt at this point!  I also very stupidly did not buy matching flannel for the back.  The only bright side is the quilt show in Houston will probably have a vendor with a fabric match.  I also sewed it incorrectly and it won't look like this.  What I like is the free-floating small triangles - mine doesn't have that. ARGHH!!

This little bit of sewing chaos leads into Ian's big chaos.  The big guy is really a literal thinker, exasperatingly so! Last Wednesday he had a freak-out meltdown over the word CHAOS.  He is shouting and waving wildly all because the word is not pronounced CHOWSE - the way it is spelled.  Ian's class is studying greek mythology, so they have been reading about CHOWSE quite a bit.   I had a "read and vomit" book named "Chaos" on the counter and he just fell apart over the "stupidest word ever."  Two years ago we had this same episode over the word aisle.   I keep telling Ian to memorize the word and not think about it. 

This last part is misc. stuff.

I read in a Woman's Day magazine that you should vacuum at least twice a month.  Whoohoo, that makes me a great housekeeper!

Riley is getting old, frail, deaf and blind.  Ned said, "he can't see, he can't hear, but he can still feel."   Cute Neddy.

Kittens are crazy!  It is amazing how one tiny little creature can knock over such big things. 

The kids emphatically did not want me to make squirrels next year as a quilt project.  Who knew they would react so strongly?  They want me to continue with a monthly fun reminder, maybe next year everything fun will remind me of squirrels.  I am almost finished with the one squirrel quilt I have made.  I think it is quite adorable and will be a Christmas door hanging.

The keyless remote has stopped working on the big green behemoth.  The key is also not working on my side.  I have to lock and unlock the car door from the passenger side.  I am off to get it fixed tomorrow, exactly how I wanted to spend my afternoon.

I picked up my winter coat that had been at the dry cleaner since March.  It took me awhile to figure out why it wasn't in the closet.  At least it is clean!!

I got a haircut today and it looks nice.  This is the first time EVER that a hairdresser put absolutely NO products in my hair.  No mousse, no gel, no hairspray!  I can't get my hair out of my face, it is making me nutso!

Fall is really here.  I love fall, but am not ready yet.  Turning the calendar to October was sad, another year winding down.  Don't get me wrong, I am so glad to be here!  I want time to slow down a bit. 

When your retreat roommate announces, "oh my, I am getting flatulent!" is never a good thing.  I can honestly say I have probably never uttered that phrase before.  Not because I don't have gas, but have never said it quite like that.  I might have walked outside and not really said anything. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Where is Chummi Bear and Squirrels

First off, I want to say that birds do eat the stink bugs.  Yesterday a flock of birds flew in and went nutso eating all of the bugs.  It was weird!  A million stink bugs are still around.

Ian wants to know where Chummi Bear is, does anyone know what he is up to?  He seems to be lost somewhere in the pacific northwest.  Hey Chumster keep us posted.

My 2011 monthly quilt project is going to be squirrels.  I really enjoyed doing monthly small quilts, but don't want to do events again.  I got a cute pattern of a squirrel and will vary it every month.  Would anyone else like to join me? I will send you the pattern, the rest is up to you.  I may make a sample to show off.  This year I have not been buying fabric.  I have done existing projects or used scraps, but for "Squirrels Gone Crazy" I am going to buy some fabric in Houston!  I NEED NEW FABRIC!  I am so excited for Houston.  Teri is going to go also - whoohoo.  I will meet up with Cheryl and hang with my quilting pal, Amanda.  Anyone else going? 

I am off to pick Ellen up, she has been camping with the 7th grade for the last two days.  I bet I will have an exhausted and cranky child.  I am sure they had a great time!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Asking the Right Questions

I am going to go talk about misunderstandings on a small scale, nothing like religion or poliitcs.  I am talking about the day to day misunderstandings that make life confusing and that ALL people experience.  This makes it easier than assuming it is only me that misunderstands all of the time.  Maybe it is working in a preschool or having three crazy kids, but the answer you get doesn't always answer the question you are asking.  For example, "did you change your underwear?" is not the same question as "did you change your underwear today?"   Or another example, "did you read?" is not the same as "did you read your assigned book." Even another example, "did you throw away your gum?" is not the same as "did you throw away your gum in the trashcan?"  I think asking the right (unless it is left) or correct question is not easy.

At the grocery store I witnessed the "Right Question Phenomenon" in the parking lot.  I parked by a small sedan with it's hood open.  Sitting in the car were two women, an older one and a younger one.  Parked in front of them was an enormous F17000+6 Ford pick up.  The thing was big enough to haul a movie theater.  I hopped out and asked the older woman if they needed a jump.  She said they were waiting for roadside assistance.  I asked again if she needed a jump.  She said yes, but didn't know how to do it.   She had jumper cables, but didn't know how to use them.  I told her I would give her a jump, no big deal.  I walked over to the monster truck guy to ask him if he would mind moving.  This tiny little man hopped out and snippily informed me, "they told me they needed roadside assistance, I asked if they needed help!"  He proceeded to get their car started in two minutes.  I think he wasn't specific enough in his question and they weren't specific enough in their answer. 

I did tell the younger woman to come out of the car with her grandma to learn how to use the jumper cables.  It isn't hard and everyone should be able do it.  

We are having a mass invasion of those brown stink bugs. They are everywhere. We have never had them like this - gross.  No birds seem to be eating them, they must taste like ear wax.   One of the window screens reminds me of an aquarium, the kitten is riveted to it. I wonder if a praying mantis would eat them?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Gooks Balore

I haven't posted a book entry in awhile and it isn't because I haven't been reading.  I have been reading a lot actually - mucho time in waiting rooms.   I read two fabulous books this summer and so keep thinking about them in my head.  The first book was "Cutting for Stone", I was amazed by this book.  I was expecting depressing, because it is about Indian characters doing missionary work in Ethiopia.  A beautiful book.  It was sad definitely, but not oppressively so.  I really suggest this book, it brings up many issues of kindness, faith, love, compassion, care for the sick, human frailty and strength.  I will go so far as to say this is one of the best books I have ever read.

The second book banging around in my brain is "Handling Sin" by Michael Malone.  My friend, Amanda, gave it to me.  I was daunted by the 800 pages, but got sucked in quickly.  It is a series of events that happens to the most boring, banal, set-in-his-ways, small town guy.  He is basically sent on a scavenger hunt by his dying father, it is a comedic genius of a plot.  I won't and can't even tell you all the situations that befall.   I would like to hear how the author kept it all straight.  The beauty of it is the surrender to faith and family, even in a cruel, unpredictable, illogical world.  The author is southern through and through and really turns a phrase. This is an excellent read.

I have the following on my nightstand:

The Lost Book Series 1-4, Ted Decker
Silo, Leif Peterson
Missing, Leif Peterson
Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace, Ayelet Waldman

Ellen is reading and loving the "Red Pyramid".
Ian is reading and loving the "Lightning Thief".

A high-five to Rick Riordan for both these series!

Ned was being bothered by Ian, that sibling thing.  Something along the lines of  "you can't read, you aren't really reading, tell me what that word is, etc..."  Ned with quiet dignity tells him, "I am reading the pictures."  Ned was "reading" his favorite book "Nubs".  Yes, Ned could almost read the book word for word from memory.  Learning to read has many levels!  p.s  Ned can read, just chooses not to unless under duress.  "Nubs" is a very cute book!

Crazy People and a Cat Quilt

Yesterday, I went to BJ's.  I was going to label BJ's as my heading, but that sounded too racy. As I was standing in line with the crazy people, I wondered why am I here.  Why did I do all this for pretzels?  I of course got all my stuff loaded on the conveyor when the checker had to dash off for a price check.  A price check in a warehouse takes forever.  I didn't realize a woman was standing behind me until the checker told her he was closed.  She started yelling that she had been waiting forever and had been in this line way too long.  Now the african-american woman in front of me starts yelling that she just lined up and hadn't been there long at all.  The woman behind me yells really loudly, "I ain't talking to your crazy ass!" Oh man, the fur is flying and there I am standing in the middle.  I am trying to look inconspicuous, when the woman in front says, "if anyone should be complaining it is this woman and she ain't saying anything" and she points to me.  OH, I so don't want to be involved.  I shuffle, nervously laugh and hope for a hole to swallow me.  I probably looked mentally deficient.  The woman behind me finally moves off with a lot of muttering and grumbling, but the women in front don't let it go.  They are "talking under their breath" loud enough for every other aisle to hear.  The best line was, "she over there with a cart full of shit, talking trash."  I have to look up to see what she is buying - toilet paper.  I get the giggles.  The sentence could just have easily been "she over there with a cart full of trash, talking shit." T  Do the rest of you have these "crazy ass" situations?

I got inspired to do my September quilt.  It turned out fabuloso and the front of the refrigerator is filling up. 
Tiny Cat is doing well, she just spent the last 45 minutes chasing her tail. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Quilts and Cookies

I put the finishing stitches on my August quilt, yes I know it is September.  I had the idea in August, but did not get it done.  I finished it up at chemo, my friend Eileen gave me suggestions.  It is cute.

I finally got two quilts mailed off to the longarm quilter who lives in College Place, WA.  She won't be able to work on them for a couple of weeks.  She is busy with the Walla Walla Quilt Fest, so if in that area you should go.  I don't need my quilts until our quilt guild show in March.  I also got the binding attached to two quilts, I am hoping to finish them on my fly fishing weekend.  We will be sitting around in the evenings and the quilts will be the perfect projects.  I have one more to bind, it would be crazy if I got that one finished also.  I haven't gotten very far working on UFO's this year.  I think I may finish "Raven's Tale", but that is it.  I also set a goal (as did my friend Amanda) that we would buy no new fabric until Houston.  I can't wait to see all the vendor boothes-whoohoo!!

Last night Ellen got home from school and asked if we could make cookies.  I told her no, because of chemo/vaccine fatigue.  She tells me that her writing assignment is to do something she has always wanted to do and never done before and then write about it.  She wants to make cookies???  As you all know I love cookies, we make cookies all the time.  Maybe when she is standing there helping, in her head she is doing something else.  I look like the worst kinda mom, the kinda mom that never makes things with their kids.  I have many failings, but that is not one of them.  I asked what the other kids were doing, thinking they might be backpacking, mountain climbing, feeding the homeless.  Her best friend has always wanted to make pizza.  I guess to a twelve year old, the little things really are the big things.

Ian comes in an hour later and says, "mom, you have to make cookies.  I am going to raise money to build a skate park at school and we are going to sell your cookies!"  After dinner I heard Ian on the phone telling his friend that he was going to buy plywood and spray paint first, with the money from the cookies.  How many cookies would Ian have to sell to raise enough for a skate park?  Ian doesn't even do skateboard. Because I am right on top of this, I am lying on the couch blogging about cookies instead of making cookies.   I do wish I had a cookie!
cookie from farmer's market in Madison, WI

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Misc. Merriment

Ned got off the bus yesterday and shouted, "I was so good at school today that my teacher gave me two days off."  I asked him if he gets Saturday and Sunday off and he so excitedly shouted, YES!"  Today we are off to McDonogh to do some fishing, check out the secret stream and pick some tomatoes.  It is a perfect fall day.

Ned got a tent for his birthday and so last night we slept in the tent.  Ned made it until 9:30 and then got so scared he had to come in.  Ellen flat out refused to join us in the tent.  Ian was so tired he was sound asleep at 9:30.  So, I took an Ambien and crashed in the tent.  Besides a backache this morning it was sort of a non-event.  It was a great night to be in the tent, the weather was cool and dry. 

I got Ellen a cell phone last weekend.  According to Ellen she was the LAST kid in middle school to get a phone.  She is generally accurate  on personal slights and injustices, so I will take her word for it.  Ellen couldn't figure out how to change the ringtone, so took out the batteries and sim card.  I was able to get the phone fixed, but the phone has been grounded until she can make better choices -- like asking for assistance first.   If it all wasn't so aggravating, I would be laughing.  

The ONE day before all that happened, Ned came in to tattle that Ellen was texting while riding her bike.  She told me, "but I pulled over to the side of the path."  I guess PSA's really do make a difference.

Thursday night Ian was tired and grumpy, he snapped at Ned to be quiet.  He did this while Ned was in the bathtub. He also went in and flipped off the light, so of course I was summoned by the shrieking.  I got Ned out and into bed and he told me how scary that was because, "a Lego shark was in there with him." 

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Cherry On Top

I was given this bloggy award by Cheryl of Muppin.com!  Thank you Cheryl!  The word "bloggy" does make me cringe though.

1. Answer this question: If you had the chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be? 

I would change getting a breast cancer diagnosis, no one should hear that they have cancer.  So many things in life each individual can take responsibility for, but not cancer.  I can apologize for bad behavior, decisions, mistakes, lapses in judgments, but cancer hits indiscriminately and without reason. 

2. Secondly, pick 6 people and give them this award. Make sure to inform the person that they have gotten this award!

1. Cheryl Sleboda at http://blog.muppin.com for all her creative endeavors.  She is always busy doing something creative.  She has great tutorials, ideas and cheerful thoughts.  She sent me the award, but I would have her on my list.

2.  Chris from  http://chris-alt-del.blogspot.com writes about his Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  I have never met him, he is a guy from Detroit.   He doesn't just write about his cancer, but how he lives his life around it.  It is interesting for me to see other cancer survivors just getting on with things; not glossing over pain; being who they are with a diabolic illness.  He always has a great playlist as well.

3. Allie from http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com is awesome to read, her dialogue and drawings are hysterical!!  I laugh out loud over the drawings and situations.  Ian was hysterical over the cartoon about bike riding.

4. Teri from http://yetiak.blogspot.com when she posts has insightful tidbits.  She is my sister, lives in Alaska and just has a different way of thinking.  It is hard to predict what she is thinking.  Teri is a much nicer person than I am, she isn't always having evil thoughts.

5. Heather and Megan from http://quiltstory.blogspot.com are two sisters that post quilts and the corresponding stories.  It is a fun, interesting and great way to see a variety of quilts from all over.  When I get brave enough and can figure out all the technical instructions, I want to post my breast cancer quilt.

6. Nannette from http://nanettesthoughtfulspot.blogspot.com  writes about her life in Montana.  She is my cousin and lives a life so different from my own.  She home schools, gardens, hikes and lives an extreme un-urban life.  Us city-dwellers think of the "country life" as idyllic, but is she honest about her triumphs and struggles.  Life has ups and downs no matter where you live.

3. Be sure to thank the person who gave you the award.  
Thank you Cheryl for thinking of me.  See you in Houston. 

This was fun! 


Sunday, September 5, 2010

All Good and No Bad

Last post was about things we didn't want.  This post is about the things that we have wanted or that were good. I have entered them in no particular order.

A labrador pillow from my friend Carly.
Our new cat, Minnow.  Shhh, the kids will meet her tonight!
Ian's poison ivy is healing.
The Maryland State Fair (excluding the barfing).
A nice quilting day yesterday with my friend Amanda.
A smooth start to the school year.
I have read some great books in the last two weeks, the "Hunger Games" series and "handling Sin" by Michael Malone.  I had a great summer of reading!
Almost finished with my August quilt, I am proud of myself for consistently following through on the project.  I haven't had my usual project ADD.

September is here and in full swing and I wasn't finished with August yet.  It is stunningly beautiful weather this weekend, but feels like fall.  It feels like the kind of day to buy a mum and a pumpkin.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Things I don't Want That We Have Had

1. The last day of summer.
2. Ian to have ringworm.
3. Ian to have GIANT blisters from poison ivy.  I took him to the Dr. and he "popped" them.  Internet says to never pop them - arghh!!
4. A mosquito in my bedroom.
5. Foot scrubbing, because boy's feet were black.  Eewwwy gross!
6.  Two revolting slugs mating on the house.
7.  Repeated projectile vomit from the friend we took to the State Fair.
8.  Ian to have had a "foreign object" removed from his foot.
9. Having drinks with a guy and having him discuss his colonoscopy.

I have repeated this many times, probably ad nauseum, but someone told me "if you go from the premise that children are gross, then you can live easier."   I totally agree, but sometimes it just gangs up on you.  A whole lot of yuck lately!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

No Blogging


Friday, August 20, 2010

Quilting Helpers

It is kind of amazing that I get any quilts made.  I have little energy, limited time and weak mental aptitude.  I know why I have so many uncompleted projects, they take me so long that I am just filled with boredom over them.   My houseful of assistants really make things more difficult. 

Ian asked why do I make so many of them and I told him the same reason he makes so many Lego things.  Hmmph!

I have a quilt laid out on the floor, the cat walked in and systematically took his paw and pushed each piece of fabric into a wad.  He did each piece one at a time until he had moved and smushed each one.  He then walked away.

Last year Ned hid a section of a quilt, and then told me I should thank him for returning it.

A couple of years ago I had pieces set up on the table, when I came back pieces were missing.  I looked everyone and just assumed I had miscounted.  I found the missing fabric when I went out to scoop up the dog poop, why would one of them eat little pieces of fabric?

Ellen came in looking for something and put the fabric I am using away in the bathroom cupboard.  I know it was an accident, but it has really been driving me crazy.  I tore my little sewing room apart looking for that piece of fabric.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

July's quilt and Juno

I am trying to savor to the fullest the last days of summer vacation.  It is going by too quickly.  In the book "Catch 22" one of the characters cultivates boredom (can't remember the character's name).  This idea has always stuck with me.  The nameless guy in the book never does anything exciting, because it makes time fly by.  He would lie on his bunk doing nothing to try and slow down time, it never worked.  Time continues to fly by.  We aren't doing anything exciting, just trying to enjoy the dog days of summer. I am sucking up all the relaxation of nothing to do, unstructured days!! 

I did complete my July quilt, technically in August, but finished none the less.  I based this quilt off the lakes and beautiful flowers of Minneapolis.  I was really struck by the amazing flowers.  I was just so impressed with Minneapolis, I could easily see living there - I now need to visit in the winter.

The kids and I lay out squares to make a comfy blanket for the couch.  I bought minky in animal prints and it is so soft.  I think Minky is really hard to sew, I am sure there is a trick that I don't know.  It is going to be a lot of mismatched seams.  I came into my room and Juno was lying on the squares, he looks nice on the different prints.  A real jungle cat!

Today each kid is having a friend over to swim.......it is pouring rain.