Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Proof of Life

I'm still here. Working. 'Cuz it's December. I'm averaging more quilts a week than hours of sleep a night.

It's all good.

O, January, Where Art Thou?

Saturday, November 17, 2007


e. e. cummings describes loneliness as:


I describe it like this:

This is how I describe togetherness:

My husband doesn't call this togetherness...... he calls it brain-damaged.
*** hopefully you can tell by the photos which room we've renovated and which one has the original flooring and peeling wallpaper.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

It's a bird! It's a plane! ...

.... It's a quilt! Don't die of shock or anything, but I finally finished a quilt.

This is going on my dining room table. It was designed by the Quilt Basket and really fun to quilt. I think they have one kit left if anyone's interested. It's not on their website, but a call or email asking for the 'spiderweb strip quilt' will get the job done.

While I was outside taking a picture of the quilt, I had to take a picture of this clear, cold autumn day.

I hope to get some more hiking in before all the leaves are down, the snow is on the ground, and the hunters are out.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

can't. stop. laughing.

I decided to learn to speak Spanish last year. I can now order beer, find the bathroom, and understand the 'First Semester of Spanish Spanish Love Song'.

Working in the LQS this morning made me realize how rusty my sign language skills are so I'll probably be working on that now, too. The customer and I were able to communicate enough to pick out fabric for pillows, but it was a lot of pointing and finger-spelling.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Thanks, but I'm waiting for the paperback

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I went back to college this semester. I'm taking an English course and we're just finishing up Othello. Being the library lover that I am, I requested several copies of Othello. They all came in while I was in Houston (which was awesome, thanks for asking). On Monday I went to the library to pick up

the movie starring Bob Hoskins:

the movie starring Ian McKellan (yes, from LOTR):

and the movie starring Laurence Fishburne:

The woman at the desk looked curiously at my three different copies of Othello movies. I explained that I was studying it in college and had a test on it this week. Her retort? "Did you know this is available as a book, too?" Cute.


In the interest of full disclosure, I also borrowed the audio cds of Othello:

The test was this morning and I'm hoping for a B or better. I still have to write a paper over the weekend. Whose bright idea was it to go back to school?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October Wrap Up

Where on earth did October go? I cannot believe it's already time for another month-end post. Anyway, here goes:

I read:

The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud
I really, really, really enjoyed this book but I can't explain why. I enjoyed the journey immensely.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling
I decided to re-read the series to get me to #7. I haven't read number seven yet, so don't tell me what happens. This one was fun, even for the 5th or 6th go round.

Ricochet by Sandra Brown
I enjoyed the 12 hours spent listening to this book, but that was due more to Dennis Boutsikaris than Sandra Brown. I enjoy Dennis as an actor and he did a great job reading this book. The story wasn't too bad. It had twists and turns and kept me guessing, but it ended on a bit of a syrupy, preachy note.

Play Dirty by Sandra Brown This book was as enjoyable as Ricochet even with a different speaker. There was no preachy ending to distract me from this one, though. I didn't plan to read two Sandra Brown novels back-to-back, but I did. I probably won't read another one for quite some time, but I will definitely read her again.

Power Play by Joseph Finder
Normally I have to stay up and work and the book keeps me company, but this time I had to stay up for the book and the quilting kept me company. Once the book ended (at 3am!!!!), I wasn't disappointed. I've never read anything by Finder before, but I definitely will again. Oh, and Dennis Boutsikaris read this one, too. I like Dennis.

The Burnt House by Faye Kellerman
This was my first book with this author, but the reading by George Guidall made it seem like old times. He's one of mine (and most other audiobook listeners) favorite readers. The story had some great twists and turns and kept me quilting. Another great quilting book. I'm getting spoiled.

Break No Bones by Kathy Reich If you've read this book, answer me one question....... Has the author ever read Harry Potter? Crookshanks? Harry? Hermoine? It could have been annoying, but it was subtly done and kind of cute. The story was nicely done, as well.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Not much to say. Too busy pursuing my personal legend. Whatever.

Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje

Slipknot by Linda Greenlaw
Harmless little book.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
Still good, even on the fourth time through. On to number 3!

Lisey's Story by Stephen King
This was a great way to spend 19 hours. Mare Winningham read the book and I loved her Pittsburgh accent. Snce there is no 'typical' Stephen King novel, I'm not sure what I expected, but I enjoyed this. The Mist is back on the bestseller list, so I'll have to add that to my ever-expanding t0-be-read list.

In addition to reading, I also:

1. worked at the First Dutchess Quilt Show. It's my local guild show. I demo-ed longarm quilting and bonded with my saddle stool. Quilt shows are so much more fun when you can sit for a portion of the day! Five of my customers entered quilts and two won ribbons. Several of my students won major ribbons for their quilting. It was a really nice weekend.

2. finished the 3rd season of CSI: Miami around the time my cold went away. So, the next time
you get a cold, take 3 seasons and call me in 1o days. You'll feel better by then.

3. had my ebay account infiltrated. Like I really want a copy of Grand Tourismo Racing game. Now I have no ebay account to be defrauded in the future. Just a friendly reminder that there are indeed stinky people out there who can ruin things for the rest of us.

4. went to the Sheep and Wool Festival and had a beautiful time. I was with some old friends and some new ones and already plan to go next year.

5. taught a quilting class locally. I love to teach quilting. (see number 6)

6. made the Machine Quilters Exposition catalog. I'm so honored and humbled to be teaching at the same event as the most talented quilters alive. If you dig through the sight, you may even find my picture. I'm not so very fond of that picture, but I guess that's what I look like most of the time.

7. finished 21 customer quilts. I know, fewer than last month, but most of these were queen/king and custom.

AND...... the very last thing I did in October ........

8. packed to go to Houston!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


On Sunday night we had an unexpected guest drop by the house. He didn't get along well with some of the members of the family. There was a period of screaming and running and knocking over furniture. The chaos stopped just short of bloodshed. It ended when my husband caught the mouse while the two useless idiots cats watched. My kind-hearted husband released the mouse in the yard. I spent a good deal of time yesterday setting the sewing room back in order. Yes, the mouse was in my sewing room! How did I ever get so much fabric? And how does it get so dusty in there?

On another front, we got our new generator and electrical hookups today, thus guaranteeing no extended power outages in the near future. When my husband showed me how to use the new equipment in the garage, I noticed what was possibly the same mouse (or a near relative of the mid-sized brown variety), now dead in a trap. Poor, poor mouse.

Monday, October 01, 2007

September wrap-up

I've seen a lot of people post their reading lists, so here's mine from September:

The Company by Robert Littell
This is one long book. It got me through many quilts, but did I mention that it was long?

Hot Stuff by Janet Evanovich and Leanne Banks
I did enjoy it, but it wasn't exactly memorable.

The Ruins by Scott Smith
I saw this on the NYTimes bestseller list and then downloaded it from the library. Knew absolutely nothing about it. Imagine my surprise when it was a Stephen King-like horror novel?!?!?!? Don't get me wrong, I love Stephen King, but it wasn't what I was expecting. I did like this book and it was memorable.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
As I was listening to this book on my MP3 player, I was thinking, "Wow, this book sure jumps around a lot." Then I listened to the end, and then it kept going? My MP3 player shuffled the tracks. I actually liked this book, but maybe it was boring if you listened all the way through in order?

Body Surfing by Anita Shreve
I didn't really like Wedding in December. As in, I disliked Wedding in December, but I thought I'd give her another try. I'm glad I did. This was probably my favorite book in recent months. I'm not sure why I liked it so much. In case you were wondering, The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory is still the best book of 2007 for me.

Crisis by Robin Cook
Loved it! I started this book maybe 3 months ago and couldn't get into it. I'm so glad I started it again. Did I mention that I loved it? I read a lot and can usually see the ending from the beginning. I love having no clue where the book is going so I can just buckle up and enjoy the ride. Still pondering the ending and the title. Did I mention that I loved this book?

Off the Record by Elizabeth White
I'm going to venture onto shaky grounds with this one. I'm in a book club at church and this was this month's selection. (I was sick and couldn't go to the club, but that's a little beside the point). I am a Christian and that's really important to me. Like probably most important to me. I don't have a problem with Jesus at all. I do have a few small issues with the Christian culture. Like, Christian books and Christian music and stuff. This book was a Christian book, but it wasn't very good. Most aren't. I have to say there have been a few books that have been very, very, good but that it's not the norm. It's interesting to go to the book club and hear people rave about the book. "This was so well-written," they'll gush. "Have you ever read a real book?" I want to answer, but I restrain myself. This book, like most others in the book club, was pleasant and harmless and somewhat enjoyable. I'll mail it to my mom and she'll just love it. Rant over. (Pun not intended)

Rant by Chuck Palahniuk
Um, what can I say? Chuch Palahniuk wrote this. Not quite as gritty as Choke. I still liked Fight Club best. Interesting and thought-provoking and very, very memorable.

The Afghan by Frederick Forsyth
I think I enjoyed this. I remember some parts. I guess it was enjoyable and passed the time, but my ears kinda glazed over. I'll have to read another Forsyth book to tell if it was him or the actor who read it that numbed my brain. My guess is that it was Forsyth. LeCarre does the same thing to me.

In addition to reading, I also:
1. quilted 22 quilts for customers
2. taught a weekend quilting retreat for 19 ladies (FUN!)
3. taught a regular quilting class (while sick)
4. taught a machine quilting club (a week later, still sick)
5. got my daughter started in high school
6. got my son moved out to his own apartment
7. got terribly sick and skipped a week of life and by the time I woke up the season had changed!
8. watched 2 1/2 seasons of CSI Miami. I'm listening to the rest of season 3 while I work. I'll start reading again when I'm done.
9. started back to college, because I'm insane. Now you know it, too.
Yes, I'm a huge calendar and list person. Why do you ask?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Stranger than Fiction

In case my last posts were unclear, I've been sick. Not like hospital sick, but like lay on the couch and watch CSI and nap for 4 days sick. I have asthma and when I get a cold, everyone knows it. It goes straight to my lungs and I sound worse than dead. I was a responsible adult, though, and called my clients to let them know I was sick and that their work would be delayed approximately one week. The conversation(s) with one customer is (are) too good to keep to myself.

ME: I'm sick, cough, cough, and I hope to have your quilts to you by next Tuesday.

CUSTOMER: Oh, dear, you sound terrible.

ME: Thank you. That helps so much. Cough, cough, cough.

CUSTOMER: So you think the quilts will be done by the end of this week?

ME: No, I'll probably be down a few more days (cough, cough), but I can probably have them to you by Tuesday. Cough, cough, cough, sneeze.

CUSTOMER: Oh, OK. But when will you start working on them? Tomorrow?

ME: Cough, cough, cough, cough, I'll call you when I'm feeling better to give you a more definite time.

CUSTOMER: OK. But if you feel better sooner, you'll work on them?

ME: Cough, cough, cough, cough, cough. I'll do the best I can and call you when I'm feeling better, ok?

CUSTOMER: OK. Goodbye.

Three hours later....

ME: (waking up to answer the phone) Hello? cough, cough, cough, hack, cough, gasp for breath, etc.

CUSTOMER: It's me again. I was just checking to see if you were feeling better yet.

ME: Cough, cough, cough. No. I'm afraid it'll be a few more days.


I actually checked call ID later on to see if I dreamed the second phone call. I didn't.

You can't make this stuff up!

Monday, September 24, 2007

More Sweet Dreams

I forgot the most powerful weapon in my cold-battling arsenal.

Seasons 1, 2 and 3. Yeah, baby!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Having fun!

Sweet dreams are made of these and these and these.

I'm going to be selfish and try to keep this to myself, ok?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Lest I Forget...

When I was in Nashville, I got a chance to meet Quiltgranny Sharon.

She's a neat lady with a neat blog. Check her out!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm in Love! (or, Does this make my butt look fat?)

I am officially in love.

I picked up my saddle stool today from the best quilt shop ever. Since I'm a geek, I know that it took less than 8 minutes to assemble (7 minutes, 11 seconds, but it's not like I actually used a stopwatch or anything). I pulled my wonderful stool right up to my quilting machine and was able to quilt WHILE SITTING DOWN!!!! My back, hips, knees, and feet are gonna send me thank you notes.

Since everything in life should be fun, I read the "Important Safety Instructions" included in the box. I'll share my favorites here:

1. Before assembling the chair. Make sure to wear Gloves for the safety of your hands.

3. Disposed packing materials properly. Do not play with plastic bag as head covering. It may cause suffocation.

5. Except on the seat, do no sit on any part of the chair. Improper sitting may cause imbalance which results to bodily injury.

8. The fabric color may fade when exposed under the sun. keep chair under the shade.

These were direct quotes. The drawings accompanying the warnings were equally hilarious.

And yes, this chair makes my butt look fat(ter than it already is).

Also, be wary of improper sitting. I've read that it may results to bodily injury.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Incentive lost

Today is just one of those blah days. Like 4pm and wondering why I'm not quite awake yet. Since I get up at 5am, I've had more than sufficient time to join the living, but it just hasn't happened yet. I have some work to do, but absolutely no motivation to do it.

What's a girl to do?

Well, a girl could answer 2 phone calls within 10 minutes and suddenly discover 2 customers who are really interested in receiving their quilts, like, NOW.

Incentive found.

Gone quiltin'

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Gimme an R!

Gimme an I!
Gimme an S!
Gimme an O!
Gimme a T!
Gimme another T!
Gimme an O!

What's it spell? Risotto.

I would love to confess to a lifelong love affair with risotto, but sadly I cannot. I grew up in a culinary wasteland. Dinner was either meat cooked to shoe leather or a casserole with Campbell's soup, Velveeta cheese, and potato chips on top. Cheese came in a green can. It's ok if you tell my mom I said this -- she and I have discussed it many times.

I never learned to cook when living at home. None of this food tasted good, so why bother? When I got married and had kids, I had to learn to cook. I became a fairly adventurous cook. I always try new recipes. What's the worst that can happen?

I've eaten risotto in restaurants a few times and really like it. I've tried making it a few times and found out the worst that could happen -- it was awful.

Then I found this book*. I made artichoke risotto and it was easy and delicious. My children, who have never tasted risotto (because I always threw my feeble attempts away), adored it.

Since my son is moving into his own apartment and going to have to cook, I tested a simpler version that he can make himself. Put some olive oil in the pan and saute some garlic and onion. Add the rice and cook until translucent. Stir in some broth and cook until it's absorbed. Put the rice into a 5-qt slow cooker and add broth (vegetable broth for my vegetarian daughter) and cook on high for 2 hours, stirring once or twice. Before serving, stir in unsalted butter and pecorino-romano cheese. YUM!

The real amounts:
1-2 T olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup vegetable broth
6 more cups vegetable broth
2 T butter
1/3 cup cheese

When you put this in the slow cooker, you can clean out the fridge and put in peas, mushrooms, or whatever else is lurking in there.


*I've also made Midas Feast. I plan to try several more recipes since the book's already scored 2 out of 2.

Nashville Update

I recently returned from the AQS show in Nashville. I went there, I worked, I came home. I didn't get to do Nashville, but I had fun anyway.

My flight down was very, um, interesting. The engine failed at takeoff, which is much better than the engine failing after takeoff I guess. We waited while they fixed the plane. Then the engine failed at takeoff again. Then we waited some more. Third time's a charm.

The Detroit airport was interesting as well. Since I was well over three hours late*, I missed my connection. The nice lady handed me a new ticket when I got off the plane. They rebooked my flight to Nashville and it was leaving in 28 minutes. Cool, right? Did I mention that the gate I needed to get to was in Texas? Seriously. Prove that I'm lying. After doing an OJ through the airport, I decided that I have to take my computer bag to the gym with me in the morning. Running on a treadmill doesn't quite prepare you for running with luggage and I want to be ready for the next time.

I got to Nashville 'round midnight. It was hot. Like "Repent now!" hot. Welcome to Nashville!

After the hotel shuttle dropped me off at the wrong Hampton Inn and I waited for another shuttle and eventually got to the right Hampton Inn, I kissed the ground and started looking for food. I got on a plane at 2pm eastern time and it was now after midnight central time. Good news -- there was a restaurant next door. Bad news -- it was Waffle House. I should have seen that as a signal to fast, but my blood sugar was too low to make good decisions. I lived. 'Nuf said.

After my eventful trip down, the show went quite smoothly. I babysat the sewing machines in three classes: two with Pam Clarke and one with Sue Patten. Lovely and talented ladies, the both of them.

I met Judy, another lovely and talented lady:

You should buy her book.

If you ever go to Nashville, check out the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center. I'm sure there are other wonderful things to see in Nashville, but I didn't get a chance to see any of them. This convention center was amazing, though. Many stories high. Very cool glass ceiling. Indoor river with boats and waterfalls. Beyond cool.
Oh, and I think there were some quilts at the show, too. I didn't get to see too many of them, but the ones I saw....... AMAZING! They made me want to come home and immediately work on some new stuff.

My trip home was boring. I got on the plane in Nashville, got off in Detroit, jogged to my gate with almost enough time to get a bagel, sat next to a baby on the flight to NY, and only had to wait 1-1/2 hours to ransom my luggage. Not bad at all.
I get to fly to Utah in a month. I'm looking forward to the trip, but not the travelling, y'know?
*those three books I packed that were going to be insanely too many? I read them all!

Laboring on Labor Day Weekend

Many Americans celebrate Labor Day Weekend with vacations, cookouts, and parties. Many more Americans celebrate by working around the house. On Friday, my kitchen faucet decided to stop working. Stop STOPPING would be more accurate and constantly running hot water isn't the best thing to have. At least we knew what our work-around-the-house project would be.

When we bought our house 5-1/2 years ago, we left the closing with approximately $0.50 to our names and a house that needed major work. Everything that had to be done immediately was done inexpensively. We hammered the old kitchen sink into a shape resembling flat and bought the cheapest faucet we could find. The agreement was that when the faucet needed to be replaced, we'd redo the sink and faucet.

I'm a gal with some pretty strong opinions on some subjects and absolutely no preference on others. I have my dream bathroom designed and ready to go (awaiting funding), but I don't actually care what the kitchen looks like. I had to pick out a sink and a faucet. TORTURE! I don't like shopping for house crap stuff any more than I like shopping for clothes. My husband found a faucet for a price that didn't necessitate our son dropping out of college and a black granite sink on serious sale and I said "Perfect! We're done!" What I should have said was "I'm done!" because the poor guy still had to install all this stuff.
I hope you enjoyed the small glimpse of my kitchen. I purposely included the very old triple track storm window that needs to be replaced now (but won't be), the awful wood trim that needs to be painted immediately (but won't be), the oh-so-chic green formica countertop, and the incredibly trendy peanut butter cabinets. You can see a bit of the trash compactor, too. It's never been used. There was a broken harvest gold trash compactor (old garbage included for free!) in that space when we bought this money pit house. We couldn't find a peanut butter cabinet to fill the space (or any cabinet to fit the space) so we filled it with an appliance we'd never use just to get someone else's old garbage out of our kitchen.
We have 5-1/2 years of home improvement stories to tell, so never invite us over for dinner! If you are interested in reading someone else's home improvement woes, check out House in Progress. Start at the beginning and go forward from there. Then hug your house.
Any suggestions on what I should cook for dinner for my home-improvement-hero-hubby? He deserves a good meal. I'll even wash the dishes ------ in my new sink!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Enough Already!

I'm packing to go to the AQS show. I have all the necessaries (clothes, toiletries, tickets, etc.), but it's all the unnecessary things that are doing me in.

I brought 3 books with me, Ping, and yarn for 2 pair of socks. I have my mp3 player loaded with about 40 hours of books. Oh, and a book for a class I'm taking. And a sketch pad for a class I'm teaching. And some notecards in case I want to write some letters.

Someone stop me before I pack anything else.

See y'all in Nashville!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Happy 100th Post!

I noticed that this post was to be my 100th post and now I wish that I had planned something monumental. I didn't. Sorry. Here's my post anyway:

My blog silence in the past has meant many things, but this time it means that I've been busy working. So busy working, in fact, that I forgot to have fun. Fun for me is sewing and today I finally did some:

This morning was the "Strip Club" at the Quilt Basket. For you non-quilters, we use strips of fabrics to make various projects and today's project was a bag. I've made a few bags in the past, but I've never really done any that were very involved (i.e. linings, inner pockets, etc.). This one had lining and ties and button flaps and TEN pockets. One for my wallet, camera, mp3 player, and seven more that are currently empty. Any suggestions?

I also heard recently that McDonald's serves iced vanilla coffee. I was led to believe that it's impossible to drink it without the proper amount of sweetener. I've never been a fan of coffee, but this sounds like it's worth a try.

Well, Post #100 was lame, but at least there was a picture, right?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Look at who I met!

I was working at Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, Pennsylvania and I met Amy from calicocat. She's as lovely in person as she is in blogland.
I wish I had spent more time with Amy, but the show was pretty hectic.
If any quilty bloggers are going to be at the AQS show in Nashville in a few weeks, let me know, cuz...... I'm going!!!!!! (But I'm not very excited about that). I'd love to meet any of you and Ill make sure I have fresh batteries in my camera.
Side note: my husband and I just finished watching The Fountain starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. All I can say is.... it's different. That and I'll probably not watch it again.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Scenic Kingston

A few weeks ago, we dropped our daughter off for a summer college program. For two weeks, she would study art and literature and we would try and amuse ourselves without her. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!

We decided to explore the area and try to take pictures of lighthouses*. We were hoping to take a boat ride, but the boat sank earlier this year. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. We decided to walk along the river to see if we could catch a glimpse of the lighthouse. On our walk, we kept seeing these metal things sticking out of the ground. We were baffled as to their function until we saw this one:

I learned something new that day.

We walked for about an hour before we came upon a beach. It was hysterical to see this little patch of riverbank with sand dumped onto it. There was even a paid lifeguard. We didn't feel compelled to take off our shoes and wade in the pristine waters of the Hudson River.

I assure you that it looks prettier than it smelled.

After our walk, we went on to explore some local wineries and then met with some friends for dinner. It was a beautiful start to our two weeks of kidlessness.

*We never did see that lighthouse.

Friday, July 06, 2007

At long last.....

Quilt Pics!

My husband and I have had a bit of a vacation for the last few weeks, and it was nice. My children are both nearly grown, but it's still a treat when they both are away at the same time.

Since I don't have cable tv and sew for a living, quilting for fun while watching CSI dvds is the height of luxury for me. I wanted to spend at least one day during my mini-break indulging myself.

Here's a(nother) tablerunner for my mom. Made from leftover blocks from a chocolate quilt for a friend.

This is an old Thimbleberries Club quilt. The quilt has been done for ages, but I finally finished sewing the sleeve. It's on my wall temporarily to help me feel cooler. And to remind me to put the sleeve on the summer and falls quilts, too.

And this is a quilt I made just for me just for the 4th of July. Pieced, quilted, bound and on the bed in 13 days. Projects like this remind me that I quilt because I ENJOY IT!
*Afterthought --- After I posted, I realized that all three of these quilts were from Thimbleberries patterns. I'm not a lover of all things Thimbleberries, but they write some amazing patterns.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hopefully not a premature post

My friend just graduated from nursing school and I'm taking her out to lunch today after she finishes her boards. Since the chances of her seeing this post before I see her are slim, I feel somewhat comfortable posting a picture of her graduation quilt here. M, if you happen to see this before you receive the quilt, surprise! This is made from 2-1/2 inch strips. I like the unusual shape of the quilt and may make another one of these. It's not Vera Bradley fabric, but it sure looks like that, doesn't it?

I mostly make quilts that I feel like making and then worry about what I'll do with them. When I was binding this next one, my husband said he liked he and he usually has no opinions about my quilts. That was my clue to keep this one. It's going to be my fall bedspread. It's Bound to the Prairie from the Moda University. It's huge and all half-square triangles. I will NOT be making another one of these.

Since I haven't had a chance to hike this last week and therefore could post no nature pictures, I had my son hold up the quilts outside just to show some green.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Just call me......... ROVER!

You may have noticed most of my posts deal with hiking. There's a simple reason for that...... I hike quite often (it's cheaper than therapy). I live in the Hudson Valley of New York which is also the Lyme's Disease capitol of the world (or really close to it). My son had Lyme's two summers ago, was treated promptly and has made a full recovery. Others are not so lucky.

Anyway, tick checks are a part of every day life in these here parts. That means you search your entire body daily for tiny little critters that think of you as dinner. FUN! This morning I checked for ticks as usual and, as usual, found myself tick-less. This afternoon, however, I was changing my shirt and found a not-so-little critter attached to the middle of my back. It was actually huge. Like a quarter-of-an-inch huge. Sticking-straight-out-of-the-middle-of-my-back huge.

You know when you get an itch in the middle of your back that you cannot scratch by yourself? That's where this tick was. Removing it by myself was not an option. Fortunately I was not home alone. My 20-year-old son, his 19-year-old friend-who-happens-to-be-female (I make no judgements here and she reads this blog), and my 16-year-old daughter. My daughter is scared to death of bugs, so she's out. The 19-year-old is a bit squeamish, so she's out. My son had his wisdom teeth removed this morning and is a little drugged, so he's out. Wait a minute, that leaves no one! I called upon my poor son for assistance.

I apologized ahead of time for possibly scarring him for life since he was going to have to see his mother's bare back, but he handled himself like the adult he is. Pain-filled, swollen and drugged, he pulled (most of) the tick out of me and tended my wound until my husband came home to dig out the rest. (My husband spent 30 minutes doing just that. He loves me. And no, that doesn't qualify as a date night.)

We checked out the ticks that are native to New York state and identified the ridiculous creature. It is, of course, the big one in the photo. Yes, it was sticking straight out of my back. It's a brown dog tick. I must be a brown dog. Call me Rover. *

"This tick is considered a nuisance species and is not known to transmit disease-causing organisms to humans in the United States." I'm still going to watch for symptoms since "Although brown dog ticks can be found crawling on humans they rarely attach and feed on humans." I'm already the exception to one rule.....

*We do not have a dog. We have two cats that never go outdoors. This was just a random and freaky event. Did I mention gross? Because it was truly gross, too.

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's a beautiful morning.....

.... Ahhh,I think I'll go outside a while,
An jus' smile.
Just take in some clean fresh air, boy!
Ain't no sense in stayin' insideIf the weather's fine an' you got the time.
It's your chance to wake up and plan another brand new day.
Either way,
It's a beautiful mornin',
Ahhh,Each bird keeps singin' his own song.
So long!
I've got to be on my way, now.
Ain't no fun just hangin' around,
I've got to cover ground,
you couldn't keep me down.
It just ain't no good if the sun shines
When you're still inside,
Shouldn't hide, still inside, shouldn't hide,
Ahhhh..Oh! (shouldn't hide) Ah, ah, Oh.....

Even dead mountain laurel looks pretty when sunbeams come to play:

Don't you just love ferns?

Evidence of humans.

My son came home from college on Saturday. I think I'll take him out to lunch. I have such a tough life.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Epiphany or Nervous Breakdown? You decide.

The strangeness that was today started after church when I found myself walking laps backwards in the narthex. No, I didn't do that for exercise. I did that in response to a woman who took a step toward me with each sentence causing me to answer with a step backwards.

After church we drove on very crowded roads to a very crowded mall to get clothes for my darling daughter. She's going to a college for a summer study program for a few weeks and needs some new duds. She'll have a great time and study literature and art, too. We're very proud of her for being accepted.

Back to the mall. Too many people on the roads. Too many people in the parking lot. Too many people in the stores buying too many things that they don't need. I sat on a bench while waiting for my daughter to try on some clothes. Within seconds, there were two families worth of children climbing on me. Not next to me but ON me. Is this necessary? Was buying two pairs of jeans and swim shorts for my daughter worth all this? I vote no.

At Steve and Barry's I saw Sarah Jessica Parker's new clothing line, Bitten. Do I really need a dress for $12.99? Agreed, it's not a bad price but do I need another dress? How many dresses do those women in China or wherever have to make in order to make $12.99? It just seems pointless.

After we made our planned purchases, my husband asked if I needed anything else. "I need to get away from these people," I replied. "Which people?" he asked. "ALL OF THEM!" was my final answer.

Now that I'm back home, I plan to sit on the front porch and look at nothing and drink a glass of wine and simply breathe. And plan a hike for tomorrow. Being alone in the woods is the antidote to the ridiculousness of today.

Fair reader, it is now for you to decide. Was today's experience was an epiphany of a sort, possibly leading me away from the consumer culture and toward a simpler and more meaningful existence? OR am I just having a nervous breakdown?

Comments are welcome and appreciated.

Friday, June 08, 2007

How did that get there?

So this morning I was (shock) hiking along, minding my own business when out of nowhere, I see this:

It's obviously long-abandoned and in very poor repair. I didn't go closer to check things out (I'm a rule person and the rules say to stay on the trails). From what I could see, though, it was made with semi-modern building techniques. There were rain gutters, plaster and lathe walls, red brick foundation, and a tin roof. Did I mention that I was an hour's walk away from any road? How the heck did all those building materials get there? And when? The picture doesn't show scale well, but the house is twice as large as the house I grew up in. This is not a 'little cabin in the woods'.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

I'm being stalked

Playing hookie yesterday was fun but in case you get too jealous, I did work until 10:00 last night. I went hiking again this morning and it was lovely, but I will be burning the midnight oil yet again.

I added a few miles to my total this morning with a fairly short hike. I was about half way through and thinking that this was going to be a pretty run-of-the-mill hike today and nothing much special was happening. But then.......

I met a thru-hiker. Then another, and another, and another! FOUR thru-hikers today, and one was a GIRL. They've been on the trail since Georgia and won't stop until Maine. It takes about six months. All the conversations with them were as we were passing. I guess if you're hiking 2,175 miles, you don't stop to chat with every person you meet.
So once my hike became 'special', it just kept going that way.
There was a lot of this flower. Is it mountain laurel? If you can enlarge the photo, the buds are so incredible! It doesn't smell very much, but it's gorgeous.
I finished today's section of the trail and then hiked back to where the stepping stones were installed yesterday. I sat beside this waterfall for a while. It was so cool and refreshing with a wonderful breeze. Being in places like this make me feel like the me I've forgotten about. It was absolutely perfect! And then a huge water snake zoomed by. Did I say huge? I meant HUGE! So as I was running back up the trail to my car, another snake like the one yesterday slithered across my path. SQUICK! They are so stalking me!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

It's 72 and sunny.....

.... so what do you think I did today? I added a few miles to my summer goal of hiking the AT in NY.

Things I learned:
1. Elevation maps don't always tell the whole story.
2. Sometimes we scare hawks, sometimes hawks scare us. Today they both happened at the same time when a small hawk was sitting on the trail. (thus, no photo)
3. Hikers are cool people. (see photos below)
4. Snakes are not cool people. (see photo below)
5. I need to get outside regularly. I feel like I can breathe again.
6. Sometimes the trail isn't marked too clearly and you have to pay close attention.
7. I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. I haven't been to very many of them, but they can't be much better than this.
8. I should have left those old hiking boots that I found in the closet, well, in the closet.
9. Always carry food to share.
10. Wear insect repellant when hiking. Seriously.

Now for the pics:
These young fellows (and Dora, their dog) were found resting on the side of the trail. They are between college and real life and enjoying their time together. They gave me my trail name, Angel. (Much better than my husband's offering, Hike-O-Path, don't you think?) The name may have been a response to a gift of blueberries. Everyone always complains about 'the youth of America'. Well, these were some wonderful and thoughtful young men and America is in good hands.

These reluctant subjects are Trail Heroes. They work maintaining the trail. I was the first hiker to cross the new stepping stones across the stream. Kudos!
This evidence of my great photography skills is just for my darling husband. He loves snakes but generally hates the outdoors. I'm just the opposite. I think the photo was remarkably clear considering it was taken while I was jumping up and down and screaming like a girl.
Now it's back to real life. Finishing quilts and cooking dinner and cleaning the house. But tomorrow is going to be 77 and sunny. Maybe I'll have to play a little hookie again. Who wants to come with me?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Just in Time!

I've been working on quilts for my son's college friends and today I finished the last one.

This was a quick and easy pattern using all 2-1/2 inch strips. I will definitely make this pattern again.

This past weekend, we went to my husband's family reunion and I got to see my son! His grandparents brought him for the day and then he returned to college for his finals.

Of course, I finished this quilt ON THE DRIVE HOME so I'll have to mail it to the neglected friend.

Why do quilters always wait until AFTER the last minute?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Surprise! More Hiking Pictures

This hot and humid morning, I enjoyed a 3 hour hike with a lovely young lady from my church. We enjoyed the scenery and the company and just had a marvelous time chatting. We shared my trekking poles. They make nice walking sticks, in case you wondered.

We saw four frogs (no pictures cuz they blended into the background too well), a mole (no picture cuz it just looked like a gray blob), four million crunchy millipede-thingies (no pictures cuz ick!), three trail runners (no picture cuz that would be rude), a snake (no picture cuz I was screaming like a girl) and some other good stuff.
We saw this wonderful creature. Maybe a salamander? He stood still for the picture and wandered off as soon as I took it. Kind fellow, wasn't he?

Then we saw these bones covered at the side of the trail. I borrow dvds from the library and watch too much CSI. They looked human until we uncovered them. Maybe a deer? I'd seriously like feedback from you medical-types out there, cuz my mind runs to the gruesome. (The shoe is in the photo to give you an idea of the size of the bones.)

Remember the outhouse from a previous post?

This is the dedication sign inside:

Those hikers spend too much time alone in the woods, I think.
We returned home before the vicious thunderstorms started. Hopefully the temp and humidity will now get out of the 90s. Today was really, really gross but we had fun anyway.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hiking is like Childbirth?

On Saturday, I thought it would be fun if my husband dropped me off several miles away and let me hike home. Flaws in that plan:

1. I only slept 2 hours the night before. Note to self: don't drink 2 caffeinated diet cokes with dinner EVER AGAIN! Finally going to sleep when the sun is rising is NOT FUN!

2. It was ridiculously hot and humid with a stagnant air advisory. And lest we forget, I have asthma.

3. I'm overweight and out of shape and my knees hate me.

Some pics from the day:

I rested on a rock overlooking this farm while a mosquito devoured my backside. Laugh if you must, but I'm slightly uncomfortable.

This flower is no larger than my thumbnail. It was so fragile and intricate. Each petal is actually a hollow cone. Being plant-challenged I have no idea what it is, but it's cool anyway.

My dear quilting friend bought me these trekking poles for my birthday. I LOVE trekking poles. I saw about a dozen hikers on Saturday, and 100% of them used poles. Try them, you'll really like them.

The good news is that I made it home. The rest is like childbirth...... I blocked it out.

Godzilla versus ........

Yes, Mothra was on my house.

(if you can enlarge the photo, the antennae look like feathers --- very cool!)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sweet Nothings

My husband has a new term of endearment for me. Darling? Sweetheart? Not even close. I may tell you later.

So, last week I had to respond to a friend's emergency and it kept me away from home for a few days. All will be well with my friend's family. She's terribly worried that she inconvenienced me, but the worst she did was caused me to skip my planned hike on Sunday and finish up a few quilts for a Monday deadline. No biggie.

Today was spent sitting through two classes, so I basically yawned all day and felt sorry for myself. When I got home I loudly said, "No more!" (Forceful, aren't I?) I grabbed my trail shoes and my daypack and hit the AT. I've stated before that I want to hike all 88 miles of the Appalachian Trail in New York this summer, so today I furthered that goal. Since the NY/NJ trail maps are currently out of print, I borrowed a set of maps from the library. There's a full topographical map on one side and an elevation chart on the reverse. I've been saving today's hike for when I was up for a challenge. The elevation chart showed it going straight up -- and it surely did that. If you question that, borrow my calves for tonight.

The first part of today's hike was, as I mentioned, somewhat steep. I could hear running water for quite a bit of it, so I wasn't too surprised that I had to cross it at some point. What was a pleasant suprise was the quality of the bridge. There's not always a bridge and I've shown pictures of bridges that make my knees knock. (I'm not a happy bridge crosser which is odd since I've always lived near major rivers and have had huge bridges as part of my everyday life. I just never enjoyed the bridge-crossing aspects of my everyday life.) So, today's bridge was quite safe secure sturdy lovely.

Wouldn't you be happy to cross this bridge?

Have you every played Jenga? It's this game where there is a tower make of little wooden tiles that you pull out and stack on top of the pile and try and keep it from falling over. Well, this reminded me of a Jenga tower.

I thought the fungus in this picture looked like little butterfly wings.

I know, I'm weird. Yes, my husband bought me a camera for my birthday and all I take are pictures of decaying wood. Sounds like a T-shirt, doesn't it?
I'm still learning to use my camera (wait, isn't there an instruction book somewhere that I should maybe read?) so this picture doesn't do a great job of showing just how GREEN everything was today.

Hiking at dinnertime has it's advantages, and one of them is that the sun is at a really cool angle and you get to see scenes like these:

This next picture is really a part of the Appalachian Trail, I promise. If you don't believe me, enlarge the photo and look at the brown sign on the left side of the road. You should see some white marks. The official AT markers are white strips that are 2x6-inches. The trail goes under a major highway by following this road for a short time.

Since the hike started uphill, hiking back to my car was a joy!
Look what was waiting for me:

My baby.
The weather is supposed to be this glorious all week. I'm going to have to do this again (and again, and again, and again).
Oh, wait! Didn't I start this post by talking about my husband's new nickname for me?

Yep, he loves me.