Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hotel Life

The snow has stopped, for the moment at least, though they had said it would snow all day until about 6pm.  It wasn't snowing at 4:15 this morning, either.  Guess how I know that.

I'd forgotten how hard it can be to sleep in a hotel room. The bed is too soft and slopes towards the edges, and I tried to find the balance between sleeping in the middle and stretching the C-PAP tubing enough to pull the machine off the bedside table.  I did okay, actually.  No C-PAP was harmed in the making of my night.
The microwave almost was, though. It's not working because the door won't catch, apparently.  That's the message on the front when I try to start it: "door". But the light inside works exceptionally well. Once I got up and turned it a little sideways in its cubicle, everything was hunky-dory.

At 2:42, my phone rang.  J-Man woke up and found my message.  Yes, the phone was by his bed, but he slept through 3 calls. (!) He was fine, no fever, and the power was still on. I reminded him to plug in his cell phone when he actually got up, and then we both went back to sleep.

At 4:15 I woke up again.  One of the lab gals  said that someone had volunteered to shuttle people from the hotel to the hospital starting about 6am, but she has to be at work at 5, and she wasn't sure if she could make it.  I'd told her to call me and I'd throw some clothes on and drive her up there in my 4-wheel drive, because I could go back to bed and sleep all day if need be.   

I got up and checked my top to see if it was dry.  In my haste I forgot to pack daytime clothes for today, and about 8pm I realized I had packed extra socks and underthings, and I could really wear the jeans again for a few hours, but I had no shirt to wear. Did you know shampoo is multi-functional?

When I realized she wasn't going to call, I fell back to sleep.  At 6:15, some alarm went off. And off. I think someone tried to go out an emergency exit, because, although there was running, there was a lot of laughing and no smoke. Part of me thought about staying awake until 6:30, when the continental breakfast was served, but the sleepy part reminded me I had a package of bagels, and some cream cheese and boiled eggs in the fridge, and the much-appreciated coffee pot in the room.  Once everyone left for work, it got quiet again and I had the best sleep between 6:45 and 9:23.

After calling Jack and reminding him (again) to plug in his cell phone, I poured my coffee and pulled out the cream cheese and boiled eggs.  I noticed the eggs were cracked, but hey, it was a bumpy ride and I made lots of trips from the car to the room. They weren't just cracked, they were burst.  As in frozen-burst.  As was a can of diet Coke.  The cream cheese is frozen, too.  I think maybe I turned the refrigerator thermostat a tad too low.

But the coffee was nice and hot.  I stirred in my sweetener and let it sit a moment while I placed the cream cheese container on top of the coffee pot to warm.  The eggs are in their plastic baggy, floating in a sink of warm water.  The coke is sitting on a washcloth on the bathroom counter, steadily fizzing and leaking.  And my  biodegradable plasticware has started biodegrading.

I don't think I get out enough.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Here We Go Again....

No, that's not the picture from December.  That's today, as I was leaving to drive to the motel down the road from the hospital.  Just once, I would really like to stay home during a snowstorm instead of go to work.  Just once.  I believe this is my 4th one--third one in less than a year!

We knew it was coming--and it's supposed to be worse than the last one. I left J-Man at home with a 102 degree temp and Tandi for company. He says his temp's gone and he feels much better now, which makes me feel better about leaving him. After all, I don't even work until Sat. and Sun. nights, but with the prediction being 10-14 inches this time, I'm not sure the snow plowing will be done in time. The snow wasn't even supposed to start until this evening, but when I got out of the grocery store at 2:30, it was already snowing AND sticking. And it's supposed to keep snowing until about 6pm tomorrow night.

Thank goodness I had already reserved a room.  I must have seen a dozen employees here already, and the parking lot is filling up. Since I was bringing food, I booked a room with a refrigerator.   There's a microwave, too, and even though it's not working, the one in the little dining room of the motel is. When I went to heat up my Lean Pockets, I heard tales of people who have come because they can't travel any farther.  One gal is here with her husband, 2 children and a bun in the oven. She thought to buy a gallon of milk and had one bottle with her for the baby, and they stopped at a chicken place to get chicken and fixin's--but the servers forgot the chicken part of the dinner.  I offered to bring them some of my food (I brought LOTS), but she said they were fine.  Another gal was getting stuff out of the vending machine to snack on.  It wasn't much, she said, but then she thought about the folks on "Survivor" and those who might be stuck in their cars and said she was fine, too. Perspective.

I'd thought to make it a bit of a party--got snacks, got a scented candle, a couple of paperbacks, even brought a movie, but there's no DVD player in the room. (Was I overdoing it just a little?)  But hearing those few stories reminds me just how serious things can be. I'm hoping we don't lose power at the house. If so, I'll leave and go get J-Man and the dog and bring them back here.  And lots of food for stranded travelers. 

That's looking out my window and up toward the roof.  I can't figure out how to quicken the shutter speed a little so you can see those big fat individual flakes coming from the dark sky, but that's pretty neat, too.

This is what it looks like outside my window right now.

We'll see how it looks later.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Frozen--by Indecision

This has been my weekend off--the 3 days I was eagerly anticipating. I daydreamed of getting so much sewing done, working on paper crafts to send in letters to my girls. I planned to quickly pack up the rest of the Christmas decorations and use the dining room floor to lay out my daughter's string quilt and sandwich it. I was going to make cookies to take back to work Tues. night. I wanted to stitch up a quick table topper to give my neighbor in appreciation for her taking care of Tandi when J-Man was in the hospital.

Are you laughing yet?

Well, the weekend hasn't been a total loss.  I got in an extra nap, got the bathrooms cleaned, culled through some more quilt magazines, did some real cooking and not just re-heating pizza, though that was done, too. Christmas will get put away today.

But when I got into my sewing room and began poking around, I came across even more UFOs and baggied projects I'd fogotten I had.

A couple of years ago, when I was co-leader of our quilt bee, we played quilt bingo, from the Fons and Porter  Sept/Oct '06 magazine. I collected the blocks to put together some community quilts for us to donate, and then forgot about them.

Last night I found them, and was trying to figure out how to put them together. I decided black sashing would look the best (though the photo in the link shows red sashing and it looks good), but couldn't decide on the width or the layout. And, as usual when you have several people making blocks, they don't all measure out at 10 1/2". 

I was thinking on point would be more interesting than just squared (though it looks pretty good in her photo), and might disguise the uneven sizes. But what should I use for setting triangles if I use black sashing?  And I don't have enough black fabric anyway, so I got online and ordered some, because I've already checked our local quilt shop in the past and they rarely have solid blacks.  So I put that one away.

Pulled out the balloon blocks and decided to frame the blue squares with darker blue sashing and then just scatter the balloons over all.  Except--you got it--I didn't have enough blues in a shade that wouldn't clash with the cloud fabric. Found more at the Fat Quarter shop and ordered that with the blacks.  Put them away.

Found these:

Rejects from the Christmas sweatshirt vest made 2 years ago. I was thinking of maybe trimming the tree block back and making a small wall hanging, with little Christmas buttons or charms on it, but then again, maybe it and the holly leaves would look good on Christmas bags, which I didn't have the time nor the inclination to start. So I put those away.

Tucked under a bunch of other projects, I found these little blocks:

They had pieces of a brown sashing that had been trimmed down in preparation for cutting apart, so I got out the seam ripper and took off the rest of the sashing. I vaguely remember planning on using these in a swap 2 years ago, but they didn't make the grade.  Should I just stitch them together  and add a couple of borders for a Christmassy table topper? Or a runner? 

And did I really want to unpack the 2 suitcases of Christmas fabric to find something I could use?  Nope, it was too late at night.

I don't even remember making these blocks, much less what I was going to do with  them:

They're made from Christmas fabrics, but I don't think I like the varying widths of strings in such a small block.  It makes them look awkward, and I can't seem to find a layout I like.  If I made 1 more, I could just add sashing, which would minimize the awkwardness and, with the addition of a couple of borders, would have a respectable table topper for next Christmas.  But then, I'd have to unpack those 2 suitcases....

Okay, what about a table topper for my neighbor?  I found a cute little pattern at a LQS and thought I could pull from my overflowing scrap baskets to do it, but it takes 80 small 2" squares.  Not 2 1/2", which I already have bags full of, but 2".  I'd need to either cut new ones or trim the old ones. At this point, I threw up my hands and went to bed.
And, after dealing with 3 disoriented patients Thurs. night, 2 of whom required restraints, my back is still sore, so I haven't gotten down in the floor to sandwich DD's quilt.

So.  Nothing accomplished.  Does this happen to anyone else? 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bright Spot

The best part of January?

These appearing in the grocery stores:

I have one blooming, and one only budding.  Don't know what color the second one will be, but the scent is filling half the house right now.

Sorry, Tandi, these are for Momma.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Leaking Brain Cells

The good news is--Rose, my baby truck, is okay! After stopping by the auto repair shop on my way home from work this morning, I called our auto service to arrange for the truck to be towed to the mechanic's.  The lady asked if I'd tried to jump start her.  Well, no, just tried starting her up and stopped when she started making weird noises.

So when the tow truck got there about 9:30, he attached the jumper cables.  After about 3 false starts, she got her second wind and started right up!  Woohoo!  Way to go, Rose!

The driver advised me to let her run 30-45 minutes before turning her off.

Well, sure.  

Here's the disturbing news. I pulled up a couple more leftover Christmas decoration stakes out of the thawing ground, came in and answered the computer-generated call-back to assure them the tow truck came, changed into my nightgown and went to bed.

With the motor still running.

Woke up all of a sudden at 2:30 pm realizing what I'd done.  Five hours later.   Jumped up, ripped off the C-PAP, detoured by the bathroom, and dashed  stumbled into the living room, where my darling super-husband told me he'd realized the same thing about noon and went out to turn my car off. Which was a pretty good feat, considering there is still a small mounded barrier of ice-crusted snow blocking the gravel drive, and he has mobility problems. My hero!

Then he told me I could never say anything about his memory again. I promised.

Of course, I can't guarantee I will be able to remember that promise.

Now I have to go check my gas gauge.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Curing the January Blahs

For a long time there, I felt as if all my off days were committed far in advance: doctor's appointments, hair appointment, traveling to DD's house, work inservices, putting the tree up, buying and wrapping gifts, grocery shopping, cooking, etc, etc, etc. It seemed all my time was taken up with lots of have-tos and few want-tos.  It was starting to make me a little CRANKY.

Every other week I have a 4-night stretch off.  (For night-shift workers, this is equivilant to 3 full days).  Last weekend I really should have taken the Christmas tree down and put away all the decorations, but I had a mini-rebellion. Instead, I worked in the sewing room, clearing away the clutter, taking down the black Halloween curtains (!) and re-organizing a bit.  I have some dark blue-striped curtain panels that have been up in the room before, but the fact that they gapped when shut really bothered me. So I ripped out the side seams and sewed the pairs together.  Not very challenging or creative, but it got rid of one of those little things that bugged me.  And in the winter, the sun's path is low enough that, when it shines, it blinds me at the machine until after 11am. Not any more.  Now I can leave the curtains shut until I'm ready.

I even got my hot air balloons back up.

(And yes, that's STILL snow on the ground, 4 weeks later!)

I cleared stacks of books off my desk and sewing table.  These were bought at yard sales during the summer, in plans of reading while lying in the hammock.  Didn't happen, obviously.

And as much of a Stephen King fan as I've been for years, I have some old ones yet to read. Some are stacked beside the bed, and others stored in a box under the cutting table, out of sight, out of the way, but still accessible.

This book I won 2 years ago in a giveaway by Julie at Pragmatic Compendium.  I got about 2/3 of the way through, stopped to do my taxes, and just never finished.

I went through my 3-ring binders and culled out old patterns and pictures of quilts I no longer want to make.  In the top of the closet are standing organizers full of old quilt magazines.  Even though I've stopped subscribing to all but 3 magazines, I still have loads of magazines, and I could really use that room to store something else.  There's so much that can be found on the internet now, I have no problems going through all my old mags and cutting out the pictures and patterns I want to keep--and putting them in the binders to do later.

Also in the reorganizing (and I haven't gotten into the closet yet), I found several UFOs I'd forgotten about.

I cut 12 of these squares, in preparation for a child's quilt, but only cut 9 balloons. I think I was searching for a different fabric for the last 3 balloons, and I've decided to use this fabric:

The problem I'm running in to is, even though I haven't turned the edges of the applique under just yet, it's too
big for the square.

Even turned diagonally, it's too big.

I don't remember why that is.

So I'm thinking I'll either need to trim the balloons and baskets down, or add borders to the cloud squares and make them larger.
Or, I suppose I could sew the squares together with  sashing, and have the balloons overlap the sashings deliberately.
What do you think?  Any other ideas?

In the meantime, I re-discovered these king-sized pillow shams bought at a thrift shop a while back.  I'd already taken the seams apart, and laid out some of the pattern pieces for an apron.  I finished cutting, and then sewed them together.

It's not quilting, but it turned out just as pretty as I thought it would. And it cleared just a little more off my cutting table.

And this week?  Not much sewing has gone on, and the tree is down, but most of the decorations and lights still need to be packed away.  I'm a late convert to Ghost Whisperer, and have been catching up on dozens of old episodes, thanks to  ION television and the WE network. That's why there is no Saturday at the Movies this week--I haven't seen any movies in about 3 weeks!

I'm also now addicted to Farmville (thanks SO much, Mighty Mom).  Coming up is a make-up dentist appointment, a groomer's appointment for Tandi, and having my truck towed to the shop.  Despite trying to start it several times the last few weeks while it was surrounded by ice and snow, it has succumbed to the cold and only makes a forlorn clacking noise now.  I do believe that's the sound of money exiting my bank account.

Oh, but look what came in on Wednesday:, you rock! I don't have a specific project in mind, but I'm sure I can find something.

 I wish it were next weekend already.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Winter Trees

For the fabric giveaway, I asked that each entrant tell me her favorite winter tree, and there were several varieties mentioned, with only one duplicate. Here are links to photos of those trees in winter.  Enjoy!


Pat and Granny--maples

Cathi--crabapple tree

Pokey--frosted branches, any tree

Karen--box elder

Lori--bur oak

MightyMom--Bradford pears

Jen--redbud tree

Stephanie--apple tree

Giveaway winner!

Well, there were 7 qualified entries, so I handwrote them on strips of paper and tossed them into a Christmas mug (because I am still taking down Christmas and it was handy!)

J-Man did the honors and this is the name he drew:

Congratulations, Lori! Email me your address and I'll get your fabric out this week!

Giveaway winner!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

New (Fabric) Year

Five days into the new year I was already buying new fabric. had some deals I just couldn't turn away, and shipping is free over $35.00.  So I bought another yard of this fabric, just because I fell in love with it the first time.  I still haven't made DD any placemats yet, but I don't have to worry about not having enough when I finally decide on a pattern. 

My stash of reds are getting skimpy and so are my greens, so these two 1-yard cuts went into the virtual shopping cart as well.

 The camera didn't show the colors well, but that's a spruce green on the left.

And because I can't seem to get enough snow (!), I fell for this print:

Three days later, my order arrived.  That was fast!   But the two yards I ordered of a new Benartex fabric weren't there.  Instead, they had enclosed 2 yards of this fabric:

Now it's lovely fabric, and it was more expensive per yard, but it wasn't what I ordered.

So I phoned customer service and spoke to a very nice lady named Leslie.  Leslie told me just to keep the Michael Miller Carnival Blooms fabric, and stated they would send me the Paris Cats striped fabric as ordered.  And she didn't even balk when I asked if they'd double my yardage, because since I placed my order 3 days ago, the fabric has been marked down half price.  I offered to pay shipping, since it didn't cost me anything the first time, and 4 yards of fabric are heavier than 2, but she declined my offer. 

This is the email I received from her:

Hello ,
We apologize for the error regarding your order #106____. Your replacement order # 106____ has been processed and will be shipped immediately. In this case, there is no need to return the fabric to us. Please use it for another project or donate the item to a local cause or sewing guild.

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you for shopping at We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Leslie Weigel

Customer Service

1-888-455-2940 can chalk up a new convert.  Their shipping time is so fast that unless I'd waited until the last possible moment for a project,  it would not be an incovenience at all. And this was so quickly and graciously resolved, how could I be upset?

So friends, this could be your lucky weekend! I'm going to give this bonus fabric away. All you have to do is tell me your favorite winter tree.  You know, the one that, when it's all bare, makes you take a second look because the outline of it is so interesting or beautiful or striking.  I think mine would have to be apple trees, because they're so twisted and gnarly and when the leaves are gone, they look almost spooky in their nakedness. What's your favorite?

The catch is, you must have commented on my blog before today.  I don't participate in giveaways that will only allow you to participate if you link to their blog or become a follower--that makes me think of buying votes.  I think if you've stuck with me and my little blog through the dry spells and boring posts, you should be rewarded!

So, all you faithful cyber-friends, leave me a comment with your favorite winter tree on this post before midnight Sunday night, and I'll draw a name Monday morning.  (And if it's a fabric you don't really care that much for, think about giving it to a friend or your own guild.)

Good luck!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


It's still lower than freezing here--25degrees with a windchill factor of 14F.  I can't get my truck out of the driveway.  Tried to start her the other day, after slip-sliding across the frozen tundra to get to it.  Poor Rose, she gave a mighty effort, but finally couldn't even turn over.  I'm thinking we may have to call our auto service here in a few days to jump start her. In the meantime, J-Man and I continue to share the SUV--when we're absolutely forced to leave the house.  I have yet to reschedule my missed dental appointment and my missed bone density scan/mammogram.  I am going to have to bite the bullet and get my haircut, though.  Carrie hasn't seen me since before Halloween. Then there's that pesky rule the hospital has about not issuing paychecks unless the staff actually shows up.

The birds are having a turf war at the feeders.  Just watched a possessive male cardinal literally chase a little song sparrow all around the feeder until a tiny Carolina wren scared them both away.  Usually it's at least a half hour after filling the feeders before the birds venture over, but it was less than 10 minutes today.  It's difficult for them to find anything to eat these days. The ground is so hard that I was able to take the yard card down today, but not the stakes holding it or the spotlight or the extension cord stakes.  They are frozen in place.  Maybe next week, when we get that heat wave of 44 degrees they're predicting....

Can you see the snow boulders still lining the streets?  That snow was almost 3 weeks ago!  I know you folks north of the Mason-Dixon Line aren't impressed, but we Southerners are ready for some warmer temps to go with this lovely cloudless sky. 

Guess this little guy will hang around just awhile longer.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Movie Trivia Answer 1/2

Well, I thought I'd hear from more of you, but then, Tootsie is an old movie!  A fun one, though.

The question was: What did Les give Dorothy that she/he tried to pass on to Sandy? 

AnnieO got the answer:
This is one of my all-time favorite movies! I know the answer--it was chocolate-covered cherry candies!

Scene from the movie:

Sandy: A guy named Les is sending you candy?

Michael Dorsey: Yes. He's a friend of mine. He can't eat candy; he's diabetic.

Sandy (reading the card): Why is he thanking you for a lovely night in front of the fire?

Michael Dorsey: [long pause] My mind's a blank.

Sandy: Michael, are you gay?

Michael Dorsey: In what sense?

Do yourself a favor--rent this movie, get past the first 10 minutes, and prepare to enjoy yourself!
New question on Saturday!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Saturday at the Movies

Feeling a little nostalgic?  Remember the '80s?  Well, here's a little jewel from 1982, one I know I've talked about before.

If you haven't seen it yet, you'll love it.  If you have, you'll love it again.
Here's your question: what did Les give Dorothy that she/he tried to pass on to Sandy?

Enjoy! Answer on Tuesday.

Kickin' it to the Curb

Dear 2009,

Good Riddance.









Love, Stephanie

PS.  It wasn't all bad--lots of good came from some of those experiences.  I'm just hoping 2010 will look TONS better by comparison!