Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday's Whine of the Week...

hmmm... what shall it be, what shall it be...

Bumpeldy entries. The first 15' into the more popular of supermarkets have bumpeldy floors. They're very rough and extremely textured to help prevent someone from slipping and falling when they are wet. Rain, snow, ice=wet. Thus the bumpeldy floors. I have noticed that the other area stores have somehow managed to survive without this added safety measure. They provide mats that have deep grooves and crevices to catch any runoff water. And their interior floors lack some of the highly polished and deadly slick concrete in ... OK, I'll just say it! Walmart. Yes, Walmart has bumpeldy floors in their entry ways and slick as snot floors in their interiors. Yes, they do.

So what's my whine about the bumpeldy entry ways? I'm all on board when it comes to safety. This is what I'm getting to. Almost every time I get a cart, it rumbles across the bumpeldy floor. You have to get into the main part of the store- past that greeter- and then you figure out- Hey! I got a bum cart! It lists. It pulls. It makes an unearthly racket- all without the assistance of the bumpeldy floor. See? All of this was impossible to discern when you're on the bumpeldies. I don't know about you, but I'd just as soon not make the rounds through Walmart with a troublesome cart- way too many square miles to be covered- 'cause ya know it would be just too simple to put things together that actually made some kind of sense- oops- trespassed into another whine. So very easy to do.

Where was I? Yeah, the bum cart. After discovering it's defects, there's the u-turn past the greeter to choose another cart. Taking the gamble that the second cart is better than the first- no way of knowing until the same process has been undertaken, yet again. So past the greeter-again-(maybe I'm secretly whining about that greeter- whom I find ironic in a store where one can never find help, but where they are setting out this token greeter to make you feel like they actually care. When all they're really there for is to deter miscreants from shoplifting. Man, I'm in a mood, huh?) And now you can finally exhale 'cause this cart is doable. After smiling and nodding at that greeter three separate times- and you're gonna have to do it again on your way out. Whine accomplished- with a few bonuses thrown in. More bang for your buck- rather like that store.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Mundane Monday...

I've had a great few days. Lots of fun going on.

Howda ya like my poppy? It's orange and it's a poppy, so of course I'm lovin' it. When I showed the kids the pattern and the fabrics I was gonna use, it was the common consensus that I make it in purple. I gaped, aghast, wondering just whose spawn they were? I vetoed the children from Mars and went with the orange. It is a poppy, after all.

The poppy quilt measures at just under 50." My Aunt Isobel gave me the nifty 9* wedge ruler and accompanying book a few years back. The picture on the front of the book didn't appeal to me- it was a pastel butterfly and I'm physically incapable of working with pastels. Must have had a traumatic experience as a child. And, I admit, I was a bit intimidated by its roundness. A common phobia among quilter. Guess what? Not a single curve to sew or cut. 100% straight lines. If I had only investigated sooner I might have had this much fun quite a while ago! That'll teach me.

The directions in the book- oh, I guess it would be nice if I shared the title with ya, huh? Quilts Without Corners by Cheryl Phillips. Anyway, the directions were some of the best I've ever seen or used. Really excellent. Lots of helpful hints to ensure success. I followed them faithfully and that quilt lays as flat- if not flatter- than any other quilt I've made. Way cool. One of her tips was to use loops of wipe clear packing tape on the back of the ruler- keeps things from shifting- even better than those little rubber strippy things. I only had to change the tape out once for the whole project, so it's cheap, too. Took me 5 hours to cut, piece and sew. There are several other designs in the book that I'm looking forward to trying.

Sandy and I took an impromptu trip to Rushville Indiana, yesterday. After seeing my poppy, she wanted a wedge ruler,too. Enjoyed the drive on one of the few sunny days we have had lately. And the quilt shop, In Stitches, is always a treat. They have a longarmer who works out of the shop and we had a very pleasant visit. Nice to share war stories and ideas with a fellow quilter. She had the coolest set-up for storing her quilts. Her husband had built her this super strong hanging frame. oak. All of her quilts are folded over sturdy hangers- including the backing and the batting (as long as it was cotton. The larger batts are stored under the hangers.) The names and phone numbers of the clients are on little tags attached to each hanger. That's a great idea even for our own quilts because they're easy to see and keeps them in our minds so much better than tucking them away in a Rubbermaid tub and forgetting about them. Can't tell you how often I find a quilt that I'd completely forgotten about. Plus, I think it would also be a bit more motivating to get 'em done if they're staring me in the face. Sometimes I need a little intimidation.

This is a block from the quilt she was working on. It's made from the shirts of her client's father. I've seen and quilted several of these, but I loved how she pieced it and then set them together. The blocks really show off the fabrics effectively and they don't get lost in the busyness involved in most shirt quilts. Her sashing and cornerstones were consistent throughout the quilt, but the stars all had different shirt fabrics and different complimentary colors. Loved it. Of course, the quilting is brilliant, too. She was saying how she had to go home early, the day before, because she had hit a creative wall. So nice to hear that happens to other quilters. Sometimes it just takes some distance to come up with the right design for a quilt. It doesn't always just pop out at you. I'd say her quilting is inspired, though. She does great work.

I'm sure there's something else I should be doing... I'll skedaddle now and see if I can figure out just what that might be. Or, better yet, maybe I'll stay happily oblivious...Have a great day!

Friday, September 23, 2011

One of the last summer days...

I love to watch my kids contented and enjoying the sunshine. So sweet.

Bizarre thing happened, yesterday. Actually, it all occurred exactly as the laws of nature dictate. The funny thing about it- it involves my hair- you guys are gonna think I'm obsessed. But that's just how it happened. Maybe I should include a hair feature in each week...nah.

I was coloring my hair- for those of you unfamiliar with the process, I color my roots- wait 15 minutes and then the remainder of my hair and wait another 10 minutes. I had just finished my roots and I had 15 minutes to kill. It was at this point that I remembered that the shower stall needed cleaning. (It has a door on it, so I never think to clean it until I am getting in and then there just isn't any time for that.) Perfect opportunity to get the chore done. I spray the walls and floor with cleaner. The cleaner I have to use is very potent-and perfectly legal- as we have hard water. Nothing else, short of a jack hammer, will remove those stains and white chalk-like residue. I usually let it set for a few minutes, so I went ahead and colored the rest of my hair, figuring I'd wipe down the shower during my last 10 minute waiting period. Bear with me, I'm getting to it.

I turn around and I'm confronted with a cloud of smoke of near Biblical proportions. Hydrochloric acid(the cleaner) gives off fumes, but nothing like this... Ah, now I see. Ammonia Hydroxide(the hair color) also gives off fumes. Apparently when they meet up they do a little boogie. Should have paid more attention in those college chemistry classes. Dr. Winton is shaking his head sadly- but with a smile on his face 'cause I finally caught on. I quickly opened the window and set up a fan and the cloud cleared out pretty fast. I'm not sure of the chemical properties of this concoction- other than toxic- but I've a sneaky suspicion it was explosive as well. Good thing I didn't have a candle burning. It was a singularly bizarre occurrence. Whodda thunk?

When the guys got home from work- just a few minutes later- they were so offended by the smell, I'm pretty sure that any wife they may have in the future will be strongly advised about the dangers of coloring their hair. I somehow doubt they will be as adamant about the dangers of cleaning the tub.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wednesday's Whine of the Week...

Climate control. We sure are a spoiled nation. In the winter, it would be a fate worse than death to actually get cold. And in summer, it would be a crying shame to actually get hot. Living in an old farm house, I'm a little more in touch with weather reality. But that puts me in a tough spot when it comes to those who have control over theirs. I have to wear t-shirts in the winter and sweaters in the summer because of what I consider
excessive use of air conditioning and heating. I'm trying to be reasonable here. I really am. And I won't be whining about the waste of energy and environmental issues. But some of these cases are absolutely beyond ridiculous.

Air conditioning. Its the quintessential
Monk situation. "It's a blessing... and a curse." Love how air conditioning takes the humidity out of a room. Keeps things from being all sticky. Love how it enables us to do strenuous work without popping out in a sweat. (I've heard it said that men sweat and women glow. What a bunch of hooey. Most of us sweat when the air is heavy with moisture and the temps are high. Good old-fashion sweat.) And air conditioning off-sets the heat from the oven or clothes dryer so that the weather doesn't interfere with our daily lives. Gotta love that. Truly a boon to civilization. That's the "blessing" side of the equation.

The "curse." Overzealous air conditioning. Have you ever gone into a restaurant or store and felt that familiar chill run up and down your spine? I won't be doing much exercise in these situations and doubt a lot of other people will be doing so either. Brrrr... I don't go anywhere without my jacket. Can't tell you how many I've misplaced and lost. And even though I hate being overly warm, I hate being overly cold almost as much. I'm not talking about being slightly chilled. I'm talkin' about the kind of cold that puts you at risk of suffering from frostbite. Something truly arctic.

This seems to be more prevalent in Northern climates. I guess if you live in the South you have a higher tolerance for heat and it takes less air conditioning to make them comfortable. Whereas Northers have a phobia about being too warm. Oh the humanity! Studies have shown that the average person is comfortable at about 72*. Of course there aren't too many "average" people out there, so some are going to be too cool and some are going to be too warm. I get that. A little warm or a little cool. Seems all very reasonable to me. You can't please everyone. But you set that thermostat at 68*... You're pleasing a very small segment of the population and I don't happen to be in it. What a bummer. So it's my personal whine. I'm too cold at many restaurants, movie theaters, and stores to be able to relax and enjoy myself. No, I am not one of those cold-natured people who always have icy cold hands. Honest, I'm not. To be fair, in restaurants, I only add to the problem by drinking iced tea. Love the stuff. Drink about a gallon a day. I guess if I worked really hard I could learn to like coffee. I could see where the excessive amount of air conditioning might be off-set by drinking scalding coffee. I just don't want to. So there. I'll continue to sit in a jacket, shoulders hunched, hands clutched between my knees trying to conserve body heat.

I felt kinda guilty about whining on this particular Wednesday. But it's tradition and I do so love traditions. Why did I feel guilty? It was my 24th wedding anniversary and I've already expressed how much I love and adore my sweet William. I don't want to be with anyone else or anywhere else. A truly blessed life. So I have nothing of true substance to whine about. But picking on silly little things
is a whole lot of fun.

I went to Joann's yesterday and came away with this gorgeous rainbow of fabrics. Admit it, even if you don't particularly care for orange, it made you smile. Got a project in the works. Hope, hope hope it turns out like I ...hope. Anyway, after lunch, I try to get into my car and the doors are locked. I have to confess, I never lock my doors. Ever. Trust me when I say that my car isn't at risk of being stolen. I think we paid $600 for it a couple years ago. And before I get a lecture on personal safety, I never get in without checking the back seat- can't figure how people always fall into that situation in the movies... You know, they get in and shocker! some one is in the back seat with a gun... maybe it's because they always lock their doors and assume no one is in the back seat... yeah, I bet that's it. I digress. So my car doors are uncharacteristically locked. Unlocking and getting in, I notice a big box between the seats. A serger with a love note on top! He is the most darling man ever. Took a break in work to buy and deliver it for me. How sweet was that? Being Will, he got a great deal, so I'm trying not to feel too guilty to be on the receiving end of such a generous gift.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My "Mundane" Monday...

The past week has been anything but mundane, so it makes sense that Monday followed suit. Ever feel like there are just too many deadlines in life? Things that have to be done by this day and stuff that needs to be done by that day. I don't like it when it gets to be all about the deadlines. Some people call that motivation. I'm thinkin' its more of a pressure tank than I want to live in.

Finished the wedding quilt in time for the wedding shower. Carrie loved it and Miss Daisy, age 84y, chirped up that she was gonna get married. I wish I'd gotten a picture of the backing. Found a close up!
I tie dyed it a couple summers ago and Carrie was very happy about that. Apparently she has a thing for tie-dye. Who knew? Turned out all very well, I guess. The girls were holding the quilt up for me- too gloomy to try and take a picture inside. And too big, as well. They nearly went para-sailing. Another reason why I usually have the guys do that job- always windy it seems.

I hesitate to call this a "doily." It turned out rather larger than I expected. Three balls of thread- the most I've ever used in a doily. Most patterns indicate how large they are expected to be- all depending on how loose or how tight you crochet. This one didn't have that little detail, but I figured it would be large as there were 38 rounds. But I didn't figure on it being quite this large. 30." I'd rather it didn't hang down over the sides of my table. I started it last fall, but put it away at round 29. Shew, those bigger rounds can go on and on and on. After an extended breather, I picked it back up and finished it. Mom- the pattern is called "Burst" and you would make one about 5 inches bigger than mine.

Roadtrip! Spent Monday on the road with Sandy. We drove up to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and visited with our friend, Marsha. She gave me that vibrant purple batik. We all like to quilt and so we kept on driving to a little town that had a very charming quilt shop called, "Caroline's Cottage." The house was built in 1871 and was stuffed with all things yummy. She had a great variety and lots of patterns and tools. I was such a good girl and used herculean self-restraint. Honestly, I broke out in a sweat. I bought a few yards of clearance fabric at $5.79. How could I not bring that home? A girl can always use more neutrals. And I just couldn't turn my back on that fleshy batik. But I only got half a yard. See? I was really very good! We visited one more fabric shop that was quite sad. They were doing some close-out sales. I picked up a few 1/2y cuts at $4 a yard and two fat quarters for a dollar, each. We had lunch at a steakhouse- can't remember the last time I ate red meat. Then we followed up with Marsha's famous pumpkin roll. Pumpkin and spices and cream cheese. What's not to like?

Since we've already hit upon my hair woes...Rained all day yesterday. Marsha was freaking out a little over the damage it might do to her hair. 'Do you know how long it takes me to get it this big?" I shook my head over that one. The more it rains, the bigger my hair gets. And it's already bigger than the average head of hair. When people look through my wedding picture album, they are sure to laugh and say,"Look how big your hair was back then!' I raise one eyebrow and wait. They invariably look up to make the comparison. Eyes bug out and they say, "oh." I'm not stuck in the past or making a fashion statement from the '80's. I have a ton of curly hair and while it isn't stylishly straight, I've better things to do with an hour of my time than blow dry and flat iron that bushy head of hair. I'd rather be sewing. Every now and then I do make the effort to restrain it, but it's usually in the winter when the humidity is down and all my hard work isn't ruined in a few hours.

And yeah, my bathroom walls are orange. People rarely look up and notice that the ceiling is purple. Might as well have some fun- it's just another empty canvas. Have a great week!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday favorites...

There's no place like home. Our house on the prairie.

My brother flew over in his plane and he took this snapshot. Every so often, we get advertisements in the mail from a company offering to take aerial pictures of our homestead. I just have to laugh. Like I want to pay for a picture of that! The barn used to stand on the bottom right corner there, but alas it bit the dust quite a few years ago. A sad day, but it was past the point of being repaired and the cost would have been much more than the value of our entire property.

The original house was built in 1891- just two rooms and a buttery- an ingenious creation of a trough in the cellar. A pipe ran from the well that was powered by a wind mill. The water would run down the pipe, through the trough and slowly out into a drain. Kept the milk/cream/butter cold. The floors are mostly wood and the ceilings are around 10'. That gives plenty of room to hang quilts. Over the years, the house has been built onto and I have to admit, we are the primary perpetrators. We didn't move any walls in the original house, but we have certainly more than doubled the living space. Rooms stick out willy nilly. We are exceptionally good at willy nilly. There are four bedrooms and three baths. A very large dining room which doubles as a schoolroom. A small livingroom, and a small TV room. The kitchen is bright and sunny, facing the south, with a very large picture window on the wall over the sink. The laundry room is small, but it has a double sink and two dryers. Oh, and of course I have a quilting room because I'm spoiled rotten. Lest you think it all sounds too perfect: the roof leaks, it's hard to heat on a budget, I can't change the seat on my toilet- it seems to be fused to the stool, cobwebs are a real issue with such high ceilings, wood floors are very loud with lots of kids tramping through, and the water is hard as nails. But I love it and am thankful every day for a home that fits us so well. Every time I walk through the door I think, "I love my house!" (The first time we showed my Dad the property and asked him what he thought, he simply said, "Gotta match?" I am so happy we didn't have one on hand.)

Outside, we have a large garden (bottom right,) a few apple trees (behind the house,) a chicken house (that red dot over on the lower right) and lots of weeds and rubble and then there's the acres of grass that always need to be mowed. There's plenty of privacy and lots of room for the kids to run, play, climb, build, and dig holes. Generally, a great place to be a kid. And it ain't half bad for a grownup, either!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wednesday's Whine of the Week...

So what's with that? No, I didn't take the battery covers off my remote controls to show you something. The covers are what I wish I could show you, but you'll notice I can't. Because they're missing. You have my word, this is not a staged picture. My house is the Bermuda Triangle for battery covers. There one moment and then gone the next, never to be seen again. It's a mystery. Maybe they're part of someone else's collection- an apothecary jar full of them displayed to their best advantage. I know I'd be impressed because I can't seem to find even one.

And since this is a Wednesday whine, I figure I can waller in it and say how annoying it is to pick up the remote only to have the batteries go spewing out. Rolling across the floor, even going under the bed- perhaps to join the missing covers. Destiny lends a hand. I'm usually quite happy to be different than most households, but in this one instance, it would be sublime to be normal. Have battery covers. Feel that sold plastic under my hand. Pushing buttons without having to hold the batteries in place. No worries about them popping out and then needing to reset the codes. Everything in order and as it should be. But why should my remote controls be any different than the other quirky things in my house? We're a matched set.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Mundane Monday

Another week ... weird how that happens.

Been keeping busy. More busy than I'd like. But what's a girl to do? Just charge ahead and hope for the best.

I finished the piecing of the queen size quilt I started last week. I had moments of doubt, but I should have had more faith in my obsessive ways. It's been a habit of mine for quite a number of years and even if I'm beat and frazzled, I still stick true to form. So the quilt is on the frame and I'm chugging along. Switched thread after the first two passes, at which point, I didn't care if the threads matched or not. And they don't. Sarah N. do you want my collection of Signature cotton thread? I will be keeping the short repeat variegated for postcards, but all the others you can have with my blessing. On occasion, I've fallen into the trap of thinking that one of those threads will match the quilt better than my favorite Medeira ones. I figure if they are no longer in the draw, I'll never make the mistake, again, of underestimating what a royal pain in the patootie they can be for me and my machine. Requires all kinds of tension adjustments and it still just doesn't look right. Thus, thread change and I feel like I can finish it, today. If I don't allow myself the distraction of an entirely unrelated project. Also true to form.

In between quilting, we got through school, lunch and naps. I'm a firm believer in naps. Not that we often sleep, but just imagine a two hour break in the middle of the day where you don't allow yourself or anyone else to do anything other than reading or sleeping. OK, sometimes I cheat and crochet. I'm such a rebel. You can hear the entire house sigh with relief. It's very beneficial to set that quiet time aside when there are this many people living under the same roof.

Then the three youngest and I ran errands. First, the apple orchard- where they got their free apple cinnamon donut. (Spell-Check didn't like that- who spells donut "doughnut" anymore?) With only $5 in my pocket they were given the choice of apple cider slushies for themselves or a bag of apples for their daddy. They didn't hesitate in choosing the apples for Dad(his favorite- Honey Crisp.) Breaks my heart they are so sweet.

Then on to the library for new books. Two each, this time, as they ran through the last ones so quickly. I was all settled in with my crochet but they were very decisive and we were only there for about 5 minutes. Kinda disappointed I didn't get my hook time in. On to a couple stores and then home- all in about two hours. Amazing.

Canned tomatoes, this weekend. The girls asked why we are always canning on a Saturday night. Good question. Gardens can be such slave drivers. Having two more helping hands makes an amazing difference, though. Eva and I peeled the tomatoes and Bekah packed all the jars and loaded up the canners. We did 21 quarts in record time. I've come to the conclusion that we operate at a faster pace than most folks. A bit of a necessity, I suppose.

I did some tutoring, Sunday afternoon, for a friend in college. English. I enjoyed that immensely. She didn't really need much help, just some pointers on the basics and some refresher lessons on how to study effectively. Love her textbook and wish I had one for myself. But the price of college books is absolutely ridiculous. $125 for a little paperback book. I guess they charge that because they can. Shame on them.

The flower was appliqued by Sandy and she used the fabrics we dyed this summer. Her daughter(the same one I tutored) drew the flower she used as a pattern. There's a little black mark at the top, but I think I'll be able to get it out- or chop it off- or applique a butterfly over it... that might work. Either way, I'm glad she didn't discard it as she'd planned.

So onward ho with that quilt and school. Hope everyone has an amazing day!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friday favorites...

So far we've covered a couple favorites- a place and a product. Today, it'll be a person- why not my all-time, number-one favorite person? My sweet William.

Most folks call him Bill. He just feels like...more... to me. We met 26 years ago on his first day at college. I saw him across a crowded room- yep, just like the song. I can even tell you what he was wearing. He was standing "at ease" and by himself. He didn't look anywhere near helpless but still... there was something about him. So I gathered up a couple guy friends and marched up to him and introduced ourselves. What a coincidence that one of my friends had the same last name. "Bet you don't spell it like mine." If I had a dime for every time I spelled my last name, I could retire and give up this life of crime. Wanna play a game? How do you pronounce "Koen?" Ugh, even spell-check says it's all wrong. Give ya a hint, it's of German/Dutch origin and there's something missing from the word- but no letters.

Bill and I married two years later. I love and adore him more each day and I've learned a lot about him over the years.

Bill is loud. And I mean loud and rowdy. He left the house 15 minutes ago and the dust is still settling! The music was cranked up and he was hollering along while dancing some kind of booty dance. (Bill will listen to the same cd
all day long without a single pause or change. Makes a girl feel secure that he doesn't tire of the "same ole same ole.") Small children will just stand and watch him- with these huge eyes- cause they've never seen an adult quite like him. He's intense and magnetic. Once they realize that, while he is bigger than life, it's all good and if they're brave enough to step out there, he's the most fun they'll ever have.

Bill is generous. I have at least a dozen sewing machines and he has brought home 9 of them. Around him, you have to be careful mentioning things you like. 'Cause if he can get it for you, it's yours. If he sees something you don't have that would be helpful, it's yours. If you're invited out to dinner with us, don't even think about paying for yourself. Bill's got it. And he's sneaky about it. He's the guy who leaves the house in the middle of the night with your car keys and fills up your gas tank. He takes care of everyone. Just imagine how dangerous he'd be if he had any serious money.

Bill is a rock. He never gives up on anything. Or anyone. He's been called a bulldog because he just won't let go- even the nieces and nephews have called him "Uncle Bull." He's the consummate problem solver- nothing's too great or too small to be worthy of serious consideration, time and effort in solving. He will just keep at it until it's taken care of. No matter how long it takes or how difficult it is. He'll figure it out and we'll all be better off because of him.

Bill cares. It's important to him that you are all you need to be and all that God wants you to be. He really doesn't care about what most of society thinks is important. Stuff and things. It's about loving God with everything in you and noticing how God's blessed you and being thankful. And remember that cd he'll listen to repeatedly? He sounds just like that cd- over and over and over again. Love God and be thankful. I couldn't agree more.

Pink Doily give-away: Looks like Angela's daughter is gonna get a late birthday present! Shoot me your snail mail addy to my email- I'll try to get to ya through email, but just in case, we'll cover all our options. Congratulations!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Wednesday's Whine of the Week...

Yeah, yeah, it's Thursday and late at that. You do the math: 1 computer+9 people(5 teenagers+1 seeking employment.) I'm doing good to get my mail checked, daily. Said I'd keep the whine light, this week. I'll do my best to deliver.

String beans. Oh, it's all very bucolic. Sitting in the rocking chair on the front porch, watching the, cars go by. Nice breeze, sunshine. Crickets humming. Good company. Big ole pile of string beans on your lap. Snap snap, into the pail they go. What could be more enjoyable? Industry meets pleasantry.

Now, I love snapping beans. Yep, like the pop they make and the occasional flying seed, all very amusing. It's just those annoying strings. They make it such a slow, tedious process and they just plain-out bug me. Sometimes the 'string' only comes off halfway down the bean and then you have to start at the other side- twice wasting the edible part of the bean. So some of you know nothing of which I'm speaking? Well, count your blessings folks, 'cause it's enough to make a girl swear off the country life in trade of a penthouse suite surrounded by concrete. And there's no easy way around it or avoiding it. Trust me, I've tried. String beans must be stringed. Strung? Ever get a string in your mouth? You can chew all day and that sucker ain't goin' anywhere. Completely incapable of being digested. So there's no alternative- ya gotta spit it out and, in my book, any meal that involves spitting isn't worth eating. And don't make the mistake of thinking you can pick string beans today and snap them tomorrow. Oh no, that just exacerbates the problem. You need a really crisp bean to facilitate the removal of the string. Otherwise you sit there bending and twisting the stupid thing until you have green bean puree.

And you know what? There are such things as stringless green beans. It's beyond me why anyone would choose to plant and grow otherwise. I've heard folks say that the stringy string beans taste better. Well, no kidding, you'd have to tell yourself that after all that work!

Deep breath. Ahhhh....

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

My Mundane Monday...

Had a productive day... gotta love that!

The weather has changed to lovely cool temps- it's barely topping 60*. (so sorry Tamara- maybe you can find some vicarious enjoyment in ours.) Windy. While quilting this morning, I heard a loud droning. There's a small airport about 20 miles north of us and sometimes smaller planes will fly over- or maybe a crop duster. An occasional military plane. But this sounded different. Louder. Longer- it went on and on. Finally, I go to the door to investigate- didn't need to look up so much. There, hovering over the soybean field, was the Goodyear blimp! Bright yellow and blue and amazingly, alarmingly low. The kids and I ran out to get a closer look and it was pitching and yawing something fierce- I was getting sea sick just watching. The kids would squeal at certain times, sure that they were going to see a catastrophic event. He was slowly making his way Northeast- into the wind. I hadn't thought they would fly in such weather, but I guess he had to be somewhere. It doesn't take much to give someone a thrill when you're living in the middle of thousands of acres of corn and soybeans, I guess.

I found out Sunday, that a friend from church is getting married in three weeks and her wedding shower will be in two weeks. Whoa. Time to get a quilt made. I wasn't sure how I would pull it off, time or money-wise. Bill lost his job about a month ago- silly man, he is always laying things down and forgetting where he put them... Anyway, as it turned out, her bedroom is the same colors as mine- brown and blue. I've been stashing fabric away for a few years now and I could use it for hers! No, that's cool 'cause I've already cut a quilt out for me. It doesn't coordinate with my room, but then... why start all that matchy matchy stuff now, hmm? I had a $50 budget. I tend to think I need to hang onto money when I have it, 'cause I might not have it next week. But that's "stinkin' thinkin' " as my brother would say. God does provide and He will provide. So onward ho! I found a queen cotton batting at Jo-Ann's for only $15. It was the only one they had and wasn't marked but when I got up to the counter, it was on sale! And then I only needed one feature fabric- which was regularly $8 a yard but on sale for $4.29 a yard- bought enough for the blocks and the binding. I just happened to have a blue and brown backing that I had tyed-dyed a couple summers ago. So the grand total was only $30! At $20 under budget, I'm pretty thrilled.
I love it when a plan comes together. God is good.

I'm using the BQ pattern and it's going very quickly. I've set a goal of sewing 10 (very simple) blocks a day and that way- with school and other obligations- I should be able to get it done in time. The cutting table has some lovely stacks of blue and brown fabric.

I also got a quilt for a client quilted up- mostly. I would've finished the bothersome thing, but I had to use a different thread than what I was accustomed to and the tension gave me fits- isn't that the way it works- dozens of quilts of your own and not a hitch. Soon as you decide to take a paying customer, things go sideways. Sigh, worked out the kinks. Oh well, I'm proving that "things done, can't be undone" to be not entirely true. They can be undone, but it's time-consuming. I had about a three hour sit-down with that quilt and now it should only take about an hour or less to finish. Loafing on the couch wasn't an entirely unpleasant experience. So thankful for those zipper leaders!

I've been staying up later than I should, crocheting. As anyone else who takes to the hook will tell you, it's addictive and extremely difficult to put down once you pick it up. I've been using 10 weight thread 'cause the one I prefer (20) isn't easy to find . Hobby Lobby has it in various colors of cream, cream or cream. That's OK. But I do notice that the 10 weight is a bit more of a challenge to pull through the loops and I get this interesting groove across my thumb. Nah, it's not permanent or anything, but it remains sore. Ah, the price I pay for my art...

So, for those of you that have made it thus far- bless your hearts- I have a little give away. Don't get all worked up, it's small enough. See that pink doily? I just bought the thread 'cause it was a pretty shade, but the practical application for a pink doily is questionable. Fun to work with, though. I'll pop it in the mail for you if you let me know you'd like it. I was thinking that maybe you could re-gift it- no worry about offending me- it's not like I want it! The doily isn't small- about 20" across. If by some slim chance more than one person is willing to take the poor thing home, I'll just draw a name. Ya got til Friday, OK?

Hope everybody has a great week!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Friday favorites!!

Last week's favorite was a place and this week, I've decided to go with a product. My most favorite possession is...

My insulin pump. Rarely does a 24 hour period go by without me clutching it close and fervently saying, "I love my pump!" I even have it skinned out in custom orange! I figure there might be quite a few of you that may not know what a pump is- have never even seen a pump- or know how it works. So here's some general information for those who are curious and a maybe a good bit more for those who might be interested in acquiring one for themselves or a loved one.

An insulin pump... pumps insulin. It's for type 1 diabetics- insulin dependent- which is a funny way of puttin' things, 'cause we're all insulin dependent- just some of us can't supply our own. It takes the place of insulin injections. I used to give myself about 5-7 shots of insulin per day. It wasn't fun, but it was life support in the purest form. I'm not complaining about the tiny discomfort of the needle, itself, but the hassle of carrying around all those supplies, being on a strict timetable and figuring in all the computations that make real control possible. And even at it's best- and my best- it was a roller coaster of ups and downs and while discouragement is not an option, it was a constant struggle with some serious frustration.

This is where the incredible gizmo of an insulin pump comes in. It delivers insulin all day and all night- it's greatest advantage- my blood glucose levels are more even 24 hours a day. Generally, one injection every three days. I still need to check my sugar with a meter, but the pump reads the meter through radio waves and the numbers are factored in when I eat. Insulin delivery for meals involves inputting the carbs I ate and then the pump does the preset computations for my individual needs. No calculating for me. Quick and easy with none of the hassle of shots. No more eating or not eating on a schedule to cover insulin. No trying to be discreet 'cause I don't want anyone passing out from seeing a needle.

Most people don't notice I have a pump and when they do see it, they assume it's a cell phone or some other electronic gadget. It hooks on my pocket or belt and the tubing goes under my clothing to the injection piece- which is called a "set." The set is connected to a small vial of insulin that slips inside the pump. At the end of the set is a very tiny rubber cannula(yes, injected with a needle, but the tiniest needle you will ever see- even smaller than those butterfly needles they use on children. It slides right out as soon as the set is inserted.) The cannula goes just beneath my skin and the insulin drips in through it. It's all held into place with some kind of adhesive. It's pretty tough and under most conditions will stay put for the 72 hours the set can safely be worn without the risk of your insulin dying- from being room temp for three days or infection- from the small puncture.

The set is completely pain-free- you can push, pull, tug- I don't feel any discomfort- it's just a small button. It can be placed anywhere that you would normally give yourself an injection. I like the back of my arm because I'm less likely to rip it off when I'm changing my clothes or um... among other things. (Lisa, quit rolling your eyes.) I disconnect the tubing and pump when I shower or swim or doing the "among other things" anytime I choose- for short periods of time- an hour or two is usually just fine. Yes, I sleep with the pump- just sling it under my pillow or beside me- it never occurs to me that it's even there- just another part of my body.

Let's talk bottom line. It's a great advancement in the quality of a diabetic's life but it sure does come with a huge price tag. The pump costs about $6,000. No, I didn't add too many zeros. The cost of maintaining a pump lifestyle is also very pricey. It runs about $83 dollars every 3 days. ouch! My insurance pays for my pump, disposable supplies and insulin. Who says they don't have a heart? But I figure they're not getting such a bad deal and they know it. The more my blood sugar is under control, it's less likely I'll run into costly complications.

So that's my favorite for this Friday! Have a great weekend and I'll catch you on the flip side!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Wednesday's Whine of the Week...

You knew it was coming, didn't you? This week's whine....

ADULT. Come on, you know what that means. Maybe it's not global. Here in the US, when we see the word ADULT- spelled in all capital letters- it's becomes a four-letter word. I'm not sure when this euphemism occurred, but it's common enough. ADULT means pornography, profanity, and/or profuse amounts of blood(which really falls into the "mature" heading- but the application is the same.) And while I'm on a letter "P" kick, the word perversion comes to mind. Not that they would put it that way. They would call it nudity, sensuality, strong language and graphic violence. Ever see those signs for ADULT BOOKSTORES? (No offense to my Southern friends, but they seem to be more prolific the farther South you drive.) I've never been in one of those places, but I'm doubtful there's much
book selling going on in there. My whine is the use of a perfectly good word to describe something that is so shameful that it shouldn't even be spoken of- much less advertised on huge billboards. Call me old-fashioned. A fuddy-duddy. But if it were all completely appropriate and decent, the signs would read considerably more accurate as to what is really going on in there. And the parking lots would be well-lit. And there'd be lots of windows.

I suppose that qualifies more as a rant than a whine. I'll try to think up a more lighthearted one for next week.

Isn't that a sweet little sewing machine? Rescued it from a barn. It had a $50 price tag on it- which was a great deal as the table is in excellent condition and it even has the original stool. The machine looks like it was never used- it needs a little polishing from handling, but the finish really is gorgeous. It also has the original manual and all of the attachments. But I didn't have $50 and I felt too guilty to ask if they would take less- I did mention it was a very good price, didn't I? So my son, Paul, returns to the scene and asked if they would take $25 for it- they said it wasn't theirs. Paul asked if they could call the owner and ask them if they would reduce the price. Paul spoke to her for a little while and she agreed to sell it for $35! He came in carrying this machine and the first thing he says is, "Don't ever cast aspersions on my social skills again." Giggle. He's known as a stoic kind of guy and I tease him that he could scare people away with that frown of his- he's the big muscled frowner on the left. I asked if he "please ma'amed" them to death and he said no but he did "thank you ma'amed" them to death!

The guys don't normally go around covered in this much dirt. They had just finished up a long day of roofing. Left to right, Paul, Jacob and Joshua.