Monday, August 31, 2009

More tomorrow...

Today is Monday.  First day of the work week.  But not for everyone.  Two more co-workers were excessed and there are more cuts to come.  Our team will be whittled down by at least 4, maybe 5 people.  No one is safe so today I packed up a bunch of things from my desk and brought them home in a 'box'.  We're always joking about coming in one morning and finding the 'box' at the side of our desk.  But the norm in my company is to present the soon to be departed employee with their 'package' with about 15 minutes left to go on a Friday.  Things could be different this time and I don't particularly want to spend a lot of time packing up in case I am one of the ones who is tapped to go.  I'll have 25 years with the company in November, if I make it that long.  Things are so tense and there is so much anxiety in our department that the decisions can't come soon enough.  Not knowing can be worse than actually hearing the news.  Those who remain will have survivor's guilt but truly, it doesn't look good for anyone to remain for all that much longer anyway.  Time for a new chapter to be written for all of us.  Sad.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hats for Sale

Many years ago I remember reading a book called 'Hats for Sale'. It must have really stuck with me because I enjoy making hats for others to wear. Here is one of my displays from the Big Fish Festival show. I had forgotten to include this picture in yesterday's post. I've switched from to so I'll see if I can figure this out. Anything that brings less anxiety into my life is a welcome relief. Really.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sad News and Show Pictures

This past weekend I received more bad news while I was at the Big Fish Festival show.  The grandchild of my friends Joyce and Carol was born on Saturday but died on Sunday.  Her parents named her Annabelle and she was full term -- 8 lbs. 2 oz.  Complications arose quickly and the doctors were unable to save her.  So hard to hear this sort of news.  You just don't expect to hear things like this with full term babies in this day of better medicine.  The wind was completely knocked out of my sails.  I felt feel such devastation.  All the exuberance that comes from anticipating the birth of a child and now everyone is left with a hole in their heart where the love of a child should have reined.  There is little you can say to the parents, grandparents and other family members to ease their sorrow.  If you could, please pray for Erin and Jim and their families as they work their way through their grief.

I would have to say that the Big Fish Festival show was a dud.  The weather was drab and rainy and the crowds were much less than anticipated.  I sold a few more things on Sunday but no where near what I had hoped.  On the other hand, it just means I don't have to knit and felt like a mad woman before the Mt Bruce show at the end of September.  I noticed that I need to make some plain black items -- hats and bags.  I'll just keep knitting all month and hopefully have enough stock to get me through the season.

I tried to use to enhance my pictures before putting them on my blog but I still haven't figured out how to do that.  So I'm back to using the old software for now.  Add that to my downloading the new BETA version of Blogger and I'm struggling to put this post together!

Here's the tent set up (most ably by my trusty and tall friend Tanya) ~~


Here are some of the items Tanya cranked out in her 'sweatshop' last week ~~

Her totes were fabulous -- many were reversible and had pockets to store all of the necessities.

Here are a couple of close ups of my bags.  I did get a lot of finishing work done while I was at the show.  Needle felting always attracts people to the booth since many have never seen it done before.

And a close up of the flower ~~

I liked the way the bobble bag turned out and will try to add them again to a bag in the future. 
We had a visit from Tanya's 5 month old puppy, who also drew people to our tent ~~
She's so pretty and well-behaved.  I'm completely jealous but don't tell Maggie I said that -- I'll deny it!
Tanya started working on the body of the Philosopher's Wool sweater for Jackie.  Here's the lower band ~~

She had already knit enough to switch from size 4 to size 8 needles and began the Fair Isle part of the sweater by the time we were done Sunday.
We were both quite productive thanks to the diminutive crowds.
Next door to me was a dulcimer player who left early when she was drowned out by the Big Bopper guy on the WPON radio booth.  We were also graced with the Oakland County Homemaker of the Year (she's sporting the green sash and tiara) ~~

You couldn't buy a good time like this!  At least the fried perch and chippers were tasty.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Tonight I sat down at the computer with the best of intentions.  I fully expected to be able to write a lengthy post about the weekend's show and so much more.  Instead I was met with 3 hours of aggravation trying to figure out how to put together an album on and use the carefully edited photos on my blog.  Big problem -- I cannot figure out how to get the pictures from point A to point B.

I don't do it often, but tonight I'm giving up.  I'm going to toss back a glass of white wine and head to bed.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Quick Note

I wanted to post about the first day of the Big Fish Festival yesterday but was having issues with my Adobe Photoshop Elements software -- urrrgggghhh. It's not as good without the pictures so I'll have to work on that tonight, once I get home from the show.

The day went marvelously from the standpoint of booth placement and set up was expedited and executed to perfection by Tanya. So nice to have a tall and skillful friend. The bags and stitch markers she had created in her 'sweatshop' were fabulous.

The weather did not really cooperate though. It was cool, high was 67º and threatened rain all day. The crowds were no were near as large as advertised. I bet we didn't have 500 people and there wasn't even a lot of shopping going on. I didn't see very many people carrying bags from other vendors.

I managed to sell one felted hat and a felted bowl. When Ben, the guy who runs the local O'Toole's restaurant, came into the tent and said he needed to buy a hat I sold him the last one I had finished -- the 3x1 rib made with the Rowan British Wool. He gave Tanya and me a token for a free drink at his restaurant so after we packed up our merchandise and battened down the tent we headed over there. Our dinners were great and the drinks even better! We may go back tonight if we're not too whipped.

Hopefully I'll be able to get my pictures going on the web and I'll post again tonight. Looks like the day's weather will be much like yesterday's, maybe a touch warmer. Too bad.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Loaded Up

Tonight I loaded up the T&C for tomorrow's Big Fish Festival in Keego Harbor. It took me several trips back and forth to my neighbor's garage but I managed to haul everything out that I'll need for tomorrow.

I still have plenty of finishing work to do on several bags but I'll tackle that during the show tomorrow. I'm also taking several colors of roving and my needle felting supplies so I can do some embellishing. I have a few bags that have been in my inventory for a year or more so I will dress them up with a bit of needle felting -- they often sell quickly when they're jazzed up.

I often struggle with the idea of people wanting plain versus spiffy bags. I tend to be on the plain side but I know a lot of people who prefer bling.

There are a few hats that need embellishing as well so I'll have plenty to keep me busy. I'll be enlisting the aid of my friend Tanya, who is very creative and can add just the right touch. Ok, it doesn't hurt that she's 6' tall and will be able to help me raise that tent up in no time flat.

If the weather holds out (keep your fingers crossed please!) we should have a great show. Tanya has been busy in her 'sweat shop' cranking out sewn bags and stitch markers for knitting so we'll have a nice variety of merchandise. Now all we need is customers!

Now I was going to post a picture of my super cool magnetic closures on my bags but the bags are packed up in the T&C so I'll have to remember to snap a shot tomorrow.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Almost Friday

Today the dryer repairman returned to the house to see the damage from the last guy. It was clear to him that the machine disintegrated due to shoddy workmanship on the first guy's part. Two more parts need to be ordered so my dryer will be out of commission until next Thursday at the earliest, so I'm back to visiting the laundromat again.

Although I'm able to get some finishing work done on my felted bags while I wait, I really prefer to do that at home instead of the laundromat. Plus at home I don't have to listen to bratty kids whining to their moms about video game money. Not sure about your kids but mine never whined like that in public. They always knew if I said no I meant it and no amount of tantrums would change my mind.

Tomorrow my friend Sue is going in for surgery to repair her broken leg. It was broken through an insane accident that occurred up north with the Chickens and their quilt shop hop trip. Remember, that's the trip I had to miss due to Dad's death. She'll be laid up for at least 2 months. I'd be going stir crazy after a week, two at the most. I felt silly hanging around the house last year when I had my gall bladder removed and missed 4 days of work.

I took Sue a knitting magazine yesterday but she already subscribed to it so I'll have to come up with some different reading material for her. She had said she's got her knitting and her computer and she's not afraid to shop online for more yarn!

I hope the surgeon is able to put her back together good as new and she'll be up and about soon. Until then, I'll just have to visit her more often. It is about you Sue!

Tomorrow I'll post some pictures of the new magnetic snaps I've been putting in my bags. They're looking pretty darn slick, if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Piling it on

Do you ever feel like if just one more problem is thrown at you, you'll implode?

Still woozy from Dad's death it seems like everywhere I turn there's trouble. First it was computer problems (both at work and home), then a rock flew out of a landscaping truck on the expressway and hit my windshield, then the dryer that was repaired less than two weeks ago started spewing plastic pieces when Kevin was trying to dry a load of clothes yesterday.

Today, while on the phone talking to my Mom about her edema problems, Maggie seemed to have some sort of seizure where she couldn't walk or stand. Good God. She recovered quickly so I'm hoping it was just some sort of Charley horse.

I'm stressing because I have so much work to do to prepare for my first show of the season. Dad's death really threw me off. I'm going in a million directions, trying to decide what to tackle first. Today I finished putting magnetic snaps on a bag that hadn't sold last year. I used a technique that was new to me -- taking plastic canvas, covering it in yarn and attaching the magnetic snap. I then sewed it to the inside of the bag and now it has a snug closure. I'm going to repeat that on several bags that need closures. I have plenty of straps and buttons to sew on, too. I picked up the purple rat tail at Haberman's today that I need to attach the hang tags to my new items. I'll assemble those tomorrow. Time to make a 'to-do' list before I lose my mind!

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Quick Blurb...

before I head off to bed.

I had an interesting day at work today. My CPU had been swapped out with another one while I was off on bereavement days and all of my desktop icons were a mess. Things I needed I didn't have and things I didn't need I had. Ugh. This is what happens when site support makes the move when YOU'RE not there!!!!!!!!!! Several applications I need every stinking day were not on my CPU any more and I had to wait for our Siemen's analyst to get around to my CPU ('really busy'). Meanwhile, I'm twiddling my thumbs because every single task required the missing software. Double Ugh. Of course we got it all figured out in time for me to go home for the day.

So, I'll be heading into the office by 6:30 tomorrow morning because I'm so behind now. I'm 'behinder' more than I expected to be. I had over 100 emails to go through this morning and now I've got to finish work that was due on the 15th. Yes, I DO know that tomorrow is the 18th, thank you.

So many people offered condolences today. I began the day with a nice hug from coworker Julie and a nice conversation about Dad. Tomorrow will be a week since he's died. Before I know it, it will be two weeks, then a month and then a year. No matter how long it's been, the memory of watching him pass will never fade.

I've been waking early each morning, mostly with thoughts of 'what if' or 'I should have' and then I find I cannot return to sleep. This isn't good when it's only 4 am. I suppose I should work on a Sudoku puzzle to put myself back to sleep but instead I only roll fitfully, thinking about how things could have gone better. I wish I had called my Mom and sisters when I first spoke to the nurse at the hospital -- I could have told them to get to the hospital when I was leaving for Crittenton. We could have all been there together as he died. I just didn't realize the dire situation when nurse Colleen asked me if I had someone who could drive me to the hospital. I didn't pick up on her hint. So much is deciphered in after-thoughts. I don't always get subtle hints -- you need to hit me over the head with a frying pan sometimes.

On a happy note (much too little of that lately), tomorrow we'll be celebrating a co-worker's 35th anniversary at MetLife. Quite the amazing feat. They asked us to document what we were doing in 1974.

What were you doing in 1974???????? I think I was about to start 8th grade and right about now I was probably heading off to band camp!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Toasty Sunday

Today was a very hot and muggy day. Not my favorite kind of weather at all. I just wilt. Mostly I just stay inside where the air conditioning renders the environment comfortable.

I addressed about 30 postcards to advertise my upcoming shows and have plenty more to get out in the next couple of days. We'll see if they pay off.

I went to Ferndale this afternoon to catch the Beehive hairdo contest, part of the Dream Cruise weekend festivities.

Here are a few of the contestants:

and my personal favorite ~~

and a view from behind (notice her checking the progress in the mirror?)

So much hairspray!! And I thought I used a lot for the funeral...

Several days ago I promised some hat pictures. Although I didn't do any knitting last week I do have some recently finished items to show you.

The first two are Brown Sheep Bulky multi toned yarns ~~

And here's the top of one ~~

The next hat was done in a 2x1 rib pattern and I used Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds wool yarn. There are four possible sheep used for this brand of yarn: Black Welsh, Suffolk, Blue-faced Leicester, and Jacob. Each is a natural colored yarn. In this case the wool was from a Suffolk sheep and is a steel grey color. The other hat (which I do not have a pic for right now, sorry) was done using Jacob sheep in a medium brown. Of the two yarns, I preferred working with the Jacob because it was softer. However, I did wash both hats with mild shampoo in the sink and each hat softened up quite a bit. Here's the grey hat ~~

and it's crown ~~

I have a pile of purses that need finishing work before next Saturday. Oh boy.

I went grocery shopping and picked up fixings for a grand supper. Sirloin Steak, potatoes, fresh mushrooms, wine. Delicious start. However, Kevin couldn't enjoy the meal because he had to run out the door to catch his ride to the AC/DC concert tonight. So I just enjoyed the meal by myself and watched Maggie as she begged for ANY morsel (no such luck).

I talked to my Mom and it sounds like she had a busy day, with several people stopping by. With the work week beginning tomorrow, I expect the visits to drop off and she will begin to get used to her new life. So will the rest of us.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Busy Saturday

Today was a busy sort of day. I took the crockpot of French Canadian pea soup over to Mom's. We discussed the distribution of flower arrangements that had come home from the funeral home. I took two planters, one from Holly's in-laws and one from my Chicken quilting friends.

I'll keep the one from the Chickens but I think Holly might like to have the one from the Rajewski's. Holly gave my Mom a sympathy card and had written a very poignant note to her -- I was both proud and teary.

I left Mom's with the wooden valet that I had given my Dad many years ago -- probably about 20 years ago. She thought Kevin would enjoy using it and I know he will.

I stopped by the funeral home to pick up the last of the flowers but unfortunately only 1 vase was left and it wasn't the one I thought it was.

Next I went to the cemetery to find Dad's grave. It wasn't where I had seen the digging yesterday from the expressway but I did locate it eventually. I think it's right next to a lilac bush so that will be nice. I hope it's not bad luck/form but I took a rose from each of the three arrangements that had been placed on top of the freshly turned dirt.

I then stopped at Staples to get a black ink cartridge for my printer. I had been using an Office Depot brand cartridge that had been working fine but all of a sudden it started printing gibberish when I was trying to print errata for a knitting book that was loaded with errors. I'll have to try again now that the name brand ink cartridge is in place.

Once home I put the flowers/plants in place and decided to get my thank you notes sent out. I took them to the post office and off they went. I like to take care of tasks like that right away so I don't dwell on them.

These are the irises that were waiting for me yesterday when I got home from the funeral. They were sent by my next door neighbors.

My postcards I ordered to send out to customers to let them know about my upcoming shows arrived today. I picked up the postcard postage stamps and now need to determine who to send them to and get those off in the mail tomorrow. No time to waste with a show coming up next weekend!

I'm going to concentrate on finishing work this week with my hats and bags. No time to felt anything else before the show. I didn't knit a lick this past week. Geez, I wonder why..........

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tired Feet

The salesgal at Macy's insisted that these shoes were so comfortable that she wore hers all day. Phooey. My feet are aching. I feel like I stood for 7 hours straight at the funeral home today for Dad's viewing. I need to put my feet up. I kicked off my shoes as soon as I got home and put my slippers on for instant relief.

So many different people came to pay their respects to Dad. Friends from 60 years ago right down to new in-laws he only met at Holly's wedding. Co-workers and friends of mine who had never met Dad but cared enough to stop and comfort me. I'm grateful to everyone who came today. My tears were kept to a minimum. My knitting friend Barb sent me a basket of baked goods, which I took to the funeral home to share with my family. It was such a nice surprise and so appreciated.

We played the DVD that we had given him on his 80th birthday, four years ago, and it gave people a chance to see photos of Dad from his very young days. Pictures from his high school graduation, the ship he sailed on during WWII, wedding photographs and more were carefully placed around the funeral parlor. Beautiful floral arrangements and planters were everywhere.

Tomorrow will be a difficult day. We will have a short service at the funeral home followed by a procession to the cemetery chapel. There will be no graveside service. Mom didn't do it for her mother's funeral 7 years ago and isn't doing it for Dad. I've never been told why.

Right now it's time to take out my contacts and get ready for bed. Can't wait to give myself a little foot massage and prop my feet on a few pillows.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Life goes on

Today I slept in a bit, nearly 8:30 am. I was glad to get caught up on my sleep and give my eyes a rest.

I checked the online obituaries for my Dad's notice. Guess what? They didn't spell his name correctly. Egad. Instead of Roger P DuCharme both the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press websites had Roger P Charme. Good Lord. I contacted both papers and got the websites corrected but whatever happened to proofreading?

I found a black dress for the funeral at Macy's along with what will hopefully be a pair of comfortable black shoes. I picked up a pair of $15 stockings for less than $6 -- woohoo. Next I headed over to Costco to buy up a ham. I wanted to make a pot of French Canadian pea soup and needed the ham bone. I figured I'd make the ham and take some slices, plus the soup, to Mom's so she'd have something if company stopped by or just for herself.

I got the car washed and ready for the next few days. It still has some bugs on it from the trip up to Charlevoix last month. Oh well.

Kevin's black suit was wrinkled and after discovering that the cleaners could not have it pressed in time, I took it over to Ewe-Nique Knits and Marilyn graciously let me use her steamer. Now the suit just needs a lint roller. Can't tell you how many times I've reminded Kevin to have his black suit ready for anything.

After sitting outside for weeks, I finally took care of the old paint cans that had been sitting on my patio table. Some dried out and some did not. I managed to splash paint on my jeans -- *&^%$ -- and they're in the washer as I type this post.

I think I'd heading to bed early tonight. Tomorrow will be a long day with visitation at the funeral home from 2-8 pm.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dad's Gone

I can't even count the number of times I repeated that today.

I woke up this morning, not feeling right about going up north, certain I would not be able to enjoy myself with Dad's newest development. I called the hospital at 5:45 am and spoke briefly with his nurse, Colleen. Due to HIPAA laws and the fact that Denise has power of attorney, Colleen was not able to tell me much about Dad's condition. I explained I was planning to leave for vacation today and had qualms about going. She couldn't advise me on the vacation but said I needed to get to the hospital, asking if I had someone to drive me. I should have known things were grave by the last comment.

When I got to the hospital at 6:50 am Dad was in ICU, hooked up to monitors, an IV, and oxygen. His heart rate was fast but his other vital signs were good. He was not awake, just lying there with his mouth open. Colleen told me he was unresponsive but she felt he could hear our voices. She administered some morphine into his IV to provide pain relief and acknowledged there was a DNR on file so no measures would be taken to revive him. That made me sad but I knew it was for the best. I said 'comment ça va mon pere?' -- a phrase that usually brought about a response of 'bien' but nothing today. After that, he began a rapid decline. All of his vitals were dropping and I watched as the nurses monitored him. They asked if the rest of the family were on their way so I said 'is it imminent?' and they said yes. As the numbers on the monitor fell, they turned off the monitor and removed a mask they had placed over his nose. Hands trembling while I fumbled with my cell phone, I called my Mom first. Waking her up, I told her to get to the hospital as quickly as she could because Dad was failing fast. Next, I called Renee, asking her to call Carol and then I called Denise. While talking to Denise his nurse said his lips were already blue and he was no longer breathing. Then his heart stopped. And just like that he was gone. Time of death: 7:20 am -- a mere half hour after I had arrived. Denise said 'he's gone?' through tears and I said yes. I called Kevin who called Holly.

Nurse Colleen said to me over and over again 'he waited for you'. I'm sure it could have been true for anyone in the family. He just wanted to have someone there. I'm so grateful I got to the hospital in time. I couldn't be more relieved that he went without any suffering and did not linger. He would never have been right had he survived and his dementia was advancing rapidly. So while it doesn't seem like it, his fall was actually a blessing in disguise. In an odd sort of way. Right? Colleen said several times she'd never seen anyone fail that quickly before.

There was something so very final as I watched the nurse meticulously remove the IV from his hand, the Foley bag, the leads on his chest, his wristwatch. I carefully uncurled his fingers so his hands would lie flat on the bed when everyone came in to see him and tried my best to fix his wayward locks of white hair. His body was covered in bruises from the Coumadin in his system, exposed for all to see.

I called Sue to let her know I wouldn't be making the quilt trip, followed by a call to my boss, letting her know what had happened and to advise her of a couple of issues that needed her attention. Then I waited for family to arrive. It was more than a half hour before Mom arrived. She saw him lying in the bed and thought he was still alive and I had to say 'Mom -- he's gone'. So many other times, with so many other illnesses he had survived but not this time. My sister Carol arrived from work, then Renee and her family, then the rest of Carol's family. Many tears were shed as they stood around his bed in disbelief.

By the time Holly and Mike arrived at 9:30 am, most everyone else had left. My niece Lauren arrived after finding someone to take her shift at the restaurant. Soon we were ushered out so they could prepare his body for the funeral home.

Most of us went back to Mom's apartment, where we had breakfast and talked about good memories while the grandkids looked at photos. From there I came home. Kevin and I had lunch and discussed what had transpired. He was surprised I wasn't bawling my eyes out. So was I. Unlike my friend who died suddenly from breast cancer a couple of years ago, where I sobbed inconsolably, I knew Dad's days were numbered and we were lucky to have him as long as we did.

Already I'm receiving kind condolences from my friends. It's so good to have friends at a time like this. Their thoughts and prayers will carry me in the tough days to come. I'm really tired and my eyes hurt from crying so it must be time for bed.

Monday, August 10, 2009

New drama

Yesterday I went to visit my Mom and Dad. I made a giant pot of Martha Stewart's Creamy Tomato Soup. I took a container of turkey salad and the soup to my Mom's for lunch. After straightening out a bill she had from the pharmacy that handles the prescriptions for my Dad I headed over to the 'home' to see Dad.

When I entered the 'home' he was slouched on the couch, his hair damp and disheveled. I later discovered he had had a big 'accident' which required a shower, thus the damp hair. When he stood up from the couch he took a couple of steps and fell. It was a sort of slow motion gentle fall onto his right side. With the help of an aide, I got him upright and seated back on the couch again. He said he had been feeling dizzy. I'm sure the lack of oxygen wasn't a factor - right??? The aide said they would be checking him out to be sure he hadn't hurt himself.

Today I was doing my laundry to prepare for my trip to Torch Lake tomorrow to visit with my quilting friends. Mom called to say Dad had fallen again and had been taken by ambulance to the hospital. After a CT scan it was revealed he has two subdural hematomas, which cannot be operated on because of his other medical issues. Other than switching him from Coumadin to plasma I don't really know what their course of treatment will be. Mom sounded dire on the phone but she doesn't really understand all of the medical jargon, even though she pretends to do so.

I am supposed to go into the office in the morning to finish up some work and then head up north. Not sure how that's going to work out. I spoke to my friends Sue and Joyce and feel a bit better about the situation. It sure is good to have great friends. And Joyce is a nurse so she's the gal we all go to for medical advice.

I'm going to bed soon, packing my bag just in case. If I do head up north I won't be posting again until Saturday.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Rainy Day

It poured buckets today and put the kibosh on my travels to Brighton for rug hooking group. I might have gone if Kate and Joyce had been available but I definitely didn't feel like driving 90 miles round trip in the rain by myself.

Instead I putzed around in my craft room. I got caught up on my email, fixed my computer -- that darn PhotoGallery pop up window is now gone, wound lots of skeins of yarn in preparations of knitting hats and bags next week, and continued making a hat from the Rowan British Sheep yarn. This hat is made from Jacob sheep yarn where the one I finished last week was from Suffolk sheep yarn. The Jacob is much softer and nicer to knit with. The Suffolk hat is a 2x1 rib where the Jacob hat is a 3x1 rib pattern. I'll have pictures tomorrow. I've haven't posted any pictures in a few days and I know the written posts get dull without any pictures.

Tonight I watched the movie 'Serendipity' with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. I had wanted to see that movie when it was in the theater but never got around to it. I started watching it with about an hour to go but lucky for me it's on the Oxygen network and it started up again right after it first finished up. I know it's crazy but I appreciate the movies looping so that people like me can stand a chance of seeing the entire movie. A few years ago I caught 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' with a few minutes to go. The movie kept being repeated every month or two and each time I caught the movie a bit earlier in the film until eventually I actually saw the beginning. I was so relieved to finally see the entire movie!

I like the thought of serendipity -- accidentally discovering something fortunate. I like to imagine that I'll find the love of my life that way, but no luck thus far. Check out the entry on Wikipedia -- there are all sorts of scientific discoveries attributed to serendipity.

Tomorrow will be a dreadfully hot and sticky day around here. The temperature was in the 60s most of the day but has climbed to 77º and it's very muggy. Even my windows are fogging up. I'm so grateful for air conditioning!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Crazy World

Today was a busy day at work, a typical Friday for me. We had a quick team meeting where I thanked my teammates for picking up my work while I was on vacation. We work very well together and are quick to help each other when the need arises. That's why it's so difficult to think of staff reductions, one of the topics again in our meeting. I know one gal in particular is pretty confident that she'll be one who is cut -- she was asking when the cuts were coming so she could start looking at job postings in other departments. Looks like they may keep their word of announcing some cuts this month. It makes me a little nervous to be off on vacation again next week but what can I do? I'd hate to miss a getaway with my quilting friends.

I'm hoping to get to Brighton tomorrow for rug hooking but if the weather is too bad I won't do it. I'll just try to hook here at the house instead. I've said it before but I really DO need to get that rug done.

In the crazy world category, today there was a news story about a 32 year old woman who took her 6 month old child with her to the casino. She left the child in the car while she gambled. Someone spotted the child in the car and the police were called. After paging her to come to her car, she asked to return to the casino to cash in her chips as she had been on a hot streak. Not concerned in the least that the child had been sweating profusely, she was ultimately arrested for child abandonment and criminal negligence. Looks like she'll be needing those chips to get out of jail and she'll be lucky to get her child back from protective custody. Egad.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Service Calls

How many times have you scheduled service at your house and waited. And waited. And the guy finally shows up at the end of the service window.

Today I took a half day vacation to do such a thing. The dryer repairman was supposed to arrive between 1-5 PM and the window repairman between 3-5 PM. I arrived home at 12:15 so I could clear things out of the way for both men. First though, I headed across the alley to the Berkley Appliance repair shop to compare costs for fixing my dryer. Right off the bat, he said they don't work on Fisher-Paykel appliances but their normal fee for fixing dryers would be $150 so my A&E guy's price wasn't so out of line. Just not something I had planned to spend money on when money is so tight. Seriously cutting into my travel budget!

So the dryer guy showed up at 3:30 PM, just after my wash load finished -- good timing. He had the fuse in place in little time and was on his merry little way in less than 20 minutes. The window guy showed up at nearly 4:30 PM and said he had to stop his truck short due to traffic and all of the glass he was carrying broke except for mine -- phew! He wasn't amused. I cared but only to the extent that he was still able to replace my window. I can't open the side windows until tomorrow and it's supposed to rain like mad tomorrow afternoon so that's ok by me.

It's so joyful to have the dryer back in operation. Isn't it amazing how you don't miss your appliances until they're on the fritz? My grandmother used to use that term -- I think of her every time I use it and remember how I miss her. She playfully called herself 'Grandma Don't' because when we'd visit she'd always be telling us don't do this, don't do that. I wonder what my grandchildren will call me???????

So, essentially today was a productive day around the homestead. The front window was replaced, my bedroom window now stays up (I know, it was SUPPOSED to do that from the get-go), and the dryer works -- wooooohooooo!

Tonight I walked into town for the Thursday night concerts at the library. I toted a sand chair and my knitting and had a very relaxing evening. Even though the bandleader is well beyond his prime it was still nice to sit out and knit and people watch for a while. It was also good to get in the walk to and from the library. I haven't been going to the gym -- still nursing this groin injury but I need to get back there before I slide too far backwards.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Computer Issues

Tonight I'm having technical difficulties with my stupid Adobe Flash Player plug ins. Seems when I try to upgrade to the new version it keeps thinking that I've got Firefox running and won't load the software. This is going to take Herculean effort on my part to resolve. I hate having computer issues.

Tomorrow the dryer repairman is coming back to put the sensor in my dryer. I'm going to grill him on the costs. I can guarantee I'll never use A&E Service again. Ever. Highway robbery!

Hanson's Windows is coming tomorrow to replace the glass in my picture window. I still need to have them look at my bedroom window. The darn thing won't stay up. Never has since it was first installed. I'd just been too busy to do anything about it.

Miraculously, the toilet may have fixed itself -- hope I'm not premature on that. Wish all my problems would resolve themselves.

ETA -- Sorry to say the toilet has not fixed itself. On the good side, I managed to fix the computer. I needed to download the Adobe Flash plug in to my desktop, hit File/Exit to close the Firefox, and then double click on the plug in icon to load it -- voila, my music is back on the blog.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

I'm starting something new here today. I'll list 10 things on Tuesdays. The list could be 10 anything.

Today's list includes 10 things I need to accomplish before the end of the month:

  1. Complete finish work on the felted bags and hats I've made so they're ready for show season
  2. Sketch out tent displays for my shows.
  3. Knit more items, felted and not.
  4. Finish Holly & Mike's wedding rug
  5. Organize craft room, again
  6. Take trip to Torch Lake and Michigan Fiber Festival next week
  7. Update website with August show information
  8. Seriously weed the flower beds (see yesterday's post)
  9. Visit Mom & Dad weekly
  10. Get to the gym 4 times a week (been slacking since groin injury)

We'll see how much I can get done before next Tuesday!

Monday, August 3, 2009

I need a little help please....

....there are several plants in my backyard that I cannot identify. I know many of you are skilled in this area so I'm hoping you can help me determine whether they are plants I want to keep or plants that need to be yanked.

The first flower -- possibly balloon flowers?

And it's ready to bloom state ~~

Next, I seriously think this could be a weed ~~

Now I know I planted a Phlox and something called Chelone in the spot next to the shed. I'm not sure either took but maybe this could be one of them?

It's about 6 feet tall right now and looking quite unwieldy. Maybe it needs to be cut back?

I thought this was an Astilbe but now I'm thinking I'm way off ~~

It produces a berry that the birds seem to go nuts over, judging by the purple bird poop I find.

I have to admit that I was embarrassed when my neighbor behind me asked to come into my back yard to retrieve a wayward tree branch she had cut down on her side of the fence. I really do want my yard to look better than it does but I have so little time to devote to that effort. Don't you wish there was some sort of magic button you could push to sprout up all sorts of lovely plants in your yard? No maintenance required.

Of course that's not possible. Anything in life that's worth having requires work.

Today I visited my parents. Dad's knickers were all in a bunch because a new person was moving into his building and their family had the door to the building open while they carted in all sorts of belongings. Worse yet, the new person was moving into the room next to Dad. Dad didn't greet me by name, and never did utter my name, but he did seem glad to see me. He kept asking me to take him away from there. At least this time he didn't mention my dead grandparents. He had a few good moments with me and even smiled his infectious smile for a bit. But he never said my name and that was sad.

At Mom's she told me twice in less than a half hour about her visit with Dad that morning. How the podiatrist had clipped his toe nails, how another gal had given him a foot and hand massage. I just looked over at Denise as if to say 'see, that's what I'm talking about.' I think Mom was pleased when I told her he mentioned her visit to me and that he had called both her and Denise by name.

I guess I need to lower my expectations about my visits to see my Dad. Just being recognized is going to have to be good enough from now on.

Tomorrow I head back to work after 11 1/2 days off. It's so nice to be off but I know I'll have tons of email and plenty of work waiting for me when I get back. I hope there hasn't been any drama there while I've been off.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Done, done, diddly done

Today I finished working on the repair job on Denise's bedspread. I think it turned out well although I would have loved for it to be seamless.

It all started with ~~

and ~~

After much contemplation and re-configuration ~~

I darned in the bedspread print. (If you say you can't see it, it will make my day, but I know that's probably not the case.) It didn't work to try to piece it in. At least not for me ~~

After re-attaching the seam casing ~~

On a scale of 1-10 for reconstructive surgery I would have to rate this an 7. Ok, probably more like an 8.

I'll be dropping off the bedspread to Denise tomorrow, when she's downstate visiting our Mom & Dad.

I wanted to share two of my favorite tools for sewing with you. I absolutely love having a lint roller nearby. It cleans up the table I work on as well as the ironing board (especially useful when pressing newly washed fabric) and picks up all the loose threads that manage to cling to my clothing.

And my friend Jackie gave me this super needle threader. I think it's a must have item for anyone over the age of 40. Thank you Jackie for such a perfect gift!
You place the needle, point side up, in the holder ~~

Place the thread in the groove beside the needle ~~

Tug it down into the slot and then push the button in the middle ~~

Voila -- the thread now runs through the eye of the needle ~~

Now, why would you struggle to thread a needle when you could easily do it with this gadget???

Tomorrow is my last day of this vacation. I'm really hoping to get a lot more cleaning done. Today I cleaned the kitchen. So much dust due to the dryer repair. I'd like to get my craft room in order and work on some finishing tomorrow. I didn't get any of that work done last week. Only 3 weeks until my first show of the season.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Too Late Again

Quick post today --

Last Monday I brought home Denise & Mike's bedspread. Unfortunately for them, they had left Miki, their Siberian Husky pup in their bedroom for 3 hours and she ate a chunk out of the spread. After some discussion I decided to bring it back with me to repair. Thank goodness Denise had extra fabric (her decorator had originally made the spread, shams and a dog pillow using the fabric) and was able to send it home with me. I found a suitable lining fabric at Haberman's and began working on the repair last night.

My first attempts were unsuccessful so I had gone to bed thinking of new ways to approach the repairs. Yes, there are multiple places that were 'attacked' and in need of repair.

Today I came up with a new idea, which has worked out pretty well but I'm too tired to take pictures of the repair. More tomorrow.