Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

It’s Wednesday, and we all know what that means, right?  HODGEPODGE Time!! 

1. What are your plans for Easter? Are you cooking a big lunch or dinner?  Dyeing eggs? Attending a sun rise service?  Eating too much chocolate?
We will be having breakfast at church … the deacons at our church have always prepared and served a nice big breakfast Easter morning.  After church, we will be spending the rest of the day at DD’s.  We’ll have a big lunch, hunt for a few eggs, and just have a wonderful time. 

2.  What is something you feel too young to do?
Draw Social Security … yet I’ll be getting my first check next month.  Surprised smile

3.  "Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs..." 
Of the characteristics mentioned in the
biblical definition of love which do you find most difficult to live out and why?
I have to confess that I probably have the most trouble with keeping a record of wrongs.  I do not like that, but it’s the truth.  <sigh>

4. What's a springtime flower you associate with your childhood?
Blue bearded iris.  My mom always had them, wherever we lived … she’d dig up enough roots to get a start at our next house.  I remember our Mother’s Day tradition of serving my mom breakfast … with an iris in a vase.

5.  Ever sung karaoke? If so, what's your go-to song? If not and you're given the opportunity, would you?
No.  And no.  And you’re welcome.

6. What is something you keep in a basket?
My hand quilting supplies … on the end table next to my recliner, where I sit and quilt.  photo(1)

7.  When was the last time you felt foolish?
It might be easier to describe when I didn’t feel foolish.  ha!  But the last time was yesterday, when DH texted me to tell me that he could only find 3 of the 4 personalized Easter eggs we bought for the grands last year.  I got the notification on my iPhone which said to open to view/reply.  I did and sent back a distraught reply that surely that 4th egg was not missing and begging him to go back and look again.  Turns out, my text went to DD, not DH.  I’m not sure how that happened.  I had to text DD and tell her “never mind” and re-text my message to DH.  Embarrassed smile

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I will be out of pocket for the next 4-5 days.  My sister, her S.O. and her grandson will be arriving this afternoon for a visit that will include celebrating our dad’s 90th birthday. 

Wishing you and yours a very blessed Easter.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Weekend Wrap-up aka Weather Report



Friday afternoon after a visit with our neighbors, DH and I took a “walk-about” around the yard, checking for signs of spring.  While it’s still too early for our landscaping, we did find some signs of spring … in our trees.


Here’s our flowering pear … from the looks of it, it will be blooming before too much longer.  Oh, I’ll know it’s spring when something is blooming!

photo(1)Forgive the blurriness … I took these with my phone.


Our flowering cherry is a little further behind.  With any luck, it’ll be flowering by the time the pear is done … in my ideal world there will always be something blooming.



I’d read online that weeds were annuals, and that they’d die over the winter.  Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not true … at least not in my yard!

photo(3)Trust me … this is not spring growth … this pesky dandelion has been surviving our winter just fine … as have been his brothers and sisters throughout my landscaping and lawn.  <sigh>


Saturday provided more hope that spring is just around the corner … it was a sunny, warm day.  Granted our high was still 5 degrees below normal, but it was pleasant. 


Sunday dashed our hopes.  Noon Saturday vs Noon Sunday:{00000002-0000-0000-0200-001Need I say more? 


Except there is more.  About 8:00 last night I waded through the snow on the deck to measure the snow … my unofficial report was that we had 8 1/4” … and it was still snowing.  I’m not sure how accurate that was because by then the winds had really started to blow … no point in going out to measure this morning as I can see huge drifts, even out on our deck.   The official report from St. Louis is 12.2”. 


We learned our lesson from the last snowfall (6”) … we got out 3 times yesterday and were able to keep the driveway respectably cleared.  Of course, with the high winds we had last night, we now have drifts in the driveway.  No need to go to the Y when we can get plenty of exercise shoveling.  Winking smile


Hopefully this is Winter’s last hurrah … we are ready for spring here at Chez Nana.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

My New iPad

A couple of you have mentioned that you’re contemplating the purchase of an iPad and have asked for pros and cons of an iPad. 

I’ve already made it clear that I just Red heart my iPad, so it wasn’t hard to come up with pros … cons, on the other hand, took a little thinking.  ha!

Portability … it’s small enough to tuck into a larger purse/tote or to just carry along, yet it’s large enough to be usable … and when you’re 62, your eyes aren’t what they used to be so the larger text/pictures on an iPad are wonderful!  I don’t think we’ll ever travel with our laptops!

App Store … we looked into Android tablets, but the App Store won us over.  Maybe it’s just us, but the apps we want/enjoy are all available for the iPad … the Android tablet, not quite so much.

Face Time … I can’t wait to Face Time with the grands when we’re traveling.

Camera … I’m impressed with the quality of pictures and videos taken with the iPad.  And it’s big enough to be able to really see what you’re taking a picture of (remember my 62-year-old eyes?).

Battery … I charge mine overnight, and I’ve never come close to draining the charge during the day (and I use it frequently).

Music … my iTunes copied over, so when I’m working out on the treadmill, I open my Kindle app and run music in the background … time flies.

Messaging … I can send iMessages to my daughter’s iPhone and iPad, so no matter which device she’s using, she’ll get my messsages.

Apps … unfortunately some of the apps aren’t staying on top of the changes in technology.  A few of my favorite apps haven’t come out with iPad versions.  I can use the iPhone versions and enlarge the display, but it’s just not quite the same (for example, the iPhone keyboard is laid out a little differently than the iPad keyboard … so I’m frequently hitting send on the iPhone Facebook Messenger when I think I’m hitting back). 

Multi-tasking … when I use my laptop, I almost always have 3-4 programs running at the same time and pop back and forth frequently.  On my iPad, it’s not quite the same.  If I’m in the middle of an email, I have to go to the home page to open Safari (browser).  Thankfully, when I return to Mail, the email is still there waiting for me, but it’s not quite as convenient as switching back and forth like I am able to do on the computer.  Edited to add:  Tracy (in the comments below) pointed out that it IS possible to multi-task much more easily on the iPad than I thought.  Instead of having to push the "home button" and go all the way back to my "home page", I can double press the "home button" and choose the app I was previously in (or any others that I'd been working in.  Excellent!  Thanks, Tracy!  

Keyboard … I’ve typed on a full-sized keyboard for years and years … first on a typewriter and then on computers (a full-sized keyboard was the driving factor for purchasing a 17” laptop).  As a result, I have to say that I’m a pretty fast typist.  The iPad’s keyboard is too small for me to type on it like I do on a full-sized keyboard … I’m learning to use 2 hands to type, but I’m still not quite as fast as I would be on a standard keyboard.  It’s fine for emails, Facebook, messaging, etc.  But I prefer to use my laptop when I need to type a lot (like a blog post, for example). 

All in all, the cons are relatively minor, and for the most part, there are enough work-arounds that they aren’t a problem … and the pros far outweigh the cons.  Still, I will always have a laptop if for no other reason than some of my frequently-used programs don’t run on an iPad (Quicken, Excel, etc.). 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Little Randomness for Thursday

My friend Mary participated in a fun meme, and I thought I’d steal copy and join in the fun. 

What were you doing 10 yrs ago?
I was still working … I had just moved into a new position at the University.  My previous position had been eliminated … I remember my supervisor expressing her regret at having to “let me go” while I was trying my best to hold back my joy.  I was so glad to be able to return back to the main campus.

5 Things on your to-do list
  • Fold laundry
  • Get to the Y to workout
  • Check my files to see when the final installment on our vacation houses is due for our Florida trip
  • Tidy up my sewing area
  • Quilt Winking smile

5 Snacks you enjoy
  • Popcorn
  • Animal crackers
  • Granola
  • Cookies
  • Pudding packs

Name something you would do if you were a millionaire
Donate to charity, pay off DD’s house, buy a house on the beach somewhere warm, invest.

Name places you have lived
  • Bond County
  • Effingham, IL (for just a couple of months)
  • Madison County

Name some bad habits you have
Spending too much time on my computer or iPad (although I’m working on that one), fidgeting with my fingers.

Name some jobs you have had
  • Carhop
  • Waitress
  • Secretary
  • Office Manager
  • Accountant

When DH asked me when I was going to make a quilt using the skills I learned at my paper-piecing class, my immediate response was once I got done with the quilts for our granddaughters … but I got to thinking that I’d really like to get started on something sooner.  I was reminded of the quilt from tiny little pineapple blocks that my bloggy friend Teresa made last month, and I got to thinking … how long could a small block take?  And if I made one block a week, I could have a small wall quilt in a couple of months … and it wouldn’t interfere with my hand quilting projects.  I dug through my boxes of fabrics and found some already-cut strips of blue and white (my favorite!) and voila!  A tiny pineapple block … 3 1/2” (it’ll finish at 3”). 
I’ve got other blues that I’ll use in the other blocks to give the quilt a bit of a scrappy flavor. 

Spring is still waiting to make its appearance here … our temperatures will stay in the upper 30’s/lower 40’s – with snow in the forecast for Sunday!  Now, you all know I love, love, love snow … but NOT in March!  I’m ready for warmer weather … I’m tired of wearing multiple layers of clothing (jeans, a long-sleeved t-shirt with 2 sweatshirts over it, 2 pairs of socks) and still being cold.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge



It’s Wednesday, and it just wouldn’t be Wednesday without a Hodgepodge … even a late one.  Winking smile


1. March 20th is the first day of she a lion or a lamb in your part of the world?

I guess you’d call her a lion.  The high today is going to be a mere 34 with a low tonight of 21.  Definitely not very spring-like, is it? 

2. What's the most dreaded task on your spring clean to-do list?  Do you have a 'plan of attack'?

Definitely cleaning windows.  Our house is built on a sloping lot, so we have what is called a lookout basement … kind of like a walkout basement, but there was quite enough slope to expose the entire back basement wall – about two-thirds of that basement wall (with full-sized windows).  That means the back side of our house is a good story and a half in the air.  The bottom panes of our windows drop in for easy cleaning, but the top panes do not.  Now I just do not do heights, so the outsides of those top panes have never been cleaned … and they definitely need it.  My “plan of attack” is to hire someone to clean our windows … and while they’re at it, could they clean the blinds, too?

3. 'em or hate 'em?  What's a favorite dish you make using peas?

I love peas … cooked just about any way.  I’m not too particular.

4.  Do you feel under appreciated?

No, not really …

5. Have you been using Google Reader?  If so, what are you switching to now that GR has announced retirement?  If not, how do you read your favorite blogs?

Yes, I have and have the rant about the retirement of Reader to prove itWinking smile I originally decided to read my favorite blogs from the bloglist over on the right of my blog.  But sometimes when life interferes or when we’re traveling, I might get several days behind on reading my favorite blogs.  Only the most recent post will be shown on my bloglist … so that’s no good.  So I have switched to Bloglovin … and while it was very easy to switch, I’m not sure that it’s going to work either.  14 of the blogs I follow posted this morning, but only 9 of them are showing up in Bloglovin as unread (I haven’t read any of them yet).  If anyone knows what I did wrong or what else I need to do, I’m all ears (or should I say “all eyes” since I’ll be reading, not hearingWinking smile).

6. Anne Bradstreet is credited with the following quote~
"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant;  if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."
Agree or Disagree?  Why?

I agree.  Spring is so much more welcome because of the cold and bitterness of winter … and the mountaintops are much more appreciated after traveling through the valleys.

7.  When did you last 'spring for something'?  What was it?

I “sprung” for an iPad a couple of weeks ago.  And I love it!  We took our iPads with us on our weekend trip, and I didn’t miss my laptop at all!  I was able to stay up-to-date on my emails and on my games, I was able to record T#1’s heat … I  Red heart my iPad!

8.  Insert your own random thought here?

I attended a paper-piecing class yesterday afternoon, and all I can say is what took me so long.  I LOVE the precision and speed of paper piecing!  I’ve already moved some quilts on my bucket list way up to the top because now that I can paper piece, these quilts are doable!  Here are the samples of what I accomplished yesterday.


Monday, March 18, 2013

The Weekend Wrap-up

What a weekend!

Friday I spent the biggest part of the day baking monster cookies … not only are they huge cookies, but the recipe makes 10+ dozen!  Surprised smile  It takes a good while to mix them and then bake them.  But they’re good, so it’s worth it.  DD asked me to make a batch to bring to our “send-off” party for T#1 that evening.  All the grandparents were there with Daddy, T#2, T#3 and T#4 when Mama and T#1 returned from running errands … he was surprised!

We drove up to DeKalb Saturday morning … the plan was to get checked in, go grab some dinner and then get to bed good and early.  My sister lived in DeKalb for 4-5 years in the early 80’s, and then she moved to a small town to the west where she lived for 10-15 years.  So I traveled I-55 to I-39 many a time in years gone by.  But boy have things changed!  We must have seen several hundred wind turbines along the way!
As usual, you can get a better look if you click on the picture … but better is a relative term here since I was using my iPhone in a car moving at 67-68mph and this was the view out the driver’s side of the car (I was the passenger).  See the white stuff along the ground?  That’s snow … something we haven’t seen here in a month now.  Here’s a better shot of the snow.

DH and I got there first so we got settled in and waited for the rest of the crew to arrive.  DD and I were texting back and forth, and they were further behind than I would have thought … DD said that it took longer than expected for lunch because the place where they stopped was packed.  Even so they weren’t gaining any ground (DSIL drives a little faster than DH so we thought they’d make up some of the time they lost).  We heard what sounded like a knock on the door … I thought sure it was them, so I ran to the door … no one there.  A few minutes later DD texted asking if someone knocked at our door … I replied that someone had but no one was there and wanted to know why she was asking.  Her response was that she’d heard of that happening.  We continued to text.  It happened again.  According to DD they were about 5 minutes from the hotel.  A couple of minutes later, it happened a third time.  This time I asked if it was them … her reply was that they had just arrived and were checking in.  I’m sure that you all have long since figured out that it WAS them … I’ve always said that if you look up “gullible” in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of me.  Winking smile  I told DD that why shouldn’t a mama be able to believe what her daughter tells her?  ha!

We discovered a new place for sandwiches … even better, we think, than our old favorite Firehouse Subs.  Potbelly Sandwiches.  Oh my, the Italian is simply wonderful!  And DH was wild about his meatball sandwich.  It’s so good we stopped on the way home on Sunday for lunch at Potbelly in Bloomington.  And hooray!  And there’s a Potbelly in St. Louis … not all that far from where I’ll be taking that paper piecing class on Tuesday afternoon.  Gee, I wonder where I should have lunch that day? 

Sunday morning, T#1 and his entourage (Mama, Daddy and T#2) headed to the Y for warm-ups at 7:00 … his groupies (Nana and Papa) got there at about 9:00.  We had a couple of hours to wait for his event (100 yd butterfly), but that gave us time to find some good seats close to the pool … prime video territory. 
If you click on the picture, you’ll get a better shot … T#1 is in the far lane.  He finished 3rd in his heat, but he wasn’t able to advance to the finals.  Sad smile  Still this Nana was so proud of him … to advance to the state competition after just one year of competitive swimming.  I can’t wait to see what he does next season!  T#2, too!

Because he was done swimming (he qualified for only the one event (he and T#2 both had qualifying times in their relay events, but because they were swimming on the B teams, they weren’t eligible to go to state for those events … only 1 team can go, and it’s the A teams), we headed back home.  As mentioned above, we took a bit of a detour and stopped in Bloomington for lunch at Potbelly.  Winking smile

The last 90 minutes we encountered a lot of rain, much of it mixed with snow and even some sleet.  Thankfully the temperature stayed just (barely) above freezing so the temperatures and the traffic kept the roads from being treacherous.   Whew!

We got home by about 4:30, so that meant that we had plenty of time to unpack, throw the dirty clothes in the washing machine, and just take it easy before an early bedtime.  It was a busy but fantastic weekend!  Red heart

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Little of This, A Little of That = a Whole Lot of Randomness

After lunch with the Prime Timers from church Thursday afternoon, DH and I drove over to St. Louis for some shopping (and to scope out where my hand piecing class will be next Tuesday).

I bought fabric – and lots of it.  I bought a bunch of fabric for T#4’s bedroom makeover.  It was late in the day when I took the picture (less than an hour and a half before sunset, but it was still pretty sunny … I really thought hoped that the colors would be truer than they are Sad smile).
You can click on the picture to get a larger, more detailed picture.  The colors are a little washed out in the photo … they’re really much prettier in real life.  Hopefully when I get to working with that fabric, I’ll have better conditions (and will use my “real” camera) so I can get a better photo.

I’m  not certain what pattern I’ll be using to make her quilt … I’m leaning toward this four patch variation (with my four patches made from 2 colors per four patch for a little less chaos randomness).  Hopefully I can get DD on board.  Winking smile

I also bought some brick red and off white for my Drunkard’s Path quilt.  Unfortunately, the photo didn’t come anywhere close to representing the true colors … the red was a burgundy red instead of brick red and the off white was pure white.  <sigh>  Again, perhaps I’ll be able to get a better shot when I start working with them next week.

As I mentioned, I’m planning on hand piecing my Drunkard’s Path, and so I must have a finger pincushion … and look what I found on Etsy!  Isn’t it the cutest thing?  Hopefully it will be here by the beginning of next week. 

Now I need to find a cute little box to carry my block pieces, scissors, needle and thread, and my new finger pincushion. 

I have a funny to share with all of you who sew.  A husband went to change a light bulb in his wife’s sewing room.  When he was finished, he came out and exclaimed to his wife: “What in the world are you going to do with all that fabric you have in there?  There must be $100 worth of fabric in there!”  Winking smile

That’s an awful lot of quilting randomness, isn’t it?  But only rightly so … since tomorrow is National Quilting Day and I won’t be doing any quilting.

Nope, not a stitch all weekend as we’ll be heading to DeKalb tomorrow morning to watch T#1 swim in the State Competitions.  I can’t wait.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

No More Reader? and Other Random Stuff

When I went to my Google Reader this evening, I received a notification that effective July 1, 2013, Google Reader will no longer be available.  Surprised smile  Has anyone else seen that?  I have to admit that I’m at a loss as to how I’m going to follow my favorite blogs now.  I know that I could bookmark them, but that would mean going through all 50 blogs every day just to see if there are any new posts.  Nope, I don’t see that as a reasonable alternative.  Anyone got any ideas?

I’m making progress with T#2’s quilt.  I’ve got all the “interior” blocks quilted … I’m quilting all the outside blocks and the borders now.  It seems like I ought to be just a day or two away from being done once I get to the outside row of blocks, but there are almost as many blocks making up the perimeter as there are on the inside.  Winking smile

I’m going to be taking a paper-piecing class next week, and the fabric shop sent me a 20% off coupon to use for supplies (or anything else I want).  So I think I’ll pick up the fabrics for a new project … a red and white Drunkard’s Path wall quilt.
(source:  Google Search) 
I plan to hand piece this … I’ve been wanting to hand piece for some time so I could have a portable project.  We’ll see how working on 2 projects at the same time goes … whether it affects my one-project-at-a-time OCD-ness.  Winking smile  Since I don’t trust myself to trace a template accurately, I’m going to use Inklingo … I like that it will include markings to match my pieces as well as where to stop hand stitching.  DH thinks it’s too complicated, and I have to admit that I’m a little overwhelmed (but then I’m easily overwhelmed by new things until I can get my hands on it and try it myself).  

Our builder has started another house across the street.  That will be the 29th house in our little subdivision … when we moved here, there were only 4 houses and ours was the only one occupied.  What’s especially amazing is that part of the reason we moved (besides wanting a single-story home for our “old age”) was because we were experiencing neighbor issues.  Sad smile  We had no idea what kinds of neighbors we’d have here, but we followed God’s leading … and have been blessed with wonderful neighbors.