Saturday, October 27, 2007

Finally! Quilt Blocks

The Christmas blocks are finished and ready to mail.

I think I'm going to name my quilt "Blood, Sweat, and Tears" even if it is a Christmas quilt. Certainly is appropriate.

Until next time, may you have blessings and straight seams,


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Perfect Flying Geese.

I love fall when the air is crisp and still and I can hear the distant sound of geese honking. Concidentally, I am in the midst of making a quilt with the flying geese block. I've tried the block before with less than stellar results. I always followed the directions and yet they ended up with the wings out of square. But this month I finally figured out how to make a perfectly formed flying geese block!

The directions on every flying block pattern I've ever seen say to draw a line diagonally across the square "wings" of the block and sew on the line. However, when folding the fabric, if the stitch is on the line, the fabric can't bend on the line, and thus is a bit short of hitting the square. When I decided to sew on the outside of the line I get a perfect block every time.

Yesterday I gave Roxie a bath and today while I was washing the towels I used to dry her, the water backed up. I hope the drain line isn't clogged with dog hair! We can't flush the toilets in the house, but so far the one in the office works. Of course I had another load of laundry in the washer when I found out, and was searching for a way to drain the washer when I found this Redneck Washing Machine. Don't laugh too long, I'm giving some thought to making something similar. Wash the clothes and get a workout at the same time!

I finished the laundry in a tub outside, and hung them outside to dry. Ahhhh, towels dried in fresh fall air.

Until next time, may you have blessings and autumn joy,

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fall is Here!.

I love the smell and feel of fall. It reminds me of football games and bonfires. Funny how it can change from summer to fall overnight. The cold front came through about 4:30 this morning but with less wind than expected. It rained most of the morning, and was cloudy most of the day, with the high about 58ºF and winds 17-25mph. Made it seem pretty cool outside with the wind cutting through my knit shirt.

The only dark spot in my day was a trip to the dentist before we drop dental insurance. I hate, hate, hate, hate, going to the dentist. I have several chipped teeth which are sensitive to cold and just about everything. Still, every bloomin' dentist wants to tap on my teeth with a metal probe to see if it hurts. Yes! Yes, it hurts. Anyway, thirty minutes of torture and I have clean teeth once again, and the good news is that my blood pressure was 98/55, and this taken when I was dreading a dentist appointment. I haven't had pressure that low since high school when I was playing tennis every day. Must be the lovely fall day.

Until next time, may you have blessings and golden days,

Sunday, October 21, 2007

It's Good to Have Neighbors

My neighbor has been working on his car for a couple of weeks and has taken the seats out while he replaces the headliner and carpet. He has found a way to drive the car when he needs to move it out of the driveway though. Yep, he put in a chair from his dining table. *grin* Must be a man thang.

I've been talking to my neighbor Di about riding with me. She finally said yes today and we went for a long ride around the neighborhood. The hills were hard on her but I showed her how to change gears and then it was a little better until her legs started giving out. She walked her bike up the hills after that, so I walked with her. The wind was blowing between 20-26 mph but most of the time we weren't going straight into it. I didn't think Di would go as far as she did, but she did great, and I was really surprised when I measured it later and it was 4.5 miles for me. Whoohoo! It didn't seem far at all, maybe because I was going a little slower than normal and had someone to talk to along the way.

As little as I know about cycling, it felt funny to be showing Di how to use her gears and adjust her seat. We need to work on riding and talking though.

Until next time, may you have blessings and friendship,

My ordinary life

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Politicians Must Wear Rose-Colored Glasses

I don't usually talk about politics except when I'm mad, and today I'm mad. I just saw a commerical for John Cornyn, who is running for re-election to the Texas Senate. Senator Cornyn voted for the $700 Billion Bailout despite a huge volume of email asking him not to.

Now in this commercial, he says "We should work together and get back to basics, good school, ... low taxes to finally make government work again." We asked him NOT to vote for the bailout and NOW he wants us to work together? Why? So he can ignore us again. I don't think so.

Got this in an email today:

A Fable

Once upon a time a man appeared in a village and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for $10 each. The villagers, seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them. The man bought thousands at $10 and, as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort.

He next announced that he would now buy monkeys at $20 each. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again.Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms.

The offer increased to $25 each and the supply of monkeys became so scarce it was an effort to even find a monkey, let alone catch it! The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at $50 each! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would buy on his behalf.

In the absence of the man, the assistant told the villagers: 'Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has already collected. I will sell them to you at $35 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell them to him for $50 each.'The villagers rounded up all their savings and bought all the monkeys for 700 billion dollars.They never saw the man or his assistant again, only lots and lots of monkeys!

Now you have a better understanding of how the WALL STREET BAILOUT PLAN WILL WORK!!!!

Until next time, may you have blessings and discernment,


Saturday, October 13, 2007

It's Scary and It's Not Even Halloween!.

Even though I know better than to go shopping on Saturday, I thought I was early enough to beat the crowd. I went to Target and Lowe's, Target because a friend told me she got some bike shorts there, and Lowe's because I needed stuff for the garden.

I went to the bike store yesterday and they only had one pair of women's shorts and they were in a size small. I also visited Sports Authority and they had no women's bike shorts at all. So I bought a gel seat cover and figured I'd just get some capri pants and make do.

I used to like shopping for clothing, but I really don't anymore. I don't know if it's because I'm older and don't like the current fashion craze, i.e. low riding pants that feel like they are always falling off and shirts that are too short to cover skin during any activity, or if it's because I'm overweight and nothing fits right. Probably a little of both.

But I trudged into Target and found their sportswear and workout sections. No bike shorts in either section. But I did find a variety of moisture-wicking capri pants and tops, so tried them on. I nearly gagged when I looked in the mirror. How many times have I looked with pity (if not scorn) at fat women wearing spandex or tube tops and thought "What was she thinking?" Even if I wore a ski mask so my neighbors couldn't identify me, I couldn't bear to wear something like this in public. On a bicycle. With people coming up behind me. There's got to be another solution.

There was, kind of. I found it in the maternity section. I am so glad I'm not pregnant with today's skin tight fashions. I didn't like seeing Demi Moore pregnant and nekkid on the cover of a magazine, and I don't like seeing normal pregnant women wearing a skin-tight dress over their bulging middle, swayed back, and ample derrier. Heck, I don't even like seeing fat teenagers wearing low riding jeans and a cropped top. Do they not have mirrors in their house or do they not care that their fat it hanging over the top of their jeans like a muffin crown?

Anyway, back to the maternity section. Since the normal clothes didn't have a t-shirt long enough to cover my ample backside, I thought I might find one for those few pregnant women who actually want to cover the stretchy part of their maternity clothes, and yet have a shirt that fits in the shoulders. It's not a pretty combination, but at least it's not disgusting, and I won't have to wear a bag over my head or ride in the middle of the night to avoid being seen.

Until next time, may you have blessings and comfortable clothes,

My ordinary life

Monday, October 8, 2007

Who Says Cycling Is a Low-Impact Sport?

That's what my doctor told me. But it's only low impact if you manage to stay on the bike.

This morning started out nice enough. It wasn't too hot, but really humid, about 82%. Sweat was rolling down my back before I even hit the pedals. I adjusted the seat, took a spin down the driveway, and came back to adjust again. On the way back to the garage, I thought I'd just ride it into the garage instead of stopping in the sun. I knew the edge would be rough, so stood up to go over it, slowing down while I entered so I could stop when I got in. That's where the trouble began.

A mountain bike it is not, and my inexperience could account for the loss of control when riding over the concrete edge. I braked and tried to slow the crash, plus had to swerve to miss the toolbox, and my shorts got hung in the handlebar so I couldn't get my foot down to block the fall. I ended up hitting the concrete with my right elbow and lay there dazed and embarrassed for a few seconds until I could muster the energy to get up. Luckily, nothing was broken on me or the bike, and a quick glance out the door didn't reveal any giggling witnesses.

I finished tightening the saddle and decided to go ahead and get my ride in. Two miles today, and I felt like I probably could have gone farther, but didn't want to push it. I'm finally learning when to use the gears I think. I love flying down the road with the wind behind me.

I felt pretty good when I got home, just a little stiffness in my thighs. But as the day went on, the bruises on my left leg are getting bigger and so is the bruise on my right elbow. I have a pain between my shoulder blades and my right thigh is sore. Riding a bike just wasn't this hard when I was ten.

Until next time, may you have blessings and good balance,

Exercise, My ordinary life

Saturday, October 6, 2007

To Speak or Not To Speak - My Mind That Is

Mom said society overlooks women of a certain age who speak their mind, and she began speaking her mind at age fifty. Coincidentally, that was the same year daddy began spending more time at home.

Now I grew up in the South, where girls are taught to be gracious and polite no matter what the circumstance. Add to that my Southern Baptist upbringing which cemented any cracks in that foundation, and I could never bring myself to say to people what I really thought, even when their stupidity caused me to lose time or money. The other day when I relayed to mom one of life's recent annoying incidents, she asked me when I was going to stop being so polite and give folks a piece of my mind. Since I would like to work again one day, I don’t think this is the time to start speaking my mind. At least not publicly. While I don't speak out to others, I have been known to rant afterwards to my dear Hubby. Maybe that’s not the greatest idea because now I wonder if all those hunting trips were precipitated by a sharp-tongued wife.

After years of biting my tongue and watching my blood pressure spike with the effort, I have begun to see that mom could be right. If you've ever had a problem with a credit card company, or insurance company, or any mega company with an 800 number and a long, automated telephone screening system, you know how hard it is to keep your cool after being transferred to three or more people. Such was my experience today, and the last person I talked to is supposed to research the problem and call me back. Yeah, right. I have a feeling I will be going through this again tomorrow.

Until next time, may you have blessings and tranquility,

My ordinary life

Friday, October 5, 2007

Moe, Larry, and Curly Built Our House

Twelve years and counting.

That's how long we have been working on this house. We bought this builder foreclosed house in the spring of 1995 knowing that it needed a lot of work and that we had a very small remodeling budget. What we didn't know was that it would take almost fifteen years to complete the work. There were many problems that had been cleverly hidden or just missed at inspection. Since beginning this project, we have come to the conclusion that Larry, Moe, and Curly designed, contracted, and built this house. Although Moe never gave us the full history of the house, over the years we have lived here, I have an idea what happened. Grab a soda and let me tell you the story.

Once upon a time, in the late 1970's, there was a young man named Larry. Larry graduated from college with a degree in architecture but was just a so-so architect without much imagination and he was unable to find a job. One day he was at a bar eating his lunch of free pretzels and drinking a soup made from catsup and relish packets while searching the classifieds and circling every architect job listed. A man wearing a trench coat, in summer no less, and sunglasses, with a cap pulled low over his eyes sidled up to Larry, and while looking the other direction, he whispered: "Psst!"

More Background on the House - Our First Look

This is part two of our story. To start at the beginning, scroll down or click here.

It didn't occur to me to take a picture of the house before we bought it. This was taken shortly after we moved in. Notice how Moe planted the yaupon holly trees under the porch roof? That was the first of many warning clues of the poor planning which we somehow missed.

Where Do We Start? The Remodel Begins

This is part three of our story. To start at the beginning, scroll to the bottom or click here.

Actually, it was easy to know where to start. Wearing particle masks, rubber gloves, rubber boots, and coveralls, we began by taking out the carpet. We pulled up one edge in each room and rolled up the carpet with everything on it, trying to minimize our exposure to the grossest stuff. We began a pile of our own on the driveway, starting with the rolls of carpet.

Once the carpet was out and the floor swept with an old broom, we cleaned the concrete slab and lower half of the walls with Nature's Miracle, let it dry, and then hit it again. Then we waited a few days and went over it with a bleach solution. Then I threw the broom and mop that had touched that yucky floor on top of the pile and raised my arms in victory. Hubby threw his particle mask on the pile, so I did too. I threw my rubber gloves on the pile and he did too. Smiling smugly, he ripped off his dingy, paint splattered t-shirt and threw it on the pile. I grabbed the hem of my t-shirt and started to lift - he didn't say anything. Isn't he supposed to protect me and keep me from harm? Wasn't that in the vows somewhere? Why is he standing there grinning, daring me to do it? I didn't. We have only met one neighbor and we already know she tells all she knows. That t-shirt did go in a trash can later though.

On to Plan B

This is part four of our story, the tedius stuff. To start from the beginning, click here.

Our original plan was to expand the kitchen into the dining area and then add a den and dining area. We were about halfway into the kitchen remodel when we learned that the septic problems were the result of a roofing company driving their truck over the septic lines, crushing both the pipe from the house and the main connection to the lateral lines and one bathroom had so many problems it couldn't be used. There went the money for our addition. From then on, creativity and ingenuity was the name of the game.

While I wish I had pictures showing the progress we made with the house, it was just impossible to have a camera with us in those first few weeks, and even afterwards, it was hard to stop what we were doing, and clean our hands so we could handle a camera.