Thursday, June 30, 2005

I gave myself a small gift today.

It's warm and sunny today (well, ofcourse!!). And high tide near me was about 8:30 am. So just after 9 I packed the dogs into the pupmobile and headed to Pt. Pinole. (I'm sure I mentioned this park before. it is NOT the dog park... it's a gorgeous point of land with lots of water front and trees and stuff.). We all really like this park.

We walked 1 mile to the north of the parking lot, to a very private deserted beach. Good thing, probably, and the dogs sensed the final destination and started jogging the last 1/4 mile... disappearing completely ahead of me. These dogs and swimming...

The water was calm and cool, the breeze light. I removed my sandals and did a little splashing of my own while the dogs swam after tennis balls. We kept this up until the seams on both balls popped and the balls sunk into the bay.

The only noise was my own voice. When I could shut myself up, I was really existing in the moment. Just aware of the sun, breeze, water, the dogs splashing in the bay. It was calming and restorative.

I'm thinking that we might return tomorrow morning. If I plan ahead, I can bring a book and a snack (or lunch), and wear a pair of shorts under my sweats. Spend a couple hours out there just taking it in.

Now we're home, and the pooped pups will sleep the rest of the day. After I finish some lunch, I'll sew more on eucalyptus, and maybe finish up another skirt.

What Does Your Birthdate Mean?

Your Birthdate: June 30

Your birthday on the 30th day of the month shows individual self-expression is necessary for your happiness.

You tend to have a good way of expressing yourself with words, certainly in a manner that is clear and understandable.

You have a good chance of success in fields requiring skill with words.

You can be very dramatic in your presentation and you may be a good actor or a natural mimic.

You have a vivid imagination that can assist you in becoming a good writer or story-teller.

Strong in your opinions, you always tend to think you are on the right side of an issue.

There may be a tendency to scatter your energies and have a lot of loose ends in your work.

You may have significant artistic talent and be very creative.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I thought I'd share...

So Monday night we were discussing something that was particularly not nice. Like really really sucky...

And a friend who reads this blog regularly and I started thinking how to encorporate the level of sucking in what we were discussing (is it remarkable that I remember the level of suckage but not the cause of the suckage??).

We decided that it either sucked sucked bilgewater toast on rocks... or sucked rocks on toast through bilgewater... or something like that. Maybe it wasn't worth mentioning...

If you totally don't get this, then you need read my blog more often.

On another note, my husband has these coffee cans that hold "attachment items", similar to the button boxes in sewing rooms. One has nails, one has bolts and washers... some of which actually go together (but are not as yet joined together), two have screws... which do not obviously differentiate by either size or function. So you can find machine screws and wood screws in either containter (I think). You can definately find straight blade heads and phillips heads together. FWIW.

Today I was fixing my Bissell floor cleaner and lost 2 of the machine screws to put it back together. With his collection, you'd think it would be easy to find appropriate replacements... just go to garage, dump the can and scrounge.


Go to the garage (the cleaner was out on the deck where there's good light), sort through one can, find one screw that might work. Put it all back, and sort through the second can (remember there are two unlabelled cans of screws)... find a couple more that might work. Back out to the deck, where I try appropriate screws A, too thin, B, too thick, C too long... D, the wrong sized head. Back for trial #2.

After 3 trips back and forth I finally decided that the 2 (which don't match because although he has about 9700 screws the ones I want are always singles...) I have in there are just gonna work! And I think I put about 500 steps on my pedometer achieving this simple thing.

Are our button boxes as inefficient? If I went into mine to find a white shirt button with 4 holes in it, would it be this hard? Go check your button boxes and report back.

If I ever develop an illness that requires me to sit all day long basically resting, I may dedicate myself to sorting out those stupid cans. I'm sure putting them all in a different kind of organizer would be more efficient.

Time for a look at my gardens.

OK, I've figured this out. Pictures = comments. SO...It's been a few weeks since I've shown you my flower gardens. Time to catch up!!

This is the shrub border next to the house. Notice the hydrageas in full bloom. Also notice that I have no front yard. Well, this sideyard IS my front yard...

One of the bushes starting to bloom. Do you think my soil is alkaline enough?? Look at how pink these are.

A closeup of one bloom. It's as big as my hand!! And note the sad thing: it's June and I'm still wearing polarfleece.

The terraced butterfly/hummer garden. This is Salvia, white Lantana, and a new blue plant (so I've forgotton it's type).

Lantana and Lavender.

A red ornamental grass. It really moves in the wind around here.

A species buddliea bloom.

And they say you can't grow rhubarb in California! Luckily I have just the right conditions for it to grow. And I remember to pick enough for about 3 pies before it gets too dry and fiberous to use. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


I've been working on Eucalyptus for a week, attaching the leaves that go on over the quilting.

I've decided I need to enter this quilt into something where it will win me a sewing machine... one that cuts the bobbin thread. Imagine sewing oh...100 3-5" long leaves (maybe 1/2" wide)... and then having to go back and trim all that friggin bobbin thread off the back. And no.. ain't no way I'm gonna flip the whole thing over to cut the bobbin thread every time I sew one leaf on...

Today I'm was going to drive up to Gerrie and Diane's group, the Pointless Sisters, in Santa Rosa. It's just over an hour each way, which is a bit of a pain... but when I went last month, I smiled all the way home. Unfortunately, I overslept. I'm always up by 7 am., but the dogs let me sleep until almost 8. And to get to this meeting, I have to leave by 8:30. Now way I can feed the dogs, shower, dress, eat, check my blogs and emails, and get this all done before 8:30. So it looks like I won't make the meeting today. Guess I'll go pick up the art supplies I wanted to get instead.

Monday night is my get together with my friends the Pickles. At one point, we were talking about menopause and periods... Some of us are almost through menopause.. and the younger women are just starting to get their first symptoms. So we can all share. One friend and I have pretty much matched our symptoms all along the last few years. We're about the same age, so not very surprising... but... here's the real surprise. We found out we both started getting periods on the same day: the Beatles' second appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.

How freaky is that???

Monday, June 27, 2005

Home Improvement Finished.

Remember when I showed this view a couple weeks ago, and mentioned that it was going to change with a redwood shade cover?

Well take a look now:Here is the change in the view. Posted by Hello

It's a dramatic but small change. However, that part of the house seems to stay in shade now until late in the day, so it should result in a cooler house from this summer on.

Now, I have morning glory vines (annuals) in pots by the posts. Do I have to attach them to the posts for them to climb up it? Or will they hold on their own?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Playing with Paper Dolls

This was a wonderful way to amuse myself while watching some fairly mindless tv.

You get to "design" your doll... face shape, eyes, lips, hair and clothes.

What is My World View.

Thanks to DebR at Red Shoe Ramblings, I now know that somethinks this is me. I'm don't think it's totally true. It looks like all the other Artful Quilt Bloggers are 100% Cultural Creatives... Once again, I'm the misfit... (sigh).

You scored as Existentialist. Existentialism emphasizes human capability. There is no greater power interfering with life and thus it is up to us to make things happen. Sometimes considered a negative and depressing world view, your optimism towards human accomplishment is immense. Mankind is condemned to be free and must accept the responsibility.





Cultural Creative












What is Your World View? (updated)
created with

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Thursday and Friday...

After deciding I needed a couple simple light skirts to wear this summer, I hied myself off to JoAnnes (coupon in hand) to see what they had to offer. Not much. The PERFECT crinkle gauze in the perfect green... but not enough to make a skirt. I opted for a pretty green linen with pink embroidery on it.

Then a stop at the little shop near my house. I bring EVERYONE into Sammy's shop (FABRIC DEPO in Pinole, Ca.)... so he gives me discounts. I found some great silk in a really nice solid green that I will make up in a couple days.

Back home, and digging through the fabric I always have. Wait. First I guess I should see what tops they need to match. OK. A tan tshirt, a red tshirt, and green tshirt. A black shell. A rayon tank in a batiky print.. and rayon "vacation" top... white with bright printing.

NOW go look for possibilities in my stash.

I found a nice red linen that I'd bought a couple years ago and never did anything with. Two hours later, it's a nice panel skirt. Only thing I'd like to change about this, is it needs pockets. But it's not going to get them. Maybe the next skirt.

I found a cool batik in tans, blues, greens and a gold. I've owned it for years without using it; it will probably be the next skirt.

I make simple panel skirts. Front and back are (for me) 24" wide and 34" long. They are seamed to 2/3rds of the way down the thigh, and are open below that. So turn the sides in and stitch, seam these together, fold down a 1" waist (insert elastic) and fold a hem. Voila.

Today we are planning on going to see StarWars III, and probaby go out to lunch. The rest of the day, I'll be weeding gardens, and prepping panels for skirts. Photos to follow.

Vacation planning, kind of...

Early in July, Steve and I are heading to Illinois for a week. While most of the time will be spent with his mother (trying to figure out how to get her in a home that's safer for a 86 year old woman), we are spending a couple days as tourists.

After we fly in, we will drive up to the Wisconsin Dells. Get there in the late afternoon, try to time adjust that night, take a trip on the upper Dells the next day then leave for Galena, Ill.

Hmm... Galena, Il.. why would we go there? Well, Steve is a civil war nut, and Galena is the home of US Grant. He wants to visit the museum and also spend a day at a state park nearby.

So much for the vacation. We'll drive down the Mississippi from there to the quad cities where Steve grew up.

The good news: the motels we are staying in all boast high speed internet connections... so early in the trip I should be able to upload photos and whine about the heat and HUMIDITY.

Once we get to the quad cities, it looks like we'd have to drive out to the airport to get a wireless connection. That would be no problem for me... but I doubt we'll really feel like it much.

Looking through my wardrobe, I am not equipped to deal with midwest humidity. (I was born there, and NEVER equipped to deal with it). So, inspired form several sources...I will be sewing a couple loose and easy skirts to wear.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Incredible news.

This is WOVENWORKS II. It's been donated to Virginia Speigel's fund raiser for ACS. (one of four cards donated).

Today this piece was one of three purchased by Karey Breshnahan to become part of the permanent IQA collection. One friend said that now I MUST take that wannabe off my blog title... even if I like the way it sounds.

 Posted by Hello

Monday, June 20, 2005

Using Everything you've got.

I think I've mentioned this before, but maybe not. When I paint or dye fabric, I always have an extra piece or two of cheap muslin around that I use as a rag. These pieces wipe up any messes during the work session, and wipe clean the jars, bottles, brushes and surfaces when I'm done. So there is no plan with these pieces.. and they end up with lots of color on them, but not in anything approaching a regular or necessarily pretty fashion.

This is a piece of "clean up " fabric.

When you look at this, you might think that it has nice depth. But it's never going to be something you could imagine using. It would go into your "ugly" fabric pile. (OK, lots of make gorgeous things from ugly fabrics. And this is kind of the point here.) This isn't the first fabric you would grab when designing a piece.

But LOOK at the wonderful leaves made from this fabric. They have variety and depth that couldn't be created easily except by using this kind of fabric. So try this technique next time you are dyeing or painting.  Posted by Hello

Monday ToDo

I'm having a couple friends show up here today, and we're heading to a couple of the shops in my area. We visit and catch up and have ever-so-much fun. These are the gals with whom I usually end up eating Thai food. Don't know if that's in the plans for tomorrow or not.

So after I get up, I need to dress for public, vacuum some of the dog hair off the floor, and take the dogs for an early walk. Then a couple hours fun. Home to make some more leaves (I still haven't completely decided what to do... but I'm kind of leaning to partially stitching most of the leaves down, and maybe leaving just a couple loose). Monday night, the Pickles get together.

Have I mentioned the Pickles? I'd say we're a minigroup, but we don't do the same type of work, and rarely work on anything when we get together. We meet every Monday evening. Some eat dinner together, some don't. We usually share a dessert, but not necessarily. It's a couple hours of companionship to anchor the week.

An easy day, then...

Friday, June 17, 2005

The "fun" of a travelling spouse

Those of you who have spouses who travel. Ya know how almost every time something happens around the house that you have to stop and think about?? A maintainance problem, a neighborhood problem, whatever... something that would be easier to deal with if you weren't the only adult around?

And sometimes you choose to let the problem slide... but sometime you can't. I've learned to cope with these situations so well that now I'm a pretty good electrician and plumber with social skills who can sew! Just don't let me near a can of housepaint.

I had one of those nights last night.

First some background: my dog Katy is very calm and almost nothing upsets her, but odd situations in the house do make her a little nervous at times. Her way of coping is to lie in her cage and hope it goes away.

Jake OTOH cannot abide loud noises. He hates the noise of truck's airbrakes on the freeway a mile away; he hates the squeak of opening a couple drawers upstairs. He really cannot cope with smoke detectors beeping. His reaction is to run to the door by the garage. We call it his hidey-hole.

MORE BACKGROUND: We have a house that is built with lots of high ceilings and changing ceiling levels. Some call it California dramatic. I call it a pain in the ass for decorating/painting. Whatever.

Those changing levels, high ceiling mean one other thing: we have WAY TOO MANY SMOKE DETECTORS. Really. There is one right outside our master bedroom and TWO inside the room. The two inside are because we have a "normal" ceiling height at the doorway, but a very high ceiling in most of the room. And the stupid building code requires that both ceiling surfaces be covered with smoke detectors.

And last night the one way up started to beep.

Jake spent every 10 minutes running to hide. Usually, that's kind of humorous...(I'm easily amused). Katy went into her cage, but the noise wouldn't stop. She became stressed enough that her heart was racing, her muscles were tense and quivering and she couldn't stop panting.

I couldn't let it beep until Steve comes home on Saturday. It wasn't bothering me much (though I would have had to sleep in another room), but the dogs were beyond stressed.


Ten pm, I'm walking out into the sideyard where the extension ladder is hung. This the door I let the dogs out from. What do you thing the odds are that I wouldn't find some dogpoop on my shoes? Doesn't matter. I did.

I lifted the 11 foot ladder off it's hooks, jockeyed to balance it, and started carrying it through the house. I want to tell you... my house is tall, but it is not wide (or is that long??) It ain't easy to move an 11 foot ladder through the house!!

And curved stairways?? WHO THOUGHT THAT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA?? I'd often like to shoot them. Yes, they look dramatic.. but I could have a coat closet next to the stairway if I weren't dealing a curve. Now it's just wasted space. Anyway...

I had to lean the ladder against the stairway, go up to the top and lift the ladder up and over the railing. No fun. LOTS of arm strength. NOTE TO SELF: START WORKING ON THAT ARM STRENGTH THINGY. The good thing? Not a scratch on the railing or the walls.

Slid the ladder through the door, and set it up. Unextended it just reached the "plant shelf" below this friggin' beeping smoke detector. Hmm... is this safe enough? but if I extend it will I be able to crawl off??

Pause for a possible chance of planning ahead.

I went back downstairs, unlocked the front door and grabbed the cellphone. This way, if I fell (but didn't break my neck) I could fall 911 for help and they could actually get in. If I did break my neck? Katy has gotten good as sliding the glass door open to get into the dogfood. She's be resourceful enough for a while.

I decided to leave the ladder the way it was. I crawled up onto the shelf and spent 5 minutes trying to figure out how to undo the friggin smoke detector from it's wiring. If I had had a hammer with me, I'd have smashed it.

NOTE TO SAFETY DESIGNERS: Smoke detectors need a uniform design. And they need to be battery-replaceable with one hand. That way the replacer-person can hold on for dear life to something.

Got it open, changed the battery, and then could not get it plugged back in. U'm 12 feet or so above floor level, kneeling on some 2x4s covered with plywood and drywall (and wondering how much weight it can carry) on a "shelf" that is about 18" wide. It's all in shadow because nobody tried to actually light high ceilinged rooms and this connector needs me to be in my bifocal range to line things up right. How??
(our detectors are hard wired together... I'm guessing in case we had an alarm system? My alarm system sleeps on the bed with me, barks, sheds and lives. and hates the sound of beeping alarms.)

I decided to "screw it!" and threw the smoke detector down to the floor. Guess I reached my patience level. Never knew it ran so shallow. We now have a charmingly unattractive partial appliance on the ceiling... but heck, it's my bedroom nobody sees it.

The dogs followed me downstairs, where Katy laid at my feet for the next hour. Her panting slowed, her body relaxed, she became her old self. Jake moved from his hidey-hole position of safety back into the family room with us. We ate icecream at 11:30 pm to celebrate.

The ladder is still in the bedroom. I think getting it back down the stairs will need to be a 2 person job. It surely isn't an emergency.

So now I can "expert at working at heights" to my list...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Adding to the "suckage verbage"

Ok, so Deb Richardson's work Sucks Rocks. Kinda hard to swallow??H

And Carol Logan Newbill's work sucks on toast. Ala Shit on a Shingle??

To add to this list... when something is horrible (in my mind)... it sucks bilge water. Hey, atleast water IS suckable... but bilge water??? not in my life.

Look!! Pictures!!

Eucalyptus completely machine quilted and about 1/2 way bound.

A closeup of eucalyptus. I'm "test applying" a bunch of these leaves. They are loosely attached to the quilt to hang free. If I like the look, and if they do not tangle on themselves too much, I will attach about 200 of them to make a limb overhanging the quilt. If it doesn't work, I'll have to decide if I want to applique them partly down. Or leave the piece just as it is. I want this piece to be entered in a couple shows... so what do you think? Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Tuesday Night Class/Wednesday ToDo

Last night was my first WATERCOLOR ON FABRIC class. We are going to hear today how things shake out, as we were below the minimum enrollment. Of the three of us there, two can switch over to the daytime regular watercolor class (and simply use slightly different materials), and one can't. So we'll see...

The instructor (Cintra) wanted to develop a technique for painting on fabrics; but her chemical sensitivities meant she couldn't chance using some of the standard materials. We will be using Createx Pure Pigments. and playing with paint, paper and silk. Nothing to show at the moment.. the class last night was a run through the supply list.

I had friends over Monday night, so I cleaned then... and my cleaning Wendesday is FREE!!

So my ToDo:

Walk the dogs and do some strength/stretching exercises.
Make leaves for euc.
Mow grass and pull my daily bucket-o-weeds.
Start gathering materials for the class.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Postcards for Cancer Fund Raising

About a month ago, I posted this piece and said I didn't know how I would use it.

Then a couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I had turned it into 4 postcards for Virginia Spiegel's ACS Fund Raising effort.

Today I got the notice that the postcards have been received and are up on the page. Along with GOBSMACKINGLY BEAUTIMOUS cards from Karen Stiehl Osborn, and works by Rosemary Claus Gray and several other artists.

Take some time to go visit the site. Buy a card if you wish (they are 100% tax deductible).

Oh, yeah, since it ain't obvious ... click on the title and you go to Virginia's page.

Turquoise Jacket

This is the jacket I got compliments about last week. It kind of looks like a sack here, but it's cute and "pettable" when worn. Mainly because it's flannel. The pattern is from the Rag Merchant. (Fran's Jacket). If you were at the first session of AQT last year, you saw it... cause I think I lived in it for the entire week. (Gerrie, old roomie, can you confirm??). Sorry it's on a hanger and not a human.. but it's so hard to wear something and take a picture of it at the same time.

And, can you believe I was wearing flannel in June in California??

This is the back of the same jacket. Posted by Hello

Monday, June 13, 2005

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Yesterday I saw STP... and I'm still trying to put my finger on my reaction to the movie. It was not the sweet "gal pals" movie that I expected. It was both more and less than that. Each girl went through her problems of summer on her own... until she returned to their hometown. In the end, they again banded together to save one and help another.

But the parents were conveniently uninvolved a whole lot of the time. And I wanted to THROTTLE Brad Whitford's character. The invisible parents is a theme in teen-based movies, but that doesn't mean that movies have to continue this theme. When the character's daughter reached out to him, he chose not to respond at that moment. Instead the daughter's friends had to intercede to bring about a reconcilation. Bah!

So parts of it felt false.

There were lots of tears in the second half... and not much in the way of comedy (though I thought it was billed as a coming of age comedy). The girls had insights I felt way beyond their 16 year experience.

The scenery was STUNNING. Made me want to stay in Greece for a while. And maybe visit Baja, Mexico.

But there were major flaws in scenes... when an object wasn't "needed" in the scene anymore it was forgotten (a sketch box, a boat, a dog, that we noticed right away... surely more if we looked closely).

It might be a good movie for a "girl friend's pizza and movie" night; it MIGHT be a good place for a mother and daughter to begin a conversation. For me it was an afternoon in free Air Conditioning with a friend.

I'm not saying don't go see. But I think I am saying to only see if the matinee price is right and you have friends to share it with probably with lunch before. Part of a female-bonding experience. For the most part, it's a NETFLIX worthy film.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

For all you "virtuous" people...

trying to improve your health...

One of the key items we are hearing nowadays is how we must strengthen and support our "core muscles". I've never been quite positive if I'm "engaging" these muscles when I'm walking or sitting or doing work.

And I've found a simple trick to check.


Cough one time when you are DOING something... walking or whatever. When you cough you will FEEL the core muscles tighten to where they should be. When you sense this, try to continue holding those muscles as tightly and firmly as they were when you coughed.

While walking this morning, I discovered that checking the muscles regularly throughout the walk "got them" where they need to be and eventually started to keep them there.

The USA as a religious state

I rarely make political statements. I've learned that it is impolite to discuss politics or religion in public. An individual's views are their own... and sharing will not change another's viewpoint, only add discomfort to a relationship.

Given that, I apologize for providing you with the following quotes to consider. But these are voices heard in the past that need to be remembered in the present:

"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise." James Madison, fourth president of the United States.

John Adam's pushed for the ratification of THE TREATY OF PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP. This Treaty (as far as I can tell) has not been recinded by the US Government. And one of the articles of this treaty specifically states:

"the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion."


Thomas Jefferson, the author of our Constitution, wrote that he believed Jesus was the epitome of what it means to be a great human. He, however, also wrote items which support the fact that his personal beliefs were not Christian in nature. And that he did NOT want anything that appeared to be a Christian government. His argument for leaving all public religious beliefs aside in governmental matters:

"But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. Had not the Roman government permitted free enquiry, Christianity could never have been introduced. Had not free emquiry been indulbed, at the aera of the reformation, the corruptions of Christianity could not have been purged away. If it be restrained now, the present corruptions will be protected, and the new ones encouraged. Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls now are." Thomas Jefferson in "Notes on the State of Virginia"

And finally, a comment on public declarations of religious righteousness from a contemporary individual, Ronald Reagan's son, Ron:

"Dad was also a deeply, unabashedly religious man. but he never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians - wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage. True, after he was shot and nearly killed early in his presidency, he came to believe that God had spared him in order that he might do good. But he accepted that as a responsibility, not a mandate. And there is a profound difference."

My country is a great country.... but it was never intended to be a religious state. For those of us who are not Christians (born again or simply born), I pray that we return to a time when one's PRIVATE beliefs form the structure of one's actions, not the actions themself.

Tomorrow, I return with fun and laughs... and a review of THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS.

Friday, June 10, 2005

A fun little piece.

While Steve was in Chicago, I mentioned making this piece one evening. I didn't know what it "was" while I worked on it, but I've since decided it reminds me of a page from a scapbook. All handpainted fabrics, background pieced, items are fused, and I'm about 1/2 way done machine quilting it.

My camera is winging it's way to Japan today. But never fear, I took several pictures in the one day I had it and will sprinkle them through out the next week.

ToDo for Friday:

Set up a temp sewing station in the TV room, and work on my charity sewing today. (I try to spend one day a month doing charity sewing.)

Walk dogs. update. We did 5 miles at Pt. Pinole (a fabulous park) today. If you go to my webshot page (in the links to the right), you can see pictures of a younger Katy and my lost dog Woody during a walk there.

Strength exercises.

Whispers....They have begun building our shade structure. The city requires me to jump through such hoops that I decided to not go that route. We wouldn't have been able to BEGIN the work until about October..

Thursday, June 09, 2005

HOT Fun in the summertime...

I admitted a few weeks ago that one of my "guilty pleasures" was watching "Starting Over" during my lunchtime break. Well, the show is in repeats for the summer, so I've decided to start a new activity.

You know all the magazine ideas that are soooo tempting? And we all want to try them? For atleast the couple weeks (who knows how long?), I am giving myself permission to play at doing something different for one hour a day.

So while my quilting is at the moment heavily dependant on machine quilting, and hand binding, I can spend that one hour/day playing at something. My only requirement at the moment, is it's got to be something I've wanted to try... and I can't think too much about it.

The Summer edition of QUILTING ARTS arrived yesterday. In there is an article about using running stitch to create texture and alter color in cloth. That's one thing to play at. There is also an article on drawing with wax pastels. That's another.

Going beyond this issue, there are the past issues to peruse... and Belle Armoire. Not to mention the books I've purchased but not thoroughly worked through... (I'm thinking Richard Box's book that I've barely scraped the surface of... and Nita Leland..).

So this evening I picked up my box of embroidery threads, and a new piece of handpainted fabric that's been layered with batting. I'm going to play a bit with running stitch on this piece. And see where it leads.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Gabrielle asked...

What would we do differently in our lives? A legitimate question that hopefully we can have a little fun with...

1. I'd TAKE that 3 year teaching job in Australia. This is the biggest regret in my life so far (and boy do I have things to be sorry about).

Even decades later, I can FEEL the fear that this decision would have made. And I can HEAR my mother giving me constant grief about it. It would have been the hardest step I ever took while living under my parents' roof. Heck, it would have the hardest step I ever took. And I wouldn't have had my parents' support. Oddly, it's more about my mother's verbal abuse that I didn't take this job... not about moving a continent away.

But in hindsight, I would have tried it.

2. I really would love to say that I wouldn't let FEAR stop me as much as it did. But it can be such a debilitating experience. I need something about this tattooed inside my eyelids so I can see it regularly.

3. I would have not gotten involved with one (nameless) man... or two. OK, three!

4. I wouldn't have given myself that permanent in 1983. Or 1998. Hmm.. a 15 year pattern. I WILL make a note of this for 2113.

5. I'm with Gabrielle... forget The Artist's Way. (though I do love the occasional Artist's Date).

6. I'd have watched my diet more closely. And continued with my tai chi. I LOVED my first tai chi teacher and haven't found anyone else who's class I like.

7. I wouldn't have let statements by other destroy my confidence.

8. I'd have stayed BLONDE, even if I could achieve that chemically. Loreal 7A, I think.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


I HAD to share this you all right away ... because... well, because I have been whining for 12 days about it.

The story:

Got a phonecall this morning from United OHare that Steve's bag was there. They've been trying to contact him at someplace in Chicago (apparently), and finally decided to call his house. They were SHOCKED that a trace had been placed on this bag and they never knew.

But then the explanation made it all clear.

Steve had not removed the old flight tag from when he flew into Chicago... and the person at the counter had somehow not put a new flight tag on the bag. Or it fell off. Or she put on the new tag and then removed IT instead of the old tag. Or something.

So Chicago has been holding a bag from an Oakland flight to OHare trying to track him down... and Oakland has talking to OHare about a bag destined for Oakland. Same bag, different tags. No connection.

The bag is coming home on the next flight, and will be in Oakland at 8 tonight. They are writing a letter requesting that it be delivered this evening if possible. Steve is off for Japan the end of the week, so the timing is almost perfect. (so much better than replacing everything in the next couple days).

The phonecall came just minutes before I left to replace the camera and the bag... saved me a good $300 that I don't really have to spend. Phweeew...


I'm going to be replacing my lost digital camera this camera. There may be photos by later today.

1. Hit Best Buys and get a camera.

2. Walk the dogs.

3. Finish up euc., work on leaves.


Monday, June 06, 2005

For Monday

A couple weeks ago I showed you a small piece that was hand painted, machine stitched and then hand stitched. I wasnt' sure what to do with it next. I've decided. Virginia Spiegel is holding a fund raiser for American Cancer Society, and has asked for donated artist's cards. I sewed 4 postcards to the back, then cut the piece up. I also sealed the stitching with gel medium to make it easier to send them through the mail. When Virginia gets back from her trip, the cards will be waiting for her to upload to the site.

For Monday:

1. Go to Radston's for an envelope and to make copies of the sketches for the building department. The midwest is HOT and here it's cool enough I wore my flannel jacket. Both women at the store want me to quote on making them one just like it (well, one wants purple). Now I have to decide if I want to custom make a couple jackets for the cash.

2. Mail the cards, then visit city hall. (finger's crossed).
Still no building permit. But the city engineer worked with me to nail down some questions/concerns and get things moving along. We need to make a few changes to the drawing, and add a comment on one or two pieces of hardware and hopefully tomorrow or Wednesday the deed will be done. After blasting him last week, I feel it necessary to say the guy is working with me and saving me about $5000 in engineering costs. (THAT IS NOT A TYPO). This for $3000 job. (wood is expensive).

3. walk the dogs.

4. bind eucalyptus and continue making leaves.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Recognizing a Stroke


Susie is recuperating at an incredible pace for someone with a massive stroke all because Sherry saw Susie stumble -- that is the key that isn't mentioned below -- and then she asked Susie the 3 questions. So simple - - this literally saved Susie's life. Suzie failed all three tests, so 911 was called. Even though she had normal blood pressure readings and did not appear to be having a stroke, as she could converse to some extent with the Paramedics they took her to the hospital right away.

Read and Learn!

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

*Ask the individual to SMILE.

*Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

*Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE.

If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

After discovering that a group of nonmedical volunteers could identify facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems, researchers urged the general public to learn the three questions. They presented their conclusions at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting last February. Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of the stroke and prevent brain damage.


Saturday, June 04, 2005

Living a day with no Virtue...

Of course I HAD to read DebR.'s post about 20 Virtuous days ... and her link to Joshylin Jackson's FASTER THAN KUDZU blog and the whole explanation of 20 viruous days. (basically eating well, exercising and getting in shape).

And ofcourse I had to read this just before we headed to the town's CULTURAL FESTIVAL. We went there for lunch. First we walked among the booths for the banks, realtors, and the civic activities (police, fire, library, etc.). Picked up our freebies (pens, key rings, and a pedometer). But we really went for food.

Most of the food booths set up, and get high school students to work for them for the weekend. They sell a variety of foods (we are a culturally diverse community) with most lunches going for $5. And all the profits go to the civic projects.

So STeve had the POLISH DOG WITH THE WORKS FOR EXPLORERS (the high school police training program). I was torn between the HAWAIIAN HAND ROLL (spam, rice and a seaweed wrap) FOR THE LIBRARY or the CHINESE SAMPLER FOR SCHOOL ARTS. I went with the art.

In case you are interested, we passed up: soul food, filipino food, bbq, southern catfish, hotdogs, and several others cuisines. All this in a town with a population of 20,000.

While we were dining on the lawn under the trees, we discussed tonight's big entertainer: Pete Escovedo. He's a big name latin jazz master who will be playing at 6 pm.

And we decided to come back down to the listen to him. And to pick up our FUNNELCAKE FOR THE SENIOR CENTER at that time.

I'm living virtuosly today... but in a totally different way.

Why my husband married me.

I make him laugh.

Sometimes I make him laugh intentionally.... but often he just finds what I say funny.

An example:

Last week I made stuffed peppers for supper one night. There was all this meat mixture left, with a little bit of rice mixed in. I formed it into a loaf shape and baked it off at the same time. (logical, yes? Part of it had been frozen before, so I couldn't freeze it (I usually just freeze the leftover stuffing and use it the next time.) )

So last Saturday I told him that the brown lump under plastic wrap in the fridge was "supposed to be meatloaf for lunch sandwiches."

Now my husband is a physical-analytical chemist. Does that sound the kind of person who would NOT take things literally? So he stops playing his computer game, turns and looks at me...

"If it's supposed to be meatloaf, what is it really??" laughing all the while...

He ate it anyway.

A couple of hours later I had to start thinking about supper that night. Now my usual MO is to cook some meat (usually on the grill), maybe make a salad, and throw some veggie into the microwave to heat. I really find thinking about veggies hard. So I often forget to prep them when they are fresh and they turn into ugly soggy brown-black messes in the fridge. Life would be so much easier/healthier if I could easily deal with veggies. But this is only partly about veggies...

I looked in the meat compartment.

All I had thawed was breakfast link sausages. And I did not want a breakfast supper. We needed to eat some veggies. Veggies aren't big in a breakfast supper.

So I had to go up and ask (because the answer was not obvious to me)...

Uhm... we are having sausages and applesauce... and what hot veggie goes with that??

Now when I care, I am a good cook. But I've been making dinner for a family since I was 12... 42 years. So obviously the charm has departed this particular activity. I often just look at it as an exercise to provide the right nutrition. And do it about 20 minutes. (I'll admit it... for us that mean I need to make us eat veggies. I really have to work at eating veggies. I say that a lot. Do something about? Not so much).

But I think that dinner was probably one of my low points.

BTW, Steve went with lima beans; I went with brussel sprouts.

Don't ask.

But I bet you laughed (before you gagged).

Friday, June 03, 2005

A funny story

Courtesy of my friend motorcycle Debbie... ( yet another DebR....)

The Curtain Rods

She spent the first day packing her belongings into boxes, crates and suitcases. On the second day, she had the movers come and collect her things. On the third day, she sat down for the last time at their beautiful dining room table by candlelight, put on some soft background music, and feasted on a pound of shrimp, a jar of caviar, and a bottle of Chardonnay.

When she had finished, she went into each and every room and deposited a few half-eaten shrimp shells dipped in caviar, into the hollow of the curtain rods.

She then cleaned up the kitchen and left.

When the husband returned with his new girlfriend, all was bliss for the first few days.

Then slowly, the house began to smell. They tried everything, cleaning, mopping, and airing the place Vents were checked for dead rodents, and carpets were steam cleaned. Air fresheners were hung everywhere. Exterminators were brought in to set off gas canisters, during which they had to move out for a few days, and in the end they even paid to replace the expensive wool carpeting.

Nothing worked.

People stopped coming over to visit. Repairmen refused to work in the house. The maid quit. Finally, they could not take the stench any longer and decided to move. A month later, even though they had cut their price in half, they could not find a buyer for their stinky house.

Word got out, and eventually, even the local realtors refused to return their calls. Finally, they had to borrow a huge sum of money from the bank purchase a new place.

The ex-wife called the man, and asked how things were going. He told her the saga of the rotting house. She listened politely, and said that she missed her old home terribly, and would be willing to reduce her divorce settlement in exchange for getting the house back.

Knowing his ex-wife had no idea how bad the smell was, he agreed on a price that was about 1/10th of what the house had been worth, but only if she were to sign the papers that very day.

She agreed, and within the hour his lawyers delivered the paperwork.

A week later the man and his girlfriend stood smiling as they watched the moving company pack everything to take to their new home, including the curtain rods.


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A suggestions for all travelers...

United still hasn't found the luggage. They are sending us the paperwork to file a claim for lost luggage. And the voice-activated computer assistance has stopped understanding me. (geez, even a male computer is confused by me...)

Now my suggestion for all travelers:

Make a list of what you take with you when you travel. What OTC meds are in your cosmetic case? What rx. drugs? Spare glasses? etc.

We are in the process of recreating the contents of his bag. As we write things down, I go online and try to find the replacement costs. Steve's boss has told him to file an expense report on all the lost items, so we shouldn't lose anything financially... but the time spent in shopping and shipping is going to be a pain. I'm trying to convince him that lost shirt from Hilo Hattie's means we have to go back to Hawaii.

I know I have a packing list in my PALM. Never used it, but... and I don't think it would too hard to set a database up in Excel... it's just thinking to do it before you need it.

So far, we've replaced 2 pairs of Dockers and 3 pairs of socks.

Oh joy.

I apologize for a picture sparse blog for a while. Pretty soon I'm gonna hafta borrow someone's camera long enough to take a couple pictures...

Wednesday ToDo

How time flies. It's cleaning Wednesday again. (the floors are looking really "furry").

1. Clean the house.

2. Continue making leaves. (aim for 20).

3. Work on the "simple sketch" for the city. (HAH!!)

4. Empty the rolling compost bin and spread that among the shrubs. Let Steve reload it tonight.

5. Start organizing books to take to the used book store, and fabric to take to the consignment quilt shop.