Thursday, March 31, 2011


Today when I got into the Montana to come home from work, I hoisted my heavy backpack over my lap toward the middle of the car.  I felt the dreaded snap.  A wardrobe malfunction.  Darn!  I came home, ate dinner, got my hair cut & colored, then off to Macy's I went.  They're having a buy 2/get 2 free sale right now.  I did even better though.  I got four for $9.99 each!!  I thought it was a mistake but fortunately for me it was not.  Now I'm all set for a while.  A girl needs good support and a bargain to boot, right?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Time to Vote!

Since I started back to work, my left brain has been over-taking my right brain.  Seemingly listless, I've been trying to jump-start my creative side.  On Saturday I'm heading off to our annual Rug Hooking Hook-In.  An all day event where dozens and dozens of rug hookers get together to hook, and talk, and eat, and shop!  I'll be taking a rug I've hooked and trying to get it finished.  I need your help!  I'll either be finishing the Lighthouse Rug or the Ugly Chicken Rug.  Please vote on the sidebar!!

To help you choose, here are some pictures of the Lighthouse Rug:

Yes, I did finish hooking it in 2005 -- what's your point??!!

And here are the Ugly Chicken Rug pictures.
Before blocking:

After blocking:

Yes, it probably is one of the U-G-L-I-E-S-T things I've ever made.  I will take no credit whatsoever for it.  I took a workshop in a very crowded basement with a teacher who seemed less than enthusiastic and an insane  Corgi ruled the roost!

Blocking makes all the difference in rug hooking and my trusty Maytag iron did the trick:

So, please help me choose which rug to finish on Saturday by voting in my poll in the right sidebar.

And for my friend Mary (and anyone else who may be interested)  -- my new wine varietal of choice for Spring/Summer is:

Kick that bottle of Moscato to the curb and buy a Vouvray today!!  You'll thank me -- you will!

Door to Door Organics

Another great box of organic produce arrived on my porch yesterday from Door to Door Organics.

I've already eaten:  1 apple, 1 orange, 1 zucchini -- yummo!  You can't beat fresh produce.  If you live in Michigan and aren't ordering from Door to Door Organics -- what's stopping you??!!  Leave me a comment if you'd like to try a box for 1/2 off.  I can give away 5 coupons per month to try a box.  Try it, you'll like it -- I'm certain!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Van Gogh's Bedroom

Scratching your head, wondering what in the world I'm talking about?  Please take a couple of minutes to see a fabulous group quilt over at the C&T Publishing blog.  You can read all the posts on the blog but be sure to start reading about this amazing quilt beginning on 3/27 and scroll down through several days of posts to see the work in progress for this stunning quilt.  It's no wall hanging -- it's 86" x 68"!  It's ready to be raffled off and the best part -- you can buy a chance to win it for only $10, and in doing so you'll be supporting a wonderful art program.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cracked Me Up

I absolutely laughed out loud at the latest commercial.

Oh My!

I tend to keep myself pretty busy -- knitting, felting, sewing, etc.  But I'm a lazy bones Jones compared to Dawn MacFall from Wisconsin.  You have to check out the slideshow of her dream studio.  You'll see how talented she is in the last several slides.  No wonder she has such a wonderful studio!  I'm sooooo envious.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My 50th Quilt

You probably thought I was going to tell you about the 50th quilt I've made.  Nope.  To be honest, I'm not really sure how many quilts I've made in the 20+ years I've been quilting.  Definitely less than 50 though.

No, today I wanted to show you the wonderful gift my friend Sue made for me for my 50th birthday earlier this month.

There are 49 hexagons using 49 different fabrics, plus the black background, for a total of 50 different fabrics used.  Isn't Sue clever?  Here's the label she added to the back of the quilt:

I've slept under it every night since I got home from Torch Lake last Sunday.  I love it and her!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ahhhh -- The Weekend

Now that I'm back to work after my 'vacation' I've really come to appreciate the weekend.  I used to take it for granted but not any more.  

Today I went to the Black Swamp Spinners Guild's Market Day in Bowling Green, OH -- such a great day.  Great fiber, great food, great friends.  I did the driving for 5 of us and now I'm pooped.  Ready to crawl into bed and get ready for a busy day tomorrow.

More later.............

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bathroom Do-Over #1

Be sure to check out Mary Scott Huff's blog post for 3/25/11.  I started to write this comment but stopped because it would have gone so very far over the letter limit.

Mary, Mary, Mary.   This was MY story 13 years ago.  Having only one bathroom and three users I tried to re-do it myself in the course of one long, long night while my kids were visiting their dad.  With limited means, I did all the work myself except for removing the old toilet and re-setting a new one.  My marathon began by tearing everything out, including the nasty shower doors, disintegrating tub surround, cabinets, and wallpaper.  I discovered just why the previous owner had put up butt ugly wallpaper instead of painting the walls - read 'bad drywall job'.  I ripped up 3 layers of flooring -- you don't think removing asbestos tiles is bad for my health, do you?  Ready to lay down cement underlayment.  Problem!!!!  Bad floor.  I pretended I didn't see it and carried on.  It was close to midnight -- what was I gonna do about it then?  Using my less than manly Black & Decker wimpy jig saw, I cut the openings for the toilet and heat register from the new sub-floor.  I managed to break all the saw blades but one -- good thing I had bought extras.  I installed new green board in the bathtub area -- even that was an improvement over the previous wall surface -- bleh!

Next up -- start laying the tile on the floor.  I had to finish half the floor before the very expensive plumber returned in the morning to put the new toilet in.  I started hanging the new wallpaper so that I wouldn't have to work around the toilet and cabinets.  Aren't I a smarty pants??!  I worked through the night until 5:00 AM.  When I could no longer see straight, I put my head down for a few minutes.  Mighty few as the plumber was scheduled to return at 7:30 AM.

And he did, shocked I had been able to get so much down over night.  Once he had installed the toilet and left with another $200 from me, I used my new toilet and headed for my bed for a brief nap.

Are you still with me??  I tiled the area surrounding the bathtub and finished the floor tiling.  Wallpaper finished.  Cabinets installed, using Liquid Nails on the new sink back (this will probably be a BIG problem with the next bathroom do-over!).  Installed the new faucet and light fixture.  Stood back in amazement.  

I was exhausted.  My knees ached.  My back ached.  My hands ached from pressing and pressing the tiles.  This was all before I started to knit again.  I would never repeat all this work today.  I will just save, and save, and save until I can pay someone else and stand back and admire their handywork!

50 Bucks

Does this look like $50 to you?

Me neither!  I went to Rite-Aid to get "a few things" for my business trip next month plus a couple of things to use now: razor, large contact lens solution, mascara.  My goodness it adds up fast.

Unfortunately, nowhere near as fast as the repairs to my bathroom.  I noticed last night that the flooring behind the toilet has broken away because the sub-floor under the toilet is giving way.  Cha-ching, cha-ching!!  This is going to be:

  • costly
  • messy
  • time-consuming
  • disruptive
Good thing I've been saving -- it's going to drain me, literally and figuratively.  Ugh.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Join Me?

I may not be ready to fly off via weather balloons but I am going to take a wet felting workshop with Nicola Brown, the famous Irish felter.  I'm taking a workshop with her on May 21, in Plainwell, MI.  Who wants to join me?  There are just a few spots left!  Click on the link and scroll about half-way down the page.  I missed out when she was here last October because I had the Charlevoix Apple Festival show to do.  Not missing her this time!

Things I'll Never Do

There are a lot of things I'll never do:  swim across the English Channel, jump out of airplanes, bungee jump off a bridge, among them.  This is a new one for me.  I guess I'm too much of a chicken.  Are you adventurous enough to give it a try?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


When I'm flipping channels on the TV there are five movies I will always stop and watch:
  1. You've Got Mail
  2. The Princess Bride
  3. Ever After - A Cinderella Story
  4. Pretty Woman
  5. Gone With The Wind
I've watched them all enough to recite the lines.  I could be an understudy!

What movies do you stop to watch when you're zipping around the channels????

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Truly Senseless

I heard about a murder the other day that is so incredibly senseless.  Not that any murder makes sense, but this one seemed even harder to understand.  The owner of a shop that sells hair extension was robbed and killed, for his hair extensions.  When you read this article, you'll shake your head too.  Such a waste.  I can't even fathom why or how someone thinks it's ok to take something that isn't theirs and to simply kill someone for being in the way.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Little Things

It's always the little things in life that you just take for granted.  Like working windshield wipers in a driving rainstorm.  Like cozy pillows when you put your head down at night.  Like good friends to talk each other through life's tumultuous times.  Like a fine wine that ages with time, so are the friendships of the Chicken group.

I enjoyed every minute of my getaway weekend (minus the rough drive home, of course).  I finished an Inside Out hat and started on a wacky shawl pattern.  I remember now why I haven't made this pattern in years.  Mohair is involved.  Need I say more?!

We had wonderful food and plenty of wine.  My contribution for the weekend meals was omelets in a baggie.  Once I figured out they needed to cook longer than the recipe indicated, they turned out well.  I made a couple of changes to the recipe, too -- I sauteed the Cippolini onions as well as the mushrooms -- they were delicious!  I'd make them again and since I used egg whites for 2/3 of the egg requirements and organic brown eggs for the other 1/3, it was as healthy an omelet as it could be.

Here are a couple of moonlight shots.  Couldn't decide which one I like better so here's both of my Moon over Torch Lake shots:

Kevin took the Montana in to have the wipers fixed for me today.  Turned out it was some sort of pin that broke.  I kept insisting it wasn't anything I had done to cause this trauma.  For his effort I treated Kevin to dinner at Lockhart's BBQ in Royal Oak.  He had the Quadruple Bypass Sandwich:

"Quadruple Bypass  ----  House sandwich!  1 lb. combination of pulled pork, smoked bacon, smoked sausage, smoked ham & smoked cheddar.  Served with a special treat!  15.99"

It truly is a cardiac doctor's best friend!  I had St. Louis ribs and the best part? -- They were FREE.  Yes, indeedy my friends.  My rib dinner was free.  Because of my abundant good looks, you ask.  Oh, no.  It was on account of my birthday in March.  So if you enjoy the food at Lockhart's BBQ be sure to go to their website and join their Birthday Club!  Be like me -- eat for free.  Sounds like a slogan, eh?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thank God....

....I made it home from my Chicken weekend up at Torch Lake.  I'm much too worn out from the drive home to talk much about it today.  It was without a doubt my worst drive home EVER.  My windshield wipers were on the fritz again.  It was snowing for about 70 miles, then it turned to rain for the last 150 miles.  With about 40 miles to go my wipers completely stopped working during a driving rainstorm.  I followed the solid white line on the edge of the right lane ALL THE WAY HOME!

I know what you're thinking --- that's awful! could have been worse.  If it had been snow, there would have been no way to drive home and I would have had to either pull over and wait for help or find a motel for the night.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Door to Door Organics

Yesterday I brought the produce box in from the front porch and before I could get my camera, my roommate broke into the box.  So, no picture of the goodies inside but here's the shipping label:

I've already had an orange, apple, and two bananas.  The grapefruit is looking mighty inviting but I'll hold off until tomorrow morning.

I'm heading up to Torch Lake for a Chicken retreat tomorrow.  I'll be away from my computer but we'll see if I can use my smartphone to post something over the weekend.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan -- Before and After

The destruction that has resulted from last week's earthquake and tsunami in Japan is simply devastating.  The NY Times has an eye-opening series of satellite pictures showing several locations with before and after views.  You will be amazed -- I know I was stunned.  Be sure to drag the line in the middle of the photo to the right to see the whole 'before' and then back to the left to see the whole 'after'.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Tonight I went to dinner with several people working on a different area of our new system.  My former boss, who was hosting the group, asked me what I was doing and you guessed it -- I went completely blank.  I was so embarrassed that I could not pull the proper terms out of my cluttered mind for the things I learned today.  Argh!  I spent 4 hours on the phone with one of my teammates in New Jersey, learning all about the system, what he'd been working on, and how I was going to be taking over for him.  Darn if I couldn't remember how to explain it to the group.  I felt like such a dope.

I should have known it would be a wacky day -- I left the house without my smartphone this morning and felt lost all day.  I managed to make a hair appointment, called Enterprise to check on 15 seat passenger van rentals for the quilt guild, and remembered to take my blood pressure pill on time.  Good thing.  All of these reminders were on my smartphone, which was sitting on the floor in my bedroom, hooked up to the charger.  Hope things go better tomorrow.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I don't know about you, but every Spring when we move our clocks forward an hour to return to daylight savings time, I'm tired for days.  It takes me at least three nights to make up the hour of sleep I've lost!  Doesn't seem right, does it???

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Hat and a Suitcase

I finished the Inside Out hat yesterday and I think it turned out well, but a bit smaller than I thought it would:

If you look closely you'll see little pellets of snow!  Darn Winter keeps hanging on.

I took the luggage that didn't work out back to Costco today and looked over their remaining selection.  Would you believe there was a new bag there just since yesterday?  I still didn't choose any of them and headed back over to Macy's.  I had studied several brands on line and decided, after more than an hour at the store, on this one:

I don't really travel much so I didn't want to spend a lot.  They're all made in China anyway so I'm figuring it will last about as long as any of them.

I'll try it out next weekend when I head up to Torch Lake for a weekend with my Chicken friends.  I'm going to learn how to minimize the things I take with me so that when I head through multiple airports next month I'm not dying trying.  I'll probably be toting my laptop with me and it sure would be nice to bring some knitting along too.

I wish you could smell the delicious corned beef that's cooking away on my stove -- I am getting soooo hungry smelling it!  I've got some cabbage, potatoes and carrots to go with it.  Can't wait for dinner!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hemming and Hawing

Do you think about your purchases for a while or do you just jump right in and buy?  I tend to hem and haw about things, sometimes so long that I never actual make the purchase.  I had a great time at Thrums and Chums today and afterwards, Jackie and I hit some quilt shops to help peddle her Mackinac Island retreat in May.  At one stop I pointed out to Jackie that I've been meaning to make these fabric bowls, have the supplies, just haven't taken the time.  Well, tomorrow, I just might make the time.

Another thing I've been hemming and hawing about -- a carry-on suitcase.  I know that's a pretty stupid thing to spend much time considering but every time I've thought to buy one, I've talked myself out of it.  I figure I don't travel much and I can make do with the duffle bags I have.  But knowing that I will be making a business trip next month and it's only for one night, I decided it was time to buy.  I looked and looked and looked at them at Macy's today.  I opened every carry-on bag they had, tested the wheels, tested the zippers, compared features. I really, really wanted this one in 'Solar Rose' but couldn't talk myself into the price.  I kept saying to myself how purple would be different and I would be able to spot it in the overhead compartment with no trouble.  But my practical self decided $190, even with a 20% off coupon, was just too much to spend on something I'd use so seldom.  So on to Costco I went.

With only three options for carry-on bags, it didn't take me nearly as long to decide, though once again, I opened every bag, tested every zipper, rolled them around and around to test their wheels.  I chose a 2 piece set that included the carry-on and a large suitcase, figuring I could use the big one to haul show merchandise in the fall.  Into the cart the box went and I made my way to the check out.

I've since discovered, to my dismay, that the carry-on is too big for several airlines.  I will be using three different airlines next month so I'm afraid I'll be heading back to Costco tomorrow to return my purchase.  Darn.  Back to my search for a bag......see why it takes me so long to make up my mind????

Friday, March 11, 2011

Catching Up

The final winner of my 2nd Blogoversary Giveaway has emerged.  Linda, a member of my local knitting guild, is the winner.  I told her it was lucky for her I was feeling too poorly yesterday to blog, otherwise I would have chosen a new winner.

I've had a wicked head cold for three four days now and I'm ready to be rid of it.  On the bright side, I've got my laptop, my VPN token arrived today, and now I can work whenever I need or want to.  I'll be taking a trip next month to meet the rest of my new team - yeah!  It's going to make getting up to speed so much easier.  I've spent the last several days reading all sorts of documents and taking online classes.  I'm not sure it's any clearer to me but at least I'm making progress on my checklist!

Tomorrow is our Thrums & Chums meeting in Brighton.  I'll be picking up Kate and we'll probably both be rebels and knit instead of hook rugs.  I've got two rugs that need to be bound but I have to stay stitch the edges first and I'm not really feeling like sewing tonight.  My friend Jackie will be joining the group to do her best to fill some more spots in the rug hooking workshop at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

I'm making good progress on my Inside-Out Hat and should have it finished tomorrow.  I'm using that yummy Misti Alpaca Hand Painted Chunky yarn -- it's so soft and nice to knit with.  I'll make one more hat using the solid grey alpaca and then I'll go back to the vest for my friend Joanie, that's been languishing in 'indecision-land'.  I'm thinking of ripping the whole thing out and using a different pattern.  Don't gasp Tanya.  I'm not feeling clever enough to do the math and finish it.

Well, I'm off to work on that hat and take some Ny-Quil and call it a night.  Yes, in that order.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Missing Giveaway Winner

I've given away two of the prizes from my latest giveaway but am still waiting to hear from Linda, comment #22. Where are you Linda???!!  If I don't hear from her by Thursday night, I'll pick a different winner for the Sue Spargo Knitting Needle Case pattern.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Last of my Forties.....

I'm pooped -- not feeling too great.  My throat and ears have been bothering me all day.  Hope that doesn't get in the way of celebrating my birthday tomorrow.

Work is going better for me.  My laptop arrived yesterday and I'm in the process of loading all of the software apps I need to do my job.  I'll be reading like mad for the next couple of days and taking self-directed classes to get caught up.  I've been feeling like I'm behind so this should make me more comfortable.

I hope all of the vitamin C gummies I've been ingesting help me get past whatever is bothering my head!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Done, Done, Diddley Done!

I finished sewing up the Imagine Sweater tonight and it feels so good to be done with it!

And it fits great, too!  I'll wear it tomorrow to work and to the BSKG meeting.  Check off another item from my WIP list!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Busy Week

I've got a busy week ahead.  Hopefully my laptop will arrive at the office and everything will get updated so that I can start working from home.  Actually, any sort of forward progress will be nice.

I've got both my knit and quilt guild meetings on either side of my birthday on Wednesday.  What a great week of events!!!

Today I managed to finally get sewing on my Imagine sweater.  I've got both sleeves and one side seamed so it's really close to being done.  I should be able to finish it tomorrow and wear it to knit guild on Tuesday.  It's only taken me two years to finish but there was severe 'project-hibernation' -- so many other things knit in the meantime.  I want to start another sweater for me but first I better knit up some hats for the fall show season.  Sometimes you have to get your chores done before you can have your fun.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Shamrocks are bloomin'

As you can see, I've updated my blog background to suit the upcoming holiday!  I got a cabbage and some potatoes in this week's Door to Door Organics box so I decided I should get a corned beef at the grocery store.  Foiled !!  There were none in the whole store!  I'll try a different market because a delicious boiled dinner sounds so good on a rainy, yucky day like today!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Giveaway Winners Announced ! ! !

The winners of my 2nd Blogoversary Giveaway are comments # 10, 6, and 22.

10 -- Mary (Knit to My Lou) -- Sent you a note via Ravelry -- ETA:  Mary chose the sock yarn!
6 -- SusanQuilter  -- Sent you an email
22 -- Linda -- Sent you an email

Whoever responds first, gets first dibs of the three prizes.  I will get the prize off in the mail to you ASAP.

Thanks for participating and keep reading!

Day 4

I'm sorry to report that no progress was made at work today.  More calls to the HelpDesk only yielded a new name.  I still have no access to my LotusNotes.  Additionally, my new laptop, which was to be shipped over night for receipt today, was not shipped because that office said they didn't have my phone number.  Now it will should arrive on Monday.  Let the games begin.

I made myself a delicious dinner to try to put the week behind me.

A plate of mixed spring greens  and sliced strawberries (from this week's Door to Door Organics delivery), Parmesan encrusted pork cutlet (fried and sliced) and a dollop (maybe more) of Marzetti's Poppyseed dressing.  I ate every morsel.

I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend, full of knitting time and maybe even a bit of sewing.

I'll be drawing the winning names for my giveaway is a bit.  If you don't win, don't despair.  I have a very big birthday coming up next week so there very well could be another giveaway!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 3

I've been getting up at 6:15 am for the past three days.  Do you know how EARLY that is for someone who had been on 'vacation' for the past 2 1/2 months???  It's very early.  I can handle it, though.  I got up that early or earlier every week day for 26 years before that un-welcome vacation.

Today I was near tears with frustration at work.  I started the day by losing my access to the system.  I called the HelpDesk for a password reset only to discover my LotusNotes, which worked fine at the end of Wednesday, suddenly couldn't access the server.  UGH.  I spent all day calling for help and staring at the phone, waiting for them to call me back.  I never did get the LotusNotes problem resolved but I did finally get access to the employee information tab on the home website.  There I found a whole lot of forms on the website that I was supposed to complete and send back to HR, which I hurried up and sent off.  I don't think I had this many forms when I was first hired back in 1984!

Guess what?  When I got home after stopping at the grocery store, a large envelope was waiting for me in the mailbox -- containing the exact same blank forms I had just mailed off.  Most importantly, the form I ran around taking care of yesterday, was in this packet.  I'm not sure what happened, but I should have gotten that envelope on Monday, the day before I went back to work.  Oh well.

Tomorrow is the last day for the last person on my old team.  She is retiring after 37 years and I'm sure it will be a bittersweet day.  It will really be odd with her gone.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It's so much easier.... be compliant when you know what's expected of you.  Apparently I was supposed to have received a form that provides residency information for my new job.  It's part of the Homeland Security compliance but unfortunately for me it was not included in my acceptance letter.  Under the new rules (since shortly after I was hired the first time) you have to provide a copy of your passport (mine's expired), otherwise you have to send a copy of your driver's license and your social security card.  I never carry my SS card so I had to zoom home today during work to get it, make copies, fax copies, then send another set via FedEx.  All done to prevent my termination tomorrow.  No stress there.

New motto:  "Left Hand, meet Right Hand, Right Hand, meet Left Hand".

On the bright side my new manager thanked me for taking initiative in securing my LotusNotes access, so we can finally communicate using something other than my personal email.

Yesterday I finished knitting the chemo hat for my friend Sue's sister.  I mailed it off to her this morning but here are the photos I took before packaging it up:

I hope it fits well and isn't loosey-goosey!

Yesterday's Door to Door Organics delivery did not have anything new and strange in it this time:

I love fresh produce in the dead of winter!!

Don't forget, if you haven't already done so, leave a comment on Monday's blogpost to be entered into my 2nd Blogoversary giveaway!  Deadline:  9 pm EST on 3/4/11!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Back to Work

After 2 1/2 months of 'vacation' I returned to work today at my old company.  Luckily, I have the same access code for my keypad entry, same email address, same telephone extension -- it's like a time warp, as if I'd never left.  I have a new desk and had to go all day without system access.  There was a lot of finger pointing and 'oh, we don't handle that, call ...'.  My new laptop should be delivered one day this week.

It was great to see my former co-workers and get caught up a bit.  I also had an hour long conference call with all of the other new people joining the team today with me.  It's nice to not be the only new person on the team.

Today is my Mom's 85th birthday -- phew!  I took her to dinner last night since I knew I'd have more time.  It was a gourmet meal -- bacon cheese dogs and fries at 5 Guys Burgers.  I think it could be her new favorite place!  I also gave her a nice gift card for Trader Joe's, which she always refers to as 'The Trader'.  I told her to buy some things she never gets -- treat herself!

Had to share this photo -- isn't he just precious???!!