Apr 26, 2015

2 weeks gone by

How did that happen?  Two weeks just whizzed on by while I was busy here at home.  So what's been going on?

I got a bit of sewing done on a project for my niece.  There is a bit more to do this afternoon provided the sun stays out and Oscar can log a couple hours outside.

I am a great auntie again with the arrival of my oldest nephew and his lovely wife's precious little girl.  I do not have their approval to share any pictures and will respect their privacy.  Also not sure what information I can share other than she arrived safely.  My sister has been out to help with the baby this past week so my photo gallery is filling up!

Grandmother called me and we met up for me to deliver the 100 Good Wishes top on the 13th.  She loved what I had done with all those fabrics.  We will meet up sometime later this coming week to get the backing fabric so I can finish it up in some manner.

14th and 15th---House cleaning and grocery shopping to prepare for company.  Well, family really.

My sister Jan who lives in Colorado flew in to the ATL airport on the 16th and back out on the 20th.  Two trips to the Parking Spot 1 and shuttle in to the airport but solo this time for me.  How many times did DJ have to make that trip for me?  Jane and Hugh have filled in too.    We had a great time visiting and catching up though we had a lot of rain.  The threat of worse weather kept us from going up to Mt. Cheeha.  Jan is a hiker, runner, biker and there is a lot of opportunities for that in our area.   She was able to get me a number on how many feet Oscar and I go on our lane lap---0.36 so those 4 or 5 trips DO add up!  3 makes a mile, 5, 1.8?  She is training for a half marathon later this year so ran while I attempted to walk my laps in the park but it was entirely too wet with water standing and even a wide berth met with stepping in puddles.

While Jan was here on Friday, my brother Steve and wife Jan were down from their TN home on their way to a vacation on the coast.  Good to see them as well!  Jan and I had something prepared for lunch but we went out for supper near I-20 as they were staying overnight in Leeds, driving down to the rental propery the next day.  The hostess obliged us in taking a picture though I was being less than photogenic. ( Coughing, talking, etc--she looked right at me when she said she had to take another for a reason, LOL )

I've been down with a cold, bronchitis and/or allergies for two weeks now though I am much better now.   At least I seem to be sleeping a bit better and coughing less.  Finally!  Mostly it had left me achy and low energy for much of last week.  Talking made it worse and I was quite close to losing my voice as it was.  I just hope my friends and family members did not get sick because of me.

The friends met for Terri's birthday luncheon on the 15th at Zoe's on the Lake and again on Saturday the 18th at McAlister's Deli as they wanted to meet my sister.   Not much cooking going on lately, I'm afraid though I spent a chunk of yesterday morning looking at past NancyLand recipe archives.  There is hope!

I discovered that an old favorite that I used to watch on WE is available on Hulu--all 7 or 8 seasons.  Just a fluke search really and I found it-- McLeod's Daughters.  Based in South Australia.  Wikipedia says "McLeod's Daughters is an Australian television series that began airing on the Nine Network on 8 August 2001. This Logie awardwinning drama series follows the lives of half sisters Claire and Tess McLeod as they embark on a mission: to run Drovers Run, a farm that has been in the McLeod family for generations. After being passed down from father to son, Drover's has now reunited Claire and Tess after 20 years. They now have to run a farm while balancing their lives, loves and losses."  Oscar and I have been watching a few epi's in the evenings and I had it on the desktop when I was sewing a few days ago.  As it stopped airing on WE after a major plot point, I am thrilled to find I can see some shows I missed early on and move on past that part if I chose.

Of course, the Kindle app gets a workout, thanks to BookBub and OHFB 0ne hundred free books or deeply discounted ones.   I do mysteries mostly but some other things for variety.  Lately thougb I have been looking at the oldest to newesr of the downloads and some of those were downloaded a year ago.  Still, free is good!

I am dreaming about the next quilt I want to make---using Block Party by Sandy Gervais.  Split Decision, I think but I have figured out how to piece a bit differently than the jelly roll the pattern calls for.  I love this stuff and want to sew something fun once my obligations are done.

In chatting with my friend Norma yesterday it looks like we may be doing a stay at home, long distant retreat as I want to do another blue and white Disappearing 4 patch for the master bedroom.  I say another as I did make one back in July 2011 for a QOV and the guild's project to outfit each bed at the Col. Robert L. Howard Veteran's Home in Pell City.    Well, here it is.

 I really liked this quilt, gave it away and now it would go with the curtain and dust ruffle I made for that bed.   This one honored the service (Air Force) of my dad.  The next one would be in memory of my husband.  I've got the Cheese and Crackers in 30's repros on their now for spring/ summer and it looks okay, fits fine but this is something I want to do.

His birthday would be on Tuesday.   I pray this will be a bit easier to deal with than last year.  I still have figured out how you honor the day and what it meant to you without becoming an emotional mess.    Give in to it and move on the next day?  Still a hole in my heart.

THX for stopping by----Oscar needs to walk and I could use a leg stretch myself.

Apr 11, 2015

What a morning

To avoid this being a pictureless post again and since it is a gorgeous spring day, I took a couple shots of my flowering shrubbery.  The lilac is not native to Alabama but DJ babied it along by treating the soil.  That is probably not going to happen on my watch.  Smells heavenly!

Friday we had rain from daybreak till about 11 or so, about 1 1/4 inches.  Too wet to have Oscar stay outside and not bring mud back in.  He is doing better about using his dog house that is mostly because the overgrown weeds near the kitchen tip-out that he crawls under are keeping that from happening.

Anyway,  I stayed home from guild today so I could sew on my promised items.   Naturally that has not happened yet. Somehow Robert managed to get the rest of my acre mowed though the mower is not cutting evenly and I have high and low spots, noticeably so.  AND because we are having such a wet spring the fire ants are having a field day out there digging.  Huge mounds, one pictured below with its off shoots,  near the base of two crepe myrtle trees/bushes.  Tons of them all over the yard.

Robert said I had better treat them but yesterday afternoon it looked like more rain.  Today was supposed to be clear and dry.  I would do it today.  I blew through the two partial 7 lb bags of spectrazide that I had on hand.  I went to Lowe's to get more.  4-3.5 lb bags.  I wanted the larger ones but they didn't have them in stock.   Blew through those 14 lbs in no time and I still had most of the spare lot to do.  Off to Walmart Garden Center---they had the 7 lb bags.  Got 4 more, used two and now I'm prepared for more ant warfare.  I figure about 50 lbs to treat the whole yard.

Then I managed to lock my keys in the trunk.   The lady had bagged up the bags.  I took them out and since I had scissors, cut two of them open, resealed them , slammed the trunk closed and took the cart to the corral.  Now what? Should have put them in my purse like I always do as I am always afraid I MIGHT do this.   I had gone off without my cell phone and I don't have my neighbors phone numbers committed to memory--who does?  No DJ to come bail me out.  The spare keys are on the kitchen table but I would have to get home somehow.  Walmart is about 3.5 miles away.  I could walk but I am not built up to that distance yet and part of it is quite hilly. I know I am not up to that!  My girlfriends are off to quilt guild, the ones that I COULD call,  recall their numbers or was granted the use of a phone.

A young man pulled up near me and wearing a store uniform.  By that time I am in tears.  Automotive might be able to help and that's where he works but as far as he knows I might have to call the locksmith.  I walked with him into the store and tell his boss my sad story.  He located the locksmith's number and dialed it up for me on their portable phone.  The lady tells me to calm down, it will be fine and she'll be there shortly.  She wants cash, not a check, so I scurry over to my bank's nearby ATM.   I was through melting down by the time she arrived and triggered the trunk opener so I could retrieve my keys, giving me a hug once the job was done.  I thanked her and apologized for being so unglued when I spoke to her on the phone.  I need to go back and thank Troy and his boss Stacy at Walmart Automotive too.

I came home, without incident, and finished out the ant mound job getting a real satisfaction out of jabbing them and stabbing the old broom handle Robert had sharpened for me into the ground.  Oh, I hate those ants!  Amazingly, I only got one on my hand and it didn't bite me.  Thing is, if your neighbors don't treat them you will never get rid of them.  They have made such a mess of the yard.  Walking Oscar is also challenging between the mud and the mounds.  He just makes a bee-line for the grassy strips along the lane and doesn't care where he is stepping!

I've since showered, started a load of towels and yard clothes and fixed lunch without burning it.

So Oscar is outside but do I dare try to sew?  The way the morning started you have to wonder if it is advisable.    Sewing is supposed to be fun but we all know we have days where you un-sew more than sew.  Better to walk away when that happens.  Guess I'll see what happens---right after I walk my dog.  Anything else goes wrong today and I'm crawling into bed and not getting up till it is morning.

OH, I forgot to say that Herb and Phyllis came by yesterday afternoon.  They called when they were about an hour away to see if I was home as they had been down to Florida and were driving back to Illinois.  I was chatting with Miss Kathryn while out walking Oscar when Jane pulled up before they got here.  Jane had been trying to call me but was having phone troubles so she said it was just easier to run by my house from where she was at the time.  All the sudden I had all kinds of company!  First thing, Herb asked me to turn on the Golf Channel since it is Masters weekend.  I don't get that but was able to pull it up live on my chromebook (on ESPN dot com) and then cast it to the TV from chromebook.  They stayed for a hour or two and hoped to be up past the worst of the hills past Chattanooga to overnight.

Okay I'm off----fingers crossed that nothing else stupid happens today.

Apr 9, 2015

Thursday check-in

I should be in the sewing room but Oscar is conked out beside me on the couch.  It is in the low 80's again and he was panting by the time we got back from our 2nd walk up and down the lane (there are inclines on both ends)  I'm letting him rest up before I insist he goes outside for an hour or two.

Both Oscar and Skyler are having anniversaries early this month.  Skyler came to live with us when DJ and I picked him up from the Anniston Animal Shelter on April 4, 2008.  I had lost my beloved Pippi several days before but we were getting the laminate flooring put down later in the week so I had to wait till Friday to pick out a new furry friend.  Oscar will have been my dog since April 10, 2014 when Robert asked me if I wanted him.  He was fighting with his yard mates and better me, than the pound.   I'm still more a cat person than a dog person but I'm thankful for them both--even when they don't get along so well.  Skyler usually is the instigator but Oscar doesn't just stand there and take it.  He pushes Skyler out of the way with his head anymore--like a mini bulldozer, LOL.

Happy news on the family front.   I am a great-auntie again when my nephew and his wife had a baby girl last evening.  Mother and baby doing fine.  Also we were informed a few days ago that another niece is now expecting and due in the fall.  My sister Janet from Colorado is coming to see me in a week.  AND my brother and sister-in-law who are traveling south from their Tennessee home on the 18th may be stopping by.  I will be in cleaning mode soon enough.  Today's "mystery" is where do I get the wall touch up paint?  I've got it written down in a file but need to get on the desktop to find it.  DJ always bought flat paint and I like satin better but it needs to match.

Yesterday I drug out the push mower and did the back yard.  Wore myself out doing it too.  All told, I had to pull the cord about 10 times as it died twice when the spark plug wire came off.  I was surprised that my arm and shoulder were not sore as I don't have the arm strength to yank on it, it seems.  I expect Robert to be over in a day or so to do the rest but the backyard could not wait as the weeds/grass/whatever it is was clear up to his belly.  Both the lilac and one azalea bush are open now with the other bush showing some signs of taking over once the 1st one is done.  I tried to mow down the depleted daffodil stalks but it is too close to the fence.  Michael did offer to weed whack if Robert is not going to do it.  Robert's are not working,  ours needs someone by the name of me to wind some line on it but it could be used.

Michael and Joyce are thinking about putting a car port in next door but it might mean taking down a tree in between the houses.  Actually it is planted right on the property line and the matriarch told us how she planted and grew it from a twig.  I've always been afraid it was going to come down on our shed and/or take the electrical wires down---again.  It has happened twice already.

I've got my sewing project cut out and ready to sew but no actual sewing has been done since I finished the 100 Good Wishes quilt.  I've left messages at the grandmother's number  but no call back. I'm wondering if something has happened to her at this point as I told her the top was done.  She was hopeful that this would be her granddaughter's birthday gift later this month.   I had hoped to have that out of here by now.   Once the promised project is completed, I have plans to make a split decision quilt but using charm squares.   Some months back I had figured out a way this could be done rather than using 2 1/2 inch strips or the jelly rolls the pattern calls for.  It worked on the practice blocks but I have some fun fabrics to play with.   After dealing with the taxes and that quilt top, I am well past due for a reward project.

This was the off week for Bama Belles but it always seems like forever ago when the preceding month has 5 Tuesdays.  We meet on the 2nd and 4th ones.  Friendship Quilters is coming up but I don't know if the Calhoun Co. bunch is going yet or not.  Sometimes it is just two of us but rarely does one go alone.  I've got things to do here at home, inside and out,  so I may not.

No pictures, sorry about that but it is a note so y'all don't worry about my well being.  Thanks for stopping by------

Apr 2, 2015

checking in

A microcosm of what has been happening this week, LOL.

First, Monday I spent some time chatting with customer support at DirecTV to see what we could do to get my bill down as they had just increased the package rate.  I've decided that the HD DVR needed to go even though I love the DVR part. A standard one will be fine if it will knock 20 bucks off the bill.  I had laundry and errands to tend to as well.  It ended up being a fairly busy day.

Tuesday:  they must have overnighted the standard receiver as the doorbell rang and there was FedEx with a box.  DJ would have been proud of me hooking and unhooking this thing though I had the chat person when it was time to activate/deactivate receivers.  That explalins why you are seeing the Genie HD-DVR and the various paraphenalia that needs to go back to DirecTV once they send on the mailing boxes.

Wednesday:  I'm still waiting to hear back from Grandma about the quilt top.  I would like that to be resolved before I get busy on my next obligation for an expectant mama but so far it has not happened.  BUT I got the last article I needed for the guild newsletter late Tuesday.  Finishing up the newsletter, mailing it out and posting it on the website was my first priority.  Then I thought I better get cracking on the taxes.   UGH!  I started with the federal since the state form often asks for info from it.    Most of the backup material was already together or easily tracked down.  Fairly cut and dried till I got to page 2 and Form 8962.  It looked like I was getting a refund which I didn't see how that could be possible as I/we rarely get one.  I decided to let it rest overnight and would re-check my math and verify that I had completed it correctly.  I had already made two small errors on page 1 by not reading correctly and working step by step.   Fresh eyes would not hurt.  DJ always filed for us once we married but had me look at the form to double check it.  I'd ask how he arrived at some number and get out the calculator.

Today, I re-did it and came up with the same answers.  I think I understand how I might be due a refund.   I completed the forms on the computer but snail mailed the forms as I need to write in that DJ is deceased and the date.  Next up, the Alabama ones.  Download the forms, print off a couple work copies. Then print a trial form or two to make sure I can print both sides in  the proper orientation.   Good ole Alabama state form making things needlessly difficult-- I only got about 10 lines down.   I discovered they are getting serious about collecting taxes on out of state orders.  Holy crap!  Fortunately I have been saving receipts and packing slips since February 2014.    Some were missing but I had most of the emails saved and could track things down from the vendor.   It stil took me about 4 hours but part of that time was making myself a spreadsheet to get a total number.  Plus I figured I best do the same thing for 2015, enter the data as I place an order.  Wish I had known this was coming from the statehouse as I would have done it sooner.  I'm done with taxes till tomorrow.

All that stuff spread out on the table is basically the papers I'm pushing  to get the job done, plus the unopened mail.  Sharp eyes might spot the Peeps--Easter IS coming. Will see if they last long enough to try them stale like some of my old aCQB list mates enjoy them.  Doubt it!  There are not enough Cadbury creme eggs (the big ones, not the little ones) in the world to counteract doing taxes.

Obviously there is little going on here creatively, cooking or sewing.  Oscar has been in the house most of the afternoon as it has been raining again.  I didn't check the gauge to see how much but I don't know that it is done for the day.  I know in the last week or so we have had about 4 inch total.  Some had hail and severe thunderstorms Tuesday.  They are expecting storms again tomorrow.  No tornadoes, I hope.

My azalea bushes are close to blooming--well, one of them anyway.  The other still looks winter bronzed.  The dogwoods are in flower and a nearby snowball bush has balls on it but they are green! I also have one bulb like plant open.  I thought at first it was the star gazer lily but it looks mutated.  The rain bent one bloom over and Oscar got the other one, doing what dogs do on vertical surfaces.   (ed. note: I took a picture of them this morning though it is a little washed out.  Know what it is??)  One of the neighbors cut back the eucalyptus trees/bush that Oscar always stops at while we are walking today.  He looked confused!  

It looks like I will soon have neighbors across the lane.  The house has been empty about 6 months but the for sale sign is down and people have been hammering away doing something in there for several days this week.   Then across the main road one of the two houses that we see directly out our backyard has a for sale sign on it.

Guess that's it for now.  Happy Easter!