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!