Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up

It was a mostly uneventful weekend.  I did some piecing on T#4's big girl quilt (got 1 1/2 blocks put together) did, some handquilting on the doll quilt, had the unexpected pleasure of Sunday afternoon/evening with the Ts ... and checked for updates on the forecast for Monday through Wednesday.

The forecast has been all over the place ... originally we were forecast to have 1/4 to 1/2 inch of freezing rain (ice) with 3-6 inches of snow.  Yesterday they were predicting 3/4 to 1  inch or more of ice and 12-16 inches of snow.  Today they're "down" to 1/10 to 1/2 inch of ice and around 3 inches of snow. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE snow, but I HATE, HATE, HATE ice.  We had a big ice storm 4 years ago, and we lost power for 7 days!  I do not wish to go through that again.  I'd like to think that we've ensured that our power won't go out by buying a generator from Home Depot on our way home from church yesterday.  Hey, a small price to pay to keep power!  ha!

I am concerned, however, about my dad's house.  He's still on the Alabama Gulf coast, so his house here in Illinois is unattended.  The forecast for his home is for more ice; my job is to watch for power outages (thankfully his electricity provider has an outage monitor on their website).  If he loses power, DH & I will have to make a trek to his house to turn on the faucets ... so the bitterly cold weather in the forecast for Wednesday & Thursday won't freeze his water pipes (he has only a crawl space under his house, so the water pipes would be more susceptible to freezing).  He didn't lose power in the ice storm 4 years ago, so we're praying that he won't this time around. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Flashback Friday - Olympic Flashback

It seems like it's been FOREVER since I participated in the Flashback Friday.  With Christmas, the New Year, getting back to work, etc., I just hadn't gotten back into my "groove" ... things are finally settling down into my new normal, so I'm thrilled to be participating today.  If you'd like to play along or read everyone else's flashbacks, click on the button above.

Did you and your family watch the Olympics when you were growing up?
Yes, indeed.  Back in the day before cable and the plethora of sports channels/programming, the Olympics were perhaps even a bigger deal than they are now ... in no small part, I think, because all the athletes back then were amateurs, not professionals.   

Which was your overall favorite - summer or winter?
I love the luge, ice hockey, speed skating, skiing and curling.  But I also love diving, gymnastics, and swimming.  I don't care for the more "artistic" events (like ice dancing or synchronized swimming).  I guess I prefer the winter Olympics, but only by a slight margin.

Which individual events were your favorites?
Ooops, I answered that above.  

Since blogging is international, which country did you cheer for? 
The U.S., unless they were no longer competing in a particular event.   

Have you ever been to an Olympics or known anyone who competed? 
No, the closest I came was when the owner of the company I went to work for right out of college had a daughter who was an excellent swimmer and was competing to enter the Olympics.  She was very good, but she never was able to make the final cut.

What are some of the hallmark memories of the Olympics that you remember? 
I'll be showing my age here.  I remember Nadia Comaneci's perfect 10, Keri Strug who helped the US win the gold medal by competing even after she injured her ankle, the 1980 "Miracle on Ice", the 1968 black power salute on the medal podium, the 1972 terrorist attack, the heartbreak of Dan Jansen in 1988, Derek Remond's father helping him cross the finish line in 1992, Eric Heiden winning 5 gold medals in 1980 and Michael Phelps winning 8 gold medals in 2008 ... I'm sure that there are others that I'll think of later.

Did the Olympics ever inspire you to take a certain sport (or practice more!)? 
No, but then back in the day, there really weren't any organized sports for girls.

Do you prefer watching them the old way when everything was delayed in the days before 24-hour cable and internet? 
No.  I prefer watching the events live.

Do you watch them more or less today than you did when you were growing up? 
More today.  There's just so much more coverage (and hype?) with all the cable networks covering now (as opposed to one network coverage back in the day), so more obscure sports (like curling) and more of the preliminary rounds are covered.  And now that I'm retired, I have the time to watch during the day as well as in the evening.

What about the Special Olympics? Have you ever had any involvement with them?
No, I haven't, other than financial support.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Food for thought

A friend posted this on his Facebook page, and I thought it was worth sharing with you all.










Today is not a work day, so I'm working on my quilt.  I've got all 42 star blocks finished and am now squaring them up.  After I've finished that, I hope to start sub-cutting the strips to make the logs and start sewing together the log-cabin blocks.  Squaring up is slow, exacting work, so I don't know how much I'll get done today ... but it's nice to have a whole day to work on this quilt. 

I haven't done any quilting on the doll quilt, so I'm going to try to get to that this evening (I like to sit in my recliner in the great room with DH and do handwork in the evenings).

I took a cooking class (non-participatory) last night at a local grocery store ... went with my friend/neighbor next door and another neighbor.  The food was delicious (but most of it was definitely NOT low calorie!).  It was pretty pricey; I'm still waiting for the day where DD & I can taking classes at the Viking Cooking School over in St. Louis; the price for their classes aren't that much more than the one here locally, but it sounds like the lessons would be far more useful.  And while I enjoy my time with my friends, nothing beats spending time with DD.  ;-)

We have snow flurries in the forecast ... haven't seen any yet ... soon, I hope.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Super Bowl Prep Edition

Joyce has come up with 8 more wonderful questions for this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge ... a nice combination of easy-peasy questions and thought-provoking questions.  If you'd like to join in (please do!), just click on the button above.

And now, without further ado, I bring you the answers to this week's questions:

1. Will you watch the Super Bowl? If so who will you root for? If you are outside the USA what is the 'big deal sporting event' in your own country?
Yes, I'll watch the Super Bowl.  Not because I'm a football fan (because I'm definitely not), but because it's just THE. THING to do.  Besides, it coincides with some birthdays in the family, so we usually have a birthday/Super Bowl combo party.  I'm not much of a fan of either team, so I'll probably cheer for who everyone else in the party is cheering for.

2. Is ignorance bliss?
In my little world, yes.  My glasses are very definitely rose-tinted.  But I know that it's not realistic nor healthy and that living in reality is best.

3. Which of the seven dwarfs are you? (and just in case your Disney is a little bit rusty, here they are-Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, and Sneezy)
Bashful ... I'm really very shy until I get to know people well.  But I'd like to think that I've got a decent amount of Happy in me, too ... life is too short to spend it grumpy or negative.

4. When you are riding in the car with another couple how do you organize the seating? (Men up front? Women up front? Couples sit together?) And thanks to Lori at Mountain Woman at Heart for the question! Everyone go say hi to Lori. 
We usually do men in the front (so they can talk about their manly things) and women in the back (so we women can talk about the IMPORTANT things ... like grandbabies!).

5. What is beauty?
TRUE beauty is not what you see on the outside, regardless of what the world tries to tell us.  And the Judge of true beauty has told us Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  1 Peter 3:4

6. If someone asks you to bring an appetizer or a dessert to a party in their home, which would you choose? 
Dessert, simply because who doesn't love a good dessert?  Besides, desserts are easier to prepare/bake ahead so that there's no last-minute scurrying about in the kitchen.  Most of my favorite appetizers require a good bit of work and are best served piping hot right out of the oven, which isn't very conducive to taking to a party at someone else's home. 

7. What is your crowd pleasing go-to appetizer? 
Since I do dessert (see #6 please), I'm not sure I have a crowd-pleasing go-to appetizer.  If I'm asked to bring an appetizer to a party, I'd probably do something dessert-ish like a chocolate chip cheese ball or strawberries and dip. 

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
I'm so sad ... our snow is melting (am I the only one who immediately thought the Wicked Witch of the West's line "I'm melting ... I'm melting"?).  The good news is that there's more snow in the forecast for tomorrow and early next week ... they're not predicting just how much yet, but another 3-6" would be awesome.  In case you didn't know it by now, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE snow!  ;-)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up

It certainly wasn't a dramatic or overly exciting weekend, but I did spend it doing what I love to do, so I am counting it as a good weekend.

Friday night, I did some hand quilting on T#2's doll quilt while watching All About Eve (I can't believe I'd never seen it in its entirety ... I love those old B&W classics).

Saturday, I made some decent progress on the star blocks that form the center of the log cabin blocks of T#4's big girl quilt.  I have 1/3 of the star blocks sewn together, and I've got another 1/3 strips ready to sew into star blocks.  Piecing quilts is my least favorite part of quilting, and this one seems to be especially tedious.  And triangles give me fits.  I thought I would have better success with a specialty ruler, a quarter-inch foot on my sewing machine, and taking my time to sew carefully ... but my triangle blocks still aren't as precise as I would like. 

Sunday I attended church, did a little shopping on my way home, organized/decluttered the bookcase in the basement, and watched some football/had dinner with our friends next door.

Like I said, it wasn't a very exciting weekend ... but it was still a good one.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blog design help?

I have a 17" screen on my laptop at home, and my background shows up nicely there.  I'm at work right now, and my columns are so wide that my background is virtually invisible.  I tried using a 2-column background, and while you could see more of the background, the columns overlapped the background in a way that looked wacky to me.  I went back to the 3-column background (that works on my laptop at home), but still, all I can see is just a little bit of my background.  I was wondering first of all if any of you can see the background (maybe it's just a "flaw" in the monitor of my work computer??).  If any of you don't see much, if any, of the background, perhaps some of you more experienced bloggers/blogger pros might have some advice or suggestions?  Thanks!

Greetings from my igloo!

At least that's what my cubicle feels like.  It was -3 today when I left the house to come to work (with a wind chill of -13).  I may have to go back to the supply room to see if there's a space heater back there.

Yesterday was a snow day, so I got to stay home and sew ... I did some more piecing on T#4's big girl quilt.  This quilt (a log-cabin variation) has 42 star blocks that form the center of log cabin blocks ... the star blocks are pieced from 5 solid squares and 4 pieced squares (which form the points of the stars).  I'm piecing the squares into strips, and 3 strips are joined to form the star block.  I've got 1/3 of the strips sewn together, and I'm hoping to get them sewn into star blocks over the weekend.  Then I'll "only" have 28 more star blocks to work on.  <sigh>  The good news is that once I've got the star blocks finished, the log cabin strips should sew on fairly quickly.  I should have a picture of a star block to post next week.  I also started hand quilting T#2's doll quilt; it was part of my local quilt guild's challenge to finish a UFO by May.  Since it's a doll quilt, I shouldn't have any trouble getting that quilted and bound by May. 

The forecast is for sub-freezing temperatures for the next 10 days or so ... so our 12 inches of snow will be here for a while.  And if that's not bad enough, we've got an inch or so in the forecast for tonight and 3-6 inches in the forecast for Sunday evening/Monday morning.  This is waaaaay more snow than we normally get ... but I'm not complaining because as most of you know, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE snow!!  So bring it on!  ;-)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow Day

It snowed last night ... oh yes it snowed!  DH measured the snow in the driveway, where there was 10".  This is a shot of our patio table on the deck.

All the schools here, including the University, are closed.  Even though I won't get paid (since I'm part time), having a snow day is still welcome news ... having an unexpected, unplanned day off is always a pleasure!

I'm going to do some quilting today ... I'll piece the star blocks for T#4's big girl quilt (hopefully I won't have to rip as much as I did in completing the first star block - ha!).  I also would like to start quilting on the doll quilt I made out of some leftover blocks of T#2's big girl quilt; I didn't finish it when I made her big girl quilt because she wasn't into dolls then ... but she got a doll at Christmas that she seemed to really enjoy ... so perhaps it's time to finish the doll quilt. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge -

As always, Joyce has come up with some interesting, eclectic questions ... some easy, some thought-provoking.  I have already read several others' answers (always an interesting waste of time way to start my morning) ... if you want to read or play along, click on the button above).
1. Do you like your name? Were you named after someone? If you have children how did you settle on their names? 
I've never really liked my name, but after this many years, I'm certainly used to it.  I've always hated that it's a nickname and that no one ever seems to understand when they ask for my middle name, that it's not Kathy Ann.  I was determined when choosing a name for DD, I was going to give her a name that couldn't be shortened so when she had to give her middle name, people would be able to come up with her full name.  Seems so silly in hindsight, doesn't it?  And speaking of DD's name, I had her first name picked out early in my pregnancy, but I couldn't come up with a middle name for her.  I think it was in my 9th month (we didn't count by weeks back in the olden days) when I was standing in line to buy something when I saw a display of stuff with names (can't even remember what now) ... and saw the name! 

2. How do you define success?
Living in such a way to hear "well done, good and faithful servant".

3. Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy?

4. If you could own any single object that you don't have now, what would that object be?
If money were no object (ha!), I'd love to have granite countertops.  But our house is not even 3 years old, there's absolutely nothing at all wrong with my countertops, and money is an object (Would that be the opposite of the old saying "if money were no object"?  Now that I'm typing this, that whole saying makes no sense.  ha!)

5. What is something that inspires you? 
God's creation awes and inspires me.  The majestic mountains.  The expanse of the sea.  The beauty of nature.  The intricacy of living, breathing beings.  

6. Meatloaf-yea or nay? If its a yay how do you make yours?
We like meatloaf (DH more than me).  I'm still looking for a recipe that will knock our socks off.  I've got some good recipes but none that are over-the-top fantastic.

7. Which is more admirable-the ability to organize and be methodical or the ability to adapt and make do?
Organizing and being methodical is easy (maybe it's because I'm OCD/anal -- because you have to be in order to be an accountant, I always say -- I always tease DH that he isn't OCD/anal enough to have been an accountant -- ha!), so I think that the ability to adapt and make do is more admirable.  Besides, adapting/making do implies sacrificing, doing without, going with something other than the first/best choice ... so doing well under those circumstances is quite admirable to me.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
I'm "off" today and am going to spend the day with DD and the Ts.  We don't have anything special planned (yet), but it doesn't matter ... it will be nice to just spend some time with them.    

Monday, January 17, 2011

There's no place like home

I enjoyed my trip to the Gulf Coast, but I'm glad to be back home.  I missed my DH, my pups, my DD, my 4 Ts, my bed, my routine ... I love to travel, but I'm always SO glad to get back home! 

My dad spends a couple of months in Orange Beach, AL every winter, and each year my sister L and I go spend a few days with him.  The last couple of years, he's rented a condo right on the beach - this year his condo was on the 12th floor, so we had an absolutely gorgeous view of the Gulf.

Too bad my camera doesn't have a wide-angle lens to give you a better idea of the view we had.

It was quite cold when we got there ... we wore our winter coats the first couple of days ... but even as cold as it was, it was still warmer than back here in Illinois!  ha!

We had a good visit ... we played Rook, we walked along the beach, and we ate too much fresh seafood ... but I'm glad to be back home.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Totally Random

Joyce has some up with some very interesting questions this week.  I always look forward to her Wednesday Hodgepodge!  If you'd like to see what everyone else has answered or if you'd like to play along, just click on the button above.

1. Every January 1st since 1976 Lake Superior University has published a list of words they'd like to see banished from the Queen's English. Words may be banished due to mis-use, over-use or just general uselessness and they receive over 1000 nominations. Here are the fourteen words/phrases they'd like to see banished in 2011-viral, epic, fail, wow factor, a-ha moment, back story, BFF, man up, refudiate, Mama Grizzlies, The American People, facebook/google when used as verbs, I'm just sayin', and Live life to the fullest.

What word or phrase would you like to see banished from our everyday vocabulary in 2011? You can choose one from the 'official list' or you can get creative and come up with your own.
I think any noun used as a verb out to be outlawed.  

2. Do you consider opportunity something that comes to you or something you create for yourself?
Yes.  Ha!  Seriously though, I think opportunity can be something that comes to me or something that I've worked to create ... or both.  

3. Since we're all eating healthy this month, ahem, what's included in your favorite salad? Is there dressing?
Various lettuces, some thinly sliced red onion, some sauteed prosciutto, some shredded parmesan and a light vinaigrette (not too much).  We have that salad 3-4 times/week. 

4. The fourth Monday in January is said to be Blue Monday...aka the most depressing day of the year. The date was calculated using many factors including weather, debt level, time since Christmas, time since we've failed at our new year resolutions, low motivation and feeling a need to take action. Do you get the blues this time of year and if so what is something you do to lift your spirits?
I don't normally get SAD.  Although I do grow weary of too many days in a row without sunshine.  I love snow, so although I have extremely low tolerance to cold, I don't usually react (emotionally) to winter (including January) like most people do.  

5. Do you wear a watch? Any other everyday jewelry essentials?
I used to wear a watch, but once I retired, I put it away.  When retired, time of day becomes less important ... and besides, we have clocks in almost every room of the house.  When we travel, I do wear my watch, though.  I always wear my rings (engagement/wedding).  I haven't worn earrings in years (I wonder if my holes have closed up?).

6. What is something useful you learned in high school?
Typing.  I took it only because my mom stressed how important it would be (it and shorthand and home ec would be -- it was a totally different time back in a small rural community back in the mid 60's).  Turns out typing has been important ... with computers used for everything these days.  My family and co-workers always teased me because if they heard something typing away on a keyboard at a high rate of speed, they knew that it was me.  ;-)

7. Do you use an accountant when completing and filing your income tax returns or do you attempt to muddle through all by yourself?
No, we use Turbo Tax.  I'm sure that I could prepare our returns myself, but using Turbo Tax means that I don't have to worry about math (after 30 years of working as an accountant, I can't do simple math on my own any more ... I need a spreadsheet or a calculator! ha!) and that I can e-file.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I've survived 2 days back at work ... things have gone well.  I'm having some trouble getting into my new routine.  I worked full days so far this week because I will be unable to work tomorrow or Friday.  Next week I should be able to get into a normal work schedule ... and hopefully a new normal routine here at home.  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Let it snow?

We've got 2" of the 3-6" of snow in our forecast ... I can't remember the last time we had this much snow in one winter (which may tell you more about the state of my memory than our weather ha!).   There were little sleet balls falling as I walked out to the parking lot after work yesterday afternoon ... it didn't take too long for it turn to snow.  It's still snowing, so DH has graciously agreed to drive me to work (to spare me the hike in from the parking lot).

It was nice to come home to the smell of chicken stroganoff cooking in the crockpot ... so nice to have dinner ready within 15-20 minutes of when I got home.  It's weather like this that makes the crockpot so handy.  I need to go downstair, dig out my crockpot cookbooks, find some recipes and start using it more.  

My first day back to work went well.  Everyone welcomed me back with hugs ... and a cake.  I was a little apprehensive because I'll be helping out with work I hadn't done in almost 5 years; I spent yesterday reviewing procedures and policies and feel confident that it will go well. 

I don't imagine that I'll have any time this week to work on T#4's big girl quilt.  I have the triangle pieces sewn together ... the next step will be sewing the star blocks together.  Once I get back from my trip to the Gulf Coast and get settled into my new routine, I hope to be able to spend some time in the sewing room. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Ramblings

I'm feeling much better today ... still not quite 100% yet, but definitely much better.  I actually took a shower, got out and ran a few errands, and ate "regular food" for lunch today. 

I'd love to get back to work on T#4's big girl quilt, but the first step involves precise piecing, and I think it might be best to wait until I'm feeling 100% and my mind is sharp/alert.  Besides, I've got a book that I started last night and forced myself to put down so I could go to bed at a fairly reasonable hour ... I want to finish it!

I did go back to the University to fill out all my employment paperwork.  Things have obviously changed since I was hired on back in 1989.  I had to fill out paperwork for a background check ... and I had to pee in a cup!  :-o

I also got my hair cut ... normally my hair grows on the slow side, but every once in a while, it grows like crazy between cuts ... and this time was one of those times.  I probably should have had it cut a good couple of weeks ago.

We had a bit of snow over night ... just enough to cover everything.  It's been snowing pretty much all morning ... at times pretty intensely.  It's all pretty much melted (the temperature's been at 35 for a couple of hours or more), but I'll bet we would have had 3-4" on the ground had it been cold enough.

Have a fabulous Friday ... and a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I'm baaaaaaaaack

I don't know if anyone's noticed, but it's been almost a full week since I posted last.  In that post, I mentioned a tummy bug that had hit DD's house.  Guess what?  It made it here, too ... and it's still kinda hanging around (although I did get a full night's sleep last night - 'nuff said ha!).  So far, DH seems impervious to my germs, for which I'm thankful.  I definitely would not wish this on anyone.  In all my almost 60 years, I can't recall a worse bout.  :-( 

My dad has reported that he's about 1/3 of the way through his final leg to the Alabama Gulf Coast, where he goes to spend a couple of months each winter.  His ophthalmologist gave him the ok to head south, so he left yesterday morning.  Thankfully he didn't push himself like he usually does and stopped about 3 hours away from his destination.  I hope I don't worry DD as much when I'm in my late 80's.  ;-)

Speaking of my dad going to the Gulf Coast, I'll be leaving next Thursday to go spend a few days with him and my sister L.  He's staying on the 12th floor of a condo right on the beach, so I can't wait to enjoy the fresh seafood, walk along Johnson Beach, and enjoy the panoramic views from his condo.  Here's a picture that I took last year of Johnson Beach; it's a part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, so it's totally undeveloped ... and beautiful. 

I've been offered a part-time, extra-help position at the University ... in the department where I used to work.  So much of our retirement nest egg is still in the stock market, hoping for a rebound, and what's not is in CD's which aren't earning nearly enough these days, so I thought that I would take advantage of this opportunity to add to our nest egg.  I'll be limited on how much I can work, so I'm optimistic that I'll still have time for my Ts, quilting, etc.

Speaking of quilting, I have everything cut from my fabrics for T#4's big girl quilt except for the binding.  I hope that I can do a little sewing over the weekend, but T#4 is probably still a year away from her big girl bed, so I've got time. 

Hope you all have had a wonderful first week of the new year.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” - 2nd Corinthians 5:17 

2011 is here ... 2010 is history ... 2011 is a new beginning, a blank slate.
It doesn't matter what mistakes I made last year, what words I wish I hadn't said, what thoughts I wish I hadn't thought, what things I didn't do that I wish I had.  Today is a new day, a new year ... will I look back on December 31, 2011 and have the same regrets, or will I look back and see progress on my journey to become more like the One who has ordered my days? 

Today looks to be another lazy day here.  I'll probably turn on the Rose Bowl parade while cutting fabrics for T#4's big girl quilt ... it's slow going ... my cuts have all been small squares (2", 2 3/4") ... and my legs don't seem to tolerate standing for long periods of time.  Fortunately, I'm done with the small squares and only have strips to cut for the rest of the fabrics, so the cutting *should* go a little more quickly.  It doesn't help that cutting and piecing are my least favorite parts of quilt-making.  ;-)

I'm going to make a log cabin variation (log cabins and 9 patches are my favorite quilt patterns!).
I'm using pinks instead of the blues and green instead of burgundy (for the stars) ... her bedroom is done in pink and brown with a touch of green. But I think those colors work well together, so even when DD changes the room colors, I think that this will be a pretty quilt.  I hope that DD and T#4 (when she's old enough) think it's pretty, too.  ;-) 

I still have DSIL's quilt here ... a tummy bug has hit DD's house.  :-(  Unless she needs me to help out, I'm going to try to stay clear of the germs if possible.  He still doesn't know that I've made him a quilt ... and I can't wait until he sees it.

Wishing you all a blessed 2011!