Monday, August 31, 2009

Autumn abundance

First of all, it isn't autumn yet despite the fact that the temperature was 49* outside when I woke up this morning. I've written a formal complaint to Mother Nature and she replied. Did you know Mother Nature swears like a longshoreman and basically doesn't give a rodent's posterior what I think or want?!!!

When I was a kid, I loved school. I loved new school clothes, new supplies and the anticipation of new teachers and what I would learn. I was a nerd, but I was happy. Residual nerdiness still affects me this time of year and go into scheduling mode. Sometimes over scheduling mode. This year is no exception other than some of scheduling is not my fault. I am just caught in the whirlwind. And not complaining one bit.

My son and his girlfriend are looking at houses. In order to take advantage of the first time homeowners tax credit, they have to move quickly. Hubby and I looked at houses with them yesterday. I know once they find one, Hubby and I will helping them move in, and that will probably include painting and pulling out shrubs because that is what Hubby likes to do now. Got any vines you want pulled? He and my sister-in-law are great at that.
Hubby will be working for a week or so in Las Vegas, probably his last time working this particular convention. I was going to go as it is unlikely we'll go to Vegas on our own. My ticket hasn't been purchased yet but I'll need to decide soon.

Halloween is a big deal for me, even though we don't have as many trick or treaters as when my sons were little. I still enjoy it, decorate for it, bake for it, and usually dress up to hand out candy.
We'll be hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year. I can probably shop for it without a list. I just need to remember to clean the house before everyone comes over. Real spider webs on the light fixtures might be explainable for Halloween, but not for Thanksgiving.

Bill's godson graduates from Clemson in December. We are going to that the week before Christmas.

Christmas! Yikes! Somewhere along the line I am going to need to shop for Christmas!

Countdown Clocks

And let's not forget the baby shower in either December or January. Did you hear that I am going to be a grandma? I don't think I mentioned it yet in this post. Those who know me well will know that I have more baby projects planned than is humanly possible to complete.Maybe I can do without sleep. Purple shadows under my eyes won't look bad, will they?

Purple! I forgot to mention that I've signed up for 8 weeks of watercolor classes again! Three hours, once per week, plus homework, add in baby crafts, the trips, cooking for Thanksgiving (notice I did not mention cooking on a regular ole week day), a load of laundry here and there and a few trips to Kroger for diet Coke and coffee yogurt...if I give up sleep, I should be able to get everything done.
I hope to post fun and funny blog posts while all of this is happening, but I may not be a regular for Blue Monday, Finished for Friday, or any other meme for a while. I'll still be reading your blogs in the mornings over coffee.

This autumn is truly abundant. Maybe that is why it is starting while still August.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Check out the barefoot twins holding up a finished autumn quilt at Lit and Laundry by clicking on the Finished for Friday logo at the left.

My post today doesn't look much different from last Friday's because my sock obsession is still going, but there is a difference. The current self striping sock is stalled (don't ya love alliteration?) while I wait for new needles to arrive. I want to knit the ribbing on slightly larger needles and couldn't find them locally so I ordered them from Knit Picks. They are one of my favorite online/catalog sources.

The cream colored strip is a scarf that I started a few days ago to use up two skeins of leftover yarn. I tried quite a few designs until I came up with this one. It appealed to me because there is no wrong side to the scarf. I like a scarf that looks good whichever way it is turned. Still being a work in progress should disqualify it for Finished for Friday, BUT by deciding to use this pattern, I did FINISH the decision making process!
The baby sock was done in an evening, just last night. I will finish the mate to it tonight. My niece that I posted about a few days ago will have plenty of socks made by her mom, so this pair will be going to my grandchild, due in March. I still can't believe it when I say or write "my grandchild"!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The waiting game

My middle niece (of the Michigan variety) is pregnant. She went to the hospital yesterday after her water broke. When a call came a few hours later, we thought it would be an announcement. It was, but not what we expected. The hospital sent her home because her contractions weren't close enough together. They were 7-8 minutes apart. The hospital said to come back when they were 3-4 minutes apart. She posted on Facebook this morning that she is still walking, walking, walking around her house.

Once upon a time women were kept in the hospital once their water had broken and the mucous plug had passed. We were told that the risk of infection was greater without them and that delivery had to occur within 24 hours. Did medical science change their opinion or is this a case of insurance companies overruling good medical practice again?

While Jess paces her home, probably answering questions that her four year old is likely asking, the rest of us do what we do best. Jess' hubby will be trying to make her as comfortable and calm as possible, which is not easy at this stage. Her mom is probably scrubbing surfaces down to their underlying layers. Her dad sits quietly looking calm but undoubted is not. Her sisters will each jump every time their phones ring. Bill would probably call me to see if I heard anything except that Jess's oldest sister works with Bill so he will probably know before I do when the new arrival comes. I am flitting from one thing to another, keeping positive thoughts.

And of course, we all are praying.

As you read this, whatever your spiritual orientation may be, please send a prayer, a hope, a vibe, whatever you may call it for good health and an easy delivery. And ask for it come as soon as healthfully possible.


And thanks.

**Added info Thursday evening** I haven't spoken to Jess, her sisters or mom yet, but apparently her water didn't break after all. This has me confused. She isn't a first time mom. I hope that if she has any doubt, she is being heard and not brushed off. This information came home with Bill who heard it from the niece that works with him.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A tote bag by any name

I have a thing for tote bags. I don't need anymore tote bags, BUT if you give them a new name, there is reason to make a new one!

Has anyone noticed that with the emphasis on being "green", many tote bags are now being called "market bags"? I do remember to take cloth bags with me when I shop at Aldi's , but I confess that I don't remember to have them with me for other shopping trips.

Back in June, while on on a quilt shop hop, my friend and I each bought printed interfacing to make market bags that we had seen on display in one of the stores. Part of the appeal was that no fabric went to waste. The areas between the handles would become pockets. I found the directions on the panel to be very confusing, and I am not a novice stitcher. I prefer a wider pocket so I won't be making this tote again.

What I did like about this tote was the adaptation that the store in Richmond, Michigan (Sew Together) displayed. Take a good look at the handles. Do you know what those clear rings are?

They are shower curtain rings! The store owner assured us that the rings on her totes have never popped open and so far, neither have mine. In fact, I really had to use quite a bit of force to squeeze them closed. A package of 12 rings was $1.19 at Target.

I thought the rings made a fun difference in the tote's appearance and they may show up in other projects now. After all, I have eight more to use!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Blue Monday with Big News!

It is Blue Monday again, hosted by Smiling Sally. Visit her by clicking on her logo -------->

Today's Blue Monday post only has a 50% chance of being blue. It may turn out pink. We won't know until around March 12th of 2010. That is when Bill and I will become GRANDPARENTS!!!

Since we are quite fond of both pink and blue, we really don't care what color footprints we get! Photobucket

Happy Blue Monday everyone!

Friday, August 21, 2009


I seem to have a sock obsession lately, almost an addiction. When not knitting a sock, I am reading sock patterns, looking at sock yarn, reading other knitter's blogs about socks or watching my sister-in-law whip out another pair. She is actually the one with an addiction. I merely have a keen interest in them. Nothing as dark and sinister as an addiction.

My first pair of socks done back in April (here) were knitted on double pointed needles from the cuff down to the toe. I was pleased with them and love the needles that I used but was intrigued by the idea of using two circular needles instead of double pointed needles. For those who don't knit, I know this is gobbledygook to you and I won't bore you with the details. It was merely using different tools to create the same result.

This pair was done on the circular needles. The big advantage for me is that the work in progress seemed more portable without the fear of a needle slipping out.
I had another method to try, still using the circular needles but working the sock from the toe up the cuff. Do you hear Fred Astaire singing "Heaven, I'm in Heaven"? I asked him to sing it for me because my voice isn't one you'd want to listen to and besides, if I'm not singing, I can be talking about socks! Here is the pair done from toe to cuff.
Both pair are shorties, just tall enough in the cuff that they won't slide down inside my shoes. Here is the current sock on my needles and the book that inspired me. It was a happy day of internet wandering that led me sock pattern designer Wendy Johnson and her blog.
Life is good when your hands are busy and your feet aren't cold.

Please click on the logo above to visit Lit and Laundry today and future Fridays for more Finished for Friday posts.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Let the pampering begin!

My name was drawn in a giveaway hosted by Cailin at 5 Kids, 2 Labs, 1 Lizard and a Hermit Crab Besides being a busy mom and both dog and reptile caregiver, Cailin is an Arbonne consultant. I worked with a woman who loved Arbonne skin care and cosmetics but I never got around to trying the products.

Isn't it exciting to have a package to open? Especially when it is something you've won!!!

The contents included Intelligence Herbal Foot Cream (do all of you bloggers know how bad my heels look? I've tried not to photograph them), Intelligence Hand Cream (love these names), Aromassentials Sea Salt Scrubs in Unwind and Awaken, About Face Sheer Shine Lip Gloss, FYI It Shines Lip Gloss, Lip Saver with SPF30, REactivating Body Serum, REfinish Body Lotion and facial care samples.

If I wasn't dressed and ready to head out for a busy afternoon, I would wash off what I've done with my old products and try everything out right now. Alas, the pampering will have to wait for tonight.

Please visit Cailin's blog (click on title above) for fun reading and email her if you are interested in Arbonne products.

I need to go now. The sooner I am done running errands, the sooner the pampering can begin!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Healthy Blue M&Ms!

Today's Blue Monday post is taken from the Chicago Tribune, July 29, 2009:

Scientists can’t yet explain why green M&Ms seem to hold seductive powers or why the brown-hued chocolates appear to bring bad luck.

But new research shows that an artificial dye that is chemically similar to the one used in blue M&Ms may hold promise in treating spinal cord injuries, according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The compound, called Brilliant Blue G, was injected into the veins of rats within 15 minutes of their receiving a paralyzing injury. The rats given the BBG solution temporarily turned blue and regained their ability to walk, albeit with a limp. The rats that didn’t receive the dye also recovered, but to a lesser extent than rats that received BBG.

The new findings build on earlier research by the same scientists that showed adenosine triphosphate, a chemical that keeps the body’s cells alive, floods into an area surrounding a spinal cord injury, killing the cells that normally allow us to move.

When BBG was injected, it blocked ATP’s harmful effects at the injury site, according to the researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

While Americans ingest more than 1 million pounds of the chemically similar FD&C blue dye No. 1 annually, according to the study, upping your M&M intake isn’t likely to do anything but make you fat. But study co-author Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at URMC, says she’s now a big fan of blue M&Ms.

“They are actually doing something that the other colors do not,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Still, human trials are needed before emergency responders start deploying intravenous blue-dye drips.

For more Blue Monday posts, please visit Smiling Sally by clicking on her logo:

And during these hot days of August, remember Blue's motto:

"Never let them see you melt"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Life as a poorly written sitcom

My sister-in-law is still improving. The plumbers putty worked. "What plumbers putty" you ask? The putty that Bill had to hurry to buy at Home Depot ten minutes before closing last night. The plumber had just left when Bill discovered that the main clean out (also buried in a cabinet) was leaking. The threads had rusted through.

At 10:00 he cleaned and dried the pipe. He kneaded the putty per directions and applied it. He set up an old hair dryer in the area to help dry out the mess behind the cabinet and dishwasher. Somewhere around 11:15 we tried running water in the sink. No problem. We ran the disposal. Still no problem. I loaded the dishwasher with dishes and ran it. When it looked like it was going to be ok, I went upstairs to get ready for bed. Bill wanted to wait until the cycle was complete. Thankfully, all went well.

I must have fallen instantly asleep. I had the TV on, my glasses were still on and the reading lamp clipped to my headboard was on. When all went off, I woke up with a start. We had just lost power. No storm, just poof! Bill said there was a brown out a few minutes earlier which is why he was still awake downstairs wondering what would happen next.

* sigh *

He set the travel alarm (wind up clock) and we eventually got to sleep. At 5:00 he got the generator hooked up the refrigerator. He showered and was getting dressed when the power came back on at 5:20 this morning. The TV and my reading lamp that had startled me awake when they went off now startled me awake by coming back on.

Bill went downstairs to disconnect the generator and plug the fridge back into the electrical outlet. What next you ask? The smoke detector upstairs went off. Bill fanned the air in front of it to quiet it. Steam from the shower sometimes sets it off now. Back downstairs to finish pushing the refrigerator in place until the smoke detector went off again, signaling the others to blare.

Thinking "shut the hell up" (as I was doing while covering my ears) is an ineffective way to remedy this. Bill shut the bathroom door, fanned the air by the smoke detector, kissed me goodbye and left.

I can only hope he comes back tonight.

This sitcom is brought to you by DTE which does not stand for Detroit Edison. It stands for Doesn't Transport Electricity. It also brought to you by Long Gone, maker of the five networked smoke detectors in our house. The manufacturer is long gone and one single detector cannot be replaced and work with the others. Lastly, in the manner of Sesame Street which is sponsored by letters and numbers, this sitcom is brought to you by the number 159.95 which is the dollar amount of last night's check to the plumber.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More advice and a Sis-in-law update

My sister-in-law is doing well. She is in and out of it due to medication, and still on a ventilator, but the pacemaker has been removed as they determined she didn't it. It was inserted as a precautionary measure. Hopefully she will be off the ventilator and they will attempt to have her up and walking a bit tomorrow. Thank you for your prayers and good wishes.

Are you ready for today's advice?

Don't put more than a few scrapings from a dinner plate down your garbage disposal.

I know better. Honest, I do. But for some reason last night I put a larger quantity of too old leftovers down the disposal. I ran it for a long time, thinking that would do the trick. Today I ran the dishwasher while at a meeting. I came home to water standing in both sides of my double sink. Uh-oh.

The disposal ran fine but the water didn't go down. I tried plunging without success. My oldest son stopped by. He tried plunging also. Still no luck. I called Bill and broke the news to him. He came home with a snake. Bless his heart, he never said anything harsh to me over this. I guess he knew I felt bad and I don't typically cause these problems. The last time was 20 years ago and carrot peelings were the culprit.

He ran the snake, and in dismantling the pipes under the sink found one that had corroded and broke off into the U shaped pipe. After believing the snaking effort a success, he left to buy a replacement T shaped pipe. Checking once more for a blockage before assembling the new pipe, he used the garden hose fed through the kitchen window. My job was to turn the faucet on and then off. When he mumbled that he didn't know why such and such was occurring, I came in. I heard water dripping and looked up. Water was dripping from the trim molding at the ceiling over the cabinets to the right of the sink.

Big uh-oh.

Twenty three years ago we had the kitchen remodeled. A wall was removed. The plumbing vent ran through the wall that was removed. The vent was recessed between studs on the outer wall but had to elbow in just before the ceiling. Don't ask me why, and pardon me if you know plumbing and I am using incorrect terminology. The bottom line is that water backed up the vent pipe which normally is just air. When the water couldn't go anywhere else, it came out the top...into the upper part of the cabinet...and dripped down through four shelves of dishes and some seldom used glasses.

Since our snake is either not long enough or for another reason is incapable of solving this problem, we called a plumber. We were told he would be here by 6:30. It is 8:17 and he just arrived. I hope he will be able to take care of this without deconstructing something. To say I am sick over this would be an understatement. Once this is taken care of, I have dishes to wash. Lots of dishes. Today is not a good day to be a dishaholic.

I have hopes of looking back on this day at some point, and turning a funny spin on things. Right now my humor is hiding under a dark cloud.

Still, things could be worse. One cabinet over and it would be food that had dripping water all over it. Also, I could have a husband who likes to yell and I would be reduced to tears by now. As I type this, I am listening to him and the plumber actually laugh over how convoluted our problem is.

With luck, I will be posting tomorrow as 4 or 5 loads of dishes go through the dishwasher and I will be bringing even better news about my sister-in-law.

If not, feel free to send prayers and maybe a bottle of Scotch.

Monday, August 10, 2009

From blah to blurred

From being in no mood at all the other day and being in a slump, we've been thrust into a flurry of phone calls and activity. My husband's sister is in a hospital after having a heart attack. The information has been slow in coming and hard to obtain. Her friend with diminished abilities called hubby's brother to deliver the news, but he had a hard time making sense of anything she was saying. He did get the name of the hospital and called, confirming that Sis is a patient there, but little else could be told because of HIPAA laws.

My hubby tried calling Sis's house (four and half hours away from us) in hopes of speaking to Sis's husband. No luck there. He called Sis's friend and found out that Sis's hubby went home with his parents while Sis is in the hospital. His mom has remarried. We don't have her current phone number and don't know her new last name. To get any information from the hospital, we have to have a code. Sis's husband has the code, but hasn't called anyone. This isn't a slight on his part, he is challenged also and either didn't think to try to call either of his brothers-in-law or he couldn't find our numbers.

By leaving a message with an understanding charge nurse, hubby and his brother have finally spoken to their brother-in-law's mom. She called and updated us on Sis's condition as soon as she got our message (and phone numbers). Sis had a heart attack, had fluid removed from around her heart and a pacemaker inserted. The good news is that she is stable. Hubby and his brother will be leaving here tomorrow to visit her.

Sis is the oldest of the three siblings. Like most women everywhere, she is the keeper of birthdays, anniversaries and phone numbers in her household. I recently made a list for my husband of what I pay online, which utilities are automatically paid from a separate account, links and passwords for various things I do online and a list of the few message boards that would wonder about my absence if something happened to me. I added this blog to the list. Hopefully he will never have to post dire news, but at least he has a cheat sheet now. Have you made a similar list for your family members?

On a less serious note, storms rolled through this area last night taking out power here and there. Our power went out twice, but it was so quick both times, only one digital clock needed resetting. That has to be a record for us. The power is out at my older son's place. Yesterday and today are the hottest days of the summer so far. Isn't that always the way?

My lesson in all of this is to remind everyone to have names, phone numbers and other pertinent information available to family members in the event that you are incapacitated and can't tell them where to look or how to spell Aunt Marge's last name.

My other lesson is to never admit to being in a slump and having nothing to write about again. God read that and gave me plenty!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

I have hit a blogging slump. I have nothing to show. I have nothing to write about. It must be because summer finally hit Michigan...never mind that it is now August and people in other parts of the country are already looking forward to fall.

I'm not in a bad mood, just sort of no mood at all. We've had a busier than usual week, visiting friends from South Carolina one night, going out to dinner with relatives for a birthday last night, and a seminar earlier in the week. The rest of the time was just usual stuff taking more time than usual.

We have rain today, probably an all day rain. I was going to visit an art fair, but I don't feel like leaving the house in this. It seems like a good day to read and nap, then knit and nap, and maybe snooze in the chair pretending to watch TV after dinner.

If I'm not back in a few days, hold a mirror under my nose to see if I'm breathing. Place some chocolate on it if you have any doubt.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Good morning from the land of frustration.

Back in June, my sewing buddy and I went on a quilt shop hop where I didn't buy fabric or patterns for quilts, but I did make some small purchases. At one store I bought printed interfacing to make a market bag (tote bag) and kit with printed interfacing to make a cell phone holder.

Yesterday I was going to make the market bag. Perhaps I shouldn't have waited so many weeks before attempting this. There is no picture of the finished bag and my memory isn't what it used to be. The interfacing says that instructions are sold separately. The instructions that I have are a single typed sheet without any illustrations.

I am not a novice sewer, but I do have my "Duh!" days and yesterday may have been one. On a day with more patience, I should be able to tackle this project again, possibly by ignoring everything written since that seems to be the stumbling block. I've become critical of how instructions are written, knowing that whether the project is as simple as folding and cutting paper to make a card to a complicated quilt or knitting pattern, there will always be someone new to the project. Writers of instructions should not assume the reader will know to do what they have neglected to define or illustrate.

After a few hours I tackled the cell phone holder. That assembly went much better, but if I were to make it again, I would do a few things differently. Here is the printed interfacing next to the fabric and how it looks ironed into place.

There are two pockets in the open holder, one for the phone and another that I will probably use for ID and a few dollars when I am out riding my bike or walking. Since my phone is black, it didn't show up well in a photograph. I stuck scraps of interfacing in the pockets so you could see them.

There is a square of Velcro holding the flap closed. I may need a large piece of Velcro to hold me together if I don't figure out how that bag is supposed to go together. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Blue Monday Birdhouses

'Tis Blue Monday again, with thanks to Smiling Sally for hosting this event ---->

I was at the cottage yesterday, wondering what I could come up with for today's Blue Monday entry. "The water" said my husband. "The sky" said my son. Been there, done both of them. It was time to get the camera and take a walk. I didn't go further than my next door neighbor's yard when I saw this birdhouse.
Hmmmm, an interesting possibility. I kept walking and found this one on top of a piling. Not truly blue, but bits of it are blue. It was too cute to pass up and include in today's post. I think it proves lady birds like to look their best and will visit salons for the full treatment.
This birdhouse condo is above a sign advertising a rental cottage. The cool temps and rain we've had in Michigan have kept things growing like mad, especially weeds. Perhaps the foliage being so close to the condos keeps bugs at hand for the birds, making this a bed and breakfast type of place.
I hope you are having a wonderful Blue Monday. In my last few posts, I've ended with a question to ponder from Chat Pack. Today I have a question of my own. Name something that you don't like to see in a particular shade of blue, or maybe not in any shade of the color we normally love. For me it would be royal blue roses on a cake from commercial bakeries. No matter how nicely made the rose is, the color usually looks garish against a white or pastel cake top.