Friday, September 29, 2006

I'm Back!

I am exhausted! I think emotional stress is far more wearing on a person than physical stress. And living with an 84 year old for a week--- well, it's different.

I now know that I may be a good cook in general, but I am a lousey cook for someone with dentures.

I have to wean myself from watching television with the volume cranked up to maximum. I also have to stop myself from calling everyone on televison or the news "that asshole" as my Dad does about a bazillion times a day. Each and every day I would call my husband to report the "daily expletive" and some of them were quite creative.

I now know the two dogs are named Buddy and Punky and not "you assholes". My Dad had a stroke a few years ago and he still has trouble with his speech. When in doubt he goes with the word he can always say. Interesting isn't it?

I will forever remember the absolute JOY on my father's face when the doctor told him he could mow the grass again. On his riding mower. And then I sat on the front and back porch to watch--just in case-- and, well, I hope I have something in MY life that makes me that happy when I am 84.

I read a book. I made four applique (by hand) borders using dull scissors to cut the fabric for reverse applique. I listened to my Dad talk about the things he wanted to talk about. I drove the car (and Dad) to the store and doctor. I had a very nice time and I am happy I went.

When I returned to my own little house, I found it very clean. My husband had spent his three days off cleaning, vacuuming, and putting stuff away. He even did laundry. Everything looks fabulous. This sort of made up for the letter from the IRS.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

And Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Life

After a 24 hour, "post party" depression, I am now my regular old self. Even have clean teeth thanks to my dental professionals. I also have a letter for my oral surgeon-- removal of two teeth. I don't have a time limit on when to do that. One wiggles and one is slowly falling apart. Hey, that sounds like other parts of me as well.

Sorry for the blurry picture. My husband attached my little digital camera to this honking big tripod and I haven't been able to dis-attach it so I can take pictures. The tripod is supposed to limit the blurry-ness caused by pressing your finger down on the "take this picture" button. I think I need a tiny tripod.

Tomorrow I leave for Ohio and a week with my Dad. I spoke to him yesterday and he sounded so good. He did have two of my brother's friends over--cooking, cleaning and doing laundry. At least I'll have clean bedding. I know I'll be cooking all his favorites while I'm there. I just hope the aluminum foil on his television antenna picks up CBS. Survivor, CSI and Shark are all on on the night I arrive. He loves cable tv when he visits me but will not "buy" tv for himself. Since you can get it "free" with enough wire, aluminum foil and creative pinning and clipping of said wire and foil to the window curtains. I just love how the shapes and ghosts float in and out of the picture. Not! Sometimes, it's like you're watching three channels at once. And when cars go by the house--well, that's real special.

He's going to the doctor today. To complain about his brand new pacemaker/defibrillator. My Dad changes doctors like some people change clothes. If they tell him something he doesn't want to hear--well, they are a**holes and he's off to find a new doctor. Now he's complaining that they have to replace the battery in the brand new pacemaker in two years. See, my dad has a drawer in the fridge full of dead batteries. Somehow, the cold and moist air in the fridge is going to bring them back to life. He probably thinks he can goose that pacemaker battery into a third or fourth year of service by sitting on the sunporch during the winter.

This is a guy who pressed a doorbell installed on his dash in the car--- to wash the car windows. The doorbell was 37 cents and the VW replacement part was $49.

This is also a guy who reads this blog-- Hi, Dad! Love You.

I can't really say too much. After all-- I make my best art quilts from stuff in my wastebasket. My father's daughter.

Monday, September 18, 2006

It's My Birthday!

I've got the pot roast in the crockpot (my favorite dinner) and my birthday cake is in the oven and I've already called work to say I may be late because of the cake.

I'm 60 today. Don't feel like it.

Didn't plan ahead to have a jazzy photo at the top--maybe later today. So if you read my blog-- and I know that 24 people a day read me-- leave a comment today. Introduce yourself. I'd love to hear from you. Especially today.

It's My Birthday! And I just love everyone today. The sun is shining. I'm going to drive with the top down. And I'm just a happy gal today. Hope you are too.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Good Wife of 1955

I got this as an email and laughed so hard. Could the 1950's woman have read this with a straight face. It's very "Pleasantville".

1. Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before. This is a way to let him know that you have been thinking of him and his needs. ( see #3)

2. Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest and you'll be refreshed when he arrives. ( I'd prepare myself but not by resting-- I'm thinking Tequila)

3. Don't complain if he's late coming home for dinner or even stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he may have gone through during the day. (I'd count this as a good reason to change the locks)

4. Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash their faces and hands. Change their clothes and keep them quiet. (drugs or duct tape?)

5. Be happy to see him. ( Now why would you be happy? This guy is not contributing to your happiness on little bit. )

6. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him. (LOL, if my husband had been greeted by a warm smile during those "bumpy" times, he would have run, screaming from the house.)

7. Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but let him talk first. Remember his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
( No comment. Nothing I have to say is important)

8. Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead try to understand his world of strain and pressure. ( are you thinking "lap dance"?)

9. Have a cool drink ready for him. (!)

10. Arrange his pillow and take off his shoes. ( how many of you are arranging that pillow over his face?)

11. Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgement or integrity. Remember he is the master of the house and as such will always exercize his will with fairness and truthfulness.

12. A good wife always knows her place.

I think I'll just revert to the "Pirate's Code of Conduct" on this one. Savvy?

Friday, September 15, 2006

I've Got Mail

This is my polka dot mailbox. Where I get MAIL. And I am usually delighted to find something other than bills and junk mail in the box. Today I got another PACKAGE!

This is blurry but it is ME. 100%. Thank you Deborah for "knowing" who I am. That means the world to me. And I love my second postcard. Kathy sent me one a week or so ago and now I have two. A third one and I'll have a "collection". The hand painted fabric with your fabulous hand written words. I just LOVE it. Today is turning out to be a fabulous day.

Today is the 38th anniversary of the day I married the man who is everything to me. Husband. Friend. Provider. Handyman. Gardener. First Responder to my injuries. He takes very good care of me. I hope he can say the same of me.

We got married by a justice of the peace in a small town hall. Had a quiet dinner with both sets of parents and my grandmother. No siblings. I still don't know why they weren't there. And after a slice of cake, we got into the car and drove to our college--school was starting-- and our life together was starting also.

We had a VERY bumpy first 10 years. Yes, ten years. Well, actually it may have been more like a bumpy 20 years. I know that today's young marrieds would have given up in those 10 (20) years and gone about the business of finding a new husband or wife. We didn't. We took care of each other even when we weren't speaking to each other. Sounds weird. But we are both very stubborn, difficult, opinionated, creative, hard working and dependable people. And the last 18 years have made all the "toil and trouble" of the first 20 worth while. Anne Tyler writes about this kind of marriage.

I don't recommend my marriage to the faint of heart. Our two children have failed to commit to marriage and family and I think being witnesses to our marriage may be the reason. Though they may not have found a worthy adversary yet.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

SuperNova Runway

I was saying that Lukas was going to win SuperNova Rockstar from the beginning and everyone said I was nuts. I never said Lukas was GOOD. I said he'd win. Big difference.

Kayne FINALLY went auf. And Vincent and Angela got DOUBLE Auffed!!

Life is good.

Survivor Tonight! We'll see which ethnic groups can swim/make fire/stay dry at night/find food. My money is on the Asian/American group. And I'm not Asian.

And for anyone who cares: Big Brother was great this season. Who doesn't love Will and Boogie? and the always lovely Barbie. Oh, I meant Janelle.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Whistle While You Work

In other words-- enjoy what you do.

This quote from my "Painter's Keys" letter for today on tips on getting the most out of your work day.

"Work doggedly, one thing after the other.
Begin work early, finish many things each day.
Work on what comes to hand, what demands attention.
Have rough plans--work them daily.
Rest from the work--look at the water."

I read this and reflected on my most productive and least productive work periods. When I had a deadline and allocated a certain amount of work to each day--I got a tremendous amount of work--and truly GOOD work done. When I just sit and say " oh, I have so much to get done" I rarely get anything done.

I work best from a very specific list of tasks to do. Broken down into segments. If I am working on a raw edge applique piece then making/cutting pieces might be one segment. The next the gluing down of these loose pieces. Then the zigzag topstitching with invisible thread with a stabilizer of doctor's examination table paper underneath. This part takes the longest and a good book on tape or loud, operatic music helps move me along.

The next part is my least favorite--always a disaster-- squaring up and evening all the sides. This is where I go astray. Wander off. Procrastinate. Then my second least favorite part. Backing (choosing) and batting. I don't like this because I don't have a large surface, free and clean, to work on. I think the surface is also the reason I don't do well on the squaring up. What usually happens is that I spend so much time cleaning the house looking for a good "spot" to work that I never get anything backed and batted.

Once a piece has backing (finally!), then the work segments are quilting and choosing and making the binding. I think of binding as "jewelry" for the piece and I spend quite a bit of time auditioning all manner of fabric until I find "the one" that makes the piece sing. I think the binding should "represent and repeat" the themes in the quilt body.

Quilting. I let the piece tell me what it needs or doesn't need as quilting. My biggest criticism of pieces in quilt shows is the quilting. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Too much of the wrong stuff can destroy a good design. And that's all I'm going to say.

So while writing this post, I have also blanched and peeled and seeded all the tomatoes on my counter and will now pack them in freezer bags. I also made a big pot of fresh tomato and basil soup for my husband's supper. I have fresh salsa to make (tomato, red onion, jalapeno and lime juice) and then a shower and to work at the library. Where I am always very happy. I hope you are too.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

You Are What You Eat

How do you like your eggs? Over Easy.

How do you take your coffee/tea? Coffee has to be weak, decaffinated with sugar and lots of cream. Tea is my drink of choice. Decaf with sugar. I love sweet tea when I'm south of the Mason-Dixon and usually ask for it "half and half". Half sweet, half unsweetened, lots of ice.

Favorite breakfast foods: Old fashioned Oatmeal in the microwave with sugar and a splash of 1 percent milk. Rye toast, double toasted with some carbon on it and butter.

Peanut butter: smooth or crunchy? Extra Crunchy Jif. No jelly. Ever!

What kind of dressing on your salad? EVOO, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Or peppercorn ranch with extra pepper on a Greek Salad.

Coke or Pepsi? Diet Decaf Coke with lots of ice and a wedge of lime squeezed over it. I also let the full cup sit for at least 30 minutes before drinking it. I like it "watery".

You're feeling lazy. What do you make? Kraft Mac and Cheese. And I make it soupy and eat ALL of it. The boxed set from Target is good ( when it's cheaper)

You're feeling really lazy. What kind of pizza do you order? Pepperoni, the spicy kind and lots of full fat cheese on a nice chewy, but not thin, crust. Carbs and FAT.

You feel like cooking. What do you make? Pan sauteed pork steaks, baked potatoes, green beans and homemade applesauce. Roast pork, sauerkraut and potato dumplings. Fried chicken, fried yellow squash and onions, rice and sliced tomatoes. Fried, breaded eggplant. Jamie Oliver's Wild Mushrooms with Pasta.

Do any foods bring back good memories? Most of my memories of good food involve my grandmother. Dumplings, rye bread, strudel, green bean soup. Gram could make anything and it was divine.

Do any foods bring back bad memories? Anything my mother cooked. The worst was small diced bits of liver in some kind of sauce served with mashed potatoes. It was like eating erasers. And fish. Ick!

Do any foods remind you of someone? Cheese Pierogi= my daughter. Chicken Potstickers and Goulash = my son. Pork Steaks = my husband.

Is there a food you refuse to eat? I prefer to never eat fish but if I'm a guest at dinner and fish is served I will eat it and not make a fuss and ruin the cook's evening.

What was your favorite food as a child? Oh, I loved this. A slow cooked Hungarian stew of veal and pork with tomatoes and vegetables over bread dumplings. Gram made it for me. Especially for me.

Is there a food that you hated as a child but now love? No.

Is there a food that you loved as a child but now hate? Chicken Gizzards.

Favorite fruit & vegetable: All of them.

Favorite junk food: Salt. and I don't care too much what it's attached to--I just want, crave, salt.

Favorite between meal snack: If it's between meals and I'm hungry-well, truth be told--I eat. Saltines with butter. Saltines with cheese. A peanut butter sandwich.

Do you have any weird food habits? Weird? I've never had someone say to me--"are you really going to eat that?" so I guess not.

You're on a diet. What food(s) do you fill up on? Everything. If you or I say I'm on a diet, then I'm eating everything in sight. Never even think about a diet around me.

You're off your diet. Now what would you like? Ready? Salad. Veggie sandwiches. Indian food.

How spicy do you order Indian/Thai? I ask for medium heat and when I get my food I always wish they had added more heat.

May I get you a drink? Margarita, on the rocks, salt with extra "squeeze" on the side. Gin and tonic with crushed ice--so it's REALLY COLD and a wedge of lime. Ice water with lemon.

Red wine or white? Red. A Pinot Noir or Merlot. Spanish or California. Dark, rich, chewy.

We only have beer: Corona. On the rocks, salted rim and big wedge of lime.

Favorite dessert? Banana Pudding. The one at Red, Hot and Blue in Maryland is my all time favorite. The one at Sonny's BBQ is damn fine also. The chocolate cake with warm ganache and whipped cream at Macaroni Grill.

The perfect nightcap? TiVo.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

On Being Positive

The days are going by.... and I'm not sleeping all day, eating cheese sandwiches all day or crying, so things are looking up.

Been working at the library. Those three day holidays are a killer. We are still trying to dig out from under the huge piles of returned books, movies and audio books. Looks like everyone did a pre-school clean up over the weekend and brought back all the library materials they had. On Friday I shelved two carts of non-fiction after my 4 hour "standing on my feet" shift in circulation. That may not have been my best plan ever. But we needed empty carts for the "holiday returns". I was going to shelve a third cart (there were FIVE), when my daughter showed up looking for company to eat dinner with. And I was hungry.

I also have been dropping things, knocking things over etc. Glass. So I have a through floor washing in my future to make sure I've gotten all the glass bits up.

Working till 6 pm today and then my committee meeting from 7 to 9. Still trying to save the old high school building (1936) from the wrecking ball. I have learned something. I don't like committees. We've been meeting for 9 weeks and have accomplished exactly--NOTHING!

I volunteered for a sub-committee and the three of us have accomplished everything. The RFQ, the interviews, the consultant choice. I even got the timeline revision going last week by suggesting a timeline no one liked. That will get them going like wildfire. And then they felt sorry for me-- because my timeline was so terrible. I love manipulating people. Especially when they are clueless.

My oatmeal is ready. Time for breakfast.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Just Another Rainy Day

I started the day in a better mood. And I've been watching the TNT marathon of the "Closer" one of my favorite shows on television. Tonight is the season finale. I think Brenda and the chief are relieved of duty. In disgrace. Brenda shouldn't have thrown those pictures into the trash at work. She should have burned or shred them.

I've been drawing up draft designs of some of the quilt ideas swimming around in my head. I had a quilt hanging at the library last month--one that I "drew" on paper first. It really was much better than the ones I make sort of "freehand". More like cutting as I go. The above drawing has a few of the red dahlias from my garden. They are finally blooming. Deep, dark and very red. If there is some sunshine tomorrow I'll try and get a photo. Yummy. Especially the lime green centers.

I also made a tray of green beans-- oven roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bobby Flay tossed on some garlic and shallot when he made his. 425 degrees for 30 minutes till wrinkled and browning. I ate them all for lunch. Delicious.

Pizza and beer for dinner tonight when G gets home from work. He's working the "mid-shift" today. 10 am to 6:30. Saw a beer cocktail on the Food channel. Tall glass, ice, tequila, beer and a wedge of lime. They called it a "Cowboy Cocktail". Bet it will taste good with pepperoni pizza.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I Am SO Depressed!

I'm posting cheerful pictures to try and pretend I'm cheerful. You wouldn't want to see pictures of a deep, dark hole in the ground would you? This is one of my three monkeys. They have costumes and hang off the bookcase to cheer me on when I'm working. This one is the "party" monkey. The one with her paws over her eyes--- that's the one I most resemble right now.

Wow! Aren't these great fabrics? I've been seeing numbered fabric in some items being posted from Portland, OR and I was lusting after them. At the World Quilts show last month a vendor had these cuties for sale. The swirls came in like a gazillion colors and I wanted ALL of them. But we're on a budget now, so I got the two I couldn't live without and left the others behind. Maybe that's why I'm so sad????

Yesterday I watched a creepy movie in the afternoon and tried to read a book. Nothing worked for me. So I made soup ( fresh tomato and basil) for G and made Patty's Brown Rice for myself. Sauteed onion, celery and garlic in butter and oil and then sauteed the rice ( 3 cups brown Lundberg) with it and added 1 T chili powder and some cayenne and 6 cups of veggie stock and let it simmer for an hour. Creamy, spicy, chewy. Had some cucumbers and radishes with it. Next time I'll reheat it with some cheese and sour cream. Really, I can have it for every dinner. The little black dress of vegetarian meals that you can dress up or down with whatever else you have in the fridge or garden.

Sonji had these great melted beads on her blog. Now I want to make some. Also Sonji had a link to Alma Stoller and I read her tutorials on these funny stuffed beads she makes. Want to make those also. And I read about tar gel and a heat press in J Pettit's blog (linked to Deborah's Journal) where she painted and tar gelled tissue and paper to canvas and plans to sew it all to a tote bag. I REALLY want to do that. I need a GROUP! People who DO Things! I need to have some artistic, in person, stimulation. I'm MELTING!!!!!! Into a puddle of depression.

I've got laundry to do. Clean out the fridge. Make supper. Match socks. Fold. Cry.