Saturday, October 21, 2006

Another Event

It's time to plan for another event.

February's event was a large work celebration dinner thing for my husband's company. After much pain, I ended up with a nice cocktail dress, very cool shoes, an AMAZING Ralph Lauren wrap, a basic black purse, and a new hairdo. I think that was all that was involved, but it took effort and agony and lots of shopping. The event was wonderful and all my preparation was worth it.

Last week we were invited to the wedding of my husband's co-worker. We think we are going, but maybe not. Jeff may have to be out of town that week and the bride is OK with our unsure answer.

Now, I have to plan for another event. The only thing I can carry over from the last bit of torturous (sp?) shopping is the purse. I could wear the dress from the last event, but it's a black cocktail dress and the wedding is at noon. Also, I've lost 30 pounds and this thing hangs on me in obscene ways (i.e. plunging neckline). With the dress go the shoes and the wrap. The hairdo needs a serious trim.

Time for a new plan:

1. Dress: I bought some fabric from the Japanese fabric company that I work for to make a dress. It is very yummy. Photos and links will be forthcoming.

2. Wrap: I spent today at the Wool Festival with some friends. It was amazingly huge and wonderful on a perfect October day. I purchased some variegated mohair that matches the potential dress. Knitting will begin this evening.

3. Shoes: I ordered some boots online and, with what I paid for shipping, they had better arrive on Monday for size and color match. There's enough time to replace them if the color and size are wrong, but not much.

4. Hairdo: I have an appointment on Wednesday.

5. Purse: Am hoping to reuse the last basic black purse unless I get some nutty scheme that I should make something 'just perfect' for the dress.

6. Wedding gift: An all-white Turning Twenty quilt that I haven't started yet.

Did I mention that I have 13 days to accomplish all of this?

I'll keep updating, but now.... I knit.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Method to my Madness

I'm making up for the last 6 months of not sewing, I think. Actually, when I have a lot of work to do, I get a lot of sewing done. I work and I work until I cannot work anymore, then I sew something of mine to remind me that I quilt for a living because I like quilting. Paying college tuition has nothing to do with why I work (Did you hear that? I think it was sarcasm.)

Well, with Quilt Market coming up and clearing out the pre-Christmas work, I'm working a lot. Like, A LOT. So, I'm also getting my own stuff done.

Here's another one:

This was the quilt from the Quilt Basket's Strip Club in September. The wonderful teacher gave us each ten 2 1/2-inch strips and challenged us to use them. I didn't go all creative or anything -- I simply added 14 of my own strips and used the sample pattern.

I'm sending this quilt to a dear friend's mom who is starting cancer treatment next week.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

It looks good enough to eat!

A dear friend and chocolate buddy of mine had surgery a few weeks ago. I decided that she needed a quilt. It was supposed to be a 'while you are recovering' quilt, but it's now a 'Congratulations! You've recovered!' quilt.

Here's the whole quilt:

And here's a close up of the focus fabric:

The back is a chocolate-brown flannel. I got the pattern from Thimbleberries 'Beginner's Luck' book. I quilted it in a swirl pattern with Rainbows variegated cream and tan. It picked up the gold and blended with the rest.

You know how sometimes you make a quilt and it's 'OK' and other times it all works together great? This is one of the latter that makes me hum happily. I almost hope she doesn't like it, 'cuz I wouldn't mind having this one for myself.

Yes, life IS like a box of chocolates!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

TaDa! (or, Seeing Red)

I finally have some sewing pictures to share!!!

This quilt is for a baby girl. I was trying out a new thread for the local quilt shop and it worked great!!! Thanks to Bonnie for the pattern.

The next quilt is a scrap quilt made with a 3-inch tumbler template I bought at Pinwheels. It is for another baby girl.

Thanks again to Bonnie for the idea for the scrappy back.

(Aren't my husband's PJ's cute?)

I have a few more quilts that will probably be done soon (and they are not red!!!). I'm binding as fast as I can!!!

On a less-quilty but more philosophical note -- has anyone ever noticed how tough it is to achieve balance in life? When I was working hard to lose weight, that was my main focus. I didn't work as much and we won't talk about the condition of my house. Now I'm trying to maintain a weight-loss lifestyle, maintain a clean house, get caught up with my work, get caught up with my volunteer work, and do something because I want to (quilting) and not because I have to (work). I'm getting a little closer to a balanced life, but I'm sure I'll never arrive. Does anyone have this down pat? Any advice to share with the rest of us?

Saturday, September 30, 2006

At Least Someone is Sewing

Since I'm not getting much sewing done, the task has fallen to the next generation:

My daughter made this pillow for her friend's birthday. Erin's hair may be messy because we tested out the pillow-fighting capabilities of this pillow. Or it may not be. I'm not saying.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Race story #2: I know my Momma loves me.

How do I know?

'Cuz she was a wonderful support as I was completely anxiety-ridden about running my 5K.

'Cuz she called to check on me and told me I did a great job.

'Cuz she printed out this picture:


And to everyone who told me how great I look now that I've lost some weight -- YOU LIE!!! Do you think there's any ink left in Dad's printer after he printed the photo of my gi-normous butt?

The good news is that there may be another photo of me running (front view, please, Lord!). If I get a copy, the butt picture is SO GONE!!!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Race Story #1, or... Pass the Chips, please!

Most of you know that I got this idea in my head that I should run a 5K. It's not like I was a runner but stopped and am trying to get back to it -- I've never done this before. I've never even BEEN to a race before.

I found the registration form online, printed it out, and mailed it in. The form said I could pick up my race packet the day before the race at the Holiday Inn, so I did. I went there early and they gave me a goody bag with my number (32) and a T-shirt and a bunch of advertisements and stuff and said I was good to go.

The morning of the race, my daughter and I watched the kids' race (cute!). We saw the marathon people warm up. I pointed out the microchips on all their shoes and explained to her how they worked -- they clock you as you pass the starting line, the mid-point, and the finish line for an accurate time and so you cannot cheat. Once the marathon started, they called for the 5K to line up.

I left my daughter and walked to the back of the pack, knowing where I fell in the pecking order. While waiting, I noticed some of the people had microchips on their shoes. 'Cool', I thought, 'These people are hardcore.' Then I noticed that EVERYONE had microchips on their shoes. CRAP! Panic set in. I asked some nice ladies in the back of the pack with me about them. Apparently, I wasn't good to go yesterday morning. Apparently, I was supposed to check in that morning and pick up my chip so I could be timed.

'Great', I thought. 'There's no time to get a chip now. I'd miss the start of the race. I worked all summer for this race and now it isn't going to count. I won't even know how fast I ran'. I underwent a quick attitude adjustment and reminded myself that I was only running for personal satisfaction and that I wasn't really competing and decided to run anyway.

The buzzer sounded, we started running, and the 3.1 miles were..... well, .... 3.1 miles long. Emphasis on the long. There may be a story in there somewhere, but that would be another post. As I rounded the corner toward the finish line, I started looking for a time clock, just to give me an idea of how long I took. My goal was to run under 46.5 minutes (that's a 15 min/mile pace). I saw my daughter as the finish line, then I saw the clock. It said 38 mins +. I mouthed to my daughter, 'I beat 40!' and broke the finish line (beating 40 minutes was my 'I can die happy' goal).

Immediately, a jerk man came up to me with a pair of pliers saying, 'I need your chip'.

My attitude un-adjusted at that point. 'I didn't get a chip,' and kept walking.

'What do you mean you didn't get a chip?' a second idiot man asked.

'It wasn't in my packet when I picked it up yesterday,' still walking.

A witch lady said, 'We didn't have them yesterday. You were supposed to pick it up this morning.'

I kept walking and a lady sweetheart asked for my chip again as I was leaving the roped-off area. I started explaining, 'I never got one. I didn't know.'

She looked horrified, like it was the saddest thing she ever heard. I felt so bad for her. I put my hand on her shoulder to comfort her and said, 'It's OK. My goal was to finish and I did.' She replied, 'Yes, you did, and you did great!'

I got out of there and found my daughter. I was bummed that I wouldn't be ranked and my time wouldn't be in the paper, but my daughter took a photo of me and the time clock. I was a few feet from the finish line and the clock said 38:50. We figured 3 seconds to get to the finish line.

Today was I reading the newspaper articles online. I wanted to see where I would be in the results if I had been timed. 351 people ran, and the time I chose put me between 336 and 337 (hey -- I wasn't last!). Then I noticed my name at 340. I have a common name, but they also listed my age and the town I live in. How did that happen?

My best guess is that the sweetheart lady took down my number and noted the time. She made sure I got a result published. How nice of her! I have some not-so-nice thoughts about some people working at the race, but my sweetheart made up for it. I wish I had an accurate time, but this will definitely do.

Now, there's this 5-mile bridge race on October 8. The paper doesn't say anything about a chip.....

An identity crisis

I often describe where I live as "in the middle of nowhere", "on a mountain in the woods", and "far away from civilization". That is all true. I've posted many pictures here and they are actual unretouched photos. What is also true is that I am 3-4 miles from 2 major highways in New York. I'm also less than 10 minutes from stores, restaurants, hotels, etc.

I like to think I have the best of both worlds -- living not too far from things but having a really pretty drive to get there. There's no noise or light pollution. It's peaceful. But also near stuff, y'know?

There is a popular farm about 2 miles from my house. A lot of New York City folk drive up during leaf-peeping season and pick pumpkins, apples, etc. They also drive about 2 miles an hour, just looking around and blocking the roads. Driving home from church on Sundays in the fall is a severe test of patience and Christian goodwill. They are in 'the country', but to us it's just home. They wear jeans and flannel shirts and hiking boots and walk on my (paved!) street like it's some huge adventure. I often joke that they take our pictures like we're Amish. It hasn't happened to me personally yet, but I'm waiting for it.

Today, I was driving home from picking up a paper (for race results -- more in another post, I promise). About 1/2 mile from my house, I passed a horse and buggy on the road. I KID YOU NOT!

Are we Amish after all?

I'm so confused.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

If you've always wondered what my rear end looked like...

...then this is the post for you:

And for those who can't enlarge the photo (or are afraid to), the time clock says


There are stories to be told, but now it's naptime.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

You can't make this stuff up

Yesterday, I went on a challenging hike. That was probably obvious from my previous post. What I wish I could have made up happened after the hike.

My family and I were driving to WalMart. During the car ride, I mentioned, "I'm not going to hike again until after my 5K. I don't want to fall and hurt myself so I'll be unable to run. I've trained too hard to miss the race because of injury. After all, a hike is just one long trip hazard."

As I'm just walking in the parking lot just about to step up on the curb, I twist my ankle in a pothole and do a face plant. OK, so not a face plant, but I did land oh-so-gracefully on the ground. After the first "I was just standing just a second ago" thought, I got up and dusted myself off and tried to become invisible. (Note: WalMart + 1pm + Saturday = not invisible at all!) Three or four people came to see if I was OK, and one told me to fill out an accident report (so I could sue them? That's a whole other post, I'm sure).

Yesterday my left ankle, right knee, left hip and back were sore. It's 18 hours later and whatever damage I did during the fall should be apparent by now. This morning, just my bruised knee and the soreness that comes from running (5K in 45 minutes flat today!).

I need to go grocery shopping tomorrow, but maybe I'll go hiking instead. It's probably safer.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Personal Letter (it's ok, you can read it anyway)

Dear P.F.,

About that hike you have planned for later on this month: I checked out the trail this morning. Since I'm writing this, you'll know I didn't die a horrible death.

First off, the parking situation is interesting. The dirt road is marked "Private" and there's absolutely no room to park on it. You'll have to park on the paved road. Caution: it's narrow and some of the residents have 'no parking' signs. I'd suggest carpooling.

The hike goes down the private dirt road to a locked gate.

The yellow trail marker is on the gate, so I went around it anyway.

Continue on the dirt road for 50 feet or so. The trail begins on the left.

My oh-so-excellent photography skills didn't capture the yellow trail markers, but the trail begins to the right of the crooked tree.

In case you miss it, there's this incredibly obvious trail sign.

Actual size: 2x5 inches. And it's faded, too.

Following the trail for a bit, you'll come to this gorgeous mucky pond/lake/water thingie.

Right after the pond, I found this really cool mushroom.

It was about 6 inches tall and translucent. How cool!

Can you see the trail?

That's because the trail is obliterated by a mess of fallen trees. I was able to climb over/under as necessary and the trail clears out again after about 20 feet of serious brush.

I saw other things that I wasn't able to capture with my camera: some deer, a gazillion frogs (toads?), a woodpecker, my life flashing before my eyes (there was this tree root I tripped over at the edge of a really steep hill....).

I only had 2 hours available this morning. After the first hour, I wasn't quite at the top but had to turn around due to time constraints.

I hope some of this information is helpful to you and those who join you on your hike. I, however, will not be one of them. This hike was insane impossible invigorating and I'll probably take a 'kinder, gentler' hike instead.

Best of luck,


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

File this under 'easily amused'

So, tonight I'm driving home and I see something on the road in front of my mailbox. As I get closer it spreads it's huge wings and flies into a tree. Hawk? Turkey vulture? But it's nighttime. Bat? No, definitely a bird.

I pulled the car around so the headlights hit the tree. I looked up and saw this:

This is not a picture of the actual owl. It is, however, a picture of a different Barred Owl. Goofy looking thing, huh? The field guide said it was 19-21 inches long, and I definitely agree. It was HUGE!

I sat and stared at it for a while. I giggled because it was just so darn cool to actually see an owl in my yard! They may be there all the time, but to actually get to sit and watch it? Wow! The owl stared back, occasionally trying to unscrew it's head. I felt through my purse for my camera. No luck. As if my wonderful camera and excellent photography skills would have produced a photo of anything other than a dark blob in the dark night. I gently drove under Woodsy Owl (anyone remember him? -- Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute!) and parked at the top of my driveway. My son and I went out to see if the owl was still there. Being that I live in the dark woods and didn't bring a flashlight with me, he probably was but we couldn't see him with only the neighbor's reverse lights from across the street.

Who is it that I'm becoming, anyway? I used to be all, "I don't do outside." I was almost OK when I was just running and hiking. But birdwatching? What's next -- gardening? Heaven forbid! When I say, "Look at this beautiful tomato I just picked from my garden," schedule an intervention. When I actually eat the tomato, dial 911.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Laboring on Labor Day

Last night we returned from my husband's family reunion in Pennsylvania. There are no pictures ... I'm saving them to extort money from the people involved. Trust me when I say that a fun time was had by many. It was great introducing our kids to the family. The kids are 15 and 19 so saying it's been a while since we've seen these people is quite the understatement.

I did my long run this morning. 4.2 miles. I didn't time it, but it felt good. Only 13 days until my 5K. I haven't posted that I'm running for a cause. My childhood friend, Bethann, became suddenly ill in March. I'm copying text from the sponsorship package:

On March 9, 2006, Bethann was tragically stricken with Transverse Myletis, a neurologic syndrome caused by inflammation of the spinal cord. Transverse Myletis is uncommon but not rare. Her symptoms developed rapidly over several hours, leaving her paralyzed from her neck down. After several weeks in ICU, she slowly regained her ability to breathe on her own. To continue her recovery, she was moved to Healthsouth in Harmarville [PA]. Through time, dedicated therapists, sheer will and God's grace, she has also regained some feeling in her arms as well as limited mobility. "Crash" is able to operate a motorized wheelchair through the use of a specialized joystick. In August, Bethann finally returned home where she continues her recovery. Though progress is slow, her doctors remain hopeful.

There's a fundraising walk in Pittsburgh on September 23 to help purchase a van equipped with a wheelchair lift. I am unable to travel to Pittsburgh that day, but I will run on September 17 to help raise funds for Bethann.

This is my first 5K and I run very slowly. I hope to finish between 40 and 60 minutes, but I won't really know what to expect until I actually run the race. I'm asking that those interested sponsor me for every minute I finish under an hour. Straight donations are also appreciated. If you know me and know how to get in touch with me, I will have the sponsorship sheet with me at all times between now and September 17.

Buckle up, we're changing subjects quickly here.

This afternoon I hiked the Appalachian Trail. No, not the whole thing. I entered near my house and hiked to this view:

Then I continued hiking down to Canopus Lake:

Then I hiked back home.

Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Temperature today: high of 73, but it is a very cool day

Number of (idiots) people seen swimming in Canopus Lake: 5, but they were all kids.
Their parents were wearing sweats and sitting close together for warmth.

Number of deer seen from the Appalachian Trail: 0

Number of deer seen standing next to my car when I got back to the road: 3

Number of bars on my cell phone at my house: 1

Number of bars on my cell phone on the AT: 5 (what's with that?)
I had to call hubby and let him know that all was well but that I was running late

Number of minutes it took me to cook dinner when I returned: 0
dh had dinner ready when I got home!

Well, that was my labor on Labor Day. I hope everyone had a wonderful day as well.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Today's Ten Things

1. The weight loss: 27 pounds. Yep, I'm liking that.

2. The funny comments:

"Debby, I was just telling so-and-so over there that you look great." (thanks) "Have you lost weight?" (yes, 25 pounds, thanks. pause to sip my water) "Is it the water? Is that how you lost all that weight?" (yes, the water is magic, I got it from Jack when he ran out of magic beans).


"Debby, you are so lucky that the weight is coming off so easily. I keep trying and trying and the weight won't come off. Oh, look! Cookies!" (I miss cookies.)

and my favorite:

"Wow, it's great that you've lost all that weight. Aren't you glad you aren't hungry anymore?" (I wish!)

3. The running: 3.2 miles in 50 minutes this morning. Yes, I know most people walk can walk faster than that.

4. The race: four weeks from today and in no danger of winning that thing.

5. The trip: Last week some friends and I went to New York City and saw The Drowsy Chaperone. We always go to the high school musicals and comment, "Wow, that was really professional." No, it wasn't. Really. Even the ones my kids were in. This is Broadway and it is smart and funny and perfect sound and perfect lighting and perfect everything. Truly.

6. The New York flavor: When we were in New York City, we walked within inches of the Naked Cowboy. You've seen him on tv -- I've seen in up close and personal .... from behind!

7. The question: Does anyone know what this is?

We think vegetable (as opposed to animal or mineral). A nut of some kind? I've seen several on the ground. If it's a pod waiting to hatch an evil gremlin, just don't tell me, ok? It's inside my house right now.

8. The new hobby: hiking. There are some marked trails near my house and we've been exploring. I'm going to call the New York State Department of Parks and Recreation for official trail maps tomorrow. It's amazing how many frogs (toads?) we've seen on the trails. I think my family hates hiking, but they probably figured that it was easier to come with me and keep me safe than have to look for me when I got lost.

9. The quilting: no comment.

10. The clothes: I've already mentioned that I have no clothes. This is still true. It is also true that air-conditioned buildings can be too cool and that there are cool evenings and sometimes you just need a jacket (even in summer). I don't have one. I don't want to buy one that won't fit anymore by autumn. So my new clothing obsession is pashminas. I have a Ralph Lauren satin & velvet wrap from the Event (see February 6, 2006 post) and a wool black and gray wrap, but I bought a few pashminas from a street vendor near MOMA when I was in the city. I am in LOVE. I was especially in love when the air-conditioning in the church this morning was set to arctic.

That's today's ten things. Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

About time for another post, don't you think?

#1 The running. On Friday I ran for 5K. (Insert jumping and celebrating images here.) I was incredibly slow, but I ran the whole way. My race isn't until September 17, so maybe I'll pick up a little speed before then.

#2 The weight. I've lost 23.2 pounds and hope that no one ever finds it. EVER. Especially me.

#3 The new hobby. Tennis. My son is addicted. He has all of us playing now. Isn't it great to have 3 people he can beat any time he wants? I'm so terrible at tennis that it's frightening rather than funny. As he was completely slaughtering me this afternoon, the uncharitable thought of "isn't it time for him to move back to college?" hit me. When he goes back to Ohio, the remaining family members are ones I have a much better chance of winning against. Where did my son get his competitive streak from, I wonder?

#4 The sewing.

I made two bags so far. One is tiny and cute and gold metallic. The other is large and floppy and tie-dyed. I used the same pattern for both and just enlarged it for the second one. Too fun. Must. Make. More.

#5 The movie.

I absolutely adore Jane Austen. ADORE. And this movie was excellent. We all loved it and several of us watched it several times before it was due back to the library. The story is Jane Austen and excellent, but the CLOTHES!!!! Would people look at me funny if I dressed in these period fashions at all times? I'm rereading Sense & Sensibility and must warn you: when I'm in a Jane Austen groove, I tend to speak and write in her style. Consider yourselves warned. Really. I mean it.

#6 The book.

I've enjoyed everything she's written. This was no exception. I got a lot of quilting done while listening to this book and I wish there was more (book, not quilting).

#7 The weather. MUCH BETTER! We were up to 105ish degrees last week, I think. One morning this week I was running in 50-degree weather. My nose was running faster than my feet! I'll take it. If only I wasn't sure the heat would come back, but alas..... August in New York is not prone to sudden snowstorms.

#8 The food. What I want:

What I'm having:

(only a smaller, home-grilled healthier version with cheese and without the fries). Oh, and some chocolate. Weigh-in is Thursday, right?

#9 The clothes. I don't have any. The fun part of losing a weight is that you get to buy new clothes. The bummer about having to lose a LOT of weight is that it's not necessarily worth investing in a lot of clothes that will hopefully not fit for very long. Right now I own a pair of pants, a skirt, and four tops. This size of wardrobe takes careful planning. Fore example, I'm going to New York with some friends this week. Skirt or pants? Well, there will be tons of walking and the comfy shoes don't look right with the skirt, so the pants. Which means I can wear them Monday, wash them Tuesday, and they'll be clean for when I need them. I guess I'm wearing a skirt on Tuesday, if anyone wants to see me dressed up.

#10 The deer picture.

I couldn't end a post without another deer picture. She's standing under the corner of my deck next to my driveway in what is supposed to be a flower bed. So about that gardening thing..... it's against my religion.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Tale of Two Movies (with reference to a third)

Part I, Crystal Lake

This morning at 5:45, my bedroom was already 83 degrees. YUK! I started walking up the mountain and wasn't terribly into the whole running thing today. I promised myself I could stop at the first telephone pole, being a heat emergency and all. Once I got to the first pole, I talked myself into doing my planned run. Once I got to today's mark, I was close to the top of the mountain, so I walked to the top and started running the ridge. My goal for the summer was to make it to the 40th untility pole (also the first side street on the ridge and pretty much 2 miles from my house) and I did that today! As soon as I got there, in my mind I was doing the whole 'Gonna Fly Now' arms up in victory and running in place thing from Rocky I. I barely started this when the rooster crowed.

I'm a movie person, like, for real. If this was a movie and a rooster crowed as I reached my goal, what type of movie would it be? Horror? Action/Adventure? What would happen next? I had visions of Jason coming out of the woods (remember, I live in the woods!) with a pitchfork and only my newly acquired running habit allowed me to be the one who survived the movie. Anyone else have a movie version of my morning?

Whatever the rooster crowing may have meant, it certainly was a clue that I was awake and moving way. too. early.

Part 2, The Sky Is Falling

So I ran a few tenths of a mile along the ridge and turned around and ran all the way home. This was very cool for me, as in over 2 miles cool. I ran a lot of downhill, but some uphill and level spots, too. I'm a little nervous about the 5K, like 'can I actually do this?'

When I got the the bottom of the mountain and had a nice level stretch before running uphill to my house, I was jazzed. Like, 'maybe I can do this.' Then something smacked me on the head.

Guess what it was. Hint: the name of my street includes the word "oak".

The moral of the story is: Debby really, really needs something constructive to think about while she runs or else posts like this happen.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Accidentally Trendy

Meet my new best friend:

I had no desire to be uber-trendy and get springs in my shoes. As luck may have it, these were the comfy shoes in my price range. I tried on a different shoe that actually made my feet roll in. That cannot be good for the knees. The shoes I bought are nice and stable and made for the terrain that I run on, sweetie (I was taught to never end a sentence with a preposition so you are all 'sweetie' today).

And yes, I do realize that these are very, very ugly. If any of you come here and run with me at 6am, you are welcome to call them ugly to their face. Otherwise, ....

I'm going to paint my toenails now. If the shoes are gonna be ugly, the toes are gonna be pretty.

Friday, July 28, 2006

My morning

Alarm goes off at 5:45. Hit snooze. Alarm goes off at 5:50. Drag stiff and sorry body out of bed and very slowly dress and stretch and avoid going back to bed. Hit the road by 6:15 wondering what ever possessed me to think this was a good idea. Walk slowly until I am almost awake. Walk faster. Consider running on the flatter parts. Think better of it because it's still uphill. Swat bugs (note to self: remember to use the bug spray tomorrow morning). Sing a song of joy (in my head) that I've made it to my daily mark (approx. 1.7 miles today) and it's all downhill from here. Walk for 10 I mean 20 I mean 50 steps (ok the next big tree, I mean it!) before I pick the tired legs up and begin to very slowly run. Try and find a good rhythm and match it to a song in my head (no IPOD for me, I run on a one-lane road and have to listen for cars and jump into the brush). Wonder if my running is actually slower than my walking. Realize it doesn't matter. Act unafraid of Pomeranian who barks and nudges my ankles every morning. Promise myself I can walk after the next 100 steps, then convince myself I can keep running. Smile at the horses running behind the fence. Wonder why the horses don't jump the fence. Wonder if horses ever jump fences and charge sweaty runners. Definitely keep running. Avoid pothole. Realize I'm finally at the bottom of the hill and have to adjust to a flat surface. Promise myself I can start walking at the corner. Start running up my street, but only until the first I mean second I mean third mailbox. Walk up my very steep and long driveway with jelly legs. Climb my front steps wondering if everyone's knees make that noise. Grab a towel to blot the oh-so-feminine sweat pouring off of me. Grab my water bottle and drink it while pacing around my kitchen. Breathe heavily and try to talk to my freshly-showered-and-dressed-for-work husband. Jump for joy (only on the inside, legs are too tired) when I tell my husband that I ran for 1.3 miles straight today. Continue to pace and breathe heavily until I've finished my first pint of water. Convince myself that I love to stretch and do strength training and that yes, I can make it up 12 entire stairs to the shower. Finally am dressed and ready to have my own breakfast. Smile and know that I love to run and start my day like this. Look at the clock and realize it's already 8am and I haven't gotten anything done yet!!!

This happened today, but it's not too different from most days. Sometimes there are turkeys running across the road. Other times there are kamikaze deer. I've already had one run into me (ok, my car) and I think she's trying for a rematch. If you are bored and feel like sweating, come along sometime.

Sorry there are no pictures to post. I'm up to 29 utility poles now and I've started running. Enough things wiggle and jiggle on me when I run without adding a bouncing camera. I'll go public (to both of my readers) and announce that I'm training for a 5K in the fall (maybe -- still haven't registered and am not sure I'll be ready). And while I'm going public, I've lost 15 pounds. As you read above, it's just falling off. (Can you just hear the sarcasm?)

If you really want a picture, here's a quilt that I just gave away to a lovely girl who recently graduated from high school.

It's a twin of a quilt I gave away as a Christmas present. Note how I have not yet learned to crop or rotate a photo. It may help to turn your computer monitor on it's side.

If you need to see another picture, here's one of the Beacon Reservoir:

A group of us from church hiked up there a few Sundays ago. It was a killer hike, but a beautiful site. The tower in the distance-- you can see New York City from there. I, however, cannot because I couldn't go one. more. step.

And since I know one more picture will make your life complete, here's another shot of deer in the yard.

It's better than the last one, but maybe not by too much. I have to write 100 times "I will turn off the flash to take nature pictures"

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Catching Up, part 1

I'm still working to conquer the mountain, but I'm behind in posting. You all, of course, sit in rapt attention waiting desperately for me to post yet another picture of a telephone pole.

In the last several hikes, only a few items are worth noting:

1. I had a 2-dog hike one day. A beautiful and friendly husky named Dawson walking his human and a chauffer-driven greyhound. I didn't catch his name, but his driver congratulated me on making it down the hill this time (she usually passes me as I'm walking UP).

2. The tunes stuck inside my head are ever-changing: a Sunday-School song from 30 years ago (Come and Go with Me to my Father's House), Horsey-Horsey -- a Camp Fire Girls song from 30 years ago, and finally THE CLASH -- Rock the Casbah. I'll walk to the Clash any day. Make the other songs go away, PLEASE?

3. Note pole number 4 -- I took another view w/o identifying information. In that photo, you may notice a mailbox and a garbage can. This would infer that there is mail service and garbage collection. There is. While walking, I have been passed by a garbage truck and a mail car (and a schoolbus, too). When I hear a vehicle approaching, I jump into the brush on the side of the road. When I saw a garbage truck approaching, I thanked God that I wasn't in my car. How would that work, I wonder? I know my photos are of incredibly poor quality, but I hope they at least convey the narrowness of the road. Can you imagine driving on a road this winding, hilly, and narrow and seeing a garbage truck coming HEAD-ON? Me, neither.

Pole 4:

Pole 6:

Pole 7:

Pole 8:

Pole 9:

Thursday, July 06, 2006

All about the numbers....

Songs stuck in my head on today's walk: 2
'Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley' going uphill
'Don't Stop Me Now' by Queen going downhill (I couldn't make this stuff up)

Number of cars that passed me: 8
note to self .... Walk Earlier!!!

Number of cars that stopped to speak to me: 2
#4 mentioned that I didn't get far since yesterday's walk (ha, ha)
#8 asked if this road was on the way to "_____ Road" (sir, this road is on the way to nowhere, but good luck!)

Number of utility poles passed: 5

To recap:


two. (correct date, but now I have to learn how to crop)


four -- no photo since it includes someone's personal property.


Workout brought to you by the number five and Con-Edison Fitness Center.

Oh, deer!

This morning I was eating breakfast and I happened to look out my kitchen window to see this:

Yes, a tree and a whole mess of ferns. But if you look under the tree on the left side, you will (barely) see a fawn with 2 beady eyes. It's eyes aren't really that beady. I think I had the flash on and caught a reflection.

Since I am unable to capture this (or anything, apparently) with a camera, I'll try to describe what fawn are like. They are incredibly tiny with lots and lots of white spots. They dance around on spindly legs and aren't afraid of much yet. I usually see them alone, but I know that their mothers are nearby. If I attempt to get too close, mom comes in and they burst out of the fern in great big effortless leaps. My best "I wish I had that on film" moment was when there were two fawns playing in the fern outside my kitchen window. I don't think I completely comprehended the word 'frolic' until I watched the fawns dance and jump around each other.

We don't have television in my house. Cable is too expensive, we don't have a clear spot for a satellite, and we never watched it much anyway. In our house, entertainment is called 'windows'. We have a lot of bushes in the yard that look like Charlie Brown Christmas trees because the deer munch on EVERYTHING, but watching fawns at play cancels that out quite nicely.

And, no, you cannot hunt in my yard. Yes, people have asked me.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Come Walk With Me

Four years ago, my husband and I purchased ourselves a little 'unique fixer-upper opportunity' that happens to be located on the side of a mountain. We've had a love/hate relationship with our house, but the location continues to stun us daily with it's beauty. Since we are a bit of a distance from civilization, going anywhere is a commitment and going to the gym is a luxury I can no longer afford.

There does exist a road that goes from my house over the ridge and back down the other side of the mountain. It's 6.5 miles the short way (more winding passages exist) and the first 2 miles are all uphill. This summer, as I do every summer, I've committed to conquer the mountain. I want to walk to the top, at least, and be in good shape doing it.

(caution, sudden change of subject)

As I was thinking that I really need to buy myself a digital camera and stop borrowing my daughter's, I remembered that I actually DO own my very own camera. So when my son returned from college, I stole it back from him. I don't know how to use it, but I figured I should learn.

(And now we tie two disparate subjects together nicely.)

Here are some pix from today's hike. Ignore the date. (That's one of the features I do not know how to use.)

This is the last flat part of road for a while. It's narrow and badly paved, but paved it is.

And here is why we mention the paved road in the previous photo:

Yes, this is a real county road with houses on it. Yes, I live in New York and we have bad winters. Yes, I'm thankful that I don't have to navigate this road every day in winter just to get to my house.

When I made the commitment to conquer the mountain this summer, my first day's goal was to get to the first utility pole. See, I live at the end of a power company's territory. The first bit of my walk has no utility service. The neighboring utility company brings power up and over the mountain. Here's the much-celebrated pole:

Every day, I try to climb a little farther. I'd go from mailbox to mailbox, but they are pretty far apart. I'm up to the fourth utility pole. This is excitement in rural America.

I thought I'd maybe find some tunes to walk by, or maybe a book on my MP3 player. First walk: found the player but the battery was dead. Second walk: player was charged, but all the files had expired and I needed to log in to the music service and the library to refresh them. Third walk: realized that I walk on a one-lane road and hearing the cars (and getting out of their way) was a VERY good idea.

So what do I listen to while I'm walking? My own huffing and puffing for one. Random birds and animals (very cool). Whatever song happens to be stuck in my head. Today was "Boogie Shoes" (shoot me, please). Oh, and this:

Can you see the water down there? (I have to learn how to take pictures.) There is a stream that runs beside the road and I get to hear bubbling water. Cool, huh? This also runs beside my driveway, just under my bedroom window. Want to fall asleep to that every night? It's quite soothing.

So, I could tell you that we lose electricity all of the time. We have garage doors that are barely worthy of their name. Our windows fall out of the frame randomly (this is great fun). We live under the tree line, so no Direct TV (and the Steelers won this year!?!?!?). But the upside is ... I get to live here. I get to see this every day. Yep, buying this money pit was a good thing.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

unable to think of a title

My new best friend.

And honey? On your way home, could you pick up some milk and a new skull for me? Mine appears to be broken.


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Finally, something quilty!

I was going to write a long post about my 2 month absence from blogworld, but it can be summed up in a simple sentence:

I worked a lot.

Finally, I'm doing some personal sewing again and hope to post photos as projects are completed. In the meantime, check out this:

For those of you who read French or can run a translator, click here. I am a longarm quilter and quilted this actual quilt! My name is in the magazine and everything! I just ordered the English-language version of the magazine so I'll have a copy to add to my portfolio.

Even though I work too many hours, I do like working with quilts and quilters and those in the quilt industry. How blessed I am to be a part of this!

Happy quilting to all.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Raining Cats and Dogs? Don't I Wish!

Today is an incredibly rainy day. Some might say, "It's raining cats and dogs!" I wish! It's actually raining other critters that I don't like nearly as much as cats and dogs.

Todays fun-filled adventure began with a septic tank cleaning. I know, you're jealous. Fortunately it was before the rain and other creatures began falling from the sky.

What could top a septic cleaning, you ask? How about an ear infection? Yes, my darling daughter has a sweet cold that has been haunting her for well over a week and the doctor diagnosed an ear infection to go with it today. She's fine, just feeling kinda yukky and taking her medicines. Much different than when she had ear infections as a baby.

So we ran through the torrential downpour to and from the doctor. And to and from the pharmacy. When we were good and soaked, we got to drive through Niagara Falls to get home.

We live in kind of a wooded area. It is not unusual for heavy rains to bring branches and other debris into the road.

With that in mind, on the way home I had to drive around a dead branch in the road. Are you with me here? Heavy rain, lousy traffic, poor visibility, and a dead branch in the road. As we were just about next to this stick in the road, it moved and stuck out it's tongue. Yes, that's right -- a 6-foot blacksnake blew us the rasperries as we drove by. My darling daughter and I both screamed like girls (which we are) and laughed nearly to tears when we processed what we had just seen. The rest of the drive home was light and fun as we continued to imitate the snake.

My daughter volunteered to open the garage door when we got home -- aren't I a bad mom? She opened it and flew inside. I thought it was because of the rain (It's raining snakes!). No, it was because a huge spider dropped down from the garage door as she lifted it. There is nothing worse for my darling daughter than spiders. Seriously. I parked the car and she pointed and sputtered "spider!" Knowing this is a serious problem for her I volunteered to close the garage door especially since I was now on the dry side of the situation. I stepped around the spider (not for the spider but for my new Enzo Angiolini sandals) and reached up for the garage door while a mouse ran right up to my newly polished toes in my new sandals! Again, I screamed like a girl (which I am).

This girl ran right upstairs and grabbed the two cats and threw them in the garage instructing them that the door would not be open until there was a corpse and I didn't care if it was cat or mouse. Fortunately, the cats took the day and produced a corpse which awaited my husband's return from work.

So, officially, it's rained SNAKES and SPIDERS and MICE. Beat that!

Unsure what could possibly top all of this excitement, I decided to quilt.

It's been a great day. I truly wish they could all bring this much laughter.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

I LOVE MY JOB! (explained)

I really do love my job. I love quilts. I love longarming. I love my customers. I love working at home.

Sometimes the saying "so many quilts, so little time" is really true. I'm working twice the hours I normally work. When I'm not working, I'm worrying about what work isn't getting done. That part of my job I don't love.

Since that is something I have control over, I'm working to do that. My work schedule has been readjusted and my waiting list just got a little longer and the sun will still rise in the morning (who knew?).

God has given me a great life -- a wonderful husband, great kids, a measure of financial security (I have a roof, food, clothing, and a job), and I feel it's just not right to turn something that is great into something that drains me and makes me rather unpleasant to be around.

Tomorrow, I'm going to the ballet. I hope to post about that and a few other things next week.

Friday, March 31, 2006


I love my job!
I love my job!
I love my job!
I love my job!
I love my job!
I love my job!

Convinced yet? Me neither.

I hope to post something good really soon.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Safe at home

This morning I met with a customer at the local quilt store. She came up to me at my car in the parking lot. I usually meet customers inside, but hey, whatever, so I walked into the store with her. We sat our stuff down on a table and looked at her quilt and decided how it was to be quilted. It's a really nice quilt and there's space to play with fun freehand quilting. We packed everything up and my customer left the store. I still had to purchase fabric for another customer. I paid for the fabric and gathered my stuff to go. Wait a minute -- where are my keys? They were on the table next to my other stuff and now they are gone!

I looked around a bit, but was quite sure that my customer took them with her by mistake. I called her house. Her husband offered her cell phone number and some parting advice 'You really should carry a spare key'. All right. Working to not be offended. So I called my customer's cell and left a voice mail. While I waited for a call back, I figured maybe I couldn't afford to spend 6-8 hours in a quilt store today (in both time and money), so I called my darling husband who plans to bring me his keys when he's out of his next meeting.

Finally, my customer came back to the store to return my keys. She was sorry. I was grateful to have them back. Her parting advice? 'You really should carry a spare key'.

I once again gathered my stuff, this time including my keys. I went to my car and realized that I left my driver's door open this entire time. At this point, I decided that my other errands could wait. I simply needed to be safe at home. Hopefully this ended the annoying, but very funny, portion of my day.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Thanks Bonnie!

I've really enjoyed Bonnie's Quiltville site and started a few of her quilts (from stash, of course!) This is the first one that is finished. I made it smaller than hers. I had overflowing buckets of 1-1/2 inch strips and 2-1/2 x 4-1/2 inch blocks. The whole quilt is only 46x58 (I tend to make large quilts, so this is TINY). I really love it, though. I wasn't sure if I'd like all the colors together, but they really worked. As for the quilting, this was a combination of 'get it done' and 'try something new'. I quilted it with a simple meander but I used Alex Anderson's Masterpiece (sp?) thread on top and Bottom Line on the bobbin. The top thread broke a few times, but otherwise I was very happy with it. It deserves to be played with some more. This quilt will go into the future gift pile. No one was home today, so I had to let the sofa hold up this quilt!

And the back from stash, too! (How old is that large floral print?!?!?)

As for what I'm reading, I just finished Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. I've now read all of his books and would really like him to write faster. I liked Deception Point best of all of his books, but I am very much looking forward to seeing The DaVinci Code when it's released.