Sunday, March 30, 2008

More Erasers

I spent my last three dollars on another package of polymer erasers so I could make 8 more letters for my alphabet. I will cut the erasers into 2/3 and 1/3 sections so I can use the bigger piece for the tall letters and the small section for the small, squat letters. I'm wondering if my "i" will be a tall or squat stamp. Depends on the size of the dot. Or DOT. I was thinking of using the wider "magic" erasers for the "w" and the "m".

My collage from Friday. This is a photocopy of a school photograph my mother took. She must have come into school one day and took a picture of me with my teacher. Could have been my birthday. I look pretty excited (for me) and I have on what looks like a new dress. For the collage I cut out the dress shapes and placed a cute piece of fabric under the paper. The dress was blue, but not this cute. I was eight.

The sun is shining today. I was reading my journal from March 2006 and there was a warm day when I had the top down on my car. And, oddly enough, I was pissing and moaning about the same crap as I am in 2008. The bills, the checkbook, and the taxes still not done. And the entries in my journal were way more interesting than the pages of dreck I am penning this spring. I have been tempted to just tear huge bunches of pages out of the journal. Better yet, I will fill the remaining pages with pretty pictures from magazines and move on to the next journal--- a new, red covered book. Red. The color for 2008. Angry, sexy, full of life.

I have decided NOT to think, plan or contemplate renovating my kitchen. I can maybe get new appliances someday, if needed, but it's a good straightforward kitchen with custom cabinets and the whole thing was built "on site" so taking any part of it away--you end up damaging everything. Cherry. And it works well for cooking. How many can say that? So instead of a new, hardwood floor we will glue the loosened "beta" Pergo flooring to the subfloor and be done with it. This is 22 year old, real wood, laminate. Everyone thinks it's just real wood. And it is bleaching out nicely in the sun.

What I really need is a wonderful, modern master bath with a walk-in shower. Glass tiles in a seafoam green or sky blue. After 22 years of waiting, it may just be time.

I wrote this at noon and then my internet connection disappeared but the post was saved in draft form, so now I'm finishing it. In the hours since, I found about a dozen packages of erasers I had purchased and in reading that 2006 journal, I read the entry where I had purchased them. Like 2 years to this very date. Spooky.

And I found my multi colored stamp pads and my permanent ink stamp pad. The only really interesting thing was that the erasers I found were in a container that held everything I had bought or found on the trip to Georgia in March 2006. Sort of a time capsule. Stuff I thought I HAD to have and really never thought of again when it was lost. Until today, when I found it.

What I'm Doing Today: Jane Austen on PBS. Reading "The Other Boleyn Girl"-- Anne isn't Queen yet. Isn't dead yet. Now I want to read more about the Tudors. wonder if this author did anymore on them? Will check. Still have the bills to pay!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


iHanna has me all fired up about stamping. I had purchased polymer erasers at Staples about 2 years ago and planned to make an alphabet. I made two stamps--and forgot to reverse the letters. And then I lost interest. Last night I whizzed along making all these letters plus a few more. It was lots of fun. And I made letters that actually SPELL something! I might make a new "e". It looks kinda fuzzy.

Here's my notebook. I had to write all the letters so I could SEE how to reverse them. And, of course, use the written alphabet as a "game board" stamping the finished letters. I have only two erasers left uncut--so I can make 4 more letters. Sigh!

I had some soft cutting squares (2.5 or 3 inches) so I cut a design into both sides (2 stamps) and because I was medicated (story later) I seemed more relaxed and didn't over think the design and they turned out rather nice. This is the first one printed four times. I used the new stamp pad I bought with my 40% off JoAnn's coupon last weekend. Not the best stamp pad. Dry. I like juicy ink.

About the medication. Gravity. And a 65 pound puppy eager to smell another dog's butt. One moment of inattention and I got pulled off my feet and flat onto the ground yet again. I took the medication "in case" I stiffened up, but, as usual, no real injury except to my pride. Both dogs stayed real close to my prone body as the treats in my pocket were close to hand (or paw). Riley was very interesting. As soon as Tessa showed an interest in me, Riley came over and pushed his way between us. Of course, that meant he was standing ON me. I have a few asphalt burns on my hand as a reminder, and after getting up off the ground, Riley and I did the 2 mile walk as usual. I'm a trooper.

G got called in to work this afternoon (his day off) so we tried to do all our errands pretty quickly. Library, return items to LL Bean, lunch. Riley is sleeping right now, we will walk around 3:30 and then a quiet evening. I could go out and buy more erasers. Or not.

I came up with a Program for our April Chapter Meeting and I guess I should make up some samples. And I found tutorials for an "Un Paper Bag" aka tote bag and for making buttonholes. Remember I was going to finally learn how to make a buttonhole in 2008? Both of these projects dovetail nicely with my Program Idea. The list of materials for the tote bag include "medium sew in interfacing". Hum. New to me. Could I use something else?

My program is to make a "Potluck Tote" to carry reusable dishes to meetings when we have a potluck (or any meeting where refreshments are going to be eaten/drunk). So we can stop buying/using/disposing of paper products. Everyone is doing pretty great with bringing a mug to meetings (wish they would also bring a spoon to stir their coffee and a small plate to carry their cookies and a cloth napkin) so they MIGHT be interested in this project. We'll be making a raw edge applique for the front of the tote. Think Pamela Allen style.

My "green-ness" is an example of how German I became in my 6 years as an ex-pat. And of course, my American elementary school teachers (K-3) required everyone in class to produce a clean cotton handkerchief every morning after the Pledge. Yes, they did. I still have clean, ironed hankies ready for inspection. And I also know where to go in case of an "atomic bomb" and let's not forget "Polio". It's incredible we grew up to be such whiny, driven, self absorbed Baby Boomers isn't it? We should be OCD and hiding in a closet (with the light on).

What I'm Doing Today: Not much. I may iron. Starch and iron. With steam.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One Seedling (so far)

One small step for the garden. One little tomato seedling, your upper right, has managed to germinate. And, proudly, I saved the seed for this little trooper, myself. Red Zebra. Or Red Lightning as it's called now. Everything else is just cold dirt. I have the lids open and the sun is shining on them, hopefully. Calendula look like they might be trying to send up a stem.

I had to go back a step. I was floundering without the backup of my Food Diary. I was eating, but kept thinking I was eating like a "pig at the trough" when in reality, after writing it all down, it didn't even total 1400 calories. I was snacking. Not having a real lunch. That's not a good habit to get into since I remained hungry thru the day and wasn't even full after eating my homemade lentil soup. Two servings. So I got out a new Food Diary and wrote the dates on each of the pages. I will do the Diary until next January. See how things go. My weight hasn't changed since January even though I have started eating more calories and done less walking. Clothes still fit. I don't think I will see any further weight loss until summer walking begins. And I eat lots of melon and pineapple in the summer. I would like to lose 10 more pounds for a total of 90 pounds lost. I was going for 100. But I don't think it will happen.

Sorry, I had promised no more diet talk on the blog.

My clutter free dining room table. For my son. He says "seeing is believing". Things are starting to reappear on the table's surface. My library book pile is in the upper right. They are going back tomorrow. G has his pile of newspapers and catalogs. I look them over quickly and toss them, but G likes to look at every page while he eats breakfast. In the center we have G's pill containers and the ever present Kleenex box. We are a family of nose blowers.

My daughter (Slambo) is trying those pads you press onto the bottoms of your feet. To purify and cleanse the body. Five days and quite a bit less "nose blowing". And she says she wakes up ready to go. She has always been a "slow starter". And even a "non starter" on the weekends. So this is an interesting feature for her.

What I'm Doing Today: Walking the dog. Sitting on the back stoop with the dog in the sunshine. Seeing if I can download an instruction booklet for my camera off the internet. I thought I threw away the cell phone booklet. It's here. So I must have thrown away the camera booklet, which was the same size and shape. Slambo and I will be working on the pixel problems which developed when she and I changed my template in December. And I hope for some time to cut and paste stuff into my journal. And I want to cut my own stamp. Or cut some alphabet letters into erasers. Reversing them this time. Duh! I want to be bizzy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Smaller Pictures

I've made my blogger pictures smaller-- size small rather than medium. I'm kinda bummed about it so far as I like the picture part of the blog somewhat more than the written part. I'll have G work on the pixels. Whatever they are. I also limited the number of posts on view at one time. I never had any problems reading my blog. Never really as slow as some of the others I load. But you have all said it's slow loading so I'm going to believe you!

I haven't eaten my oatmeal yet or had my coffee. Riley woke us up at around 1:30 am with "unfinished business" and he needed to go OUT! Riley and G have just returned from their morning walk. Busy guys. G works the afternoon into evening shift today.

We've been watching "Dancing with the Stars" and Penn is hilarious. Shrek Dances. I think they will keep him around for a few weeks just for a good laugh. There are plenty of others who can go home first. Monica Seles. Ugh! Wonder what Elvis would think of Priscilla dancing on television???

G doesn't know what a pixel is. Oh, bother.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Blogger is Back

It wasn't blogger. It was my laptop. Yesterday my husband and daughter sat here fiddling with my little laptop and it was already a bit cranky. I re booted and everything should be okay now.

I did get comments that my pictures are HUGE and that I have too many pages running which can make for a slow load. I will work on those items. When I (daughter) changed my template in December I lost the neat ability to click on a picture and have it show up larger. Now if you click you get a picture big as the side of a barn. Not what I want or need. So I will see about fixing that. More likely, get someone else to fix it for me.

I ate the four leftover dinner rolls from yesterday's dinner. It was eat them or run them into the disposer and now that I give it serious thought--the disposer was a FAR BETTER CHOICE. I had decided when my last food diary was full, to stop writing down everything I eat. I thought I was ready to give up the diary. Nope. I have spent the past four days making some whoppers of diet mistakes. Eating stuff I would never have even been tempted to eat in the last 15 months. Completely OFF the rails as they say.

I also went to the grocery and the butter wasn't on sale today. So I had to buy full price butter, skimpy, small limes, no bananas, no grapefruit. Not my best day at the grocery. I did buy meat which is unusual. Pork Steaks. Lamb Chops. And Ground Beef. It's all in the freezer. I have no idea what to make for supper tonight. I'm full of yeast rolls and self loathing. (only kidding)

Riley gets home from Day Care at five and he and I will go for a 2 mile walk. It's sunny but cold here in Maine and G said we are having snow overnight Tuesday into Wednesday. Say it isn't so! I'm so VERY tired of winter. And my little sportscar is all salt encrusted and filthy.

What's Good Today: Sleeping in. Greek Salad for dinner with olives and feta. Sunshine even if it's cold.

What I'm Thinking About: Ways to make my too large linen shirts into smaller shirts I can wear. I have no dressmaker skills so this "idea" will have to be super easy, super simple. Wondering how many of you have laughed today? Out loud. I haven't yet.

Where Has Blogger Gone?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

White Trash Ham

Easter dinner will be White Trash Ham. I found a whole and a half ham that were NOT sliced into a spiral yesterday. The whole ham, exactly like the half, was $1.99 a pound and the half was $.99. I got the half. And a 2 liter bottle of classic Coke. Then the ham was placed in this nice big pot with an onion studded with cloves. The Coke was poured over and the ham was simmered. The aroma is odd. But tasty. Sort of like a BBQ ham

We are also having Au Gratin Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus, Steamed Brussels Sprouts, and Snowflake Rolls. For dessert New York Style Cheesecake and Raspberries from my 2007 garden.

I cleared off the dining room table, completely, and washed the surface with Murphy's Oil Soap. It smells very nice in here right now. All clean and soapy. I wanted to take a photo of the clean, bare surface so I would have some proof that it could be done. And, no, I don't know why all the words are underlined.

What's Good Today: sunshine, good food and family. Happy Easter, Everyone!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday, indeed!

Riley and I went for a walk this morning, and it was a very blustery day. But the sun is shining now and all is right with our little world. I closed the garage door on our way out for the walk, to keep chipmunks etc from entering while we are gone. We got back. Garage door wouldn't open. Now I live on a street with houses on acre lots. Not close to each other. Plus no one is ever home. Riley and I set out to find somebody with a phone so I could call G at work.

Three houses and no one home and then we see R is walking out to his mailbox. So HAPPY to see him. R & I decided to try a new battery in the garage door opener and tighten some screws. Riley and I walked back home and with a positive attitude that all would be okay. Pushed the button. Up it went. I was never so happy to see a garage door open in my life. I told R (he called to see if I was inside) that I owed him a bunch of cookies!

I have very little in the fridge so Riley had his "usual" and I am having vanilla yogurt, Grape Nuts and dried cranberries. We are waiting for his dog bed cover to dry. Then he'll take a nap and I will finish sewing the first borders to Ge's blocks.

I have decided to put on both a green and blue border. The blocks will alternate and will be green/blue or blue/green. Twenty five 18 inch blocks. I like square quilts. Ge has one green fabric I like very much and want to use it in all the blocks. Ge has several excellent blues but not enough to do all the blue borders. So the blues will vary. The first border on every block is a red, blue, green tiny floral on cream. Weird but it looks charming. Ge had an interesting way of choosing fabric. Not matchy. But with a "twist". I have to keep this in mind while making the blocks. And by using only fabrics she purchased, mostly, I will try to stay true to her version. Now that I have all the decisions made on size and borders, I think it will all move along quickly. I have one more center block to cut and sew. Then I will have to decide on placement which will determine who is B/G and who is G/B. Traditional quilt making is about 10% thinking and 90% repetition.

My daughter just called and invited me to join her for shopping at Walmart. I said "no".

What's Good Today: Pasta with Mushrooms for dinner. Sunshine. Being inside the house.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Here We Go, Go, Go

I keep all my art supplies handy so if the mood strikes and I want to color with pencils or paint something--it's all handy. Yesterday I sorted through my ripped out magazine pictures file, yet again. There were recipes mixed in AGAIN! How does this keep happening?

Today is G's regular day off and we try to do interesting things and have lunch in a restaurant so it's "special". He walked the dog in the morning and after I had my shower and breakfast we set off with the errands list I had written last evening. First stop, library. To return books and pick up Mary Kay Andrews newest "Deep Dish". I just LOVE this author. In fact, when I was in Atlanta, Mary Kay was in a bookstore, where we were shopping, signing her new book.

Second stop: Consignment shop Estilo to pick up my Flax linen shirts that haven't sold. Size large and really a big shirt. There is a woman who usually buys them, loves them and is delighted with them, but she didn't come in. So I took them back home. Along with a Chico's tee with Chinese text printed on white. Very cute.

Third stop: Dropping off job application for me. Not saying ANYTHING on this blog about this or any future job. Not!

Fourth stop: Eyeglasses adjusted because of puppy bouncey-ness. I found some really RAD frames which I thought looked very HIP. But in order to insert my prescription I have to give up the reading section of the tri-focals. Or the mid section and just have bifocals. Who needs reading when it's all about "fashion"?

Fifth stop: Lunch at 111 Maine. I had the roasted vegetable and mozzarella focaccia and the corn chowder. G had the grilled philly cheese steak and corn chowder. We had coffee and G had Key Lime Pie with whipped cream. Not as fantastic as last week's apple pie.

Sixth stop: LL Bean. I got little black ballerina flats and Perfect cropped pants for summer dog walking. I have been buying Perfect Pants in size medium but had to buy a large in the cropped pants. Why they cut everything different is a continuing problem with shopping at Bean's. The new cropped poplin pants were sized small also--so a 14 with a gap in the waist was my best fitting choice even though the size 12 jeans are too big for me. If I keep them, and I won't know till they send them next week (they didn't have them in stock in the flagship store) I will need to have them altered to fix the waist. About 3 or 4 inches too much. The tee I bought to go with the pink pants may not match (!!) so next Thursday we may be returning everything I bought today. I had the same pink and blue pants last spring in size 18 (when I was wearing a 16 in every other brand). Perfect cropped pants in XL. Demoralizing.

We got home in time for Riley to eat his dinner (he goes on the car ride with us and naps whenever we are out of the car) and go for his afternoon walk in the rain with me. We got nice and wet. By the time we got back, G was sound asleep on the living room couch. Now he and the dog are BOTH sound asleep.

What's Good Today: Good lunch, good day and with the husband and dog asleep--I can either read or go sew blocks together.

What's Not: 97 gallons of heating oil for $375. One month of 62/64 degree heating of our house with a turndown temp of 60 degrees (50 in our bedroom zone) overnight. Hannaford (where I shop) losing all our credit card info to hackers and thieves. The stock market and our retirement investments.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Butter & Eggs

For as long as I can remember I have been loath to use large quantities of butter and eggs in anything I cook or bake. By "large quantities" I mean more than 2 or 3 eggs and more than half a cup of butter. Not because of fat and calories. Because, for some reason, I think of butter and eggs as being "expensive". And that is just plain crazy talk!

Butter is 2 pounds for $4 at my grocery right this minute. The good stuff. And eggs. Three bucks for a dozen organic eggs. Practically free. But do these economic facts change my ways? No.

I just now made cake mix cookies for my husband's packed lunch. The recipe on the side of the box asked me to add brown sugar, vanilla, 2 large eggs and 1 stick of melted butter. I happened to have two sticks of butter in the freezer. If I had only one--- no cookies. But I melted that stick of butter and mixed it into the cake mix and stirred and mixed in chocolate chips and nuts. I licked my fingers and the bowl (as clean as the dog's bowl after his lunch). Boy, did it taste GOOD.


The cookies look GOOD too, but I won't eat them, as they contain chocolate chips and I can't stand chocolate chips. I used the Duncan Hines Deluxe Moist Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix and added dark chips and white chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. Baked them for 13 minutes so they are halfway between chewy and crisp. Let them cool a bit on the sheet before off loading to the cooling rack. I use a liner on my cookie sheets so nothing sticks.

But back to the butter and eggs thriftiness. Anyone else have this affliction? I have to say, that when I watch the television cooking shows, I have been know to gasp at the flagrant use of butter and egg parts. Barefoot Contessa uses POUNDS of butter to make CUPCAKES. And Paula Deen puts "a stick of butter" in everything she makes.

I did make cookies ONCE with a Gourmet Magazine recipe that called for a POUND of BUTTER. It made lots of cookies. It was one of those basic recipes that you can add things to to change the cookies so it seems like you made lots of different recipes. I made a big cake box full of cookies and tied it with string and carried it on the airplane (remember when you could do that?) to Florida. The other three or four couples sharing the vacation house on the ocean ate all the cookies immediately. I guess they were good-- I never got one.

What's Good Today: Buttery cookie dough. Life changing butter experience. I may just go out and purchase MORE butter and eggs. Great dog walk. Great breakfast red grapefruit. Survivor tonight.

What's Not: Snow. Enough already!!!!! My heart feels like it's clogging up from the butter I just ate.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pieces & Dreams

These are looking very cute. From Heather Bailey's new collection of fabrics and one Kaffe from my closet stash (the blue). Perfect for Ge's young granddaughter.

Found tulips in yellow for my G. His favorite color. I like dark pink tulips. I have these golden yellow flowers in a canning jar next to his placemat. They are opening nicely.

I had a dream last night. I don't usually dream, and if I do, don't remember them. The ones I do remember when I wake up are a "message" from my subconscious and I write them down. This dream took place in a one story house, more of a summer or southern cottage, on the banks of a stream. I have never dreamed of this house before. No garden. Hardly any furniture. My grandfather was there. I asked if he wanted a Sunday paper. He said yes, but we should wait to buy it when it was half price.

While watching the horrible financial news last night, about the fire sale going on in New York, and the employees of Bear Stearn going home on Friday evening with their company stock (401 K) at $30 and coming to work on Monday morning with it selling for $2 and no bailout for them. I got to thinking about the Great Depression of 1929. My father is still damaged by it. Saving jars, paper, tools, & food. Just in case. And it looks like "just in case" is right around the corner. And from what the talking heads are saying-- this depression will be much, much worse. We live further away from our food sources. Not many grow their own food in the backyard. Extended families don't live together. Or even nearby. Water, heat and fuel will be hard to find and too expensive to buy. No jobs.

My grandfather is saying to wait and buy when it's half price. Then save it. The company employees at Bear Stearns just lost their retirement 401K's. Didn't even have a chance at half price. $2. Can they get a cup of coffee?

What's Good Today: Still have time to plant seeds for a vegetable garden. Sun is shining. Puppy and owner are sleeping in the sunshine, sharing the dog bed. Good breakfast this morning: oatmeal, red grapefruit and Big House coffee.

What's Not: Snow and Rain tomorrow. GO AWAY!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Patty O'Furniture Day

My husband used to make funny (to him) nametags for his employees on St Patrick's Day. His favorite was always Patty O'Furniture. No one EVER gets it even when he says it for them.

I got a haircut today and new red nail polish. I feel so pretty! I also made a quick run to the grocery for a piece of corned beef, a cabbage, a rutabaga and some mustard. I had potatoes and carrots in the crisper. Needed the mustard because we like it squirted all over our boiled dinner. My corned beef is simmering away and after 2 hours I will put it into a hot oven to roast while the vegetables cook in the simmering water. Then it will all get served up with some of the stock, butter and the mustard. I mash everything up together on my plate. G likes everything separated on his plate. I think his mother served his food on one of those divided trays-- like a tv dinner. In fact, she probably served him more tv dinners than homemade dinners.

Still can't find an Easter ham that is NOT spiral sliced. I like my ham sliced thin. Thinner than the spiral slicing machine slices ham. I have really good knives and can slice a ham very thin by myself. I must be in the minority. Asparagus was on sale. And lemons.

I worked on cutting new blocks for Ge's quilt this morning. I have to keep in mind that this is her quilt and not mine. And stay out of my fabric closet. I made one fabric choice from my stash and I KNOW everyone will notice it. Polka dots. Ge wouldn't mind. I had to call for assistance. All my traditional quilt books are gone. I gave them to new quilters. So I was at loss as to what size a full size quilt is. I think Ge usually makes them full. And once I know what size I'm aiming for--I'll know how many blocks I need to make. I think it's going to be 24. Right now they are either 18 or 14 inches square depending on whether I use two or three borders around the centers. Cutting neat little squares (2.5 inches and 4.5 inches) was so sweet. Iron, fold, cut, trim, pile. Next up-- sewing them together into little 4 patches. Then into bigger four patches. By then I should know what size they will be, how many I am making, and how I will be doing the border strips. One thing each day.

Riley didn't want to sleep in his crate last night. Whimpering. He was sleeping soundly in the living room on his expensive dogbed before we put him in the crate. No dog bed in his crate since he chewed a bunch of holes in the cover and started pulling the fiberfill out of the liner. And I had left him OUT of the crate when I went out to eat Sunday afternoon (a first). He stayed on his kitchen dog bed. So now he thinks he should be able to sleep "out". He figures things out pretty darn quick!

What's Good Today: New red nail polish. Sunshine. Good dinner cooking on the stove.

What's Not: I put all the collected dog poop bags in a city garbage bag and left it by the garage. Something: squirrels, birds, etc? have torn the bags open. What a mess. G will be very upset when he sees what happened. And we will need to use ANOTHER $1.25 pay to throw bag. My fault.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

New Work

A new red piece in progress, pretty much open to alteration, as nothing is attached to anything. Conceptual at this point. It would have gone further but the dog wanted a walk.

I have posted the other two red pieces before, was going to do so again, but the photo I uploaded was ghastly--so blurry. I really need a camera with a larger viewing section or I need to use the enlargement device in iphoto to look at the images BEFORE loading them into blogger. Bad pictures are so totally unacceptable to me as the "eye candy" i.e. pictures is what I LOVE about blogging and the internet.

Riley and I walked and came upon an unexpected surprise--a Sunday New York Times in the street. No where near a house. So we brought it home with us. Delightful. And we got to visit with A and her son E out for a bike ride. E very kindly helped "train" Riley regarding small children as E is small. Riley is very nervous and over active around the little ones but SO eager to play with them. I gave E small treats to hold in his open palm and then we waited for Riley to approach and get the treat. Eventually, he came up close and sniffed E's clothes and let E touch his head. Enough for the first time.

Riley found a plastic food container to carry on the walk. Having something in his mouth on the walk is so satisfying to him. He even likes to carry a small rock in his mouth (like a hard candy) moving it around every once in a while and then spitting it out when he finds something better. He has carried home long metal plant stakes, tree branches, small trees and a large chunk of asphalt. His job. His work.

I have begun to notice that my choice of post title influences what I write or perhaps what I am thinking about writing influences the title. It is all a mystery to me. This post is all about work: the art, dog training and dog jobs. I am also thinking about getting a job. So work is on my mind. New work.

I have decided that my work should follow my passions from now on. So I will look into work opportunities relating to art, cooking and gardening as those are the things I enjoy the most. I turned on the television this morning for what remained of the CBS Sunday Morning program and Mr Osgood was saying the word Quilts. Ricky Timms in particular. Delightful. Serendipity. As what Ricky had to say about fabric and art and the sewing machine was what I needed to hear. And the music he creates on the piano!!!! I'm so happy I turned on the television at just the right "moment in time".

What's Good Today: It seems like just about everything is good today. The paper, Ricky, the walk, A&E. Yesterday's outing to our chapter all day work session/potluck was lightly attended due to snow falling overnight but it was still nice. Good crockpot lunch dishes. And I got all Ge's blocks unstitched and now I can replace the centers and sew the borders back on.

What's Not: Unstitching. Sewing the blocks back together. Piecing is NOT what I like to do but I am doing it to complete this final quilt for my friend Ge. I had to take it ALL apart in order to replace fabrics in the center blocks. It is what she wanted. New, better fabric choices had been purchased and washed and set beside the cutting table in the days and weeks before Ge's death. I am only following her directions.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Composted Coffee

I just wish the picture had come out clearer. This sums up the past two days. Too much coffee and a lot of recycling (trash or treasure?). Our UFO auction had a few bright moments but there were a number of things that should have gone right into recycling. I never would have had people BUY old magazines. Darlings, just GIVE them away!!! And two or three things that should have gone for major money were left to the very end and given away for $1 each. A design table. Custom made. For a dollar because they forgot to do it at the beginning.

The things I donated made some money. You just never know with these things. I came home with a yard of cool black and white fabric, a book of Hawaiian quilt patterns (?), and a big, dirty box of poly velvets. The crushed, stretchy kind--my favorites. Mostly dark colors and black. Like my coffee grounds. Have any of you discharged poly velvet? I'm going to try but it may be a disaster. I also was given some polyblend black dressmaker yardage. I wonder if that discharges? I only like black when it has splotches of other colors in an ink blot pattern. Then I adore it. I think I will try to emboss the velvet with one of the Indian wood printing blocks and a steam iron.

I had made an offer of a Program idea for the group--since we haven't had a program in ever so long. Well, instead, I was offered the Program job. And because I am trying to "open up" to new creative things, I said yes. But this isn't really a new thing, since I was Program person years ago for 2 maybe 3 years. Good times. So many complaints. And then so many compliments. Then more complaining. I would roll my eyes and keep moving. I can see why there are no other volunteers. If you are looking for a happy volunteer job -- get the one that involves refreshments. Now the new President who offered me the job has no sense of the "history" here (and she doesn't know ME at all) but I bet she'll be getting a number of phone calls and emails in the next few days. "What were you thinking?" Like I said, Good Times.

Today I walked the dog early. He seemed to think it was a good idea. Then my daughter showed up and we walked at the regular time so Riley must have been able to see into the future or something. He was terrible the second walk. Eating bad things. Jumping. Pulling. The daughter came by because she was hungry and had no food at home. I sent her back to her house with half a loaf of bread, one egg and one egg's worth of Egg Beaters. French Toast To Be.

I had bread and cheese for supper. Vegetable Sushi for lunch.

What's Good Today: Started work on a new Red Piece. I have two that are complete. This will make three singles or if I sew them together, one nice sized piece. From when I was angry about the library and all. So over that. Have on a J Crew cashmere pullover in chocolate brown. $5 at Goodwill. Matches my chocolate brown J Jill sailor corduroy pants also from Goodwill. I don't know what I would be wearing if it weren't for Goodwill. Thank you to everyone who recycles their clothing ! Grocery Store sushi. Tried it for the first time today and it was actually good. Surprised me. The trick to good sushi is letting it come to room temperature. Eat it cold from the fridge and it is terrible. Worse that terrible.

What's Not- SNOW tonight into tomorrow. Four letter bad word. New topic: Can't find a nice ham to buy. I don't want spiral sliced or water added or Paula Deen. I want a nice ham. That I can slice myself. Is it too much to ask? I want one just like the one I bought in December. Please.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Who Loves The Sun?

Riley loves to "bake" in sunshine. And we have plenty of sun the past few days. So he's one happy pupper. Only a few weeks until his first birthday. Any dog birthday party ideas? By the way, does he look like a Black Lab to you? I was asked, again, by a black lab owner no less, what MIX Riley was. MIX? I smile and say that he is a pure bred, pedigreed black lab with excellent field champions in father AND mother. The breeder thought Riley was SPECTACULAR looking. But everyone asks if he is a mixed breed. Rottweiler.

I had a very successful day yesterday with my "new creative plan" and here's the result. I can actually see the table surfaces and that's my little community project front and center. Finally somewhere to work, sew, cut and plan without having towering heaps of "other" stuff on either side of the small 12 inch square of "space". This seems like a football field of space in comparison.

The floor. Carpet. Not piles of fabric, scraps, paper collected for collages etc. And in about 30 minutes G will be in there with the central vac and things will look so much better than even this. Which looks pretty damn fantastic already. I also packaged three UFO's for tonight's chapter UFO Auction and two bags of fabric plus an old cutter quilt for someone to play with.

What's Good Today: G walked the dog and got a urine sample. Wow. That guy is good. Now he's vacuuming and then wants a grocery list for the shopping. No. You can't borrow him. The sun is shining and I plan on about 20 minutes sitting out on the back stoop in the sun. Got to maintain my Atlanta tan.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Whenever I have a problem that gnaws away at my mind 24/7, I turn to my "Tealeaves" program and ask for advice. This morning as I held my troubles in my hands (change/future/direction) I asked the Tealeaves for help. This is what I received.

Reading No. 16

Every man's life is a fairy tale, written by God's fingers.
~ Hans Christian Anderson

You are the hero of your own life, not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.

It's not the agony of the quest, but the rapture of the revelation.

Hero. Not a problem to be solved. Aha! There we have it. I have always considered my life to be a problem to be solved. If I can just fix this, then I will be happy. Don't we all fall into this trap? And we fix and fix and fix, or try to fix things and it's never enough to make anything really better. The new wall color, new sofa, new blue sweater, pretty shoes work for only so long and then it's back to "not so good" again. We lose weight and expect happiness to explode all around us. Same problems. Still here.

Yesterday I was thinking of attacking the problem (ahem) of my lack of creative energy in the same dogged way I lost weight. A creative diary where I would write down any creative endeavor I did during each 24 hour period. An exercise (like the 2 mile walk) that I must do everyday. Last night, while watching television with the dog, I clipped interesting pictures from a pile of decorator magazines. Chairs mostly. And then I trimmed the pictures of chairs to just the chairs. I sorted through the pictures, noticing any theme. I then piled the magazines up to be recycled. I felt much better.

So today I will choose a Creative Diary from the shelf of blank books I keep on hand and I will choose a daily exercise to do everyday. I never expect much from my daily walk other than the walk itself. I just put on my shoes, coat etc and go out and walk. That's what I will expect of my daily creative exercise. Just get out the paints, colored pencils, scissors, fabric, paper or glue stick and do it.

Today's task will be cleaning off my workspace table. If nothing else, I will push everything on it to the floor. What's one more pile in a pigsty? And I will choose one (or more) unfinished project to take to my quilt chapter UFO auction tomorrow evening. And give it away.

What's Good Today: Pizza dough thawing for dinner tonight. New baby blue cashmere sweater from the resale store (warm). The clean, empty space that my work table will be in the next hour or so.

What's Not: Snowing. Taxes. Waiting for furnace repair man.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Up In The Air

I made this little collage from a magazine page I had saved for several months and a bookmark that I must have picked up while still working at the library. Each traveled a different path in my clutter collections and came together randomly (is there such a thing in the universe?). The lady on the bookmark lined up perfectly; hands, head, feet, with her more contemporary counterpart. I had to tear the bottom edge of the card to reveal the feet and legs in the magazine advertisement. I believe I saved the ad because of the "construction fence" window pattern.

I am "in the air" right now. Ready for change as winter counts down and spring waits in the wings. The longer days, the sunshine, the blue skies of Maine in spring are all a tonic for the blues and sadness that this winter contained. I want that to be finished. I want to push off in fast forward to warmer days in the garden, on long walks with the dog and rides in my car with the top down. I want more laughter, less tears. More life, less death. More beginning, less ending. More ice cream.

I feel like that collaged bookmark. Me pasted over another me. Our appendages matching but the one having nothing in common with the other. Each image so completely foreign to the other.

I think this may be the real reason that people who have lost a great deal of weight begin to eat to "regain" themselves. What exactly was "in" the 80 pounds I lost? Have I also lost 33% of my personality, talent, humor, kindness? Is there now an abundance of other things in a third less space? More crankiness, more sadness, more abruptness? Or does it just seem that way. My husband has had to remind me to say "please and thank you". I'm not as nice as the fat me once was.

Our bodies aren't just huge bags of salty water and fat. Well, yes, they really are that. And I don't think I lost weight in my brain where all this personality stuff exists. So I "know" all this thinking on my part is just theoretical crap. And not very interesting theoretical crap. I can just hear Dr House saying this to a patient.

What's Good Today: Raisins from the health food store to go into my steamed kale with fried onions for dinner tonight. G got the water, to the heating zone that won't shut off, turned off. We are still waiting for a service call. All the furnaces in my town must be giving up in unison. Since I still have a functioning boiler, I need to wait till everyone else has heat. Okay with me. Puppy ate a rawhide chew stick, drank water and didn't vomit.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday Morning Sunshine

Sunshine and Heat. The furnace is running (on it's own) in the bedroom zone keeping that section of the house right about 70 degrees. I've shut off the other zones and hope the expensive warmth will seep into the rest of the house. I'm in line for the repair guy--behind all the households without any heat.

I wrote all this once already and blogger "lost" it. I'm going to try again and then I'm going to pursue other interests. It's either the internet connection quitting or blogger quitting. Posting is no longer a 100% enjoyable situation.

Yesterday, for the first time since December, I felt happy. The sunshine and blue skies helped. And the happy puppy running around over the snow chasing his new friend-- a soccer ball. Everything just seemed to be in the right order, the right place, the right "feeling". I also didn't feel pressure to be doing something, going somewhere, being someone other than who I was at the moment. Do you feel like you have to modify yourself to accommodate others? Perhaps I'm too much of a "fixer" and try to be what others want. My friend K found the new "me" to be unhappy and "crusty". I think she meant opinionated.

Seeds. We are looking for last year's seed packages. G found the packages we lost last year from 2006. But 2007's seeds are still a mystery. My own fault. I should have tucked them safely away before G "cleaned" and put them "somewhere". He loves to clean but NEVER can remember where he put items he moved. So far this winter he has misplaced the cotter pins for the snowblower three times, the window washing liquid, his pocket knife twice and his watch is still missing. He has a doctor's appointment next month and I may suggest the doctor give him the memory test.

I have the memory abilities of the elephant. Never forget. Even in heaps of things, I know it's there. I usually do not have the patience to go through and actually find the items the first or second time. But if I keep going back to the place my mind suggests--the item is always there, waiting. But there is usually some logic to where I put things.

I have a huge list of chores to do. Cleaning off the dining room table, again. Trying to clear a space for work in my quilt room. Picking up the piles of fabrics from the floor. Packing yet more bags of things for Goodwill. Ordering a Tough Chew cover for Riley's bed. Money back if he chews a hole in it. And he will. Finding the seeds. Hanging all the coats (G's) back in the closet not on the metro shelving in the kitchen. Washing the dog bed covers because Riley is getting a bath today and his bedding should smell as nice as he will when he gets home.

So lets get to it!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Resume Normal Life

The vacation is over and now I have to sort through all the mess I left unfinished and behind. I was thrilled to spend a week in K's guest room. Clean, white furniture, empty closet, tan walls. A bedside table holding only a lamp and my nightly glass of water, my reading book and journal, pen and glue stick. One, beautifully upholstered chair. Simplicity. Oh, if only my own bedroom (home) was as peaceful.

I always return from my visits with K with a "new" habit. This time I arrived home with two huge containers of dry powder Publix coffee creamer. I just love this stuff and it's only 10 calories a teaspoon. Total satisfaction of the coffee tastebuds for 30 calories. Heaven! I very nearly licked my coffee cup dry the first morning. I had brought the coffee beans from Maine--Big House by Wicked Joe's. Double Heaven!

The weather wasn't as warm as I would have liked but I arranged my chairs in the weak sunshine anyway and came home with a respectable summer tan. I have light sensitive skin and change color with any sun exposure. I feel so much better now that I am "brown" again. And my internal batteries are recharged by the exposure to all that vitamin D.

I never did my daily walk with K. I never walked at all. I ate terrible things in restaurants (BBQ chicken nachos, Carne Asada fajitas and Hooter's breaded wings, med sauce) and I ate good things like BBQ salad. I had a bowl of dry cereal, toasted raisin bagels and yogurts for breakfast (not all on the same day) instead of the usual daily bowls of oatmeal. I had margaritas and Tom Collins to drink. In other words, I vacationed.

K and I did go shopping for fabric one day and the next day we cut, sewed and layered a 40 by 60 baby quilt and K started hand quilting it-- all on the same day. And it was cute. Dick and Jane. That was the ONLY work we did the whole time I was there. I did cook three meals which everyone enjoyed including a wonderful fat free lentil soup.

Not all was rosy though. K noticed a difference in my personality that was not evident when I was "happy and carefree" and still overweight. She feels I am not happy. And, in my own defense, I have to say that the past 14 months have been hard on me. All the "food police" stuff I have had to do, all the rigid control, the exercise, hasn't been FUN, CAREFREE or HAPPY. And I still have to watch what I eat, make sure I walk etc. Vigilance takes a lot out of a personality. So I must have lost a lot of "happy" along with the pounds.

What's Good Today: Being home. My puppy who is "resting" after 8 days of running with the big dogs at his breeding kennel. He has returned to us with new, big dog behaviors (turning three times in a circle before laying on his bed, ruffing at squirrels-- still no barking, deep breathing when he sleeps). A newly steam cleaned kitchen. G cleaned every surface of the counters, stove top, oven, pizza stone and refrigerator door gaskets with his professional grade steamer. My oven looks brand new. He also vacuumed and did all the laundry. Sleeping till 11 am this morning.

What's Not: The mess I left behind. And I am perplexed by the sudden wave of sadness and tears that washed over me (unexpectedly) as the plane approached the runway on my return flight. Why?