Sunday, September 23, 2007

More Halloween Items

Look what my friend from work donated to the Halloween scene!

Mannequin heads (formerly from a cosmetology school), yellow caution tape, and disaster triage tags!

And the ultimate:

a HAZMAT suit
complete with hood!

Sarah suggested I put a scarecrow out front with my little inflatable aliens coming at him with "probes". Taking this one step further, I will stuff the HAZMAT suit, place the head with hood on top, lay it out on the ground and have the aliens perched all over it. Point a yellow or green spotlight on it, and that should look pretty creepy!

Still open for suggestions, folks! And I promise to take lots of photos when I get it set up. I just need to figure out how to rig a decontamination tunnel....

Friday, September 21, 2007

Show and Tell Friday

Kelli is hosting Show and Tell Friday. Go check out all the fun stuff and post one of your own!

The day slipped up on me and I wasn't prepared to show anything. But while working in my sewing room, my eyes fell on one of my most fun possessions and ta-dah! I had something to show.

This is a balalaika, a Russian stringed instrument used in folk songs. Do you remember Dr. Zhivago? When the military half-brother of Zhivago was interviewing a girl he believed to be the love child of Lara and Zhivago? At the end of the movie, he's watching her walk away with her boyfriend, and she has a balalaika slung over her shoulder. As his and Zhivago's mother was very talented on the instrument, it confirmed for him the girl's identity.

It has a triangular shape, with an almost boat-like back, and three strings.

I bought mine from an antique mall in Salida, CO on a visit to my best friend's home. We always head over there when I visit and spend a good hour just looking around. Sometimes we find something, sometimes not. This particular visit I fell in love with this, mostly because of the movie. I don't know if it was made here, or in Russia, but they told me it was hand-painted by a man in a wheelchair, and he would be delighted that it sold, because it had been there awhile. Guess it was just waiting for me to find it.

I used to play the ukelele a little, and the guitar a little, so maybe if I studied a little, I could tune this and learn to play it. Right now, though, it's a reminder of fun times with my friend, and a romantic movie from my youth.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I do love fall. Seems most of the major changes in my life have been made in the fall, and while I am not an easy "changer", I greet autumn with a lot of anticipation and a smidgen of ....what? Dread is too strong a word, but trepidation is not it, either. Worry? Nope. Just that butterflies in your stomach kind of feeling. There were always the beginnings of school years, with all its changes, but I graduated nursing school in early September, (almost fall) married in the fall, conceived my daughter in the fall, made 4 moves during fall seasons, started several jobs in the fall. Lots of good things, but lots of...changes.

In reading other bloggers this week, (at least in the northern hemisphere!), I see a pattern here, a common feeling that makes me wonder if it's genetic. Autumn seems to be the season for nesting--for getting our homes ready to hunker down for the winter. Maybe it's a wisp of caveman days, when the gatherers brought in as much from the harvest as possible, and the hunters brought home the meat to be cured and stored for the long winter ahead. All around blog land I "see" folks redecorating, repairing, reflecting, drawing our families in to our hearts and hearths. There's a lot of knitting, crocheting, quilting, and painting going on, making our surroundings beautiful, because we're gonna be here a while, and we're gonna make the best of it, by golly, with rich, warm colors and cozy textures.

The light is different now, aside from there being less hours of it. There seems to be a golden hue to everything, even on cloudy days.

The night sounds are different. Did you know that cicadas are what you hear in the daytime, and katydids are what sing with the crickets at night? They aren't quite the same. And when you begin to hear the katydids in the daytime, the first frost is about 6 weeks away. Sort of the Puxatawny Phil of the Fall. I find myself turning off the radio in the car if I have to be out at twilight or later, just to hear the night noises and to catch a whiff of autumn. It's time to leave the sliding glass door open, and open the windows at night while we pull up that extra blanket we washed earlier today. My sewing machine is working overtime, trying to complete projects started when it was too hot to think of quilts.

I find myself perusing soup and stew and bread recipes, and reaching for the boxes of hot chocolate at the grocery store. We haven't had oatmeal for breakfast in months, but it just seemed right this morning. More of my neighbors are out walking their dogs in the mornings, and the early evenings. We smile and discuss the weather while our canine friends communicate as only dogs can. Tandi is up for a good game of fetch these days, though she prefers to wait til the dew has dried up a little. The camera is a little more active in the fall.

Lace curtains in the dining room suddenly look out of place. I get a couple of my oil lamps down from the ledge in my kitchen and clean the chimneys and trim the wicks. The fall table runner I worked on by hand for several years is on the dining room table now.

The oil burner my daughter bought me is loaded almost nightly with scents named "Earth's Riches" and "Perfect Pumpkin", and yummy-smelling candles are falling into my basket at local shops. I try not to always be waiting for the next season to arrive, because now is all we have. But I think it's time to get those plastic bins out of the garage and spread a little gold and plum and orange and chocolate around....

Monday, September 17, 2007

Just shoot me and get it over with.

Well, due to the knee sprain, I didn't get to go to the fair. Again. I've missed them all since I've been here. And I really did want to go. But the knee gives way unexpectedly on level ground, and I just couldn't risk it because I don't have the time to take off work. When I was off with the right knee this summer, they cashed in my Paid Time Off to pay the insurance premiums, so I came back at zero. Zilch. Nada. I had it built up and got called off due to low census, which used up most of the PDO, because the payroll people ignored my request to just use 6 hours of it instead of a whole shift's worth. Gotta start all over again. And though I know I need to stay off the knee, take anti-inflammatories and ice it intermittently, I can only do 2 of the 3 and hope it heals quickly.

Tomorrow morning I have to go back to the dentist. See here
I'm dreading it, I don't want to go, my heart starts pounding just thinking about it, and did I mention I DON'T WANT TO GO?! I just have to go in there and set some ground rules. Local anesthetic first. DO NOT turn on the TV. If I need a break, give me a break. And I can't cry, because if I cry, my nose will get stuffy and I won't be able to breathe and I will have a meltdown right there in the dentist's chair. I took a 24-hr Claritin already. I'm going to load my CD player with Sarah Brightman and take along Andre Bocelli as a back-up, and put in brand new batteries. And then I'm going to come home and go to bed because I have to work tomorrow night.

Oh, yeah. I picked up my fair entries today--didn't place, but the judges gave some constructive criticism. I'm going to replace my current flag wall-hanging by the front door with the apple one, but I'm really tired of looking at and working on the "window" quilt, so I guess it will just go into the cedar chest or somewhere til I decide what to do with it.

Tomorrow's going to be a lousy day. Seriously.

EDITED: Sheesh, what a whiney post this was. Never mind the shooting, I need what Cher did to Nicholas Cage in "Moonstruck". Remember that scene? (Hint: SNAP OUT OF IT!")

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Only 45 days to Halloween!

Okay, I need ideas, folks.

This year I've decided to go with an alien theme--like the Roswell aliens, not the Sigourney Weaver aliens--and it's turning into quite a challenge. I'm planning to have a "crashed" spaceship in the wooded area right next to my driveway. It will be cordoned off with that yellow police tape so no one can fall down the hill or get too close to the "spaceship" and blow my props. I have a large piece of plywood my neighbor has offered to cut for me, and I will have it just cut in a semi-circle. I plan to use sequential Christmas tree lights to circle the edge, and a fogger to keep it mysterious. I'm thinking green spotlights around the yard, too.

In addition, I have a few props already:
green alien blood
alien head mask
glow-in-the-dark beads to put around my neck
dumb 18" inflatable "aliens" (not what I anticipated, but will make do)

Area 51 ID badge

Green glow bulbs:

Area 51 warning poster

Creepy peepers (Place in a bush or plant, and when activated by sound, it growls, shakes the bush, and the eyes light up)

X-Files CD.

In addition, I hope to get hold of a helium tank and black balloons. If you tie glow sticks on a long string tied to the balloons, it will look like weird lights floating above the house or wherever.

Of course, since they've moved the time change into November, and Halloween is on a Wednesday, the kids won't get to be out late and it'll hardly be dark enough when they do start around.

I'm also checking into getting some old tent poles and draping them with white sheets--think decontamination tunnel into Elliot's home in the movie ET. The kids will have to go through this to get to my front porch.

On eBay, I am watching a couple of alien full-head masks that I will probably buy and attach to some type of body, but not sure how to do it yet.

I'm starting to get panicky. The theme has been rolling around in my head for about 6 months, but suddenly it's almost October and nothing is really solidified.

Any ideas?? I have a reputation to live up to around here! Here are some photos of last year's Halloween in my webshots album:
Image hosted by
by Cloudtoucher

Suggestions and ideas are welcomed--no matter how off-the-wall they might seem to you, they could lead to something workable for me! Thanks in advance!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Lemonade, anyone?

Well, as J-man put it, we have one good leg between us.

He had a stroke many years ago that left him paralyzed on one side. He manages remarkably well--til something happens. Last weekend he developed severe pain in the other hip, so much so I couldn't get him down the steps into the car, and had to call a non-emergent transport to get him to the hospital where I worked--as I started my shift. Turns out it wasn't the dislocation or stress fracture I feared, but a bad case of bursitis. ICU (which is right next door to my unit) was nice enough to let me put him in an empty bed til I could finish out my shift and take him home. He's doing much better now, thank goodness. He did leave my cell phone in his hospital gown, and it went through the wash, but hey, it was 3 years old and now I can justify getting a new one.

Then last week, I started having some pain in my knee--the one I DIDN'T injure last May. At first I chalked it up to a new cholesterol med, but it kept getting worse and it's the same pain I had in the knee I sprained. So here I am, on one crutch, on night call for the weekend, but not worried, because I know we're fully staffed. You got it--the hospital called. It was my fault: I should have told them earlier I couldn't take call. My poor patients didn't know quite what to think. But, bless her heart, one of our contract nurses responded to a call from the charge nurse, and I was able to leave by midnight.

I need to do laundry, I need to go get groceries, I need to get these newsletters to the post office today, and Tandi is taking advantage of our joint disabilities to take a vacation from housetraining. BUT--Season 3 of Grey's Anatomy was in the mailbox when I got home. And now I'm off call for the weekend.

Life's little lemons. 8^)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Summary of My Last Year on the Computer

(I just love this!)

I must send my thanks to whoever sent me the email about rat poop in the glue
on envelopes because I now have to use a wet towel with every envelope that
needs sealing.

Also, now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.

I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl (Penny Brown)
who is about to die in the hospital for the 1,387,258th time.

I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once I receive the
$15,000 that Bill Gates at Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in
their special e-mail program.

I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for
me, and St. Theresa's novena has granted my every wish.

I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks
with no eyes or feathers.

I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water
buffalo on a hot day!

Thanks to you, I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward
an email to seven of my friends and make a wish all within five minutes.

Because of your concern I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove
toilet stains.

I no longer can buy gasoline without taking a man along to watch the car so a
serial killer won't crawl in my back seat when I'm pumping gas.

I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr. Pepper since the people who make these products
are atheists who refuse to put "Under God" on their cans.

I no longer use Saran wrap in the microwave because it causes cancer.

And thanks for letting me know I can't boil a cup water in the microwave
anymore because it will blow up in my face...disfiguring me for life.

I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could be pricked
with a needle infected with AIDS.

I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume
sample and rob me.

I no longer receive packages from UPS or Fed Ex since they are actually Al
Qaeda in disguise.

I no longer shop at Target since they are French and don't support our
American troops or the Salvation Army.

I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for
which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica Uganda, Singapore, and

I no longer have any sneakers -- but that will change once I receive my free
replacement pair from Nike.

I no longer buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus since I now have their

Thanks to you, I can't use anyone's toilet but mine because a big brown
African spider is lurking under the seat to cause me instant death when it bites
my butt.

Thank you too for all the endless advice Andy Rooney has given us. I can live
a better life now because he's told us how to fix everything.

And thanks to your great advice, I can't ever pick up $500 dropped in the
parking lot because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting
underneath my car to grab my leg.

Oh, and don't forget this one either! I can no longer drive my car because I
can't buy gas from certain gas companies!

If you don't send this e-mail to at least 47,000 people in the next 47seconds,
a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:47 PM tomorrow afternoon
(your time), and the fleas from 47 camels will infest your back side, causing
you to grow a hairy hump. I know this will occur because it actually happened
to a friend of my next door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's
cousin's beautician.

Have a wonderful day....Oh, and one last tid-bit...
A scientist from Argentina, after a lengthy study, has discovered that people
with insufficient brain and sexual activity read their e-mail with their hand on
the mouse.
Don't bother taking it off now, it's too late!!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday night supper

I know I do well to get in 2 posts a week, much less 2 in a day, but I made a squash casserole from a new recipe and it was wonderful! So I just had to share the recipe. I think I got it from an online newsletter I subscribe to: "I'm Not Martha", but don't remember, so if I'm shorting someone on credit, I apologize. Researching it on Google showed the exact recipe from an old Southern Living Magazine.
Here is the recipe, and in parentheses are my modifications:

Zippy Squash Casserole

5 large yellow squash
2 T butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I didn't have only cheddar--used cheddar/Monterey Jack)
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 c. celery, chopped
3 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
1- 2 oz. jar pimentos (I used one roasted red pepper from a jar of them--GREAT substitute!)
1 T green chilies (Since we love green chile, I used a whole roasted one from my freezer. Gives it extra "hot")
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic salt (used garlic powder to cut down on the salt)
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 c soft breadcrumbs (used the plain breadcrumbs from the store)
1 T butter melted
Wash squash, trim off ends, slice and place in boiling salted water. Cook 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain. Combine next 10 ingredients; add squash, stirring well. Spoon mixture into a buttered casserole dish.

Combine breadcrumbs and melted butter (I stirred them in the same bowl that had the onion mixture, to flavor the crumbs a little), sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Omigosh, this was so much better than the bland squash casseroles I've made in the past. J-man agreed this was a keeper, and he's gotten very picky these days. If you try this, please let me know what you think!

Fair entries--Show and Tell

Hurray, it's Show and Tell Friday over at Kelli's place--"There's No Place Like Home"! Click on that logo to the left, and enjoy the eye candy! Here's my Show and Tell.

Well, as I said in my last post, I decided to enter a couple of my wallhangings into the regional fair this year--my first ever competition. Tues. was the last day we could enter anything, so I planned to finish hand-sewing the binding down and take it over after getting off work Tues. morning. Usually there's a lull between about 1am and 4am, but not that night. No problem, I'll just finish it after work, because it would be 9am before they'd accept it anyway. Oops--forgot to bring needles! Dashed over to Wal-Mart, picked up some needles, then parked in the parking lot at the fair and spent 1 1/2 hour in the increasing heat, sewing down the binding, and attaching labels to the back.

Here is a photo of the "window" quilt I entered:

It's draped across my cutting table at home, before finishing the binding.

At an estate sale, I bought a tin of old jewelry bits and pieces that someone had obviously intended to craft with. I took old clip earrings and pulled the 'curtains' back with them when I finished the binding. The fabric is from the State Park line of, I believe, Northcott's fabric line. I think the name is either Blue Ridge Mountains or Smoky Mountain state park. I used the attic windows layout, but hate y-seams, so used half-square triangles to make the window sashings. It's machine-pieced and hand-quilted. I used metallic thread for the water--I think you can click on the photo and see it.

The second item was one I've shown before--it's the apple wall-hanging I designed for my house. All items had to be made between last September and this September to be eligible, and I started this at last year's Apple Festival.

See the worm? My own little joke. Was he in the apple just eaten? Or did he eat the apple?

Judging was Wed. and I haven't heard anything, so probably didn't place. But it was fun, and it's the first time I've publicly displayed anything I did, so that alone was an accomplishment for me. I'm planning on going either tonight or tomorrow, so will report back then. Wish me luck?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Where do the days go?

DD left last week to move into her new rental house, and I followed her on Thurs. to take the grandcats and the remainder of her things, and to help her put up curtains and rods. Her landlord bought and gutted an old 1930's home, and his wife tried to stay within the time period with the insides. The windows have moldings, and a couple have ledges, but they are pull-down so they can be washed. The kitchen cabinets are dark, almost burgundy in color, and the faucets are porcelain, but she has a dishwasher. The floors are either dark red-gold Pergo and stone-looking tile, though how they laid those on that floor is beyond me. I get seasick just walking across it! She has to put her bed against a wall, or it goes rolling. lol But it's a charming little house and it will be great when she gets it all finished.

So besides that and working, I am also getting 2 wall-hangings ready to enter in the fair. The deadline has passed, but the head of the crafts section is a friend and fellow nurse, and she said I can just show up and they'll take them. However, the last day is Tuesday, and I work Mon. and Tues. nights, so I brought them to work with me so I could run them by afterwards. Wouldn't you know it's been a busy night, and I still have to hand sew the binding?

Anyway, more posts and photos when I get off this 3-day work stretch. Oh, and after I take these glasses back to the optometrist--they aren't right. Anything lower than breast level is a blur--and I am a short person.

Did everyone have a nice holiday weekend?